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The 2024 BMW CE 02 Is an Oddball Electric Bike That Made Me Love Riding Again

This isn’t quite a scooter, or a moped, or a proper motorcycle. But it is a lot of fun in the right situation.

byAndrew P. Collins|
BMW Reviews photo
Daniel Kraus
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The 2024 BMW CE 02 is not a mass-appeal vehicle. Heck, it’s not even a mass-appeal motorcycle. But I loved riding it. Its accessible size, smooth power, and surprising comfort won me over quickly. I’m definitely sold on electric bikes now, even if they’re still a spendy proposition.

Motorcycles used to be a big part of my life. My father and I got our M licenses together when I turned 18, and I spent much of my 20s on upright bikes, sport bikes, dirt bikes, and adventure bikes. I even got some experience on Harleys to satisfy my curiosity about cruisers and had a job as a motorcycle tour guide in Australia before any of my “real” media gigs.

Sadly, a wicked UTV crash in 2018 crippled my left hand and scared me off powersports. Selling my beloved Yamaha WR250R six months after that wipeout, faced with the fact that I might never pull a lever clutch again, was metaphorical salt in a very real wound.

Four surgeries and endless hours of occupational therapy later, I ultimately did get a decent amount of my hand’s functionality back. But I’m telling you all this because it wasn’t until BMW offered to let me test ride the CE 02 that I got back in the saddle of a motorbike at all.

Electric propulsion means no clutch, and a low seat means easy handling. Combine that with Euro refinement and interesting styling and suddenly the CE 02 is among both the least-intimidating and coolest-looking motorcycles on the road right now.

Andrew P. Collins

BMW’s pitching this bike as an “eParkourer,” which is a term somebody made up to make “urban mobility” sound slightly less lame. A lot of the marketing materials show pictures of the machine posted up at skate parks, with hip young people in streetwear draped over it.

As a fashion accessory, the CE 02 is indeed a spectacular statement piece. I felt cool on it even while wearing BMW’s loaner safety gear that made me look like a fireman at an airport. But it is definitely not a high-powered BMX bicycle you can flick around alleys and throw off of jumps. It’s also not a toy you’ll be buying on impulse—it costs almost $8,000. For that coin, you have your pick from plenty of nice and decently swift (and full-size) gasoline motorcycles from less-luxe brands. If you’re shopping used bikes, the world is your oyster with eight bands in your pocket.

The “So who’s this for?” question is a lot easier to answer in Europe or Asia. In a city where roads are tiny, parking is scarce, and the price of gas is stratospheric (if you can even find a station), a high-end, low-seat motorbike that’s impossible to stall is an awesome option for fun and getting around. It’s really as simple as that.

American use cases for the CE 02 are limited, but not zero. New York City? Nah, unless you live in an elevator building where you can bring it into your bedroom, it’d either get stolen or accidentally collected by the guys who charge Uber scooters at night. Los Angeles? No thanks, I don’t care if lane splitting’s legal, I’d rather arrive two hours later than get pancaked by somebody driving an Escalade with one knee on the wheel and two thumbs on their phone.

Beach cities and bougie mountain towns, though, now we’re talking. If you’ve got a little place somewhere like Park City, Santa Barbara, Provincetown, Breckenridge, et al. … well for one thing, you probably do have $8,000 to toast on a toy. And an eParkourer is a delightful option for getting around when the weather’s nice.

As for what it’s actually like to ride, well, sorry it’s taken 500 words to get here. But while the idea of the CE 02 is quite interesting, the riding experience itself is unique and frankly somewhat difficult to describe without referring to other vehicles.

The first aspect a rider encounters is a bike’s size. The CE 02 looks and feels larger in life than it does in photographs. It’s chunky; substantial. This comes through again as you sit down and manage the weight of it with your thighs. The official spec weight is 290 pounds, relatively light for a motorcycle but enormous for a scooter. A Honda Ruckus, for example, is far less refined but a whole 100 pounds lighter.

The seat was probably the biggest surprise for me. That little strip of padding looks punishing, but it’s actually quite comfortable even for a bony-butted person like myself. The riding position is upright and natural, and the levers are adjustable if reaching them is awkward.

Daniel Kraus

A clean and minimalist rectangular gauge pod sits on top of the handlebars, providing essential info, and an integrated smartphone mount lets you supplement the small screen with your phone for navigation and vehicle displays. Once your phone’s plugged in and paired, you can actually control it with thumb buttons on the handlebar—you don’t actually need to touch the phone screen, which is nice.

The main gauge is easy enough to see, and I like that you can ride in minimal mode without the phone if you please … though I’d be slightly concerned about my phone getting wet if I was riding and any kind of weather came up. Although if you’re the sort of person who has $8K to splash on a recreational bike, your phone is probably new and high-end enough to be waterproof.

In terms of range, BMW says a CE 02 can go about 56 miles on a full charge (that’d be a lot of riding on this thing) and that it zips from a stop to 30 mph in three seconds. Top speed is posted at 59 mph.

Even with just 15 horsepower and 40.5 lb-ft of torque, it’s definitely not slow. But you’re in no danger of popping an accidental wheelie when you crack your right wrist open. Riding modes include “Flow,” which has a slightly more muted throttle response and moderate regenerative braking, and “Surf,” which gives you gutsier acceleration and allows for off-throttle coasting. “Flash” mode is an option, with even more intense acceleration response and regenerative braking.

This quickly became my favorite—you can really start to feel “one with the motorcycle” as you open and close the throttle. Well, there’s no combustion so “open and close” isn’t really accurate verbiage. But at spirited town speeds, Flash mode almost feels like you’re linearly controlling the bike’s speed as you move your right wrist.

There are brakes, of course, both on levers like a bicycle (I pawed for a non-existent foot brake more than once) but if you get into a groove and keep your head on a swivel, zooming up to speed and decelerating with just the right wrist control is pretty thrilling and engaging.

Wind becomes a factor above around 40 mph, and on my short test loop, I found about 25 to 45 mph to be the most fun place to play.

The CE 02 doesn’t feel powerful or light enough to do anything goofy like step its tail out or lift the front wheel, but little bursts of acceleration from stop lights and through traffic gaps put a huge smile on my face as I buzzed around the coastal Portuguese town of Cascais.

This oceanside enclave, like the towns I mentioned earlier, was the perfect playground for the CE 02. It felt plenty fast on rare straightaways, weight was totally manageable at near-stopped speed, and acceleration from a trot was actually pretty thrilling. Braking seemed fine, and I didn’t have any complaints about steering response, either.

Andrew P. Collins

All you really hear in the absence of an engine is wind noise and a little gear whine. It’s inoffensive, albeit not particularly memorable.

The CE 02 itself hangs most of its personality on design—it looks cool and distinctive. It’s not a deeply characterful machine, but it’s still a ton of fun because of how friendly and accessible it is.

BMW’s new electric scooter/motorbike hybrid isn’t really about “bang for your buck,” becoming a collector’s item, or elite performance. It’s a neat piece of industrial design that gives you access to one of the most fun experiences you can have on wheels: Briskly scooting in near-silence without the cage of a car around you.

2024 BMW CE 02 Specs
Base Price (Highline as tested)$8,194 ($9,069)
Powertrainair-cooled synchronous electric motor | two 1.96-kWh batteries
Horsepower15 @ 5,000 rpm
Torque40.5 lb-ft @ 0-1,000 rpm
Curb Weight291 pounds
0-30 mph3.0 seconds
Top Speed59 mph
WMTC Range56 miles
Quick TakeA high-end toy that doubles as a good getaround tool in a small city with nice weather.
Score8/10
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BMW Reviews