Lightning Strike

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

  1. ctromley

    ctromley Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,089
    Location:
    PA
    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.
    #81
    MJSfoto1956 likes this.
  2. ultrarnr

    ultrarnr Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    204
    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.
    #82
    MJSfoto1956 likes this.
  3. MJSfoto1956

    MJSfoto1956 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 12, 2017
    Oddometer:
    488
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    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.
    #83
  4. futureborder

    futureborder Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2019
    Oddometer:
    374
    Location:
    Italy
    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.
    #84
  5. kiwial

    kiwial Allweatherrider

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Oddometer:
    463
    Location:
    NZ Mountains
    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.
    #85
    voltsxamps and RedRocket like this.
  6. ButchtheBARFdude

    ButchtheBARFdude poseur

    Joined:
    May 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    82
    Location:
    San Jose Ca
    Some unveiling next week in San Jose...

    Attached Files:

    #86
  7. vasculopath

    vasculopath You are not your bike Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    436
    Location:
    Santa Fe
    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.
    #87
    voltsxamps and RedRocket like this.
  8. vasculopath

    vasculopath You are not your bike Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    436
    Location:
    Santa Fe
    #88
  9. chainslap

    chainslap BlessedarethesicK Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,634
    Location:
    The Dirty South

    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.
    #89
    voltsxamps likes this.
  10. vasculopath

    vasculopath You are not your bike Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    436
    Location:
    Santa Fe
    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?
    #90
  11. chainslap

    chainslap BlessedarethesicK Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,634
    Location:
    The Dirty South
    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.
    #91
  12. vasculopath

    vasculopath You are not your bike Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    436
    Location:
    Santa Fe
    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!
    #92
  13. chainslap

    chainslap BlessedarethesicK Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,634
    Location:
    The Dirty South
    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
    #93
  14. liberpolly

    liberpolly Nu, shoyn, nudnick!

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2015
    Oddometer:
    5,285
    Location:
    Seattle
    Buy a readily available Zero SR-F maybe?
    #94
  15. ultrarnr

    ultrarnr Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    204
    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.
    #95
  16. vasculopath

    vasculopath You are not your bike Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    436
    Location:
    Santa Fe
    Just not into the naked bike thing, and I think they look horrible! the new SRF maybe not so bad, but at that price?
    #96
    T.S.Zarathustra likes this.
  17. ctromley

    ctromley Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,089
    Location:
    PA
    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.
    #97
  18. ultrarnr

    ultrarnr Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    204
    It is interesting to watch the roll out of both the Live Wire and the Strike at the same time. Both electric motorcycles and both new to the market place. Two very different approaches to marketing. H-D has already had press rides and the reviews are already in the major motorcycle web sites with an amazing amount of response from readers. Lightning still doesn't have a test ride bike available and is just holding an open house for local riders to help get the word out. An somehow I keep going back to ctromley's post about the findings on Glassdoor on what the work environment is like at Lightning and wonder if that really explains all of this.
    #98
  19. vasculopath

    vasculopath You are not your bike Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    436
    Location:
    Santa Fe
    I think it's fair to say that Harley and Lightning have two very different missions. As an established manufacturer going in a totally new direction, but with global name recognition and a customer base that probably has very different interests than electric vehicles, Harley needs to do things differently. Lightning is small with fewer resources and a different job ahead of them.
    #99
    MJSfoto1956 likes this.
  20. ultrarnr

    ultrarnr Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    204
    Anyone go to the Open House? There are some posts over on the electric motorcycle forum but not from anyone who actually attended. Here is a post of a member named MVetter that seems to sum up what went on there: "From what I can tell they had 3 Strikes behind a chained off area. No touching, and you weren't supposed to photograph them either. The blue and yellow one look mostly finished, but the white one is full of raw milled parts. They were never turned on or demonstrated as functioning to the public in any way. The highlights of the day included riding electric bicycles in some sort of slow race with a $50 prize for first, and a taco truck. Richard gave a presentation that revealed no new information." Here is a link that shows some photos and other info: https://www.bayarearidersforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=535321&page=4