Home » An Electric Motorcycle Startup Is Making A 201 HP Burnout Machine With A Hubless Wheel

An Electric Motorcycle Startup Is Making A 201 HP Burnout Machine With A Hubless Wheel

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Another startup company has rolled into CES 2023 with a wild electric motorcycle of the future. This one is something that motorcyclists have dreamed about for years, but it’s a reality and some of them have even been sold. The Verge TS Ultra is a 201 HP electric burnout machine with a Tron Light Cycle-like hubless wheel.

Back in 2018, Teemu Saukkio had an idea. He felt that the motorcycle market was ripe for more attitude with a dose of innovation. Finnish motorcycle manufacturer RMK Vehicle Corporation sprouted up to make Saukkio’s idea a reality. The RMK E2 was designed in Saukkio’s garage and by working at a breakneck pace, the motorcycle made it to EICMA 2019. The company, now called Verge Motorcycles, presented the TS, an electric motorcycle ripped right out of the dreams of many bikers.

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Verge Motorcycles

I don’t even need to point out the headlining feature of this motorcycle because you’ve already seen it. Hubless wheels aren’t a new thing. In 1989, Swiss designer Franco Sbarro experimented with hubless wheels in a few motorcycles and a car. Today, you might find a hubless wheel on a custom motorcycle build or in countless virtual creations.

Of course, if you’re a fan of Tron then you know all about the sleek hubless Light Cycle.

Disney
Disney

This isn’t a piece of fiction, a one-off custom, or a concept; it’s something that Verge Motorcycles has put to market and as of November 2022, is in production. Verge says that it currently delivers to select countries, including Finland, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Estonia. Early this year the company expects to expand into the rest of the EU and the UK. Then, Americans will be able to get a TS this year.

At the heart of a Verge TS is its hubless wheel, which contains the motorcycle’s motor. The inner part of this wheel system is attached to a swingarm, and the outer part is what turns. Verge says that this motor works using the electromagnets on the wheel that repel each other, rotating the assembly. Here’s an illustration of what it looks like:

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Verge Motorcycles

The end result is a motorcycle with a big ol’ donut hole where the rear wheel is. Verge says that this doesn’t just look killer, but has one huge benefit: the power produced by the motor goes directly to the wheel. More on that in a second.

There are three versions of the TS. All three look about the same and all have that sweet motor. The base model is the TS, which costs $26,900. Getting the cheapest Verge nets you a motor rated at 107 HP and 516 lb-ft torque. That’s not a typo.

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Verge Motorcycles

Verge doesn’t say how exactly this torque is calculated but claims that number is the torque at the wheel. However, because the motorcycle is paired with a traction control system and riding modes, the company says that you aren’t going to torque yourself right off of the motorcycle.

As far as performance figures go, the regular TS hits 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and races on to a top speed of 112 mph. Feeding the motor is a 20.2 kWh battery that offers a maximum range of 155 miles. Fast charging is available and Verge says that it can charge from empty in as little as 55 minutes.

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Verge Motorcycles

For $29,900 you can step up to the TS Pro, which looks the same as the regular TS but bumps the power up to 137 HP and 737 lb-ft torque. That’s good enough to shave a full second off of the acceleration to 60 mph and up the top speed to 124 mph. The battery pack is the same size here but is advertised as maxing out at 217 miles and charging in 35 minutes.

Finally, the flagship of the TS line is the one revealed at CES 2023, the TS Ultra.

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Verge Motorcycles

This one costs a hefty $44,900. In this configuration, power tops out at 201 HP and 885 lb-ft torque. That cuts acceleration to 60 mph down to 2.5 seconds. The top speed is the same, as is the battery size. Plunking down that wad of cash does net yet another improvement in range, 233 miles, and charging apparently as fast as 25 minutes. Verge says that the entire drivetrain is housed in that rear wheel, leaving the body of the cycle free for the large battery. Sadly, the front wheel isn’t of a wild design, but the motorcycle still looks plenty awesome.

The three motorcycles are available with a Wilbers suspension with a limited option to go for Öhlins parts. Verge says that the TS and TS Pro could carry two, and two sets of pegs are provided. When you don’t have a passenger, you could use the pegs to achieve a cruise or sport riding position. You also get regenerative braking, which Verge says can be strong enough to stop the bike. Weirdly, there is one important statistic that’s missing: Verge doesn’t state the motorcycle’s total weight.

With these prices, Verge Motorcycles isn’t really competing with the likes of LiveWire or Zero Motorcycles. With either brand, you can spend tens of thousands of dollars less for similar performance and similar range. Thus, the buyer of one of these is probably not going to be someone looking for a commuter. Instead, this is more of a boutique bike meant for someone wanting to live out their Tron dreams. Perhaps the part that surprises me most is the fact that these are already getting built in Estonia and are already getting reviewed:

The company hopes to begin shipments of the TS Ultra in America in April. The TS Pro will follow it up in May and the regular TS in September. Reservations start at $100 for the TS and TS Pro, then grow to $1,000 for the TS Ultra. The company says that if you want one, get in soon before the waitlist grows even longer. I still have questions about the torque, but I’d love to swing a leg over this myself. It may not be the fastest or most competitive machine, but it looks like a total joy to ride.

