KTM FREERIDE leaks in German magazine

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Das Motorrad has blown the embargo on pictures and info of the KTM FREERIDE electric motorcycles, there’s a scan straight from its pages below. What’s been revealed? A diminutive pair of electric motorcycles that, while they appear to offer performance advantages over KTM’s 125cc enduro bikes, aren’t competitive with key rivals like the Zero X. At “just under €10,000″ they’re going to be expensive too.

Update: Gallery of more, larger images added.
KTM-freeride-DM.jpgThat price translates to around $13,500, considerably more expensive
than the Zero X, which retails for $7,495. The KTMs produce 30bhp and
33lb/ft of torque and use a 2.5kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Weight is
90kg (198.4lbs) and the range is approximately 1.5-hours. While the
battery pack carries .5kWh more capacity than the Zero, the rest of the
specs don’t match up flatteringly. The Zero produces 50lb/ft of torque
and 23bhp, while weighing in at just 73kg (161lbs).

And it’s not like the KTMs are running incredibly beefy components to
make up for that weight. The spindly frame appears to be tubular steel
which, in the case of the enduro, is covered with some tacky silver
plastic to make it look like cast aluminum. The Zero uses a sexy
hydroformed aluminum frame that weighs just 13 pounds.

While the enduro and supermoto appear to share identical frames and
powertrains, they do differ in components, with the supermoto running a
bicycle-style threadless headset front end and dinky projector headlamp
in place of the enduro’s conventional setup. One part that does look
seriously nice is the supermoto’s sculpted swingarm.

Specs aside, we can’t help but be disappointed with KTMs first electric
motorcycles. We were hoping for something sexy and fast like the KTM 125
Stunt and Race concepts
from EICMA, yet are left with utterly
conventional near-production concepts that appear to utilize second-tier
off-the-shelf electric powertrain components. This doesn’t bode well
for next year’s production bikes that these concepts preview. An
established motorcycle manufacturer like KTM should be able to leverage
its numbers and supply chain to produce bikes that are either high-end
or low cost, these bikes appear to be neither.

One slim glimmer of hope: there’s talk of a battery leasing scheme in
the article, which at least indicates that someone’s thinking about an
alternative business model for selling these. In an ideal world we’d
like to see KTM sell customers the bike sans batteries, then lease the
batteries to customers, maybe even showing up at races with a support
truck full of pre-charged batteries available to swap, empty for full.

Update: with a better translation, it looks as if the battery leasing may actually be battery hot swapping, with a single plug design that’s so shielded, it can withstand the force of a pressure washer. Damn you Germany and your bizarre technical terminology.  

Thanks for the tip, tipster who prefers to remain anonymous.

  • Willing to keep an open mind

    I didn’t think they’d use aluminum, they’ve always used chromoly saying it makes for a narrower bike, which is desirable for off roaders. I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss these guys based on specs alone, they have dozens of world championships in off road racing.

    But this is uncharted territory for them- Zero may have the better formula. And if so, more power to them. The intriguing thing about these eBikes is they are potentially disruptive to the established manufacturers.

  • jimboecv

    “Specs aside, we can’t help but be disappointed with KTMs first electric motorcycles.”
    Damn, Wes. Think we should ride one first? True, the concepts were very cool (and would likely cost $11k knowing KTM) but the Zero’s and other offerings have never impressed me. Power to weight is defining this segment and the current ideas don’t seem too robust. This coming from a member of the 6’2″ 250lb club.

    I like the idea of a truck loaded with batteries and the leasing options. Picture a track day with 50 electric bikes whirring around; Weird.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      As you say, power to weight (or rather torque to weight) is the name of the game. That’s where Zero easily trounces the KTM and is exactly why I’m disappointed by it.

      • jimboecv

        I didn’t say defines the segment, what I ment (sorry I suck so much) is that ‘spec’s’ seem to define so much of motorcycleing that ‘we’ fail to see the practical applications of what the ‘spec’ represent. So a Duke sucks because it makes 60 bhp?

        What I’d like to see is a powerplant that makes acceptable performance with the componants (suspension and survivability first) to match. From what I’ve seen offered so far is a hand full of very honest attempts, but the players seem to have mountain bikes with electric motors as the status quo.

        That’s been my experiance. Guys from Berkeley and Lawrence Livermore Lab bought Vectrix along with old, well to do hippies.
        Good-luck with the other 99%. The D-Cell market’s not guys buying 505XC’s or 150SX’s, it’s the odd-balls, at least out here in the wild west.
        Correct me if I’m wrong. Back to you…

  • http://plugbike.com/ skadamo

    Wow, they are narrow and the MX bike has serious ground clearance.

