What would it take to tempt you to take an electric motorcycle out for a spin? For many motorcyclists, the idea of going electric is too abhorrent to even consider and sure, there are some good reasons to give the electric bike a miss. For the most part they’re prohibitively expensive. Next, most places don’t have the right kind of infrastructure in place for electric vehicles. Then we’ve got the battery life and range issues to think about. And finally, there’s the whole “I like gears and the good old fashioned rumble of an engine” argument – which is absolutely fine. For the vast majority of motorcyclists, the motorcycle is a secondary mode of transport and the thrill of slipping one into gear, releasing the clutch, twisting the throttle and feeling the engine react is all part of the appeal. But conventional gasoline motorcycles are going to be phased out eventually…whether we like it or not.
There are plenty of benefits to riding an electric motorcycle that are worth taking into account though. You see, while they may appear soulless thanks to their lack of engine noise, sterile shapes, and easy power delivery, they’re actually pretty damn impressive. Thanks to the use of strong electric motorcycle motor technology, electric bikes enjoy the benefits of instant power delivery, thrilling acceleration, and hair-raising performance – and since most motorcyclists ride their bike in pursuit of high speeds and two-wheeled thrills, a real electric motorcycle for adults should appeal to the vast majority of motorcycle owners. And of course, there are the environmental benefits that should be so obvious that it’s hardly worth mentioning. Cleaner air, less noise, a healthier environment – you should know the spiel by heart. Environmentally, electric vehicles are the way forward. And the automotive industry and governments all over the world agree.
At the moment, the industry has two kinds of electric motorbikes for adults on the market: smaller pedal assist style electric motorcycles such as the Bultaco Brinco, and more heavy duty E motorcycles, with powerful hub motor acceleration and a more conventional ride experience. For this article, where we look at the best electric motorcycle models, we’re going to focus on the latter: the best electric best electric motorcycle models that resemble the bikes we already know and love. If you’re not too clued about the state of the industry (who the big names are, what models they have, what the regular price for one of them is) then it’s time to brush up, because electric motorcycles are coming, and they won’t stop coming either.
Even the MotoGP has seen the value of the electric motorcycles, and has added an electric GP championship that takes place across the European circuits, with 10 laps races, showcasing just how exciting the humble electric motorcycle can be. The Isle of Man TT have been promoting electric motorcycles for years – and if John McGuiness can get a kick out of riding an electric motorcycle, then you certainly will. Unless you’re a better motorcyclist than John McGuiness…and that seems highly unlikely… So, if you think it’s about time you took a serious look at the top affordable, fastest, and best electric motorcycles on the market. Here are 10 of our favorites that you should look out for.
What Is The Best Electric Motorcycle For Sale?
#10. The KTM Freeride E-XC
Road legal? Not quite, but this awesome KTM electric bike wasn’t built for the roads. This is the KTM Freeride E-XC, the first electric KTM to arrive in the USA. Since it’s not geared towards the road, KTM were able to bend a few rules with this cool machine – it doesn’t have a massive range, it doesn’t have a jaw-dropping top speed, but it does have an absurdly fast charging time. In essence, it’s a great little electric bike that off-road and dirt riders can enjoy for an hour or so of hard riding, and recharge to full capacity in 80 minutes…and then go out again. Rinse and repeat.
Powered by a lightweight 260V, 2.6 kWh lithium ion battery pack, the Freeride EX-C is capable of a power output of 21.5 hp and 31 lb-ft of torque and enjoys decent enough speeds for real off-road thrashing. It doesn’t have a clutch and comes with only one gear, which might be a little too alien for traditional motorcyclists and if your off-road riding is anything like mine – which involves a lot of clutch riding – then it might be a hard sell. However, if you’re looking for something unusual to hit the trails on and don’t care for any on-road accoutrements, then the KTM Freeride E-XC should be your electric bike weapon of choice. The Freeride E-XC has an MSRP of $8,299, which makes it quite a cheap electric motorcycle.
#09. The Alta Motors Redshift SM
Following on the off-road theme, we’ve America’s own Alta Motors and their awesome Redshift SM. After years of R&D, Alta Motors unveiled their Redshift MX moto-crosser back in 2016 and it was met with praise from all over the industry, but we’re here to talk about the more road friendly super moto model, the Redshift SM. Equipped with the same WP Suspension units you’d find on a KTM, and fitted with high-quality Brembo brakes, the Redshift SM wears the same kind of top-level tech that you’d expect on similarly priced motorcycle, but what about the electric parts?
