While many electric motorcycles are still plagued by high prices, there are a surprising number of affordable options on the market in North America. All of the electric motorcycles featured here are either already rolling on America’s roads or are expected to become available in the coming months.
And while we’re at it, let’s put terms like “low-cost” and “affordable” into perspective. In the same way that $17,000 for an e-bike is expensive while $17,000 for a house is remarkably affordable, all of these terms are relative.
So when we consider what makes a low-cost electric motorcycle affordable, we’re comparing to the current leaders of the industry, such as a $20,000 Zero SR/F or a $30,000 Harley-Davidson LiveWire.
$2,495 CSC City Slicker electric motorcycle
We’ll start with a bike that was actually one of my first low-cost electric motorcycles, the CSC City Slicker.
I first threw my leg over one of these bad boys in late 2018 and put about six months of riding on it. The bike hasn’t changed much, but when I reviewed the 2020 version last year it had only gotten better.
The urban-oriented electric motorcycle tops out at 46 mph (75 km/h) but still works great in the city. This of course isn’t an interstate vehicle – I did one exit on a freeway and considered my contribution to science complete. But for local riding, it’s a great little urban vehicle.
The City Slicker fits two riders, puts out around 4 kW of peak power, and gets around 30 miles (50 km) of range before you have to lug its removable battery inside for charging (or leave it on the bike if you’re lucky enough to have a garage to charge in).
The dealer fees push the final price closer to $2,800, but the company ships for free all over the US from their Azusa, California, headquarters.
And while they aren’t full motorcycles, CSC also offers Vespa-style electric scooters known as the CSC Monterey and CSC Wiz. Both are worth checking out!
I recently reviewed the CSC Monterey (video below) and will be reviewing the CSC Wiz shortly.
Volcon is a brand-new electric powersports company founded late last year in Austin.
They have a couple of side-by-side electric UTVs planned for later this year and next year, but they’ll be launching their first electric motorcycle in the next few months.
Priced at just under $6,000, the Volcon Grunt is an off-road electric motorcycle sporting a top speed of 60 mph (96 km/h). Its 35 kW (50 hp) motor is quite powerful for all sorts of dirt riding, and the bike’s fat tires will feel right at home in loose terrain.
Volcon also recently announced expansion into Latin America, so the bike will be available south of the US border soon, too.
And if you’re looking for a Grunt for your kids, the company also created a 35 mph (56 km/h) version known as the Runt.
Huck Cycles electric mopeds
Huck Cycles technically builds mopeds, not a full electric motorcycles. But with speeds approaching 60 mph (96 km/h), we’re going to lump Huck’s bikes in together as effectively small electric motorcycles.
Huck Cycles is a North Carolina-based and veteran-owned moped company that was founded in early 2020. They build their electric mopeds locally, starting from the ground up with their own frame design.
They recently moved into a larger 5,000-square-foot production facility and have been rapidly expanding production after news of their boutique operations spread like wildfire last year.
The company highlights its customization process, which ensures that nearly no two bikes produced are the same. Depending on how you outfit the various models, prices range from around $3,500 to $6,000 or more. To make the bikes even more affordable, the team behind Huck was kind enough to offer a 3% discount to our readers with the code ELECTREK.
The ONYX RCR is another electric moped that qualifies as an electric motorcycle thanks to its 60 mph (96 km/h) top speed.
The bike takes on a distinctly retro vibe and incorporates genuine wood panels into its design.
I had the chance to visit ONYX’s southern California factory where they assemble the bikes. There I witnessed the build process in action and had the opportunity to do some fun canyon road riding, which you can see in the video below.
Recent updates to the design added even more range and a whole host of fancy new features and components. For $4,149, it’s worth a look!
The Zero FXS is the most expensive electric motorcycle on this list, starting at $9,295 before incentives for the entry-level model with the small 3.6 kWh battery. Zero helped to successfully lobby for an extension to the electric motorcycle tax credit in the US, so you’ll likely be able to save around $1,000 on the bike in the form of a tax credit.
The Zero FXS is fully highway-capable with a top speed of 85 mph (137 km/h).
In my experience it likes to sit closer to the mid 70s when cruising, but it can do that top speed if you really punch it. The bike is a supermoto and that makes it great for more than just commuting. You can do some light trail riding on it, though you’ll want the more off-road optimized FX if you want to get really down and dirty.
I reviewed the 2019 FXS and absolutely loved the bike, as you can see in my video below.
The entry level model has a pretty abysmal range at higher speeds though, so you’ll likely want to upgrade to the 7.2 kWh version of the bike. It has a city range of 100 miles (160 km) and a mixed range of 57 miles (92 km). As a commuter motorcycle that can ride in the left lane, that range isn’t so bad. But if you’re planning on touring, then you’ll want to pick a different bike.
Kollter is a new entrant to the US but offers a few interesting models, chief among them being the ES1.
I’ll be checking this one out in the flesh soon, but so far I can tell you that it offers a 62 mph (100 km/h) top speed and an 85 mile (137 km) range.
The bike actually has some slightly Zero FXS-ish knock-off vibes, though at an obviously lower price. The ES1 Pro carries an MSRP of $6,890. There’s also an off-road model that offers more FX-ish vibes.
I don’t have an exact date for you yet, but the bike is expected to be available from a distributor in the Northeast “soon.”
If you’re a fan of electric motorcycles then you’ve surely heard of the SONDORS Metacycle by now.
The bike made waves upon its announcement earlier this year. The biggest bombshells were its striking appearance and low price of just $5,000.
But the low price doesn’t mean low performance. SONDORS says the bike will offer an 80 mph (130 km/h) top speed and 80 mile (130 km) range. Or at least that’s the range at slower speeds of around 40 mph (64 km/h).
A recent range test performed by the company put the real-world range when measured at higher speeds at closer to 60 miles.
Any way you slice it, the 4,000 Wh battery pack isn’t terribly large, but is also bigger than most small-format electric motorcycles like the CSC City Slicker. And an expected 3 kWh auxiliary battery will be provided as an option to fill that negative space in the frame, offering more range. A storage compartment and a Level 2 charger will also be made available as accessory plugs for the frame window.
The Metacycle isn’t available yet, though you can already put down a deposit or a full-price pre-order. Deliveries are expected in Q4 of this year.
NIU NGT electric scooter
I’m not sure if this one technically belongs in this list since it’s a scooter, but this is my article, so screw it!
I just reviewed the NIU NGT and this is one awesome smart scooter. The 3,500 kW peak-rated Bosch hub motor gives the bike 125cc-ish performance and tops out at just shy of 80 km/h (50 mph).
The electric scooter also comes with one of the best phone apps I’ve seen, giving you tons of information about your scooter remotely, plus offering GPS tracking and anti-theft features.
The pair of 2.1 kWh batteries provide a stated range of 140 km (87 mi), though in highest power mode, I end up getting more like 100 km (62 mi) of range.
All in all this is a great option if you’re looking for something more utilitarian in the scooter format. Priced at around $4,500 in the US, it costs more than some e-scooters but also offers a nicer package with more features and definitely more range. Though if you don’t need 60-80 miles of range for city commutes, there are lower range versions that cost significantly less.
More to come!
There you have it, the current best options in the US for low-cost electric motorcycles.
We had expected to see entries of other low-cost Asian electric motorcycles into the market in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the coming wave of motorcycles from China, such as the Sur Ron Storm Bee and VOGE ER10.
Even so, 2021 could be a big year for entries from even more local startups as well as new Asian imports arriving on American shores.
Are there any other electric motorcycles you have your eye on? Let us know in the comments section below!
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