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34 Responses

        1. It’s 500+ ft/lbs at the road. It’s comparable to a typical bike, nothing particularly new. It’s similar to the Hummer EV claims of 11,500 ft/lbs from 2020. They’re measuring AFTER gearing. In this case it’s just the multiplier of the fixed gear at the rear wheel.

  1. More power and range, and less charging time from a same sized battery?!? I’m calling shenanigans! Something must have been lost in the translation from Estonian.

    Also the description of how the motor works doesn’t sound quite right. Every electric motor has a rotor and a stator. The electro-magnets (or in some cases, just magnets) in the rotor are attracted/repelled from electro-magnets in the stator, resulting in rotation. The stator is fixed to the bike in some form or fashion (in this case bolted to the swing arm) while the rotor is attached to the wheel (or is a part of the wheel in this case?). It looks like a similar case for Verge’s motor, they just eliminated the hub in the stator. Looks cool, no doubt, but not exactly revolutionary.

    1. I reckon quite a few things have been lost in the translation! The explanation of the motor came from a press release and a representative. The variations of charging and range from the same battery do give me pause, too. Perhaps the range/charging is software-locked like a lower-end Tesla that has a bigger battery?

  2. What I missed from the pictures and the diagrams is where the rear brake is. Assuming there is one —I know they don’t do a ton in motorcycle riding but I’d rather have it—.

  3. Id like to know the weight too-as well as how much the motor/hub/wheel assembly itself weighs. And how that compares to conventional sprocket & wheel. I know nothing about motorcycles, but, with shitboxes, the lighter they are, the more that increased unsprung weight messes with your driving dynamic. Projecting that, it seems to me that a (relatively) lightweight bike with a high unsprung-weight ratio could be very interesting to ride.

    Uninformed opinion: I’d welcome data or anecdotes pro or con

    1. You are right to question it. To me this bike is a total ruse for the gullible. “Hubless” is a sales driven mirage as it’s actually one gigantic hub crammed full of iron and copper windings that is heavy as hell. That weight will definitely negatively affect any motorbike during acceleration and cornering. Also as an electric motor choice it’s poor because the larger the circumference of any motor the lower the horsepower and greater the torque, hence the numbers they advertise. Small motors rev high with low torque, big ones cannot as centripetal forces rip them apart, no different from an ICE engine, so I expect this to be the Chrysler Prowler of the bike world; all show no go.

      1. This is no more “hubless” than my 90’s Honda that also has a hole all the way through the rear hub.

        It’s arguably got more rear hub than any other production motorcycle.

        Looks cool though, and has packaging advantages that offset the relatively huge unsprung mass (on a bike where handling isn’t a priority).

  4. Honestly I don’t need more than 200hp in a car. I especially don’t need that much horsepower in a motorcycle.

    Honestly the next (used) car I’ll probably buy will be a 2CV van, and the next new car will almost certainly have less than 200hp.

  5. I may have missed it but I figure it must weigh a huge amount or make about half the claimed power in the cheaper versions which have performance times equivalent to a garden variety motorcycle like a 650cc or 700cc twin with 60 or 70 horsepower at the rear wheel.

    Looks cool tho. (-:

  6. “A doughnut hole in the doughnut’s hole. But we must look a little closer. And when we do, we see that the doughnut hole has a hole in its center – it is not a doughnut hole at all but a smaller doughnut with its own hole, and our doughnut is not whole at all!”

  7. Is the rear wheel truly ‘hubless’ or does it have a large hub with a hole at its center? The wheel is still mounted to something and that something is a hub.

  8. The hubless/exploded hub is just a gimmick. It will surely be unique enough to reach their very limited sales goal, but the idea itself doesn’t bring an engineering advantage. Locating the heavy motor in the rear wheels and routing the high power cables there have been shown to be a detriment to handling and maintenance. It’s not been widely adopted for a reason.
    The power numbers are flashy, but not extraordinary for the price point. Energica has a 170hp offering, and they’re going to 200hp. The upper end ‘mainstream’ offerings are all at 100 or more hp in reliable, supported products.

    I see this as typical tradeshow flash.

    1. Agreed. There’s a reason “hubless” rear wheels have never made it out of anything other than a few custom shops. Massive unsprung weight, huge and expensive bearings, tire changes that probably cost four figures.

  9. Well, I for one am here for this bike. That’s got plenty of “loogit me!” on it without having to go full thunder.

    It’s utterly impractical for me, but it’s not like I was stroking my chin and looking for a practical motorcycle until I saw this article. How much more Finnish am I going to have to learn beyond “sisu” and a handful of cusses?

  10. Meh….a few year old Harley Live wire does 60 in 3 seconds has 145 mile range. the hubless motor will perhaps draw a crowd at first at the Sunday morning Bikes and Coffee meet up but I would have buyers remorse spending that coin to have that over that.

  11. Since you want wheels to have as light a sprung weight as possible for handling, this is little more than a design exercise. Sure. Looks cool. Not a bike I would aspire to, however.

  12. Looks interesting and integrating the motor with the wheel rim looks like a great idea.

    But if I were to consider one of these, I’d want to see what’s involved with changing the rear tire…

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