Powered by a waterproof Li-Ion 350v battery that powers a high-speed PMAC motor, the Redshift SM boasts a grand total of 42 hp, 120 lb-ft of torque, a top speed of 80 mph, a 50 mile range, and a charge time of 6 hours (to 100%). With four distinct ride modes on offer, the Redshift SM is a truly advanced electric bike and one that you should certainly consider if you’re looking for a powerful electric machine. The MSRP is $13,495, but considering the quality of the parts used, the overall performance, and the fact that it was built in the USA makes it worth every penny. Alta was one of the most interesting and best electric motorcycle manufacturers out there, but the dream has sadly come to an end. However, BRP has bought up the Alta assets but it still seems like a reboot of the Alta dream is highly unlikely.
#08. The Emflux One by Emflux Motors
This one isn’t available in the USA…yet, but it’s worth keeping an eye on. This is the Emflux One from Indian start-up Emflux Motors, and it promises to be a sub-$10k electric bike, and it also calls itself India’s first superbike, and we hope it comes to the USA. While you’re either going to love or hate the styling, you can’t deny the quality of the hardware, and the sheer amount of bang that you’re going to get for your buck: 68 horsepower, 62 lb-ft of torque, a top speed around 125 mph, and a 0 – 60mph time of 3 seconds. Not bad at all, eh?
On top of that, Emflux have equipped their Emflux One with a cool air-cooled Samsung batter pack that delivers a maximum range of approximately 130 miles. That might not sound like much, but Emflux boast that the battery unit can be charged to 80% in a mere 36 minutes, and to a full 100% in three hours. And to make things even better, it can be charged from any conventional wall socket. That $10k outlay also gets invested into Ohlins suspension, Brembo brakes, and an advanced ABS system from Continental that also features regenerative braking too. If it comes to US shores with a final price under $10,000, we’re definitely going to be getting one.
#07. The Lito Sora
The Sora by Lito is a frequent feature on electric bike lists, and it’s quite the attention grabber. Built resembling a brutal street fighter, the Sora boasts some decent performance figures and showcases some innovative engineering – but it’s usually the huge price tag that gets everyone talking. Thanks to the application of aeronautical aluminum, carbon fiber, and smart technology, the Lito Sora’s prices start from as little as $77,000. Back to those decent performance figures, the Sora isn’t all it’s cracked up to be with a top speed of 120 mph, and a 0 – 60 mph time of 4 seconds, but it does an impressive a range of 120 miles, is capable of a full charge in just over three and half hours, and comes equipped with some very sophisticated technology.
It’s got a touch screen, keycard ignition, an electronically adjustable seating position, and plenty other gadgetry to satisfy your inner nerd – but it’s by no means the best electric bike out there. Consider like a designer watch. It’s expensive and luxurious, but you know that you’d be better off with an old Casio instead. If you really like expensive things though, you can try Lito’s special edition Sora which boasts BST carbon wheels, Beringer brakes, Ohlins suspension, a full carbon body, and a price tag of $104,000 real American dollars.
#06. The Zero SR
If the Lito Sora is a piece of designer luxury, then the Zero SR is the every man’s utility tool. It’s not the fastest, it’s not the most expensive, it doesn’t have the coolest look, and won’t turn too many heads – but in a real life situation, the Zero SR is probably one of the most useful electric motorcycles out there. Firstly, you can easily go out and buy one of these without having to search too hard, and Zero is a name that you’ve probably heard of and can trust. And then there’s the matter of the performance.
Boasting roughly 67 hp and 106 lb-ft of torque from the motor, a respectable 102 mph top speed, 0 – 60 mph in about 3.3 seconds, and a useful range of 197 miles, you can see why we’re quite into the Zero SR. For an electric bike, it boasts a serious range – but what’s more, it can be fully charged in three hours making it a genuinely practical electric bike option. It might be a little on the vanilla-side to look at, and yes, it is a plain Jane – but that never stopped the likes of the Suzuki SV or Kawasaki ER from becoming best sellers did it? Anyway, the impressive Zero SR comes with an MSRP of $15,995.
#05. The Italian Volt Lacama
Currently available for pre-order, we’ve got the Italian Volt Lacama. The Lacama is pretty much at the MV Agusta end of the luxury spectrum, and the company boast that every single unit will be more or less tailor made for every customer. Details are currently quite scarce, but here’s what we know: the Lacama will be available in five different bodywork styles, will boast a top speed of 111 mph, have a maximum range of 120 miles, can be recharged to 80% in 40 minutes, and will be compatible with a wide range of charging systems. It’s not the fastest, can’t go the furthest, and weighs in at 540 lbs, so why do we rate it so highly?
As a tailor made electric bike, it has a certain kind of rider appeal. While your “run of the mill” Zero models are affordable and practical, they lack a certain kind of sex appeal – and sex appeal costs money. Or does it? Because the Italian Volt Lacama is rumored to start at $38,000 a go. Now that sounds expensive, but compared to the likes of the Lito Sora, it’s a bargain. Especially when you consider the use of Ohlins suspension, Brembo brakes, bespoke parts, and custom bodywork is on offer. That $38k figure is only hearsay at the moment, but it sounds about right.
