While there is currently no word on whether KTM and sister-company Husqvarna Motorcycles have full-sized electric motorcycles about to break cover - both brands have debuted electric motocross machines for junior riders. The potential of the new machines is electrifying!
Before we dig into these little e-bikes, it is important to lay the background out. Just in case you didn't already know - Husqvarna is owned by KTM, hence the two bikes before you looking almost identical.
KTM's SX-E and Husqvarna's EE 5 both target the youth competition sector with what will be its first electric bikes to market from major manufacturers. This will mean that not only will the bikes have strong factory support, but also the backing to either form their own class or compete against the current crop of kids bikes.
Based on KTM's 2-stroke 50cc machine, the 50 SX, both bikes share the same electric motor and frame - with the plastics and frame colour the main features which define the differences between the KTM and Husqvarna machines.
KTM said in their announcement during the EICMA Motorcycle Show that the company's mission was clear; "To create an ultra-competitive machine that is also easy to ride, even for pure beginners."
Those are not normally two traits that go hand in hand, but thankfully the two little EVs have a couple of tricks up their sleeves to ensure that they are manageable for the target audience.
With six different rider modes, the EE 5 and SX-E's 5kW of power can be tailored for the situation or the rider. Not only that, both bikes feature WP Suspension systems and an adjustable seat height to perfect the chassis for that rider who dreams of becoming the next Chris Birch.
While for environmentalists the fact that both bikes have the advantage of zero emissions will be a selling point, in the Kiwi marketplace I believe that the low noise and minimal maintenance will be much stronger selling points for potential buyers.
While there are of course the hard-core moto families who live and breathe moto, for those looking at getting into the sport the maintenance of a dirt bike can be quite daunting to those with little to no experience with motorcycles. The lack of traditional maintenance with therefore make the KTM and Husqvarna ideal for youngsters and parents alike looking to make the first step into the world of motorcycling.
When it comes to the low noise, many riders will undoubtedly prefer the sound of a 2-stroke, and who would blame them? Unfortunately the sad reality of the New Zealand MotoX scene is our tracks are constantly under threat from urban developments, and as such noisy motorcycle tracks are getting killed off one-by-one – just look at Western Springs in Auckland as an example. With little to no noise, the SX-E and EE 5 will allow young riders to ride hassle free without upsetting residential neighbours.
The biggest drawback to any electric vehicle will always be range and charging times, with both the KTM and Husqvarna both benefitting from a decent specification for both.
The battery (or as KTM calls it, the "PowerPack") can reportedly supply more than two hours of riding for a beginner lazily riding around a paddock or trail – or 25 minutes for faster junior racers at the moto track. Charging time for the PowerPack is good, with it taking a roughly 1 hour to completely charge the battery of the little EVs.
KTM Australia and New Zealand – the distributors of both KTM and Husqvarna Motorcycles into New Zealand – has confirmed that the EE 5 will be available at Kiwi dealerships in late 2019. Currently we are awaiting word on the KTM SX-E, but we believe based on past experience that the technology will debut with the Husqvarna before being followed by the KTM version a few months later.
We can't wait to see these next-generation moto machines hit the tracks and trails of New Zealand!