Electric fun on two wheels
It’s not just the auto industry that has made major breakthroughs in electric power, so as the motorcycle industry. In less than a decade electric motorcycles have gone from garage-built prototypes ones that rival gas-powered superbikes (bike with 1,000 CC and above engines). While power isn’t a problem, they suffer the same shortcomings as their four-wheel cousins, lack of range. Now in 0-60 times, it’s a whole different story.
Life in the fast lane
There are about a dozen superbikes that can go 0-60 in under three seconds and I own one of them, a 2007 Suzuki Hayabusa. Getting up to speed on a freeway ramp is not at all a problem for me. It’s fun. I did some poking around and found times from Autos CheatSheet. All photos are from the manufacturer.
- Yamaha YZF-R1: 2.9
- Kawasaki Ninja H2R: 2.5
- Ducati 1299 Panigale R: 2.6
- Honda CBR1000RR: 3.0
- Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa 2.49
That’s a very fast crowd, but again, according to Autos CheatSheet there are some electrics that would give them a run and a few models that would bury them. They are:
- Energica EGO (under 3.0 seconds)
- Mission R (under 3.0 seconds)
- Lightning LS-218 Superbike (1.0-2.0 seconds)
This is not really any different comparing a Tesla to a ’17 Corvette. The Tesla will smoke it every time. I’d like to see it up against the Dodge Challenger Demon though.
I can’t even imagine sitting on a bike and accelerating to 60 mph in two seconds like the LS 218. What helps is no shifting. Riding one of the five fastest gas engine bikes above would be almost impossible to shift, even with an air shifter. It would be fun trying though.
The manufacturer claims that the LS 218, named because of its top speed of 218 mph, is the fastest production motorcycle in the world. I doubt any other bike could challenge that claim. It kicks out an insane 200 hp with 168 ft. lbs. of torque. Most gas bikes max out at less than 100. Superglue must come with it so the rider can glue his but to the seat. Built with a carbon fiber body, the LS-218 has been clocked at the Bonneville Salt Flats just over 218 mph. It has won the Pikes Peak International HillClimb, as well as the FIM TT Zero World Championship race at LeMans. It’s capable of more than 240 hp at the rear wheel and works just as well as a daily bike. You think. I’m getting excited just thinking about it. Like most motorcycles, as the speed goes up, so does the price. This one will set you back just under $39 grand.
More sane options for e-bikes
Alta Motorcycles has two solid options for those just entering the market. The Redshift SM, has an output of 40 hp and 120 ft.-lb. of torque. Priced at $15,495, the Redshift SM has a top speed of 80 mph and charges in six hours from a level 2 charger. The SM is a bit limited when it comes to range at just 50 miles, but it’s packed with enough power for those looking for a city bike.
The only e-bike I’ve ridden was manufactured by Zero Motorcycles and it was a hoot. The biggest thing I noticed was the instant acceleration and a whistling sound, kind of like as if was turbine powered. Having no noise would definitely take some getting used to. The Zero SR, $10,995, offers an output of 70 hp and 116 ft.-lb torque. The ZF6.5, gets 81 miles on a single charge, but the ZF13.0 offers a range of 161 miles. To increase your range, an option for a Power Tank, will increase the range to 202 miles on city streets and 101 miles on a highway. One cool thing Zero has in an app that will show you the operating parameters of the bike. Very cool.
If you’re looking for an option with some extra juice, Victory Motorcycles’ Empulse TT has an output of 54 hp and 61 ft-lb of torque. The Empulse TT can reach 110 mph easily and has a range of 100 miles. The bike lists for just under 2o grand motorcycle can fully charge in roughly four hours on a level 2 charger. You’re going to have to do some hunting for this bike because it’s parent company, Polaris Industries cut out the entire Victory line earlier this year so it could concentrate its efforts on their Indian brand. That’s too bad because Victory bikes were like a rolling piece of artwork.