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2024 BMW CE 02 Ride Review


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There are a lot of ways to burn up a few watts of electric power in Las Vegas. The 2024 BMW CE 02 electric don’t-call-it-a-scooter two-wheeler makes a good city bike.
There are a lot of ways to burn up a few watts of electric power in Las Vegas. The 2024 BMW CE 02 electric don’t-call-it-a-scooter two-wheeler makes a good city bike. (Kevin Wing/)

BMW CE 02 press images make clear the demographic this battery-electric not-a-scooter-not-a-motorcycle “urban mobility vehicle” was aimed at: It’s all graffiti and skateboards. If The CE 02 is neither motorcycle or scooter, what is it? The CE 02 is in fact designated by BMW as an “eParkourer,” as inspired by the street-runner gymnasticators in the parkour world (search videos, be amazed, and blow 9 minutes and 56 seconds not finishing the first paragraph of your story).

We’ll call the CE 02 “light local” and put it in the most practical box for electric-powered riding around when you’re not going to hit any highways (top speed of the 11kW/15-hp machine is 59 mph and range is up to 55 miles).

Full-size electric motorcycles, by their very size and stance, make visual promises to motorcycle people that they can’t quite cash yet, and the predominant use case for motorcycles in America is fulfilling our dreams first, and getting us around in a “practical” way is second or maybe 13th on the list.

BMW marketing images target urban athleticism with background notes of freedom to shred.
BMW marketing images target urban athleticism with background notes of freedom to shred. (BMW/)

Unless you have an extremely specific agenda and use case, choosing an electric motorcycle over any of the plentiful 650–900cc gasoline middleweights doesn’t currently make sense: An internal-combustion middleweight will run you half to a third in purchase price of an e-motorcycle and you can stuff about 165,000 watt/hours of energy in the tank in less than a minute. Also, the internal vision of the American motorcycle rider is focused on what they can do, much more than what they actually do. We may never set a lap record at Laguna Seca nor ride to Alaska nor Ride to Live and Live to Ride with a bedroll on our handlebars, but we’d like to think we could. Electrics don’t evoke these kinds of dreams for most motorcyclists at this time.

The CE 02 shown here is $8,474, which includes the $895 Highline package. Add the $595 destination charge for an as-tested price of $9,069. The base CE 02 is $7,599 plus $595 destination.
The CE 02 shown here is $8,474, which includes the $895 Highline package. Add the $595 destination charge for an as-tested price of $9,069. The base CE 02 is $7,599 plus $595 destination. (Kevin Wing/)

Hang on, because I’m actually making an argument for bikes like the CE 02. It’s $7,599 to start or $9,069 as tested, which is still more than you might spend for a gas scooter in Madrid, London, or San Francisco, but the CE 02 does an exceptionally good job of eParkourering from skatepark to skatepark, or around Las Vegas as we did on our one-day ride. Of course, $9,069 seems like a lot until you find out how easy it is to spend $10,000 on a high-end e-mountain bike. Hey, it’s not my world, I just live here. The CE 02 has a higher price than many townie-type two-wheelers in the motorcycle/scooter landscape.

Being outside in Las Vegas riding on two wheels, even on the city’s crowded roads, is better than being inside—at least before summer.
Being outside in Las Vegas riding on two wheels, even on the city’s crowded roads, is better than being inside—at least before summer. (Kevin Wing/)

We rode the CE 02 as part of a press event that also included a daylong rip on the all-new F 900 GS. We rode that parallel-twin adventure bike about 220 miles at speeds ranging from rock-bashing first-gear clutch-slipping to 100 mph, on various surfaces. I am pretty sure I won’t ride that bike to Alaska, but I am damn sure I can.

Anyhoo, most electric two-wheelers are super fun to ride. Instant torque can’t be beat, and as much as we love flames coming out the tail pipe and some array of cylinders barking out their interesting sounds, the silence and smoothness of electrics is very much its own fine experience. One of my favorite off-road rides ever was on an Alta electric dirt bike because of its silence, speed, and competence.

We took a swing through the Neon Museum in Las Vegas. Electrics from small companies and startups are sometimes pretty rough and ready. The CE 02 benefits from being a BMW in terms of fit, finish, and function.
We took a swing through the Neon Museum in Las Vegas. Electrics from small companies and startups are sometimes pretty rough and ready. The CE 02 benefits from being a BMW in terms of fit, finish, and function. (Kevin Wing/)

The CE 02 has that, in a scooter version. Riding it around Las Vegas, it is clear the CE 02 benefits heavily from being a BMW, meaning it is engineered thoroughly, functions beautifully, and is made of very nice materials that are finely finished. There is depth to infrastructure at a company such as BMW (it also doesn’t hurt that Motorrad is auto-company-adjacent) that just can’t be matched by a typical electric startup.

