The first years to immediately follow the invention of the motorcycle saw an enormous slew of small companies and startups enter the space, with literally hundreds of different outfits all simultaneously trying their luck in the emerging motorized two-wheeler market. More than a century later, and history is now repeating itself as this dramatic influx of manufacturers is occurring once again as the EV sector rapidly expands, constituting what’s been dubbed the “Electric Revolution.”
Thanks to several key players like Zero and Energica consistently pushing the envelope over the last decade, the proton-powered moto space has evolved at a staggering rate. And with production costs finally starting to decline as performance and range have hugely improved, the market has recently been witness to an increasingly impressive array of production models across a myriad of genres and styles. For this reason, there’s never been a better time to consider going electric, and with more options available than ever before, now seems the perfect time to round up our picks for the best electric motorcycles currently on the market, shining a light on the finest EV motos that money can buy while also delving into what makes these battery-powered bikes unique and what to consider when shopping for one.
The 8 Main Areas That Make Electric Motorcycles Unique
When electric vehicles first rolled onto the scene, they were largely still novelties and their main selling point was undoubtedly their more environmentally-friendly nature. As time has gone on, however, both fully electric cars and fully electric motorcycles have experienced absolutely enormous technological and mechanical leaps and bounds. This has ultimately resulted in electric motorcycles that boast performance that’s on par with, if not objectively superior to that of their gas-engined counterparts, as well as a few other idiosyncratic traits that are largely unique to the battery-powered bike segment. Below, we’ll briefly touch on some of the factors and traits that make electric motorcycles unique.
Zero Emissions: Though performance and autonomy have massively improved, all-electric motorcycles remain completely devoid of emissions output, and as such are a much more sustainable, environmentally-friendly alternative to ICE bikes. Additionally, just like with electric cars, electric motorcycles can qualify their owners for tax rebates, use of HOV lanes, and other benefits, incentives, and perks.
Lack Of Noise: Alongside spent exhaust fumes, another thing that electric motorcycles are devoid of is sound. Aside from the somewhat quiet whirring of the electric motor and the sound of the two tires rolling across the tarmac, electric bikes don’t emit noise, offering a stark contrast to the roaring gas engines that power the majority of the bikes out on the road. This not only means your neighbors won’t hate you but also allows you to more readily connect with and appreciate your surroundings, letting you take further advantage of the completely unobstructed view of the road and your surroundings afforded in the saddle of a motorcycle.
Power Output & Deliver: Almost certainly the most distinctive and unique aspect that distinguishes electric motorcycles from traditional ICE models is power delivery. Unlike gas-engined motorbikes that deliver peak torque and horsepower at a certain point in the rev-range, electric motorcycles make 100% of their torque instantaneously at any time. What’s more, EV bikes don’t just deliver their torque instantly, but they deliver absolutely insane, unparalleled amounts of it, putting even the most high-performance gas-engined superbikes to shame.
Unique Designs: Without having to follow the design elements of traditional motorcycles which are at least partially dictated by the need for and presence of a gas tank and internal combustion engine, electric motorcycle designers are afforded markedly more freedom when penning electric bikes. As such, electric motorcycles can boast markedly more distinctive and unique designs and styles.
Twist-&-Go Throttles: While there is a growing handful of acceptions, the lion’s share of production gas-engined motorcycles come fitted with a manual transmission. The opposite is true with electric motorcycles, which, like most scooters, have automatic — or “twist-and-go”) throttles (or rather transmissions) that don’t require the rider to feather a clutch or punch through the gears — which is admittedly one of the more difficult and intimidating parts of first learning to ride. This ultimately makes electric motorcycles more accessible and conducive to new riders.
Raw Performance: On top of the gobs of torque afforded by two-wheeled EVs, electric bikes generally possess their own personality and performance. They accelerate insanely fast off-the-line and tend to exhibit a low center of gravity (typically due to the battery placement). There are electric motorcycles capable of cracking the 200mph barrier, though most electric bikes do sacrifice top speed in favor of acceleration. With that said, this can always be tweaked by changing the gearing.
Technology & Connectivity: Today’s electric motorcycles utilize state-of-the-art motors and ultra-advanced batteries with wildly impressive energy densities. Because they rely so heavily on other cutting-edge elements, EV moto makers tend to lean into the high-tech nature, being outfitted with connectivity to smartphone apps for monitoring a bike’s battery level or GPS location or downloading over-the-air firmware updates. In addition to offering multiple power modes, electric motors can also be tuned on the fly on the bike itself or through a connected smartphone app. Onboard vehicle diagnostics, digital geofencing, and automatic data-logging have also started to become increasingly common.
