You knew this one was coming, didn’t you? All the signs were there. It’s getting dark pretty early, and the air is getting colder. For many, it’s time to put their bikes up for the season. For others, further south, it’s finally cool enough to start putting serious miles on them again. For nearly all motorcyclists, however, the winter is special for another reason: the new bikes are out! With new bikes come new lists. As such, it’s time for Enrg.io to put together our annual list of
the best fuel efficient motorcycles the best electric motorcycles you can buy this year!
That’s right, gang– after years of doing similar lists like this praising 100 MPG scooters and 60 MPG cruisers, there are finally enough kick-a** electric motorcycles on the market to make (what I think is) a comprehensive list of 2-wheelers that can definitely stir the soul, maybe save some money, and ever so slightly make you a better person. So with that, here are Enrg.io’s picks for the 7 best electric motorcycles you can buy in 2020!
Best Electric Mini Bike for Kids
Motorcycles are tricky things to introduce your kids to. Despite the fact that more women are riding motorcycles than ever these days, there’s still a feeling that a kid is going to have to “get past Mom” if they want to experience the rush of a motor-driven two wheeler. That might be changing, however. As modern parents look for ways to get young kids to get outside and enjoy nature as opposed to enjoying YouTube, many are finding that a kid-sized motorcycle is more than capable of holding a kids’ attention. But there are a lot of options out there, and it can be tough to navigate them all– unless, of course, your little one is dreaming of a Harley-Davidson.
Meet the Harley-Davidson IRONe. Developed by electric bike-maker Stacyc, the IRONe is the smallest bike to carry the storied Motor Company’s name. It’s worth noting, right off the bat, that Harley doesn’t sell the IRONe as a “motorcycle”, either. Rather, it’s being marketed as an “electric balance bike”, which is a distinction that carries some pretty significant financial benefits for would-be kids’ bike buyers (more on that in a moment) and one that can help to lower the “intimidation factor” for more reluctant or motorcycle-averse parents.
The best thing about the IRONe, though, is that it’s electric. That means it’s welcome on most of the bicycle trails you’ll find in and around major cities where gas-powered bikes usually aren’t. The same is true for public parks and even most sidewalks. Here in Chicago, for example, if you don’t own or have access to a large private yard, your kids’ riding is limited to special motocross parks. Special motocross parks that, to be clear, cost money. A lot of it.
Harley-Davidson IRONe Pit Bike at XGames
Check out the new Harley IRONe electric “balance” bike” (no expensive state license and title fees, natch) in action at last year’s Minneapolis XGames in this YouTube video, above. As you watch it, I think you’ll really get a sense of how quick they really are, and how much difference the rider can make on a bike like this– and, in case you didn’t catch the implications of the video, you can ride these little electric motorcycles– sorry, “balance bikes”– indoors, without choking out your kids and pets. It’s awesome!
Best Electric Scooter
I’ve written a number of posts about the battery-powered Vespa Elettrica by now, but motorcycles are tricky things. they’re like jeans or shoes in a way, in that the right choice for you may be made based on a physical quirk– “This rubs my pinky toe weird.”– as often as it’s based on anything else. It’s something like that pinky toe thing that keeps me coming back to the Vespa, however: it just looks right.
Sure, you could argue that what makes a scooter look good or bad is subjective. You’d be wrong, though, because the “Vespa” name has become synonymous with a certain type of vehicle. One that’s fun, light-hearted, and utterly capable– if not utterly dependable. And that’s what this one is. The 2020 Vespa Elettrica will go about 60 miles on a single charge. More than enough, in other words, to get you and your daily carry gear to and from work with hassle, no heartache, and no trouble … and it will look fantastic while doing so.
It’s a Vespa. A “real” Vespa– one that just so happens to be electric; and that’s the point.
Best Electric Dirt + Motocross Bike
KTM has been offering its Freeride off-roaders in Europe for several years, where they’ve enjoyed healthy success in the “not-quite-full-sized” segment of the bike market that they share with Honda’s 150R and … well, that’s about it. The difference, of course, is that the KTM is electric– but there are other electric bikes out there, so why is this one my pick? It’s simple, really. See, after a day of hard riding you can take your out-of-juice KTM Freeride power unit and swap it with a fresh one … in about two minutes.
There’s a few caveats to that, of course. The biggest one being that a second power unit will set you back a full $3600 (!), but Dirt Rider editor Allan Brown laid out a pretty strong case for ponying up for a second power unit. “That is not cheap,” he writes. “But, keep in mind (that) with this motorcycle, you will never need to spend any money on pistons, rings, clutch plates, air filters, a trick exhaust system, or a drop of gas. So take your annual cost of gas and maintenance for (your) gas engine, multiply that by three (since the power pack has a three-year warranty), and I am sure you would spend more than $3,600.”