The basic black version of the CE 02. BMW’s main goal for the CE 02 was riding ease and fun. A 29.6-inch seat height and 291-pound claimed weight help the cause.
The basic black version of the CE 02. BMW’s main goal for the CE 02 was riding ease and fun. A 29.6-inch seat height and 291-pound claimed weight help the cause. (Kevin Wing/)

Riding the CE 02 Electric

You feel this in every move the CE 02 makes with you: There are no rattles or shakes, and the nonadjustable fork and preload-adjustable single shock do a comfortably damped job of keeping your ride smooth but not wallowy. The front and rear disc brakes (both are levers on the handlebars) work exactly like brakes. Throttle response (call it a torque rheostat here) is intuitive in every ride mode and not switchy or strange.

And while I have much respect for the usual CVT belt drive on most gas scooters and the admirably smooth and quiet gas engines powering the latest models, it’s hard to beat the peak 40.5 lb.-ft. of instant torque available from 0–1,000 rpm made by the CE 02′s 48-volt motor. Especially off the line, where you will smoke even the most aggro four-wheel traffic.

“Micro” TFT dash shows ride modes, state of charge, and the rest. Modes Flow and Surf are standard; Flash is included with the $875 Highline package and provides the highest available regenerative braking. Bluetooth connectivity and even available connectivity over Wi-Fi/cellular network allows checking CE-02 status.
“Micro” TFT dash shows ride modes, state of charge, and the rest. Modes Flow and Surf are standard; Flash is included with the $875 Highline package and provides the highest available regenerative braking. Bluetooth connectivity and even available connectivity over Wi-Fi/cellular network allows checking CE-02 status. (Kevin Wing/)

Ride Modes and Rider Aides

Flow, Surf, and Flash modes indicate the BMW team rolled another joint after the one that led to Rock and Roll modes on the R 18 cruiser, because they’d clearly enjoyed the first one they’d smoked. Are the names too cute? Maybe, but if the alternative is never taking a risk to have a good time, then I will sign up for Flash mode and hope I don’t get arrested.

Heated grips and reverse expand riding season and ease of use. Reverse (hold down the “R” button up top) provides up to 1.8 mph and torque to climb a maximum 7 percent grade.
Heated grips and reverse expand riding season and ease of use. Reverse (hold down the “R” button up top) provides up to 1.8 mph and torque to climb a maximum 7 percent grade. (Kevin Wing/)

Flow mode is the mellowest throttle response combined with light regenerative braking. Surf has “direct” output but zero regenerative braking, and Flash has the same direct throttle response and power output allied with the strongest regen. I rode in the latter mode most of the time and made it a sport to use the brakes as little as possible, trying to time the regen braking effect to come to a stop right at my chosen point. Added complexity comes from regen being nonlinear. That is, it comes in soft when you first roll off but ramps up as you slow down. Then as you get to lower speeds and nearing a stop, regen reduces to make that transition time smoother.

The front brake is ABS-equipped, the rear is not. Automatic Stability Control and Recuperation Stability Control are standard. ASC controls wheelspin on acceleration, while RSC moderates the battery-charging deceleration or regen in Flow and Flash to ensure the rear wheel doesn’t slip as it drags the motor to put power back into the batteries.

As in the car world, design of electrics is meant to signify difference.
As in the car world, design of electrics is meant to signify difference. (Kevin Wing/)

Styling for a Vibe

When it comes to style, it’s hard to beat the 14-inch steelies, especially on the single-sided swingarm. OK, the wheels are actually aluminum, which is even cooler. The overall vibe here is sort of “Honda Ruckus Grows Up and Goes to Art School,” although the size of the CE 02 is more like a compact motorcycle than a small scooter. And as mentioned above, the colors, textures, and finishes are very nice. The basic black CE 02 looks pretty cool, but you may add color and graphics with the Highline model (including gold-anodized fork), plus other technical features.

Various bags (including a 29-liter, helmut-eating top case) are available but the CE 02 lacks the traditional scooter’s classic underseat bin. So we backpacked it.
Various bags (including a 29-liter, helmut-eating top case) are available but the CE 02 lacks the traditional scooter’s classic underseat bin. So we backpacked it. (Kevin Wing/)

CE 02 Storage and Luggage Options

Sadly, in one way the CE 02 is very much not a scooter: built-in storage. That giant underseat box so many great scooters have is so awesome that some manufacturers had to put “No Pets” stickers on them. No problem here—your cat is safe from your ignorance because Chairman Meow won’t fit anywhere but your backpack. A good friend and chef once packed his 1980s Honda Helix 250 storage bin full of ice and live lobster to transport across LA. Not really pets, so it was fine? Various soft-side and tail bags, plus a large top case are available from BMW’s accessory catalog.

Did you know shops working on high-voltage electrics require special certification and training? This is one reason BMW kept the system voltage low (48v) on the CE 02. It also allows the system to be simpler and lighter. The two batteries are 1.95kWh usable capacity each.
Did you know shops working on high-voltage electrics require special certification and training? This is one reason BMW kept the system voltage low (48v) on the CE 02. It also allows the system to be simpler and lighter. The two batteries are 1.95kWh usable capacity each. (Kevin Wing/)

Electric Motor Power and Performance

The 48-volt motor has a very automobile-alternator look. Lower voltage means air-cooling (rather than liquid) is adequate, and no special certifications for dealers to work on high-voltage electrics is required. Dual reduction belt drive transmits power to the rear wheel at a fixed ratio. No clutch, no gears to shift. In fact, your feet just sit on the front or rear footpegs (you choose, sporty or relaxed, according to your mood). The rear pegs are also the passenger pegs.

