Amherst, Ohio - KTM has just become the first bikemaker to offer an electric off-roader for sale in the United States, with the launch of a pilot program at 11 selected dealerships.

The bike is the Freeride E-XC, a battery-powered version of the Freeride 250R enduro machine, with a 260V permanent magnet motor rated for 16kW at 4500rpm and 42Nm from zero revs.

The E-XC has three riding modes - Economy, Standard and Advanced - fed off a 2.6kWh lithium-ion battery, which KTM says is easily removeable; this could be an important factor, as KTM quotes a battery range of 50km/h - and that is likely to be a generous estimate if you switch to Advanced mode and give it welly.

But, just as a conventional off-roader may need to be refuelled one or more times during an afternoon’s hooning at the local dirt track, so two ‘quick-detachable’ battery packs could be swopped between the charger and the bike as needed; each takes 80 minutes to recharge from flat, hooked up to a 220V ac supply at 13A.

The E-XC It weighs 108kg ready to go, and has a quoted top speed of 80km/h. It has WP suspension and Formula disc brakes on a composite steel/aluminium frame; since it has no clutch or brake levers, the rear brake is operated, scooter style, by the left handlebar lever. 

The elephant in the showroom, however, is price; KTM stresses that the bikes in the pilot program are being offered at a significant discount - and they still retail for $8299 (R108 295) each, $300 (R3915) more than the petrol-powered 250R.

FACTS: KTM Freeride E-XC

Engine: 260V synchronous perm. magnet
Power: 16kW at 4500rpm
Torque: 42Nm at 0rpm
Transmission: Single-speed, chain
Front Suspension: 43mm WP U/D Forks
Rear Suspension: WP multi-adjustable monoshock
Front Brake: 260mm, 2-piston calliper
Rear Brake: 230mm, 1-piston calliper
Front Tyre: 2.75 - 21
Rear Tyre: 120/90 - 18
Wheelbase: 1418mm
Seat Height: 910mm
Dry Weight: 110 kilograms
Battery Capacity: 2.6kWh
Price: $8 299 (R108 295)

IOL Motoring

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