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2020 KTM Freeride E-XC: Impressions after 450 Miles of Riding

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I now have about 450 miles (around 33 hours) on my 2020 KTM Freeride E-XC. I have ridden this bike in a variety of off road locations in Ohio and Pennsylvania. There are not many of these Freerides out there to I wanted to share my observations to date both the Good and Not so Good.

Lets get the negatives out of the way first: The Freeride E-XC Negative List:

1. Range:  For my off road riding (like you see in this video) I get 1~2 hours ride time and 20~25 miles ride distance.  I have gone as far as 2.5 hours (about 38 miles) but that was riding slowly on level ground in Map 1 (50% power).  The battery can be swapped out quickly so a spare battery could extend the ride time but the cost is very high for an extra battery.

2. 220V Charger:  Needed to install a 220V socket into my garage and also limits portable charging as many small generators do not have a 220V capability.

3. Brakes: The Formula brakes have average stopping power and require a lot of effort at the brake levers. The 2021 Freeride brakes are supposed to be improved.

4. Tires: The Maxxis trials tires are a decent compromise and work well in the dry and hard pack dirt (just drop the pressures).  Not so good in mud.

The Freeride E-XC Good List!

1. Stealth: Quiet riding is a new experience. Fun to quietly ride in the woods or even around the neighborhood.  Stealth riding could open up more places to ride

2. Instant Torque: The Freeride is amazingly quick from 0~30 mph. Trails (and wheelies) are fun with this kind of instant throttle response

3. Agility: The Freeride has few rotating parts (no piston/cams/crankshaft/clutch etc) so it feels light in motion and changes directions quickly and easily.  Feels much lighter than its approximately 240 lb weight would indicate.  Even though Freeride is about 7/8 size (which helps agility) the ergonomics feel good for me (I am 6' 2" tall).  The steering angle is steeper and the wheelbase is shorter than a regular dirt bike and that helps with quick turning on the trails.

Some other observations:

There is no clutch. This makes extreme off road riding more difficult. A clutch would also add more weight and cost. I've adapted and like the simplicity of just throttle and brakes.  The suspension is soft with a plush woods focused setting that absorbs the rocks and roots with little deflection.  Fast guys will say it's way too soft.  I think the spring and damping rates KTM selected match the fun off road character of the bike well.  The Freeride is more capable than I expected.  I've done back to back lap time comparisons with my gas bikes and the Freeride laptime is closer than I expected.  The Freeride has (3) Maps that can really change the character of the bike.  Map 1 is 50% power and great for beginning riders or simply letting an inexperienced off road rider try out the Freeride.  Map 1 power is soft and smooth and even if the rider goes to WOT the bike is still controllable and top speed it limited to about 33 mph.  Map 3 is full power and the bike is much more responsive to throttle inputs, feels more capable, and is quick off the line.  I ride Map 3 all the time.  Maintenance is simple: lube the chain and charge the battery.  No gas, oil, or air cleaners to mess with or pistons/rings to change out after so many hours of run time.  There is no vibration: totally smooth at the grips and footpegs so less fatiguing to ride.  Nothing gets hot so no worries about hot exhausts or engines (this is especially nice when riding in the woods).  Easy to clean up as the motor is simple and nothing gets hot so no burnt on mud.

I don't see the Freeride replacing my 300XCW gas bike but is it a great 2nd bike in the garage.  My Freeride actually has more miles on it than my 300XCW which shows how much I like riding the Freeride.  If you can live with the Freeride run time/range and 220V charging requirements it offers a totally different off road riding experience.  The electric Freeride is quiet, quick, and agile.  And most importantly it is simply fun to ride and isn't that why we got into motorcycles in the first place?

Here is my summary video along with a few pics of the Freeride...

 

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Excellent write up, thanks for sharing. Sounds like a similar ownership experience to my Alta MXR with a few small differences. I much prefer riding my Alta to my Husky FE 350 and the Husky is one of the best dirt bikes I've ever owned/ridden.  -Ed

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Awesome write up. I'm stongly considering one but I'm waiting a till next year to see if any other manufactures offer electric models. But I really like the idea of the Freeride kind of being a trials bike hybrid, since I've been looking in to getting a trials bike. 

