The story itself is an old one, since the project started way back in 2007, when a small company (developing electromotors) was given the task to create an electric enduro bike based on EXC 250.
They actually never even tried to hide the prototype. In fact, in the past two years, a selected group of racers were able to race the prototype at the exhibition events, preparing the public for the fact that elecricity is no longer a thing of some crazy scientist's futuristic dream, but our very real present time.
Meeting the testing (enduro) Freeride E-XC was quite a funny experience. I could only hear a very shy sound of the powertrain, while accelerating. During the ride I could speak to my mate on another KTM Freeride E, in a normally pitched voice, or say a casual hello to hikers and cyclists.
What I really loved about my new ride was the fact that even a teenager, who just passed the (motorbike) driving test, could take this 125 ccm motorbike with 11kW and drive off to school and then later, in the afternoon, both him and his enthusiastic dad can take it for a few laps around the track. If you love the more asphalt more, you might be happy to hear that a supermoto version will more appropriate tires is coming soon as well.
The first two questions, of course, are, how useful KTM Freeride E really is and how long does the battery last? From personal experience I can say the battery is good for 1 hour and 45 minutes of a less demanding enduro ride, which was excellent and above initial expectations. By the way – if you like an extreme challenge, let me tell you something neat - you can use it to ride under water as well! Afterall, the motor does not require air to function.
On a special track we also tested the SX (motocross) model, going at full speed. The motorbike is exactly the same as the enduro alternative, the only difference being the lack of lighting equipment. Going at full speed, there was enough juice for the battery to last about half an hour. I had to charge it afterwards and waited for over an hour to repeat the riding experience. Suspension proved to be of great quality, and was contributed by the sister company WP – it's the same as the one used with the other two models of the Freeride family (Freeride-R 250 and Freeride 350).
Freeride E will take you places – it can climb up steep slopes, make impressively long and high jumps, and even conquer some serious rocks as a trial motocycle would. Freeride E makes for an excellent study tool for all the newbies that are only beginning to know and understand the joys of off-road motorbiking. It's just as good if you're already a pro and wish to make some 'road poetry' riding it.
The 16 kW electromotor is small and narrow, providing 42 Nm of torque. The Samsung 350-cell battery has a capacity of 2.5 kW and is the most expensive part of the motorbike, costing around 3,000 euros. The company is trying to improve the battery features, in order to make it more effective and less costly.
KTM offer a 3-year warranty for the battery, which remains fully reliable even after being recharged 700 times. Considering the price of charging the battery is ridiculously low and the motorbike comes with practically zero maintenance costs – compared to a standard enduro with an internal combustion engine, what would you choose then? To make the decision even easier for you, here's a couple of numbers: you only need to refill the oil – 155 milliliters every 50 hours. That's it. It will cost you no more than that.