Earlier this week, BMW took the wraps off an all-new, urban electric motorcycle called the Concept CE2 that promises to be everything that Gen Z motorcyclists need to catch the 2 wheel bug. Is this the perfect starter bike for a new generation of riders?
I mean, it might be — look how hard they’re trying!
Let’s be clear about what problem this bike is trying to solve: there are not enough young people getting into motorcycling to sustain most of the established motorcycle brands. The kids just don’t want to ride big, chrome-y hogs anymore — but the alternatives from
Harley-Davidson Livewire and Zero are still a bit out of reach. It’s the same problem with “cheap” used bikes, too. See, in my day (and well into the 2000s), you learned to ride on a Honda Rebel 250. Everyone learned to ride on a Rebel 250, in fact. They were great, non-threatening little machines that were excellent at making new riders feel comfortable with the basics of motorcycling, like clutch feel, balance, and shifting. They even looked like 3/4 scale models of the big cruiser that you were probably going to buy as soon as you got used to riding, too!
There are two problems there for today’s young riders, though. The market research says they don’t want to learn to shift, and they certainly don’t want to ride anything that looks like a traditional cruiser. What do they want, then? They want a Honda Grom, it turns out — that bike has been a hot seller since it first made its debut back in 2013, and it would probably sell even better if it was electric. Honda knows that, and it’s working on an electric Grom as I type this.
Why am I talking about a Honda Grom in an article that’s supposed to be about a BMW? Because this BMW is little more than an electric Grom in spirit. It’s about the same size. With a 55 MPH top speed, it’s got about the same levels of performance as the 125cc Grom, too. It’s a bit more upscale in its fit and finish and spec (that instrument panel is achingly gorgeous and Bauhaus-y), but we’ve decided that electric = premium in this society, so that makes sense, too.
BMW, in fairness, is trying very hard to avoid having the Concept CE2 labeled as a simply an electric BMW Grom. “At first glance, there is little about the BMW Motorrad Concept CE 02 that is typically BMW Motorrad – it’s something completely new,” offers Edgar Heinrich, Head of Design BMW Motorrad and unconvincing reality-denier. “The Concept CE 02 features new proportions and modern forms of single-track mobility in an urban environment. In addition, we wanted to achieve a level of design innovation that we have not had before at this level. Straightforward use was important, but above all the emotional component was crucial, as well as riding fun.”
I mean, if it’s half as good as the Grom that it will spend its entire production run being compared to, it will definitely be fun. And, if it looks this good if/when it makes it to production? Let’s just say there are a lot of older guys with slightly deeper pockets who might swing on one of these — or, maybe a Sondors — rather than risk looking too juvenile on a Grom. That’s my take, anyway. What’s yours? Check out the Concept CE2 gallery, below, then let us know what you think in the comments section at the bottom of the page.