Jay Leno Rides The Lightning Motorcycles LS-218

Though it has yet to sell a single production model, Lightning Motorcycles has managed to capture both a Pikes Peak win and a land speed record for electric bikes. This silent 218 MPH land jet has also made an appearance in Jay Leno’s Garage, where the comedian got a chance to take a ride on the record-setting electric motorcycle.

Boasting 200 horsepower in street-legal guise and available with a battery pack as big as 20 kWh, Leno remarks that the Lightning Motorcycles LS-218 is one of the few motorcycles that not even the usually-skittish horses take notice of during his test drive. “I could get used to this,” Leno remarks, referring to the quiet operating nature of the electric motor. A high center-of-gravity does make taking the turns at low speeds a little more difficult than some other bikes. But where the lS-218 is most at home is on the highway, cruising along at 70 MPH.

The whole video, including an interview with Lightning Motorcycles CEO Richard Hadfield is worth a looksie. It’s obvious that Leno isn’t necessarily used to the performance of the LS-218, though he seems more used to it by the end of his ride. But it’s Leno’s end statement about true believers, and how time and again the status quo has dismissed disruptive technologies that became dominant seemingly overnight. With the potential to be powered solely by the sun and yet go over 200 MPH, this is truly earth-changing tech.

That was true for gas-powered cars during the turn of the century, and Leno seems to think it’ll be true for electric vehicles like the Lightning LS-218 and the Tesla Model S too.

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.