Johammer electric motorcycle breaks 200 km range, looks like you're riding a terrified snail
By Loz Blain
April 10, 2014
I must admit, I’m kind of amazed this thing exists. The Johammer electro-cruiser is up there with the very strangest motorcycle designs I’ve ever come across. I mean, it looks like you’re riding a very surprised snail. But it does exist; this North Austrian roadster made an appearance at the Linz motorcycle show in February and appears close to production.
Apart from the bike’s utterly bizarre retro-futuristic styling, a few other things are immediately striking. It doesn’t have a traditional dash, opting instead to integrate the speedo and charge indicator into a panel on the mirrors (I shudder to think what they’d cost to replace when it falls over!).
It uses a hub-center steering and suspension setup at the front end. These units do a very good job of separating braking from suspension forces and controlling dive under brakes, but they’re also much more expensive than forks, and it’s dubious exactly how much benefit there is to having such an exotic front end on what’s unlikely to be a "performance bike."
But the big ticket item is the fantastic battery range. Fitted with a beefy 12.7 kWh battery stack, the Johammer joins the Zero S ZF11.4 among the first electric bikes to boast a 200 km (124 mi) range when fully charged. That’s a significant psychological number for bikers, because 200 km is a decent fuel range for a petrol-powered bike.
The battery modules are developed in-house at Johammer, giving the company a second product stream as well as the perfect demonstration platform. Guaranteed service life of the battery is 200,000 km (124,000 mi) or four years without dropping below 85 percent of the new battery’s capacity.
Otherwise, the bike’s electric motor is enclosed in its rear wheel hub, and it works in reverse as a regenerative brake system. The battery cradle seems to more or less comprise the frame while enclosing the horizontally mounted shocks for the front and rear suspension – a nice touch that should keep both suspension units neat and tidy.
The Johammer seems to have two sets of footrests: one set back to provide a fairly standard upright riding position, and another set of highway pegs further forward for laid-back highway cruising, which has typically not been a strength of previous electric bikes! The additional footrests are made much easier to implement given that the Johammer has no foot controls to worry about – front and rear brakes are operated from the handlebars much like a scooter setup.
So what’s the price of looking this damn sexy? Astronomical. Big battery packs, fancy dash-mirrors and hub-center steering don’t come cheap. The 8.3 kWh version will set you back EUR€23,000 (US$31,860) and the Big Daddy 12.7 kWh version is EUR€25,000 (US$34,630).
If you just want to dip your toe in Johammer's waters, there's the option of taking one out for a guided tour through "historic Upper Austria" – that'll set you back EUR€290 (US$420) and includes a factory tour to start the day off. Sign us up!