Exploring Electric Motorbikes: A 2021 Buyers Guide
Electric cars might take the limelight, but there’s no denying the power of electric motorbikes when looking at the range of EVs buyers have available in 2021.
The history of electric motorbikes is rich. In fact, the first patent for an electric motorbike was issued all the way back in the 1890s. Modern technology has completely changed the look/internal make-up of these rides, making them a force to be reckoned with.
You see, all the benefits of an electric vehicle (speed, performance and low maintenance costs) carry over to electric motorcycles.
Yes, they’ll be slightly more expensive as the market is somewhat niche in its current form. Still, some of you won’t care when you see what some of the electric motorcycles shown here can do.
Consider this essential reading for buyers looking for an eco-friendly alternative.
We’ll be covering everything from electric range to pricing for your viewing pleasure.
Now, let’s ride.
Electric Motorbikes, What’s The Appeal?
To begin, we’ll be looking at the advantages/disadvantages of electric motorbikes before covering some real-world examples you can buy in 2021.
Like electric cars, electric motorbikes are sustainable versions of vehicles you’re familiar with. In other words, they’re better for the planet as they emit zero emissions when in use.
Environmental benefits aside, electric motorcycles offer superior power compared to their standard fuel counterparts. How is that? Well, the electric motor found within is an acceleration powerhouse, providing much better torque.
This allows electric motorbikes to move very fast from a stationary position with no need to switch gears. That’s right, like electric cars, there is no gearbox or clutch used in these vehicles, thus simplifying your experience.
But wait, it gets better.
Fewer moving parts mean there are fewer maintenance costs required to keep your ride in road shape. If you own a fuel-powered motorbike, you have to worry about spark plugs, oil, air filters and timing belts,
Moreover, because there are fewer moving parts, that does mean that there is next to no noise generated from the motor.
Electric motorbikes being noiseless might annoy a few die-hard motorcycle enthusiasts. Yet, more companies are coming out of the woodwork with new sustainable two-wheel rides all the time, so it can’t be that off-putting.
To recap, the benefits of owning an electric motorbike includes:
- Low maintenance costs
- Outstanding performance
- Buyers save money in the long run
- They emit zero emissions
Top Tip: Take Advantage of the UK’s Plug-In Motorcycle Grant
The UK Government is giving new buyers to save some money when purchasing an electric motorcycle via an exclusive grant.
Apply for this grant, and you could knock up to £1,500 off the price of an electric motorbike or scooter. This might not seem like a lot in the grand scheme of things, but it’s better than no financial assistance at all.
To claim the plug-in motorcycle grant, you need to find a two-wheeler that fits the requirements to be eligible.
For example, the electric motorcycle/moped you choose needs to fit within a certain category (‘L1e, L1e-B, L3e, L3e-A1, L3e-A2 or L3e-A3’). It also needs to emit 0 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre driven.
Furthermore, it must be able to travel at least 50 kilometres between charges (30 kilometres for mopeds). The same goes for top speed, as each vehicle will need to clear the 40 kilometres per hour or more mark to fit the requirements.
There are more requirements, which can be found on the UK Gov website. Check it out, as some electric motorbikes are pretty expensive, and you should save every penny possible.
The scheme will run until 2022/23, so you have plenty of time to apply if you’re dead set on purchasing an electric motorbike that fits the outlined specifications.
Moreover, if you’re looking to charge your motorcycle from home, you can also apply for a home charging grant. You can learn more about this particular grant here.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Owning An Electric Motorcycle?
It’s true, electric motorbikes will change everything you thought you knew about motorcycles, but that’s not to say they’re perfect.
If you’re going to buy an e-motorbike in 2021, you need the full scope to make a definitive decision.
So, what are the disadvantages of owning an electric motorcycle?
Convenience appears to be the most common complaint we see. In other words, they take a lot longer to power up. Also, some e-motorcycles take a lot longer to charge from flat, which can pose an issue to those who travel a lot outside of urban areas.
As it stands, there aren’t a lot of public charging stations in rural areas either. However, this is expected to change in recent years.
Furthermore, unlike electric cars, the second-hand e-motorcycle market isn’t nearly as booming as you might expect. So if you want the best electric motorbike, then you’re more than likely going to have to pay full price for one.
It might be a disadvantage to you, but the lack of noise generated when moving can throw certain riders. We, personally, wouldn’t consider this a glaring issue compared to other disadvantages mentioned, but it’s worth stating regardless.
