There are plenty of benefits to riding an electric motorcycle. Thanks to the use of modern electric motor technology, electric bikes enjoy the benefits of instant power, thrilling acceleration, and hair-raising performance. And since most motorcyclists ride their bikes in pursuit of high speeds and two-wheeled thrills, an electric motorcycle should appeal to the vast majority of motorcycle owners.
Electric Motorcycles: The Future of Two-Wheeled Fun
Of course, the environmental benefits should be so obvious that they are hardly worth mentioning. Cleaner air, less noise, a healthier environment — you should know the spiel by heart. Environmentally, electric vehicles are the future. The automotive industry and governments all over the world agree. Also, gas motos aren’t as green as you might imagine, even compared to automobiles.
Even the MotoGP has seen the value of the electric motorcycles and added an electric GP championship that takes place across the European circuits, with 10-lap races showcasing just how exciting electric motorcycles can be. The Isle of Man TT has been promoting electric motorcycles for years – and if the most successful rider of the race John McGuiness can get a kick out of riding an electric motorcycle, then you certainly will.
The 10 Best Electric Motorcycles On the Market
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 that come equipped with powerful acceleration and a more conventional rider experience.
For this article, as we look at the best electric motorcycle models, we’re going to focus on the latter: the best electric motorcycle models that resemble the classic bikes we already know and love. If you’re not too clued in 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 here, and they’re here to stay.
It’s time to take a serious look at the fastest, and best electric motorcycles on the market. Here are some of our favorites for you to consider.
KTM Freeride E-XC
Road legal, you ask? 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 U.S. And since it’s not geared toward the road, KTM was able to bend a few rules with this cool machine.
It doesn’t have a massive range or 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. Take it out for 90 minutes of hard riding, recharge it to full capacity in 110 minutes, and then go out again. Rinse and repeat.
Powered by a lightweight 260V, 3.9 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, the Freeride EX-C is a small motorcycle that is capable of a power output of 24.5 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. Alternatively, if your off-road riding is anything like mine — involving 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 accouterments, then the KTM Freeride E-XC should be your electric bike weapon of choice. The Freeride E-XC has an MSRP of $10,699, which makes it quite an affordable electric motorcycle.
- Range: 90 minute run time
- Top Speed: 50 mph
- Weight: 244 lbs
Alta Motors Redshift SM
When Alta Motors unveiled their Redshift MX moto-crosser back in 2016, it was met with praise from all over the industry. Afterward, they followed up with the more road-friendly supermoto model, the Redshift SM. Equipped with the same WP suspension 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 a 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, 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 U.S. makes it worth every penny. Alta was once one of the most interesting and best electric motorcycle manufacturers out there, but the dream has sadly come to an end. In 2019, BRP bought up the Alta assets it seems like a reboot of the Alta dream is highly unlikely. But if you can find one of these gems for sale, be sure to pick it up.
- Range: 50 miles
- Top Speed: 80 mph
- Weight: 283 lbs
Emflux One by Emflux Motors
This electric motorcycle isn’t available in the U.S. yet, but it’s worth keeping an eye on. The Emflux One is made by Indian start-up Emflux Motors, and it promises to be a sub-$10k electric bike. It also calls itself India’s first superbike, and we hope to see it in the States soon.
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 hp, 62 lb-ft of torque, a top speed of around 125 mph, and a 0-60 time of 3 seconds. Not bad at all, eh?
On top of that, Emflux has equipped their Emflux One with an air-cooled Samsung battery pack that delivers a maximum range of approximately 130 miles. That might not sound like much, but Emflux boasts 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 price tag also gets you Ohlins suspension, Brembo brakes, and an advanced ABS system from Continental that also features regenerative braking. If it comes to U.S. shores with a final price under $10,000, we’re definitely going to be getting one.
- Range: 121 miles
- Top Speed: 121 mph
- Weight: 283 lbs
Lito Sora Generation 2
The Sora Generation 2 by Lito is a frequent feature on electric bike lists, and it’s quite the attention grabber. Resembling a brutal street fighter, the Sora boasts some decent performance stats 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 price starts from as little as $83,000. Back to those decent performance figures, the Sora isn’t all it’s cracked up to be with a respectable but not mind-blowing top speed of 120 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 3 seconds. On the plus side, it does have an impressive range of 180 miles, is capable of a full charge in 5 hours, and comes equipped with some very sophisticated technology.
In terms of tech, it’s got a touch screen, keycard ignition, an electronically adjustable seating position, and plenty of other gadgetry to satisfy your inner nerd. But it’s by no means the best electric bike out there. Consider it as 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 an even more hefty price tag.
- Range: 180 miles
- Top Speed: 120 mph
- Weight: 550 lbs
If the Lito Sora is a piece of designer luxury, then the Zero SR is the everyman’s utility tool. It’s not the fastest or 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.
First, you can easily go out and buy one 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 70 hp and 116 lb-ft of torque from the motor, a respectable 124 mph top speed, 0-60 mph in about 3.3 seconds, and a useful range of 223 city 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 motorcycle 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? The impressive Zero SR comes with an MSRP of $15,495.
