The Lightning Strike electric motorcycle is set to be officially unveiled on Thursday.
But thanks to CycleNews jumping the gun, the majority of the specs on the most affordable electric sportbike have already been released. Check them out below.
News outlets often get sneak peaks at new products in advance of official unveilings and launches. Those materials are embargoed until the actual launch and give us enough time to prepare a well-written article for our readers.
But CycleNews let the cat out of the bag early, revealing the majority of the Lightning Strike’s specs and features.
Update 11:02 AM EDT: We reached out to Lightning for clarification about the bike in the CycleNews story and this how they responded:
“This was a ride on a very early prototype – essentially a development mule for testing Strike’s powertrain which was mounted inside an LS-218 body and frame. Given Strike has an entirely different body, frame, riding position and electronics among many other features, the prototype in the article is not representative of the production version of Strike which will officially launch later this week. This development mule ride actually took place last year but has just now published.”
Update 11:38 AM EDT: Lighting further clarified to Electrek:
“The specifications and figures listed in the article are from an early development mule utilized purely for testing powertrain components and are not representative of the production version of Strike. Lightning will be announcing full specifications with the official Strike launch later this week.”
Lighting Strike electric motorcycle specs
The Lightning Strike is designed as a 600 sport equivalent.
It has a top speed of 150 mph (241 km/h) in its track gearing setup.
The bike reportedly features a 70 kW (94 hp) motor in the $12,998 base model. The higher spec version (at a yet unknown price) will offer an upgrade to 90 kW (121 hp).
The Lightning Strike’s motor is apparently a 150V liquid-cooled three-phase AC induction motor and also sports a liquid-cooled controller. At such high power levels, liquid cooling becomes a necessity to sustain power for longer periods of time.
The Strike sports a rather large 18 kWh Li-ion pack. It should be sufficient for 120 miles (193 km) of range in an urban setting, or 75-90 miles (121-145 km) of range at highway speeds.
Lightning has been famously promising a 150 mile (241 km) range for the Lightning Strike. We’re awaiting word from Lightning to clarify if that goal changed or if there is something we’re missing here in the (nearly) complete leaked specs.
The Strike includes a 3.3 kW on-board charger as standard. Lightning says that should recharge the battery from 0-95% in 3.5 hours on Level 2 charging. That math doesn’t quite add up, but is likely close.
A 12 kW charger option will be available to drop charging time to just over an hour. And DC fast charging (Level 3) will offer a full recharge in just over half an hour.
The frame is an aluminum monocoque using the battery shell as a structural element. The photos show the Strike wearing a camouflaged LS-218 body, so it’s hard to see the Strike’s true form yet.
Strike in its big brother’s LS-218 camouflaged body
The final drive is a belt drive, which cuts down on noise in the already quiet electric bike. The rear swingarm is machined billet aluminum.
The front wheel features a pair of 4-piston Brembo brakes, while the rear has its own single dual-piston Brembo setup.
The Lightning Strike weighs 455 lb (206 kg) “wet”, though the wet and dry distinctions don’t mean much for electric motorcycles. At most, there are probably just two pounds of fluid in this thing between the brake lines and the motor/controller cooling.
Lightning Strike production in China, assembly in California
In a surprising move, Lightning Motorcycle has decided to perform most of the component production at a facility in China. The majority of the parts will be produced in a 20,000 sq ft (1,860 sq m) facility in Quzhou, south of Shanghai. They’ll then be assembled in California at Lightning’s own San Jose facility, which is similar in size to their Quzhou factory.
Lightning CEO Richard Hatfield explained to Cycle News:
“Our main reason for opening the factory in China is that we know we must be able to build these bikes at a competitive price and in a kind of volume that will allow Lightning to compete with gasoline bikes on price. We’ll do the engineering and product development in California, but will manufacture the majority of the parts in China before shipping them to the USA, where we’ll assemble bikes destined for North America, and certain of our export markets. Then we’ll ship each motorcycle as a CKD/complete knockdown kit into our US dealers and our distributors in other countries, where they’ll hand assemble them locally.
We’ll also build complete motorcycles in China for certain markets where it makes sense to do so geographically – not only China itself, which we see as a key market for Lightning but also India, in particular.”
I’m positive about nearly everything except for the range, though Lightning says that the range in CycleNews’ article is not accurate.
There’s a lot to love in the Lightning Strike. For $12,998, this is quite an electric motorcycle. You know Zero is going to be nervous.
The Strike has the speed and power that riders want. It does an electric sport bike proud.
The China production is an interesting move. It’s not a new strategy, mind you. You probably have multiple products on your desk right now that say “Designed in California. Manufactured in China.” somewhere on them. But it’s new for American electric motorcycle manufacturers, which is an admittedly small group. I ride an electric motorcycle everyday that was built in China by Zongshen and I’m quite happy with it. I’d gladly upgrade to a Strike though!
The assembly will still happen in California, and I’m sure the parts will be QC’ed well to Lightning’s Standards. To be honest, I’m getting tired of the “everything made in China is crap” myth. Chinese factories can produce crap, but they can also produce high quality parts. It all depends how much you want to pay.
And with what Lightning saves on the labor/material costs, they’ll likely be able to pay for high quality production.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.
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