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The 10 Best Electric Motorcycles Worth Throwing a Leg Over

Sep 12, 2023Sep 12, 2023

Whether you're already a motorcycle owner, or about to be one, don't overlook buying an electric motorcycle. These top two-wheeled picks pack in the thrills and all the amenities.

There are plenty of benefits to riding an electric motorcycle. Thanks to the use of modern motor technology, electric bikes enjoy the benefits of instant power, thrilling acceleration, and hair-raising performance.

And since many motorcyclists ride their bikes in pursuit of high speeds and two-wheeled excitement, electric motorcycles appeal to a wide range of riders, both current and new motorcyclists alike.

Although electric motorcycles are not quite the environmental halo we may like to hope for, as they still have an impact, they are definitely the future. Cleaner air and less noise are big plusses, and gas motos aren't as green as you might imagine, even when compared to automobiles.

Even the racing world sees the electric value. Supporting the MotoGP since 2019, the MotoE World Championship is a racing class that uses only electric motorcycles. That shows 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 probably will too.

At the moment, the industry has two kinds of electric motorbikes for adults: the smaller pedal-assist style and more heavy-duty e-motos 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 clued in about the state of the industry (who the big names are, what models they have, and what the regular price for one of them is), then this article should help you brush up. Electric motorcycles are here to stay.

Let's take a serious look at the best electric motorcycles that have been released so far. Here are some of our favorites worth considering.

The Zero DSR/X has some endearing features for beginner to intermediate off-road riders. For example, its high-tech data monitoring utility promotes rider control by measuring dynamics during braking and acceleration.

The bike comes with Linked Braking, which corrects tire slippage, and Vehicle Hold, which prevents roll-back on steeper inclines. It's also claimed as the first bike to get Bosch Offroad Motorcycle Stability Control. It has an upright stance and high clearance for off-road comfort. What's not beginner-friendly is the bike's weight, coming in at 544 pounds.

Zero's software, Cypherill+, offers turn-by-turn navigation and battery capacity info. The bike's strong off-road components include almost 7.5 inches of Showa suspension travel and seat heights from 31.7 inches to 34.1 inches. The DSR/X has 166 pound-feet of torque and 100 horsepower.

Road legal, you ask? Not quite, but this awesome e-moto wasn't built for the roads. This is the KTM Freeride E-XC — the first electric KTM to arrive in the U.S. And because 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 a fast charging time. Take it out for 90 minutes of hard riding, recharge it to full capacity in 110 minutes, and head out again. In essence, it's a great electric bike that off-road and dirt riders can enjoy.

Powered by a lightweight 260V, 3.9kWh lithium-ion battery pack, the Freeride EX-C is a small motorcycle capable of a power output of 24.5 horsepower and 31 pound-feet of torque and enjoys decent enough speeds for real off-road thrashing.

The E-XC does not 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 — 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 this e-moto should be your electric bike weapon of choice.

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 featuring sharp angles and futuristic styling and has the performance to match. The electric motor boasts 150 horsepower and approximately 148 pound-feet of torque. It 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 573 pounds, but that's the nature of electric bikes.

Its charge time of 3.5 hours is 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.

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 it's veering away from the loud n’ dirty Harley vibe.

Released in 2019, Harley-Davidson's LiveWire has 105 horsepower and 86 pound-feet of torque, and it hits 0-60 in 3 seconds. It also claims 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% instant torque, which gives the LiveWire its bracing acceleration.

The bike 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.

This is also a similar version of the bikes Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman rode in the "Long Way Up" documentary, (those bikes were adapted for adventure riding) supported by Rivian R1T electric trucks.

The Zero SR is the all-around utility tool. It's not the fastest nor 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 you’ve probably heard of and can trust. And then there's the matter of performance, boasting roughly 70 horsepower and 122 pound-feet 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 I’m quite into the Zero SR.

For an electric bike, it has serious range. But what's more, it can be fully charged in 3 hours, making it a genuinely practical electric motorcycle option. It might be a little on the vanilla side to look at, and, yes, it's a plain Jane, but that never stopped the likes of the Suzuki SV or Kawasaki ER from becoming bestsellers, did it?

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.

This bike shoots out the equivalent of 200 horsepower and a mammoth 168 pound-feet of torque, and it achieves 0-60 mph in an insane 2 seconds. It's all wrapped in a package weighing 495 pounds.

