Competitive electric motorcycles—it’s no longer a question of if, but rather when. People have long talked about the prospect but over the past eight years, Alta Motors has taken the lead, building a line of provocative electric bikes, then using slick millennial marketing and old-fashioned ride days to spread the word.
If you’ve already tuned out the idea of an electric motorcycle, that’s probably because you haven’t ridden one yet. They’re surprisingly fast, loaded with torque, and quite fun to ride—once you get used to the relative silence compared to everything else you’ve ridden in your life. And as Josh Hill has shown at Red Bull Straight Rhythm, they can be competitive with 250cc four-strokes in the right hands and on the right track.
Of course, the Alta is still a work in progress, but its rapid ascent in the motorcycling market raises the question: why aren’t people making a bigger deal of the fact that it’s an American-made motorcycle?
Maybe it’s because the Alta doesn’t hail from Milwaukee, the home of Harley-Davidson, or even Bedford, Pennsylvania, where Cannondale tried to plant its flag. This bike was born in Brisbane, California, on the edge of Silicon Valley. And it’s not your father’s American motorcycle, but rather one made for forward-thinking riders across the planet.