#04. The Tacita T-Cruise
Tacita is a company that you want to pay attention to – primarily because they are one of the few electric bike manufacturers that have actually listened to the complaints of potential converts. Tacita have been working on electric motorcycles…with clutches and gear shifters. And while they have a few models on offer, we’re going to recommend their T-Cruise electric bike, because we haven’t got many cruiser styled motorcycles on offer. Powered by an electric asynchronous three-phase induction motor that’s capable of around 41 horsepower and 51.6 lb-ft of torque, a range of 168 miles, and an actual five-speed gearbox, the Tacita T-Cruise is a must for the newly converted. Oh yeah, it’s got a reverse gear too.
The battery can be charged to 80% in approximately one and half hours, but it needs a good seven hours to reach 100% using a 220 volt socket – which is pretty respectable. Apart from the impressive gearbox and performance, the Tacita T-Cruise also comes with adjustable suspension, Brembo brakes, Metzeler Marathon tires, and an adjustable riding position thanks to moveable foot pegs – which is a nice touch. Prices start from $10,999 for the smallest power option, but you’ll need to shell out $24,999 for the specs quoted here.
#03. The Lightning LS-218
How about one of the fastest production motorcycles ever made? This is the Lightning LS-218, an electric motorcycle so fast and powerful that even the most stubborn gasoline supporters will have to sit up and pay attention. Shooting out the equivalent of 200 hp, a mammoth 168 lb-ft of torque, and achieving 0 – 60 mph in an insane 2 seconds, wrapped in a package that weighs in at 496 lbs, the Lightning LS-218 is an electric bike worthy of your attention. Is it insane? Oh yes. Is it too much for the average rider? Most definitely. But is it road legal? The answer to that…is yes.
Despite the fact that it can hit a top speed of 218 mph (hence the name) it is road legal. Whether you’d want to ride it on the road is a matter of personal choice though. It doesn’t have a fantastic range, with only around 100 miles on offer, but who cares about range when you’ve got speed? Actually, Lightning think they can improve on the LS-218 and have something else in the pipeline that they promise to be a superior machine, with a higher top speed. We’ll have to wait until then, but in the meantime you can go and take the Lightning LS-218 out for a spin…with an MSRP of $38,888, it’s expensive, but it is seriously fast. In fact, it’s quite affordable for the fastest electric motorcycle on the market.
#02. The Energica Ego
Energica actually offers three models worthy of your attention, the street focused Eva, the scrambler inspired EsseEsse9, and the ultimate electric superbike: the Ego. We’re going to look at the latter, because it’s easily the best of the bunch – and it’s going to be the platform used for new Moto-E, MotoGP’s new electric class. In fact, the Ego was chosen because it’s a real life superbike that viewers can go out and actually buy. And that’s why we’ve put it so high on our list. Unlike many of the manufacturers listed here, Energica have worked hard to develop a dealership network and global company infrastructure. But enough about the boring side of things, let’s talk about the stats.
The Energica Ego is a bold superbike that features sharp angles and futuristic styling, and has the performance to match. The electric motor boasts 136 hp, approximately 143 lb-ft of torque, can hit a top speed of 150 mph, and do 0 – 60 mph in just 3 seconds. It’s heavy, with a weight of 585 lbs, but that’s the nature of electric bikes – they’re heavy old things. Boasting a charge time of 3.5 hours, it’s not bad – but its maximum range is only around the 93 mph marker. It doesn’t have the greatest range, but for day to day commuting, with more than enough juice for a good weekend blat, it’s a fine choice. The MSRP is $35,000 if you fancy a go on one of these.
#01. The Harley-Davidson Project LiveWire
Is it unfair to place an electric bike that hasn’t been released in first place? Yes and no, but we’re leaning towards “no” because there’s no doubt that the Harley-Davidson LiveWire will change the electric bike landscape. If Harley-Davidson are taking an interest in electric motorcycles, then everyone will pay attention When a company that isn’t particularly innovative decides to try their hand at innovation, something’s up. At the moment, details are few and far between, and what we’ve been told already is old news.
When we first heard about the LiveWire project, Harley-Davidson mentioned a power output to the tune of 72 horsepower, around 52 lb-ft of torque, could hit 0 – 60 mph in under 4 seconds, a restricted top speed of 95 mph, and a maximum range of approximately 55 miles. Now, compared to the rest of the bikes on this list, these aren’t great stats. However, that was a good few years ago, and the electric bike industry has moved on a lot since then, and we refuse to believe that Harley-Davidson would be using the same technology now as they were then. According to Harley-Davidson boss Matt Levatich (in an interview in January 2018) the results of the LiveWire is “an active project we’re preparing to bring to market within 18 months.” So a Harley electric bike is coming…and if HD can bring something like this to market, then all the other manufacturers will follow suit.