First Look: The new $7,599 BMW CE 02 electric bike

The new BMW CE 02 electric bike
We’re firm believers that electric drivetrains work best for smaller motorcycles that blur the lines between bikes and scooters. One look at the hip new BMW CE 02, and it’s crystal clear that the Bavarian marque feels the same way.

The BMW CE 02 is the company’s second electric motorcycle release in as many years, following on from the CE 04. A smaller machine than its sibling, BMW is pitching it as neither a motorcycle nor a scooter, but something in between. They’re calling it an ‘eParkourer’—which, although it isn’t a real word, implies that its geared towards traversing urban environments.

The new BMW CE 02 electric bike
To convey this message, BMW’s marketing material places the CE 02 smack bang in the middle of the urban jungle—surrounded by concrete, graffiti, skateboarders, and impossibly cool youths. It all feels a bit try-hard, which is ironic, because the CE 02 actually looks good enough without all the frou-frou.

Styled like some sort of futuristic mini-bike-slash-motorized BMX, and rolling on cute 14” cast aluminum wheels, it looks compact and fun. The base model is a mostly black affair, but a higher-spec version (called the ‘Highline’) sports a much livelier livery. With a bench seat and high bars, it looks like the perfect setup for zipping through traffic and down side alleys.

The new BMW CE 02 electric bike
The chassis uses a double-loop tubular frame, with telescopic forks up front, and a mono-shock connected to a single-sided swingarm at the back. There’s 4.6″ of suspension travel up front, with 2.2″ at the back. A single disc brake does duty at each end, with ABS on the front wheel only.

The CE 02’s mid-mounted engine sends power to the back wheel via a belt drive. Two versions of the scoot will be available. The standard version has a maximum power output of 11 kW [15 hp] with 55 Nm of torque, but there’s also a 4 kW [5 hp] variant that’s limited to a top speed of 45 km/h [28 mph]. The slower CE 02 meets the requirements of Germany’s ‘AM’ license class, which means it can be ridden by anyone with a car licence (regulations will vary by country).

The new BMW CE 02 electric bike
The 11 kW CE 02 tops out at 95 km/h [59 mph], with a minimum claimed range of 90 km. It comes standard with two riding modes; ‘Flow’ for cruising through traffic, and ‘Surf’ for a more dynamic ride. A livelier mode, ‘Flash,’ is available as an optional extra, and as part of the Highline spec.

The CE 02 also comes standard with BMW’s Automatic Stability Control and Recuperative Stability Control. The 11 kW one weighs 132 kilos [291 lbs], the 4 kW one weighs 119 kilos [262 lbs]. The seat stands at a beginner-friendly height of 750 mm [29.5″], and has just enough space for two.

The new BMW CE 02 electric bike
Charging is via an included external charger, with a more powerful fast-charger available (again, as aftermarket equipment or as part of the Highline pack). Both will work with any household electrical socket.

BMW touts the CE 02 as being packed with innovative features, but most of the really techy stuff is confined to the cockpit. The bike uses a mini-TFT display, outputting the usual info like speed and battery status. Like most BMWs, it can connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth, with a USB-C port to keep your phone charged.

The new BMW CE 02 electric bike
The Highline model takes this functionality up a notch, by also featuring a smartphone mount that places your phone alongside the TFT screen. Pair it to the CE 02 and put it into ‘Cradle’ mode, and it acts as a second display. Other highlights include a keyless ignition, and LED lighting all around.

While the CE 02 has our curiosity piqued, its price could be a sticking point. BMW Motorrad USA has it listed at $7,599 for the base model, and $8,474 for the Highline spec.

The new BMW CE 02 electric bike
Crusty old bikers are likely to balk at that while listing the many petrol-powered bikes they could buy with that money. But they aren’t the CE 02’s intended audience, since BMW is clearly pitching it at youngsters.

That might prove to be an even harder sell though. After all, how many 15-to-25-year-olds do you know that are itching to spend eight grand on a bike?

BMW Motorrad

The new BMW CE 02 electric bike

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