In a livestream presentation, buried somewhere behind an unnecessary meta-verse introduction, awkward audio issues, and a skatepark-themed setting that made me expect Steve Buscemi to show up and ask “ How do you do, fellow kids?,” BMW introduced a new urban electric motorcycle that actually looks like a fun ride.
Just because the candidates for Best Electric Bike this year are rather sparse doesn’t mean there isn’t a motorcycle worthy of an award. Energica’s new Experia certainly appears to be worthy of consideration, but as we mentioned in our opening page, a model needs to be available in dealers by the time of our posting. The Experia is not. This leaves one really excellent motorcycle left to choose. It would be hard not to recognize the Zero DSR/X in the Best Electric category after basically calling it the best motorcycle Zero has made so far. If you look at where Zero started – as essentially a glorified mountain bike – to where the company is now, and in a relatively short amount of time, the DSR/X is very impressive. In a way, you could say the DSR/X is the ultimate evolution of that original glorified mountain bike. Built to capitalize on the ADV craze sweeping the industry, it certainly is the most capable Zero so far.
While many riders think of MV Agusta as solely being focused on high performance motorcycles, a quick look through the internet time machine will reveal MV scooters in the 1950s. A closer inspection will reveal a family resemblance to the 2023 MV Agusta Ampelio unveiled today in Milan. Drawing on inspiration from the CGT and Ovunque scooters of the past, MV had Russian designer Maksim Ponomarev interpret the 70 year old models with a modern flair, and once viewed by MV Agusta CEO Timur Sardarov, the project was undertaken.
After teasing us in March, Bombardier Recreational Products officially revealed its first two Can-Am electric motorcycles, the Pulse roadster and the Origin dual-sport. Both models were presented as prototypes, meaning they are very close to what will eventually be the final product, which will enter production in the summer of 2024.
Earlier this year, Kawasaki revealed its first electric two-wheeler, but a lot of people were disappointed when they realized it was a kids’ balance bike called the Elektrode. Those hoping for an electric streetbike from Kawasaki won’t have to wait too much longer, as we can confirm two new models will be coming to the U.S. for the 2023 model year.
Lightning Motorcycles has filed designs for an electric adventure bike. The designs, filed with China’s intellectual property office, reveal a motorcycle with the typical ADV accoutrements, and an electric motor and swingarm design that look similar to those of Lightning’s Strike sportbike.
BMW released its second electric scooter earlier this year in the CE 04, and has made clear it plans to produce more electric two-wheelers in the near future. Oliver Zipse, chairman of the board of management for BMW AG, recently went as far as to say BMW Motorrad will introduce a new electric two-wheeler every 18 to 24 months, with the next model coming in 2023.
We’ve been waiting for news of a model from Zero called the DSR/X for nearly two years now. Despite trademark filings and vehicle identification filings, however, there’s been no indication from the Santa Cruz electric motorcycle brand about the mysterious model.
LiveWire officially revealed its new S2 Del Mar, the brand’s second electric motorcycle and the first to use its new S2 Arrow architecture. Pre-orders for the Launch Edition model are now open, with an MSRP of $17,699 with deliveries to begin in Spring 2023. A full production run will also begin in 2023, with LiveWire targeting an MSRP of $15,000. (UPDATE: Reservations for all 100 units of the Launch Edition got scooped up within 18 minutes of the pre-order window opening.)
Bombardier Recreational Products announced Can-Am is returning to the motorcycle business with a new range of electric two-wheelers. A teaser video suggests at least four different models are in the works, with BRP expecting to reveal the full lineup in mid-2024.
Harley-Davidson delivered its Q4 2021 earnings report this morning, providing a look at how the first year of its Hardwire plan fared. We’ll have more on that in a separate post (spoiler: H-D did very well), but for now, we’ll focus on one interesting portion of the earnings call: an update on the separate LiveWire brand.
At the beginning of this month, Kawasaki Heavy Industries officially spun off its motorcycle and engine business into a separate company. The move was supposed to give the newly formed Kawasaki Motors, Ltd., greater autonomy and flexibility in decision making. Well, it didn’t take long to demonstrate those benefits, as Kawasaki Motors held a presentation on the company’s future, including an ambitious plan to become carbon neutral, with a slate of new electric, hybrid and even hydrogen-powered models in the works.
