WHAT ABOUT THE MOTORCYCLES?

You know, the other type of e-bike

Since EBA’s inception, we’ve covered electric motorcycles along with electric bicycles because, to us, they’re all referred to as “bikes.” Oh yeah, they’re also really, really fun to ride. Zero Motorcycles was the first e-moto brand, and in their tire tracks there have been others who have not stood the test of time. Luckily, there are plenty of other brands coming out with electric motorcycles or already producing them, like Harley-Davidson’s offshoot, the LiveWire. Electric motorcycles are easier for a beginner to ride, as there is no clutch and no gears. Just twist and go. But a word to the wise beginner: until you’ve grown accustomed to the power curve, it’s best to leave the bike in Eco mode to start, because some of these bikes have eye-popping amounts of torque that can be a shock to the system. 

KTM FREERIDE E-XC

We first rode the KTM Freeride E-XC when it launched a couple of years ago. It’s a very capable bike, similar to a 250cc dirt bike, but it accelerates much faster. It’s very strange to be riding in the dirt with almost no sound. At first we worried about going around blind corners in the woods when dozens of other journalists were also riding the same bike. You get used to it. The battery is good for about 45 minutes of all-out riding  and is swappable—even easier to swap than the older model.

Price: $10,699

Motor: 9kW brushless mid-mount

Battery: KTM 3.9 kWh, removable 

Torque: 31 lb-ft

Range: Up to 11.5 miles

Weight: 203.5 lb. 

www.ktm.com 

SUR-RON X

Sur-Ron is under the Ninebot umbrella, like sister company Segway. It’s interesting that they called this model the X, as that is exactly what the original Zero motorcycle was called circa 2008. And spec for spec, this matches it in almost every way but one—price. The Zero X price was around $11,000, and Sur-Ron’s is well less than half that. Adjusted for inflation, it’s even more affordable. 

Price: $4200

Motor: Sur-Ron 3 kW (6 kW peak)

Battery: 1920Wh

Torque: 26.1 lb-ft

Range: 20-60 miles 

Weight: 104 lb. 

www.sur-ronusa.com 

DAMON HYPERSPORT HS

Damon’s claim of the bike having a 200-mile range with 200 horsepower and a 200-mph top speed seems incredible. They also tout some high-tech safety features, like a camera looking 360 degrees around the bike to warn you of potential threats from cars and other obstacles. They claim it can actually track up to 64 objects at a time, analyze their next move, and warn you with an LED light bar and grip vibrations. You can switch riding positions on the fly, from aggressive to more upright. They also have a reverse-charge feature, where you can use the bike’s battery to power your house during an electrical outage. Too good to be true?! So far, we haven’t seen one in person and are unsure if they are delivering orders yet.

Price: $25,000

Motor: Damon Hyperdrive

Battery: Damon, 20 kWh

Torque: 173 lb-ft

Range: 200 miles

Weight: N/A

www.damon.com

HARLEY-DAVIDSON LIVEWIRE ONE

Harley-Davidson’s first electric motorcycle has now been spun off as its own independent brand. That move from Harley was smart, which, like their e-bike sibling, the Serial 1, it allows them to operate nimbly like a startup without being encumbered by the 118-year-old corporate bureaucracy yet still having full access to the iconic brand’s assets and seasoned engineers. Best of all, doing so dropped the price by almost $10,000. The H-D LiveWire we tested has only been updated in the colors available.

Price: $21,999

Motor: Harley-Davidson Revelation

Battery: 15.4 kWh

Torque: 84 lb-ft

Range: 110–146 miles

Weight: 562 lb.

www.livewire.com

ONYX RCR

We weren’t sure whether this should go in the mini-bike section or here in the motorcycle section. It does come with optional turn signals. It will depend on where you live as to whether you can legally register this bike as a motorcycle or moped, because it has pedals. It’s stylish and small like a mini-bike, but it’s more powerful than most of those in that category. 

