It seems inevitable that Electric motorcycles will be the bikes of the future. The UK Government has already pledged to eliminate the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 and although two-wheel machines are not yet included in that, it seems unlikely they will remain unaffected for long.
As of 2020 there are already quite a few great electric motorcycles available, with new advances and improvements happening every year, so in this blog we are going to look at some of the very best electric bikes on sale right now and some of the benefits to owning one. If you are more interested in electric mopeds and scooters, we already have a list for those.
The benefits of an electric motorcycle
When it comes to electric bikes there are of course pros and cons, as with anything. I think really there are two main downsides to consider here, firstly the upfront costs. Electric motorcycles are not cheap, and it can be a large investment compared to equivalent specced petrol machines. The second downside is the performance. This is something that is constantly improving, and you can definitely find electric motorcycles that offer thrilling high-performance rides now, but they don't quite match up to the top of the range petrol alternatives... yet.
Now let's look at some of the positives. Of course, reducing your carbon footprint is a healthy incentive on its own, but if we keep things strictly practical, there are plenty of advantages to making the switch.
After an initially steep investment (bear in mind some models are now eligible for a Government grant that can reduce the purchase price by up to £1,500 - but only on selected models, so make sure you do your research on electric motorcycle Government grants) the cost of running and maintaining an electric bike is a lot less. There are no petrol costs for a start, but on top of that maintenance of the bike is a lot simpler too. There is no oil to change, no air filters or spark plugs and in most cases no gearbox or clutch. In the long term you may end up actually saving money as a result.
The reduction in components and parts to worry about also means these machines are easier to store. If you find yourself putting your bike away for the winter, or just riding for pleasure at the weekends, it's a lot easier to store a bike when the only concern is charging it up when you're ready to ride.
Due to the nature of these bikes there is also usually a lot more control over the way they perform, often with apps or advanced rider modes that can let you create a more custom ride experience. If you want to learn more about some of the pros and cons of electric bikes you can check out one of our electric motorcycle benefits article.
8 of the best electric motorcycles
Now let's take a look at 8 of the best electric motorcycles currently in showrooms in 2020. As usual, I'm going to try and cover as wide a range as possible so there will be options here for youngsters just getting started to veterans looking for a premium performance motorcycle. There will also be some solid, easily accessible options that make excellent alternatives to public transport!
Harley Davidson LiveWire
The brand-new LiveWire from Harley Davidson came as a huge surprise. Famed for their stripped-down no-nonsense cruisers, I don't think anybody suspected Harley would be the first major manufacturer to bring out a mass production electric motorcycle. But that is exactly what they have done and it's pretty impressive!
For starters, like most bikes Harley design, the LiveWire looks drop dead gorgeous. Unlike their usual cruisers however, this is more like a modern super naked with an aggressive stance and a 114mph top speed. The electric engine puts out 105hp and thanks to the instant power delivery, it can do 0-60mph in just 3 seconds.
The battery can cover around 100 miles on a full charge but obviously, if you are making full use of this motorcycle's impressive performance, it is going to drain the battery faster. Fortunately, thanks to the LiveWire's quick charge mode, it can be fully charged in just 1 hour which is really impressive. Still, it does mean that like most electric bikes, this one really shines in urban areas. Fast acceleration with a super easy twist and go automatic gear system, this bike will make mincemeat out of your city commutes and do it in style.
It isn't all roses however, as again like most of the advanced electric bikes available currently, there is a heavy initial price and in the LiveWire's case, it's just under 30 grand (£28,995 starting price). If you have the money, this is certainly a beautiful machine with a high fun factor and packed with all the high-quality components you could ask for. Brembo brakes, Showa suspension, ride modes (including fully customisable ones!), GPS tracking system, switchable traction control and Bosch ABS.
|Battery||15.5 kWh Rechargeable Energy Storage System|
|Range||158km/98-mile minimum range|
|Charge Time||DC Fast Charge Mode: 0-80% in 40 minutes. 0-100% in 60 minutes|
The Zero SR/F marked something of a shift in the way we perceived electric motorcycles when it arrived last year. This was a naked bike that had real comparable performance to its petrol-powered rivals.
As of 2020 the Zero SR/F remains a top contender among electric motorcycles, offering a true premium naked bike alternative. The electric motor can produce 110hp with impressive acceleration, especially in the mid-ranges, all the way to its top speed of 124mph. Nobody can accuse modern electric bikes of being slow anymore.
