According to Michael Partridge’s “Motorcycle Pioneers,” electric motorcycle development harkens back to the 19th century. During the days when moving mechanical vehicles were first being engineered, bicycle manufacturer Humber showed off an electric tandem bicycle at the 1896 Stanley Cycle Show in London. Like most internal combustion engine designs decades later, the motor sat between the bike’s wheels and ran via storage batteries. Over a century later, these battery-powered beasts are rechargeable, capable of achieving high speeds, and eat up sharp curves.
Today, the EV motorcycle market is large enough to label it ubiquitous. Makers from tiny Swedish startups like Cake Kalk to the massive Harley-Davidson have embraced electric motorcycles for adults. These producers are putting out styles that appeal to any and all bike enthusiasts, from naked street racers to big ol’ hog cruisers. The electro-curious can be assured accessibility at any two-wheeled EV level with prices from $5,000 to above $100,000. With estimated ranges from 50 to 200 miles, these rides will get you where you need to go on whatever bike style gets your motor revvin’.
The potential for powerful motors that tap pure adrenaline is available in the Energica EGO. The original flossy electric road bike encapsulates the pep and panache that describes road racers, minus the hazardous carbon dioxide.
Considered one of the best electric sports bikes since it debuted in 2013, Energica writes that the EGO began its life as a pro racing bike and has taken home several victories, including the 2010 European Championship. While Energica’s electric racing circuit impact continues, its engineering spawned a beefy consumer model. This begins with a massive battery that boasts an incredible 261-mile range. Thanks to an upgraded electric motor in the 2022 model, Energica claims that this already-impressive distance has increased by 10%. With a motor that can reach 150 miles per hour, you can get where you’re going fast while striping the road with the EGO’s slick, tricolor paint scheme. $19,500 estimated MSRP.
If it’s the classic fat, stocky road bike that you’re looking for, Harley-Davidson nails it with the LiveWire. First rolled off lines in 2019, Electrek reported that LiveWire experienced so much success that Harley spun the production into a separate, publicly-traded brand in 2021.
This ambitious, still-mean vision of the open road flashes a classic Harley orange “fuel tank” and headlight guard atop an athletic matte black and gray frame. These motorcycles don’t growl like their gas cousins, but they provide 100 horses and 84 pounds-feet of torque — similar to Harley’s ICE bikes, but with an even quicker takeoff. There’s no need to rev to uncork instant electric power via the LiveWire’s 15.5 kilowatt-hour battery that can launch the machine from 0 to 60 in three seconds. The LiveWire also comes installed with a lightning-quick 40-minute charge from dead to 80% full. This bike can get you an abundant 146 miles per charge with city driving and 95 miles when cruising through country roads. $30,000 estimated MSRP.
If your headlights are pointing toward adventure, the latest Zero DSR/X is your machine. This luxury off-roader will take on mud, sand, and more to whatever overland destination might lie ahead. The most up-to-date ride from California-based Zero Motorcycles will cost you, but that’s to be expected when the company has dedicated more than 100,000 hours to carving this machine since 2018, according to Gear Patrol.
A bike with snarl is what’s expected of an ADV crawling across all sorts of wilds, and that’s what Zero delivers with the DSR/X. A new motor, the Z-Force 75-10X, ratchets the ride up to 100 horsepower and 166 pounds-feet of torque — enough growl to take on any imposing obstacle (per Motorcycle.com). The DSR/X also features the new Z-Force, 17 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion power pack with a mean range of 111 miles — 85 highway and 180 city. $25,000 estimated MSRP.
Trevor DTRe Stella
The beauty of the emerging electric motorbike market is that its innovative output arises from racing laps and riding dirt tracks. Trevor’s DTRe Stella, for example, is hand-built in Belgium to deliver dirty rides with clean energy. This dirt bike is a nod to the purity of its breed: minimalist, lightweight, and shock-absorbent. Trevor weighs the Stella in at a light 223 pounds. Pushing about 191 pounds-feet of torque is a bit less than you’d desire at 100 horsepower, but the Stella achieves a flat, balanced ride off of the asphalt. Its 3 kilowatt-hour charger has a reasonable reach of up 62 miles and charges from zero to 100 in 70 minutes, according to Trevor.
