7 December 2022

Electric Dirt Bike: FAQ And Buyers Guide

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When it comes to picking the best electric dirt bike for your needs, you might feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choices you have.

Electric dirt bikes are quickly growing in popularity. So much so that even some major dirt bike brands are getting in on the action.

Now you can zoom through the great outdoors without producing any hazardous emissions and be quiet as a bee.

But how do you choose the best dirt bike for yourself or your kids? I’ll tackle this question and many more in this electric dirt bike faq and buyer’s guide. I’ll cover everything you need to know about these machines, from their pros and cons to what you need to pay attention to when shopping for one.

Let’s start with a comprehensive explanation of what an e-dirt bike is and then move on to other questions from there.


What Is An Electric Dirt Bike?

eDirt Bike

Like other sections of the transportation industry, dirt bike brands are showing interest in all things electric.  Because of gas prices, I think we’ll see more and more electric vehicles in the near future.

Big brands such as KTM and Husqvarna are already offering electric dirt bikes in their 2022/23 lineup. Moreover, there are plenty of e-dirt bike startups that have a pretty decent product lineup.

But what is an electric dirt bike?

Traditional dirt bikes are powered by 2-stroke or 4-stroke gas combustion engines. The engines transfer power to the gearbox, which then transfers the power via the chain to the rear wheel.

An electric motor powers electric dirt bikes. The chassis of the bike houses a rechargeable battery that powers the motor. The motor on e-dirt bikes usually comes with a single-speed gearbox, so all you have to do to zoom around the outdoors is just turn the throttle.

As you can see, the only difference between a traditional dirt bike and the electric one is the way they’re powered. With that said, there are some differences between traditional dirt bikes and their electric counterparts.

How Are Electric Dirt Bikes Different From Traditional Dirt Bikes?

Electric VS Gas Dirt Bikes

Because of the battery and the motor, there are major differences between e-dirt bikes and traditional dirt bikes. They differ in four crucial ways:

  • Chassis design

  • Weight

  • Power

  • Range

Let’s cover these differences in more detail.

What’s Difference Between E-Dirt Bike Chassis And Traditional Dirt Bike Chassis?

The biggest difference between electric and gas dirt bikes is pretty obvious - the chassis design. 

Manufacturers can’t stick with the traditional dirt bike chassis design because there are fewer parts in an electric dirt bike. This is why an e-dirt bike chassis is designed from the ground up to support the electric motor and the batteries. 

Electric dirt bike chassis are pretty experimental. They are usually built with a lightweight frame and suspension. Many e-dirt bike models look like a mix between a mountain bike and a dirt bike. This results in a lightweight vehicle with excellent suspension.

This leads us to the next question - e-dirt vs. gas-powered dirt bike weight.

What’s The Difference In Weight Between An Electric And Gas-Powered Dirt Bike?

Electric motors are lighter than gas combustion motors. The biggest challenge e-dirt bike designers have is the overall weight of the machine. The current battery tech is not quite there when it comes to storing enough energy to match a gas motor.

Although electric motors are pretty lightweight, the weight savings are offset by the weight of the batteries. As things currently stand, e-dirt bikes are heavier than their gas-powered counterparts.

Thankfully, manufacturers are constantly innovating. E-dirt bikes have a lightweight chassis and suspension design. Moreover, some are trying to offset the weight problem by lowering the bike's range or power.

Although electric dirt bikes don’t have the same range or power as their gas-powered counterparts, they have a lower center of gravity. This is because the motor and battery are placed pretty low to the ground. This allows for easier, more fun handling of the dirt bike.

What’s The Difference In Power Between Electric And Gas-Powered Dirt Bikes

E-dirt bike manufacturers are constantly battling to achieve the best balance between power, range, and weight. If you change one feature, it affects the others.

So, are dirt bikes less powerful than gas-powered ones?

Well, yes and no. You see, e-dirt bikes offer the same range and performance because they’re much lighter, and their gearbox is much more efficient than that of a gas-powered bike.

Quite a few e-dirt bike models offer the same performance as gas-powered models. But no electric dirt bike can come close to the top-of-the-line 300cc two-stroke or 450cc four-stroke gas-powered models.

Electric dirt bikes have the same performance and size as gas-powered models in the 150cc range. 

On the other hand, electric dirt bikes for kids offer identical performance to their gas-powered counterparts. So, it’s only a matter of time until adult models become comparable to high-cc gas-powered models.

Are Electric Dirt Bikes Slower Than Gas-Powered Ones?

Fast Electric Dirt Bike

Just because electric motors aren’t as powerful as gas-powered ones, that doesn’t mean they’re slower. Quite the contrary. 

Electric motors can reach some astonishing speeds. It all depends on the delicate balance of battery capacity and the weight of the machine. Electric dirt bike top speed ranges from 40 to 60 MPH. 

The secret to electric dirt bikes is the gearbox. Unlike a traditional gearbox, there are no 5 or 6 gears you need to switch between using a clutch. Electric bikes have no gearbox and go faster the more you twist the throttle.