Price: $4099.99

Motor: 3000W rear hub motor

Battery: 1656 Wh

Torque: 134 lb-ft

Range: 75 miles

Weight: 145 lb.

www.onyxmotorbikes.com 

ENERGICA EGO

Energica was an early entry into the “Superbike” category of e-moto bikes, and the Ego is a great performance bike from the Italian maker. The beautifully designed and fabricated bike looks fast even when it’s sitting still. There are several choices of the Ego and other models available as well. Even the base model is aimed at superbikes. There’s a lot of technology in this bike, down to the way throttle response is handled to go with traction control and power delivery, sampling these 100 times per second. There’s even a slow reverse mode to help park your bike.

Price: $25,000 

Motor: EMCE hybrid synchronous motor

Battery: 13.4 kWh

Torque: 148 lb-ft

Range: 153 miles 

Weight: 580 lb.

www.energicamotor.com 

SEGWAY X260

If the Segway X260 looks a lot like the Sur-Ron X, there’s a reason. Segway took the X and re-engineered some parts and put in a more powerful motor. We’ve reviewed this one, and it’s so much fun in the dirt. It tops out at 47 mph. There’s also an X160 version that’s lighter with less range, with a lower max speed of 40 mph. Both models offer swappable batteries.

Price: $4999

Motor: 5 kW

Battery: 1920 Wh

Torque: 184.3 lb-ft

Range: 74 miles

Weight: 121.3 lb.

www.segway.com 

KOLLTER ES1-S PRO

Kollter is a German electric motorcycle company that’s just come to the U.S. We had a chance to ride one, imported by Sierra Electric Cycles. It’s a dual-sport sized bike, really light weight at 276 pounds and, with its gentle acceleration curves, it is quite possibly the best motorcycle (electric or ICE) out there for beginners. There’s no clutch or gears, it’s very easy to maneuver, can go up to 72 mph, and it’s just plain fun to ride. At the base price, it comes with one battery, but for $900 extra, you can run with two batteries for a combined total of 4.6 kWh. They’re also removable, so you can carry them inside to recharge. 

Price: $5990

Motor: 11 kWh

Battery: Single or dual 2.3 kWh

Torque: 30 lb-ft

Range: 80 miles

Weight: 276 lb.

www.kollterus.com 

STARK VARG

The latest high-profile entry into the e-moto world comes from a Swedish/Spanish collaboration producing a new motocross-specific bike called the Stark Varg. Claiming a capacity of over 80 horsepower, the Varg was launched just this past winter and was designed to outperform all the latest 450cc four-stroke motocross bikes currently on the market. The company is based in Sweden with a production facility in Barcelona, and they’ve hired former world champion Sebastian Tortelli to help develop the bike.  

Price: $11,900

Motor: Stark

Battery: 6 KWh

Torque: 692 lb-ft

Range: 45-minute moto

Weight: 245 lb.

www.starkfuture.com

CAKE KALK OR

The Cake Kalk looks unlike any motorcycle you’ve ever seen—simply, a marvel of design and engineering. As we’ve said, since bikes are electric, the rule book for design is out the window, and Cake has won several engineering and design awards with their bikes. There are three modes: Explore limits you to 28 mph and three to four hours of range. Excite gets you up to 55 mph and up to two hours of riding. Excel is “track and race mode,” allowing up to an hour at 55 mph. In our test ride, those figures actually seemed conservative. Despite original PR copy that used the word “motocross” to describe its use, unlike the Stark Varg, the Cake actually leans more to an off-road play bike.

Price: $13,000

Motor: Cake, 11kW

Battery: Cake, 2.6 kWh

Torque: 206.5 lb-ft

Range: 55 miles

Weight: 152 lb.

www.ridecake.com

ZERO SR/S

Zero was a pioneer brand in the e-moto world, and we can attest that their flagship bike offers a thrilling ride. We had one to test right when they came out, and it hasn’t changed other than the color choices. The base price is steep, they do have less expensive models, and you can add accessories from extra on-board chargers (faster charging) to more battery capacity to heated grips. It’s silent enough that you don’t hear the motor above 35 mph, just the sound of the wind around your helmet. We loved the handling and the acceleration.

Price: $19,995

Motor: Zero ZF75-10

Battery: ZF14.4 kWh

Torque: 140 lb-ft

Range: 156 miles 

Weight: 518 lb.

www.zeromotorcycles.com

damon hypersportDamon Motorcycleselectric motorcycleelectric motorcycle buyer's guidelivewire 1Segway X260sur ronZero Motorcycles