  • Glenn

    Single crown fork:G

  • TeeJay

    If I am not mistaken, you simply exchanged the price to USD from EUR. That’s not correct, because:
    - we got VAT here in the EU (divide the 13 grants with ~1.2)
    - US is a big, important market, you might have some discounts(???)

  • MTGR

    Wow. I was expecting a whole lot more from KTM. As in a real off-road machine worthy of the KTM name. These don’t look trail riding worthy, never mind race worthy.

    I was sure if anyone could think outside the box enough to merge electric power with the good things current off-roaders already have then it would be KTM. But these look like the same kind of weak-ass warmed over ‘mountain bikes with odd styling and an electric motor stuck on’ that everyone else makes in this category (Zero-X included – sorry Wes).

    What happened to the “Ready to Race” ethos? Did it go out the window when their Indian partners threatened to buy them out completely? KTMs are never cheap, but typically they at least give a lot of performance for the entry cost.

    For off-road I would gladly sacrifice some overall range for better acceleration and wheels, suspension, and a frame that would not fold after the first hard hit.

    Typically when I ride off road I am riding within a few miles of the truck anyway, so if they can do battery swaps why not up the power and quality of components? Then instead of hitting the pits for a drink and gas you just do go for a drink and a bat swap.

  • GeddyT

    I agree that simply applying an exchange rate to the German Euro price is extremely misleading. A 250sx-f in Germany costs €8400, while in the states they are $7200. So, yeah, you’re going in the wrong direction there. Therefore, “under €10,000″ in the German market would more likely translate into under $8600 here, wouldn’t it?

    Which makes your article even further misleading, considering that you compare this KTM (the offroad–who gives a crap about a dinky motard with a bicycle front end…) to the Zero X, not the Zero MX. The Zero X is a mountain bike with an electric motor. So, yeah, it’s going to be lighter and cheaper. But the KTM’s chassis looks like it’s actually relatively serious, so this is not a comparison. A more accurate comparison would be the the Zero MX, as the chassis specs look more in line. When comparing these two, more closely related, bikes you’ll notice the weight advantage shrinks to only 20lb. (if this magazine is accurate). I would trade 20lb. for swappable batteries any day. Then comes the price comparison. The Zero MX is $8600 after shipping. So… when imagining a pricing model based off of the real world in which vehicles are far more expensive in Europe… isn’t it very possible that the KTM might actually be a couple hundred dollars CHEAPER to buy? Cheaper than the bike it’s actually competitive with, that is?…

    As far as complaining about the motor, I agree that you should probably ride one first. Although torque is king in electrics, the spread of torque is important as well. By the numbers, the KTM is making its peak power at nearly twice the RPM that the Zero does. So what are the respective final drive gearings like? All questions that will be answered in time and should wait for an actual ride to see how it really does.

    In the meantime, from the pictures alone it looks like the KTM is slightly narrower, which is nice. And there’s no discounting the advantage of swappable batteries. There’s also the question of durability and dealer network. So let’s not yell the sky is falling just yet. Hopefully these KTMs are so good that Japan Inc. are forced to respond as well. Competition will be good for all of us.

  • The Grudz

    I just saw my first Zero X in a bicycle shop in Santa Monica today. I was amazed at how diminutive it was. I didn’t realize there are actually bicycle parts on this machine! Dropping $7500 on this bike is a hard pill to swallow right now(even when it’s surrounded by bicycles that cost more). However, in the next couple years you know these are only going to get better and better, so dropping $13,500 on the KTM is nuts.

  • Esteban

    I would buy any of these KTM over the ZeroX any day
    just because of the experience of the company with chassis design and manufacturing & components like the suspension,it looks like a bicycle inte sm but is still a WP… all this compared to zero’s “zero ” experience in racing .. also the looks of the Zero are bad the “squareness” of the battery forced into the lines of the chassis ..maybe its me.
    The zero might perform well but is ugly.. Quantaya and KTM have better looks. and that is all can comment on because I have not been on any of those
    great photo leak! thank you

  • MTGR

    Trying to do price conversions is pointless, look at 90% of the bikes out there and then check the conversion rates from their home countries and you will see the two are not related. Better yet, compare Canadian Dollar value and Bike prices vs USA, not even close.

    The bike market sets pricing based on how much they think they can get.

    A prime example is the people here siting KTMs current pricing. Maybe it is just Texas, but here any KTM street machine is as much or, often, more than a Ducati(both imports, don’t forget). The Dirt Machines are higher than almost anything else in their class (other than Husabergs, which they now own anyway). Yes, you can argue they come with better equipment stock, but they are certainly not cheap.

  • BillO

    They should have hooked up with the KTM electric offshoot, Mavizen (mavizen.com). The RC8 based TTX02 looks the business. Mavizen talks TTX03 being an off roader, is this it?

