2012 KTM Freeride E First Look

November 10, 2011
Justin Dawes
Justin Dawes
Digital Media Producer |Articles|Articles RSS|Blog|Blog Posts|Blog RSS

Raised on two wheels in the deserts of Nevada, the newest addition to the MotoUSA crew has been part of the industry for well over 15 years.Equal parts writer, photographer, and rider, "JDawg" is a jack of all trades and even a master of some.

KTM claims the Freeride E is an excellent mount for beginning riders but will also have enough performance for expert-level pilots.
The KTM Freeride E has the potential to open up riding areas never accessible to gasoline-burning off-road bikes.

KTM unveiled the production version of the highly anticipated Freeride E electric off-road motorcycle this week at EIMCA. Back in March we got an early look at what KTM describes as a revolutionary concept that brings off-road moto-ing closer to metropolitan areas and opens up previously off limit areas. The hope is to bring more acceptance to motorcycle sports inside urban areas throughout the world. Don’t hold your breath KTM, the general public will always have disdain for things they don’t understand and see as dangerous – quiet or not. If anything it will allow us motoheads to fly a little lower under the radar.

Developed by the KTM R&D staff in Austria, the Freeride E is said to set new standards in electric motorcycle powerplants. Power from the brushless, synchronous motor and 300V battery is rated at 22kW (29hp) while the torque is an impressive 42Nm (31 ft-lb). That brings the performance into the realm of a 125 two-stroker, albeit with about twice the torque.

The Freeride E is KTMS first production electric off-road motorcycle. Performance is said to be comparable to a 125 2-stroke.
A 300V battery and brushless motor power the KTM Freeride E.
A steel and aluminum chassis cradles a 300V battery and brushless, synchronous electric motor.

The battery will allow for an hour of maximum power, which is impressive with that much juice on tap. A special quick change system allows for speedy battery swaps, and an empty battery will charge in 90 minutes. (No word yet on the price of spare batteries.) The complete electric system is dust and waterproof, allowing for riding in all conditions and cleaning with a pressure washer is not a problem.

A steel and aluminum chassis cradle the electric motor and battery in a lightweight design. A plastic rear subframe lightens the load even further. Weighing in at 209 lbs the E is suspended by a 43mm WP Fork and a WP PDS shock in the rear, both with compression and rebound adjustability. A set of lightweight Giant Wheels are the standard 21” and 18” sizing for a full-size dirt bike. A four-piston caliper and 260mm disc handle the stopping duties up front along with a 250mm disc and two-piston caliper in the rear.

Without a clutch to operate the Freeride E should make operation much easier for first time riders but will take some getting used to for experienced veterans. The clutch lever has been replaced with a rear brake lever, which should make technical maneuvers a bit easier once the rider has adapted to the change.

Leave it to KTM to elevate the electric game to a level that is beginning to approach the performance and convenience of fossil burning bikes. Stay tuned for more details as KTM releases them. Anyone smell an electric off-road bike shootout cooking?

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