Best electric dirt bikes 2023
Electric power is perfectly suited to the needs of off-road motorbikes. Here, we select the best of the bunch you can buy right now
When it comes to off-road bikes, battery-electric machines have several big advantages. Range isn’t such a problem on the dirt, as generally off-road bikes aren't used for more than about 30 minutes at a time. Meanwhile, the torque characteristics of electric motors – instant torque at any speed, without the need for a gearbox – are perfect for tackling rough and slippery surfaces.
Then there's the elephant in the room – noise. Off-road motorbiking, whether it's motocross, trials or just trail riding for fun, has come under attack from the anti-noise brigade since the beginning of time. This clearly isn't an issue when it comes to electric dirt bikes.
Electric off-roaders are also more suitable for children than petrol machines; they're simpler to operate, with no clutch, no gears and no hot exhaust. Transporting them is easier, too, because there are no fluids to spill. Established manufacturers like GasGas have got in on the expanding kids electric-off-road market, with the MC-3 and MC-5.
Battery-powered dirt bikes still cost more up-front than their petrol-fuelled counterparts, and none of the bikes featured here qualify for the government's plug-in grant, but there's still a decent choice of machines, from the child-friendly Oset to the race-ready KTM.
Oset 20.0R – from £2,799
Oset has virtually cornered the market for kids' electric dirt bikes. Now based in the UK and recently taken over by Triumph, it was started by American Ian Smith, who wanted a decent dirt bike for his three-year-old son to start out on, but was put off by the prospect of flammable fuel and hot exhausts.
The Oset trials bike was the result, and has been a huge success ever since. No clutch, no gears, no fluids to spill and no red-hot exhaust to burn small fingers. Oset now offers a big range of trials bikes to suit three to five-year-olds, five to seven-year-olds, eight-year-olds plus, and most recently teens and adults as well.
Lead-acid batteries keep the cost down on the smaller bikes (from £889), while the 20.0 Racing is a full-size trials machine with deep-tread tyres, a lithium-ion battery, disc brakes and a run time of 2-3 hours – suitable for ages eight upwards. Trials is the low-speed arm of off-road biking; it’s more about learning delicate balance skills than leaping off big jumps, so ideal for kids to learn about two-wheel control.
UBCO 2x2 – from £4,499
UBCO has been around for a good few years now, but it remains unique. It’s an electric off-road bike designed purely for utility rather than leisure or competition. As the name suggests, it actually has two-wheel drive, thanks to a hub motor in both wheels, and looks rugged enough to spend days out in the fields and mountains.
Top speed is limited to 30mph but you get a choice of three batteries (2.1kWh, 2.6kWh or 3.1kwh) with a claimed 75 miles available with the biggest one. Charging isn’t quick at 4 hours to 95% for a ‘fast’ charge (6 hours for a ‘slow’ one) but the UBCO isn’t about covering long distances at high speed. Instead, it should hold enough charge for a full day’s work and can even act as a mobile power source for tools. Fence erectors, sheep farmers... look no further. There’s even a road-legal ‘Adventure’ model now – perfect for cutting a rugged dash in the hipper parts of Hampstead.
Sur Ron Bee – from £3,295
In a world of lightweight dirt bikes, Sur Ron is the featherweight. At just 40kg, the Light Bee is almost light enough to qualify as an electric bicycle, but in looks, layout and chassis spec, it's halfway between a full-size dirt bike and a downhill mountain bike.
Purely designed for use off-road, the Storm Bee has a tiny 1.8kWh battery and a motor peaking at 22.5kW, and although speed is limited to 30mph on the 'Youth' version, that's still pretty fast when bouncing over rocks. Sur-Ron says it'll run 60 miles on a charge, but that’ll be at low speed. Otherwise, a short wheelbase, big ground clearance and strong frame promise fine off-road agility. Sur-Ron also offers full-size and road legal dirt bikes with more power and bigger batteries.
CAKE Kalk – from £8,070
Imagine you're a DJ planning a rave in isolated woodland, or a carpenter needing access to power tools miles from anywhere – the CAKE could be the bike for you. Built in Sweden, it offers an off-grid power supply from the main battery, with an AC-DC inverter able to fuel tools, PA systems or lights.
Otherwise, the CAKE Kalk (the name probably works better in Swedish) is a bare-bones dirt bike that’s road-legal. The 7kW (10kW peak) motor is enough for a top speed of 63mph and a range of just over 60 miles of mixed riding, as long as you opt for the bigger 2.5kWh battery.
Weighing 77kg, the CAKE is another featherweight off-roader with very low maintenance, thanks to the electric motor and belt drive – chores are restricted to brakes, tyres and battery charging. As for the style, it's pure Swedish functionality – did anyone mention IKEA?
KTM Freeride E-XC – from £11,370
KTM is the Ducati of dirt bikes, with countless championships and race wins to its name. It's also a pioneer of full-size electric off-roaders, launching the Freeride back in 2014. Since then, it has become an established part of the range, with motocross, enduro and road-going supermoto versions, plus a small-wheeled minibike.
The 9kW (18kW peak) motor is water-cooled, as is the control unit, and the small 3.9kWh battery helps keep weight down to just 111kg. KTM claims the battery, which can be charged in situ or lifted out, gives 90 minutes of off-road riding and takes 75 minutes for an 80% recharge. It also reckons the Freeride is novice-friendly, with three riding modes from the mild Economy to full power Cross.
And if you get carried away, when the battery falls below 10% charge, the bike goes into power-saving limp-home mode. And when you get home, the battery lifts out for a quick swap. Otherwise, the Freeride is like any other KTM dirt bike, with high-spec WP suspension, decent brakes and a quality frame.
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