“We have blind-spot warning, forward collision warning, tailgate warning, rear crash warning…”,
It is said that “Four wheels move the body and two wheels move the soul.”
Riding a motorbike means you always have to be fully engaged, especially when hitting those high speeds. It’s not easier or safer than driving a car but it provides a richer experience, and that’s what attracts riders.
A motorbike innovation that adds value in aspects such as safety and eco-friendliness without diminishing the rider’s experience is definitely viable.
That’s exactly what one company has been seeking to achieve. They’ve built a high-performance electric motorbike with AI-powered safety features without diminishing the riding experience.
In this episode, the second part of two, Ed Bernardon interviews Jay Giraud, CEO, and co-founder of Damon Motorcycles – an electric motorcycle startup aiming to make the riding experience cleaner, safer, and more exhilarating. He’ll share with us what sets their motorbike apart when compared to traditional motorbikes.
Some Questions I Ask:
- How does the performance of your bike compare to traditional motorbikes? (00:56)
- Is the battery in a Damon motorbike heavier than an internal combustion engine and the fuel? (04:57)
- How does the bike communicate with a rider when they are in a dangerous situation? (13:39)
- How far away are we from a semi-autonomous motorbike (15:24)
What You’ll Learn in this Episode:
- What was done to make a Damon motorbike lightweight (03:26)
- The bikes’ performance in terms of top speed and acceleration (07:58)
- The features and sensors that contribute to the bike’s safety (09:49)
- How much it costs to buy a Damon motorbike (19:21)
Connect with Jay Giraud:
Connect with Ed Bernardon:
- Future Car: Driving a Lifestyle Revolution
- Motorsports is speeding the way to safer urban mobility
- Siemens Digital Industries Software
Ed Bernardon: It’s a beautiful sunny day, you hop on your powerful motorcycle for a scenic ride on a twisty mountain road. You’re not only enjoying the sights but also all the sounds, like the birds singing around you because it’s an electric motorcycle. Suddenly, your handlebars vibrate and the LEDs on your dash light up with warning. An AI-driven sensor system has grabbed your attention with plenty of time to avoid the driver who stopped suddenly ahead of you. This is what the future of motorcycle safety tech looks like — a future that Damon has already made reality by making motorcycling safer by creating a virtual safety net around the bike.
Today, I continue my conversation with Jay Giraud, Founder and CEO of Damon, a motorcycle company that is changing the game when it comes to safety and the riding experience. We’re covering what it takes to make their super-light bike a reality, whether or not we can expect an auto-wheelie feature in Damon’s future, and what it takes to get two speeding tickets in 24 hours driving a VW Beetle.
Tune in and hear part two of our conversation, on this episode of The Future Car podcast.
Ed Bernardon: Let’s talk about the performance of the Hypersport. The first thing that came to my mind when I was thinking about an electric bike is, “Oh, all those batteries, it’s gonna make it so heavy. The performance just isn’t going to compare to an internal combustion engine bike.” So, can you tell us a little bit, what is the performance? How does it compare to a traditional ice motorbike? And what about the weight? It seems like it’s comparable to an internal combustion engine bike. How are you able to achieve all that? I would imagine light-weighting is a key piece of the technology that makes that possible.
Jay Giraud: So, the lightest super-sport bike you could buy is the Ducati Panigale V4, and it’s about 438 pounds, then you’ve got to add gas and oil and all that kind of thing. And Damon’s Hypersport is 480. So, our bike is is almost par with the lightest, ice-powered superbikes you can buy. And the other big benefit to electric is you don’t have the inertial forces of pistons. Pistons in a V formation or a horizontal V formation or in-line four formation, none of those pistons are firing in the direction that you want them to, in terms of the direction of flow of the motorcycle, which is this way, and sometimes it’s leaning left, and sometimes it’s leaning right. And you do fight those inertial forces of the engine which are enormously powerful in order to get a bike to lean. And so there’s a lot of different kinds of physics tricks that are employed in the design of the suspension and in the chassis and in the aerodynamics to assist your intent to lean the motorcycle left or right, because the thing wants to go straight; when there’s power behind it, it just wants to go straight. In an electric motorcycle with none of those engine forces, the bike feels much lighter and much more responsive. Because it’s practically solid-state; you have electromagnetism in the motor, the motor is suspended, it’s not touching anything as it spins inside the casing. So, that’s an amazing thing. It just feels lighter already.