But I haven't heard much of peoples impressions about the Freeride in more trials riding/ super technical stuff. Where at in Ohio and PA have you been with it? I think the bike would be perfect for the technical single track I have local to me in NE Ohio. I ride to it from my house and I typically don't do more than 20 miles in a day, and the Freeride would be crazy stealthy, so I think it would be the perfect bike for what I need. I'm not so much worried about lap times or range, I just want a fun, quiet and capable bike to ride some local gnar.

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4 hours ago, stupidmoto said:

Awesome write up. I'm stongly considering one but I'm waiting a till next year to see if any other manufactures offer electric models. But I really like the idea of the Freeride kind of being a trials bike hybrid, since I've been looking in to getting a trials bike. 

But I haven't heard much of peoples impressions about the Freeride in more trials riding/ super technical stuff. Where at in Ohio and PA have you been with it? I think the bike would be perfect for the technical single track I have local to me in NE Ohio. I ride to it from my house and I typically don't do more than 20 miles in a day, and the Freeride would be crazy stealthy, so I think it would be the perfect bike for what I need. I'm not so much worried about lap times or range, I just want a fun, quiet and capable bike to ride some local gnar.

The Freeride weighs about 240 lbs and my Montesa 4RT trials bike is about 160 lbs - very noticeable difference:)  The Freeride is not a trails bike however it is easy to ride in tight stuff - similar to riding "local gnar" on my 300XCW.  The Freeride is a little smaller in size, decent turning radius, excellent ground clearance, and the footpegs are rearward mounted so I think it works pretty well in the tighter terrain.  Might be a fun stealth dirt bike for your riding situation.

This is GoPro of slow putting around on a section of rocky trail on the side of a mountain in Pennsylvania.....

 

 

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Posted (edited)

One thing that concerns me...When I ride my private trail in East Tennessee, I rely on the noise of my gas bike to alert animals, namely bears, that I'm around. I can see how I could easily sneak up on a bear unintentionally on an E-bike, that could be bad. I haven't heard of any issues with this yet...but it's just a matter of time. Yes, walking and even mountain biking are also quiet and the same thing could happen...but riding bikes in the woods is so much faster, I think running up on animals before they have time to react could have bad results. Otherwise I'm interested in trying one, but not alone on my deep woods trails.

Edited by rodcrank
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Don't you think bears can hear you rustling through the woods? As quiet as the Freeride is, doesn't it still generate some chain and other riding sounds---just a lot quieter than gas bikes?  Or do bears just traditionally not need to be concerned about such quiet noises, and thus would be surprised and angry when you run up on them so (relatively) quietly? 

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12 hours ago, rodcrank said:

One thing that concerns me...When I ride my private trail in East Tennessee, I rely on the noise of my gas bike to alert animals, namely bears, that I'm around. I can see how I could easily sneak up on a bear unintentionally on an E-bike, that could be bad. I haven't heard of any issues with this yet...but it's just a matter of time. Yes, walking and even mountain biking are also quiet and the same thing could happen...but riding bikes in the woods is so much faster, I think running up on animals before they have time to react could have bad results. Otherwise I'm interested in trying one, but not alone on my deep woods trails.

Interesting dilemma...bears!  The Freeride is quiet but there are both motor and gear whine noise along with chain slap so I think a bear and any other animal would be alerted by those noises.  You are lucky to have private trails to ride with wild life around - sounds like a fun place to ride:)  

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I’ve wondered about the lack of a clutch on the e-bikes from their beginning. Seems like a good idea. When hill climbing it’s a bad habit to let off throttle to control wheel speed. Much better to use a clutch and keep throttle constant. 

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We've got bears, cougars, elk, and grouchy hikers out here in WA State and I've been a bit concerned about surprising a bear or cougar ever since I got my Alta. So far, no problems at all. I think the guys got it right, the e-dirt bikes do make noise, just not as much as a typical gas powered dirt bike. I think the wild things hear us coming. I also notice dogs and elk which I can see while I'm out, that they notice the e-dirt bike sound right away as its an unusual sound for them. The elk particularly will stop whatever they are doing and stare where as on my ICE dirt bike they don't even bother to raise their heads. Horses too now that I think about it.

I wouldn't worry about surprising wildlife out in the woods. And I would strongly encourage anyone interested in getting an e-dirt bike to try to get a test ride on one, or just buy one. They are so much fun and the Alta's have pretty good resale value, I would imagine the KTM's will too, if you end up not liking it.

 

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2 hours ago, Randy300XC said:

I’ve wondered about the lack of a clutch on the e-bikes from their beginning. Seems like a good idea. When hill climbing it’s a bad habit to let off throttle to control wheel speed. Much better to use a clutch and keep throttle constant. 

