Skip to Main Content
Search Suggestions
20% Off Cardo Bluetooth Systems Ends In:  
Common Tread

LAND Moto District: First ride and factory tour

Nov 30, 2022

My first ride on an electric motorcycle was a brief loop aboard a LAND Moto District, and the experience was one of the most thrilling I've had on a motorcycle.

A short conversation with Scott Colosimo — the founder and CEO of LAND Moto's parent company, LAND Energy Inc. — at a bike night at Cleveland's Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum in late August was my first exposure to the company. His enthusiasm convinced me it was worth giving one of his products a try.

I liked the LAND bikes' modern yet simple styling — something I immediately figured would help it attract new riders — but I doubted such small motorcycles could pack much of a performance punch. After a few short loops around the museum's parking lot on two of the District's low-power settings, LAND Moto's Sales Manager, Alex Kerr, offered to lead me on a ride around the museum's neighborhood.

The District's acceleration was instant, relentless, and strong for a bike of its size. It also handled the bumpy residential road conditions well and felt like it could stop on a dime. The ride really got my adrenaline pumping, and I was eager to learn how a local company had come to design such an impressive machine.

A couple of months later, I got the chance to get to know the District in much more depth as the LAND Moto team took me on a tour of its Cleveland factory and turned me loose with one of their demo bikes for a day. Though the demo experience had a couple hiccups, the little District found new ways to impress me and proved to be as fun to ride as it is well engineered.

LAND District in green
Because the LAND District is built to order, customers can choose from a few combinations of wheel and bodywork colors. LAND Moto photo.

The tour of LAND Moto's factory

The tour of LAND Moto’s current facility on Cleveland's W. 65th St. began on a Sunday with a roundtable discussion with several members of the Land Moto team, including Colosimo, Kerr, Head of Design Evan Painter, Head of Engineering Henry Remington, and Assembly Manager Vince Netzler. Colosimo, who formerly owned another motorcycle company called Cleveland CycleWerks, stated that LAND has about 15 core employees, that the about 65,000-square-foot, two-floor factory is able to produce about three District bikes per week.

LAND production space
This is the welding room where LAND motorcycle frames are built. The small staff and limited space means production is tiny now, but the company has plans to expand to a larger factory soon. Photo by LR Photography courtesy of Marino Communications.

The company is in the process of upgrading its production capacity at its current facility to produce about 5,000 units per year, but Colosimo also expects to move LAND into a larger space on Cleveland's east side in about 18 months to further increase production to 36,000 units per year.

Colosimo described LAND Moto as a "realistic" brand that is developing "consumer-centric" electric motorcycles designed by riders. He emphasized that it's not a group of "tech bros" trying to create technology-savvy products without an understanding of what riders like and expect. Colosimo then elaborated on the team's research and design methodology, which determined electric motorcycles are competitive with bicycles, mopeds, and gas-powered motorcycles up to 400 cc. This is in part because of some of the inherent advantages electric motorcycles have right now, such as not having to use a clutch and much lower curb weights.

The District, LAND's first model, was designed to capitalize on what electric motorcycles do well. The model has four "ride modes" that allow the bike's power to be tempered. Colosimo said it's legally an e-bike and moped in Ride Modes 1 and 2, respectively. Ride Modes 3 and 4 unlock full power. Though the District's power can be turned down, Colosimo added that he's ridden a geared-down District at more than 100 mph on a race track. There's also a District Scrambler version which is the same motorcycle with Shinko knobby tires that can be bought either in a street-legal or off-road-only configuration with no lights.

LAND District Scrambler studio photo
The District Scrambler model adds knobby tires and is available in either street-legal or off-road-only versions. LAND Moto photo.

Remington and Colosimo said LAND is moving toward having its bikes "connected" over 4G, 5G, or eventually a satellite network. The connectivity would allow for automatic software updates and a "predictive maintenance" program with LAND Moto dealers, as well as a "nanny mode" setting where a parent could restrict a motorcycle's available ride modes over the air.

The LAND team pointed out that District models feature Fox suspension and many CNC-machined chassis parts, which are assembled into a finished product by hand. Colosimo said the prototype District had been fitted with a Fox bicycle shock, but when Fox learned about the model, it designed a shock specifically for the District, based on one of its snowmobile shocks.

LAND District final drive mechanism
The electric motor connects via belt, seen on the left side, to a shaft that's in the swingarm pivot. The shaft turns the front sprocket. The tension on the final-drive change doesn't vary with suspension movement. LAND says the arrangement still allows for easy sprocket and chain changes, too. LAND photo.

One of the District's features I really like is its concentric drive chain. The electric motor uses a belt to turn a drive shaft that runs through the swingarm pivot and drives the front sprocket. Because the front sprocket is aligned with the swingarm pivot, the distance between the sprockets, and therefore chain tension, remain the same through the movement of the suspension, thus reducing chain wear.

