Exhaustive guide to no emission and low emission motorcycles

Going green on your low emission motorcycle has never been easier. The number of electric bikes on the market increases every year and manufacturers of petrol bike are working hard to make them more fuel efficient too.

Here Bikesure takes a look at some of the new low emission motorcycles warming up on the start line.

Big names and slightly less big names

Harley-Davidson have put something approaching a firm date on their long-anticipated electric options. Pre-orders for the Livewire will open “soon”, with a price tag that can only be described as “the kind of money you would expect to pay for a Harley.”

The big ticket bikes that managed to survive 2017 have also made it through 2018, so a big round of applause to Zero, Energica, and Lightning.

Lightning, makers of the superfast LS2-18, have also started teasing a new machine for 2019, the Strike. At the time of writing, they have pre-orders open for two variants, which you can reserve for $500 or $10,000 if you want the premium version. While details or even full pictures are currently scarce, the Strike is being promoted as more of a city bike compared to the full fat superbike, the LS2-18.

Harley-Davidson Livewire - low emission motorcycle

In the slightly cheaper price bracket, the Denzel café racer is apparently still going, and the company is looking for dealers rather than selling directly to customers which… seems like a good thing? It’s now joined by three other models too, which is also encouraging. You can only order them directly from the factory in China until they sort out that dealer network.

The Super Soco is also still around and advertising itself as the UK’s top-selling electric vehicle, which is also pretty damn good. This year will hopefully see the arrival of new models including the CUX scooter, costing around £2000. They’re also planning on launching something a little more powerful later in the year, the TC Max, which is currently aiming at a £5,000 price tag.

Evoke are also still technically around, although the radio silence from their UK social media channels and no-shows at Motorcycle Live are not particularly encouraging. Luckily on the other side of the Atlantic things are a bit more active, and their main website is currently promising a new model with a rather fancy CGI reader which will apparently become reality in the first half of 2019.

In the “low emission motorcycles not available in the UK, never will be” category, Gogoro scooters have managed to carve a niche for themselves in Taiwan with their hot-swappable battery system.

This makes sense in smaller countries where it’s easier to maintain the networks required to keep it operational. But realistically, in the UK, it would go the same way as a lot of the bicycle hire apps have gone. That is to say, be constantly disappointed by how readily Brits will steal and/or destroy bicycles, to the extent that most shut down operations mere months after setting up in a city. If that’s what we do with bicycles, imagine the chaos a network of fully charged batteries left all over the place would cause.

Kymco have launched a similar network in Taiwan, which obviously has the same potential for being a gigantic failure outside of Taiwan, sadly.

Honda’s PCX Electric is being launched as a lease-sale solution for Japanese corporations but they’re currently only planning on producing 250 units a year.

Arc Vecotr low emission motorcycle

The new stuff in the world of low emission motorcycles

The E2 from RMK is another potentially exciting low emission motorcycle, with a new rim motor design in the rear wheel giving it a futuristic Tron style vibe. The early indications are interesting, and if they manage to pull it off we could be looking at another future cult classic.  

More potentially exciting bikes are on the way from Curtiss motorcycles. The first machine due to be released is the Zeus, which is pure Future Bobber material, with Hera, a Café Racer variant, scheduled for 2020. If/when they get released, they will be some of the most strikingly designed motorcycles, electric or not, so that’ll be something to look forward to.

Closer to home, another luxury bike potentially coming to the “far too rich” market segment is the Arc Vector, which is being described as the first fully electric neo-café racer promising all kinds of advanced technology, including a HUD helmet and haptic enabled riding suit. It’s a lot to deliver, but the company has signed a deal with Jaguar which should help them in that regard.

All these bikes are aiming to be “the Tesla of motorcycles”, one way or another, although none of them are essentially schemes to syphon as many government subsidies as possible and, as far as we know, are able to drive in rain without destroying themselves.

Bumblebee low emission motorcycle

Low emission motorcycles can be cheap, cheerful

One of the features of low emission motorcycles and the electric scooter industry over the past few years has been a certain shelf life for the companies selling them. It basically seems like someone will get the idea to sell them, order a bunch of cheap Chinese scooters and then sell them under their own brand until such time as the stock or the money runs out, rinse, and repeat. Bucking the trend, Eko Bikes are still around after last year’s article, which is nice.

Bumblebee Bikes are a new addition to the affordable e-bike range, from the bargain Pony to the extremely reasonably priced and beautifully styled Classic range. The Classic range could well be the real gem in terms of cheap bikes, especially if you’re after a bit of that retro style. They may not have the same level of pizzazz as the Vespa Elettrica, but they also don’t have the price tag, which, while cheap in premium EV terms, still sits in the pricier end for scooters.

Another brand of scooters that’s new to us is Askoll. Their range of modern, lightweight scooters looks very promising for anyone looking for a city transport solution, with a streamlined design that pares everything back to the bare essentials.

If you’re looking for something a little sturdier, French brand Eccity’s range are some very good premium scooters. Its 125+ has a maximum speed of 75mph, and generally has a bit more oomph than the cheaper end of things. They’re currently accepting pre-orders on an even more premium electric three-wheeler, if you like a trike.

The other constant in the EV industry is the somewhat atypical looking urban transport scooter. This time around, that position is filled by the Scrooser. So spending over 4 grand on the adult version of those toy scooters is certainly a thing you can do, if you want to.

Making the most of what you’ve got  

There are still ways you can improve on your current petrol-powered motorcycle to help lower your emissions. The easiest way is making sure your motorcycle gets regular maintenance. Things like changing the oil, making sure the valves are clear and readjusting their clearances if necessary, changing air and oil filters will all help. Putting in a regular maintenance schedule will prolong your bike’s lifespan as well as helping to reduce its consumption of petrol.

While car drivers can use hypermiling techniques to help cut down their fuel consumption, these are less useful for urban bikers in particular as they rely on limiting your acceleration and deceleration, which is, frankly, too dangerous most of the time.

What are your favourite tips for lowering your motorcycle’s emissions? Have we missed anything? Do you just want to tell us how wrong we are? Which are your favourite low emission motorcycles? Sound off in the comments!

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