Electric Revolution On The Horizon? - Letter Of The Week

Inside this Letter of the Week, Anthony recently discovered the KTM Freeride E and wants to know more about the future of electric dirt bikes.

KTM Freeride E
2014 KTM Freeride E (Unfortunately not available in the USA)Photo by Jonty Edmunds

I was recently looking into the KTM Freeride. I wanted to look at the 350 Freeride so I went to the UK version of the KTM website and I saw a section titled "E Ride." I was curious so I clicked on it. When I saw there was no exhaust and based on the way the motor looked I realized it was an electric dirt bike, which explains the name. I knew they were making electric street bikes, but I had no idea about the E Rides. Will this come to America soon? Not long after your article on the KTM Freeride in Europe they brought it to the States. Is it practical enough to overthrow gas motors? I couldn't imagine it could compete with gas motors now, but in a few years could it do the same thing four-strokes did to two-strokes? I don't want gas motors to die, and I don't see it happening in the next few years, but this seems like the first step in that direction. Eventually they will need to, since oil won't last forever, but do guys think this is something that could happen to the sport in the near future?

Anthony Aario
Lynnfield, MA

I've never ridden a KTM E Ride but I've ridden the Quantya and the Zero and I'd love to take a spin on the E Ride. I would say these are not going to replace gas bikes too soon, they're more like riding a 125cc four-stroke trail bike than an MX or off-road race bike.

As I say this, I realize that electric motors in cars are kind of making that next performance step. The Tesla and the new BMW i8 show that electric and gas/electric might be the new leading edge of car performance. And as the batteries develop, maybe we'll see electric pushing the performance levels in dirt bikes, too. —Pete Peterson