The first electric motorcycle from Honda is here, and it might not be what you expected—the new 2022 Honda CRF-E2 is a trail bike for kids. The CRF-E2 is manufactured and designed by Greenger Powersports, with Honda helping with the setup of the final version. The result is described as a Honda Official Licensed Product, and we call it a Honda CRF-E2 because we’re a motorcycle publication. We grabbed one of the first E2s available from Greenger, and then let our youngest test rider loose on the local trails.
- The 2022 Honda CRF-E2 is a quality motorcycle. The frame is a twin-spar aluminum design patterned after Honda’s adult motocrossers, disc brakes slow it down, Kenda Millville K771 tires put the electric power to the ground, and the E2 has a linkage-less cantilevered shock with adjustment for rebound damping and spring preload. The motorcycle looks great, and the finish is up to Honda standards. This isn’t a cheap toy you’ll find at hardware or department stores. It is sold exclusively at Honda dealers with a list price of $2950.
- The size of the CRF-E2 is midway between a Honda CRF50F and CRF110F. The E2’s seat is adjustable to a height of either 24.8 or 25.5 inches. In the low position, the seat is 3.2 inches higher than the CRF50F, and the high seat position is 0.4 inches lower than the CRF110F. Test rider Avery Bart is almost 8 years old, stands 4 feet 2 inches, and weighs 48 pounds, and the E2 fits her perfectly. Speaking of weight, at 106 pounds filled with electrons, the E2 is four pounds lighter than the CRF50F and a staggering 64 pounds lighter than the CRF110F—a huge difference for a young rider.
- Operating the Honda CRF-E2 is incredibly easy. It has a keyed ignition. Once the key is in the switched to the on position, the rider or supervising adult can select one of two power modes. With the power mode engaged, push the on button (a repurposed e-start button), and all the rider has to do is twist the throttle. It’s instantly game-on, as the fully automatic one-speed transmission means no clutch or gear shifting. Any youngster of sufficient size who can balance a bicycle will be able to ride the E2.
- There is a significant difference between the two power modes. Stage 1 limits the speed of the E2 to 10 mph, while Stage 2 ups the ante to 20 mph. The 3.4 horsepower peak output is not nearly as important as the 18.4 ft-lbs of torque available. Without any doubt, the CRF-E2 is not underpowered.
- Taking off from a standing start is not as smooth in Stage 1 as we’d like it to be. Electric motors on motorcycles are only as usable as the controller for the motor. With so much torque available as soon as an electric motor turns, it must be padded down for the power to be usable. In Stage 1, we found the power delivery too abrupt when getting underway, especially when the rider is trying to work through obstacles that require turning the wheel. Once the rider gets going, the throttle response is just right, and the 10-mph speed restriction will please nervous parents.
- Put the 2022 Honda CRF-E2 in Stage 2, and it’s a little rocketship. The Greenger representative we spoke with reminded us that the E2 is a trailbike, not a racebike. While we respect that, the power delivered in Stage 2 will undoubtedly have a young hot shoe looking for friends to dice with. It’s fun watching the E2 tear around in Stage 2, and especially odd when all you hear is the whine of the electric motor.
- We think the CRF-E2 controller should be a bit more high-tech. Rather than only having two fixed modes, we want the ability to fine-tune throttle response. A parent should be able to dial in the throttle response over a wide range, as well as the maximum output. Ideally, it would be doable via Bluetooth and a mobile app. While Honda and Greenger are at it, an adult-controlled kill switch would be a great safety feature.
- The chassis is perfectly matched to the motor. The suspension worked fine for Avery in both modes, and we had her out on some pretty bumpy trails. She isn’t ready for airtime, though the Honda promo photos show the E2 being jumped, so that activity is within its intended use.
- The suspension setup balances the needs of riders who just want to putt, while still providing the taut action needed for Stage 2 kids. When adults hop on—as they invariable will—the rear suspension nearly bottoms out. That tells you it’s set up for kids under the maximum weight of 99 pounds. At 44 pounds, Avery had no complaints. The shock has rebound-damping adjustment, which seems superfluous on a trailbike for kids. If your youngster asks for damping adjustments, it’s time for a racebike. Suspension travel is just under four inches at each end—plenty, thanks to the settings, and a perfect match to the motor.
