Lightning Strike electric motorcycle motor teaser

Lightning Continues Trickle-teasing the Strike

I’m starting to feel a little dirty, dutifully passing along exactly what Lightning wants us to tell CityBike readers about the Strike. We don’t generally play that game so willingly, but we started covering the Lightning Strike when the first information came out, and it remains a very compelling machine if the marketing language and specs are true. At least we’re not being asked to believe this stuff is “spy photos” or whatever nonsense manufacturers sometimes foist on the moto-press as if anyone believes that shit.

The latest from Lightning is a partial photo of the Strike’s motor:

I can’t deduce a damn thing about the motor itself from this shot, Watson, but I do like the look of those orange wires.

However, the presence of an Öhlins shock makes me think this is not a photo of the $12,998 Standard Strike announced in late January—it seems extremely unlikely that $13k-ish price point will include premium suspension. Yes, Lightning could be showing us a photo of an optioned-up standard bike in an effort to (further) confuse us, but I’m willing to bet my February CityBike paycheck this photo shows a Carbon Edition Strike, meaning that my half-baked hope/theory about a carbon swingarm on the primo Strike was nonsense. Now there’s a surprise!

Here’s the release that accompanied the photo:

Lightning has spent years of focused effort developing electric motorcycle technology to compete head-on with the best gas bikes in the world. Now we’re bringing everything we’ve learned into volume production with the all-new Lightning Strike – launching this March.

Based on the architecture and innovation in the Lightning LS-218 Superbike, Strike’s motor is fully liquid-cooled and engineered for track-ready performance. As far as we’re aware, LS-218 is currently the only electric motorcycle in the world with the technology and ability run flat-out at qualifying racing speed, pull in for a pit stop to fast charge and continue racing – all without ever overheating. Strike shares these exclusive performance characteristics while being fundamentally designed to be the ultimate street bike.

As usual, I pestered Matt Schulwitz, VP of Marketing Communications at Lightning, with more questions in hopes of charming some additional information out of him, and as usual, he told me to hold my horses until March, when the Strike is set to strike launch. He did reiterate that the motor of the Strike is fully liquid-cooled, saying the “Strike has the technology and ability to never overheat even during the most intense racetrack riding conditions.”

It’s true that Lightning has created an amazing motorcycle in their super-premium LS-218, a true halo machine, unlike the overpriced, under-spec’ed joke currently being hawked as the future of American motorcycling. Hopefully a heaping helping of that goodness really does make it into the Strike, sort of a modern take on the old “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” (a few years later) philosophy.

Emphasis on performance, part of Lightning’s thing all along, keeps showing up in hints about the Strike. But last week, reportedly in response to questions about the Strike’s ergonomics from potential customers, Lightning shared a comparison of the riding positions of the LS-218 and the Strike, saying “we wanted to clearly demonstrate Strike’s rider position relative to the ultra performance focused Lightning LS-218 Superbike. Strike is a motorcycle engineered for the track, but designed for the street.”

Comparison of Lightning Strike riding position to Lightning LS-218

That’s still a pretty sporty riding position, but thankfully not the track-oriented crouch of the LS-218.

I’ve previously discussed how the Strike hypothetically compares favorably to current Zero electric motorcycles, but Zero will be announcing it’s latest and presumably greatest, the SR/F, on February 25th, which our sharper readers will recognize as being before the Strike’s still-unspecified launch date of “March.”

Zero is still playing coy with us, though, giving us nothing more to look at than another barely-informative video:

As always, stay tuned here at CityBike for the latest on electric motorcycles.