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?

It's expensive, but it should be since it's seriously fast. In fact, it's quite affordable for the fastest electric motorcycle out there. They have yet to be delivered to customers, so only time will tell if this bike lives up to expectations.

Revealed at the end of 2021, Stark Future created this race-specific electric motocross bike. The Stark Varg ("strong wolf" in Swedish) is understated in appearance. But look closely and you’ll see how it stands out. The main control unit is powered by an Android phone, and a mere seven bolts hold the footpegs, brake pedal, and bodywork in place.

With ample out-of-the-gate power, where this bike shines is the mid- to top-end power. Former MX World Champion and head tester, Sebastian Tortelli, says the bike will go for 35 minutes at full throttle.

The Varg's stand also doubles as a charging station. This e-moto seems to be a combination of all the best qualities on all the best motocross bikes.

The Stark Varg gives you 80 horsepower (Alpha model), 691 pound-feet of torque, over 100 ride modes, and up to 6 hours of ride time on full charge (1-2 hours).

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 it has a few models on offer, I’m going to recommend its T-Cruise electric bike, because we haven't got many cruiser-styled motorcycles on its roster.

This bike is powered by an electric asynchronous three-phase induction motor capable of 14.7-59 horsepower and 44.2-72.7 pound-feet of torque, a range of 70 to 130 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 7 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.

Claimed to be "coming in Q3 2023," we still don't see the Italian Volt Lacama. So, why did I include it here? 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's known: the Lacama will be available in five different bodywork styles. It will have a top speed of 111 mph and a maximum range of 124 miles, and it can be recharged to 80% in 40 minutes.

It will also be compatible with a wide range of charging systems. The Lacama is not the fastest, can't go the furthest, and weighs in at 540 pounds. But 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.

This electric motorcycle isn't available in the U.S. yet, but I did find some vague information here for 2024. It's worth keeping an eye on. The Emflux One is made by Indian startup Emflux Motors, and it promises to be a sub-$10K electric bike. It also calls itself India's first superbike, and I 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 horsepower, 62 pound-feet of torque, a top speed of around 125 mph, and a 0-60 time of 3 seconds. Not bad at all!

On top of that, Emflux has equipped its Emflux One with an air-cooled Samsung battery pack that delivers a maximum range of approximately 125 miles. That might not sound like much, but Emflux says the battery unit can be charged to 80% in a mere 36 minutes, and to a full 100% in 3 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 features regenerative braking. If it comes to U.S. shores with a final price under $10,000, I’m definitely getting one.

The first thing you need to decide is how you plan to use your electric motorcycle. For daily commuters, a 100-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.

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 goes, 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, and 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.

This is common to every motorcycle, electric or not, but is 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 for taller people.

It varies by state, but it can depend on the type of electric vehicle you ride. For instance, in California, you don't need a license to operate a scooter or motorized bicycle, but you do need a license to operate a moped or electric motorcycle. Check the specific requirements where you live to make sure you’re riding legally.

There is a wide range of companies that make electric motorcycles. Quite a few specialize in electric vehicles, but there are bigger brands that offer electric motorcycles as well, including Harley-Davidson and Honda.

Electric motorcycles can vary wildly in terms of range. Much of it depends on the bike's weight and the capacity of the battery. Some models have a range of 50-60 miles, while others get closer to the 300-mile range.

New electric motorcycles might be filled with cutting-edge equipment, but they’re actually reasonably priced considering the technology they use. For example, the Zero FX dirt bike model retails for around $13,990, which is actually quite reasonable for the performance it delivers. Similarly, the KTM Freeride E-XC's price tag of $8,299 is cheap for the package that's on offer.

Almost all electric motorcycles are automatic because electric motors can provide power directly to the wheels without the need for a gearbox. However, some manufacturers such as Tacita have been developing electric motorcycles with manual transmissions to make their motorcycles more familiar to traditional riders.

Electric motorcycles are just as safe as gasoline-powered motorcycles. The major concerns that road users have is their quieter nature and almost unbridled power delivery. They are quieter, but they’re not silent and you can hear them coming. As for the power delivery, most electric motorcycles have mode selects that keep power in check, making them safer to operate.

Looking for an adventure motorcycle? Here's our list of 18 of the best Adventure motorcycles for 2023. Read more…

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