Street-legal electric motorcycle guide highlights:
- In 2022, only Zero, Cake and Energica offer full lines of street-legal electric motorcycles
- The 2022 LiveWire One isn’t branded as a Harley-Davidson, but it’s basically an electric Harley
- It’s arguably a scooter, not a motorcycle, but the 2022 BMW CE 04 is a great choice for two-wheeled urban customers.
Slowly but surely electricity is coming to the motorcycle world. But you don’t have to wait for a boot to ramp up production to get seat time on a two-wheeled electric vehicle. Some companies already have road-legal electric motorcycles that you can drive right from the dealership. And because they’re automatic, there’s no need to worry about mastering a clutch lever. So if you’re looking for an e-bike, here’s what’s on offer in 2022.
It doesn’t have a Harley badge, but the 2022 LiveWire One is Harley-Davidson’s street-legal electric motorcycle
|2022 LiveWire One|
|Engine||Liquid-cooled permanent magnet AC|
|Claimed maximum range||146 miles (city)
95 miles (combined)
70 miles (highway)
|DC fast charging time||0-80%: 40 mins
0-100%: 60 mins
|Front suspension and wheel travel||43mm fully adjustable Showa SFF-BP inverted fork; 4.5″|
|Rear suspension and wheel travel||Fully adjustable Showa BFRC monoshock; 4.5″|
|Unloaded weight||562 pounds|
Technically, LiveWire is now a Harley-Davidson sub-brand. So you won’t find a Bar and Shield sticker on the One, which is currently LiveWire’s only electric motorcycle. However, the One is mechanically identical to the outgoing Harley-Davidson LiveWire, but significantly cheaper. And that means more people can experience its thrills.
Although you feel the One’s 562lb curb weight when stationary, this electric motorcycle is easy to control at high speeds. Its upright riding position and mid-mounted controls are ideal for city commuting and country roads, as are the easy-to-modulate Brembo brakes. Plus, with no clutch to regulate, the LiveWire One’s instant torque is even more exciting.
Granted, $22,000 is a lot for a bike, even if it’s on par with rivals like the Zero SR/F Premium. The SR/F is also noticeably lighter and sportier, although it is slightly slower and has a shorter range. Still, even if you’re not a Harley-Davidson fan, the LiveWire One is a premium electric motorcycle worth checking out.
Whether you like to carve the corners of the city or eject dirt, Zero has a bike for you
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Speaking of the SR/F Premium, it’s just one of many motorcycles in Zero Motorcycles’ all-electric lineup. And although this range is divided between “street” and “dual sport” models, all of Zero’s bikes are street-legal. Here’s how the split works:
After more than a decade in the electric motorcycle business, Zero has made some updates for 2022. First, the 2022 S, DS and DSR have color TFT displays and new operating systems. Second, the new 2022 SR has introduced optional higher capacity batteries, although you’ll need an app to unlock the ‘true’ maximum capacity. And third, it now has a supermoto electric motorcycle, the 2022 FXE.
Whichever Zero you get, however, you get features like a carbon fiber drive belt, J. Juan brakes, Showa suspension, and additional tuning via an app. You will, however, need the optional cargo tank to get Tier 2 cargo capability. However, this also makes Zero’s bikes cheaper. Although the full-fairing SR/S Premium sport bike starts at $22,695 before options, you can get a base FX for $9795.
In short, no matter your riding style or budget, Zero probably has a street-legal electric motorcycle for you.
Some Cake electric motorcycles are off-road only, but there are also street-legal bikes
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If your riding needs include chasing would-be poachers on the African savannah, Cake has an electric dirt bike for you. But the Swedish brand also manufactures street-legal machines. Some, like the Makka, are more “electric scooters/mopeds” than “electric motorcycles”. However, the dual-sport Kalk is a full-fledged motorcycle, as are some versions of the Ösa mini-bike.
If you stick mostly to urban environments, the Cake Ösa AP and Ösa+ 2022 are worth testing out. They may only have 13 hp, but they weigh less than 200 pounds, even with their 2.5 kWh batteries. The modest capacity only gives them 52 miles of range in mixed city driving, but the packs are removable. And the modular designs of the Ösa AP and Ösa+ make it easy to fit accessories like racks, baskets and even built-in converters for power tools.
