Photos: Brutus Electric Motorcycles

The problem with most electric motorcycles is they tend to look more like a moped than a street machine you’d actually want to be seen on. That’s because the lack of a required gas tank, combined with the need to encompass a large battery, leaves most designers thinking square and boxy rather than sleek and aggressive.

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Not so on the new Brutus 2. This is a bike that looks more “Hell’s Angel” and less “Tree Hugger” than any electric bike before it. No boxy, light, airy, or electric-y look that screams “green”. Brutus went for mean. There’s a tear-drop “tank” that gives it a classic cruiser feel, thick tires, aggressive fenders and a Mad Max-like cage that covers (for the most part) the battery that resides where a V-Twin would be on a gas bike. This was designed for the guy who wants to look good riding, but plug in rather than fuel up after a long day on the road.

According to Green Car Reports, the Brutus 2 also delivers “real bike” performance in addition to the look. Chris Bell, the designer and owner of Brutus Electric Motorcycles, says the 153v bike will hit 60 mph from a dead stop in 4.7 seconds, and can reach a top speed of 100 mph. And a single charge of its 50,000 mile lithium polymer battery will take you a minimum of 100 miles. (Bell says you may go farther, but that depends on individual driving habits, so he won’t give a max mileage per charge.)

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The clutch-less transmission operates the 5 speed mechanical gearbox that delivers low end drive for hilly terrain and top end speed for straights. And there is a liquid-cooled, owner programmable motor controller that keeps an eye on the voltage, and gives the rider an infinite number of tuning possibilities.

But while it has the look and feel of a traditional street cruiser, it lacks the throaty exhaust note we’ve come to expect from one. Instead there is a high-pitched whispering whine, a little bit of a disconnect from the aggressive broad stance the 535 lbs. Brutus 2 has. But something you can get used to for the convenience of plugging the bike into a standard 110v outlet for 3 hours to fully “gas up.”

Those of us that want to cruise on two wheels without gas, but want to fit in with the street cruiser crowd, will have to wait a bit. The bike hasn’t entered production. Yet. Bell says it should sometime later this year, if he can secure deals with key parts manufacturers. Until then, the Brutus 2 is just an impressive concept of what an electric motorcycle can, and probably should, look like.