- The Kenda Millville K771 tires are a great choice. This intermediate tire worked on the various terrain we tested on—rocky, hard pack, and sandy. The two 12-inch rims are mounted with 60/100 tires. Honda and Greenger should upgrade to a 14-inch front wheel so the CRF-E2 can better roll over off-road obstacles.
- Avery challenged herself more confidently on the Honda CRF-E2 than on 50cc motorcycles. The predictable power delivery of the whirring motor allows learning riders to focus on acquiring new skills. There’s no auto-clutch engagement or gear shifting to think about. The rider prepares for the new tasks—riding through rock gardens to tackling modest hillclimbs, for example—without distraction. The E2 is an outstanding learning tool.
- The hydraulic disc brakes are simple and easy to use. Each is controlled by an adjustable lever on the aluminum handlebar. Avery likes the action of the brakes, and we haven’t seen her struggle with them. With the E2 having no foot controls, the rider’s feet are securely planted on the stout footpegs.
- Runtime for the 2022 Honda CRF-E2’s lithium-ion battery is listed at two hours, and it wasn’t an issue for us. While Avery wasn’t shredding, she has tested the E2 on some tricky power-sucking terrain. It takes four hours to bring the battery from flat to full with the standard charger—the optional quick charger takes two hours to get the battery to an 80 percent charge. If your rider drains the battery before running out of personal energy, the battery can be easily swapped out. However, you’ll be dropping $1k for that second battery—worth it if your rider is inexhaustible.
- There’s pretty much no maintenance required. With no motor oil, no air filter, and no cable-actuated controls, the E2 takes care of itself. The chain might require adjustment now and then, depending on how hard the bike is ridden. You definitely don’t have to be a gearhead to own a CRF-E2.
- For a young rider learning the powered two-wheeled ropes, the 2022 Honda CRF-E2 is undeniably enticing. It’s a strong performer, backed up by the Honda dealer network, incredibly easy to keep running, can be ridden in untraditional locations, and puts huge smiles on kids’ faces. You can’t beat that for less than $3000.
Photography by Don Williams
- Helmet: O’Neal Youth 2 SRS Attack
- Goggles: Blur B-Flex Youth
- Jersey + pants: O’Neal Youth Element Ride
- Gloves: O’Neal Youth Element
- Knee guards: O’Neal Pee Wee
- Boots: O’Neal Youth Rider
2022 Honda CRF-E2 Specs
- Type: Brushless DC w/ inner rotor
- Maximum power: 3.4 horsepower @ 4000 rpm
- Maximum torque: 18.4 ft-lbs @ 4000 rpm
- Top speed: 20 mph (Stage 2) or 10 mph (Stage 1)
- Cooling: Air
- Battery: Swappable lithium-ion
- Capacity: 950 Wh
- Charge time to 100 percent: 4 hours (2.5 hours w/ optional quick charger)
- Charge time to 80 percent: 3.2 hours (2 hours w/ optional quick charger)
- Charger line voltage range: 90-264 volts
- Run time: Maximum 2 hours
- Battery warranty: 24 months or 1000 charges (whichever comes first)
- Transmission: Clutchless direct drive
- Final drive: 428 chain
- Frame: Aluminum perimeter
- Handlebar: Tapered aluminum
- Front suspension; travel: Non-adjustable 33mm fork; 3.9 inches
- Rear suspension; travel: Cantilevered rebound-damping and spring-preload adjustable DNM shock; 3.8 inches
- Wheels (front & rear): 12 x 1.6; wire-spoked
- Tires (f&r): Kenda Millville K771; 60/100 x 12
- Brakes (f&r): 190mm disc w/ hydraulic caliper
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES
- Wheelbase: 38 inches
- Rake: 25 degrees
- Trail. 1.3 inches
- Seat height: 24.8 or 25.5 inches
- Ground clearance: 7.8 inches
- Maximum rider weight: 99 pounds
- Curb weight: 106 pounds
2022 Honda CRF-E2 Price: $2950 MSRP