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KTM Electric Dirtbikes Sling Mud with Watts

The whine of a two-stroke tearing around the woods and vaulting over dirt mounds may soon give way to the whir of an electric motor, as KTM sees it. The Austrian motorcycle company joined the likes of Zero Motorcycles Friday when it unveiled its first electric motorcycle at the Tokyo Motorcycle Show: the Freeride.

Much like Zero’s X and MX, the Freeride will come equipped in either a dirt-ready Enduro package, or a street-savvy Super Moto, both of which share the same basic power plant and parts. KTM committed to building them 18 months ago – not long after Zero sold out of the first X.

KTM compares the 29.5-horsepower output from the Freeride’s electric motor to the output of a 125cc two-stroke engine. Curb weight of 198 pounds puts it on part with even KTM’s lean 125 EX and SX gasoline-powered bikes, andwithout the additional weight of gasoline, is should win the weight wars after both other bikes fill up on fossil fuels. Zero’s 172-pound MX weighs less than the KTM’s Freeride, but with only 23 horsepower on tap, the KTM holds the advantage when you compare horsepower-to-weight ratios. However, the lighter Zero X weighs only 161 pounds, giving the KTM a closer run for its money. Both Zero bikes generate 50 ft-lbs of torque, outdoing KTM’s 31.7 ft-lbs.

The Freeride’s battery pack should deliver up to 90 minutes of ride time, and it will achieve speeds of up to 43.5 miles per hour.

The company hasn’t announced exact pricing yet, but it claims the bikes will cost under € 10,000 ($13,342 USD) when they launch in fall 2011. Zero currently sells the X, its most affordable bike, for $7,495.

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