Jay Giraud: But as far as the light-weighting we did, it was all necessary not even just to be lighter, it was necessary to get 1,000 of these in it. This is about the size of a 21,700 battery cell. We have 1,000 of them, they’re stacked this way in four stacks to the left and right; four rows and column down. So, we’re calling about 250 per column of batteries. And they’re encased in a shell, the battery case. But what we did is we made the battery case the frame of the motorbike as well. So, we designed a rigid structure that takes on the torsional forces of the motorcycle, in any condition, the same way we would have applied those same physical qualities to a frame. But the frame now, this battery frame is also the motorcycle’s frame. So, in car design that would be called a monocoque construction or frameless design. It’s the direction Tesla is going in a few years but isn’t there today. And so that’s really novel, it saves a lot of weight, you’re not doubling on the mass and the amount of metal you need to build a frame around it. And so the suspension of the bike actually bolts right to the battery. And then we developed a C-shaped battery, and the center of the C is the motor, suspended there by bolting and whatnot. And then the rear swingarm attaches to that motor pivot point. And so all of it is extremely compact and it really doesn’t apply very well to be the powertrain of a smart car. It’s designed to be a motorbike. If you know what a motorbike looks like, you take the wheels and tires off this thing, it still looks like a motorbike. And it’s not a rectangular battery, it’s shaped like the ideal form factor to be a motorcycle.
Ed Bernardon: It has the shape, the strength, the stiffness that it needs to be a component of the actual motorcycle frame itself. If you were to take the batteries, the battery box, the electric motor, just that powertrain component, everything else you need to connect to the wheels, let’s just say, and looked at the equivalent internal combustion engine, no frame again, and let’s add in the gas because that’s fair, you gotta add in the gas – is the battery and the electric motor heavier than the internal combustion engine and the fuel?
Jay Giraud: Well, it’s not really a one-to-one comparison because you’d have to add in the frame of the gas motorcycle because ours is also a frame. And then gas motor, you’ve got motor or the engine, then you’ve got the transmission. We’ve got a motor in gearbox, we don’t have a transmission. And then you got the gas tank and the air filter and then you’ve got the radiators. We have radiators too, our is liquid-cooled. There’s not quite a one-to-one comparison, but they’re probably pretty close on weight, because after that everything else is exactly the same: subframe, seat, handlebars, forks, tires, swingarm. Everything is exactly the same. So, we’re probably pretty close. I think we’re 280 pounds all in.
Ed Bernardon: Did the fact that you could reconfigure how you put those battery cells, the ones that look about the size of a marker, you had a choice on how you could stack them and where you put them and all that. When you have an internal combustion engine, depending if it’s flat, or a V, or whatever it is, you probably had a bit more design freedom, I would think, in how to shape that combination of electric motor and batteries so it could actually give you the overall envelope to carry the loads and actually be a structural member. Is that an advantage?
Jay Giraud: No. I think that’s far less design freedom. Ironically, our bike is actually narrower than a Ducati engine, which is the longitudinal V twin. So, it’s shaped like that, but in the direction that I’m facing is quite narrow. I think we’re a few centimeters narrower. Our bike is wickedly narrow, which is a good thing.
Ed Bernardon: For air resistance, for sure, and drag, and it probably helps with range.
Jay Giraud: To a point because the widest point is actually the rider’s knees. So, we have to cause the air to go around the rider anyway.
Ed Bernardon: We could move those knees in a little bit, you would think.
Jay Giraud: If you could, yeah. But then the engine of a motorbike, there’s not a lot else to it, other than the radiator which typically goes in the very front. Whereas we had to take up the full area of the gas tank, batteries go right to the top, and then a charger port on top of that. So, where you would have a belly of a motorcycle for a gas tank, we have batteries all the way right to the ceiling, so to speak, and right to the floor. And so it really is a block of batteries with a motor in the middle. And the motor has to be in a very specific location to get the right chain angle, to get the right kind of tension on the sprocket to the rear tire. So, everything has to kind of work from where the rear tire needs to be, to where the motor needs to be, and then put batteries around that. And pretty soon, you’re going to hit the front forks. And you can’t go too wide, you can’t go too high and low, and you need to have ground clearance. And actually, it’s really restrictive. Much more than you’d find. You can put a gas engine in all sorts of different places, which is why we’ve got so many different kinds of engines.