Reduced Maintenance: Without one or more pistons pumping up and down within a cylinder(s) and the rest of the accompanying internals that keep the engine ticking, electric motorcycles require substantially less maintenance and upkeep. There are some factors like dealing with brake fluid and tires that you’ll still have to do, but as a whole, EV ownership is markedly less involved than doing upkeep on a gas bike.
Heft & Autonomy
What Factors To Take Into Account When Shopping
Because electric bikes possess so many unique traits, the factors one should take into account when shopping also differ in some ways from the normal motorcycle-buying process. Throughout this next section, we’ll be expanding on the most crucial areas to consider when in the market for a new electric motorcycle.
Intended Use: No matter what kind of bike you’re considering, your first question should always be asking yourself what your intended use will be. If you plan on using a bike for short-distance commuting duties, you’ll likely be considering different machines than if you planned on spending most of your time in the saddle at the track, in the canyons, or long-distance touring — the latter of which is now possible thanks to an ever-growing EV charging infrastructure.
Weight: The battery packs on electric bikes have rapidly evolved, becoming increasingly potent and compact, though they unfortunately still weigh quite a bit, comprising a good chunk of the bike’s overall curb weight. And, while this weight is usually carried fairly low in the bike’s center-of-gravity, it’s nonetheless noticeable and is an area well-worth scrutinizing when reviewing a given model’s spec sheet.
Price: Electric motorcycles are quickly becoming more and more affordable, though they’re admittedly still more costly than ICE models. Luckily, prices are getting more competitive and you can now score a fantastic two-wheeled EV for less than five figures. There are also more premium, high-performance models that unsurprisingly, carry higher, more premium MSRPs. There’s nothing wrong with paying a lot, just be sure to consider the big picture of what all it is that you’re getting for your money.
Range: Just like with electric cars, range is one of the most commonly looked at specs. And, while range anxiety was once a realistic concern, today’s EV motos boast ranges of up to several hundred miles. There are also optional supplementary battery pack additions that can extend the range even further for some bikes. And, as controllers evolve and algorithms improve, many models offer the ability to receive firmware updates, allowing the bike to evolve and offer increasingly capable performance and range.
Charge Time: Just as important as an electric motorcycle’s battery’s range is its required charging time. This is another area that’s seen vast improvements in recent years, and complete charge times are now down to usually just a few hours (using a Fast Charger). The increasingly robust charging infrastructure has also made it easier than ever before to take on road trips and other long-distance travel with an electric.
Power & Performance: As one of its primary selling points, you’ll always want to check in on how much torque an electric motorcycle generates, as well as how much horsepower it puts down (though the latter figure will always be lesser remarkable). And it’s the incredible power output afforded by electric bikes that gives them lightning-fast 0-60mph times and at times even some noteworthy top speeds. Reviewing an electric motorcycle’s real-world performance abilities will give you a better sense of how its power output manifests itself.
Running Gear: Again, just like with regular gas-engined motos, proton-powered scoots can feature a wide range of running gear, from off-the-shelf budget-friendly offerings to top-of-the-line Swedish or Italian-made race-spec componentry. These factors directly determine handling and cornering, as well as stoping abilities, making it crucial to review parts like the fork, rear suspension setup, and front and aft braking hardware.
Technology: As previously mentioned, modern electric motorcycles are often brimming with cutting-edge technology. As such, if you’re shopping in this space, you’ll want to see if a model you’re thinking about possesses features such as geo-fencing capabilities, multiple power delivery modes, connectivity to smartphone apps for tuning and battery life monitoring, and so on.
Style: Though there are retro-inspired offerings, many of today’s electric moto manufacturers have opted to lean into the modern, cutting-edge nature of their two-wheeled wares with sleek, futuristic industrial designs. The point is, there’s a diverse array of different styles of genres of electric motorcycles currently in production, making it well worth your while to review all the available options before pulling the trigger on your purchase.
Don’t Let The Auto Throttle Fool You
Why New Riders Should Avoid High-Performance Electric Motorcycles
Without the robust security of a roll-cage, seat-belts, airbags, and crumple-zones, motorcycles are objectively more dangerous than cars, however, we’d still argue that motorcycles have an unfairly bad reputation for being more hazardous than they actually are because far too many riders start their motorcycling careers aboard bikes that are objectively too big and too powerful for their limited skill and experience level. Learning to drive behind the wheel of a high-performance car would be a bad idea, and doing the same thing on a motorcycle is no less ill-advised — something every motorcycle training instructor will tell you.