This is a “7 Best” list, kiddos. Nobody said anything about “7 Cheapest”, so buy the ticket, and take the ride.
KTM Freeride E-XC | Video
Best Electric Adventure Motorcycle
The PR flacks over at Zero Motorcycles call their new DSR Black Forest the “most capable adventure-ready electric motorcycle on the planet.” The thing is, however, it’s not just PR fluff– this is a seriously capable, seriously quick, and seriously kitted-up machine that will look right at home in a lot full of Honda Africa Twins and BMW GS Adventure series machines. Just, you know, quieter.
The source of all that quiet motivation is the Black Forest’s electric motor that put out some 70 HP and 116 pound-feet of TQ. When equipped with the powerful ZF14.4 battery, that motor will push the Black Forest along for a claimed 157 miles worth of stop-and-go riding, or 60-65 miles on the highway, where the benefits of regenerative braking mostly vanish. If that’s not good enough, Zero offers the Charge Tank as a $2,495 option to speed up charge times and stretch your riding range even further. You also get the Black Forest-specific Black Effect paint, a full compliment of premium Givi aluminum hard bags, an adjustable, touring-style windscreen, a touring saddle, accessory bars, hand guards, off-road LED lights, and a headlight guard. And you get it all for just $18,995. (!)
Best Electric Standard Motorcycle
Any talk about “realness”, in the context of motorcycling, usually leads to talk about Harley-Davidson. That’s especially true whenever the Motor Company deviates from their traditional, air-cooled, V-Twin cruiser formula– and there has never been a deviation quite as dramatic as the Harley Livewire.
As I wrote last year, Harley put a ton of effort, energy, and existential fear behind making the production Livewire a success. And, for what it’s worth, that effort seems to have paid off, with fully half of the people walking into Chicago Harley-Davidson asking curious little questions about H-D’s EV. “Is it fast?” they ask, apparently having missed the electric drag racing revolution. “Isn’t it really expensive?” they ask, seemingly oblivious to the fact that– even at nearly $30,000– it’s not even close to being the most expensive Harley-Davidson on the floor. “Do you think they’ll sell?” they ask, more than once, even after we’ve explained that they’ve practically sold out of all 19 dealers in our network … and there’s a waiting list.
In short, the Livewire is doing its job by getting young, energetic people to talk about Harley-Davidson again, even as their core buyer group is
dying off aging out of the sport of motorcycling. And, frankly, that’s all it was ever really meant to do, real or not. The fact that it does so while rocketing to 60 MPH in about 3 seconds in almost complete silence is just icing on an already sexy, sexy cake.
Best Electric Streetfighter / Naked
When it was launched earlier this year, the new-for-2020 Zero Motorcycles SR/F was something of a statement piece. It’s the biggest, most expensive, and most powerful Zero to date, can be zapped up to 95% charge in just one hour, and up to 200 miles of (optional) riding range. Which– I mean, damn. Even if I am dating myself a bit by calling this ting a streetfighter, that’s a mic drop for electric motorcycles.
With an electric-quick sprint form 0-60 MPH, a top speed of about 124 MPH (200 kph), and a $20,995 price tag on the premium model that’s the one you want, it’s hard to imagine the Zero SR/F not being a winner. It’s probable worth noticing, too, that even if Zero’s SR/F isn’t the electric motorcycle that’s getting all the press’ attention these days, it probably is the one that should be!
Best Electric Race Replica + Sportbike
The inaugural season of MotoE electric motorcycle racing just wrapped up a few weeks ago in Valencia, Spain– and, at its heart, was the bike you see here. It’s called the Ego, and it’s built in Italy by a company called Energica, which starts off its introduction of this year’s Ego, the Ego +, with, “another giant step in EV technology thanks directly to our intensive MotoE™ race experience.” Bold words, those. And the bike doesn’t let the flack who wrote them down.
The Ego + boasts an electronically limited top speed of 150 MPH, along with a new, larger, 21.5 kW lithium ion battery derived from its race bikes. That battery pack delivers a claimed 62% improvement in energy capacity. That battery pushes an astonishing 159 pound-feet of TQ to the rear tire– a claim that, if true, would make the Ego + the most powerful production electric motorcycle on the market. Combine that with the fact that it’s currently the only dealer-ready production electric repli-racer you can buy today with genuine MotoGP cred, and the Ego making this list was a foregone conclusion.
If you want to tear up a racetrack on an electric machine, this is the one you want. Expect to pay around $25,000 when you get yours, and leave some extra ducets handy for a fresh set of track rubber and more aggressive pads, too. Ride fast your electric motorcycles fast, kids … and try not to die.
Original content from Enrg.io; all photos courtesy the manufacturer.