Ed Bernardon: So, packaging, definitely one of the big engineering challenges it sounds like, more so than an internal combustion engine. A little bit about performance, top speed, acceleration, and maybe comparing that to other bikes in the same class.
Jay Giraud: Well, all superbikes kind of nudged up around 200 miles an hour, top speed. 195 to 215, depending on which one. They’re all kind of sub-three seconds, zero to 60. Ours is two and a half, which is right up there with a very, very fastest, if not the fastest. And at that point, when you’re dealing with 200 horsepower, which is typical for all superbikes, you need technology to keep the tire on the ground, both front and back; you need stability control systems, you need traction control systems, you need launch control, you need anti-lock brakes, you need wheelie control to keep the damn thing planted.
Ed Bernardon: There’s no auto-wheelie button?
Jay Giraud: Auto balancing.
Ed Bernardon: Is that a feature for the future maybe?
Jay Giraud: Maybe, that’d be cool. I wouldn’t mind that. So, yeah, we’re on par with the best superbikes you can buy, but we get twice the range. I mean, a gas motorcycle does not get good mileage. They get 11 liters per 100 kilometers. What’s that? 15 miles to the gallon. It’s not very good. We go 200 miles per charge, and a gas motorcycle goes 80 to 100 miles per tank. And so that’s a big deal; being able to go twice as far without having to recharge.
Ed Bernardon: Can you use the same charging systems that cars would use, is that the idea?
Jay Giraud: Any Level 2 or DC rapid charger, and even supercharger compatible with Teslas.
Ed Bernardon: The safety system. We’ve talked a lot about that. Can you give us a little bit of detail on the types of sensors? How they come together? Like you said, it’s almost like having multiple heads and you can see in front of you, behind you around you, etc.
Jay Giraud: Exactly. How do they come together? So, I’m going to go downstairs and show you guys a little bit of it here. Hopefully, I’m not being too interruptive because it’s lunchtime here now. So, this is the HyperFighter, that’s a Hypersport with the guts hanging up the top there.
Ed Bernardon: Beautiful styling by the way.
Jay Giraud: Thank you. Yeah, that’s a Hypersport there. And under the sheet is my fiance’s gas sportbike. So, just ignore that. There’s nothing secret back there. This is an earlier Hypersport with front camera, front radar, 72 gigahertz long-range radar, 1080p front camera, one of the earlier displays on the bike. So, you can see everything behind you as that kicks on there from the rear-facing camera and to rear radar, left and right, that broadcast 75 meters left and right, and overlap at about five feet behind the bike. So, this was just an earlier prototype. So, that’s copilot. And those sensors come together with other non-visual sensors like beamforming microphones, and infrared, and humidity sensors to live interpret its environment. And they do all the computation on the bike. So, we’re not using cloud computing to make real-time decisions, that’s all happening locally without an internet connection, even though the bike is 5G-connected. And then the other feature that people love, we haven’t talked about, is Shift. So, at this moment, the motorcycle is transforming from an upright commuter bike into a sportbike position. So, the footpegs came up, the handlebars came down, and I’m going to put it back. And you can do this while you’re in motion. So, now watch the handlebars rise, and then the footpace come down to give you a little more legroom. So, if you were riding really fast on the highway and the traffic got really backed up and now you’re doing 10 miles an hour and you’re crawling, you can get up into an upright body position and be more comfortable while waiting for the traffic to disperse in front of you again, and that’s when you put it back down into sport mode.
Ed Bernardon: Is that a unique feature in the motorcycle world; to be able to make that change on the fly?
Jay Giraud: Absolutely nothing like it. We have a patent on all the things that enable that. And then the HyperFighter uses the same hyperdrive. There’s the core, there’s the motor there, there’s the C-shaped battery pack, and then there’s a radiator under here, and there’s a radiator on the other side that cools the battery. We’ve got liquid cooling through all the layers of the cells, as I described, in the columns of cells. The motor is also cooled by the same glycol, but the motor is also oil-cooled on the inside and liquid-cooled with glycol on the outside. And it’s our own proprietary six-phase permanent magnet motor that delivers more horsepower per pound of weight than a Tesla P100D. It’s a very powerful compact motor. So, this is the motor side. And as we go over to this side, you’ll see the gearbox.
