Lightning Strike

Discussion in 'Electric Motorcycles' started by voltsxamps, Jan 24, 2019.

  1. ctromley

    ctromley Been here awhile

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    OK, it's July now, the month that customer deliveries of the Strike are supposed to begin. We know from experience that we shouldn't expect anything until the end of the month. As tight-lipped as Lightning has been, we might not even hear about first deliveries, because they might think that's only a real concern to those getting bikes. That would be a mistake - it's an opportunity to show that they delivered on a promise.

    If Lightning was my company and I had decided to keep as quiet as possible during the chaos of the transition to production, I would want to be very sure that every announcement I did make was to report a success, and to never ever make a promise or prediction that I'm not sure I can make happen. That might explain why Lightning has been completely silent for so long. So I'm still cautiously optimistic.

    What I don't get is the fact that we saw a picture in an Electrek article on 5/1 of "production" bikes being assembled. Even if they were in fact only the first pre-production bikes, that leaves plenty of time to get a few into the hands of some magazine editors. But so far, nothing.

    The best-case explanation that I can envision is that the chaos of building production capability is undiminished (completely plausible), and releasing a first-ride report would only increase demand for product and info when they are already juggling far too much. Only break cover when then the news is positive and the attention helps, not when it just increases your burden. Too many thinly staffed organizations panic and lose focus when a critical situation gets complex, unpredictable and chaotic (which is what Lightning likely has right now in spades), when what they need to do is work as efficiently as possible. Which may mean completely by-passing functions that don't contribute directly to your immediate goal, for example like customer communication.

    There's another aspect to this that most people wouldn't understand - it is crucial that they get this bike really right before release. Fixes are MUCH easier to manage for a tiny company when you can do them on your own terms. Once it's released it gets much more complicated, and you're forced to get it right with the customer and the public breathing down your neck. (Ask me how I know....)

    Of course there's a worst-case scenario too. Those "production" or pre-production bikes in the photo might have inadvertently turned out to be the first sort-of-final development/test bikes, meaning they showed that development wasn't really done yet. Which would mean the release happens when it happens.

    Bottom line for me is that the Strike still has a good shot at being all we hope it will be. We just can't know until it's out. If anyone here has a deposit down for a Carbon version, please let us know what happens and when.
    #81
  2. chainslap

    chainslap BlessedarethesicK Super Supporter

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    I'm glad I didn't put a deposit down.

    That article from 5/1 in my opinion isn't showing production bikes but the same bikes they flashed at the soft opening. No test rides were mentioned. If you look at the "production" photo they seem to be the same bikes, colors and all as the ones they paraded around.

    The lightning website still only links to the store page for reservations. No info on the strike on the main page.

    Quite frankly it's a bit disappointing.

    I've been trying to decide between a zero and energica. I plan to pull the trigger this year.
    #82
  3. ultrarnr

    ultrarnr Been here awhile

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    I agree with making sure everything is right with the bike before putting it out there for the public. But there is no excuse at all for not updating their web site and having a page dedicated to the Strike. Looking at Lightning's main page the only bike they are trying to sell is the LS-218. They do have a link to reserve a Strike but there are no mention of the Strike's features and no photos. Over on the electric motorcycle forum, http://electricmotorcycleforum.com/boards/index.php?board=39.0 there is a guy who has reserved one but he also lives very close to Lightning and can drive to their shop. But even then he hasn't been able to test ride one. All he has done is sat on one of them in the shop. But Lightning has been trying to sell the LS-218 for years and their web site leaves a lot to be desired for trying to market that bike. Lightning created a huge buzz throughout the motorcycle community when it first revealed a few specs about price and range of the Strike. But ever since then it has been a total fail. Lightning is going to pay dearly for not hiring someone who knows how to market motorcycles.
    #83
  4. ctromley

    ctromley Been here awhile

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    Well, I was going to re-iterate that Lightning is a tiny company and has to make tough choices, but in a search to see if I could find just how many employees they have, I came across some reviews on Glassdoor. For those who aren't familiar, Glassdoor is a site where employees can review their employers for the benefit of jobseekers. Typically a company with 10-20 employees (which is where I'm guessing Lightning falls) will have no reviews, or maybe one. There are seven on Glassdoor, and all but one are terrible. (You can only see one preview without a Glassdoor account. Easy sign-up.)

    Without going into details, the overall impression is one of a very dickish attitude of management toward employees, unreasonable demands, low wages, an overuse of "intern" job titles to further suppress wages, a willingness to pay employees late, a heavy reliance on entry-level people in talent positions, very high turnover (the sharpest people are gone), etc. One could argue that employees are free to choose who they do or don't work for, but I see two major issues here - it's hard to make good product when you have, not just an adversarial relationship with your employees, but an apparently hostile one. And there were a couple of references that suggest unreasonable demands had a negative effect on the design of the product. If you're going to look into this yourself (and I suggest anyone considering a Strike do so), see the reviews, interviews and openings. There are useful indications in all those places.