But if you need even more capability, Cake now offers the flex Ösa 9hp at $11,000:work and Ösa+ 15hp at $12,500:work. At 212 and 216 pounds, respectively, they’re heavier than the regular AP and Ösa+. However, they have 3.75kWh packs, giving them 87 and 78 miles of range respectively. Plus, additional cargo capacity and built-in power outlets as well as chain drives instead of belt ones. Additionally, these street-legal electric motorcycles have accessory trailers, like trailers that they can tow.
If, on the other hand, you like to venture beyond the cobblestone streets of the city, consider the $14,500 Kalk& or the $12,000 Kalk Ink&. They have “only” 13 hp, but they weigh even less than the Ösa models and offer long-travel suspension as well as removable batteries and chain drives. And not only does the Kalk& weigh slightly less than the Ink&, it also has Ohlins suspension.
From 2022, Energica is your only choice for a street-legal Italian electric motorcycle
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Although Ducati will supply MotoE for the next few years, it does not yet have a road-legal electric motorcycle. However, former MotoE supplier Italian brand Energica does. Much like Zero, its entire range is electric. And while Energica doesn’t have dual-sport bikes, it does make one of the best automatic and electric superbikes on sale today, bike world said.
That bike is the Energica Ego+, and for 2022 its liquid-cooled hybrid synchronous motor is lighter and more powerful. The Ego+ now produces up to 169 hp (147 continuous hp) and weighs 573 pounds. Plus, thanks to its 21.5kWh battery (18.9kWh usable), it has a maximum city range of 261 miles and can charge from 0-80% in 40 minutes on a DC fast charger. And it all comes in a trellis frame package with fully adjustable Marzocchi forks, Brembo brakes, traction control, cruise control and a color TFT display.
Given its specs and starting price of $25,600, the 2022 Ego+ isn’t for everyone. But Energica also offers the 2022 Eva EsseEsse9+. It has the same battery and electric motor as the Ego+, but detuned to 109hp. However, it produces almost as much torque: 148 lb-ft versus 159 lb-ft for the Ego+. Additionally, the EsseEsse9+ weighs 564 pounds, has an upright riding position, and starts at $22,850.
But if you want a street-legal electric streetfighter motorcycle, Energica has the 2022 Eva Ribelle. It’s basically a naked version of the Ego+ with the upright stance and luggage-carrying capabilities of the EsseEsse9+ . So you get the Ego+ performance with more practicality and comfort, plus a slightly lower price. For 2022, the Eva Ribelle starts at $23,800.
The electric 2022 BMW CE 04 doesn’t have quite as much speed, but it has a lot of practical urban style
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|BMW CE 04 2022|
|Engine||Liquid-cooled permanent magnet synchronous motor|
|Battery capacity||8.9 kWh (gross)
8.5 kWh (usable)
|Claimed maximum range||80 miles (WLTP test cycle)|
|Loading time||Standard charger: 3.5 hours (0-80%), 4.33 hours (0-100%)
Optional quick charger: 1.1 hours (0-80%), 1.67 hours (0-100%)
|Front suspension and wheel travel||telescopic forks; 3.9″|
|Rear suspension and wheel travel||Preload-adjustable monoshock; 3.6″|
|Seat height||Standard seat: 30.7″
Optional comfort seat: 31.5″
|Unloaded weight||509 pounds|
Technically, BMW calls the 2022 CE 04 an electric scooter. However, bike world note that some states consider it a complete motorcycle, not a scooter. Plus, with 42 hp on tap, it’s significantly more powerful than an electric Vespa, which is a real scooter. So we’ve included it here.
Once you get past the semantics, it’s clear there’s a lot of substance behind the styling of the 2022 BMW CE 04. No, it doesn’t have fully adjustable suspension, but it does have a color TFT display of 10.3-inch with available navigation, traction control, regenerative braking and heated grips. But it doesn’t need fancy suspension to be comfortable and easy to drive, especially in crowded cities, presentation tour reports. And its brakes are strong before the regeneration even kicks in.
In addition, it has two lockable storage compartments: one for a helmet, and another ventilated with a USB-C socket. Plus, its electric powertrain is essentially a scaled-down version of what BMW’s i-Series models use. And it has optional heated seats. It’s not really a highway-legal electric motorcycle, but it makes a lot of sense on crowded city streets.
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