BMW debuted a new electric two-wheeler concept it hopes to be an urban commuter for today’s youth. Specifically, the BMW Motorrad Concept CE 02 is designed for people 16 and over who are more familiar with smart technology than motorcycles. Think more Instagram than fuel injection and more TikTok than torque curves.
Harley-Davidson officially revealed the LiveWire ONE, the first model from its recently-established standalone electric motorcycle brand. Apart from the lack of any Bar-and-Shield branding, the 2021 LiveWire ONE comes with some subtle changes from the original Harley-Davidson LiveWire motorcycle, and one not-so-subtle change: a drop in price from $29,799 to $21,999.
Has it really been six years since the Shoei GT-Air helmet was released? Well, it has, and that means the lid was due for an update – even though, when Troy tested it back in 2017, he said, “[T]he Shoei GT-Air really impresses when it comes to all-day touring comfort. It’s got all the features you’d want from a helmet, with the fit to match.” Using the previous generation as the starting point, Shoei’s designers set out to improve on the already top-notch lid. The result is the brand new Shoei GT-Air II, which ups the ante when it comes to premium touring/sport-touring helmet comfort and utility. To make the helmet even more enticing, Shoei partnered with Sena, as with the Shoei Neotec II, to create a fully-integrated Bluetooth communication system, the Sena SRL2.
Motorcycle.com can confirm that the first LiveWire-branded electric motorcycle from Harley-Davidson will be called the LiveWire One. The information comes to us via Vehicle Identification Number deciphering information Harley-Davidson submitted to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. We expect the 2021 LiveWire One will be revealed on July 8. [Updated with some clarity about the claimed horsepower output]
As motorcycles become more reliable and maintenance intervals get more spread out, one consumable remains on a fairly frequent interval for motorcycles. Tires have made tremendous advances in the last decade, but they are still the most frequent maintenance items for motorcyclists. With the rates for mounting and balancing tires going through the roof (My local shop charges $60 for a pair of tires with the wheels off the bike.), buying a tire changer makes a lot of sense. I’d been eyeing No-Mar Tire Changers for quite a while before pulling the trigger and installing one in my garage. In less than a month and after changing a dozen tires, we’d have already spent about 35% of the cost of the No-Mar Classic HD Motorcycle Tire Changer at our local motorcycle shop, but what’s most important is how convenient it is having a tire changer in my garage available when I need it. I no longer have to load my wheels into my truck, drive to my local shop, wait an hour (or more) for them to be ready, and finally take them home to reinstall on my bike.
Zero Motorcycles has filed trademark applications for the names “Zero DSR/X” and “Zero FXE“. As usual, trademark filings don’t provide too many clues about their potential use, but we suspect the names will be for more off-road focused versions of the DSR and FX.
As the world turns, dominus vobiscum, it seems we have made quite a bit of progress on the electric bike front over the last ten years, even if it doesn’t always seem like it. Of this trio, only one of which is still standing, the longest range was but 40 miles and the toppest speed only 67 mph. Now, the latest Zero can do way better than that, the Harley-Davidson LiveWire is in play (I don’t think anybody saw that coming ten years ago), Tesla became the most valuable US automaker ever last January – and who knows what Polaris has in store for Brammo, which it acquired in 2015? Herein, the dearly departed 2010 MO crew tries to get a grip on current affairs.
UPDATE (June 12, 2020): An Indian Motorcycle PR representative reached out to comment on this story, explaining that the EFTR will NOT be an electric version of the FTR, but rather a “youth-oriented product” that will be announced later this year. Here’s the full statement from the Indian Motorcycle PR team:
It’s easy to take for granted the dynamics involved in creating a fairing for a motorcycle. Sure, you could easily mold a piece of plastic or resin and create a shape, but what thought process and research goes into such a mold? We take something like fairings for granted because they’re so commonplace. Big OEMs have the resources to hire big-name designers to create something that’s easy on the eyes, then study the fluid dynamics behind the designer’s sketch to see how different lines bend and shape the wind as it flows through it. Then these big players can utilize finite element analysis to dictate the strength of a part or component and adjust as needed for a given application. But nobody talks about these things anymore because this is simply something we expect. We’re numb to it. But when we stop and think about it, the fit and finish of a motorcycle determines its legitimacy.
As we come to the end of 2019 and the conclusion of the first MotoE season, I think it’s fair to say the debut of Energica’s Ego Corsa MotoE electric racer was a success. Each race produced close battles (usually for the lead), the bikes go plenty quick, and though the sound of internal combustion is missing, it’s replaced with a soundtrack all its own. I like to think of it as the racing soundtrack of the future.