I've found that my Alta is an amazing hill climb machine. I would imagine the KTM is similar. The Alta has tons of torque all the time. Always in the "right gear". It never stalls. Can be "lugged" insanely low and slow and keeps on motoring. And the throttle control is precise, very precise, no contest vs an ICE bike. I don't even think twice now to try all kinds of climbs that I would have had to concentrate on with my ICE bike to even try them, much less actually get up the climbs. I've learned that I can either fly up climbs like I would on an ICE bike, ripping for all I'm worth, or I can lug it going crazy slow, or a combination of the two techniques, its pretty amazing.

I will say though, the Alta is a porker, 265 lbs, so if you do get stuck on a climb, or in a mud bog or something, its can be a bear to wrestle it around. Doesn't happen often though as it usually gets the job done with very little drama.

And "no approach" climbs and switchbacks are a breeze now, its kinda like cheating, Lol.

So far I haven't missed the clutch, but I can see why some people would like one.

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On 7/11/2020 at 5:49 AM, Randy300XC said:

I’ve wondered about the lack of a clutch on the e-bikes from their beginning. Seems like a good idea. When hill climbing it’s a bad habit to let off throttle to control wheel speed. Much better to use a clutch and keep throttle constant. 

Instead of a clutch, the LHRB would be a big help here.

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Sounds like a great bike, thanks for the info.

Are they being sold in Canada yet?

I think I would want to have a regular rear brake though, I use mine as a steering aid, especially on steep descents.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/13/2020 at 2:11 AM, Older Rider said:

Sounds like a great bike, thanks for the info.

Are they being sold in Canada yet?

I think I would want to have a regular rear brake though, I use mine as a steering aid, especially on steep descents.

My 2020 KTM Freeride came with a LHRB (left lever is the rear brake).  There is a mounting location on frame and there is suppose to be a foot rear brake lever kit available from KTM.  I have easily adapted and now like having the brakes controlled from the handlebars and it is easy to drag the rear brake on downhills or through right hand turns and also allows for easier weighting of the footpegs.

Not sure about Freerides being sold in Canada - I am sure a local KTM dealer would know about availability.

Edited by mxengineer4
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Thanks for sharing!  I’ve been looking at these... Range and 220v seem like the primary downsides—and totally manageable issues at that. 

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Just went online to find out (called local KTM dealer first, they have a maze of answering machine messages that culminate in "leave a message, we'll call you back") found Holeshot Racing in Langley B.C. who say they are the "exclusive" Freeride Ebike dealer for B.C. so yes they are sold in Canada.

Very intriguing, I think I want one, but which bike to sell or trade? I have too many already.

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29 minutes ago, Older Rider said:

Just went online to find out (called local KTM dealer first, they have a maze of answering machine messages that culminate in "leave a message, we'll call you back") found Holeshot Racing in Langley B.C. who say they are the "exclusive" Freeride Ebike dealer for B.C. so yes they are sold in Canada.

Very intriguing, I think I want one, but which bike to sell or trade? I have too many already.

“Too many motorcycles” lololol...  never heard that before 😉

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Just now, SammyOldManRacer said:

“Too many motorcycles” lololol...  never heard that before 😉

I get it, how can you have too many motorcycles, but as I am the practical sort, and don't ride so much any more, and already have 3 running Huskies, 1 running Dr350 and a basket case '84 Husky 250, I question this strange desire to accumulate cool rides that sit in my shop awaiting attention (not a collector of anything, except maybe tools)

Overall, not a bad problem to have, could be worse

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21 minutes ago, Older Rider said:

I get it, how can you have too many motorcycles, but as I am the practical sort, and don't ride so much any more, and already have 3 running Huskies, 1 running Dr350 and a basket case '84 Husky 250, I question this strange desire to accumulate cool rides that sit in my shop awaiting attention (not a collector of anything, except maybe tools)

Overall, not a bad problem to have, could be worse

Oh dude I respect that. I was laughing because I used to hear that all the time.... and I’m the same way... not a collector... I’m a rider...

but yeah... idk man I sure like my toys with wheels... and I have a “stuff accumulation” problem... I won’t admit to being a “hoarder” 🤣🤣🤣 but yeah... that’s why I was laughing 🙂 ✌🏼

 

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no dealers in CA seem to have this, did anyone have to special order a freeride?

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