The team also had some prototype battery packs on display that included USB-A and USB-C charging ports, as well as a wall-style outlet and a solar recharging connector. Colosimo and Remington described how LAND began developing its own batteries about two years ago. They pointed out that you don't need a Level 2 charger to get the District re-juiced quickly. LAND Moto's 1.8 kWh batteries recharge in as little as an hour and a half using a standard wall outlet. LAND offers three battery options on the District: one of the 1.8 kWh batteries or two for a combined 3.6 kWh, or a single, larger 5.5 kWh battery. My demo bike was equipped with the larger battery options, which is supposed to offer about 60 miles of range but takes about six hours to fully recharge.

LAND District frame on a workbench
The District's steel tube frame is welded on site. Photo by LR Photography courtesy of Marino Communications.
I was impressed to see that the frames didn't come to the factory pre-assembled and are welded together on site. I also got a sneak peek at a bike the LAND team was prepping for the Cleveland Browns mascot to use during a Monday Night Football game.

As a precaution, I asked about the safety of riding the bike in the rain. Remington answered that the team has taken District models through rivers without issue, but the rider should make sure the battery isn't fully submerged in water.

The demo experience: Riding the LAND Moto District

After I was formally introduced to my demo bike, I took a few minutes to look it over and acclimate myself to its unique features, including the built-in USB-A and USB-C ports behind the steering stem and the lefthand-operated rear brake. The suspension sank a bit when I rested my six-foot, two-inch, 300-pound frame on the narrow seat, but I was reminded how much I liked the model's wide handlebar.

riding the District in the city
While some companies are focusing on building electric motorcycles with superbike-level performance and big price tags, LAND is trying to capitalize on what electric motorcycles do best: provide zippy, efficient, urban transportation. Photo by LR Photography courtesy of Marino Communications.

After navigating LAND's temporarily loose stone parking lot, I rode to Cleveland's Edgewater Park for some photos and lean angle testing on a roundabout and then took Cleveland's Memorial Shoreway to Public Square for more photos. The District's 17-inch Pirelli tires are much narrower than my street bike's, so it took a little time to get used to its sharp handling. The adjustment was made easier by the bike's low weight, just over 200 pounds, and not having to manipulate a clutch during low-speed riding.

When photos were done, I started heading toward my home in one of Cleveland's eastern suburbs. The bike was easy to balance in Cleveland's dense urban traffic, though the silence when I was stopped felt odd. The District actually makes an intermittent chirping sound when the bike is stopped to remind the rider that it is indeed still turned on.

riding the District in a roundabout, leaned over
Trying the District in an urban roundabout. Light weight, narrow tires, and a wide handlebar make for very responsive handling. Photo by LR Photography courtesy of Marino Communications.

The minor complaints I had about the District were the turn signal button location and dash indicator, as well as the seat. My short, stubby thumb struggled at first to work its way to the bottom of the left-side control pod to actuate the turn signals, and the dash indicator doesn't flash when the turn signals are on. My photographer had fun trying to guess whether I was really going to turn or not as she followed me to shooting locations. The seat is narrow like a dirt bike's and wasn't the most comfortable. That's not major problem, though, as the bike's limited range means you're not spending hours in the saddle.

After meandering eastbound on Cleveland's Euclid Avenue and Prospect Avenue, I stepped up to Ride Mode 4 for full power and got onto Interstate 90 south, flogging the bike through one of my favorite interstate on-ramps. The District handled well through the tight, downhill, and off-camber ramp, but the acceleration out of the corner didn't seem as intense as it was from a dead stop.

From the interstate to city streets to the lush-green Martin Luther King Jr. Drive parkway, one of the District's defining features was its brakes. The Magura braking system features a single disc front and rear and includes braided stainless steel brake lines as stock equipment. The braking performance is certainly helped by the District's low curb weight, but nevertheless the brakes are among the strongest I've used on a motorcycle. There is no ABS, however, as I was reminded later.

line of motorcycles at LAND facility
Unlike some electric motorcycle companies that have been promising motorcycles for years and have yet to deliver any to customers, LAND is building bikes, although at a slow pace right now. Photo by LR Photography courtesy of Marino Communications.

The parkway ends at Interstate 90 east of downtown, and I decided to see what the bike's top end is like. The District is advertised as capable of 70 mph, which I doubted it could do with my husky frame on board. The little bike surprised me, though, as it quickly reached and sustained 65 mph for about 10 miles. I decided to take Interstate 271 south to its first exit, then take local roads the rest of the way home. The battery indicator showed I had about 35 percent left, which I figured would be plenty.

In the three miles from the I-90/I-271 interchange to the exit for Wilson Mills Road, the District's performance began to fade. I was doing about 60 mph at wide-open throttle when I got onto I-271. By the time I reached the exit, the bike wouldn't go more than 30 mph and I was riding the shoulder to the off-ramp. I tried to continue home, but the bike's power continued to diminish, even though the battery meter said I should have been fine. When it was down to about 10 mph, I pulled onto a sidewalk to further assess the situation.

I figured I may have overheated the motor unit with all the freeway riding, so I decided to turn the bike off, give it a minute to cool down and then turn it back on. That course of action yielded bad news — the bike’s battery meter now showed zero percent charge.

The situation was a little bit of a letdown, but it also was an opportunity to test the bike in a different way. One of my favorite gas station eateries was not far away, so I pushed the bike there and hoped they'd let me recharge it. The District's light weight made the about 1.5-mile walk not too taxing. It was odd asking the store manager if I could plug in my motorcycle on the store's patio.