Last week, Kawasaki presented an electric motorcycle concept at EICMA, but did no reveal many details about it during the show. Today, Kawasaki finally released more information, confirming that the company has been researching electric vehicles for quite some time, including testing both on a race track and in urban environments. Unfortunately, Kawasaki says it remains purely a research project with no plans of releasing an electric motorcycle in the near future.
The official line whenever I’ve spoken to Zero reps is that the company is in the business of making street bikes, not racers. But the hot rodding spirit is alive and burning when you look into the eyes of some of the people who work there, and so it only comes naturally that a core group of enthusiasts would take an SR/F and push its limits.
To evaluate the 2020 Harley-Davidson Livewire, you need to let go of everything you know – and everything you think you know – about Harley-Davidson. The haters will cry this is an answer to a question nobody asked, instinctually sh*tting all over Harley for seemingly alienating its core, internal combustion, customer (just look at our Facebook post for proof).
Husqvarna has entered the electric motorcycle market, launching the new EE 5 electric dirt bike as a 2020 model. The 2020 Husqvarna EE 5 is designed for young riders, with an all-new electric powertrain that claims an equivalent performance level to a 50cc gasoline-powered dirt bike.
Energica expected the eyes of the world to be on them in 2019, but not in the way that they were on March 14. That’s the day that the Moto-E paddock burnt to the ground in Jerez as the result of a short in the charging infrastructure in the temporary building, taking the entire 18-bike fleet of Energica race bikes destined for the fledgling electric grand-prix series with it. I can’t imagine what the mood was like around the Energica offices the morning after the fire. Everyone watching the series knows that Energica isn’t a huge monolith that can crank out a seemingly endless line of machinery at the flip of the switch. So, what’s a little company that’s managed to get into the international big-leagues going to do? Everything it can, I suspect. Fortunately, its parent company knows a thing or two about quick turn around.
We all know that the world shown in motorcycle advertisements isn’t real. As much as we’d like it, the sun doesn’t always shine, and we aren’t the only vehicle on the road. We can always dream, though. When it comes to bad weather, we all have to deal with it sometime – even those of us who reside in sunny SoCal. When the rain starts to fall, the best thing we can do is have proper rain gear to keep us dry. Touring and adventure touring riders will often make their stand against the elements with waterproof riding suits, which we’ve covered here. For the rest of us, a rain suit over our regular riding gear gets carried along when the weather looks like it could turn wet.
The Electric Wasp. We were turned loose, a silent swarm of nocuous moto-journos descending upon the city, sneaking up on the unsuspecting fashion-forward folk of Milan, only to be seen as a flash of silver and blue as we sped by. An exaggeration? Possibly, but nevertheless, we were there to test Vespa’s 2019 Elettrica, and we wouldn’t stop until we had fully exhausted the scooter’s battery and our fellow commuter’s patience.
For those of us excited about the prospects of a grand prix level electric racing series in 2019, our hopes were given a severe blow this morning as the MotoE paddock in Jerez burnt to the ground, destroying the entire fleet of 18 Energica Ego Corsa spec race bikes. The motorcycles were gathered in Jerez for the second test of the series in anticipation of the first MotoE race at the venue in May. The only good news to come out of this event is that no one was hurt in the fire.
Here at MO, we’re pretty excited about the 2019 Zero SR/F. With it, Zero has given us the third generation of its electric platform. In reality, however, this is the first time that Zero has delivered a full-sized-feeling electric motorcycle. After 13 years, Zero’s engineers say they finally have the tools to create the type of electric motorcycle they wanted to build all along. While electric motorcycles are still an extremely young technology, the fit and finish of the SR/F show that it is leaving infancy behind and moving beyond the bleeding edge of early-adopter status into the realm of everyday usability.
It’s mind boggling to think that mass-produced street-legal electric motorcycles have only existed for 10 years. In 2009, Zero Motorcycles launched the Zero S and ushered in the electric age of two-wheeled street-legal transportation. During that model year, the S wasn’t just the only electric motorcycle in production, it was the only electric vehicle of any kind being mass-produced. To say that Zero was ahead of the curve is an understatement, but that early start has given the company the time – 13 years from its inception – to develop into its PR claim of being “the global leader in electric motorcycles and powertrains.” If your products created an entire category of vehicles, this is more than PR fluff. It is a demonstrable fact.