Ed Bernardon: Did you design the motor yourselves?
Jay Giraud: Yeah, it’s totally proprietary. It’s a six-phase IPM motor dual cooled. So, that’s HyperFighter. And then, same thing, it’s got the transforming ergonomics that we call Shift, as the LCD display, copilot collision warning system front and back with the radars in here.
Ed Bernardon: Packaging – not only packaging of the batteries but now you’ve got to package all the sensors. It’s not like an autonomous car where you’ve got all sorts of room, you can put it wherever you want. So, that’s definitely must have been a challenge.
Jay Giraud: Yeah. You won’t hear it because this will drown it out but these bikes are not quiet. The microphone will get blown out but I’ll try to spin the rear tire for you here. Pardon your audience while the spinning around of the tire.
Ed Bernardon: It reminds me of what Formula One cars used to sound like, in some ways – that high that pitched screech.
Jay Giraud: Yeah, that’s a high pitch screech. This one is a later stage prototype, which sounds a lot deeper.
Ed Bernardon: Why did it have a deeper sound to it?
Jay Giraud: Different gear ratios, different motor.
Ed Bernardon: So, the motor spinning at a lower RPM?
Jay Giraud: Different RPMs, different gear, all of that, different transference of torque reduction from the motor to the gearbox to the wheel. That is a higher gear ratio, this is a lower gear ratio. That’s the final drive now, which is a 2.5:1 gear reduction.
Ed Bernardon: So, you’ve got all these sensors collecting all this data, you’ve got this ecosystem where you’re gathering information all over the world all the time wherever your bikes are. How do you communicate back to the rider of about, “Hey, you’re in a dangerous situation.” How do you do that? I mean, again, it’s not like a car.
Jay Giraud: Yeah, so the handlebars vibrate, and we have a patent on that as well. So, in a forward collision warning, the handlebars have haptics built in, a lot like PS4 game controller. So, the handlebars have a very aggressive vibration, which you’ll be able to adjust with the Damon app, you’ll be able to adjust the cadence and the impact of that vibration, depending on how thick of a glove you wear or what you prefer. So, the forward collision warning is undeniable; you feel it aggressively through the handlebars. And unlike a car, you always have two hands planted on the handlebars, on the grips. And then blind-spot warning is an LED strip across the top, which I show you back there, gives you a left and a right blind-spot warning and it comes up progressively through the LCD display – so, the farther back the car is, the lower the warning. And the closer the car is, the higher the LED light is. And then in the rearview, you have the LCD display fed by the rear-facing camera that shows you everything behind you at all times. So, we have blind-spot warning, forward collision warning, tailgate warning, rear crash warning, and working on a fifth one.
Ed Bernardon: Do you think it might be sensor overload for the driver?
Jay Giraud: It’s not. It really was in the beginning, I’ll tell you that. But it’s not, it’s very simplistic. You can get on this bike – and we’ve had 100 people do it – and we tell you nothing, and in seconds or minutes, I guess, you might have somebody nudge in from the right, and you just see that right light, and you intuitively shoulder-check, there’s a car. The second time you see that right light, you shoulder-check, there’s a car. The third time you see the right light, you just know there’s a car. So, it really works very simply.
Ed Bernardon: So, two things on the next level, potentially. One is, you mentioned early on in our discussion about the potential. Okay, you’re gathering all this information, how far away do you think we are from actually, “Hey, don’t worry about it. I’ll take control.” The system takes control of the bike and makes sure that the accident doesn’t happen. Is that five years away? One year away? Can you give us an idea?
Jay Giraud: It’s five.
Ed Bernardon: But actively working on that?
Jay Giraud: Well, we’re not actively working on that right now. We will be in about a year’s time. And it will take probably three to four years of development and the equivalent amount of years in data collection to deal with all of the variables. The biggest variable is the rider. If you’ve ever been in a car with automatic braking. When you’re driving the car and you don’t brake in time then the car breaks for you.
Ed Bernardon: Ah, yes. Exactly. It’s looking at your speed and the distance you are from the car in front of you.
