I’ve loved motorcycles all my life—ridden them on both road and track for almost 20 years. And I’ve been obsessed with electric bikes since I got my first ride on a pre-production Zero S way back in 2009. Since then, I’ve ridden dozens of electric motorcycles and, while I haven’t loved all of them, I’ve always been charmed by the pure joy of carving across a road in utter silence. Nothing feels more like flying.
Early electric motorcycles suffered many of the same issues as early electric cars—namely weird designs, short range and high prices. But recently the selection of EV motorcycles has expanded considerably and the quality has improved greatly as well. Most of the traditional manufacturers, including Honda and Yamaha, are waiting to launch their EV bikes, letting others prep the market much as Tesla did for Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. That delay has created opportunities for companies like Zero Motorcycles to sweep in and carve themselves out a healthy niche.
If you’ve ever thought about throwing a leg over an electric motorcycle, now is the time. Commuting on an EV motorcycle is not only far more fun than even the most wild of supercars, it’s a great way to beat gridlock (especially in California, which has a generous allowance of lane splitting). Since EV motorcycles are more efficient than their four-wheeled counterparts, they’re much cheaper to run, costing on average about $1 per charge. With no clutch or manual transmissions to worry about, they’re easier to ride than an average motorcycle. And maintenance? A set of tires will last for years—that’s it.
If that sounds like a good time to you, these are my favorite electric motorcycles available today, plus a couple more that are just around the next bend.