This is a complete guide to electric dirt bikes in 2022.
In this guide you will find:
- A full comparison between gas and electric dirt bikes
- How riding is different with electric models
- Maintenance differences
- Things to consider when buying
- The best electric dirt bikes for adult, teenagers and kids
- And lots more!
Let’s get started.
Introduction to Electric Dirt Bikes
The dirt bike market is showing interest in all things electric. Furthermore, cars, trucks, and street motorcycles are seeing a large increase in demand and in supply for full electric models in 2022 and for the upcoming 2023 lineup.
Especially, as gas prices are soaring and emission restrictions are starting to become mainstream, electric has become the next big thing for road vehicles and motorcycles. The major dirt bike manufacturers and startups are betting this trend will include dirt bikes.
KTM and Husqvarna are already offering electric dirt bike models for some of their 2022 and 2023 lineup. We have also seen plenty of new dirt bike startups enter the electric dirt bike market in the recent few years and already lost some startups such as Alta Motors.
Next, let’s deep dive into the electric dirt bikes.
What Is an Electric Dirt Bike?
In a traditional dirt bike, the power is generated by a traditional 2-stroke or 4-stroke gas combustion engine. The engine transfers the power to a gearbox, which then connects to the rear wheel using sprockets and a chain as a final drive.
The electric dirt bikes are powered by an electric motor. The dirt bike chassis incorporates a rechargeable battery, which then powers the electric motor. The motor typically uses a single speed gearbox, so no gear shifting or clutch use is needed thanks to the high revolution range of an electric motor.
Chapter 1: How Electric Dirt Bikes vs Gas Compare?
The use of an electric motor and a rechargeable battery changes several things on a dirt bike. The major differences are:
- Chassis design and suspension components
- Overall weight and weight distribution
- Power, speed, and powertrain
- Range and operation
Next, we are going to discuss each area in more detail.
1. Chassis Design and Suspension Components
The first major difference between electric and gas dirt bikes is quite obvious. The manufacturers are not sticking to the current gas powered dirt bike chassis and form factors anymore.
Instead, these new models are designed from the ground up and with the capabilities of an electric motor and the rechargeable batteries. The current trends in chassis and suspension design are innovative and experimental.
Startups Are Innovating Chassis Design From Ground up
Some early models, like the Alta Motors models, were using comparable dirt bike chassis and suspension setup, which resulted into higher overall weight and poor range compared to the gas models.
In 2022, manufacturers are experimenting with more lightweight frame and suspension design. Another key point is that the trend with many startups seem to be more towards designing a more lightweight frames and suspension. Many of these models resemble a combination of a mountain bike and a dirt bike. Examples of these experimental, lighter frame designs are Sur-Ron X, Cake Kalk, and Segway X260.
Major Dirt Bike Manufacturers Still Use More Traditional Frame Designs
The major brand manufacturers, such as KTM and Husqvarna are using their current frame designs from gas powered models with much smaller changes. The 2022 KTM Freeride E-XC uses similar frame designs as the older gas powered models, obviously fitted to an electric motor and battery.
It remains to be seen which route is the crowd favorite. Personally, I believe both form factors will be popular. Both serve a purpose. Riders will likely want the lighter electric models for completely different purposes and trails, while still keeping the current full size dirt bikes for maximum trail riding or motocross experience.
2. Overall Weight and Weight Distribution
An electric motor is lighter than a comparable gas engine. The challenge dirt bike manufacturers face is the overall dirt bike weight. The current battery technology is not quite up to par with storing enough energy to match a gas engine in the same weight category and range.
The weight savings from removing the gas engine and related engine auxiliary systems are outweighed by the weight of the battery. So far, the comparable full size electric dirt bikes are heavier. However, manufacturers have solved this in various different ways.
Most innovations relate to lighter chassis and suspension design and lowered range or power. The combination of all these things are making the models an attractive option for many riders.
Weight Distribution in eBikes
The placement of the battery and the motor allows electric models to have a lower center of gravity. Naturally, this helps with performance and handling of the eBike. The lighter hybrid dirt bike manufacturers are already innovating with battery placement and motor designs to rapidly match the weight and power characteristics of gas engines.
2024 model lineups may already be very competitive in the 250/300cc 2-stroke gas engine and 450cc 4-stroke engine category. One example of this development is Stark VARG, to be released in 2024. They boast great specs and it remains to be seen how well they are able to implement the final results.
Overall Weight Drives Chassis and Suspension Design
The operational weight of a traditional gas dirt bike is around 250 lbs. Currently, there are no directly comparable full size models in the same power range category to directly compare overall weight. That being said, most electric models are lighter but may lack in overall power or range.
