KTM Unveils 2020 SX-E 5 Mini Electric Bike

Will this be the electric dirt bike that changes racing?

In action, the 2020 KTM SX-E 5 electric mini doesn’t look much different than its premix-burning brother, the 50 SX.
In action, the 2020 KTM SX-E 5 electric mini doesn’t look much different than its premix-burning brother, the 50 SX.Courtesy of KTM

There's no denying that KTM is at the pinnacle of dirt bike racing in most facets of the sport, and now the company is attacking the electric-bike segment by starting at the bottom: bikes for kids.

There have been other electric-motor-equipped bikes both big and small, of course; even KTM has two previous offerings in the Freeride E-XC and Freeride E-SX, but those seemed to be tentative steps into the electric world. KTM is banking on the projection that the 2020 SX-E 5 will attract those with kids just starting out, and who wish to have a bike that'll grow with them.

What Makes The KTM SX-E 5 A Child's Electric Dirt Bike?

There’s no fuel tank. Instead, a polymer “element” provides the foundation for the bodywork—much of it shared with the 50 SX—and a place for the instrument panel that shows ride mode selected and charge remaining. In addition, the element has secondary mo
There’s no fuel tank. Instead, a polymer “element” provides the foundation for the bodywork—much of it shared with the 50 SX—and a place for the instrument panel that shows ride mode selected and charge remaining. In addition, the element has secondary mounting points on the frame/subframe to drop seat height about an inch.Courtesy of KTM

Yes, since kids often outgrow things almost before said things are a week old, the SX-E 5 is designed with quite a bit of adjustability in mind. Take seat height, for example. Its standard setting is a hair under 27.5 inches, but that can be taken down in two increments to 25.7 inches. Need it lower still? No problem. A suspension lowering kit from KTM Hard Parts gives you that option with a minimum seat height of 22 inches!

2020 KTM SX-E 5 Battery Range

Under an aggressive, faster rider, KTM says the SX-E 5 battery will last 25 minutes or so, depending on conditions. (For races that are 30 minutes or longer, this will be an issue, possibly requiring the use of a less powerful ride mode.)
Under an aggressive, faster rider, KTM says the SX-E 5 battery will last 25 minutes or so, depending on conditions. (For races that are 30 minutes or longer, this will be an issue, possibly requiring the use of a less powerful ride mode.)Courtesy of KTM

That adaptability continues, of course, with the 5-kilowatt motor that gets its power from a pack containing 84 separate lithium-ion battery cells. Six ride modes are available, thus allowing the owner to tailor power characteristics to rider ability from beginner to advanced. An instrument panel where the gas cap would be on a petrol-burner lets you know which mode is employed. Further, these modes can be saved to a dongle located underneath the seat, thus inhibiting the chance of “someone” changing it without permission. Naturally, with an electric-powered machine, two questions come up immediately: 1) how long does the battery last, and 2) how long does it take to charge up?

Maintenance requirements should be reduced in comparison to a gas-powered bike, and fully charging the battery pack is claimed to take just 70 minutes.
Maintenance requirements should be reduced in comparison to a gas-powered bike, and fully charging the battery pack is claimed to take just 70 minutes.Courtesy of KTM

KTM says in the mildest beginner mode, the rider can enjoy more than two hours of excitement while the full race mode provides about 25 minutes—all depending on riding conditions, of course. (For longer races—like the 30-minute ones in AMA Youth Hare & Hound Nationals—this is an issue and could require changing to a less powerful ride mode at some point during the event.)

2020 KTM SX-E 5 Charger

A universal (110/230-volt) 900-watt quick charger plugs directly into the battery pack and will restore 80 percent power in 45 minutes at 25 amps, and full power in an hour and 10 minutes based on the quick-charging spec of 5 amps and 230 volts. KTM claims the motor is both dust- and waterproof to make it essentially wear- and maintenance-free as well as practically silent.

The engine bay has a decidedly different look from the 50 SX with the electric motor/battery pack unit in there. Other than that, the SX-E 5 is very similar, from the WP suspension to the bodywork, wheels, brakes, overall feel, and graphics.
The engine bay has a decidedly different look from the 50 SX with the electric motor/battery pack unit in there. Other than that, the SX-E 5 is very similar, from the WP suspension to the bodywork, wheels, brakes, overall feel, and graphics.Courtesy of KTM

The rolling chassis remains very familiar to those used to the 50 SX, though it's slightly different in order to accommodate the unique dimensions of the electric motor and battery pack. WP provides its suspension, an air-spring Xact 35 fork in front and Xact shock for the PDS rear. Listed wheel travel is 8.1 inches in front and 7.3 in back, with KTM saying there's adjustability at both ends.

Maxxis tires come standard as do Formula’s wave-style brake rotors. The Neken handlebar is a tapered aluminum unit as on big bikes. Bodywork and graphics mimic those of the full-size, fuel-burning SX-F models so not only will young riders more quickly identify with the Orange Brigade, but they’ll be introduced to KTM ergonomics at an early age.

2020 KTM SX-E 5 Price

And don't worry if you prefer the sound and feel of a regular gas-fed engine; the $4,349 two stroke 50 SX and $3,849 50 SX Mini will remain alongside the $5,049 SX-E 5 in KTM's lineup.