Brammo Blog : Laguna Seca, Day 1. Open to the Public.

14 08 2012

Blog 31:  The day I got to see the Brammo Empulse in person. She is quite pretty. Oh and tons of people and Brammo Girls too.

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A very lovely Track.

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So this was the first “real” day at Laguna Seca. Friday. The first day for people other than staff, vendors and various hanger-oners like myself.

I got up early, froze on my ride to the track and arrived at 7:30am. Layers, Layers, Layers is the key (I belatedly learned). 50 degrees and wet and cloudy in the AM, sunny and HOT in the afternoon, cold again at night.

I had a parking pass for “Exhibitors” parking, which is a fair bit away from the Marketing Tent and did not have a place to charge the motorcycle. So when the parking people would check my pass and point me toward the road to Exhibitors parking I would say, “Electric Motorcycle. It is being shown in the Brammo Tent,” and that would allow me to go just about anywhere. Super cool.

When I arrived, nobody from Brammo was there yet. So I opened up the Tent, did a bunch of vacuuming and cleaned up the bikes a bit. In the night the 3-D sign had fallen (the plastic tabs on top were not strong enough to hold the weight), so I knew that would be a project to get done before the crowds arrived.

I also plugged in my iPad to have some music playing through the speaker system and turned on the TVs running the Brammo videos. Probably because no other tent was open and LOUD, I ended up with a few people coming by the tent and asking questions. One was a photographer and reporter, and after about 10 minutes of talking to him I said, “I have a confession to make. I don’t really work for Brammo, I’m just a fan helping out.” “Really? You’re wearing a Brammo shirt.” “Yes I am.” “You’re alone here in their tent.” “Guility as charged.”  “You have the music playing and are greeting people as you vacuum. Are you really not an employee?” He was nice and we kinda laughed about it. But from time to time I did feel like I was trying to fool people.

After about a half hour of vacuuming and polishing bikes, Adrian and the crew arrived. Time to get busy. We devised a plan to fix the sign and that became my morning project. Went pretty quick. Looked great. And then on to the next chore.

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Instead of the tabs, I just put holes right through the sign itself. And yes, I’m proud of that sign…well mostly just happy I didn’t screw it up  too badly.

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Around 9am the Brammo Girls arrived. And it was an interesting affect…

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Friday: Day 1. A slow start to what is usually the slowest of the 3 days.

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The Lovely, and very nice, Brammo Girls (Ladies? Women?)

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What surprised me was, well I had never been to a race like this, and truthfully, being raised by a single, feminist mother, well I was never sure how I felt about the young women that Brammo took to certain races and shows. It didn’t seem like a “bad” thing, just a bit dated…and probably mildly sexist. Not a horrid thing, but is it really needed?

Well the answer, especially for a small, little known start-up company, is probably “Yes”. The reaction was incredible. Within 2 minutes of the BGs showing up there were already people coming over with cameras to have their photos taken. Girlfriends and wives taking photos of their boyfriends and husbands with their arms around very pretty young ladies in short shirts. It really did get the tent noticed and a lot of people coming over. It is, quite frankly, a great little marketing ploy for this crowd. The guys loved it. Their wives and girlfriends seem to enjoy it too. And the BGs were extremely professional. There didn’t seem to be a downside to it. Everybody was happy and the young ladies were making a fair salary. So I pushed aside any judgmental thoughts.** Plus, as I said, the young women were all just really nice, smart people who seemed to enjoy the work and were very good at it.

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First guy to step up and get a photo.

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It didn’t hurt that the young ladies were all very pleasant and great with the crowd. And truthfully the Brammo outfits were easily the nicest and least “trashy” of all the groups of “umbrella” girls. We won’t even discuss the Jägermeister outfits. Gah, I thought they were filming a scene from Breaking Bad and the extras from the Meth House scene had shown up at the race. But enough about that…

As more and more people came to the “Tent” I found myself basically going through a sales pitch. Info on the bikes, on the company, on Electric motorcycles in general and about the electric race coming up that weekend. I’m not a shy person, but have NEVER worked in sales. While it didn’t come naturally, I did get somewhat OK at it and had some fun. I think being a “FAN” helped as my enthusiasm was hard to hide.