With even more torque — that’s instantly on tap — the larger, more high-performance electric motorcycles are a terrible choice for novice riders and should be avoided entirely if you don’t have several years of experience in the saddle under your belt. Without a displacement or number of cylinders, it’s hard to get a sense of an electric bike’s overall size (or what sized gas engined model it would be comparable to), though you can always reach out to dealers or manufacturers to ask. The good news is that there are electric motorcycle models to suit every rider’s skill level.
The 15 Best Electric Motorcycles
Now that you’re privy to what sets proton-powered bikes aside from their gas-powered counterparts and are armed with what areas to consider when shopping, let’s dive into our picks for the best electric motorcycles that are currently available for purchase or preproduction preorder.
Originally the name of a popular model from now-defunct Spanish marque, Bultaco, Pursang is a recently-revived motorcycle manufacturer that’s come out the gate swinging with a stylish high-performance EV that takes ample visual inspiration from dirt oval racers. Offering more than enough speed and range to take on daily commuting duties, the E-Track boasts carbon-fiber bodywork draped over a tubular Chromoly chassis and subframe, a 41mm USD fork, a TFT display and connectivity to the Bosch app, floating discs fore and aft, and a charge time of six hours.
Style: Street Tracker
Power: 14.75HP & 49.4FT-LBS
Top Speed: 75MPH
Range: 87 Miles
The latest two-wheeled venture from motorcycling icon, Erik Buell, FUELL is an EV startup producing electric bicycles and a high-performance motorcycle dubbed the Fllow. Just as advanced and innovative as Buell’s V-Twin-engined superbikes, the Fllow features a patented magnesium monocoque chassis that accommodates a 400V 10kWh Li-ION battery pack in a magnesium housing that can be completely recharged in just 30 minutes when using a (CCS Type 2) Supercharger. The Fllow is kicked along by a proprietary rear wheel-mounted motor that allows the bike to put down an absolutely ludicrous 553ft-lbs of torque.
Style: Futuristic Standard
Power: 48HP & 553FT-LBS
Top Speed: 85MPH
0-60MPH Time: 2.7 Seconds
Range: 150 Miles
The Kalk is the result of Swedish startup, Cake, setting out to create the ultimate, spare-no-expense, lightweight, high-performance electric dirtbike. And after the immense success of the original model, the Cake was prompted to roll out a fully-street-legal version of the two-wheeler known as the Kalk& which retains the wildly impressive performance prowess of the off-road-only Kalk, along with its top-shelf array of hardware and componentry including an extruded, forged, and CNC-machined 6061 aluminum chassis, premium Öhlins suspension front and back, and bespoke forged and machined wheels, just to name a few.
Power: 13.4HP & 186FT-LBS
Top Speed: 56MPH
0-60MPH Time: N/A
Range: 51 Miles
Trevor Motorcycles DTRe Stella
Constructed around a custom-designed frame from renowned Belgian custom bike builders, Workhorse Speedshop, the Trevor FTR Stella is an all-electric full-on,competition-grade flat track race bike that generates almost 200ft-lbs of instantly accessible torque at the rear wheel. Also offered in a road-going variant with headlights, indicators, a plate holder, and a front brake, the FTR Stella is comprised of some of the finest aftermarket parts available such as AFAM chain and sprockets, Haan wheels shod in Dunlop flat track tires, Öhlins suspension, Beringer brakes, and Domino bars.
Style: Flat Tracker
Power: & 192FT-LBS
Top Speed: 55MPH
0-60MPH Time: N/A
Range: 1.5 Hours
Cleveland Speedshop Falcon BLK
After spending a decade offering custom-inspired small-displacement bikes, Cleveland CycleWerks has released its first-ever EV model with its Falcon (now operating under the banner of Cleveland SpeedShop). Assembled by hand in Cleveland, Ohio, the 4.6kWh Falcon BLK is brimming with machined billet componentry — including the triple tree, rear-sets, and many of the cases and brackets — as well as a handful of 3D-printed parts, plus features a Pixy Power operating system that allows the BLK-spec Falcon to reach speeds of 85mph.
