Among the new models KTM has unveiled at the Milan Motorcycle Show are a pair of radical off-road machines. One – the Freeride 350 – has pretty much blindsided us in the DBR office while the other – the Freeride E – is something we’ve been expecting for quite some time since Sutty and I had a sneaky spin on it at the Austrian factory in 2010.
The Freeride 350 looks like a trials/enduro hybrid, uses the company’s ground-breaking four-stroke motor and weighs in at 100kg. Whether or not there’s a mass market for it remains to be seen but from looking at the video it promises to be the weapon to have for events like Erzberg. It could also kick ass in indoor enduros – if it’s allowed…
The Freeride E is the long-awaited electric bike from Mattighofen which can be run for up to an hour at maximum power with a battery that takes just 90 minutes to soak up a full charge. With a potentially massive market and KTM’s proven track record as a manufacturer, the attached video could very well be a glimpse into the not-so-distant future.
Anyway, here’s the official factory bumph and a couple of films of the bikes in action…
KTM FREERIDE 350 – AN ICON FOR A NEW OFF-ROADING DIMENSION:
With the new Freeride 350 KTM will show the world that in order to go cross country riding you don’t need to have the fitness of an athlete and the bike control and balance of a circus artist.
A brave and forward-looking concept, the Freeride 350 is an ultra-lightweight bike designed to go anywhere and make any ride a fun-filled adventure – be it riding across the madness of a bustling city or taking the bike off the back of the campervan and exploring a scenic trail.
What sets the Freeride apart from other enduro machines is a very low weight of under 100kg to permit extremely easy handling. This, combined with a low seat-height and pronounced user-friendly ergonomics, ensures the rider stays on top of things even on the most difficult trails – keeping just as cool in rough terrain as on narrow single trails and wide gravel tracks.
The ideal power plant for this trailblazer is KTM’s modern 350cc DOHC four-stroke engine. Specially redesigned for the Freeride 350, the power delivery is torque-oriented and manageable – forgiving to newcomers and still exciting for experienced riders.
True to KTM’s ‘design follows function’ philosophy, the focus of development lay mainly with practical ergonomics. The result is almost unlimited onboard mobility due to a very slim seat as well as bodywork with superbly defined contact points between rider and machine.
Besides giving the utmost mobility the long, slim seat breaks the off-road trend to deliver a lot of sitting comfort between tough terrain. Thanks to an integral seat release it can also be quickly unlocked for ease of access to the tank, air filter and electrics. Compared to competition enduros, the Freeride’s seat height is a little over 900mm to make sure the rider’s feet reach the ground a lot easier – something that can also increase off-road confidence.
Remarkable – and typical of the Freeride 350’s versatility – are the eccentric footpeg brackets. Bolted to the frame, the offset can be changed for rider preference by simply rotating them 180 degrees. This also changes the leverage on the pegs to change the bike’s traction and cornering behaviour.
KTM FREERIDE E – TAKING ELECTRIC MOTORCYCLES TO NEW PLACES
In 2012 the time has come – KTM offers an off-road racing bike with electric drive. With its first Zero Emission motorbike, the global leader in off-road motorcycles launches an electrically-driven off-road sport bike to prove that riding fun and environmental sustainability are perfectly compatible. This development is firmly rooted in KTM’s clear lead in off-road motorcycle racing and the company’s intention to aggressively expand this main strategic pillar by launching a unique product.
The revolutionary development embodies completely new perspectives, not just for KTM. In the long term it is hoped the Freeride E will mean the end of exclusion zones and will bring a new acceptance of motorcycle sports even inside urban areas. In doing so the KTM Freeride E will transfer the brand’s sporting spirit into the 21st Century. Typically KTM, it is fully “Ready to Race” – but based on a completely new technology.
KTM’s courageous and logical innovation is called Freeride E. A revolutionary bike, a 100 per cent genuine KTM regarding technology, quality and sporting performance which at the same time uses a powertrain technology thought to be nearly impossible to realise in a sport motorcycle – until today. Globally unique and radical, the vehicle is extremely light, highly dynamic and powerful while delivering emission free and nearly silent propulsion from its electric powertrain.
The revolutionary concept is one possible step in bringing off-roadingcloser to the metropolitan areas as well as establishing new parks and riding areas in places where that used to be unthinkable. Ideally, this could draw the use of the sport closer to home. In addition it opens up opportunities to inspire new target groups with the fascinating world of off-road motorcycling.
In accordance with the company’s philosophy, the zero emission motorcycle embodies that genuinely competition-oriented vehicle design typical of KTM. Like all KTM motorbikes, the Freeride E incorporates the latest design features and top-quality components throughout based on KTM’s decades of experience and sustained dominance in off-road sports.
Developed by the KTM R&D team in Mattighofen, Austria, the completely new electric powertrain sets the standard. Not only will the performance be on a level comparable to a conventional 125cc two-stroke bike, KTM’s new integrated battery/powertrain unit, patented worldwide, also offers a unique solution to notorious problems of electric mobility regarding wear and tear, resistance against moisture, riding range, handling and, especially, safety.
A 300V battery developed by KTM and a brushless, synchronous motor made in Mattighofen which delivers a peak power of up to 22 kW makes for a high-performance powertrain and extreme riding fun that is not limited to tight and twisty tracks. With its 42 Nm of torque, which – typical of electric motors – is delivered instantly, Freeride E won’t fear combustion-driven competitors.
Delivering up to an hour of maximum electric power, 2.1 kWh of energy storage means immense riding enjoyment. After that, riders who have not had enough can simply swap the battery thanks to a special quick change system and are ready to go again in no time – and fully recharge the empty battery within 90 minutes.
Considering the typical use of their off-road vehicles, KTM also went to a lot of effort to fully seal the complete drive and energy unit. Motor, power electronics, battery – any and all driveline components have been 100 per cent dust and waterproofed. This means that neither tough terrain nor crossing water pose limits to the technology. It also means that the bike can be cleaned in typical off-road fashion with a pressure washer.