- Range: 223 miles
- Top Speed: 124 mph
- Weight: 415-459 lbs
Italian Volt Lacama
Currently available for pre-order, don’t miss the Italian Volt Lacama. The Lacama is pretty much at the MV Agusta end of the luxury spectrum, and the company boasts 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 include it here?
As a tailor-made electric bike, it has a different 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?
The Italian Volt Lacama is rumored to start at $38,000. Sure that still is expensive, but compared to the likes of the Lito Sora, it’s a bargain. Especially when you consider the Ohlins suspension, Brembo brakes, bespoke parts, and custom bodywork that are on offer. That $38k figure is only hearsay at the moment, but if you ask us, it sounds about right.
- Range: 120 miles
- Top Speed: 111 mph
- Weight: 540 lbs
Tacita T-Cruise Urban
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 has 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 14.7-59 hp and 44.2-72.7 lb-ft of torque, a range of 70 to 137 miles (depending on the model), 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 90 minutes, 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 footpegs which is a nice touch. Preorder prices start from $13,000.
- Range: 70-137 miles
- Top Speed: Not Listed
- Weight: 283 lbs
How about one of the fastest production motorcycles ever dreamed up? 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 496 lbs, the Lightning LS-218 is an electric bike worthy of your attention. Is it the fastest electric bike you’ll find? Yup. 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, but who cares about range when you’ve got speed? With an MSRP of $38,888, it’s expensive, but it should be seriously fast. In fact, it’s quite affordable for the fastest electric motorcycle out there, although none have yet been delivered to customers, so only time will tell if this bike lives up to expectations.
- Range: 100 miles
- Top Speed: 218 mph
- Weight: 495 lbs
Energica actually offers three models worthy of your attention, the street-focused Eva, the scrambler-inspired EsseEsse9, and the ultimate electric motorbike: the Ego. We’re going to look at the latter because it’s easily the best of the bunch. In fact, the Ego is a real-life superbike that viewers can go out and actually buy. Unlike many of the manufacturers listed here, Energica has 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 150 hp, approximately 148 lb-ft of torque, can hit a top speed of 150 mph, and do 0-60 mph in just 2.6 seconds for the RS version. It’s heavy, with a weight of 585 lbs, but that’s the nature of electric bikes.
Boasting a charge time of 3.5 hours, it’s not bad, and its maximum range is around 124 miles. As a day-to-day commuter with more than enough juice for a good weekend blast, it’s a fine choice. The MSRP is $35,000 if you fancy a go on one.
- Range: 124 miles
- Top Speed: 150 mph
- Weight: 585 lbs
When the phrase “electric Harley” is batted around, people sit up and listen. For a company that takes much of its identity from its distinctive growl, it’s surprising to hear that they’re veering away from the loud n’ dirty Harley vibe.
Released in 2019, Harley-Davidson’s Livewire has 105 hp, 86 lb-ft of torque, hits 0-60 in a flat 3 seconds. It also boasts a top speed of 110 mph and a maximum range of approximately 146 city miles. In addition, it is outfitted with some impressive tech.
The Livewire systems use electronic brake control, chassis control, and powertrain tech to assist with acceleration and braking. Also, the permanent magnet electric motor can produce 100% of its torque instantly, which gives the Livewire its bracing acceleration. It offers seven Ride Modes to let you dial in your riding experience by adjusting the power, regeneration, throttle response, and traction control. The four preprogrammed modes are sport, road, range, and rain, plus three customizable modes. Prices start at $29,799.
- Range: 146 miles
- Top Speed: 110 mph
- Weight: 549 lbs
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose an Electric Motorcycle
The first thing you need to decide is how you plan to use your electric motorcycle. For daily commuters, a hundred-plus mile battery range isn’t necessary. But if you’re planning on touring across the country, you’re going to want a longer range. If you’re more of an adventure rider or track racer, higher power, torque, and speed will be a factor.
Once you’ve figured out the above, it’s time to dial in your range. If you want to use your bike primarily as a daily commuter, sub-100 miles per charge should be plenty. If you want your bike to be your road-tripping machine, shoot for higher mileage per charge.
Power, Torque, and Speed
These three factors will determine the “wow” factor of your ride. On electric bikes, power is usually listed in kilowatts. To determine a bike’s horsepower, multiply the kilowatts by 1.34. As far as torque, the higher the torque, the faster the acceleration. Speed is self-explanatory. Usually determined by the power and weight of the bike, decide how fast you want to go, then choose accordingly.
It doesn’t matter how awesome your ride is if it’s plugged in most of the time. Most bikes will charge to at least 80% in a few hours, and many will be fully charged in 13-16 hours at the lowest charge setting. This means you can plug it in at the end of the day and your bike should be good to go by morning.
Weight, Seat Height, Position
This is common to every motorcycle, electric or not, but still worth considering. Make sure the bike isn’t too heavy for you to handle, and that the seat height and riding position fits your preferences. Smaller people should opt for small motorcycles and vice versa.