Brammo Empulse R

With its high-tech styling and unique silhouette, the Brammo Empulse R certainly looks the part of the avant-garde, but its capabilities make it compelling for real-world use. Packing a thumping 9.31-kWh battery pack and a water-cooled permanent-magnet AC motor that churns 54 horsepower, this silent two-wheeler uses regenerative braking to achieve a 121-mile city range on one charge, or 56 miles on the highway. Even better, unlike previous electric bikes with scooterlike automatic transmissions, the Empulse incorporates a six-speed manual gearbox with a clutch. The result is a viscerally involving element that counters the otherwise sanitized experience of zero-emissions transportation. [$18,995; brammo.com]