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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Support our mission of championing car culture by becoming an Official Autopian Member.