Zero call the SR/F ''the world's first fully smart motorcycle'' thanks to its Cypher III state of the art dash and app. Bike status and location are always available, as well as a host of other ride data including speed, lean angle, power and energy used and regenerated.
On top of that, similar to the other premium motorcycles on this list, nothing but top-quality components can be found here. The SR/F utilises Bosch's MSC system to provide ABS, cornering control, traction control and drag torque control. Thanks to a new lightweight frame, Zero have managed to get the weight down to 220 kilos which is pretty good for an electric motorcycle too.
The only downsides to this bike are the charge range and price tag. The standard edition starts at £19,495 with a premium version available for an extra 2k. Zero say you can get 160 miles out of a full charge with city riding, which is pretty great, but if you want to hit the open road and take full advantage of the bike's impressive performance it will be more like 80. On the upside, the battery can be fully charged in 1.8 hours with the rapid charge option.
|Battery||14.4 kWh Z-Force Li-Ion intelligent integrated|
|Range||161 miles city/99 miles highway|
|Charge Time||Rapid Charge Mode: 0-80% in 1.3 hours. 0-100% in 1.8 hours|
The Energica Ego is a fully fledged electric superbike complete with gorgeous visuals and formidable high performance.
The initial price to obtain one of these beasts seems pretty high (with the Government's plug-in grant you're looking in the region of £23,000) but when you consider the running cost is around 1p per mile, over time you may end up saving money against its petrol powered rivals.
The stats on the Ego are very impressive with its 145hp and 159 ft lb of torque being instantly available. Thanks to the way electronic motors work, this thing is ready to move the moment you turn the throttle and can reach top speeds of 150mph. One downside compared to its counterparts, however, is the considerable bulk. With a 250-kilo kerb weight, that is quite a bit heavier than the usual superbike. The Ego still handles superbly despite the extra weight, but you will notice it at low speeds. Thankfully recognising this, Energica have actually included a reverse gear for a bit of added manoeuvrability.
The Ego comes with all the cutting edge features you would want from a bike of this calibre - traction control, cruise control, multiple ride modes, Brembo brakes, switchable Bosch ABS, adjustable suspension and more. Being electric there is also a full colour TFT dash with integrated GPS that can guide you to the nearest charging station as well as providing a host of other info.
Speaking of charge, this bike can cover around 100 miles on a single charge and if you fork out for the upgraded Ego+ model you get 62% increased capacity on top. According to Energica, no electric motorcycle has a longer range or charges as quickly.
|Motor||Permanent Magnet AC, Oil Cooled|
|Battery||Max 13.4 kWh/Nominal 11.7 kWh - lithium polymer|
|Range||City: 200 km, Combined: 160 km, Extra Urban: 130 km|
|Charge Time||DC Fast Charge Mode 4: 400 km/h or 6,7 km/min; Slow Charge Mode 2 or 3: 65,5 km/h|
The SR/S is Zero's latest offering, being brand new for 2020, and is their first fully faired motorcycle. Despite its looks, the SR/S isn't actually a super sport but more like a sports tourer, going for practicality rather than all out performance.
This bike uses all the same technology as the SR/F so obviously, it still does have some impressive performance with its 110hp engine and 124 mph maximum speed. The addition of the fairing isn't just for show however, as Zero claim the increased aerodynamics actually result in a 13% increase in efficiency and range while highway riding. The fact that it also looks lovely is just a bonus.
As expected with a Zero bike, everything is premium here including the Bosch MSC system providing ABS, traction, and torque control. There is also the Cypher III operating system providing details on every aspect of your bike - from status and location to lean angles and energy usage.
The additional fairing and modified riding stance result in a £19,590 starting price, around £100 extra compared to the SR/F, which considering the improvements to ergonomics, comfort and even a very slight performance increase, is pretty good.
The initial prices are still on the high side, as with any premium electric motorcycle, but Zero do offer real alternatives to engine powered bikes with excellent performance, and as far as range and usability goes, the 161 city riding range on less than a 2 hour charge is pretty impressive.
|Battery||14.4 kWh Z-Force Li-Ion intelligent integrated|
|Range||161 miles city/99 miles highway|
|Charge Time||Rapid Charge mode: 0-80% in 1.3 hours. 0-100% in 1.8 hours|
WK E Colt
Not every modern electric bike is an expensive technological marvel, there are also some budget options available these days and even some 50cc equivalent electric mopeds that can be ridden on a CBT like this one.