Jay Giraud: And it’s a little startling when it happens. And if you drive a Tesla or the new Audis and the Fords, they have all that automatic braking for forward collision avoidance. It’s a little startling when the car takes over. It’s a little more startling when it steers for you. But a couple of times it saves your bacon, you’re like, “Okay, I kind of like this system.” On a motorbike with two wheels, it’s different game altogether. We have to deduce the rider intent in real-time to determine if or how we can take over the steering or braking. So, we have a patent on a rider behavioral model that allows us to understand the ability level of the rider in a variety of conditions. And then we have to take in where the bodyweight is. So, force sensors in the handlebars and seat tell us where their body weight is shifting to in order to understand in the next half-second what they’re about to do. We haven’t started developing any of those algorithms. So, knowing that we can do that 100% of the time, effectively, we’re years away from that. Self-driving motorbikes are years away.
Ed Bernardon: An interesting point in that if the rider is heavier – it’s a bigger rider, might weigh an extra 50-100 pounds. And then let’s just say a little bit of moisture on the road, or maybe it’s raining, your friction goes down. And if you say it’s autopilot, or whatever word you’re going to use it, people are going to expect it to work all the time. It is quite a bit more challenging than it’s going to be for a car.
Jay Giraud: It can’t work sometimes, that’s absolutely right. There have been a lot of other attempts at collision warning systems in motorcycle helmets, and another add-on systems but those require batteries. And when the battery dies, your collision warning system fails you. You just can’t have that. It has to be 100% effective every single time.
Ed Bernardon: The people that drive cars, and like you mentioned early on, many times it’s the car driver that’s running into a motorcyclist, doesn’t see the motorcyclist. Is there any thought about direct communication to motorcycle? M2V, I guess you could say, communication between the motorcycle and the car.
Jay Giraud: My previous company was MOJIO. We founded and developed what’s now one of the largest connected car platforms for consumers in the world. And one of the goals was to put 802.11a Wi-Fi in it with 4G, which we did, so that we could connect to all 4G-connected vehicles for future V2V communication purposes. That was 2012 when I founded MOJIO. By 2015-2016, hardly any cars had any connectivity. And now it’s 2022, and there’s still a massive fleet of cars out there without any connectivity, and a 20-year lifespan in each one. And they don’t have the technology to communicate, let alone to actually signal anything to the driver, let alone expect the driver to take the right action. So, my premise with Damon is that copilot will never depend on anyone outside of you. We can’t use a system where the responsibility of staying safe is put onto drivers who are already unaware, already texting and driving, already not listening to the blips and bleeps inside their car. So, even though we’ll probably enable communication with those cars, I think it’s a long way off before it’s gonna be a benefit to motorcycle safety.
Ed Bernardon: Before I let you go, let’s talk a little bit about what’s next for Damon. And one question I didn’t ask you is, how much? I want that 200 miles an hour, zero to 60 in three seconds. What’s that gonna cost me?
Jay Giraud: You can have that one right there for 28k — that weary one. But you could have the Hypersport HS for 28k. About the same as a Ducati.
Ed Bernardon: There you go. You answered my follow-up question.
Jay Giraud: A little high for a Honda or Yamaha, but about par with the Ducati.
Ed Bernardon: And the maintenance is much, much less.
Jay Giraud: Yeah, no scheduled maintenance. And no gas, it’s almost 100 bucks to fill a gas tank on a motorbike. It’s no joke anymore.
Ed Bernardon: We’ve talked a lot about motorcycles, two wheels, but I’ve heard you mentioned, potentially, of looking at four wheels as well like some sort of a light mobility vehicle of some kind. Is that in the works?
Jay Giraud: Not in the works, no. But there are plans for three-wheel motorbikes, which are becoming increasingly common. Two very close wheels in the front that lean as one. Those are quite common in Yamaha, Piaggio, often in the 100 to 300 cc step through commuter-style design, because of added stability, added braking. And when you add a third wheel, all those things we talked about for collision avoidance become more possible.
Ed Bernardon: There’s one thing you said earlier on is 13% of people that have never driven a motorcycle. I’ve driven motorcycles off road, like motocross, and a little bit on the road. But I always said, “You know what? If I drive on the road, an accident is bound to happen.” So, I would think there must be a big group of people, somewhat like myself. How do you go about, proving to me that it’s going to be safe enough, or someone that’s in that that 13% that you’d probably like to grow even more than 13%?
