Lightning Motorcycles, who last week announced details about their upcoming Strike electric motorcycle, yesterday announced a few more details about the “coming in March” bike. Like last week’s announcement, available information is scant, and the metering out of that information is almost certainly according to a marketing schedule intended to create buzz, but we’ll play along for now. After all, if the Strike does truly offer 150 miles of range for $13k, it’ll go 40 miles more than Harley-Davidson’s comically overpriced and under-spec’ed LiveWire, never mind that super-useful on public roads 150 MPH top speed.
Yesterday’s release proclaimed that Lightning is “officially accepting reservations for the recently announced Lightning Strike – the world’s first premium mass-market electric motorcycle. Based on an unexpectedly high number of customer requests received after the initial Strike announcement, Lightning is now allowing US customers to reserve their spot in line prior to the official launch.”
We all giggled a bit at the oxymoronic juxtaposition of premium and mass-market, but we do hope that they’re serious about both sides of that slightly dissonant equation. Lightning’s LS-218 is premium as fuck (or AF, as the anti-potty-mouthers say), and if they’re really going to produce the Strike in “mass” numbers, we’ll cut ’em some retroactive slack at that point.
The Strike can be pre-ordered in two flavors:
Strike Carbon Edition (presumably also premium AF)
· Reserves first-in-production Strike Carbon Edition
· Strike Carbon Edition is fully configured with every available option included
· $10,000 fully refundable reservation deposit
Strike Standard (minus the AF)
· Reserves standard Strike – starts production after Strike Carbon Edition
· Standard Reservation Strike has a $12,998 starting price and is configurable with options
· $500 fully refundable reservation deposit
Yeah, reservations are fully refundable, but damn, son—ten grand and we don’t get to know the price or street date or much of anything yet? That’s a tough nut to break loose.
I hassled contacted Matt Schulwitz, VP of Marketing Communications at Lightning with a bunch of questions, just as I did about last week’s first announcement of the Strike. As expected, the answers were all still “all will be revealed in March.”
This just me guessing, but based on that $10k pre-order price, I’m betting the Carbon will be pretty sweetly set up: “all the options” probably means premium suspension and maybe more interesting user-facing electronics as seems to be happening more and more, like with Indian’s FTR1200 where the S(weet) version gets you not just modes and lean-sensitive traction/stability control but also Indian’s Ride Command touchscreen instead of a simple, circular gauge-thing. Although it seems obvious, Carbon probably means there’ll be carbon fiber, but maybe we’ll see something really groovy like the carbon swingarm Lightning’s founder and CEO Richard Hatfield showed me at the Quail back in 2016.
Lightning Motorcycles founder and CEO showing off a carbon swingarm prototype for the LS-218 at the 2016 Quail Motorcycle Gathering. Photo: Surj Gish.
I’m also guessing the price for the Carbon will be PAF too. The built-to-order LS-218 starts at $38,888 and an optioned-up Zero SR easily gets to $20k, so it’s not hard to imagine the Carbon being $25k to $30k, or more—especially if the options include similarly sweet Öhlins and Brembo bits like the available componentry on the LS.
On paper, the Strike compares quite favorably to Zero’s current SR models. Sure, the $16,495 SR ZF14.4 offers a claimed range of 179 miles in the city and 90 on the highway, but that’s roughly $3,500 more than the Strike’s starting price, and in our admittedly aggressive testing we found Zero’s claimed range numbers to be a little optimistic—although we also found more than once that there are still several miles in the tank when the Zero’s gauge reads 0%.
It’s worth noting that Lightning claims range for their LS-218 based on “highway speed” unlike the “up to” city and mixed numbers often emphasized by Zero and now Harley-Davidson. I haven’t gotten an answer to the question of whether the Strike’s hypothetical 150-mile range is based on highway speeds. I guess we’ll find out in March.
How will the Strike compare to Zero’s new baby, the SR/F due on February 25th? We don’t know, because all we know about the F-er is that it is “the future of motorcycling” and it’ll be “the first of its kind,” whatever that means. Based on typical automotive marketing, we’d usually guess that the truth behind that claim is likely that it’s simply the first SR/F—but the description accompanying Zero’s laughably uninformative (even by moto-marketing standards) “teaser” video for the SR-F says it’ll be a “new platform.” Oh, and it’ll be naked, contrary to all the smart people prattling on about how “F is for fairing.”