To recap, here are the main disadvantages of buying an electric motorbike:
- They’re not as convenient to power vs standard fuel versions
- Range anxiety weighs on the mind of the rider
- There aren’t a lot of second hand electric motorbikes
What to Look Out For When Buying an Electric Motorbike
Before we offer any extensive tips/thoughts, know that you should always choose an electric motorcycle based on your own specifications.
Try to avoid going for the quickest for the sake of it. Instead, ask yourself why you’re buying one in the first place. For example, if you’re purchasing an e-motorbike for cargo reasons — let’s say you’re an Uber Eats driver — then you’d probably want something with decent range and luggage racks.
If you’re buying an electric motorbike for environmental reasons, you won’t have to worry as much. Your list of requirements won’t be nearly as strict.
So, where do you begin?
The first thing you should do is identify how much money you’re willing to spend on an electric motorcycle. Doing so will make finding the right one for you so much easier.
Buyers tend to flock to the most expensive rides possible before working their way down, so knowing your limits is a great way of being realistic.
Expensive electric motorbikes are better in terms of performance/features, it’s true. Still, you don’t need to break the bank to find the right one for you.
For example, the Artisan EV0 costs less than most electric motorcycles. Yet, it’s a popular option because it looks futuristic, and it gets the job done.
Outside of price, ask yourself the following questions:
- How far (in miles) do I normally travel, and can an electric motorbike meet these requirements?
- How long does it take to charge an electric motorcycle?
Here’s a tip for you if you’re can’t make your mind up: read reviews of the electric motorbikes you like the look of, and watch videos of them in action.
This will help, trust us.
The Best Electric Motorbikes Available In 2021
Now has never been a better time to invest in an electric motorcycle, in our opinion.
You now know the positives/negatives of owning one, but that’s only part of the buying process. You need to know what’s out there if you’re going to make a decision for yourself.
Or, perhaps you’re just interested in e-motorcycles generally?
Either way, E4TP has your back. We’ve scoured the globe to find the best electric motorcycles out right now for you to look at.
Understand that some of these two-wheelers shown aren’t available in certain countries; if you want one, you will need to import them, which can cost a lot of money.
Harley Davidson LiveWire
The first electric motorbike on our list here is also one of the best, if not the best.
And we’re not just saying that because this is a Harley either. No, this electric motorcycle is durable as hell and capable of travelling over 100 miles on each charge. Moreover, it’s a speed demon, able to travel from 0 to 60mph in three seconds with a max speed of 120mph.
Agile handling makes this electric motorcycle a dream to ride, too.
We should also highlight how it integrates with your smartphone. That’s right, an app connects directly with this bike, allowing you to check battery life, the location of the bike, and more.
You’ll receive notifications if someone has bumped it or moved it, which is needed given the price of this electric e-motorbike.
Expect to pay around £25,000 for the Harley Davidson LiveWire. It seems like a lot; just keep in mind that you’re paying for a top of the range ride here and the first of many eco-friendly Harleys on the horizon.
We’re sure of it.
E4TP Says: People tend to go with names they can trust, which will bring you to the Harley Davidson LiveWire; only you’ll buy this one for its functionality and power. There aren’t a lot of e-motorbikes that can match this one.
Looking for something stripped back and not as urban?
Feast your eyes on the UBCO 2X2, an electric motorbike that almost looks half-finished from a visual level. Try not to get too worked up on how basic this one looks; it’s more than capable of taking you places and carrying cargo.
Its nickname is “the world’s toughest utility bike,” and we believe it.
You see, this electric motorbike might not be the fastest, but it more than makes up for that in terms of simplicity. New Zealand company UBCO made the 2X2 with ease of use in mind, clearly.
Not to mention the two luggage racks make life so much easier when it comes to transporting goods from A to B.
Buyers can choose between the 2X2 Adventure Bike, or the 2X2 Work Bike. One is better at tackling the wild, and the other is better suited towards day-to-day activities.
In terms of price, the UBCO 2X2 is a lot cheaper than, say, the Harley LiveWire. The 2X2 Adventure Bike costs around £6,250, with the Work version being slightly more expensive (£6,450).
E4TP Says: Not only is the UBCO 2X2 a unique looking bike, but it’s also incredibly practical, not to mention light. This is a cost-effective electric motorbike that will see you through rain and shine.
The Artisan EV0 is what you’d assume most electric motorbikes to look like. In fact, it looks quite futuristic, almost like something Bruce Wayne would ride.
Don’t get it twisted, this is a learner legal e-motorbike, meaning it won’t compete with other options out there, but it will do the job. It’s a borderline electric scooter, yet it’s still known as an e-motorbike — hence why we’ve included it here.
