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Triumph TE-1 Concept: Our Expert Says It ‘Might Just Be the Finest E-Moto on the Planet’

Triumph TE-1 concept(Photo/Triumph)
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Electric motorcycle engineer Nick Schoeps checks in with his take on the new Triumph TE-1 concept.

Years in the making, Triumph’s electric streetfighter concept is finally on public display. Triumph comes out swinging with a class-leading power-to-weight ratio and the fastest charge times of any electric motorbike to date. They’re clearly playing for all the marbles, but is anybody ready to give up their Speed Triple for an electric torque machine?

Triumph TE-1 concept

If you’re playing to win, it helps to have a dream team behind the project. Triumph is clearly out to win over petrolheads as they pulled some serious talent for this endeavor.

Helix, formerly Integral Powertrain, makes some of the world’s most power-dense electric motors, is a prime supplier for Formula-E racing, and built the heart of the TE-1. Williams Advanced Engineering has made a strong investment in electric propulsion recently and supplies the high-output battery that’s been wedged into the TE-1’s slender frame. This top talent of motorsports has been iterating on Triumph TE-1 designs since 2018.

Triumph TE-1 Concept

Triumph TE-1 concept

There’s no doubt that this is a Triumph product — those bug-eyed lights have been a classic for over a decade. What you see here is Triumph’s Phase 3 of the TE-1, which now features a bespoke chassis — not just a conversion.

For a prototype, the result is cleaner than Marie Condon’s underwear drawer — the definition of tidy. I spent 5 years of my career trying to squeeze more batteries into MotoCzysz electric superbikes — there’s never enough room — but the TE-1 is somehow powerful and svelte.

Power & Range

Triumph TE-1 concept

While it looks showroom-ready, the TE-1 is only an R&D project — you won’t be able to take one home anytime soon.

Triumph is coy on exact specs, but there are some promising numbers; 130kW peak output (174 brake horsepower) will rocket you to 60 mph in under 3.6 seconds. The motor achieves peak and continuous power densities of 13 kW/kg and 9 kW/kg, respectively. For those non-engineers, trust me — these are very nice numbers!

Helix’s high-speed high-efficiency motors will keep you rocketing for 100-plus miles before you need a recharge.

Fast-Charging Motorcycle

Triumph TE-1 concept

Even more impressive? Its charge rate — you can top off 80% of the pack in just 20 minutes! Why is this the most impressive spec? Space and weight are the answer.

Motorcycle frames simply don’t have the space for huge batteries, and even if you had the room, no one wants to ride a heavy turd of a bike. The Triumph TE-1 concept weighs in at 480 pounds.

DC fast charging is a potential game-changer for electric motos; ride with a smaller pack and recharge every hour or two. Most riders would welcome a scenic bathroom break by then, anyway. The battery is also the most expensive part of the bike, and smaller packs cost less.

DC quick charging will degrade a battery’s life more quickly than slow charging. That said, newer chemistries allow batteries to last much longer.

And by the time you can buy an electric Triumph, we might even have solid-state batteries, which promise to be cheaper, lighter, and more tolerant of fast charging. Williams Engineering is on that bleeding edge of battery technology, and we expect that the TE-1 has state-of-the-art cells on board already.

For all those reasons, the Triumph TE-1 just might be the finest e-moto on the planet.

Triumph TE-1 concept

Electric Moto Landscape

How does all this awesomeness about the Triumph TE-1 concept stack up to the competition?

Closest Competition

Energica’s Eva Ribelle is the closest comparison — the leading naked street-fighter electric.

The Ribelle can go farther, 123 miles, and accelerate faster, 0-60 mph in just 2.6 seconds. On the other hand, it takes twice as long to charge and is 115 pounds heavier than the Triumph. So, it all depends on how you like to ride.

In my opinion, Energica’s bikes are a bit overweight. I called this out during an interview last year, but it seems they think the market wants heavy bikes with big batteries.

Other Competition

The Zero SR model is also a streetfighter electric motorcycle, in production now, but it can only be charged at home, not on public chargers. This is a huge disadvantage if you want to go more than the very limited range that current e-motos allow. It is also a similar weight and offers much less performance.

It’s hard to believe, but if you’re talking electric, you can’t ignore Harley-Davidson. The brand has surprised everyone with electric motos and even kids’ bikes!

The recently released LiveWire One is exciting, but it’s not what you’d call a streetfighter. It has a similar range to the TE-1, but is less powerful. Harley claims 0-80% in 45 minutes, on par with the Energica but substantially slower than Triumph’s claimed 20-minute charge.

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Future Quiet Ride

The Triumph TE-1 is very close in weight and size to the electric Victory Empulse R that I used to own, but with three times the power. I would love an opportunity to feel the difference, and the West Coast has enough DC quick-charge locations to keep me rolling for miles. This isn’t the reality for many riders, though — charging is sparse in most of the USA.

It’s also hard to stomach the $20,000-plus price tag on many of these machines. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Triumph strategically wait a few years before we see a production TE-1. However, Triumph did just say that the TE-1 is the “Stunning final prototype that demonstrates Triumph’s class-leading USPs and hints at the exciting future to come for Triumph fans across the world.”

Triumph TE-1 concept

Dare I say that the TE-1 might just be the finest e-moto on the planet? Now, let’s see it make it to production, soon — I’m talking to you, Triumph.

When the infrastructure and battery tech improves, electric will be an easy choice to make. But until then, it will be hard to say goodbye to the sweet sounds of a speed triple motor.

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