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Electric motorcycle models add the eco-friendly appeal of an EV to the thrill of riding a motorcycle. However, many riders reject the very prospect of an electric motorcycle citing things like short-range and quiet operation. Still, riders shouldn’t dismiss the EV motorcycles until they take one or two for a ride– especially urban riders. 

An electric motorcycle could be a fun, eco-friendly way for urban commuters to do their riding

“I’d rather give up riding than ride an EV bike.” “Loud pipes save lives.” I’ve heard plenty of tired arguments from riders dismissing the validity of an electric motorcycle. And, frankly, there’s merit to some of the old guard’s reasoning. After all, some of Energica’s longer-legged motorcycles will top out at around 160 miles of combined city and highway riding. 

That’s a far cry from doing the Iron Butt ride (typically 1,000 miles in 24 hours). Even with access to DC fast charging, the LiveWire One, an EV bike from Harley-Davidson’s high-voltage subbrand, will deliver just 70 miles of highway range, per the marque’s page. At that rate, and with a 100% recharge in 60 minutes using DC fast charging, you might have to stop 15 times to cover 1,000 miles.

A rider takes a corner on his Harley-Davidson LiveWire.
A Harley-Davidson LiveWire | Harley-Davidson

However, while EV bikes like the LiveWire One and Zero SR/S lack the iconic rumble of a Harley-Davidson V-twin or an MV Agusta F4’s orchestral inline-four, the electric motorcycles make up for it in a different capacity. Most notably, EV bikes on the higher-performance side deliver instant, wheelie-inducing torque. Sure, you won’t get the same musical accompaniment, but you’ll get the thrust-happy ride you want.

Incidentally, bikes like the Harley-Davidson LiveWire don’t feature an engine or exhaust note, but they do have what Richard Hammond would describe as “a whole different set of sounds” to love. In the case of the LiveWire, it’s a distinctive whirring like something out of science fiction. So, sure, no engine music, but plenty of punchy performance and enough range to get urban riders where they need to go.