Motorcycles

Lighting Motorcycle's Strike has struck, but is it the bike we wanted?

The new, more affordable entry-level model from Lightning Motorcycles will start at just under $13,000 -- but is it worth it?

Lightning's Strike electric motorcycle packs 180 pound-feet of torque into a slightly more relaxed sportbike-like chassis.

Lightning Motorcycle

After months of teasing, the Lightning Motorcycles' Strike is making its debut, and it looks promising, if not all that we hoped it would be.

The base model Strike still comes in at the $13,000 price point that Lightning has been teasing, but its 70-to-100 mile range at that price point leaves something to be desired. That being said, the base model's 10-kilowatt-hour battery can still be Level 2 charged in around two hours. If you want DC fast-charge capability on anything but the top-tier model, that will cost you an additional $1,500.

The base Lightning's performance -- range notwithstanding -- should be pretty decent though, with 90 horsepower on tap and a full 180 pound-feet of torque available at zero RPM. Stepping up to the top-of-the-line 20kWh model gets you an additional 30 horsepower. The base model bike weighs 455 pounds, while the Carbon Strike tips the scales at 485 pounds.

Details on the suspension and brake components for the two lower-power models are a little scarce, but if you shell out nearly 20 large for the Carbon Strike edition, your bike will come with brakes by Brembo and suspension by Öhlins. You'll also get an AIM dash with lap-timing abilities, and you'll get your bike as early as July.

Previous press releases from Lightning left us with a few questions about where the bike would be manufactured, since $13,000 is a relatively low price point for an electric motorcycle. Well, it happens that the answer isn't as straightforward as "Made in America." It's more like "Made in America, sort of."

The bike undergoes final assembly at Lightning's new facility in San Jose, California, but its components come from all over the world. Lightning isn't giving us specifics on that, but it's not uncommon for a vehicle's various parts to come from many vendors around the world, and frankly, as long as the quality control from Lightning is good, we're OK with that.

So, in the end, was our excitement for the Strike justified? Kind of. Is it the world-beating, revolutionary, affordable electric motorcycle we were hoping for? At its entry-level price point, not really. The lack of standard DC fast charging across the range and the limited range of the base model aren't ideal. The pricing structure that Lightning has going reminds us a lot of the one used by Zero.

From a performance standpoint, we expect that the Strike will be a blast to ride. It's not exactly a featherweight, but its combination of adequate power and stellar torque should be fun, and the slightly relaxed sportbike-like form factor should mean that it will do an excellent job of straightening out your favorite canyon road.

The real test will come when we get to throw a leg over it.