Electric motorcycle startup Damon turned a lot of heads and likely opened a lot of wallets with its wild, shapeshifting CES debut. Since then, it's been taking preorders on the Hypersport Premier and HS models, and, according to a Tuesday announcement by the company, it's been making some moves behind the scenes.
Specifically, it took the big step of acquiring the intellectual property of the now-defunct Mission Motorcycle, which kicked the bucket back in 2015. Mission was doing some exciting stuff with its battery and motor technology before if shut down, but what does that mean for Damon?
"The purchase of the Mission Motors IP will add to Damon's capability to build the highest performance drive trains in motorcycling," said Derek Dorresteyn, COO of Damon Motorcycles, in a statement. "Mission Motors was a technical leader and we are happy that some of that competitive DNA has passed into the Damon Hypersport. We intend to improve upon it considerably to take motorcycling into an entirely new level of performance."
That sounds cool, but how much benefit is Damon getting from technology that's five years old, at best? Further, that raises the question of just how much development the company has to do before it can reach its ambitious production date of late 2021.
If Damon were just trying to be an electric motorcycle company, that goal would seem challenging, let alone one with a claimed 200 miles of highway range, 200 horsepower and a top speed of 200 miles per hour, but with the added complexity of its "Shift" system that changes the motorcycle's shape and rider geometry, that seems like a lofty expectation.
More complicated still is its "CoPilot" system that it claims will scan the road and alert the rider to dangers as well as report back to Damon, allowing it to make the system more intelligent is something that will take massive amounts of computing power and development -- more than Roadshow's seen from any two-wheeled EV manufacturer so far.
Despite our reservations, Damon is confident enough in its abilities to offer reservations for its Hypersport Premier which says something. People, it would seem, are confident in the company's ability to deliver too, because preorders are sold out for the limited Premier Founder's Edition of the Hypersport. That's cool, but fear not if you didn't get your money in fast enough: There are two new special editions of Hypersport Premier for you to reserve.
For your $1,000 reservation, you can now choose between the Hypersport Premier Arctic Sun or Midnight sun, which features white and gold or black and gold paint, respectively. These new colorways are limited, and the bikes will retail for a relatively eye-watering $39,995 at launch.
As a journalist, it's my job to be both excited by the future but cautious in my optimism, and Damon hits me on both fronts. The startup is making big promises on future products -- as startups are wont to do -- but all I've seen so far is a mostly static model on the CES show floor. So there's a long way to go, but I'm excited to see what might happen.