Electric motorcycles are the latest innovation from the industry. Instant torque and improving ranges are propelling manufacturers. Check out our reviews at Cycle World.
Electric motorcycles represent the motorcycle industry’s ability to listen to what consumers want and start to develop products around those wants. Electric car manufacturers, like Tesla, have seen an explosion in popularity for electric automobiles, and the motorcycle industry has seen this carry over into its segment as well.
Electric motorcycle manufacturers have been pushing the limits on their bikes, increasing their ranges while also increasing their power output. As electric-only motorcycle manufacturers continue to squeeze what they can out of these bikes, the Big Four manufacturers have also started to eye electric motorcycle technology. Honda is starting to tease its CR Electric Prototype and Harley-Davidson has been amping up its LiveWire model for its 2020 release.
It is only a matter of time before the largest motorcycle manufacturers start making electric motorcycle models, either original bikes or based off of existing models. A Ducati E-Panigale or Yamaha YZF-E, can you imagine it?
Electric motorcycles are still new to the market, with only a handful of manufacturers producing electric-only bikes. So when we get our hands on an electric motorcycle to review, we are ecstatic. Using our first ride reviews as a baseline of what to expect from the electric motorcycle, we wait until we get our hands on the model to really get into it. Since electric motorcycles are so new, they continue to update and refresh every year or two, with new models being released by Zero and Harley-Davidson for 2019 and 2020.
Leading the US electric motorcycle market, Zero motorcycles offers the widest range of electric bikes to choose from. With two naked sport options, a dual sport, a supermoto, and a dirt-focused model to choose from, Zero has cornered the market. Other manufacturers like Energica and Lightning offer faired, sportbike models, with Energica offering its standard Eva EsseEsse9, the streetfighter Eva 107, and the sportbike Ego.
The larger motorcycle manufacturers are a little late getting to the electric motorcycle market. Harley-Davidson has resurrected the LiveWire, planning to launch it in 2020, Ducati offers an electric mountain bicycle, the Ducati MIG-RR, and Honda has an electric dirt bike prototype. Vespa released its Electtrica for 2019, an electric version of the company’s popular scooter line, and KTM has the Freeride E-XC NG, an electric dirt bike.
Zero has shown the industry what it takes to be a successful electric motorcycle manufacturer, and only now are the major manufacturers trying to get in on it.
Electric motorcycles tout their ability to be more green by not consuming fossil fuels directly and being more user-friendly because of a lack of gearbox. Another selling point of electric bikes is that they are virtually maintenance-free compared to an internal combustion engine motorcycle. If you’re in the market for an electric bike, these are probably the features that sold you. So what else should you look for before you buy the best electric motorcycle?
Find an electric motorcycle that’s within your budget. The battery technology on these motorcycles are proprietary, so that means these motorcycles are not cheap. If you can afford to upgrade the battery to the largest capacity, then you should. This will reduce the number of times that you fully deplete the battery, thus extending its life. Also, if you want an electric motorcycle with a large dealer network, your options are fairly limited.
Do you live in a home or near an electric vehicle charging station? If so, you will be able to charge your electric motorcycle faster compared to charging off of a 120-volt outlet. How do you plan on riding the motorcycle? If you only expect to go to the grocery store and back, you might not need a 500-pound electric motorcycle with a range of 120 plus miles.
The best electric motorcycle is the one that you enjoy the most, so make sure to stay up to date with electric motorcycles with Cycle World.
As one of the newer segments to the industry, electric motorcycles are experiencing a tremendous amount of growth in a short amount of time. As electric motorcycle battery technology becomes more refined and their ranges keeping improving, the future looks bright for electric motorcycles.
The road to success is paved with failure, and electric bikes have experienced great losses. Mission Motors was the first casualty in 2015. Polaris shut down Victory Motorcycles, which made the Empulse TT. Alta Motors shuttered at the end of 2018 and the Harley-Davidson LiveWire looked like it was just a concept bike, and not a production model, because of a lack of production updates released.
Fear of no juice, paranoia of no power, whatever you want to call it, the proper name of the scourge of the electric motorcycle industry is range anxiety. Every naysayer of electric bikes brings up the range, and in some cases, it is warranted, but you get what you pay for. With the availability of charging stations growing and the ability to charge off a standard 120-volt outlet, range anxiety is becoming less and less of a problem.
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