Style: Neo-Retro Standard
Power: 17.5HP & 29FT-LBS
Top Speed: 85MPH
0-60MPH Time: N/A
Range: 160 Miles (W/ Eco Mode, 100 Miles Normal Mode)
E-Racer Rugged eBike
The E-Racer RUGGED is a ridiculously hardwearing, military-grade recon bike that’s based on Zero’s already-capable FXS model. Tipping the scales at just under 300lbs, the bike features a custom structural aluminum square-stock chassis with integrated lift-hooks for heli-drops, custom kevlar and carbon fiber bodywork sprayed with ultra-rugged Line-X ballistic armor coating, a triple Poliessoidal LED headlight supplemented by 12 Eagle Eye LED perimeter lights and illuminated ‘Rugged’ badges, a Poly Chain HTD Carbon belt drive, a 3D-printed nylon and Alcantara MX-style seat, one-off Barkbusters, a skid-plate, and ballistic-taped Showa suspension that’s been paired with an AirTender kit.
Power: 46HP & 78FT-LBS
Top Speed: 85MPH
0-60MPH Time: 3.3 Seconds
Range: 100 Miles
Tactica T-Race M
Made by boutique Italian firm, Tactica, the T-RACE M is another ultra-high-performance electric dirtbike that’s been bestowed with a factory supermoto configuration with 17” wheels shod in sticky sweet rubber and tighter suspension. Sold with optional carbon fiber and Kevlar bodywork and produced with the choice of three motors (11, 27, & 34kW), the proton-powered motard packs a PMAC motor drawing from a 9kWh LI-PO Lithium Polymer battery and a single shell chrome-molybdenum frame paired with Mupo suspension and Brembo brakes fore and aft, though one of the hooligan machine’s biggest selling points is the fact that it’s equipped with a manual five-speed gearbox (operated via a hydraulic clutch with a Brembo master cylinder).
Power: Up To 45.6HP & 63FT-LBS
Top Speed: 105MPH
0-60MPH Time: N/A
Range: 70 Miles
First unveiled in early 2019, the SR/F represented a major step forward for Zero in terms of bot raw performance and aesthetic design. At the heart of the sport naked is Zero’s own in-house-developed ZF75-10 motor and ZF14.4 lithium-ion battery which are regulated via the California company’s CYPHER III proprietary operating system and allow the SR/F to afford some seriously impressive performance. Other noteworthy elements on the SR/F include a myriad of ride modes, a TFT display, Bosch’s Motorcycle Stability Control, and connectivity to a smartphone app to review performance metrics, battery info, bike status and alerts, and over-the-air system and firmware upgrades. Zero also produces this model in a fully-faired SR/S-spec.
Style: Sport Naked
Power: 110HP & 140FT-LBS
Top Speed: 124MPH
0-60MPH Time: 3.7 Seconds
Range: 200 Miles (W/ Optional Power Tank, 161 Miles W/O)
Damon Hypersport SX
Rather than focusing on the development of a powertrain, BC-based startup, Damon Motorcycles opted to utilize Zero’s cutting-edge motor and battery in order to put their resources into revolutionizing two-wheeled safety and connectivity. Outfitted with an array of high-definition cameras and AI-enabled 360°-scanning onboard smart sensors, the fledgling firm’s mid-tier SX model delivers remarkable performance capabilities in a decidedly sleek package that puts a modern spin on traditional superbike designs. The SX also boasts adjustable handlebar and rear-set positioning, allowing the rider to go from an upright stance to an aggressive fully-tucked rider triangle on the fly. Damon does offer a top-spec 200hp version of the bike (and a cheaper entry-level model), though dollar-for-dollar the SX is the best of the lot.
A thoroughly contemporary and top-shelf take on a cafe racer motorcycle with a sustainable twist, the Tarform Luna Racer beautifully blends technology with tradition. Built around a hand-fabricated trellis frame, the Luna Racer is fitted with bodywork made from a biodegradable flax seed weave-reinforced composite and recycled aluminum. In addition to premium ISR brakes and Öhlins suspension and 18” billet aluminum (or spoked) wheels, Tarform’s powertrain is comprised of a 41kw motor linked to a 10kwh battery pack with a 3.3kw on-board charger. A Bluetooth-connected 3.4” HD display, blindspot detection with haptic feedback, three ride modes, regenerative braking, keyless proximity ignition, and an 80° rearview camera are all standard fare, as well.