Trevor Motorcycles only has off-road versions for order right now, but the company is jumping through regulatory hoops to make the DTRe Stella legal on regulated roads in the next few months (per Electric Cycle Rider). For now, this bike is strictly for off-road use in the U.S., and that ain’t a bad thing. The ride arrives at a reasonable price point for a premium bike. $13,000 estimated MSRP.
The Curtiss One has the elements of a classic cruiser — low seat, long reach, the look of a beast — yet its electric elements allow for an idiosyncratic, new interpretation of what a motorcycle can be. The Curtiss One looks like it belongs in a Batman film — all noir, art-deco metal arches splaying out in an homage to humanity’s creativity, recalling a time before efficiency ruled the day.
The Louisiana-based bike designer named the motorcycle in honor of racer Glen Curtiss, “The Fastest Man on Earth.” From 1907 to 1936, he held the land speed record with his
Roman numerals are apropos for this traitor to old-school choppers. The Brutus may not roar like its progenitors, but motor shoppers searching for a classic cruiser should check in on the V9. Brutus weighs in at a whopping 784 pounds and ticks off all the best old-school boxes: A wraparound winged fender, a waving tail feather rear end bookending chrome handlebars, pipes, and starred-spokes.
With no combustion rattling this hoofless carriage, the V9 only kicks out only 88 horsepower and 92 pounds-feet of torque (Brutus specs). This churns out a top-end 115 miles per hour, and the 33.7 kilowatt hour battery earns one of the longest ranges in the EV market — a 280-mile range on a single charge. The Brutus V9 is built for tearing up cross-country asphalt. $32,000 estimated MSRP.
Johammer J1 200
Designed for the fashionable urbanist, the quirky Johammer J1 200 sports a Jetsons-like futuristic look. This off-beat, alien design from Austrian makers reflects applying a forward-thinking interior artistry as well.
On its site, Johammer describes its ambition to engineer a balanced, streamlined, and comfortable electric transport. With no need for a large engine in its center, the bike has its electric motor and controller situated in the rear wheel. With its top speed of 76 miles per hour, though, this won’t slow anyone down. The result is distributed weight for an elegantly stable and functional ride that’s easy to handle, approaching the Platonic ideal for a commuter motorcycle.
These advancements extend to the 12.7 kilowatt hour battery pack that can cruise up to 200 miles on a single charge that requires about three-and-a-half hours. Batteries are installed alongside shock absorbers inside the top of a torsion-resistant aluminum main frame for a super-stable ride. Straddling the fender is another next-gen perk — a high-resolution digital display embedded in side mirrors provide center console data like miles per hour and battery life. Instead of making you look down, these only require a quick glance. $25,000 estimated MSRP.
Super Soco TC
Motorcycle Classics defines a café racer as British bikes that were and remain popular for quick bursts from one coffee café to the next. Austere in style, the spartan 1960s look has endured decades of change to remain in fashion. Now we get to experience the café racer of the future: The electric Super Soco TC.
With performance similar to a 125 CC dirt bike, the Super Soco is perfect for urban hops at almost no cost for fueling or maintenance. The bike comes in classic café style — a brown, woven bench seat, low-mounted handlebars, and minimal mudguards. A dark green “engine cover” houses one battery with room for an extra. Though it’s meant for speedy trips, the Vmoto Soco Group asserts that the Super Soco TC can reach 75 miles per hour with a range of 60 miles from its single 2.7 kilowatt hour battery pack. Its classic looks receive 21st century updates like a half-digital instrument panel, LED lights, an anti-theft alarm, and keyless ignition. Best of all, this efficient motorbike won’t break the bank with an estimated MSRP of $3,200.
Like other EVs across the country, electric motorbikes are growing more complex in look and more common on the road. Whether it’s a trip along that endless asphalt highway, a dip into wilder country, or a simple clip around the city, electric motorbike manufacturers have you and a more sustainable future in mind.