Truthfully I likely sucked at it, but most people would shake my hand and ask my name before running off in abject terror. “Gavin. Honey, remember that name as it will likely be in the news soon for something horrible.”

I did listen to the other Brammo employees as much as possible. You can learn quite a bit by listening…I should do it more often 🙂 Sadly it is not a “strength” of mine.

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At noon I headed over to the Paddock area. The electric bikes had a 1:30pm practice time and I wanted to see the motorcycles, but:

1) Brammo was running late. No bikes yet.

2) The Paddock area was FAR from the marketing tent. This would be felt later in the day when the adrenaline worn off. The “dogs” were hurting that night. Hours on my feet in the Marketing tent, miles walked between Paddock and Marketing tent and looking about Laguna Seca on my “short” breaks had turned my feet into numb, swollen useless clumps of flesh that not even KFC would fry up and serve…well maybe KFC would.

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I walked this path many many many times….

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I got to the Paddock area and there was a nice big area set up for Brammo…but no truck, no bikes. And practice time is just over an hour away. Tension.

While waiting I walked around to see what other electric bikes were there:

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Lightning without tires.

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Schott Solar

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Virginia Tech Bike

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Luckily for me the new Brammo Truck showed up just minutes after I was done walking around the Paddock. I got to see the arrival and, more importantly, the mass confusion of trying to get the truck unloaded and bikes and everything set up and ready to go with very little room for error. Practice Time was fast approaching. And Practice Time was only a half hour long.

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Quickly it was bodies and bikes everywhere.

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And it didn’t take long to realize Brammo would be racing two bikes instead of one…

Surprisingly, neither bike sports the #1, which Brammo earned by winning the TTXGP last year.

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SteveO’s bike….Naked.

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Eric’s bike Naked.

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The Empulse RR clothes strewn on the ground…Like the morning after some sort of Carbon Fiber frat party.

I moved the pieces (hella carefully) and they are sooooo light.

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And then a surprise 3rd bike comes out of the truck…a race version of the Production Empulse R.

The Empulse TTX…and it is sporting the #1. And my oh my is she pretty.

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Some old loser standing next to the TTX blocking the view.

(For size comparison. 6 foot. 185 pounds.)

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Now the Paddock was fun as it had MAD ENERGY. Not angry energy, just bustling with a kinda dangerous feeling…like that wasp hive you kept poking with a stick when you were 8. I tried to help where I could, kept out of the way as best as I could, and listen to as much as I could. I especially liked when SteveO came over to look at the bikes. Looking closely he quietly commented, “Lots of new parts.”

And I could tell he was not angry, but a bit wary. A cautious tone in his voice. And I can understand his point. It is the constant battle between engineer/designer and rider. The engineer always wants to push and push the bike and it’s parts. The riders does too, but to a lesser extent. The rider wants to know how the bike will ride, how it will handle, how it will feel and react. And every change messes with that. And if the rider gets many many days and hours on the bike, well changes are ok. But if the rider only sees the bike every so often, and every time the bike is changed, well it causes the rider to say things like, “Lots of new parts,” in a cautious tone.

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The other fun thing was I got to be a sun reflector guy for the photographers. And yes I took off my Brammo Polo shirt. I would do that from time to time till Adrian yelled at me to put it back on. I felt a bit like an impostor in that shirt as everyone thought I worked for Brammo. Even a few Brammo employees asked me what I did at Brammo. Brammo is growing and growing and the employees don’t even know all of the people now on payroll.

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Steve Atlas’ Empulse RR all lit up by yours truly

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Dr. Brian von Frankenstein and his creation.

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After the paddock madness (SteveO got a few laps in…but Eric’s bike had a glitch and wasn’t ready in time to do the practice laps. Eric’s “practice” laps would have to be at Qualifying on Saturday), I went back over to the Marketing Tent to continue my sales work. Ok, I went back mostly to hang out with the Empulse TTX that was moved from the Paddock over to the center of the Marketing tent.