BMW says the CE 02 in two-battery max-power form accelerates from 0–31 mph in three seconds. (Single-battery, speed-limited variants producing 5 hp exist for other world markets.) The service interval is two years, and it was said to be basic checks of brakes/brake fluid, drive belts, etc.

We had the tricolor “Pro” seat, with thinner padding and grippy cover. A thicker Comfort seat is also available.
We had the tricolor “Pro” seat, with thinner padding and grippy cover. A thicker Comfort seat is also available. (Kevin Wing/)

Wall charging with the external charger is the only option—Type 1 and Type 2 chargers will not work. This means many typical public chargers will not work. The standard 900-watt unit will charge the batteries from 0–80 percent in a little less than four hours, while the optional 1,200-watt unit (standard with the Highline package) reduces that to about three hours. The 12-pound charger is said to fit in the available side bags.

The charging input is on the left side of the CE 02.
The charging input is on the left side of the CE 02. (Kevin Wing/)

Competition

It’s clear motorcycle manufacturers are still trying to figure out the real consumer’s use case and desired features for road-legal electric two-wheelers, particularly in America. The CE 02 was developed for the European market, where many city centers restrict or tax transport that isn’t zero local emissions. In that context, the CE 02 makes some sense, particularly in the lower-cost versions. The company expects it will sell well in the European market.

Claimed performance is similar to that of the Kawasaki Ninja e-1 ($7,599) and Z e-1 ($7,899), although Kawasaki made the two 25-pound batteries removable so they can be carried inside to charge if you don’t have a place to charge the whole vehicle outside.

Neither the CE 02 nor these Kawasakis provide scooter-like leg protection (à la the classic Vespa) that keeps your fine trousers or skirt protected from grime and less-than-perfect weather. Neither are meant to be a traditional scooter however. BMW did list a few Vespas, as well as Honda Groms and a few 125cc motorcycles, as competitors the CE 02 would go up against. To be fair, BMW says the CE 02 is in a “completely new segment” with “no classic competition.”

Belt final drive works with an interior reduction-drive belt. Belts are low maintenance and quiet in operation.
Belt final drive works with an interior reduction-drive belt. Belts are low maintenance and quiet in operation. (Kevin Wing/)

Final Word

So? The CE 02 provides an entertaining and very easy local riding experience. It’s reasonably practical after swallowing the initial purchase price. Light two-wheelers like this seem to make the most sense in electric space because they don’t make the same promises a full-size motorcycle does and provide a high level of urban utility (at least with accessory bags) and sense of fun in a weight and range combination that works for the mission. At the end of the day I ditched our riding group to enjoy Vegas on my own for some free-form riding and curb hops, etc., and the CE 02 has no competition in the eParkourering space.

Highline package includes phone mount and BMW Connected Services, which allows for checking charge status via the app. The BMW Ride Connected app can be controlled through the buttons on the left switch cluster and the user’s phone becomes an extension of the gauge package to include navigation and ride recording. USB-C port lies below the handlebar.
Highline package includes phone mount and BMW Connected Services, which allows for checking charge status via the app. The BMW Ride Connected app can be controlled through the buttons on the left switch cluster and the user’s phone becomes an extension of the gauge package to include navigation and ride recording. USB-C port lies below the handlebar. (Kevin Wing/)

2024 BMW CE 02 Specs

MSRP: $7,599 ($9,069 as tested)
Engine: Air-cooled 48-volt electric synchronous motor
Charging: 0.9kW w/ integrated charger; 1.2kW quick charger w/ optional Highline package
Charge Time 0-80%: Standard 3 hr. 50 min.; quick charger 3 hr. quick charger
Transmission/Final Drive: Dual reduction belt
Claimed Horsepower: 15.0 hp @ 5,000 rpm
Claimed Torque: 40.5 lb.-ft. @ 0–1,000 rpm
Clutch: N/A, direct drive
Frame: Tubular steel twin loop
Front Suspension: Inverted telescopic fork, nonadjustable; 4.6 in. travel
Rear Suspension: Single shock, spring-preload adjustable; 2.2 in. travel
Front Brake: 2-piston floating caliper, 239mm disc w/ ABS (front only)
Rear Brake: 1-piston floating caliper, 220mm disc
Wheels, Front/Rear: Cast aluminum; 14 x 2.5 in. / 14 x 3.5 in.
Tires, Front/Rear: 120/80-14/150/70-14
Rake/Trail: 24.5°/3.6 in.
Wheelbase: 53.2 in.
Ground Clearance: N/A
Seat Height: 29.5 in.
Battery Capacity: 3.9kWh (usable)
Claimed Range: 55 mi.
Claimed Weight: 291 lb.
Contact: bmwmotorcycles.com

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