A group of us from KISKA took the morning off work to go to the KTM freeride-E test center in Mattighofen yesterday to ride the new KTM Electric Freeride model. Specifically the E-SX which is the non road legal motocross version of the bike. KTM have build a custom made track next to the WP and Factory racing facilities for testing the Freeride which they couldn’t do with other products due to noise restrictions! The track is like a scaled down motocross track, and was perfect for the Freeride. The jumps were set up in a way that they could be easily cleared if you held the power on, and the track flowed really well helping you feel at ease straight away on the bike.
The bike is really easy to ride. It has a low seat, pretty soft suspension and a really manageable power band. You can chose between 3 settings but I only tried the full power setting which worked well. On a bigger track it would be lacking a little in top end speed, but on the test track it was just perfect. I was actually over jumping a lot of the jumps until I started trying to stay low which it was a lot easier to do than on a full size bike. There is no clutch, just twist and go. I see in the photos that we were all having one finger on the clutch lever or in this case the back brake anyway through habit! Ergonomics are the same as the other freeride models, the 350 and 250 s stroke, but whilst they are tailored more for hard enduro, the E-SX is like a Downhill bike, with endless downhill to ride! Well, endless until your battery runs out.
Fully pinned, on the maximum power setting, we were getting something like 20-30 mins max which is a fairly decent moto and then you need to swap out the battery if you want to keep riding straight away. Swapping the battery takes less than a minute if you know what you are doing. About the same speed as filling the tank with gas. Check the video at the bottom of this post to see.
To charge it 100% takes 80min. To charge it 80% takes 50min.
I wasn’t invited to the press launch unfortunately so I don’t know if these are exactly the same bikes as will be available to purchase or if they were older test models with new plastics. Whatever the case, we went through 3 batteries each during our morning ride.
In summary, I had just as much fun riding them as riding a full sized MX bike.
If you have a nice field or a big yard with neighbors close by stopping you from riding your normal dirtbike these things might be the answer to your prayers. They open up so many new riding areas.
They are not a replacement for a 2 stroke or 4 stroke dirtbike, but they are wicked fun. And a bit safer too because the speeds are a bit lower. You could do with a couple of batteries and a charger if you plan to ride for a while. Even better you need a couple of bikes to battle with your friends! And you need deep pockets, because they don’t come cheap. If I had a big field and enough money to buy one I would without a seconds hesitation. Unfortunately for now I don’t, but one day I hope to get one. Or two.
The fact that we could race a dirtbike around on a track so close to people working and living without any complaints is testament to what a great product this is and how relevant it is to help allow people to keep riding in these days of heavy population density in so many places.
The KTM Freeride E-SX is electric, but it’s a true dirtbike down to the bone and doesn’t mind getting dirty or wet in the slightest! There are a lot less parts to break on one of these than a normal dirtbike too. Food for thought.
Simon Reuther, Enduro/MX weekend Warrior:
“What can I say about my first ride on the electric bike of KTM? It was a lot of fun!
We had wet conditions on the track behind the engine factory in Mattighofen and it was slightly muddy. But that and having one liter of water inside each of my boots couldn’t reduce the fun.
The electric engine impresses with its torque from very low PRM on and in combination with the motocross tires the traction was great!
I think there are very few other bikes that make it so easy to ride offroad and give that same feeling immediately
– even for a bloody beginner! You just hop on, throttle open and don`t have to think about gear choice! or clutch!
Maybe an advanced rider needs two or three laps (as me) to forget about the absence of a back footbrake leaver. Trying to get some hold on that guy when coming closer to a curve and not finding it is a little strange to start with! But then it is just about playing with this toy! The only thing that stayed a bit strange to me was the noises of shock and chain which I never recognised on a stock bike. But this also couldn’t reduce the fun, too! It was just something new ..For me personally such a bike will not replace a “proper” motocross bike. Just for the fact, that the suspension, brakes and ergonomics is simply not the same as on a SX for example. And not to forget about the brilliant sound of a little two stroke when it is pinned all over the track!
But if i imagine owning an E-Cross + a big enough property behind my house .. what a great possibility the bike offers! One which would never be possible with a combustion engined bike here in central Europe!
E-CROSS Center – see you soon again!”
Jason Moriarty, EX-PRO SX/MX/FMX Rider:
“When I first heard about this bike, I was skeptical.
Having ridden dirt bikes for over 30 years, I have some pretty high expectations of how a ride should feel.
After a few laps, any doubts I had were erased. This thing is so much fun! It was definitely smaller and less powerful than a 450f or 250 2 stroke, but in
the right conditions, it is just a blast to ride. Instant power and turns on a dime. The hardest thing for me to initially adjust to was the rear brake up on the left
bar where the clutch normally is… but two or three laps in and I was comfortably seat bouncing it and using the ‘clutch’ brake to lock up the rear wheel in the air
or square off corners. The lack of engine note didn’t really bother me as much as I thought it would. The track we rode was perfectly built for the bike. Nice flowy
corners and some cheeky little table tops, steps ups, a rhythmn section and some whoops. The track and bike felt more or less like a well geared and jetted 125
on a scaled down sx track. I think with longer straights the instant, zippy electric single gear power tops out, but when it’s tighter and flowing you will want to ride
it all day long – well I did anyway. At race pace the batteries lasted about 30 minutes before a steady but predictable slowing was noticeable. Luckily they had a
few spare battery packs charged up and we did some quick ‘refuel’ stops that involved flipping up the seat and loosening four bolts with a screw gun, before
pulling out the one battery and dropping a new one in. The quickest change took just over a minute for the total ‘pit stop’.
Since riding it, I have looked at my back garden and the field across from my house very differently.
I can imagine these being great fun in shorter race formats on specially built courses (a bit bigger than
a pit bike course and smaller than an arena cross course) or even on a straight rhythm type sprint race set up. It jumped surprisingly well and the very low and
centred mass of the battery and e-motor, makes it feel like it could be scrubbed and thrown around quite easily. In my dream world I would have slightly firmer fork
and shock settings, and maybe a pinch more braking power…. but on the whole I loved it and can’t wait for the next ride.”
There is a seriously cool website for the bike if you want to know more, check it out here: