This $14,000 Electric Dirt Bike Is the Coolest Thing on Two Wheels

ride cake e bike
 

IMAGINE YOURSELF SPEEDING along through forests and over fields at 50 miles per hour without making a sound. That’s the reality promised by the Kalk, a new electric off-road motorcycle. The Swedish company Cake, founded by Stefan Ytterborn—who also started POC Sports, makers of helmets and goggles for cycling and snow sports—looked to both downhill and enduro mountain bikes to come up with the right mix of design, performance, and fun.

[$14,000; ridecake.com]

 

1. THE POWER PLANT

A 15-kilowatt motor generates 16 horsepower, which, owing to the bike’s lightweight aluminum frame and carbon-fiber body, can push the Kalk to 50 mph. But Cake is giving options to riders of all abilities, with three modes that adjust max speed and throttle sensitivity.

2. NO GAS NEEDED 

Lift the seat to reveal a battery packed with close to 19,000 lithium cells. The setup can take the bike and rider up to 50 miles per charge, and the battery can be juiced up indoors. (It takes about two hours for a full charge.) Just plug it into a regular wall outlet.

3. ON A DIET

The Kalk weighs just 150 pounds—about half of what gas-powered off-road bikes weigh—which boosts range and nimbleness. Cake found that motorcycle components were too heavy and mountain bike parts not strong enough, so they engineered every part, including custom Öhlins upside-down forks.

4. STOPPING POWER

Riders can choose from three settings for how they’ll slow down when letting up on the throttle. A “free rolling” mode lets you coast, much like if you stopped pedaling a bicycle, while two “engine braking” modes bring you to a stop quicker while regenerating power in the battery.

5. THE RIGHT RUBBER

If you’re going to build a bike that’s designed to go easy on the environment, you can’t just toss on knobbies that tear up trails. Cake designed tires with more-rounded sides and smaller, closely spaced lugs, so they won’t dig into soft ground. The narrow profile reduces rolling resistance and improves battery life.