Lightning Motorcycles LS-218 Debuts at Quail Lodge

05/18/2014 @ 12:58 am, by Bryan Delohery13 COMMENTS


As we reported here just a few days ago, Lightning Motorcycles announced its release of the new LS-218 electric superbike, along with plans to preview it at this year’s Quail Motorcycle Gathering.

While the photos then were rough, we got a general idea of what the Lightning LS-218 was supposed to look like at its California debut. Taking the wraps off at the Quail Lodge in Carmel, California, Lightning showed up to the gathering this weekend with what they are calling a nearly finished version of the LS-218.

The first thing that stands out about this bike, as many onlookers noted, was that it looks very much like its petrol-powered cousins, thanks to the gorgeous design by Glynn Kerr. The bright blue metallic paint, contrasted by the brass colored Öhlins dampers and big Brembo brakes, really make for an eye-catching piece of machinery.

What’s more, Lightning claims that this street-legal version of their race bike produces in excess of 200hp and 168lb-ft of torque, but is it enough to live up to the claims?

According to Lightning Motorcycles CEO Richard Hatfield, the company is dedicated to continuing its work and setting higher goals. “It is time for Lightning to take this race proven technology to market and pursue our win in the market place,” he said.

Although the previous Lightning superbike does boast some impressive accomplishments, setting a land speed record of 215.907 in 2011 and winning Pike’s Peak last year, until road tests are performed there is no guarantee that the consumer version will live up to the pedigree of its racing counterpart.

“This preview was to give the public an early view of LS-218 and its capabilities,” said Hatfield. “We are excited to meet with many motorcycle fans at Quail and answer their questions.”

Although the Lightning Motorcycles tent drew large crowds of onlookers, sadly there were no tests of its capabilities to be had. We guess we will just have to wait until the product launch, which is scheduled for Summer 2014.





Photos: © 2014 Bryan Delohery / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

  • Mitch

    Ah. I can see the resemblance between the Ficher and this bike. That is to say, Glynn is talented but American sportbikes always look so cheap and amateur. Poor fiberglass, wiring, lighting. We can send men to the moon and bring them back alive but we have so much trouble making anything that looks close to professional or can even compete. I’m sorry, this just looks like a motorcycle you see in a video game when you can’t get the rights to some legitimate design and come up with some generic.

  • mike

    Cartoon bike. No mention of range…

  • adam

    So ugly. What a shame and a missed opportunity. It doesn’t matter how well this thing performs, I would never buy one because I would be ashamed to be seen riding it.

  • Lewis Dawson

    “Cartoon bike” is a good summation. An attempt to answer the question, “How many superfluous lines can be crammed onto one motorcycle?” As for functionality, we must wait.

  • Sid

    You’re at the Quail & those were the only photos you took ? They’re all basically the same view except for the close up

  • Bryan Deloheryb

    I was asked by Lightning to stop shooting because it was only a “preview” of the bike and was not finished!

  • Old Boy

    I applaud the effort but it looks like more of a misguided marketing exercise than anything else. Seems they overlooked a few details…including installing the actual battery pack. But hey, as long as the F̶i̶s̶c̶h̶e̶r̶ Lightning bike looks decent what else matters?

  • Matt Higgins

    Suprised there is not more torque…

  • Woodlandrider

    You guys need to calm down. What do you want – ‘another’ clone superbike. At least the Lightning guys are trying to be different. Personally, I think it looks quite interesting and I like the fact its a bit cartoon like.

  • woodlandrider

    Its amazing that there are so many design experts that read this news feed. What do you want – ‘another’ superbike just like the petrol guys make. Come on, give Lightning a break – its a decent effort and if it is a marketing exercise then I’m sure they will either take on board your feedback and tone it down or quite rightly just carry on and dare to be different. And I think Lightning can make the bike function – they have some track record (no pun intended) unlike many style and aesthetics driven proposals that will never see the light of day.

  • Sid

    Woodland rider- everyone is entitled to express their view, learning to process criticism w/o whining is valuable in life in more ways than one.

  • FYI, if you zoom on the second to last photo, you’ll see that the Lightning LS-218 is without its battery pack.

  • Ray

    Range is about 100 miles with the standard battery pack. A 20kw battery is optional and boosts range to 180 miles. Direct drive so no clutch or shifting to deal with. I agree that it could use some better-inspired styling, and i would like to see this rendition in a monotone color, sans graphics.