It’s also one of the cheapest electric motorbikes available (£3,500), which is quite deceptive given the look of the EV0.
Furthermore, buyers get to customise the bike from scratch, choosing between green/red colours, the material used on the seat, and more.
The speed of the EV0 is slightly disappointing, capping out at 50mph. But, then again, what did you really expect from an electric motorbike priced under £4,000?
E4TP Says: The Artisan EV0 looks the part and is more than capable of going the distance. However, suppose you’re looking for fast electric motorbikes capable of travelling great distances. In that case, you might want to look at other options.
Competition to the Harley LiveWire arrives in the Zero S from Zero Motorcycles.
This is another one of those electric motorbikes that matches the look of high-end petrol-fuelled motorcycles.
Zero Motorcycles actually refer to the Zero S as “sporty ergonomic” to give you an idea of which category it might fall into.
The Zero S actually beats the LiveWire in terms of range. According to the maker, the Zero S is capable of travelling 178 miles on a single charge. There is another version of the Zero S capable of hitting that 223 miles mark — just expect to pay more for this one.
Moreover, buyers can charge the Zero S up to 95% in around 2 hours (depending on the charger used).
It isn’t as fast as the Harley with a top speed of 86mph, but how often will you really be travelling over 70mph anyway?
The best version of the Zero S is priced at £17,249 — if you choose the power tank version, which will net you better range.
It might seem expensive, but the running costs will save you money in the long run. According to Zero Motorcycles, it costs around £1.95 per charge the Zero S each time!
E4TP Says: An electric motorcycle like the Zero S can only be described as a juggernaut. If you can’t afford the Harley LiveWire or are looking for a great electric e-motorcycle, you won’t be disappointed with the Zero S.
If there was an award for the most obscure-looking electric motorbike, the Cake OSA+ would win hands down.
It almost looks like it’s made out of Lego.
The Cake OSA+ falls into a similar lane to the UBCO 2X2 in that it’s an electric motorbike built for utility purposes. We’d use the word ‘workhorse’ to describe this one. After all, it can carry up to 250kg at a time.
Know that it has a max speed of 56mph and a max range of 52 miles depending on how fast you’re going and where you’re travelling to. Meaning it’s an ideal choice if you’re going to and from the shops, but taking you from city to city? No.
Riders can choose between three different riding modes. Choose riding mode 1 if you’re conscious of draining the battery too much. It does this by capping the max speed of the Cake OSA+ to 28mph.
Moreover, there are two brake modes to choose from!
E4TP Says: You’ll have a tough decision to make when picking between the Cake OSA+ and the UBCO 2X2. However, this electric motorbike is a lot stronger when it comes to max load.
In Short: Exploring Electric Motorbikes: A 2021 Guide
Riding off into the sunset on an e-motorbike is said to be a joyous experience, and one we are more than looking forward to as more of you make the switch.
You could call 2021 the year of the electric motorcycle, only that would imply there isn’t more room for innovation.
And, well, there is.
Batteries used in electric motorcycles will only get better in time; the same goes for every other electric vehicle there is, from cars to planes. Some of you might be concerned about electric range; just know that this will only get better in time.
Expect the number of electric motorbikes to jump in the next few years, alongside electric cars. Automakers like BMW are constantly showcasing e-motorbike concepts, so there is definitely interest there.
Watch this space; that’s all we’ll say.
Check out our guide if you’re looking for the best e-bikes under £1,000 if you’re looking for something a lot cheaper. They’re similar to electric motorbikes in many ways, just not as powerful, or expensive.
Electric Motorbikes FAQs
Do I need a license to ride an electric motorbike?
If an electric motorbike travels faster than 15mph and doesn’t have pedals, then the answer is more than likely yes; you need a license. This is the reason why so many electric bikes cap the speed limit; to meet government regulations.
Why buy an electric motorcycle?
Outside of being better for the planet, electric motorbikes are built to only the best in terms of performance. Torque/speed alone should be the reason why many of you make the jump and choose an electric motorcycle over standard options.
What is the best electric motorbike?
In our opinion, hands down, the best electric motorbike out right now is the Harley Davidson LiveWire, and we’re not just saying that because of the brand. This e-motorcycle can go from 0 to 60mph in three seconds and has electric range for days (146 miles).
Do electric motorbikes have regenerative braking?
Yes, most electric motorbikes you come across do come with regen braking, adding additional miles of range as you move. Regenerative braking is used in most EVs — this includes standard electric scooters and regular e-bikes.