Win one of just 100 of these unobtainium dirt bikes in the USA…
Back in 2012, KTM became the world’s first major manufacturer to offer a factory electric motorcycle: the Freeride E. Range was limited by the battery technology of the time, but the Freeride E heralded a new niche in the dirt bike world:
“There’s virtually no noise to annoy the neighbors, no greasy engine maintenance to take care of, you can get out and have a good half hour blast after dinner much easier on an electric bike than on a petrol powered dirt squirter.” –Loz Blain, New Atlas
Since then, the bike has continued to evolve. Today’s Freeride E-XC is an electric version of the two-stroke Freeride 250R — a hybrid between an enduro and trials bike, weighing 245 pounds with a brushless electric motor capable of producing 24 horsepower and 31 lb-ft of torque.
“The Freeride E handles far nicer and feels lighter on the hoof than my 1999 CR125. It turns on impulse, tracks ruts with ease, is super-easy to boss and is incredibly well balanced: it does everything a sorted enduro bike should do, just peacefully.” —44teeth.com
For 2020, the all-new Freeride E-XC boasts 50% more range than its predecessor, with three riding modes, composite subframe, WP suspension, and a charge time of 1.3 hours — plus you can swap out battery packs in a matter of seconds.
Unfortunately, these bikes have remained all but unobtainable in the States. In 2017, KTM launched a pilot program with only a handful of dealers to sell and service them, and for 2020, they sent just 100 of these bikes to the USA…
Enter our new friend Sam Oldham and the crew of Backcountry Life, who not only got their hands on a 2020 KTM Freeride E-XC to ride and review, but are now giving readers an opportunity to win one of these unobtainium electric dirt bikes!
Enter the giveaway today at Backcountry Life!
Below, we spoke to Sam Oldham about his experience with the 2020 Freeride E-XC, the pros/cons versus a traditional ICE enduro, the future of electric dirt bikes, and more…
Interview: Sam Oldham of Backcountry Life
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and what Backcountry Life is all about.
I have been obsessed with dirt bikes since I was a kid. My dad wouldn’t let me get one because he thought they were death on two wheels. Luckily, he thought four wheelers were much safer, so I rode a Honda 400 EX my whole childhood. When I left home one of the first things I saved for and bought was a used Honda CRF 250X. Since then I have never looked back. I love getting out and riding my dirtbike as often as I can.
Backcountry Life is our YouTube channel where my brother and a couple friends started posting videos of all the things we like to do. Anything from snowboarding, hunting, camping to dirtbiking. Basically, stuff in the backcountry. It has evolved into being heavily dirtbike influenced. Our goal really is to get out and have fun ourselves but more importantly inspire or help other people get out outside and do what they love. We really don’t care if it is dirtbiking or larping. Just go outside and live your passions.
• You got your hands on a 2020 KTM Freeride E-XC — lucky! Can you tell us what it’s like to ride?
I was skeptical about it when we first got it, I wasn’t sure about an all-electric dirt bike. I love my 2-stroke and have no complaints about it. So when I first hopped onto the Freeride it had big shoes to fill. My first impressions were that it felt super light and nimble. It almost felt more like riding a larger mountain bike than a dirt bike. It is a fun experience, it jumps easily, has plenty of power, and I didn’t even miss the 2-stroke noise. I love the consistency of it, when I am hitting a jump or running it around the track it reacts the same every time. I don’t have to worry about the clutch getting hot, the power giving out or killing the bike. In the mountains it handles like a dream. Everyone that rides this bike is always pleasantly surprised at how fun it is. It is hard to explain why, you just have to ride it.
• What are some of the advantages/disadvantages versus a traditional ICE enduro?
It is hard to compare the Freeride to a traditional ICE Enduro bike because I feel like it is another product. The Freeride won’t replace your enduro bike anytime soon. The range isn’t there yet to do it. However, I have taken it on a number of rides where the bike lasted longer than the stamina of the guys on their gas bikes. For the hardcore enduro person the Freeride is a secondary bike that you have around to play on. For the casual enduro person this definitely can be your primary bike. It performs very well in every way you would expect or want it to. I personally would like a way to modulate the power like a clutch but a lot of my hard enduro friends tell me my skill level is the problem. The thing I love about this bike is that I have had 6 people who NEVER would have gotten on my 2-stroke ICE bike that wanted to and had lots of fun riding the Freeride. You can drop it down to the lowest mode and it is perfect for a beginner. I love exposing more people to the sport and getting them excited about dirtbiking. Don’t get the wrong idea though, you can throw it in mode 3 and this bike will tear your arms off. It is perfect for the all-around bike.
• How do you think electric dirt bikes will fit into the future of the sport?
I think the perfect example to look at is kids’ bikes. More and more dirt bikes for kids that are being sold are electric bikes. These kids are growing up with electric bikes and when they get older they aren’t going to be a novelty. The technology is only going to get better and better and in a very near future it might surpass the traditional ICE dirt bikes. This is one of the reasons that I started Charge The Bike, a blog about electric dirt bikes so we started testing them.
If you have seen a video of the Deegan kids, they put in better times on their electric bikes versus their gas bikes around the track. The other thing I have seen is that kids who normally wouldn’t be riding a gas bike have those little electric bikes and are ripping around the neighborhood. Way more kids are getting exposed to dirt biking because of electric bikes.
In Europe many of the public areas that you can ride have noise ordinances. This means that a traditional bike can’t ride there but you can ride your electric bike. I live in the city and nobody cares when I ride to the park with my kids on my Freeride.
• When did the Backcountry Life crew decide to give away a KTM Freeride?
We always knew that we would want to do some giveaways. We weren’t planning on doing the Freeride until we saw how many people were interested in it. It was kind of a spur of the moment.
• Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?
There was a time when I was too focused on work, family and being a responsible adult. I let my passions go by the wayside. I made a conscientious decision to get out there and do what I love and it has made my life better in every way. I hope that all of you reading this will get out there and do what gets you excited. That is my goal! Go live life.
KTM Freeride: Giveaway Details and Instructions
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