Few motorcycle design elements have made it as long as the hub-and-spoke wheel system, the chain drive, and the combustion engine. 2020 is a category-breaking year, and Verge, a Finnish motorcycle manufacturer, heeded the call to throw out all old conventions. The Verge Hubless Electric Roadster looks like a hybrid between the Italian stylings of Ducati smashed against the futuristic form of “Tron.”
While we know that the hubless design combined with an electric motor gives the appearance of the future, there are few things you need to know about this unique ride. As a twenty-year veteran of the powersports business, I’ll see if I can’t put you in the driver’s seat and envision what this thing has to offer. Let’s go.
Let’s start with the motor. On a traditional motorcycle, the power plant sits firmly between your feet. The energy gets transferred to the rear wheel via a drive system (belt, chain, or shaft), and eventually, that power hits the pavement. There’s a lot of latency in that system due to all of the interlinked parts. Many components have the potential to fail, and even when they do work as planned, there’s a loss of power at each transfer. A dated design, yes, but no one has stepped up to best it — yet.
Verge has relocated the motor unit to the rear, removing several links in the system. The end of the swing arm features an 80 kilowatt (kW) electric motor system that integrates into the rear wheel’s rim. Verge claims this system delivers a smooth 107 horsepower with a staggering 738 foot-pounds of torque, which is more than enough for most. The lengthy swing arm is likely an attempt to balance out the unsprung weight of the motor, hub, and tire.
Though there are few specs on either the brakes or suspension, the photos show Brembo brakes — which we hope is an option — and what appears to be Ohlins suspension, which should soak up the chatter from the rear end.
The size of the battery is also a mystery, but Verge claims a range of 124-186 miles per charge, putting the bike at the higher end of power, and about average range when compared to its contemporaries. Though there are few specs on the brakes, the photos show Brembo, which we hope is an option. We are sure that a fast-charging DC system can juice the battery in 50 minutes or less, with a total charge of 4 hours from a standard wall socket. So whether you’re at the office or parking the bike for the night, you can be sure even a traditional charging environment will give you a full buzz.
The styling of the Verge Hubless Electric Roadster is quite striking, but also slightly anachronistic. The juxtaposition of a hubbed front wheel and the donut on the back seems somewhat out of sync. However, the front brake on a motorcycle is critical, so we can see why they wouldn’t try and innovate their way into a new braking system.
The seat and footpads offer two very different riding positions. A low-slung front footpeg allows the rider to sit more like a Harley; this is your highway mode. Rear-mounted pillion pegs put the rider in a more aggressive posture, your around-town manner.
Overall the bike has all the clean lines and hard edges that one would expect from a future-focused manufacturer. The Roadster’s color options are orange, green, grey, blue, red, and our favorite — matte black.
There’s a lot of style and technology in confluence here. With big power, good range, and what appears to be a reasonably comfy and versatile cockpit, the Verge Hubless Electric Roadster has a lot to offer. You’ll have to throw down about $2,400 for a deposit, and the MSRP at the time of writing is $27,000. It’s not cheap, but the early adoption of technology never is, so save your pennies now, the Verge Roadster starts shipping soon.