The WK E Colt can be bought brand new for under 2 grand (£1899 +OTR to be precise) and as an inner-city commuter, is a very cost-effective option. You can expect similar performance to a 50cc moped with a top speed of 28mph. The battery can be fully charged in 7.5 hours and will do around 60km. It's certainly not a bike you're going touring on but like I said, as an inner city commuter this little bike can get the job done with no fuel or maintenance costs and you can leap straight on it with a CBT.
|Motor||DC BRUSHLESS HUB 1500W|
|Battery||LITHIUM ION RECHARGEABLE - 72V|
|Range||60 km/37 miles|
|Charge Time||7.5 hours|
Super Soco TC MAX
The next of our budget and very accessible models is the Super Soco TC MAX, a 125cc equivalent motorcycle that can be ridden by anyone aged 17 or over with just a CBT.
It is a little bit more expensive compared to the WK but does have quite a few extra features going for it and still has a pretty reasonable price of £4,249 (considering the Government grant available).
The TC MAX has a range of up to 60 miles or 96km and can be fully charged in 7 hours. The latest 2020 version can achieve speeds of up to 60mph which realistically is everything you would need on an urban commute. In a recent BikeMatters road test review of the Super Soco TC Max, Alex couldn't have been more impressed by "how responsive the 5kW (3.5kW continuous) motor is at low speeds or by the amount of torque it puts out!"
The TC MAX provides you with all the same benefits of extremely low running costs and easy maintenance. It features a handy little app that can track the bike's location and run diagnostics to check for any potential faults.
One final thing I will say for the Super Soco TC MAX is that it has a very nice visual design. You could definitely be proud running around on this little bike with its clean futuristic styling.
|Battery||Lithium Battery (pouch cell) - 72V|
|Range||96 km/60 miles|
|Charge Time||7-8 hours|
The Horwin CR6 is another great 125cc alternative that actually feels more like a large motorcycle thanks to its sleek design and instant power delivery. The CR6 is able to reach 37mph in 6 seconds which, as is often the case with electric motorcycles, makes it another ideal city commuter.
If you are aged 17 or older, you can ride one of these with a CBT and enjoy a very comfortable and efficient commute for the cost of £5,260 brand new. The CR6 is eligible for the government's low emission grant so you can save another 20% too, and as we have already seen, the maintenance and running costs are minimal with electric bikes so, this really is one of the most cost effective and easily accessible ways to get on two wheels.
The CR6 looks great with a lovely retro-modern aesthetic, has a maximum speed of 57 mph, can cover around 70 miles on a full battery and recharges in 3 hours. There is also the CR6 Pro version available, for roughly £1400 extra, but it does offer a more traditional riding experience as it features a manual 5-speed gearbox. It also ups the max speed to 65 mph and slightly increases the power output to 14.7hp.
|Motor||Electric centre motor permanent magnet synchronous motors|
|Charge Time||0-80% in 3 hours|
The artisan EVO is the last of our A1, 125cc equivalent electric motorcycles on the list. Once again, it's a very accessible machine that can be ridden with a CBT (for ages 17+) and at £3,152 brand new (including grant), it's also a very affordable option - especially when you consider the ways electric motorcycles can save money in the long run (no tax and 1p per mile running costs).
The EVO goes for a sporty naked style and actually has a surprising amount of options from custom leather seats to adjustable rear suspension. Like a lot of electric bikes, it can be hard to figure out how their performance stats on paper will transfer into the real world. This is a good example of a pleasant surprise, the EVO's 4hp output is hardly impressive but thanks to the electric motor's instant torque delivery, it actually has some decent acceleration and can hit top speeds of 50mph which is great for moving through traffic in urban areas.
At such a low-price brand new, you will be making some sacrifices and most noticeable is the 50-mile range and 6-hour charge time. That means longer journeys are probably out of the question but, if you are looking to use this bike as a cost-effective run-around or city commuter, it will be absolutely fine and one of the cheapest ways to do it.
|Motor||3000w Electric mid-mount motor|
|Battery||EVO 72v 30ah Lithium|
|Charge Time||0-100% in 6 hours|
So there you have it! Our pick of the most positively attracted electric motorcycles for 2021, whats your favourite? Makes sure to let us know in the comments or on social media.
Don’t forget here at Lexham we offer competitive insurance quotes on most electric motorbikes – so if you are looking for Electric Moped & Motorcycle Insurance make sure to get a quote with us direct for our best deal!