Wednesday, August 27, 2014

4 seas ride the video

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The electric KTM - test riding the KTM Freeride E

2014 KTM Freeride E
I had a chance to test ride the KTM Freeride E. I've been a sceptic about E-bikes and continue to be until someone comes up with a bike that is better in real life use than a traditional ICE bike. Meaning that it has at least comparable power, range, refill time and weight. That said, the Freeride E is a truly amazing machine.  
I test rode the 2014 KTM 250 EXC-F only few days earlier on an enduro track. The 250 was superbly nimble and agile compared to the 690, but the Freeride E was on class of it's own. The fact that you don't have to worry about the clutch, changing gears, accidentally killing the engine etc. gives you a whole new level of enjoyment when riding off road. I'm beginning to understand why a an e-bike is claimed to be so much fun on the track too. It leaves out all the unnecessary distractions and you are left with the essentials. The Freeride E had both the rear and front brakes mounted on the handle bars and while that was hard to get used to on a short test ride, but I have no doubt that this setup is far superior to traditional foot brakes.

The bike had no speedo, so it's hard to say what the max speed is. The dealer suspected it to be around 90 km/h, but it didn't feel like it got up to that speed. What ever the top speed is, it's not enough for street use. The other problem is that you currently can not plate the Freeride E, which is a limiting factor when contemplating the possible uses for the bike. The E would not be out of place for commuting short distances, in fact I bet it would be awesome. The sales rep did mention that a "plated" version will be released soon.

The price of the E is also staggeringly high if you consider the limitations. 11 400 € (in Finland) which is pretty much exactly what a new 690 Enduro R costs. The Freeride E is like many (or all?) the other e-bikes out there, very very nice machines, but currently ICE bikes are much cheaper and much more versatile.

All in all, mixed feelings. 

KEY SPECS (source KTM)
Max. power                         22 kW (30 hp)
Charging time                         1.5 h
Seat height (unloaded)         910 mm
Weight without fuel approx. 95 kg
running time                              30 min to 1 hour

Plenty of go
The bike looks really clean without all the usual ICE stuff like an exhaust 
All the info the bike gives you, no speedo or such.
Some old school tech still remains

The Freeride E handles like a dream

Saturday, August 2, 2014

2014 KTM 690 Enduro R stock tire review (Metzeler Enduro 3 Sahara)

The stock tires (Metzeler Enduro 3 Sahara)  now have 4670 kms / 2900 miles under them. They still have thread left, but no doubt need to be replaced at the end of the summer. My riding has been 80% on and 20% off road. I've been relatively easy on the tires on and off the pavement. The tires seem to be somewhat ok on the wet asphalt too, even though I did have an Oh shit moment on wet asphalt when the tires were quite new. What surprised me the most was that the Saharas worked ok on the track too. Not that I took them to the limit in any way, but track riding was in no way uncomfortable with them. Wet mud was somewhat of a problem for the Saharas and the tires became slippery very fast, but I quess thats the case with most dual sport tires anyway.

At first it looked like the Saharas would be gone very fast as they seemed to wear quickly in the beginning. The apparent wear soon slowed down, but I did manage to flatten the profile on the 2000 km ride up north.
Metzeler Enduro 2 Saharas at 4670 kms (rear)

I'm comparing the stock Saharas to Michelin Siracs and Continental TKC 80s that I had on the 660 Tenere. I think the Saharas or somewhere between the two, definitely better than Siracs but worse  off road than the TKC 80s. Bear in mind though that the bike was very different so the comparison isn't very fair. All in all I would not hesitate to buy the Saharas again for my type of riding, but if you are fortunate enough to be able to get off the pavement a lot more, maybe buy something else.
Metzeler Enduro 2 Saharas at 4670 kms (front)