The KTM 2023 Freeride model is said to weight around 250 lbs, which is similar to gas powered models. The weight savings are countered with a heavy battery. KTM has achieved the same weight by using a lighter chassis and suspension elements as well as lower power and battery capacity.
The electric power source effectively eliminates the need for oil, gas, gas tank, exhaust and moving engine parts as well as gear box, starters and much more. The electric motor alone is much lighter compared to a gas engine and produces similar levels of comparable power.
Electric Dirt Bikes Use Lighter Chassis and Smaller Suspension Components
The added weight in electric models come from a rechargeable lithium ion battery. To combat the added weight, manufacturers are designing the chassis using more lightweight chassis designs and materials, as well as lighter suspension components.
Traditional gas dirt bikes are generally using 45–48mm front fork diameter, while electric models favor much smaller, 35–38mm in diameter. The suspension travel is also shorter in these more lightweight electric chassis designs.
3. Power, Speed, and Powertrain
In 2022, manufacturers are balancing between maximum power, total range, and overall weight. Change one and the others are affected.
Do Electric Models Offer Less Power?
Yes and no. Power is relative. The electric models do offer the same range of performance because of their much lighter weight and excellent power delivery characteristics of the electric motor and gearbox.
Today, the 2022 and 2023 full size electric model lineup, such as the KTM Freeride, offer very similar performance numbers as the comparable gas powered models. It is important to notice that these models are not meant to replace the most powerful 300cc two-stroke or 450cc four-stroke engine models.
The more comparable model range is in the 150cc range. Many stock 150cc two-strokes produce around 20hp, whereas the electric models range around 12–15hp rated power (with peak power around 25hp).
It’s likely that in the next few years, electric models are starting to be very comparable to gas powered dirt bikes in the adult, full size dirt bike categories. Kids model range are already very close and realistically are bound to sell more than the gas models in 2022.
How About Maximum Speed?
Electric motor itself can produce much more power than the gas engine in the same weight category. The challenge is in the battery size, capacity, and weight. Maximum speeds range anywhere from 40 to 60mph depending on the dirt bike model. The manufacturers seem to have a good grasp on matching the maximum speed to the designed use of the electric dirt bike.
One of the major differences in power delivery on electric dirt bikes is the gear box. Gas dirt bikes use a user selectable gear box, with usually 5 or 6 gears actuated by a hand operated clutch. Electric models typically have one speed, no gears, or automatic gears and no clutch.
Gearbox Usually Limits Maximum Speed
The gearbox and the single speed is typically the limiting factor for maximum speed. Most models are limited to a maximum speed of 40mph and under when stock. However, this doesn’t necessarily affect riding characteristics since most single track and trail riding happens under these speeds.
It’s also important to notice that gas engines benefit from having several gears. Gas engine produces variable torque in different engine revolution range. In order to have enough power at a large speed range, gears are needed. Electric motor produces stable power at any revolution range. This eliminates the need for a gearbox as the engine power can be used in a much more wider RPM range.
What About Powertrain?
Most electric models use similar sprocket and chain components as the final drive to deliver power to the rear wheel. This is a proven lightweight design, however, they benefit from using slightly lighter component for added weight savings.
Wheels and tires are also another weight saving component as the lower overall power and different chassis design enable using more narrow wheels and tires.
4. Range and Operation
Up until the last few years, the range has been a major limiting factor to popularity of the electric dirt bikes. Things are rapidly caching up as the new lithium ion battery technologies are getting more efficient at storing energy.
The size and weight are the primary limiting factors to the overall range. To increase performance, the dirt bike needs to be lighter or produce more power. If you add more power, range is affected. Add range, more weight is added in battery weight. You catch my drift.
How Does Range Compare to Gas Dirt Bikes?
If you are an active rider like me, who regularly spends the entire day riding, electric models may not be the choice to replace your current dirt bike just yet.
However, many mountain bikers and dirt bikers alike mix it up. Adding an electric dirt bike can help you cross train and hit the trails more often and nearby. That is what many of these models are designed to do; help supplement your dirt riding hobby, add new ways to enjoy it and not necessarily replace the gas trail or motocross dirt bike.
This is one of the reasons why manufacturers have designed the electric dirt bikes to be lighter, smaller, and more mountain bike style rather than full size dirt bikes. And it seems to work well.
Back to range; it varies a lot. It all depends on how you ride. Starting with the Sur-Ron X electric dirt bike, the model offers a range of 20–60 miles and Segway X260 bluntly tells us 75 miles and some only talk about 1–2 hours of riding.