As the world’s tech companies gather in Las Vegas for the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Harley-Davidson has announced that the 2020 Livewire is now available for pre-order. Additionally, Harley has tossed out a few more tidbits about the company’s first electric motorcycle. First, the retail price will be $29,799 in the U.S. Second, we finally get some specifics about power delivery and range.
It’s on rainy, cold nights like this one that I’m glad I have a garage. Looking at your motorcycle parked outside as it’s pelted with rain, sleet, hail, mud and other unpleasantness can make you weep with impotent rage. Cover it? Motorcycle covers are a hassle to put on and remove. First, you have to wait until the bike cools to avoid melting the cover to the exhaust. Plus, they can blow off your bike, get shredded and messy-looking, and trap moisture underneath, which can cause rust and mold. Nasty!
Like me, you probably know Aerostich as the company making funky one-piece motorcycle oversuits that go over your regular clothing. Well, that suit is called the Roadcrafter, there are many derivations of it, and it’s basically the class uniform for veteran moto-journalists. However, many people don’t know Aerostich also makes much, much more. Like this, the Protekt jeans.
Funny thing about electric motorcycles: if you’re already an early adopter of the technology, the name Zero Motorcycles is all too familiar. If you still think electrics are as evil to the motorcycling landscape as Jar Jar Binks was to Star Wars… well, you might as well stop reading here. No matter where you stand, the staying power of Zero Motorcycles is hard to ignore. For over 13 years, Zero has been leading the way in electric motorcycle technology, and its staying power has seen it outlast all its competitors. For 2019, Zero is further staking its claim as the leader in electric motorcycle technology, perhaps bracing itself for the arrival of the Harley-Davidson Livewire in 2020.
Harley-Davidson says it intends to be the world leader in the electrification of motorcycles, is excited about the future of electric motorcycles, and expects to deliver a full portfolio of electric motorcycles by 2022. Four years after the prototype, project LiveWire is production-ready and on display at EICMA; pre-orders can be placed beginning in January. H-D’s press release promised further details, but apart from the bike’s charging capabilities (Level 2 or Level 3, DC Fast Charge (DCFC), through a SAE J1772 connector, (USA), or CCS2 – IEC type 2 charging connector in international markets), there’s not a great deal we didn’t already know. Important details including range and weight remain mysteries. We like it anyway!
When you think of Italian motorcycles, you probably think of something sexily swoopy, a trellis frame, top-notch componentry, and a throaty V-Twin engine. The thought of an electric motor probably never enters your mind. However, Italian manufacturer Energica is doing its level best to change your thinking with its family of exotic electric motorcycles. From the Ego’s committed sportiness to the Eva’s street fighter stance (which was bolstered by having its motor output brought in line with that of the Ego for 2018), Energica’s motorcycles have always positioned themselves as premium electric performance motorcycles. When releasing the 2018 Energica Eva Esse Esse 9, the company created a premium electric roadster to round out its current model line.
I just spent last weekend riding Ol’ Faithful, my 2008 Honda CRF450R, up in Mammoth, California, on trails very similar to those I rode in Nevada City on the Alta Redshift EXR. Riding up in the Sierra Nevadas is an absolute must for any off-road or dual-sport rider, but it got me thinking… We were riding at a base altitude of about 7,880 feet before climbing up even higher into some of the area’s mountains and lookouts. As a result, Ol’ Faithful was starving for air and running out of steam on her top end.
The Erzberg Rodeo is the toughest enduro in the world, and Alta took two riders to Austria last month to compete. Ty Tremaine qualified 43rd in his first ever attempt at Erzberg, and Lyndon Poskitt might’ve done much better than 113th if his race bikes and gear hadn’t been stolen out of his van at a rest stop dammit! As it was, Poskitt qualified on Ty’s back-up bike and then sat out the race. All you have to do is cover 22 miles in four hours to finish Erzberg; the Alta team came up just a bit short, but with what they learned this year, Husqvarna, KTM, Gas Gas and Beta could be in for a shock in 2019.
Alta’s co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Derek Dorresteyn, is a motorcycle racer, and in his prime during the early 2000s, he was trying anything he could to squeeze more power and performance out of his KTM 450, but any gains he got somewhere, he lost elsewhere. Derek and his riding buddy Jeff Sand, another eventual co-founder and current Chief Development Officer, would get together and talk shop all the time, and they loved the idea of a smooth and perfectly responsive torque curve but understood how difficult this was to achieve with a gas-powered bike.