I know, I know. Electric motorcycles are usually quite pricey. Compared to internal combustion engine (ICE) motorcycles, e-motorcycles usually carry a premium of a few thousand dollars. Their long list advantages usually makes it worth it, though that still might not ease the sting of sticker shock. But if you know where to look, then you’ll find 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 a bicycle is expensive, while $17,000 for a house is pretty darn cheap, remember that 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 $23,000 LiveWire One, a $24,000 Zero SR/F, or a $26,000 Energica Experia. Considering those prices, the rest of the electric motorcycles on this list are downright budget-friendly.
$2,795 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.
Keep in mind though that the City Slicker is true to its name — this is a city-optimized electric motorcycle. Some might even call it a scooter in the shape of a motorcycle.
It tops out at 46 mph (75 km/h), which may seem slow, but it still works great in the city. This of course isn’t an interstate vehicle – I did one exit on the freeway and considered those couple of miles as my contribution to scientific-testing. But for local riding, it’s a great little urban vehicle.
The City Slicker can ride 2-up (as my wife can confirm), 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 $3,200, but the company ships for free all over the US from their Azusa, California, headquarters.
If you’re into a more utility-oriented electric scooter, you’ll want to take a look at the Wiz. It’s super affordable at just $2,245.
The Wiz gets up to around 43 mph and is another perfect city commuter vehicle, especially considering it comes with an included rear cargo box.
If style is more your thing, the CSC Monterey is a beautiful scooter with styling that was
stolen borrowed from the classic Honda Cub.
It’s a bit slower with a top speed of around 32 mph, but it turns heads everywhere it goes! It’s also an absolute steal at $1,945. There are plenty of electric bicycles that cost more than that!
Both the Wiz and the Monterey can seat two passengers, though you might end up a couple miles per hour short of the top speed when riding 2-up.
While we’re talking about CSC, I’ve got to mention the CSC RX1E. This adventure-looking bike is really more of an urban commuter, though it’s got the performance to hit the highways too.
I had the chance to test one near LA, and it was so much more impressive than I was expecting. I did a mix of highway and city riding, and the bike performed admirably in both cases.
There’s also more to the bike than meets the eye. I’m talking, ABS, included luggage racks, belt drive, roomy glove box in the “tank” area, and more. It’s the only one on this list with a liquid-cooled motor, which is part of what helps it hit a top speed of 80 mph (130 km/h) without stressing the motor too hard or overheating. It’s got a range of 112 miles (180 km) at slower speeds thanks to that 6.4 kWh battery, and it can pretty much handle any commute you can throw at it.
At its current price of $8,495 (or $7,995 with a current $500 off sale), it gets you similar performance to an entry-level Zero motorcycle but at a fraction of the price.
It’s also got that super comfortable adventure bike setup, even though it’s really more of an urban commuter. Basically, this is a pretty awesome e-moto with surprisingly good value.
Check out my video review below to see the bike in action.
The Ryvid Anthem might not be available yet, but it is expected to roll out this coming summer. Riders can already put down a deposit towards the $7,800 purchase price, or get to the front of the line for a Launch Edition of the bike by paying in full already.
The Ryvid Anthem is quite different from most of the bikes on this list. Not only does it have an eye-catching design, but the mechanics are just as innovative as the appearance.
The frame uses a unique folded metal design, there’s a removable battery feature that lets you bring the pack inside for charging, and the bike’s seat can even be adjusted up and down by as much as 4 inches — even while riding!
The performance specs put it in classic commuter territory with a top speed in the 70’s of mph, though there’s a higher torque gearing option that drops the top speed slightly in favor of quicker acceleration.
I rode around LA for a couple days on an Anthem prototype with the company’s founder Dong Tran, which you can read about here or check out my test ride video below.
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.
The Volcon Grunt debuted at $5,999, though the price increased to $7,999 earlier this year. But there’s good news — the price is back at $5,999 for a limited time as part of a year end sale.
The 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 announced a dealer 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 builds bikes that are somewhere between mopeds and electric motorcycles. They have classic moped styling and inspiration, yet can reach speeds approaching 55 mph (99 km/h), so I’m tempted to just lump Huck’s bikes in together with other 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.
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 $6,000 to $8,500 or more.
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 around $5,700 (or a current sale at $5,400), it’s worth a look!
The Zero FXE replaced my previous favorite of Zero’s budget lineup, the FXS. The FXE comes with a new body design but incorporates much of what we knew and loved in the FXS. It may be one of the most expensive bikes on this list at $13,000, but it’s worth a look.
The Zero FXE is fully highway-capable with a top speed of around 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 something of a supermoto mashed together with a commuter bike, and that makes it great for more than just cruising around town. You can do some light trail riding on it (which I did on its FXS ancestor), though you’ll want the more off-road optimized FX if you want to get really down and dirty.
The bike has a modest 7.2 kWh battery giving it a city range of 100 miles (160 km) and a mixed range of 75 miles (121 km). Cruise a constant 70 mph though and you’ll be lucky to get 40 miles (64 km) of range, so don’t expect this to be a great touring bike. But as a commuter motorcycle that can ride in the left lane for short jaunts, that range isn’t so bad. Again, that’s viewing it under the lens of riding to work – not canyon carving.
You can check out my test ride on an FXE here, or watch the video below.
Kollter is a fairly entrant to the US but offers a few interesting models, chief among them being the ES1.
I had the chance to test this one out too and you can read about the full test ride experience here.
The bike actually has some slightly Zero FXE-ish knock-off vibes, though at an obviously lower price. The ES1 Pro carries an MSRP of $6,995. There’s also an off-road model that offers more FX-ish vibes.
With 70+ mph speeds, the Kollter ES1 can hang out on the highway, though it may be limited to the right lane depending on the scenario.
It doesn’t have quite as nice styling as the bikes it imitates, but it has great value for an around the town e-moto that is fast enough for short hops on the highway.
Just don’t spend too long on the highway or your range will suffer. The bike comes with a city range rating of 65 miles (105 km), so you can imagine how short the highway range must be.
Check out my video review of the Kollter ES1 Pro below.
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 in early 2021 and its bombshell low price of just $5,000. The price has since been increased to $6,500, but that still keeps it in the low-cost end of the electric motorcycle pricing spectrum.
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, though in my testing I found that the top speed is reachable only when engaging a turbo boost button, and max cruising speed is closer to 60-70 mph (96-112 km/h).
Even so, it’s a great ride for around the city or short hops on the highway. I had it up to max speed on California highways during my test ride and it felt just as good at the top end as it did at the bottom end. But with a smaller 4 kWh battery, it’s a good idea not to ride too fast for too long or you’ll be looking for a charging outlet quickly.
A range test performed by the company put the real-world range when measured at higher speeds at closer to 60 miles, though many early owners have reported much lower ranges at high speed.
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. There’s no estimated delivery date for those accessories though, so don’t think you’ll be able to add them in the next few weeks.
You can check out my test ride article on the Metacycle, or watch my video below.
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 2022, 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, 2023 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!