California-based Lightning Motorcycles recently announced plans to debut their new Lightning Strike electric motorcycle in March.

But in a surprise move, the company has decided to begin taking pre-orders early, meaning potential riders can start reserving their Strike today.

Lightning Motorcycles dropped the veil of secrecy surrounding their upcoming electric motorcycle just one week ago today.

After we broke the news here on Electrek, the bike spread like wildfire around the internet.

With impressive specs including a 150 mph (241 km/h) top speed, 150 mile (242 km) range, 35 minute DC fast charging and a base price of just $12,998, the Lightning Strike received praise far and wide despite the only image of the bike being its front headlights.

Apparently, the volume of interest generated by the announcement was enough to speed up the company’s plans.

As VP of Communications Matt Schulwitz explained in an email to Electrek:

“Based on an unexpectedly high number of customer requests received after the initial Strike announcement, Lightning is officially announcing the opening of reservations for US customers.”

Lightning Strike pre-order available in two versions

Riders placing pre-orders will be able to choose between two versions of the Lightning Strike electric motorcycle.

The Strike Standard Reservation is available for a fully refundable $500 deposit. The starting price will be the previously announced $12,998, and there will be additional configurable options available.

The Strike Carbon Edition Reservation has a much steeper buy in, available for a fully refundable $10,000 deposit. The Strike Carbon Edition is fully configured with every available option included on the bike.

The Strike Carbon Edition will be the first-in-production model, while the Strike Standard will begin production after the Strike Carbon Edition.

lightning strike pre-orders

A number of questions remain about the Lightning Strike

Despite opening pre-orders today, Lightning Motorcycles is still hanging onto the remaining details until the official March launch.

That means not only do we still not know what the bike will look like, but there remain a number of important questions that have been left unanswered.

  • How much will the Strike Carbon Edition cost?
  • What options set it apart from the Strike Standard Edition?
  • Is the $12,998 base model Strike Standard still capable of the advertised 150 mph top speed, 150 mile range and 35 minute DC fast charging?
  • When will production/deliveries begin for reservation holders?

You better believe I peppered Lightning’s Matt Schulwitz with all of these questions and more, but he and the company are remaining tight lipped, intent to reveal these answers during the official product launch.

A crowding field of new electric motorcycles

Lightning has an impressive history with its land speed record-breaking and racing champion LS-218 electric motorcycle. Having cut their teeth on high performance and high speed electric motorcycles, Lightning will now be competing with a number of other more mass market electric motorcycles with specs closer in line to the Strike.

Italian company Energica has been producing electric sports bikes for years, with a number of high performance 150+ mph models. While they currently only have a handful of dealers in the US, they recently opened a new dealership in the Northeast and are expanding their US sales.

energica electric motorcycles

Harley Davidson’s electric LiveWire has also just begun pre-sales, though the price was set at a whopping $29,799. The price is somewhat justified as the bike comes with higher quality components such as suspension and brakes than others in its performance class, but the LiveWire can’t compete with the range and speed figures being touted by the Lightning Strike.

Other electric motorcycles already on the market offer even more affordable thrills. Zero’s new line of 2019 models recently received power, speed and range boosts. But more importantly, the California-based electric motorcycle manufacturer has a brand new model set to be unveiled next month. The upcoming Zero SR/F is still largely a mystery, but could likely be a direct competitor to the Lightning Strike.

New York-based Tarform is also working on an electric motorcycle that could compete in a similar class to the Lightning Strike.

So while Lightning is now taking pre-orders for the Strike, they’ll have to wow riders with its unveiling to ensure that they can hold on to this momentum.

Electrek’s Take

Here’s what I think…

Yes, there was huge excitement and buzz after the Lightning Strike announcement last week. So Lightning quite likely wanted to capitalize on it by opening pre-orders early.

But you know what other electric motorcycle also had huge excitement and buzz in the last week? Zero’s upcoming SR/F. Both California companies are unveiling brand new, speedy and sporty electric motorcycles back to back. And while the electric motorcycle market in the US is growing, it’s still paltry compared to gas-powered motorcycle sales — for now.

So both of these companies are likely to be competing over the same early adopter, forward thinking riders. With Zero’s SR/F unveiling coming a few weeks ahead of Lightning, this is likely Lightning’s move to ensure they don’t lose out on mindshare in the market. They want to get riders mentally and emotionally committed early.

However, I wish that didn’t leave us with so many unanswered questions about the Strike. I’m genuinely super excited about this bike and could even see myself as an early customer. But why would I plop down $10,000 (even fully refundable) without knowing what the full price of a Carbon Strike will be or what features/options it will have? That is critical info in the decision making process.

And it’s not just the lack of knowledge, but also the lack of images. Granted, those look like some nice, aggressive headlights. But that’s a lot of money to put down on just headlights, especially considering that design and appearance is often a much larger buying consideration for motorcycles than cars.

So I’m still incredibly jazzed to see and report on the Strike’s unveiling. And I could still see myself potentially as a customer (though that will be a tough one to explain to my wife, considering I already have a CSC City Slicker and GenZe 2.0f taking up our parking spot). But I do wonder how many people are prepared to reserve a bike they’ve never seen and don’t know much about yet.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.


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