You Have Options in Increasing Overall Range
It’s safe to say that these models are designed to be taken out to one full session and many offer just that. The full charge would allow you to spend a few hours hitting the trails as hard as you like. Then take a break, grab lunch or rest while it charges for few hours and repeat.
If you’re planning to use it for the entire day or a weekend as your only dirt bike, be prepared to sit next to a charger while others ride. Most models will take between 2–4 hours to fully charge, with KTM Freeride being the exception around 75 minutes. You do have the option to buy an extra battery and many models offer a replaceable battery feature.
My Experiences Riding With eBikes
Riding anything electric for the first time is definitely an eye opening experience. The power delivery is just amazing, mainly because it offers a smooth endless torque throughout the time you’re on the gas. This is similar whether you’re in a train, car, truck, street motorcycle, or a dirt bike.
My first experience with an electric dirt bike was with the Alta Motors Redshift EX enduro model. After some short adjustment period, I quickly started liking the experience more and more. It was well suited for any trail riding and typical enduro dirt biking, although I did feel the weight difference to my then 2-stroke. Since, I have tested several enduro models and also few street bikes, such as the Harley-Davidson LiveWire.
We recently wrote a hands-on review of the Electric Light Bee SUR-RON X stock model versus a fully modded version of the same eBike.
The main differences to a gas bike, with eBikes you need to prepare for the charging process or get a replacement battery. If you are out on trails and you plan to recharge the battery, make sure you have means to do so. Either find a plug or get a generator. Most cars or trucks do not have an outlet that can produce the voltage or current the charger needs to recharge the battery.
Next, let’s talk about how riding is different with electric dirt bikes.
Chapter 2: Is Riding eBikes Different Than Gas Models?
Riding electric dirt bikes is different. Not only on the trails, but at camp and preparing for the ride days. Most noticeable areas are:
- Electric dirt bikes use no clutch or gears which affects technical riding
- You need to re-learn controls
- Less preparing and packing
- Have a plan for charging time
- You may want to use a lighter gear
Let’s discuss these topics more next.
1. Get Used To Riding Without a Clutch or Gears
The very first thing you will come across when hopping on to an electric dirt bike is the lack of clutch and gears. This also means that the left lever is rear brake and there is no rear brake pedal.
In many conditions and riding styles, this may not be a problem. If you are an avid mountain bike rider, the lever configuration is familiar and should not be an issue after some getting used to.
For hard enduro and technical single track riders, the lack of clutch and gears may be an issue. Especially many of the obstacles and techniques require the use of clutch to modulate the power to gain traction and execute the maneuvers to overcome these obstacles. This means that most of those learned techniques fly out the window with going electric. Furthermore, you will need to relearn how to apply power and how to maneuver the dirt bike in slow and difficult terrain.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is worth mentioning. At the same time, it’s good to remember that these more lightweight eBikes are not meant to replace the trail cannon you use for very technical riding or hard enduro.
Remarkably, all your existing skills still transfer very well to riding these eBikes. The lack of clutch may bother you in the beginning, but after only 10 minutes on an eBike and you forget the different forward control configuration and lack of clutch.
2. Preparing for the Ride Day Is Easier
One of the main benefits of the revolution of the electric dirt bikes and eBikes comes in many forms. Overall, the biggest advantage is the simplicity of the eBikes and the lack of combustion engine and all that comes with it.
Getting ready for the ride day means charging the battery and performing the normal technical checkup. For instance, no need to tune, adjust, gas up, test, or warmup the engine. You can focus on the suspension and tires and be ready much quicker by turning the power switch on.
Overall, you can pack less tools and leave gas cans, oils, and fluids home. The eBike is easier and lighter to load up and get ready to ride.
Read also: How to load a dirt bike into a truck
3. Plan for Charging Time and Availability
The eBikes are getting better each year and we are already getting closer to all-day battery capacity on some high-end models. However, in 2022, you still need to plan for charging the eBike on longer ride days.
Based on our experience, the current models offer a great one session battery life span. This means that you can easily ride a full 2 to 3-hour loop without holding back or stopping to charge and still wear yourself out.
If you plan to ride several times and spend the entire day riding, you need to be able to charge the battery in between to continue.
Most locations do not offer a charging plug and unless you’re hooked up to a trailer outlet, you need to plan how to charge the eBike. Currently most trucks or cars do not have a charging plug you can use to charge the battery with, since the charger pulls high amounts of power and will trip the breaker fuse.
Luckily some models offer a replaceable battery so you can buy another one and quickly hot swap it trailside.