    The reviews all date from a pre-Strike-development time, but the Strike is an enormous undertaking for such a small company. Things can only be worse now. In a previous post I suggested that I'm qualified to lead an east coast distribution/warranty/service operation for Lightning. It would be very hard to convince me to do that now.

    To be fair, the Glassdoor reviews of Zero are not stellar either, but significantly better. Many of the same challenges, but the difference seems to be in the attitude of management. Small companies doing big things are going to be stressed in many ways. From the reviews of the two companies, it appears Lightning is much more willing to add to the stress with dickish behavior. That is rarely a good indicator for success.

    For me, this means I will not consider a Strike until it has generated enough owner experience reporting to determine that the design is not compromised and that dealing with Lightning is an overall positive experience. I am still cautiously optimistic, but much more cautious and less optimistic.
    #84
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  5. ultrarnr

    ultrarnr Been here awhile

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    ctromley, A very interesting post. It does provide useful insight and explains why Lightning may be having the issues it seems to be having. I have said multiple times that Lightning needs a person dedicated to marketing their bikes but if Lightning is only interested in hiring interns or others with minimal experience because they may work for lower wages then they are never going to hire the kind of person they really need for the job.
    #85
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  6. MJSfoto1956

    MJSfoto1956 Been here awhile

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    The myth of "build a better mousetrap and people will beat a path to your door" is just that -- a myth. Having robust Marketing, Sales, and Support are now de-rigueur for any direct-to-consumer manufacturing entity these days.
    #86
  7. futureborder

    futureborder Been here awhile

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    It has worked pretty well for Tesla so far. I have been a fan of the brand for close to eight years and the only paid advertising I have ever seen (a picture of it) was a single 3x5m billboard in some US city. But of course Elon Musk is a Twitter-marketing-buzz raiser genius who gets more attention with a single tweet than other car makers do with a fifty million dollar ad campaign.
    #87
  8. kiwial

    kiwial Allweatherrider

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    LightningOpenHouse.jpg
    .
    http://electricmotorcycleforum.com/boards/index.php?topic=9155.msg79759#msg79759
    .
    NO test rides yet, but at least things are moving along...
    Apparently, no traction control, no ABS...
    Quote: "...he said they'll have a demo bike ready at the end of July (I assume the one I'm sitting on) and Carbon deliveries will happen around the same time / early August..."
    .
    Edit:
    Quote: "On a reply from Lightning to my email inquiry about the Strike, it was stated that the initial production models of the Strike for the US would not have ABS--for a variety of reasons. Lightning does plan to include/introduce ABS and riding aids/modes (that modulate torque) on the next model year of the Strike."
    http://electricmotorcycleforum.com/boards/index.php?topic=8885.msg79310#msg79310
    .
    It all still sounds a bit fishy.
    #88
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  9. ButchtheBARFdude

    ButchtheBARFdude poseur

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    Some unveiling next week in San Jose...

    Attached Files:

    #89
  10. vasculopath

    vasculopath You are not your bike Supporter

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    did Paebr332's comment get deleted? I kinda feel the same way. Not sure why the majority of comments are so negative. I have a deposit down, and will pull it back if I don't see what emerges. It's a small risk, but I'm willing to take it so what's the big deal? I wrench on my own bikes and live in a smaller town with no ducati dealer but I own several. I know that some people have had nightmares with Lemons, but I don't look at dealer network as a big barrier to owning. Company wants to bring a good looking affordable fully faired electric sportbike to the US years before the big boys get involved? Good for them, and sign me up! I own a Tesla M3 which is a great car, and I have a solar home. My expectations are not for perfect timing on every release nor a perfect trouble free initial model year bike, as you don't often get that from anyone these days.
    #90
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  11. vasculopath

    vasculopath You are not your bike Supporter

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    #91
  12. chainslap

    chainslap BlessedarethesicK Super Supporter

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    Not sure all the comments are as negative as they are questioning the time lines and transparency of the information coming from the manufacturer. Let's face it, this is a 30k toy. No one NEEDS a 30k electric bike. You might want one. You might can afford one. But no one NEEDS one.

    So for a lot of us that can't afford a tesla m3 we also can't afford to drop hard earned cash on a basket full of empty promises.

