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BBC Autos

The Roundabout Blog

The Johammer J1, Austria's wild one

About the author

Editor of BBC Autos, Matthew is a former editor at Automobile Magazine and the creator of the digital-only Roadtrip Magazine. His automotive and travel writing has appeared in such magazines as Wired, Popular Science, The Robb Report and Caribbean Travel + Life. He lives in Los Angeles with his wonderful wife and four-year-old daughter.

 

  • Johammer J1 electric motorcycle
    (Johammer e-mobility GmbH)
  • Johammer J1 electric motorcycle
    (Johammer e-mobility GmbH)
  • Johammer J1 electric motorcycle
    (Johammer e-mobility GmbH)
  • Johammer J1 electric motorcycle
    (Johammer e-mobility GmbH)
  • Johammer J1 electric motorcycle
    (Johammer e-mobility GmbH)
  • Johammer J1 electric motorcycle
    (Johammer e-mobility GmbH)
  • Johammer J1 electric motorcycle
    (Johammer e-mobility GmbH)
  • Johammer J1 electric motorcycle
    (Johammer e-mobility GmbH)
  • Johammer J1 electric motorcycle
    (Johammer e-mobility GmbH)
  • Johammer J1 electric motorcycle
    (Johammer e-mobility GmbH)
  • Johammer J1 electric motorcycle
    (Johammer e-mobility GmbH)
  • Johammer J1 electric motorcycle
    (Johammer e-mobility GmbH)
  • Johammer J1 electric motorcycle
    (Johammer e-mobility GmbH)
  • Johammer J1 electric motorcycle
    (Johammer e-mobility GmbH)
  • Johammer J1 electric motorcycle
    (Johammer e-mobility GmbH)
  • Johammer J1 electric motorcycle
    (Johammer e-mobility GmbH)
  • Johammer J1 electric motorcycle
    (Johammer e-mobility GmbH)

HIDE CAPTION

The Johammer J1, which bears an undeniable resemblance to the Imperial speeder bikes in Return of the Jedi, is hardly the first battery-powered motorbike, but it is among the few capable of travelling 200km (124 miles) on a single charge. This sort of stamina – roughly equal to that of a gasoline-powered bike – elevates the J1 from the status of Saturday morning toy to bona fide road-tripper.

Though it may be tough to stop staring, the J1’s innovative features go beyond its slippery neo-retro body fairing. The bike has no traditional gauges: speed and battery level are presented within a pair of high-resolution 2.4in colour displays mounted within the round rear-view mirrors. The steering is of the exotic hub-center variety, which separates steering, braking and suspension forces for improved stability. And the body offers two foot-peg positions (unlike a traditional motorbike, the J1 has no foot controls), providing a choice between hunkered-down and laid-back riding positions.

The Johammer bike may be stylish, technically advanced and energy efficient, but fast it is not. A compact 11kW electric motor mounted in the rear wheel hub provides the motivation; matched to a single-speed transmission, the motor’s 14 horsepower are tasked with moving upwards of 400lbs of bike, plus rider. The J1 is electronically limited to 62mph.

Providing the charge is a centre-mounted, 12.6kWh stack of lithium-ion battery cells, developed and manufactured by Johammer itself. The company claims the pack will retain at least 85% of its capacity after four years or 124,000 miles. Recharge to 80% takes 3.5 hours from a 240v socket, or just 80min with the optional 400v charger.

No surprise, straddling the future isn’t cheap.

The J1.150, with a smaller battery pack and a 150km cruising range, commands 23,000 euros (about $32,000); the beefier J1.200 will set its rider back 25,000 euros. For the merely curious, Johammer offers some quality time on the J1, via a 200km guided tour of northern Austria (including a stroll through its factory in the town of Bad Leonfelden), for 290 euros.

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