As an experienced motorcyclist with more than two decades on the saddle, I’ve always valued the freedom and visceral experience that motorcycling provides. The howl of a performance exhaust and the grumble of an idling V-Twin always used to give me a thrill. However, we are now in an age where sustainability and eco-friendliness are increasingly important.
To this end, I’ve spent the past few years diving deep into the world of electric motorcycles. For those looking to take on a DIY project, or who simply want to give their classic bike a green heart, electric conversion offers a compelling avenue. Let’s discuss some of the best motorcycles for electric conversion in 2023.
The 5 Best Motorcycles for Electric Conversion in 2023
1. Honda CB Series
Honda’s CB series, specifically the CB750 and CB350, are iconic motorcycles that have stood the test of time. Their sturdy frames and simple designs make them ideal for electric conversion. With ample space in the frame for battery placement and a robust structure to handle the weight, these motorcycles are excellent choices for your conversion project.
I converted a CB750 myself last year, and I can tell you, the balance between the classic aesthetic and the quiet, immediate torque of the electric powertrain is quite the conversation starter at the local café.
2. Kawasaki KZ Series
Just like the Honda CB series, the Kawasaki KZ series, particularly the KZ650 and KZ1000, are perfect candidates for conversion. These bikes have generous space to accommodate an electric motor and battery pack. Plus, the KZ’s solid construction and famed durability make them more than capable of handling the additional weight and torque provided by an electric powertrain.
3. Suzuki GS Series
The Suzuki GS series, especially the GS550 and GS750, have been popular among enthusiasts for their reliability and timeless design. Their rigid frames and roomy design offer an excellent foundation for an electric conversion. Moreover, Suzuki’s high build quality ensures that these motorcycles can withstand the rigors of a modern powertrain.
4. Yamaha XS Series
The Yamaha XS650 is another classic that’s been a favorite in the custom bike scene for years. Its simple design, robust construction, and ample frame space make it an attractive choice for an electric conversion project. This bike is a popular choice for many custom builders, so aftermarket support is plentiful.
5. Harley-Davidson Sportster
If you’re a fan of American motorcycles and want to retain that ‘Big Twin’ feel in an electric form, the Harley-Davidson Sportster is a prime candidate. The Sportster’s solid frame can easily accommodate the weight and power of an electric motor. Besides, there’s something incredibly satisfying about the juxtaposition of the classic Harley rumble replaced with the whir of an electric motor.
In 2023, the electric motorcycle industry has grown significantly, with many manufacturers offering electric models. Yet, for those who love DIY projects or wish to breathe new, sustainable life into a classic bike, electric conversions remain a fascinating option.
Choosing the right base motorcycle is critical for a successful conversion. As an experienced rider and electric conversion enthusiast, I can attest that the Honda CB Series, Kawasaki KZ Series, Suzuki GS Series, Yamaha XS Series, and Harley-Davidson Sportster stand out as the best options in 2023. They offer the right combination of frame size, construction quality, and aesthetic appeal. However, remember that the conversion process requires significant technical knowledge and investment. If you’re up to the challenge, the payoff is an eco-friendly ride with a classic look that is sure to turn heads wherever you go.