    So far lightning has not come through on their dates, specs, or even one single real world production bike. "One demo." That's what the flyer states they will have on site. One flipping demo. Doesn't promote a lot of confidence that they will have anything ready for production this calendar year. If it takes them this long to produce one demo how long then to get a final product?

    I'm a lightning fan. I want them to succeed. I would love to see some production bikes. I thought long and hard about putting a deposit down. I'm not a naysayer. But I do understand how things work and I'm not going to invest in nothing when there are actual bikes, on the road, for sale and for much less. And that's the direction I'm taking. I'm looking at energica and zero as they actually have a known quantity. They have bikes on the road. They have dealer networks. They have parts and accessories available. My nearest energica dealer is three states away. Don't care. I'll probably buy from AF1 anyway. Six states away.

    Look at motus. It took them ages/years to finally put some bikes on the road but look where they are now. I know folks that put money down and waited two years before they finally got their bikes and less than a year later the company went out of business.

    I hope you get your strike. I hope it's great. And when you do I hope you come back and give us a ride report and some real world figures for range, etc.
    #92
  13. vasculopath

    vasculopath You are not your bike Supporter

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    30K? I'm looking at the 12-13K-ish base model. $500 down is too much hard earned cash but you're looking at Energica?
    #93
  14. chainslap

    chainslap BlessedarethesicK Super Supporter

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    Carbon strike around 30k.
    Base strike around 13k.

    I hope but also doubt either will be close to those prices.

    The ls-218 is close to 42k now. Base of 39k but add a few bells and whistles (which you shouldn't have to for a 40k bike) and you're just under 45k. No doubt its a bad ass bike. I wish I had an extra 42k floating around. I'd be all over it.
    #94
  15. vasculopath

    vasculopath You are not your bike Supporter

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    Me too, and I'd be happier if Honda or Yammie were putting out a fully faired electric sportbike with output ~ a 600cc supersport, but what ya gonna do? Wait? Would probably be smarter for us all...I'll gamble a bit with a $500 refundable deposit and see where they go, but I'm gonna cheer them on all they way!
    #95
  16. chainslap

    chainslap BlessedarethesicK Super Supporter

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    That's awesome and I hope the best for you. I really do. Can't wait to hear about your new strike. I hope you will share your experiences. The more folks that do that the more confidence others will have in the product. :beer
    #96
  17. liberpolly

    liberpolly Nu, shoyn, nudnick!

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    Buy a readily available Zero SR-F maybe?
    #97
  18. ultrarnr

    ultrarnr Been here awhile

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    No mention of the Open House on the Lightning web site. Still no details on the Strike, only a link to reserve one. You have to wonder just how serious Lightning is about trying to sell the Strike.
    #98
  19. vasculopath

    vasculopath You are not your bike Supporter

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    Just not into the naked bike thing, and I think they look horrible! the new SRF maybe not so bad, but at that price?
    #99
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  20. ctromley

    ctromley Been here awhile

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    Lighting has spent their whole life as a tiny boutique builder. (The LS-218 was supposed to be a run of 45 bikes.) I read elsewhere that people with a deposit down on the Strike are treated like family. Maybe that's the mentality they want to keep as they become a mainstream manufacturer, but I honestly don't see how that's possible. No one has a family of thousands.

    The investments and commitments they've made to go big-time (at least for them) would suggest they need to get a return fairly soon, but they seem to be in no hurry. This kind of magnitude of change can't be anything but chaotic, so maybe they went in with modest expectations and they're moving at a pace that is manageable for them.

    This would affect the bikes as well as the organization. I also read that the first bikes not only will have no ride modes or TC, but not even ABS. They've advertised 180 ft*lbs(!!!) of torque, which they are apparently going to mitigate with controller ramps and response times. Seems to me that will lead to too much or not enough grunt under varying conditions. I wonder if it will be user-tweakable. The more sophisticated stuff is supposed to come next year(?), no doubt at a higher price.

    And then there's the biggest issue, dealers. Like vasculopath, I don't really need one. I've never used one post-sale over the many decades I've been riding. But then, I've never had to deal with a product recall. I've never wanted to add an option that was only available as dealer-installed. If there's ever been a manufacturer in a situation more likely to generate a recall than Lightning, I've never heard of them. How do you deal with that if your nearest dealer is a 2 or 3 day drive away, and even if you're up for a road trip you're not sure about their EV smarts?

    So Lightning (and the EM market) needs to be ready for a rather slow ramp-up of acceptance of the Strike. It seems like it will be at least a year before they have a bike that is really comparable to the competition, and that chicken-and-egg situation between dealers and competitive product will keep many from buying until they can do so locally. Maybe the slow road to becoming a significant player in this market is the wiser choice. I would have done things differently, but it's not my company.