4. Few Words About eBikes and Gear
Since the electric dirt bikes are smaller and lighter and seem slower, the temptation is to use a lighter gear. It is a similar trend than in mountain bikes.
While the electric bikes may feel safer, they are still very comparable to full size dirt bikes. This calls for protective gear same as any dirt bike. Consider using the same or similar essential dirt bike gear when you ride these things as they are very fast and powerful. Crashing or falling on trails will hurt the same regardless what you ride with.
That being said, many riders choose to opt for lighter mountain bike helmets, boots, and other protective gear. I would approach the gear similarly as with dirt bikes; decide based on the trail and difficulty and you should be safe.
Chapter 3: Maintenance
The periodic maintenance in eBikes is generally more simple than in gas powered models. The electric motor is practically maintenance free.
The areas needing regular maintenance focus on similar components than in all dirt bikes; suspension components, final drive, such as chain and sprockets, brakes and bearings, plus wheels and tires. This drastically changes the time it takes to keep these electric dirt bikes performing well.
In addition to the usual components, some eBikes use a belt as the primary drive. The belt transfers the power to the gear box. Keeping the belt clean and protected does require some maintenance and checkups.
Maintenance and tuning the eBikes are generally easier since they use more lightweight components and most areas are very well accessible. Make sure to read our general guide for setting up the dirt bike suspension for trail riding.
It’s also worth mentioning that parts availability is quickly getting better as the industry is already picking up on the opportunity to tune, modify, personalize, and replace worn out parts. The manufacturers in some cases have also used parts that are interchangeable either with dirt bike or mountain bike components, which increases available options for maintenance and tuners out there.
Chapter 4: Things to Consider When Buying
As the market is still fairly new, there are some areas to think about when buying an electric dirt bike. Cover these areas when buying an eBike:
- Aftermarket value
- Parts availability
- Purpose and where you plan to ride
- Available modifications
- Battery options
1. Aftermarket Value
Used electric dirt bikes are also starting to appear in the market. Check how many are available around you and what they go for. This can be used to indicate how easily you can sell the eBike when needed.
You can also see how easily they sell and why people are selling them. If you see a lot of eBikes being sold as fairly new, you can ask why people are selling. Do they dislike the model and if so, test it first to make sure you like it.
The battery is expensive in all models. The lifespan in real life use is still a question mark for most models. This should be considered when buying used.
2. Parts Availability
As with any dirt bike, you are going to want to tune and adjust the dirt bike to your weight, height, reach, and riding style. For this reason, check if the eBike is compatible with aftermarket parts and how well.
If you have to buy all parts from the manufacturer, chances are you will have to stick with stock parts and may be subject to long wait times and poor selection.
3. Purpose and Where To Ride
Electric dirt bikes are a lot of fun. They are also dead silent, which makes it easier to hit local mountain bike tracks and trails, if allowed.
When you are in the market, think about where you plan to ride. This helps to define the required range and riding styles that you regularly visit. If you plan to ride shorter, nearby trails, the lighter models with less range can be ideal.
Read also: Where to Ride My Dirt Bike Near Me?
4. Available Modifications and Tuning
The factory battery and controller units are usually closed, canned systems, where there is only limited tuning available. Some models have an extensive third party parts and tuning community behind them, which makes tuning and modding very easy. Adjusting simple things, such as throttle response or free play can be impossible in some models and very easy in some. Choose wisely based on what your plans are.
5. Battery Options
Many of the models out there offer few battery capacities to choose from. Additionally, if you plan to ride longer trails and hitting the trails multiple times per day, plan on buying the extended range models and recharging in between.
Some models are equipped with easy battery changing capabilities, which can be a very easy solution to extend your total range and ride time.
Also, check how quickly you can charge the battery to 80% and what type of charger is used. This will give you a good idea how long you need to wait between rides, if you choose to go out again.
Chapter 5: Best Electric Dirt Bikes in 2022
Finally, lets look at currently available electric dirt bike models for adults, teenagers and kids.
What Is the Best Electric Dirt Bike You Can Buy Today?
It depends. If you want to stick with the full size frame and familiar feeling, go with the KTM Freeride E-XC. This is as close to a gas dirt bike out there right now and it absolutely can take you where you want to go without any issues.
For nearby trail riding and more lightweight fun, I would choose either the Cake Kalk or the Light Bee SUR-RON X for all your cross training needs. They both have succeeded in the form factor and chassis design very well and they feel mostly like riding full size dirt bikes.
These manufacturers in my mind are ahead of the others right now in this category and they seem to have the popularity and parts availability and likely to survive the next wave.
This list below is updated in August 2022.