Style: Cafe Racer
Top Speed: 90MPH
0-60MPH Time: 3.8 Seconds
Range: 120 Miles
Energica EGO+ RS
Taking firsthand experience from acting as the sole bike supplier for the all-electric MotoE race series, Energica’s now offering an RS-spec of its already incredibly potent and razor-sharp EGO superbike, bestowing the Italian made EV with tweaks to the Vehicle Control Unit, a modified drive train, a lighter, newly designed 21.5 kWh lithium-ion battery with 62% more capacity, and new mapping and parameterization collectively unlock even better acceleration and top speed. Other noteworthy bits include six-level traction control, cruise control, four ride modes, top-of-the-line suspension, Bosch switchable ABS, Brembo brakes, a 4.3” TFT display with connectivity to the ENERGICA CONNECTED RIDE app, RS decals, and an optional replica MotoE “Sport Black” race livery.
Power: 145HP & 159FT-LBS
Top Speed: 150MPH
0-60MPH Time: 2.6 Seconds
Range: 250 City Miles (143 Combined)
The Verge TS is undoubtedly one of the most unique ebikes on the market, with a futuristic-looking hubless rear wheel configuration that packs an integrated rim motor generating an ungodly 737ft-lbs of torque. Equipped with Pirelli Diablo tires, Brembo brakes, and Ohlins suspension, the TS combines traits from streetfighters and cruisers with its sharp angular bodywork, aggressive lines, and noticeably low seat height. Offering up to 186 miles of autonomy on a single charge, the hyper-cruiser’s battery is on the heavy side, though a 15-minute charge affords more than 60 additional miles of range.
Power: 107HP & 737FT-LBS
Top Speed: 112MPH
0-60MPH Time: 3.9 Seconds
Range: 186 City Miles (125 Freeway Miles)
The Harley-Davidson Motor Company has increasingly been branching out into novel product spaces as of late with its line of electric bicycles, its first-ever adventure bike, and its fully electric street-fighter, the Livewire. Unlike Harley’s typical two-wheeled wares which are heavily rooted in tradition, the Livewire is a thoroughly modern affair, sporting a slew of premium running gear and a host of cutting-edge technology including connectivity to the Harley-Davidson smartphone app, the MoCo’s suite of Reflex Defensive Rider Systems, four standard modes (rain, range, road, sport), and a trio of modes that can be customized by the rider.
Style: Sport Naked
Power: 105HP & 86FT-LBS
Top Speed: 110MPH
0-60MPH Time: 3.1 Seconds
Range: 146 Miles
Named after its record-setting land-speed record of 218mph, the Lightning LS-218 represents the absolute pinnacle of two-wheeled EV performance — despite being more than half a decade old. Lightning’s high-performance superbike was also piloted to a new outright course record at the 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb where it utterly destroyed the previous record by an enormous margin. Unsurprisingly, the LS-218’s cutting-edge (and wildly potent) powertrain is matched by some equally impressive pieces of running gear, giving the machine cornering and stopping abilities that are on-par with its speed and acceleration. We should however note that there are rumors of some fishy behavior allegedly going on at the company, so we suggest doing some research on the brand before dropping nearly $40K on one of their bikes.
Power: 200HP & 168FT-LBS
Top Speed: 218MPH
0-60MPH Time: 2.2 Seconds
Range: Up To 180 Miles
Curtiss the ONE
From the team behind luxury marque, Confederate Motorcycles, Curtiss is a fledgling EV outfit that’s just as elite as its predecessor and boasts no-less innovative designs, as wonderfully evidenced by the company’s the ONE model. This rolling work of art features a wildly advanced aircraft-inspired Triple Load Path monocoque frame that utilizes a cantilevered bullet-shaped “Power Pak” battery pack setup as the structural backbone of the framework and has been outfitted with equally trick carbon fiber wheels, aluminum and carbon fiber girder-style front-end, an insanely elaborate rear-suspension and linkage setup, and a proprietary powertrain that is expected to eventually be able to achieve as much as 217hp and 272ft-lbs of torque.
Style: Neo-Retro Cruiser
Power: 120HP & 147FT-LBS
Top Speed: N/A
Range: 280 Miles
The 12 Best Motorcycles You Can Buy Off The Lot
Want to check out a selection of stellar late-model production bikes that aren’t limited to just electrics? Then cruise on over to our guide to the best motorcycles you can buy off the lot right now for a dozen of the finest late-model motos from entry-level ADV scoots to full-size superbikes.
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