2018 KTM Freeride E-XC First Look – KTM held an international media event today at Red Bull Hangar-7 in Salzburg, Austria to release the 2018 Freeride E-XC. We attended the press conference “virtually” via a live feed. Here’s what we learned about the new bike straight from the digital feed. The 2018 KTM Freeride E-XC looks very similar to the previous Freeride E, but inside and up-close, there are a few major differences that should make this a much more viable choice for riders looking to throw some E-roost.
2018 KTM Freeride E-XC First Look
The 2018 KTM Freeride E-XC features an upgraded engine and battery system over the previous version, producing more power for longer rides. It has upgraded suspension componentry to take the electric Freeride out of the play-bike category and into a more serious, substantial Enduro product. In line with this, the braking components are also upgraded to allow riders to ride faster and be more in-control on Freerides.
2018 KTM Freeride E-XC First Look
Internationally, the 2018 KTM Freeride E-XC will be street legal, but not for those in the North America. This could limit its appeal to buyers in some states where accessing electric-friendly trail systems could be opened up considerably with the addition of a license plate.
Pricing was mentioned around 7,200 euro ($8,500 or so in U.S. dollars) without a battery or charger. KTM plans on implementing a unique lease program for those components to reduce initial purchase obstacles for customers and to provide quick upgrade potential. With battery performance increasing at incredible rates, KTM claims customers who lease batteries will be in a much better position to take advantage of the latest technologies without the huge purchase of a new battery. KTM says the lease for a battery and charger would be around 50 euro ($60) per month–a figure they say aligns with about what consumers would spend on fuel costs for a similar bike.
2018 KTM Freeride E-XC Engine and Battery highlights
- Powered by a state-of-the-art electric motor with a peak of 18 kW from an all-new, Sony supplied battery pack featuring a 50% increase in capacity.
- That’s equivalent to about 25 horsepower and 42 Nm of torque delivered in electric-style response
- This power output is claimed as the same from a 250 EXC two-stroke (Europe’s enduro model)
- Utilizes energy recuperation (in Economy mode) to recharge the battery when coasting or braking.
- Battery pack provides 70% of its original capacity after 700 charge cycles
- Three riding modes: Economy, Enduro, and Cross. Increased power output, respectfully, with Economy featuring battery recuperation to extend range further
- 1.5 hours of run time with one battery charge (claimed) in aggressive riding. Longer run times for Economy mode use and when riding on longer downhills where recuperation can add range back to the battery
- Liquid-cooled engine to keep engine components and ECU temperature in control during hard riding
2018 KTM Freeride E-XC Chassis and Suspension highlights
- WP Xplor 43 fork system now on the bike
- WP PDS Xplor shock
- New, wider handlebar
- ODI grips
- New fork guards, front fender, and hand guards to offer Enduro-level durability
- New headlight mask housing EXC (gas version) headlight with available LED bulb
- Longer steering stem add rigidity to chassis
KTM’s Long-Term E-Mobility Strategy with the 2018 KTM Freeride E-XC
A lot was said at the media event about E-mobility and how it fits into the world of motorcycling. KTM’s press release states:
“This latest e-powered machine is part of KTM’s long-term commitment to e-mobility, which began over 10 years ago in KTM’s research and development department in Mattighofen, Austria. The Austrian brand plans a range of machines for the future including e-mini, and an e-scooter, as well as maximizing its partnership with PEXCO with a new possibility to produce crossover products in the bicycle sector. The vision is clear, and by 2025 KTM will increase emphasis on machines from 250 watt to 11kWh due to market suitability and efficiency.”
Stefan Pierer (KTM CEO): “We are proud to present the new KTM FREERIDE E-XC, which marks the next step in development of e-mobility within KTM and is a continuation of our commitment to this segment. We know that e-mobility will change the landscape of travel in the future, and our vision is very clear. Looking ahead to 2025 we expect to have a wider range of models available with a focus in the commuting arena. We also plan crossover machines with our collaboration with PEXCO, as well as using our e-mobility expertise in other applications.”
Pierer made it clear, on several occasions during the media event, that the top-tier e-mobility bike in KTM’s plans is the 2018 KTM Freeride E-XC you see here. The additional models, as stated in his supplied quote above, are to be focused on the commuting segment, not competition or street – a unique, if not honestly realistic, approach from the orange brand. Interestingly, the CEO also repeatedly referred to the future of E-mobility as a joining of electric bicycles and electric motorcycles–a vision we’ll get into more as we break down KTM’s E-mobility stance in a future article.