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Column: Taking an electric motorcycle for a test drive (Video)

Wednesday - 5/22/2013, 6:35am  ET

David Burd (WTOP)
WTOP's David Burd test drives an all-electric motorcycle at Chesapeake Cycles in Annapolis, Md. (WTOP)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - I've been riding motorcycles since I was 15 years old.

My first motorcycle was a Honda 305 Scrambler off-road dirt bike. Now I have a Harley Dyna Glide custom. That's about 1,100 more CC's than the Honda of my youth. So when the bosses wanted someone to test an all-electric motorcycle, they sent me out for the test ride.

Watch video below of David Burd riding an all-electric motorcyle:

I was very skeptical of an electric motorcycle. Electric to me means no power.

I couldn't have been more wrong. I went to Chesapeake Cycles in Annapolis, Md., on Wednesday to meet with owner Mike Eichhorn for a test ride and was blown away.

The motorcycles are manufactured by the Zero Motorcycle Company and come in five models, with prices ranging from $7,000 to $16,000.

From dirt bikes to the more street sporty models, these bikes are all battery-powered. Some models have one battery (the dirt bikes) and others have up to three batteries (the urban sporty versions).

The battery models can last up to 40 miles on one charge, and charging time can last up to three hours. The three battery versions can last up to 130 miles and can recharge in an hour. So go to lunch in Richmond and plug your bike up in a regular outlet.

If you ride a gas-powered motorcycle, riding an all-electric bike will kind of throw you off a bit, but not much.

These electric motorcycles have no clutch because they have no gears to change. You just pull back on the throttle and go. And go is putting it mildly. The urban sporty bikes can get up to 100 miles an hour.

The dirt bike I test drove got up to 70 without breaking a sweat and could have gone faster if I wanted.

If you have never ridden a motorcycle because you can't get the gear shifting thing down, this electric motorcycle is for you.

Even if you have a Harley, like I do, you will be impressed.

But here is the only spooky part of an all-electric motorcycle. Just like hybrid cars, they make no sound whatsoever.

The video below compares the sound of a motorcycle to the new all-electric motorcycle:

If the Pentagon wants to get the drop on future enemies, it might just want to equip the troops with electric motorcycles. No one will ever hear them coming.

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