Jay Giraud: I think it’s the infamy of the brand, which we have none. We have no infamy yet. But 13% are already ordering Damon bikes from the promise. I mean, they’ve never tried copilot yet. But they’re ordering Damon bikes for that promise of a safer motorcycle. And when those people ride and those people tell their friends and their friends see how safe it is and the company becomes statistically known for reducing motorcycle accidents. For every person in North America that rides, I think there’s five or 10 that would. There’s a much bigger market. I think the motorcycle market will grow significantly if we’re really successful.
Ed Bernardon: Do you plan to take your bike to, say, like Sturgis or like Motorcycle Week in New Hampshire?
Jay Giraud: I’m sure our customers will. I don’t know if that’s quite our demographic. We’re skewing about 20 years younger than the American average motorcyclists. But we’ll go to some events in the upcoming future for sure.
Ed Bernardon: You’re not trying to unseat Harley in that demographic; it doesn’t sound like right?
Jay Giraud: Well, of course, we are.
Ed Bernardon: You have a program for test driving that I think is going to be going around the country; is that true? When are you coming to Boston?
Jay Giraud: 75% of our worldwide orders are in the US and a quarter of those are in California, and then Texas and then Florida. So, at the moment, the plan is down the west coast in Q3 this year, and then across the floor of the US over to Florida, and then probably make our way back up through the Midwest like Boston, Chicago, and then back towards Vancouver. But that’s an unofficial roadmap, if you will. But probably something to that effect.
Ed Bernardon: And when do you see that happening, these test drives? Is that within the next six months?
Jay Giraud: Yeah, Q3 – Q4 this year. God willing and safety on the road and all that kind of stuff will be there.
Ed Bernardon: Well, you’re certainly taking the steps to make it safer. And thank you so much for opening our eyes to motorcycling in general and to the benefits of electric motorcycles. Thank you for joining us on the Future Car podcast.
Jay Giraud: Thank you very much. Good to chat with you.
Ed Bernardon: Now, before I let you go, we always end up with our rapid fire section, a series a quick questions with quick answers. Are you ready to go?
Jay Giraud: Sure. I was laying on my leg there. Let me do what you said, I’ll sit on the motorbike here.
Ed Bernardon: Yeah, perfect. You’ll be the first time anyone’s ever answered the questions while sitting on or in their product.
Jay Giraud: All right, so rapid fire questions.
Ed Bernardon: All right, ready. Usually, I ask “First car you ever bought or owned.” But how about “First motorcycle you ever bought or owned?”
Jay Giraud: Well, would have been something from a learning school. Oh, you know what? It was a Harley Sportster 883, actually. Man, was it heavy? It was heavy. Everyone else got a light little bike to ride and I got a Harley Sportster 883 to ride.
Ed Bernardon: First car you ever owned?
Jay Giraud: ‘67 Volkswagen Beetle. Still love that car.
Ed Bernardon: The one you’re working on. Did you pass your driver’s test on the first try?
Jay Giraud: Yep.
Ed Bernardon: Fastest you ever rode a motorcycle on the street?
Jay Giraud: 273 kilometers an hour. About the same I’ve ever ridden a motorbike on a track.
Ed Bernardon: 273. So, real quick calculation on that. Was that about 200 miles an hour, roughly?
Jay Giraud: 160-180.
Ed Bernardon: Have you ever gotten a speeding ticket?
Jay Giraud: I got two in a day on the Beetle once, which is hard to do. Those things don’t go that fast.
Ed Bernardon: Yeah, what are they like? 50 horsepower or something like that? On Future Car podcast, we talk a lot about autonomous cars. Not quite ready for the autonomous motorcycle. But if you had a living room on wheels – no driving, you’re taking a five-hour trip, let’s say, San Francisco to LA. What would you have – you can have anything you want – in your living room on wheels for that five-hour drive? Describe what your autonomous car would look like inside.
Jay Giraud: We do have a living room on wheels. It’s our Thor Outlaw Damon RV, and it has a garage in the back that carries three different motorbikes. We took it to CES this year and it’s wrapped in beautiful Damon graphics like this. And it’s got a flat screen, and it’s got a microwave to make popcorn while you drive, and it’s got a fridge, and a bathroom. I’d have all that. It’s got beds. I mean, what do you need? It’s got a dining room.
Ed Bernardon: What person, living or not, would you like to have spend that five-hour car ride with you?
