With all the new models of electric motorcycles making their debuts lately, some folks may wonder why there seems to be so many motocross style bikes on the market. It just so happens the electric motorbikes are extremely good at the off-road, highly-technical style of riding. Since an electric bike doesn’t have a clutch, there is no shifting needed. While on a trail, shifting effects balance — you have to use both your feet and your handlebar shifter — not to mention speed. When a bike is shifted, you lose a bit of power to the back wheel while the new gear is engaged. Electric bikes deliver this power (called torque) much more evenly than internal combustion machines and since they don’t employ gears, that power distribution is much more even and dependable, no matter the speed.
Austrian-based motorcycle manufacturer KTM recently unveiled its new electric motocross bike, the Freeride. The bike features a 300 volt battery and a brushless, synchronous motor that supplies 29 horsepower and about 32 ft.-lb. of torque. In comparison, that’s about the same performance you could expect from a 125 cc, two-stroke bike, but with about twice the torque.
KTM says the bike has an operating time of about 90 minutes, but if that’s not enough time in the saddle, the battery pack features a quick-change system. Pop in another and go. A full battery change takes about 90 minutes.
That power plant is housed in a lightweight steel and aluminum frame. Motor, power electronics, battery – any and all driveline components have been 100 percent dust and water proofed. The Freeride E features standard motocross 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels, compression and rebound adjustable suspension and an braking system with a four-pot caliper up front and a two-pot counterpart on the rear.