Street-legal electric motorcycle guide highlights:
- In 2022, only Zero, Cake, and Energica offer full lineups of street-legal electric motorcycles
- The 2022 LiveWire One isn’t branded as a Harley-Davidson, but it’s essentially an electric Harley
- It’s arguably a scooter, not a motorcycle, but the 2022 BMW CE 04 is an excellent choice for urban two-wheeled EV customers
Slowly but surely, electric power is coming to the motorcycle world. But you don’t have to wait for some startup to rev up production to get seat time on a two-wheeled EV. Some companies already have street-legal electric motorcycles you can ride straight out of the dealership. And because they’re automatic, there’s no need to worry about mastering a clutch lever. So, if you’re in the market for an electric 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|
|Motor||Liquid-cooled permanent-magnet AC|
|Battery capacity||15.4 kWh|
|Claimed maximum range||146 miles (city)|
95 miles (combined)
70 miles (highway)
|DC fast-charging time||0-80%: 40 minutes|
0-100%: 60 minutes
|Front suspension and travel||43mm fully-adjustable Showa SFF-BP inverted fork; 4.5”|
|Rear suspension and travel||Fully-adjustable Showa BFRC monoshock; 4.5”|
|Curb weight||562 lbs|
Technically, LiveWire is now a Harley-Davidson sub-brand. So, you won’t find a Bar and Shield decal on the One, which is currently LiveWire’s only electric motorcycle. However, the One is mechanically identical to the outgoing Harley-Davidson LiveWire, only significantly cheaper. And that means more people can experience its thrills.
Although you feel the One’s 562-lb curb weight while stationary, this electric motorcycle is easy to control at speed. Its upright riding position and mid controls are great for urban commuting and country road carving, as are the easy-to-modulate Brembo brakes. Also, with no clutch to regulate, the LiveWire One’s instant torque is even more giggle-inducing.
Admittedly, $22K is quite a lot for a motorcycle, though it’s on par with rivals like the Zero SR/F Premium. The SR/F is also noticeably lighter and sportier, though it’s slightly slower and has a shorter range. Nevertheless, even if you’re not a Harley-Davidson fan, the LiveWire One is a premium street-legal electric motorcycle worth checking out.
Whether you like carving city corners or slinging dirt, Zero has a bike for you
Speaking of the SR/F Premium, it’s just one of several bikes in Zero Motorcycles’ all-electric lineup. And while that lineup is split between ‘street’ and ‘dual sport’ models, all of Zero’s motorcycles are street-legal. Here’s how the split works out:
- Dual Sport
After over a decade in the electric motorcycle business, Zero made some updates for 2022. Firstly, the 2022 S, DS, and DSR have full-color TFT displays and new operating systems. Secondly, the new 2022 SR introduced optional larger-capacity battery packs, though you need an app to unlock the ‘true’ max capacity. And thirdly, it now has a supermoto electric motorcycle, the 2022 FXE.
Regardless of which Zero you get, though, you get features like a carbon-fiber drive belt, J. Juan brakes, Showa suspension, and additional adjustability via an app. You’ll need the optional Charge Tank to get Level 2 charging capability, though. However, this also makes Zero’s bikes cheaper. Although the full-fairing SR/S Premium sportbike starts at $22,695 before options, you can get a base FX for $9795.
In short, no matter your riding style or budget, Zero likely has a street-legal electric motorcycle for you.
Some Cake electric motorcycles are off-road-only, but it has street-legal bikes, too
If your riding needs include tailing would-be poachers on the African savanna, Cake has an electric dirt bike for you. But the Swedish brand makes street-legal machines, too. Some, like the Makka, are more ‘electric scooter/moped’ than ‘electric motorcycle.’ However, the dual-sport Kalk is a full-on motorcycle, as are some versions of the mini-bike-like Ösa.