  • oOOo

    Sorry, but the frame side pieces ARE aluminium, not plastic and the rest of the frame is steel. I rode the protoype and it was seriously sick. Felt like a powerful 125 2stroke and was amazing to ride.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Thanks, that’s good info. Can you tell us more about the battery hot swapping and the proposed leasing scheme? Have you ridden the Zero so you can compare the two?

      • meh

        me thinks ‘oOOo’ has strong KTM affiliation, or hasn’t ridden a 125 two stroke since the 60′s because the comparison is a tad off… I rode the KTM prototype and the Quantya a while back. Both pretty similar, decent torquey power until about 20mph and then a whole lot of nothing, basically the opposite of a 125… The KTM also suffers more noticeably from the weight and size of the battery, it makes the ergonomics very fat up top and brings the center of gravity too high IMO, gave me an uneasy feeling on corner entry and exit. The KTM is beefier, but for the current power levels it’s a bit overkill. Would be great on some slow single track (if the batt lasted longer), maybe a very VERY tight MX track, with the proposed battery program that could be a fun day.. All in all it’s great to have another player in the field, but kind of disappointing for anyone expecting the KTM to be a big leap forward, it’s just the same thing in a different and more expensive wrapper.

  • Brett Vegas

    I was afraid the EEs would get to it. 12kw peak power=lame. You can build a 12kw bike under 125lbs.
    They overengineered it. It is lovely, but it got nerfed by nervous nellies. In engines there is no replacement for displacement, in motors amperage is the 800lb gorilla, ignore him not!

    Big companies don’t like taking risks, tossing a big wad of current at a motor is risky. It seems like it should burn up, heck sometimes it does, but not giving the bike power is a big mistake.

    I’ll reserve final judgement to a side by side review, but I did hope for better. A 30kw+ bike is buildable, and they missed the mark.

  • Brett Vegas

    Hell, I am smoking glue, I misread a spec. If it is 30hp, I will shut up, that is jimdandy. I’d like to know the volt*amps, that will tell the story. Just ignore my last post, they did build it with 25kw+

  • oOOo

    Ok, the power doesn’t snap like on a 125 when hitting the power-band, but it also doesn’t taper off at 20mph, it keeps pulling aggressively all the way up. I was keeping up well with a 250f on the day i rode it. In corners it was super light and easy to throw around and the power was brilliant. They have been developing the bike for a couple of years so maybe we rode different versions, but I was well impressed, and yes I have ridden many 125′s recently.
    To Wes, I cant say more about the battery really, except that the seat pivots up and the battery easily pops out which i guess you knew already. Check out http://www.1000ps.at/modellnews-2347899-KTM_ZEM_Freeride for more info.

    • meh

      So that was a thumbs up on the KTM affiliation then huh? Think that’s why they don’t let manufacturers write their own reviews in magazines ;-)… just yankin your chain. Electrics are fun, and if I had a pile of cash laying around and a full stable of proper bikes already, i’d pick one up for giggles,, but sadly that’s not the case.

  • sam


  • edd

    Well, I think these both look brilliant.
    KTM obviously know what they’re are doing, and are bringing a workable bike to market, no some sexy prototype. Maybe the Enduro model looks a little conventional because that’s what actually works for enduro riding. It looks a little light and delicate to be honest, but I think the clearance and width of the bike are much more practical than the Zero, which looks fat and bloated to me…
    As for the street version, I love that KTM’s going for a BMX / trials bike approach. I guess at this stage you need bulk horsepower for Supermoto, so I think going for a play bike’s a better approach. I like the way they allowed for barspins, with that crazy detangler for the rear brake, and the front light mounted so the front wheel can spin next to it.
    As for the plastic bits.. I actually think that ‘oOOo’ is right. See the way they wrap right around the foot peg mounts? That seems to be a structural thing to me.
    I can’t wait for someone to actually review these things. I think they’re going to blow the doors off everything :)

  • John Ashman

    I kinda like’m. And I’m getting closer and closer to going electric. I think they need a major battery breakthrough, so you can ride for 4 or 5 hours at a clip with light weight. But there’s nothing I like more than a noiseless motorcycle. I remember how my old Sabre used to cut the wind with virtually zero noise. No chain, no noisy engine. Just wind noise.

  • Willing to keep an open mind

    With all the pressure to close our off road riding areas out West, and seasonal bans on both 2 and 4 stroke race bikes at those areas, I view these electric bikes as an insurance policy that we’ll still have something to ride no matter how restrictive their regulations become.

    Rangers actually sound check our bikes, and we’re out in the middle of nowhere- but the jerks with open piped cruisers get to blast through suburbia.

  • http://www.tokyojrock.com Jason Fullington

    I saw this in person this weekend. And the CEO of KTM Japan let myself and Boxer on the stage privately during the TMCS to film it for our show.