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And the lucky guy that gets to ride around to the dealerships and show off the bike and give demo rides, James. He knows a ton about the bike and had put about 700 miles on the bike before it got stripped down into racing form (new colors, no turn signals, no back light).

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And the TTX was a big hit with the race fans. Clutch, 6 speed, fast…It is a “real” motorcycle with solid parts and performance. She is really really well built and kinda sexy.

And the rest of the day was basically showing off all the bikes and answering a billion questions. And at the end of the day I rode back to my motel in Salinas. The Brammo people again very graciously invited me out to dinner, but I thought it would be good for them to get a break from me. I am best “appreciated” in small doses. Plus they were going for Mexican food. I live in New Mexico and know that good Mexican food is great…but bad Mexican food is horrid. I wasn’t taking that chance 🙂  From reports the next day, I made the right choice.

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I wish I had talked to Steve Atlas a bit more, but he seemed a bit preoccupied, which is totally understandable. So I gave him some space. I did tell him I liked his new Icon Carbon helmet. He told me I could have it after the season***. I told him “Wow, Thanks!” Even though I know: A) He likely wouldn’t remember…and B) It likely wouldn’t fit my big Irish head. But it was nice for him to offer like that. I also told him that he should title his next Brammo Blog “Lots of new parts”. He smiled a bit at that.

I only talked to Eric Bostrom, Brammo’s newest rider, a bit on Friday. He seemed like a very nice young man. More on that in the next blog as I talked to him more on Saturday and Sunday.

Till Next Time…

Gavin

For more info on Brammo, please visit: www.brammo.com
For more images, photos, discussions and all around Brammo goodness: visit, lurk and maybe join: www.brammoforum.com
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**Judgmental aspect wasn’t about the young women, but more the people who wanted to come up and be photographed with them. I had a, mostly, change of heart about that. As I said, the women were great. And the people coming up were also nice and having a good time. At one point BrammoJenn and I talked a bit about the people that come up. She said there are 3 types. 1) The guy who puts both arms around the girls and pulls them in close…these you have to watch as they can get grabby. 2) The guys who put their arms out and “around” the girls, but never actually touch them. 3) The guys who keep there arms down at their sides or behind them. There is the 4th type who won’t go up to the girls, but will pretend to be casually walking past while “slyly” taking a photo as they walk by.  The cutest interaction I saw was when a boy about 10 or 11 was getting his photo taken with the BGs and a couple of his friends were watching. He asked something of one of the young ladies and just as the photo was being taken she leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. He was grinning from ear to ear as he walked back saying, “I told you I would ask her to….” It was adorable. Me? Brammofan told me I had to have my photo taken with the “girls”. I admit to being hesitant, just not my thing. But then again I thought why not. Of course I hate all photos of myself, so here I am with the BrammoGirls…slightly modified.

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I thought I would be a type 3, but I guess I am a type 2…arms out, no touching.

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***SteveO asked me what I liked about the ICON helmet. I told him I liked the Carbon Fiber and that the graphics are really top notch. A good looking helmet. I asked SteveO why he would give away such a nice helmet. He told me he is a Shoei guy and likes their helmets best. Hard to argue, Shoei helmets fit my head best too. Of course I’m vain enough to let wear a less comfortable helmet just because I like the way it looks.

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Bonus strangeness…

Ha…I am in the July Fit Magazine from the Albuquerque Journal. Crazy.

http://www.abqjournalfit.com/blog/2012/07/07/allout-interval-training-gets-maximum-results/

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I’m 50…and I can Kick and Punch…

I’m in the white shirt, over the Instructors right shoulder.

I need a tan.

And yes the class is 90% women…I am no fool.

Well I am actually quite the fool, but not about that…my wife also goes to that class 🙂


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3 responses

14 08 2012
Rebecca Roth

Some great photos but how in the universe did you get the first one?

14 08 2012
Gavin

I was wearing my Air Jordans.

14 08 2012
Brammofan (@brammofan)

Great stuff! If I see correctly, the guy that Brian von Frankenstein is talking to is Jensen Beeler, editor of Asphalt & Rubber.

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