A weird and striking new electric motorcycle is slated to come to America. The Verge TS offers up to 201 HP from a rim motor mounted in a hubless wheel and up to 233 miles of range from its low-density batteries. If you live in Europe, you can buy one of these right now. Thankfully, this won’t be some forbidden fruit as Verge will be coming to America as soon as spring 2024. Let’s take a look at what you’ll be able to buy!
If this motorcycle looks familiar to you, it’s because I wrote about it back in January of this year. Back then, Verge was in its early days of deliveries. As with all startups, there can be a fear that the product will never materialize. Verge beat the odds to sell motorcycles in Finland, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Estonia. As Verge ramps up production, it has its eyes on America. The company’s motorcycles are undergoing homologation right now and Verge hopes you’ll be able to buy its TS right here in America in spring of next year. Verge is at the Los Angeles Auto Show and it’s celebrating its impending American market release with a special edition dedicated to California.
This startup company is hardly a household name, so here’s a quick reminder of where it came from. Here’s some history from my previous coverage:
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.
Since I wrote that piece, Verge has tooled up a factory in Estonia and as I noted before, the company’s motorcycles are now in production. The motorcycles are also largely the same since I wrote about them in January, save for one big software update.
The Verge TS
Verge’s launch vehicle is the TS motorcycle. Verge says this motorcycle was designed from the ground-up to be electric with a huge focus on keeping weight as low as possible while blowing other electric motorcycles out of the water on performance. The company’s executives even went as far as to say that objectively, the TS will be better than any other electric motorcycle on sale today. That is a tremendous claim, and one that I’d argue is more subjective. The best motorcycle for me might be different than the best motorcycle for you.
Anyway, the headlining feature of the Verge TS is its most visible part. What you’re looking at is a hubless wheel housing an electric motor in its rim. Here’s my explanation of how it works:
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. 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. The company 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.
Further, the company’s engineers explain that most electric motorcycles carry their motors in the frame with the batteries situated nearby. This works, but sometimes leads to a center of gravity that’s too high. Verge’s solution to this was to put the motor in the wheel, guaranteeing the weight stays low to the ground.
The company also says its wheel design allows the battery pack to ride as low as possible. The motorcycles are juiced up by a 20.2 kWh battery and Verge says it’s using low-density cells while many manufacturers use high-density cells. Verge says its low-density cells don’t get as hot while also shaving down weight as well.
Here’s an image from Verge showing the motor and wheel’s parts:
The Verge TS comes in three versions. All three of them have the same battery, but different range and performance figures. 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. The base TS hits 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and races on to a top speed of 112 mph. Range is said to be up to 155 miles. This motorcycle can feed from DC fast charging and tops up in as quick as 55 minutes.
Next is the Verge TS Pro. For $29,900, this motorcycle looks like 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 60 mph acceleration time and top speed is upped to 124 mph. The battery pack can net you up to 217 miles and charging is as quick as 35 minutes.
The top-of-the-line model is the TS Ultra. For a whopping $44,900, power tops out at 201 HP and you get 885 lb-ft torque. That cuts acceleration to 60 mph down to 2.5 seconds. The top speed is the same but range ups to a maximum of 233 miles. Charging is as quick as 25 minutes.
Finally, we have the Verge TS Pro California Edition. This one is a Verge TS Pro, but comes painted in an orange inspired by the California Poppy.
All three motorcycles are available with a Wilbers suspension with an option to upgrade to an Öhlins-based suspension. 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.
Also new is the software driving these bikes. Verge calls it Starmatter and it’s a software control system that uses machine learning and AI to enhance the motorcycle. Starmatter includes over-the-air updates, which not only update the motorcycle’s software but could even upgrade performance. I’ll let Verge explain:
Advanced software is in the DNA of Verge superbikes, but Starmatter is something even bigger. It is like an invisible layer of star matter that covers the bike, personalising the riding experience for each user on an individual level and enabling new exciting features. Such a comprehensive technological leap has never before been seen in motorcycles,” says Verge CTO Marko Lehtimäki.
With the Starmatter platform, all new Verge motorcycles come with a sensor package that comprises, for example, GPS positioning, an accelerometer, and Bluetooth, 4G and WiFi connections. In addition, the new platform enables automatic downloading of enhancements and new functions specified by the manufacturer with OTA updates when the device is connected to a network. OTA updates can optimise, for example, the performance of the bike, its charging characteristics, or the operation of the rim motor inside the rear wheel. Verge also aims in the future to proactively identify possible maintenance requirements.
“Some vehicle manufacturers have used OTA updates to keep their device software up to date, but these have usually only involved superficial enhancements. With Starmatter, we want to revolutionise the perception of the life cycle and intelligence of motorcycles. Typically, a vehicle is at its best when new, while smartphones, for example, gain completely new features that significantly improve their functionality year after year. We want to bring the same philosophy to the vehicle industry and guarantee Verge’s customers an intelligent and personalised riding experience, as well as the best possible version of the bike at all times,” Lehtimäki continues.
As for these crazy torque numbers, Verge says it measures torque at the rear tire’s contact patch. The company does not provide any other numbers for torque. Also missing from Verge’s specs is curb weight, which seems like a strange omission given the company’s stated focus of cutting down weight.
Seeing these motorcycles in person was exciting. They give off a vibe of Tron Light Cycle mixed with Transformer. The quality seems good, though the passenger seat is super tiny. The most amazing part to me is that it exists at all. Too many startups with wild ideas never really get far off of the ground. Verge is making things happen.
The company did say it was going to launch in America earlier this year, but the challenge of homologation delayed that rollout. So, the company is targeting next spring for its American launch.
Obviously, with prices like these, Verge isn’t going to make the likes of LiveWire or Zero quake in their boots. Instead, Verge is selling a boutique machine for the kind of rider who wants a bike that looks like nothing else. The rear wheel is getting lots of “oohs” and “ahhs” at the LA Auto Show, so I could only imagine the attention it would get on the street. I’m just happy to see another cool motorcycle hitting the road and I cannot wait to take a ride on one.
(Photos: Author, unless otherwise noted.)