Watch the KTM Freeride E tackle Erzberg

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Is there any tougher test for a dirt bike than the granite quarry in Erzberg, Austria? Typically the home of that hardest of hard enduros, KTM recently took a few Freeride E prototypes there for testing. Is the electric enduro finally nearing production?

Back in 2011, Alan Cathcart reported that KTM planned to get the Freeride E program rolling by first producing a run of 500 bikes, travelling those around various countries in order to evaluate the responses and experiences of a wide range of riders.

“We plan to learn as much as we can from this, because we don’t want to have a new technology that creates problems for the customers, but to develop it properly under all conditions,” KTM CEO Harald Ploeckinger told Cathcart. “And then towards the end of next year we will start production of the Freeride E.”

While it appears that the timeline laid out there is a little delayed, these videos indicate that the KTM pre-production evaluation program is now underway.

Back in 2011, specs were 30bhp (peak), 31lb/ft of torque, 2.1kWh of battery and 205lbs, numbers that put it well behind the Zero MX even then, not to mention other, future electrics like BRD Redshift. Hopefully, when the bike does eventually go on-sale, all the above are improved. KTM also stated it was targeting a sub-10,000 Euro price point, making the Freeride E price comparable with its four-stroke enduro range.

  • Troy Rank

    In any event, that thing really needs lights and signals for urban hoonage.

  • Jay

    Ermagerd! Erzberg?!

  • orthorim

    whether or not this is successful – that’s definitely the way to develop a motorbike with completely new technology.

  • BillW

    I don’t think the guy in the boulder garden was having a good time. But he was the exception.

  • KevinB

    I can’t wait for electric bikes. We’re so close. Somebody needs to produce BRD equivalent performance at a 10k price point and I will write a check.

    • protomech

      Rumored 0-60 mph for the Zero FX 5.7 is 3.9s .. BRD has race-quality components, but motor performance should be similar. Price for the FX after the 10% federal rebate is $10.8k, and BRD won’t be much more.. $13-14k.

      Edit: whoops, messed up the FX price.

  • protomech

    I don’t know how accurate the comparison to the 2011 Zero MX is.

    “Back in 2011, specs were 30bhp (peak), 31lb/ft of torque, 2.1kWh of
    battery and 205lbs, numbers that put it well behind the Zero MX even

    Zero never outright states the peak power for the 2011 MX, but Agni claims 22 kW / 29 hp peak for their Agni95 @ 60V. 1.7 kWh nominal and 196 pounds are roughly in the same ballpark as the KTM.

    Again, Zero does not state the peak power for the 2012 MX, but Dirt Bike Magazine claimed 18 kW in a review. Zero does say the power delivery is improved vs 2011, with “33% more overall power with a top speed of 54mph”. Battery was upgraded to 2.6 kWh nominal and weight rose to 200 pounds.

    For 2013 the Zero MX gains a second battery bay and a larger passively-aircooled brushless motor, and is available in both single battery module (ZF2.8) and dual module (ZF5.4) configurations. Power from the motor is claimed at 20 kW / 27 hp ZF2.8, 40 kW / 54 hp ZF 5.4 (~2.5 kWh and ~5.0 kWh respectively). Weight rises to 223 pounds with 1 module or 265 pounds with 2 modules.

    Just by a quick spec overview the 2013 MX ZF2.8 is heavier and less powerful than the KTM, but I bet the MX will win on the track. A more powerful motor controller + an understressed motor should yield more usable power in real life, and the MX has a significant battery advantage even with a single module. The MX ZF5.4 is in another class entirely, and will have to compete against the BRD.

    The 2013 MX starts at $9500 (ZF2.8) and $12k (ZF5.4). KTM prices are nearly the same in dollars or euros (EXC-F is $9700 or €9400), so I would expect it to compete on price with the 2013 MX as well.

    • yyzmxs

      Heavier and less powerful, but you think it will beat the KTM on the track????? What is this? ….. Zero marketing department posting on HFL?

      • protomech

        Zero owner, but no other connections.

