They say motorcycle riders are masters of calculated risk. And as much fun as I’ve had on several different models of electric motorcycles lately, I’m not sure I’d take a risk on the latest bike I’ve found. An affordably-priced highway-capable electric motorcycle from China sure sound enticing, but something tells me a bargain basement electric sportbike just isn’t going to buy me enough of a safety margin.
But that doesn’t mean I can shake the tempting thought from my head. Fortunately, there’s always a home for oddball items like this in my weekly Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week column.
The motorcycle in question this week is the EM-120 from a little-known outfit called Wuxi E-Speed Technology Company, LTD.
As well-meaning as they undoubtedly are, I’m not sure their bike represents the pinnacle of e-moto manufacturing.
It looks halfway decent, but what are those body panels covering?
In the highest spec model (why would I waste my time or yours looking at anything else?) we’ve got ourselves an 8,000W motor (11 hp) good for a top speed of 130 km/h (80 mph).
The bike also comes with a 72V and 80Ah lithium-ion battery packing in 5.76 kWh of capacity. According to Wuxi E-Speed, that’s good for a solid 140 km (87 miles) in range.
What does this razor’s edge level of performance cost you? That will be $3,500, please and thank you.
Ouch, for not much more I could just pick up something stateside.
But what if I only had, say….. $1,500 to spend? But I still wanted a badass looking electric motorcycle from China?
Don’t worry, because Wuxi E-Speed has us covered there too.
If we fall a few more rungs down the spec ladder, we can exchange our grand and a half for an electric sport bike with a paltry 3,000W (4 hp) motor and a top speed of 80 km/h (50 mph). Not nearly as cool, but then again they’re doing me a favor here.
No one will actually know how fast my bike will be when I’m parked down at the local watering hole, looking cool and picking up chicks left and right.
Nor will anyone know I’ve just got a puny 1.44 kWh battery under the panels, or that its a grossly outdated lead acid pack at that. At least the modest 50 km (30 miles) of range will be enough to limp away from the laughter once the secret is out.
Even though it might not be a winner (or finisher) at the track, I still love all the little gimmicks and add-ons that are sprinkled around the bike to make it look more impressive than it is.
There’s a fake chain or belt guard, even though the hub motor means there’s no need for any power transfer connection. There’s an implication of a BMW logo, at least until you get close enough for a better look. And there’s even both a needle gauge and digital readout for the speedometer. One’s for looking cool. The other’s for checking at a quick glance. And both are for grossly overestimating your true speed.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got no problem with a Chinese-made electric motorcycle or moped. In fact, I have one as my daily driver. For the right price and with a reputable company, you can get awesome stuff from all over the world. But I also know that it costs more than $1,500 to make a safe, reliable and comfortable 50 mph electric two-wheeler.
And as much fun as something like this might be at the go-kart track, I don’t think I’ll be chomping at the bit to take one on the highway anytime soon. I’ve made my fair share of ill-advised adventure buys from the AliExpress electric vehicle catalog, but something tells me this bike won’t be making the list.
Now that one-wheeled electric motorcycle from earlier this year though… suddenly that one is starting to look like a safer bet!
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