If you mostly stick to urban environments, the 2022 Cake Ösa AP and Ösa+ are worth test-riding. They may only have 13 hp, but they weigh less than 200 pounds even with their 2.5-kWh battery packs. The modest capacity only gives them 52 miles of range in mixed-city riding, but the packs are removable. And the Ösa AP’s and Ösa+’s modular designs make it easy to install accessories like luggage racks, baskets, and even onboard converters for power tools.
But if you need even more capability, Cake now offers the $11,000 9-hp Ösa flex: work and $12,500 15-hp Ösa+: work. At 212 and 216 pounds, respectively, they’re heavier than the AP and regular Ösa+. However, they have 3.75-kWh packs, giving them 87 and 78 miles of range, respectively. Plus, additional built-in cargo capacity and power outlets as well as chain drives instead of belt ones. In addition, these street-legal electric motorcycles have accessory trailers—as in, trailers they can tow.
If, on the other hand, you like to venture beyond the city’s paved streets, consider the $14,500 Kalk& or $12,000 Kalk Ink&. They ‘only’ have 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&, but it also has Ohlins suspension.
As of 2022, Energica is your only choice for an Italian street-legal electric motorcycle
Although Ducati is supplying MotoE for the next few years, it doesn’t have a street-legal electric motorcycle yet. However, MotoE’s previous supplier, fellow Italian brand Energica, does. Just like Zero, its entire lineup 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, Cycle World says.
That bike is the Energica Ego+, and for 2022 its liquid-cooled hybrid synchronous motor is lighter and more powerful. The Ego+ now makes up to 169 hp (147 hp continuous) and weighs in at 573 pounds. Plus, thanks to its 21.5-kWh (18.9-kWh usable) battery pack, it has a maximum city range of 261 miles and can recharge from 0-80% in 40 minutes on a DC fast charger. And this all comes in a trellis frame package with fully-adjustable Marzocchi forks, Brembo brakes, traction control, cruise control, and a full-color TFT display.
Considering its specs and $25,600 starting price, 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+, albeit detuned to 109 hp. However, it makes almost as much torque: 148 lb-ft vs. 159 lb-ft for the Ego+. Also, 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 EsseEsse9+’s upright position and luggage-carrying capabilities. So, you get Ego+ performance with more practicality and comfort, as well as a slightly lower price. For 2022, the Eva Ribelle starts at $23,800.
The electric 2022 BMW CE 04 doesn’t have as much speed, but it has plenty of practical urban style
|2022 BMW CE 04|
|Motor||Liquid-cooled permanent-magnet synchronous motor|
|Battery capacity||8.9 kWh (gross)|
8.5 kWh (usable)
|Claimed maximum range||80 miles (WLTP testing cycle)|
|Charging 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 travel||Telescopic forks; 3.9”|
|Rear suspension and travel||Preload-adjustable monoshock; 3.6”|
|Seat height||Standard seat: 30.7”|
Optional comfort seat: 31.5”
|Curb weight||509 lbs|
Technically, BMW calls the 2022 CE 04 an electric scooter. However, Cycle World notes that some states consider it a full motorcycle, not a scooter. Also, with 42 hp on tap, it’s significantly more powerful than an electric Vespa, which is a proper scooter. So, we’ve included it here.
Once you get past the semantics, it’s clear that there’s a lot of substance behind the 2022 BMW CE 04’s style. No, it doesn’t have fully-adjustable suspension, but it does have a 10.3” full-color TFT display with navigation, traction control, regenerative braking, and optional heated grips. But it doesn’t need fancy suspension to be comfortable and easy to ride, especially around crowded cities, Roadshow reports. And its brakes are strong even before the regen kicks in.
Furthermore, it has two lockable storage compartments: one for a helmet, and another ventilated one with a USB-C outlet. Plus, its electric powertrain is basically a scaled-down version of what BMW’s i-Series models use. And it has optional heated seats. It’s not really a street-legal electric motorcycle for highways, but it makes a lot of sense on crowded city streets.
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