9 Tips for Choosing the Best Electric Motorcycle for You
The best electric motorcycle for you depends on personal preference and riding behaviour. The good news is that there is an electric motorbike out there for every rider.
The first generation of electric bikes meant well. They broke the mold, pushed the envelope, and paved the way for us to make the best two-wheeled-wonders we can. However, they were often expensive, unreliable, and put safety as an after-thought.
Thankfully, in 2020, those days are long gone. Bike brands like Damon are releasing exciting new motorcycles with features never seen before in their EV predecessors or ICE counterparts. With so many factors at play when choosing the right bike, it can be difficult to know where to start. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Whatever kind of rider you are, here are some key tips you should assess when choosing the best electric motorcycle for you.
1. Decide What You Will Use Your Motorcycle For
In the past, the main motivation for purchasing an electric bike would be to reduce your carbon footprint. However, with electric motorcycles now going toe-to-toe with petrol models in terms of performance and variety, you can now choose bikes that fit your specific riding needs.
These may include:
- Adventure riding
- Track riding
- Canyon Carving
The next tip will greatly determine whether you can take your electric motorbike across the country or if it’s better suited to going to and from the office.
Range refers to the total distance your bike can do per charge. The total range estimate given on a motorbike’s specification can be affected by a few different factors, such as:
- Rider’s style
- Weather conditions
- Road type
- Rider’s height and weight
When considering the best electric bike for you, it’s essential to make some estimations. These will not only include your daily mileage but also the nature of your route (e.g. city streets, highways, rural areas and access to charging stations).
This type of breakdown is important as all-electric motorbikes have a maximum range when fully charged. Look at the section of the manufacturer’s specifications, in particular, to make sure they’re quoting city, highway, or mixed battery mileage.
The range of electric motorcycles varies from one model to the next. Lighter, scooter models deliver around 60 miles of range, whereas some heavier, cruiser models hit around 250 miles.
Here at Damon, all of our Hypersports have a maximum range capacity of over 200 miles (city and highway mix).
3. Power, Torque, and Speed
Now that you’ve considered what you’re using the bike for and the range it’s capable of, let’s move on to the bike’s power, torque, and speed. In other words, what can you expect when you nail that throttle?
There is some confusion about the difference in these terms within the riding community. So, we’re going to break down each one:
- Power – This is measured in kilowatts. To determine a bike’s horsepower, multiply the kilowatts by 1.34.
- Torque – This is measured in ft-lb. The higher the torque, the greater the acceleration.
- Speed – Pretty self-explanatory how this is measured. Speed depends on the engine power and weight of the bike.
Check out the power, torque, and top speed of Damon’s Hypersport models here.
4. Recharging Time and Charging Stations
The length of time it takes to put the life back into your battery is probably as important as the range available on a full charge.
Most electric motorcycles have built-in level one and level two chargers. Damon Hypersports also feature CCS fast charging capability.
What’s the difference between the three?
- Level 1 Chargers – These use a 120-volt connection. Charging times are lower than the other two. Charge time is generally between 10-13 hours.
- Level 2 Chargers – These use a 240-volt connection. Faster charging times than a level 1, so it’s worth using if there isn’t a level two charging station near you. Charge time is just under 3 hours.
- CSS (DC Fast Charge/Combined Charging System) – Lightning quick. CSS fast charging will charge your bike up to 80% in just 45 minutes.
To charge most electric bikes at home – including a Damon Hypersport – you need to install a J1772 compliant EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment). Alternatively, you can use level two charging stations while on the road.
EV charging infrastructure has improved in the last few years. In Canada, for example, Petro-Canada has completely rolled out their coast-to-coast EV charging network. The charging infrastructure in the US has also seen impressive growth; in California alone, there are 18,000 EV charging stations.
So where can you find a level two charging station? Practically everywhere! Use any level two charger locator app to find a station near you.
5. Advanced Technology & Connectivity
Electric motorcycles have the benefit of being more technologically-advanced than their ICE counterparts.
On top of a more interactive dash, the best electric motorcycles are upping their tech game by implementing advanced safety features to guard rider safety.
Damon Hypersports will feature our CoPilot™ advanced warning system. The system will use radar, cameras, and non-visual sensors to track the speed, direction, and velocity of up to 64 moving objects around the motorcycle in 360 degrees.
In addition to this, several bike brands have started to produce their own mobile apps to increase riders’ levels of connectivity. Through our mobile app, Damon Hypersport owners will be able to customize CoPilot™’s alerts based on individual preferences. You’ll also be able to access features like GPS tracking or your electric motorcycle’s settings all on a user-friendly interface.
Additional features will be made available and easily downloadable through over-the-air (OTA) updates, ensuring your electric motorcycle always remains fresh and up to date.
6. Seat Height, Bike Position, and Vehicle Weight
It’s essential that the bike you choose has the correct dimensions and weight as well as the right seat height. Proper motorcycle ergonomics means you’ll be comfortable and in control of your bike no matter your riding position.
However, riding position changes depending on whether you’re commuting in the city in a more upright posture or out there leaning forward to carve canyons. Because your riding position changes, your motorcycle should, too.
This is why Damon Hypersports all feature SHIFT™ technology. This allows riders to shift from commuter mode to sport mode with four-point adjustability – all at a push of a button. This on-the-fly adjustable ergonomics is extremely useful for remaining relaxed in stop-start traffic or maintaining control on the freeway, making your ride more comfortable at all times.
7. Battery Life
This is an important question – let’s face it, the battery is the very heart of the bike. To be clear, this is the number of times the battery can be recharged and not the range of a fully charged battery.
Electric motorcycles’ battery lives have come on leaps and bounds in the past few years. The recent news of Tesla’s highly-anticipated one million mile battery – set to be announced in September 2020 – is an example of the increasingly longer shelf life of bike batteries on the market.
Just as ICE motorcycles get worn out after many kilometers under its belt, the same will happen with electric motorcycles. However, through the lifetime of the vehicle, you will spend much less time, energy, and money on maintaining your electric motorcycle than you would an ICE bike. No more needing to winterize, remove the battery, or put in fuel stabilization – now you can just plug it in and go!
Rest assured, the bike you choose will likely have a long battery life. By the time you begin to see battery degradation, you would be ready for a new motorcycle already.
All electric motorbike manufacturers are obliged to provide a warranty. The small print differs significantly, but apart from covering frame and cycle parts, the warranty should cover the battery’s shelf-life.
The devil is always in the details though and the warranty small print will usually have a lot of bike specifics you should know. These details will relate to things like:
- The maximum and minimum operating temperatures
- How to charge the battery
- The amount of charge left in the battery for extended storage periods
In order to stay within the warranty terms, you have to adhere to these terms.
9. Cost and Incentives
There is an electric motorbike to suit any budget. No longer are electric bikes only available to the super wealthy and environmentally conscious. Technology and bike engineering is now at a place where you can order a high-powered bike for under $25,000.
Furthermore, an additional saving grace for riders of EVs is the various incentives on offer. It’s clear for all to see, that switching to going electric will have a very positive effect on air quality. The global goal of greatly reducing our carbon footprint has resulted in Canada and the US introducing various incentives, grants, and/or tax credits for EV vehicles.
Bike brands will be glad to make you aware of them, but, if at a loss, check your government and state funding options for electric motorcycles.
Follow These Tips and Find the Best Electric Motorcycle For You!
Whatever kind of rider you are, these nine tips will help you choose the best electric motorcycle for your needs. We hope to see you and your two wheels on the road soon!