Jay Giraud: Probably Valentino Rossi, famous Moto GP rider.
Ed Bernardon: How about this – you can’t say Hypersport or any Damon product: What motorcycle best describes your personality?
Jay Giraud: I guess I would say Aprilia RSV4, which is my race bike, or my Honda RC51, which is also a race bike but I ride that on the street; just because of their uniqueness, their aggressiveness, the sound. And they’re not the most popular. I kind of like things that aren’t too popular, that’s a little bit unknown.
Ed Bernardon: Yes, standout, shows you understand motorcycles. What do you wish you were better at?
Jay Giraud: Listening.
Ed Bernardon: That’s a good one. I wish I was better at that too, actually. What do you wish you understood better?
Jay Giraud: Also a weird one, but motivations of people who have very strong global political views that are not like my own.
Ed Bernardon: If you could un-invent one thing, what would it be?
Jay Giraud: Uninvent. Well, probably nuclear power. Very topical right now, isn’t it?
Ed Bernardon: Yeah, that’s for sure. If you could magically invent one thing, what would it be?
Jay Giraud: Fusion.
Ed Bernardon: So, you said your girlfriend has a gasoline-powered motorcycle?
Jay Giraud: Yeah, we have a bunch of them.
Ed Bernardon: Do you have a secret plan to eliminate all the gasoline-powered motorcycles in her garage and replace it with electric ones? Is that a secret plan you have?
Jay Giraud: No. I think she’s a very interesting example of our customer base, because she’s 31. She loves gas motorbikes. She’s only been riding for five years. She’s an extremely fast and aggressive rider. But she’s like a Gen Z millennial kind of person, and it needs to win her heart. The Hypersport needs to win her away from a gas bike if Damon is to have a future. So, I’m really excited about – like, these pre-production bikes, she can’t ride. They’re too big, they’re too heavy. She’s five feet tall, so she just can’t ride this. So, she hasn’t ridden our bike yet. But when people like that do, if they’re like, “That’s it. I’m all in on electric.” We’ve made it, that’s the game. And so I’m excited to see if it does it for itself as opposed to me pushing it upon people.
Ed Bernardon: Tell us something about yourself that would surprise your friends and family.
Jay Giraud: I don’t think anything would surprise my friends and family anymore. I don’t know, I don’t keep secrets.
Ed Bernardon: That’s it. That’s a good answer. They didn’t know that I don’t keep secrets. Jay, thank you so much for joining us on the Future Car podcast. It’s been great.
Jay Giraud: Thank you. That was a really fun chat. It’s a very enjoyable one for sure.
Jay Giraud – Guest, co-founder & CEO Damon
Jay Giraud is co-founder and chief executive officer of Damon Motors. A serial entrepreneur, Jay has focused his efforts on redefining mobility with Damon, creating a safer, smarter and seamlessly connected motorcycle experience. Jay is the author of multiple patents and has spoken extensively about automotive, mobility and cleantech at conferences globally. In addition to his entrepreneurial efforts, Jay is an extreme sports enthusiast. He traveled the world as British Columbia’s top-ranked professional snowboarder in all four freestyle disciplines in 1998. Jay has been riding motorcycles for over 20 years and has ridden hundreds of different motorcycles on track and the road. His favorite place to ride is Northern California and aims to tour Montana and Wyoming in the future. Jay has a passion for sport and supersport bikes, as well as an appreciation for touring bikes. Jay has ensured the experiences of all three are in the Hypersport design.
Ed Bernardon, Vice President Strategic Automotive Intiatives – Host
Ed is currently VP Strategic Automotive Initiatives at Siemens Digital Industries Software. Responsibilities include strategic planning in areas of design of autonomous/connected vehicles, lightweight automotive structures and interiors. He is also responsible for Future Car thought leadership including hosting the Future Car Podcast and development of cross divisional projects. Previously a founding member of VISTAGY that developed light-weight structure and automotive interior design software acquired by Siemens in 2011. Ed holds an M.S.M.E. from MIT, B.S.M.E. from Purdue, and MBA from Butler.
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The Future Car Podcast
The tech-driven disruption of the auto industry cuts across domains, from silicon and software to sensors and AI to smart traffic management and mobility services. Get the chip- to city-scale story in regular interviews with technologists at Siemens and beyond.