It's official. KTM
will be the first legacy brand to sell an electric motorcycle to the public. The Freeride E
, a motocross-flavored machine available in both off-road (E-SX) and street (E-XC) versions, will be found at European dealers in just a few short weeks. As with so many cool things, don't look for it to come to the US any time soon.
The Austrian company first showed off an electric Freeride prototype
way back in 2010 and a refined version a year later at EICMA
. Although it has held a couple racing/promotional events
featuring the battery-powered bike in the three-year interim, there has been some speculation as to whether it would ever pull the trigger. Consider those mumblings silenced.
KTM has announced that it is "Gettin' High on Voltage," choosing street trials rider Danny MacAskill as brand ambassador and launching a trick Freeride E microsite
. The choice of MacAskill is interesting as he comes from the bicycle world, but highlighting that transition could be a shrewd move if it attracts other pedelers into the motorized scene.
One thing the new electric shares with human-powered machines is its braking setup – its back disc brake is activated by a lever on the left handlebar as opposed to a right-side foot-controlled arrangement. Besides that, everything is, of course, different. The bike is powered by a liquid-cooled, permanent-magnet AC motor that's good for 16 kW (21.5 horsepower) at peak and 42 Nm (31 pound-feet) of torque. It employs a single-speed gearbox to get the back wheel spinning.
The battery is a slight 2.6 kWh-box located directly beneath the seat and can be easily swapped out with the removal of four bolts. Said to be good for about an hour of riding, charging to 80 percent takes 50 minutes, while a full refill happens in 80 minutes. Interestingly, the system voltage is a relatively high 260 to 300 volts. Despite the smallish battery, at 106 kgs (233.7 pounds) the E-SX is still more than 29 lbs heavier than its Freeride 250
The German price tag reads 10,995 euros ($14,130 US) for the E-SX and 11,295 euros ($14,515) for the E-XC, which includes that country's "value-added" tax. We imagine similar pricing in other European countries. Though perhaps a bit steep, the bike does come with quality components, including WP suspension, and should have a lot less expensive maintenance cycle.
KTM doesn't believe that electric motorcycles will replace gas-powered machines any time soon. It does, though, say that it expects battery bikes will carve out their own unique territory and is hoping the segment will attract new riders as well as boost its environmental cred. You can see the new Freeride E in detail by browsing the gallery
. Watch it in action in the fresh video below
where it keeps company with the official press release.