KTM Freeride electro-dirt bike finally on sale

KTM’s long-awaited Freeride E will reach European dealers in a matter of weeks, the Austrian company has said, after a protracted gestation.

The electric dirt bike, conceived in the 2007, will come in two states of tune, with either 15 or 22 hp available from a permanent magnet synchronous motor. Power comes from a removable 2.6 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that takes 80 minutes to fully charge but only 50 minutes to reach 80 percent capacity.

Once depleted, the battery can be conveniently swapped for a charged unit by lifting the seat and loosening four bolts. German company UNU Motors recently debuted a similar system on its new moped.

The 360 cells that make up that pack are housed in a die-cast aluminum casing kept cool by a radiator. KTM says that performance and reliability should be faultless even in challenging conditions, with enough charge for roughly one hour of riding.

While set up for off-road riding, KTM says it has configured the 110 kg bike to be street legal. The E-XC model features lights, indicators, mirrors, and ignition and steering locks. An 11 kW electric motor also means it can be ridden with an A1 beginners licence in Europe.

While electric motorcycles sales are tipped for a worldwide upsurge in the coming years, the Austrian company, which makes both mechanically and human-powered bikes, is convinced that gasoline will continue to dominate the near future. It has no intention of resisting on its laurels, however.

“We’re really excited to finally see this ultra-innovative bike head into the market. The feedback from our E-parks, situated around Europe, has been really positive and this is a quality product, which we hope to see on many tracks and trails in the near future,” said Thomas Kuttruf, KTM’s public relations manager.

“KTM is completely committed to this project, and while the FREERIDE E is already a very established bike, this is really just the beginning of our involvement in E-mobility.”

Casualties of KTM’s experimental attitude to the Freeride E will include North American riders. While the zero-emissions bike will on sale for a not insignificant 10,995 euros in Germany, a date is yet to set for US sales. Zero’s FX model is available to US riders, however, and is more powerful yet less expensive than KTM’s effort.

KTM has launched a new micro-site for its first electric motorcycle, which can be found here.