        At 30 hp / 22 kW, the KTM battery is discharging at 10.4C (assuming 2.1 kWh nominal)

        At 27 hp / 20 kW, the MX 2.8 battery is discharging at 7.8C (assuming 2.55 kWh nominal)

        The particular battery chemistry will tell the rest of the story, but in general cells will tolerate a certain amount of burst power before dropping down to a continuous level. It’s possible the KTM cells are 11C continuous, but I suspect on the track the MX battery can provide more power continuous than the KTM battery.

        And if the race goes long enough that the KTM must reduce power to avoid running out of energy, then the MX’s 20% larger battery is a huge advantage .. assuming they have similar efficiencies. Both bikes have an easily swapped battery, so endurance races are possible.. but the MX should have to pit less frequently (or use more average power over the length of an identical pit period).

        Not directly comparable, but listed for the sake of completeness.. KTM lists the Freeride E’s track endurance time at 20 minutes professional, 45 minutes amateur. Zero lists the MX ZF2.8′s track endurance time at 20-60 minutes.

        KTM rates their motor as 22 kW peak / 7.5 kW continuous (typically a 30 minute rating). In a race environment the KTM’s power will drop off due to motor heating.

        The MX ZF2.8 is rated at 20 kW (doesn’t specify, but probably peak). The MX ZF5.7 uses the same motor, but it is rated at 40 kW. The 20 kW rating for the ZF2.8 is limited by battery power. Like the KTM, the MX motor will have a lower continuous rating .. but if it drops by 2/3, it’s still making 13 kW continuous.

        Suppose both bikes average 50% of their rated power on track for the first couple of minutes. KTM is making 11 kW average, well above their continuous rating, so you would expect its power output to taper down. Zero is making 10 kW average .. less than the guessed continuous rating above. It’s possible that the Zero motor would not decline in power at all.

        Basically the entire powertrain on the single-module MX ZF2.8 is overbuilt, since it has to handle double the power on the dual-module ZF5.7. This does add some amount of weight, but it also means it should be understressed in a track environment.

        Anyhow. We’ll see if they show up on a track at the same time.

        • yyzmxs

          I appreciate the detail of your reply …. but at the same time, I must say this is the reason why many people including myself, sort of don’t care for the electric. You are putting tons of numbers out there, continuos or not, decline over time or not … common who can see through this one major smoke screen of electrical mumbo jumbo.

          The geeky factor of the whole battery, motor and controller setup. I guess, great if you are electrician, but I feel sorry for all those consumers who will always be taken for a ride … imagine your laptop batteries and their ever shortening lifetime while consumers are always told that the old memory effect doesn’t exist anymore … LOL ticks me off every time my 2 year old laptop screams for a power cable after 30mins of light usage.

          The reason, why I said what I said about BRD and Zero vs KTM, is because I don’t think the rolling chassis and handling will never be as good as someone who’s been into bikes since ever, compared to someone who is just exploring a niche market while the big boys are waiting for better battery technology so they can actually guarantee some fair numbers. Right now, the market is for enthusiasts like yourself who could bear the high asking price. Nothing against you, without you the progress would be much slower.

          • protomech

            I like speculation .. heh, maybe a bit much. The real test will be when/if KTM brings their electric bike to the track – Zero has been racing and doing very well against gas bikes for years now.

            Yeah, I’ve had those laptops and cell phone batteries that were useless or significantly degraded after a year or two. I think EV batteries will perform quite a bit better .. but time on the road will tell better than a lab test. I expect to see basically the same range this spring (after a year of use) that I did last spring.

            • yyzmxs

              I really hope they do perform better in EVs … but the consumers will need some warranties to cover those claims … before they fork out their cash.

  • yyzmxs

    How can a Zero bike be mentioned in the same article or sentence with the KTM or BRD…… One costs an arm and a leg and the other one…. Well doesn’t even look like a bike and is known to overstate power and run time etc.

    This Freeride looks like it could be it. I like the way they think with swapable batteries. This the way to do it.