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This crash-evading electric motorcycle gets its brains from BlackBerry

Damon Motorcycles Hypersport Pro electric superbike

The Hypersport Pro didn’t need to get weirder. It’s already an electric superbike. From Canada. And it changes shape on the fly.

But now the highly anticipated bike has one more freak flag to fly: It’s powered by BlackBerry. On Friday, builder Damon Motorcycles announced that it had turned to the fellow Canadians at BlackBerry to power CoPilot, the Hypersport Pro’s crash-avoidance system.

If the maker of clicky smartphones providing tech for a motorcycle sounds weird to you, maybe it shouldn’t: BlackBerry’s QNX operating system is already inside more than 150 million cars, from Audis to Toyotas. It’s used for infotainment systems, driver assistance, and as with Damon — safety systems.

The Damon Hypersport was selected by our editors as the best product in the automotive category at CES 2020. Check out more of our Top Tech of CES Award winners.
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CES 2020

Damon says CoPilot will use radar, cameras and “non-visual sensors” to track the speed and direction of obstacles in a full 360-degree bubble around the bike. When danger approaches, like say an F-150 drifting into your lane, the bike will provide warnings through vibrating handlebars and cockpit LEDs to give you a heads up before you’re a hood ornament.

The Hypersport Pro’s other trick, dubbed Shift, allows it to dip from a hunched-over sportbike riding position to a more upright cruiser position, all without even stopping. The footpegs, handlebars, windscreen and seat all pivot with the press of a button. Keep your head up around town, then hunker down for aerodynamics when triple-digit speeds call.

How fast will it reach those speeds? Damon hasn’t said yet. It’s prototype Halo bike used an electric motor grafted into a Yamaha R1 chassis, but specs on the final model haven’t yet been announced. With Derek Dorresteyn of the now-defunct Alta Motors onboard as COO and powertrain designer, we wouldn’t expect it to be a slouch.

Damon will be demonstrating its prototype at CES 2020, but not on the strip as you may expect. The company will offer a VR demo on a stationary bike in the BlackBerry booth, like the old Manx TT arcade games of yore. You’d better believe we’ll be there to demo it. And if you can crash a stationary bike, we will find a way.

If you’re already sold, Damon will also be offering up pre-orders at CES, starting at 10 a.m. PT on January 7. No price has yet been announced, but the competing Lightning LS-218 and Energica Ego+ start at $38,888 and $19,540, respectively.

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