LAND District plugged into an outlet outside the gas station
I refueled at the gas station, but not the way everyone else did. Photo by Michael Marino.

I set up the charger that I had in my backpack, got something to eat, and gave the bike about an hour and a half to recharge. I could have left much sooner, but I wasn't sure if the battery gauge was accurate and wanted to make sure I could complete the five-mile ride home. The battery was showing about 45 percent when I decided to get moving and was down to 40 percent when I pulled into my driveway. The delayed arrival also meant riding the District at night, and I was impressed with how the single LED headlight nearly turned night into day.

Later, I asked Painter what caused the incorrect battery reading and he said that the high-speed riding I did caused "voltage sag," where the voltage drops. The algorithm used to calculate the battery's state of charge has to account for that. The demo bike I was riding back in October was using older firmware that overcompensated for the voltage sag. Painter said this has since been updated.

Fox Racing shock absorber made for the LAND District
Fox Racing developed a rear shock for the District. Photo by LR Photography courtesy of Marino Communications.
The LAND team allowed me to keep the District overnight and had encouraged me to let others give the demo bike a try. My girlfriend, Amanda, took her first motorcycle ride on the District. It was a little awkward for her, as she's five feet, one inch tall and could barely get one foot down with its 31-inch seat height, but the lack of a clutch and gearbox eased the learning curve.

Later that night, I decided I'd try removing the battery from the bike to recharge in my basement overnight. Though LAND's small battery packs weigh about 28 pounds, the larger battery weighs about 70 pounds. My full-time job is at a garage door warehouse, so picking up heavy items is an everyday task for me. For the average person, getting a battery of that size and weight out of the bike would be a real chore. Though you simply lift the battery straight up to get it out of the tray, the tabs that help keep the battery in place over rough terrain make lifting it out a bit taxing. Plugging in the charger is very simple, as is reinstalling the battery into the bike, and while owners who have a parking spot where they can recharge will probably never remove the batteries, being able to makes the District viable for those who can't park and recharge.

I had one snafu with the District that I'm a little embarrassed to write about. Remember I mentioned the lack of ABS? A few hours before I brought it back, I was testing the bike's braking performance when I hit a slick spot and went down at about 15 mph. I hadn't crashed a bike in 15 years and was frustrated with myself for tipping over a demo bike. Yet, I was shocked by how well the little bike survived. There wasn't a scratch on the frame, fork, or swingarm. I brought the bike back with just a broken mirror, a dangling rear turn signal, and a tiny bit of damage to the left-side bar end and grip. The foot pegs are designed to fold up and they did an amazing job of protecting the rest of the bike.

wide footpeg
The wide footpegs fold up and protected the bike in a tipover. Photo by LR Photography courtesy of Marino Communications.
On my final ride on the District, the bike's chassis and suspension put in an impressive performance. My route included some of the roughest interstate pavement I've ridden, and the little bike handled the many bumps and divots in the aging concrete better than most of the other bikes I've owned. It remained stable and on-track despite going full throttle over some very rough road.

LAND District: The final analysis

The test ride experience didn't go perfectly, but the District did a lot more well than not. The motor's torque, which initially had thrilled on my first brief test ride, was outshined during the extended demo experience by the bike's excellent handling and its ease of use for urban riding.

The battery dying unexpectedly was a downer, but the District's ability to recharge on a standard wall outlet made the challenge not too difficult to overcome. And for new riders worried about tipping over on their first bike, I can tell them from experience the District crashes better than any other bike I've seen go down. The ride mode settings also allow the District to be enjoyable for novice and experienced riders alike.

Overall, the District is a great bike if you can accept its limitations, which are mainly the limitations of electric motorcycles in general. And, with a retail price starting in the $8,000 range, minimal required maintenance, and the lack of a clutch, the District is ideal for those who aren't mechanically inclined and provides another gateway into motorcycling (other than scooters) for those who are unfamiliar with operating a manual transmission.

LAND District
Price (MSRP) $8,200 base; $12,400 as tested with larger battery
Motor Internal magnet brushless
final drive
Single-speed, chain
Claimed horsepower 23
Claimed torque 258 foot-pounds
Front suspension LAND 37 mm cartridge fork; 4.7 inches of travel
Rear suspension Fox Racing Shox; 4.0 inches of travel
Front brake Single Magura two-piston caliper, 255 mm disc
Rear brake Magura single-piston caliper, 220 mm disc
Rake, trail 25 degrees, 4.3 inches
Wheelbase 48 inches
Seat height 31 or 32 inches
Claimed range 25, 50, or 80 miles in Ride Modes 3 or 4
Claimed battery capacity 1.8, 3.6, or 5.5 kWh nominal
Claimed charge time 90 minutes for 1.8 kWh battery, six hours for 5.5 kWh battery @ Level 1
Tires Pirelli Angel Street, 80/90-17 front, 100/80-17 rear
Claimed weight 180, 208, or 230 pounds, depending on battery configuration
Available Orders accepted now
Warranty 24 months
More info