Triumph jumps into the electric motorcycle pond
Rumors have flown for several years of Triumph’s dabbling in the electric motorcycle pond. Those rumors are now proven true, and they are definitely doing more than dabbling. With the development and recent testing of their TE-1 electric prototype, it’s fair to say Triumph Motorcycles is jumping in with the full monty. We recently received some early press info about the bike, with some killer photos and track test footage.
The TE-1 resembles their Speed and Street Triple models with the “angry bug” headlights, street fighter bodywork and lines, naked sport short wheelbase and single-sided swingarm. We like what we see already. Apparently the bike’s performance has exceeded preliminary expectations. Since we’ve reviewed a few electrics here at Road Dirt, we’ve been keen to see the latest on this Triumph project. Here’s a bit of what we’ve learned so far.
The TE-1 project is a collaboration between Triumph Motorcycles, Williams Advanced Engineering (of Formula 1 most notably), Integral Powertrain Ltd., and WMG University of Warwick, with funding by the Office of Zero Emissions via Innovate UK. The project bike was recently dyno-ed and track tested in merry old England, with two-time Daytona 200 champion and MotoAmerica Supersport racer Brandon Paasch in the saddle.
The first boxes Triumph ticked were charging and range. They claim the TE-1 has a “class-leading” 100 mile (161 km) range on a full charge. We’d hardly call that class leading- the Zero SR/S and SR/F bikes we rode for a month in 2020 both ran between 110-120 miles on a charge, and Harley-Davidson’s second-gen LiveWire is now around 140 miles per charge. What is noteworthy is Triumph’s claimed 20-minute 0-80% charge time. That bests both the Zeros and the LiveWire.
The Triumph TE-1 prototype tips the scales at a moderate 485 lbs (220 kg), lighter than both Zero models and the LiveWire. The TE-1’s size and scale appears comparable to Triumph’s Street Triple, but with the ergos, geometry and weight distribution of the Speed Triple. The TE-1 also employs a throttle action and torque delivery map directly engineered from the Speed Triple 1200 RS, which means we are itching to one day ride this beast, we love the RS so much.
In terms of performance, The TE-1 made 175 hp (130kW/177ps) peak, as well as 80 ft lbs of peak torque (109Nm), delivering instant throttle response and smooth, controlled power throughout the rev range. Looks like an exhilarating ride. In a standing quarter mile, the TE-1 did 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds, 0-100 in 6.2. By comparison, the H-D LiveWire first gen that Phil rode in Daytona hit 0-60 mph in 3.0 (according to Harley), and the Zero claims the SR/F and S hit 60 in about 3.2 sec. We suspect the TE-1 by production time will see gains to be competitive with these others.
Although the Triumph TE-1 will of course be a single gear, continuous throttle-by-wire package, the bike will also employ four ride modes, traction control, front wheel lift control, a regenerative braking control (we loved that in the Zeros), and even walk and reverse modes. The company assures that there will be further offerings and refinements by the time the bike comes to production.
Triumph claims the TE-1 has a “distinctive and thrilling soundtrack”, if the whine of an electric motorcycle powerplant can be called such. The bike’s unique sound comes from a helical gear pair primary transmission, and we can hear it somewhat in the video footage Triumph shared with us. The TE-1’s design and presence is definitely pure Triumph, with its distinctive aluminum frame, those mean-looking twin headlights and its whole aggressive posture.
Triumph brought in Brandon Paasch to conduct the track testing, and he commented, “I wish I’d had this at Daytona, that acceleration in this chassis, and how it corners – wow! I think this would be a really nice motorcycle to ride on the street, just based on how nimble and agile it is, and how light it feels.”
Nick Bloor, CEO of Triumph Motorcycles declared, “We are incredibly proud to be able to share such positive outcomes from the completion of Project Triumph TE-1, where the prototype demonstrator has exceeded many of our initial targets and expectations. Everyone on the team is thrilled with the results we have achieved with our partners, and how the outcomes of the project will feed into the electric future to come from Triumph.”
Clearly this prototype won’t be exactly what Triumph brings to market, but if early response to the bike is any indication, the design cues and overall lines will be similar if not nearly identical. We look forward to seeing the TE-1 hopefully move from prototype to production, and maybe in a year or so, get our hands on one for a road test. We’re impressed so far.
Road Dirt Crew
*For some cool footage of the bike courtesy of Triumph Motorcycles, click here without ever leaving this page-