You don’t have to love electric vehicles to appreciate just how far they’ve come in the last decade. When the first ones started trickling onto the market, they had enormous batteries and small distance ranges. They were expensive to the point of inaccessibility. They felt more like tech-driven novelties than innovative modes of transportation.
But every big idea starts somewhere, right?
Over the years, there have been huge innovations in the tech electric vehicles use in ways that just a few years ago seemed damn near impossible. Smaller batteries, longer ranges, impressive power, cleaner emissions, lower price points–we’re there, folks.
Case in point? Electric dirt bikes. I’m old enough to remember when the first electric Razor Scooter hit the market in the early 2000s and thinking, “Holy shit, this is the coolest thing ever.” I think it had a battery life of like, 15 minutes, and I remember being able to walk faster than its top speed up-hill, but at the time, it was such a massive innovation.
Twenty years later and there’s an entire market of performance electric dirt bikes that both rival and, in some ways, even out-perform their traditional gas-powered counterparts at a price that’s not only affordable, but in many cases, surprisingly comparable.
Don’t get me wrong, those four- and two-stroke brap machines are still cool as hell. But if you’re a real-deal dirt bike rider, it might be time for you to have a look at what the electric side’s been up to.
Key Things to Look For When Shopping For an Electric Dirt Bike
Shopping for an electric dirt bike is a pretty hands-on experience. While many of the bikes you’ll see will be similar, they all come with their own quirks (both positive and negative) that will ultimately help you pick the right one for you.
Here are a few of the things you should pay the most attention to when shopping for an electric dirt bike:
- Price: This is probably the most important factor for anyone looking to purchase an electric dirt bike. These bikes vary pretty widely in terms of price, but none of them are anything I’d consider a “small purchase.”
- Battery life: The weakest link for electric dirt bikes right now is the battery life. Batteries have come a long, long way just in the last couple years. Most electric dirt bikes will get you at least an hour of consistent ride time, but there are plenty that will deliver more (and also less) than that. It’s clear the industry still has some innovating to do here.
- Suspension: This one’s another no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning. Every single person buying a gas-powered dirt bike is going to at least partly factor suspension components into their purchasing decision, and the same should definitely apply to an electric dirt bike.
- Torque: One of the most unique advantages of all electric vehicles is that they love getting up and going. You won’t really find a slouch in the pack, but some dirt bikes definitely offer unique torque advantages over others. In fact, some electric dirt bikes on the market have more torque than their biggest four-stroke alternative could ever dream of. So, if grippin’ and rippin’ is important to you, keep your eyes on this.
- Overall weight: It doesn’t matter how big your battery and motor are if an unnecessarily heavy frame weighs down your bike. Overall weight (bike and rider) is going to be a huge determining factor in what kind of range and speed you’re going to get out of your bike, so be especially mindful here.
How Fast Can Electric Dirt Bikes Go?
I hate these kinds of figures because so much goes into determining how fast any vehicle is capable of traveling. Things like the weight of the bike, the weight of the rider, the battery size, motor size, the type of terrain being ridden, etc., all play into the equation.
Most of the more common electric dirt bikes out there will safely top out anywhere from 35 mph (give or take), to somewhere in the 55+ mph range, according to manufacturer specs–which is pretty damn impressive and on par with most gas-powered equivalent dirt bikes.
However, it’s worth noting that just like how throttling a gas bike is going to drastically affect your miles per gallon (and, therefore, your overall ride time), the same can be applied to electric dirt bikes.
How Far Can Electric Dirt Bikes Go?
Generally, the average electric dirt bike can get anywhere from 20 to 60 miles on one charge. That may not sound like a lot, but you’re much less likely to run up miles on a dirt bike trail than you are cruising down the interstate.
You can generally expect many or most electric dirt bikes to be in the same general range per charge as most gas dirt bikes fall under per tank of gas.
However, a lot of how far your bike is going to go depends on things like weight and riding style. If you’re out there ripping it up like you’re e-Travis Pastrana, your range will decrease. But if you’re rolling around like the grandma at the retirement facility who’s afraid to kick her scooter from “Turtle” to “Rabbit,” your overall range might actually impress you.
How Much Do Electric Dirt Bikes Typically Cost?
This is where things get really tricky in the world of electric vehicles, because there are literally a massive, varied array of different bikes at different price points right now.
I’m mainly focused on mentioning the bikes that’ll actually grab the attention of gas-powered dirt bike riders, but it’s worth noting that there are all types of electric dirt bikes out there. You can grab a not-so-good one for a couple grand, but if you’re looking for something even remotely comparable to a gas-powered dirt bike, you should expect to pay anywhere from around $4,000 to upwards of $14,000, depending on what you’re looking at.
However, surprisingly, most of what you’ll find is in the $8,000 to $11,000 range, which is right in line with the best new gas-powered bikes out there.
Basically, if you have the budget for a new gas-powered bike, you won’t experience any real sticker shock when exploring electric options.
The Best Electric Dirt Bikes By Price Range
Picking the right electric dirt bike to pull the trigger on depends on so many factors–overall budget, performance, ride quality, etc. But here are a few options to help a few different types of buyers.
Best Affordable Electric Dirt Bike: The Sur-Ron X
This is one of the most affordable electric dirt bikes on the market, but it doesn’t skimp on quality or performance. According to the manufacturer, the bike tops out at 48 mph and can give riders a range anywhere from 20 to 60 miles per charge, which is excellent for the price point.
Most of the independent test reviews I found on The Sur-Ron X said that riders got around two hours of riding time per charge, which ain’t shabby at all.
Best Overall Electric Dirt Bike: The KTM Freeride E-XC
KTM is a motocross institution, so it’s no surprise that the brand’s electric dirt bike, the Freeride E-XC is considered by many to be the best pound-for-pound contender in the electric dirt bike world. And aside from the price tag, it’s easy to see why.
This bike offers a top speed of up to 56 mph through its 18 kW (24 hp) max output motor, and it offers three different power modes that’ll let you go from mild to wild with the quickness. It also has a max charge time of around 110 minutes, which will give you about an hour of riding time if you’re being conservative.
It’s an easy, reliable starter bike for anyone really interested in making the switch.
Fastest Electric Dirt Bike: Zero FXE
I’ll just start with what you want to know: The Zero FXE has a top speed of 85 mph and no, that’s not a typo. Although, I’ll confess that I’m kinda cheating on this one, as the FXE is technically considered a road-legal dirt bike.
Aside from that top speed, you’re also getting a 46 hp, 11kW motor and an impressive 78 ft-lb of torque, which means this thing is a ripper, for sure.
According to the manufacturer, you can expect anywhere from a 40- to 100-mile range on one charge, which can mean anywhere from an hour to a couple of hours, depending on your riding style.Buy Now $12,195