1. Electric Dirt Bikes for Adults
In summary, the selection for adults in 2022 is very good. Many new startups are flocking the dirt bike market and major brads are already offering models in the full size electric dirt bike category.
KTM is heavily betting on the electric revolution. The full size KTM electric dirt bike fits under their long lasting Freeride category. Previously, this model was available as a gas powered low tuned model for beginner riders. Today, this model is only being sold as an electric dirt bike.
|Power||9kW (12 hp), peak Power: 18kW (24.5 hp)|
|Torque||42Nm (motor axle)|
|Charge||110 minutes to full, 75 minutes to 80%|
The Swedish manufacturer has been in the electric dirt bike market for quite some time and it seems they have perfected the models to dirt riding. Furthermore, they offer several models to choose from and have great parts and aftermarket tuning availability.
Cake has chosen to use a lighter, more hybrid frame size rather than full size dirt bike frame. Several models available.
|Price||$11,000 to $14,000|
|Power||5.8kW, peak Power: 11kW|
|Torque||42Nm (motor axle)|
|Range||1 to 3 hours depending ride mode|
|Charge||3 hours to full, 2 hours to 80%|
This U.S. based manufacturer has developed a lightweight electric dirt bike in the lower price category. We predict this being a very popular eBike this year, largely because of the quality and because it is a relatively cheap electric dirt bike for adults. It is also sold as Segway Dirt eBike.
|Power||3kW, Peak Power: 6kW|
|Torque||35.40Nm (motor axle)|
|Range||20 to 60 miles per charge|
|Charge||2.5 to 3.5 Hours|
Oset is a widely popular eBike manufacturer for kids, teenagers, youth, and adult trials riders. Surprisingly, they were sold to Triumph in June 2022 and it remains to be seen how that might affect their brand or product lineup.
2. Electric Dirt Bikes for Kids and Youth
2022 offers a great selection for kids in the electric dirt bike category.
The balance bikes are usually the first eBike models most kids can start learning with. They are small and require no prior skills to get started at any age. Both KTM and Husqvarna offer these same eBike balance bikes under their lineup for kids, so be sure to check those out. They are essentially identical models to the ones below.
|Stacyc 12EDRIVE||$799||3 to 5 years||30 to 60 min||13″|
|Stacyc 16EDRIVE||$1,049||5 to 7 years||30 to 60 min||17″|
|Stacyc 18EDRIVE||$2,650||8 to 10 years||30 to 45 min||21″|
|Stacyc 20EDRIVE||$3,100||10 to 12 years||30 to 60 min||23″|
Oset offers electric dirt bikes from ages 3 years and up to all the way to youth models or adult sizes.
This starter model is based on 12.5″ wheel size and offers a great option for a first dirt bike after the stationary beginner dirt models. Their MX kids model is also popular starter eBike.
|Oset 12.5 Racing||$1,699||600W||3 to 5 years||1 to 2 hours||390mm (15.0″)|
|Oset MX-10||$3,199||1400W||4 to 7 years||2 to 3 hours||Adjustable, 515–550mm (20.3–21.7’’)|
|Oset 16.0 Racing||$2,399||800W||5 to 7 years||1 to 2 hours||480mm (18.9″)|
|Oset 20.0 Racing||$3,099||1200W||8 to adult||1 to 2 hours||550mm (21.6’’)|
KTM has added an electric MX bike to their kids model lineup and it’s a great choice for riders wanting performance in the traditional dirt bike form factor.
|Power||2000W, max power 5KW|
|Age Range||5 years and up|
|Range||1 to 2 hours|
|Charge||70 minutes to 100%, 45 minutes to 80%|
Owned by KTM, this model is essentially identical to the one above. In other models, Husqvarna usually uses more high-end components in adult bikes in the matching models, but this kids model appears identical to the KTM model.
|Power||2000W, max power 5KW|
|Age Range||5 years and up|
|Range||1 to 2 hours|
|Charge||70 minutes to 100%, 45 minutes to 80%|
The electric dirt bikes are here to stay. The 2022 already shows promising new models for the next years lineup as more new companies are flooding to the markets.
We are especially excited to see big full size dirt bike manufacturers challenge their gas powered models and offering professional level performance and affordable price ranges for consumers.
In summary, today’s eBikes are lots of fun and a great way for kids and adults alike to get started on the dirt biking sport. Overall less maintenance and tinkering helps focus on the riding itself and as the market matures, we will all soon be riding more and more electric dirt bikes. I strongly recommend testing eBikes out whenever you get a change.
The future is electric!
Last updated: August 21th, 2022