No doubt you recently heard that Lightning Motorcycles plans to debut its new Strike model this March, and even though the only accompanying visual provided was of a pair of menacing upswept headlights, the news flooded the internet.

2020 LiveWire
The new Lightning Strike bests Harley-Davidson’s 2020 LiveWire on range and price, but that’s about all we know.Courtesy Harley-Davidson

It may have been the reassuring price tag that first reeled you in—$12,998 for a premium electric motorcycle that's clearly aimed at mainstream riders. In the context of Harley's nearly $30 grand LiveWire, the dent to your wallet seems almost negligible.

Hard on the heels of that announcement came word the California-based company would also be accepting reservations for the Lightning Strike. Apparently Lightning was inundated by a tsunami of customer requests after the initial news, so the firm decided to open up reservations and preorders to US customers just a few days ago, prior to the official launch.

Here’s what makes the new Strike so compelling (for now, anyway):

$12,998 price tag (for the standard Strike)

It’s not a fair comparison, but put this side by side with the $29,799 Harley-Davidson LiveWire and you see the problem. We’re assuming the Harley has a more premium build quality and finish, with higher-spec electronics (a full-color TFT dash and onboard Panasonic telematics module) and higher-end brakes and suspension. But we’ll see.

150-mile range/150-mph top speed

That’s nowhere near what Lightning’s LS-218 superbike can pull, but then the Strike also won’t have 200 hp and 168 pound-feet of torque. The specs as stated suggest the Strike battery may have close to 13 kWh of usable capacity. But will it be hot-swappable like Zero’s? And is the quoted 150-mph speed still achievable on the base model?

35-minute DC charge

Again, no specifics here. Does this DC fast charge apply to the standard model, or the up-spec Carbon version? Will base models have the capability, or can it only be gained with an option? A Level 2 charger will require more time, regardless.

Interested parties who want to reserve their spot in line can choose between two versions of the Lightning Strike electric. The Strike Carbon edition will be the first-in-production model, while the Strike standard will hit the production line after the Carbon.

  • The Strike standard's reservation can be had with a fully refundable $500 deposit, at a starting price of $12,998. The eBike can be configured with additional options.
  • The Strike Carbon edition's reservation requires you to dig a little deeper and plunk down a fully refundable $10,000 deposit. The Strike Carbon comes fully configured with every available option.

But even though you can preorder your Strike today, it doesn’t mean you know what you’ll be getting; Lightning Motorcycles is staying tight-lipped about other details until the official March launch. Reservation holders don’t know the price for the Carbon edition, or what options it’ll be configured with. They won’t know when they’ll receive it or even what it looks like.

But Lightning is betting that range and price will compare favorably to products from that other big-name eBike player in town, Zero Motorcycles. The Zero S (as configured with the ZF 14.4 battery option, but not the Power Tank) lists for $13,995 and gets a claimed 179 miles per charge in the city (and a top speed of 102 mph). The DS and range-topping DSR can be configured for much higher range and speeds, but they're also pricier. So much remains to be seen, especially since Zero will also be releasing a new model, the SR/F, next month.

Lightning Motorcycles
Lightning’s new Strike will be coming up against Zero’s much broader portfolio of products (Zero S shown), but the gauntlet has been thrown.Courtesy Zero Motorcycles

Lightning’s press release goes on to say that the new Strike “offers more design, performance, range and technology than any other electric motorcycle in its segment—without exception,” which has definitely whetted our appetite. Plus, we also heard that free shipping is included...