Last November, KTM unveiled a new electric minicycle sized to match up to a regular 50cc gas-powered dirt bike, and the press release stated the bike would be available in the U.S. in the fall of 2019. It now appears the brand’s push into electric might be seen (although not heard) on the biggest stage. In an article on TechCrunch, Dave Prater, the supercross director of operations, talks of KTM replacing the existing KTM Jr. Supercross Challenge (KJSC) machine, the KTM 50SX, with the new electric bike, the KTM SX-E 5.
The KTM Jr. Supercross Challenge runs at halftime at Monster Energy AMA Supercross events. The new bike might debut as quickly as the Monster Energy Cup in October.
“They’ve been working on an electric 50cc equivalent motorcycle and their goal is to launch that in October,” Prater told TechCrunch. “We haven’t one-hundred-percented it yet, but it’s fairly close and we’re… going to race that electric KTM in October at the Monster Energy Cup.”
If the bike doesn’t debut at Monster Energy Cup, it would be fair to assume it will be ready for the regular rounds of the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross Championship when that kicks off in January.
The conversation of how gas and electric bikes can exist in the same racing environment has been going for a while. KTM switching the KJSC to its new electric mini doesn’t actually change that story, because this event will ostensibly be for electric KTMs only. However, watching the event could be like getting a brief look at the future: fast, silent electric bikes taking to a supercross track.
As for racing electric bikes against gas-powered machines, that could still be a long way off. Alta Motors, a pioneer in electric dirt bikes, is no more. Honda has recently a teased an electric CRF, and we doubt their alone in developing an electric motocross machine. No specifics have been claimed, though.
For minicycles, though, electric brings huge advantages. With less heat and noise, and less required maintenance, it’s a less intimidating machine for both kids and parents. Plus, mapping could probably make the bike suitable for complete beginners and more experienced riders with the flip of a switch. If new riders get used to electric now, imagine what the landscape could look like as the grow up already expecting and understanding the technology.
Said the TechCrunch story:
While attending a stadium event this spring, several older fans told me they couldn’t imagine preferring e-supercross to the roar of 22 93-decibel gas machines reverberating throughout a stadium.
And that could be why Supercross and KTM are going all-electric with seven to eight-year-olds.
By the time they’re teenagers, e-motorcycles could be all they’ve raced or known — leading to different preferences from the gas-loving motorsports fans of today.
You can click here to read the entire story, including more insight on supercross’ future plans from Prater.