It is important to note that gas-powered motors benefit from having a multi-gear gearbox since the engine produces variable amounts of torque depending on its revolution range. These are put in place in order not to choke the engine at high speeds. 

On the other hand, electric motors produce stable power at all revolutions, eliminating the need for a gearbox.

Is There A Difference In Range Between An Electric And A Gas-Powered Dirt Bike?

The range was a major limiting factor for almost all electric dirt bikes for a long time. Thankfully lithium-ion technology has progressed quite a lot in the last couple of years.

With that said, weight plays a huge role in the electric dirt bikes’ range. If you want better performance, the bike has to be lighter or produce more power. But if you add more power, you get less range. And if you add range, you increase the overall weight of the machine, lowering the top speed.

So, if you’re an active rider, electric dirt bikes might not be your best choice. However, you can mix it up and add one to your bike fleet. You can use an electric dirt bike to train and go on trails nearby more often.

Think of electric dirt bikes as a supplement to your hobby. They’ll give you a new way to enjoy and have fun tackling your favorite tracks.

As for the range, it varies a lot from model to model. Some electric dirt bikes offer between 20 and 60 miles, while some high-end models offer up to 100 miles of range.

Thankfully, you can always buy an extra battery pack. This way, you won’t have to sit by waiting for it to recharge. Simply take out the spent battery, plop in a fresh one, and off you go.

Electric Dirt Bike Buyer’s Guide

Electric Dirt Bike

Now that you’re well-versed in what electric dirt bikes are and how they differ from their gas-powered counterparts, let’s go over what you need to consider when buying one.

Here’s what you need to know before choosing the right electric dirt bike for your needs:

Charging Time

The charging time is one of the most essential factors you should consider when buying an electric dirt bike.

The charge time varies from model to model. The shortest charge time can be as short as 1.5 hours, while some low-end e-dirt bikes can have a charge time of up to 10 hours. 

Obviously, you want the charge time to be as short as possible. However, that will cost more money. So if you’re on a budget, I recommend getting a model with a longer charge time and an additional battery. This way, you’ll always be able to keep your e-dirt bike up and running. 

Range

The range of an e-dirt bike is mostly affected by its battery and its weight. The heavier the bike, the harder the motor has to work. The harder it works, the more battery it spends.

Manufacturers will either specify the range in miles/kilometers or in minutes. Keep in mind that the way you ride will affect the bike’s range. So, if you’re planning on tackling difficult or long tracks, you’ll need an electric dirt bike with a lot of range.

Thankfully, you can always buy a spare battery pack. With a spare battery, you’re effectively doubling your range.

Power Output

The power output on electric dirt bikes varies quite a bit. So, before making the final decision, I recommend you think about what you want to do with your bike.

If you’re planning on taking the electric dirt bike on weekend rides on easy, relatively flat tracks, you don’t need a lot of power.

On the other hand, if you want to do cross-training or crazy jumps with it, you’ll need more power.

Keep in mind that the more powerful the motor on an e-dirt bike, the more expensive it is. The most powerful electric dirt bikes currently cost more than their gas-powered counterparts.

If you’re a seasoned dirt biker, you’ll still find even the least powerful e-dirt bikes pretty fun. Why? Because they provide instant torque, and there’s no need to shift gears - just squeeze the throttle and go.

Seat Height

Seat height is crucial for your riding comfort. This is doubly true if you’re buying an electric dirt bike for your child. The seat height is always listed in the model’s specifications. 

Thankfully, there is an easy way to find out whether the seat height suits you or not. If you can touch the balls of your feet on both sides of the bike with all your weight on it, the bike perfectly suits you. If both of your feet are flat on the ground when you sit on the bike, you’re too big for it.

If you’re buying an electric dirt bike for your child, I recommend you get a bike that is a bit higher. This way, they won’t outgrow it in a year.

Maximum Speed

The maximum speed for adult electric dirt bikes varies quite a bit. Some of the low-end models will struggle to reach 35 MPH, while some high-end models will easily go over 80 MPH.

Electric dirt bikes for children have a much lower max speed that varies from 13 to 17 MPH.

Moreover, speed can vary due to factors such as your weight, height, motor power output, and additional gear you might have attached to the bike.

Weight

The weight of electric dirt bikes varies as much as their speed.

You can find models that are as light as regular e-bikes - around 80 lbs. These e-dirt bikes look more like mountain bikes than dirt bikes. But, because they’re lightweight, they have quite a lot of range.

If you’re a serious rider, then you might want to look for a heavier bike. Some high-end models weigh even more than their gas-powered counterparts. This is because they have a large battery pack so that the motor can produce more power.

The best way to figure out which e-dirt bike suits you best is to try it out before buying it and compare it to your other dirt bikes.

Weight Limit

Did you know electric dirt bikes have a weight limit? If you over-encumbered an e-dirt bike, you can easily blow out its motor.

The weight limit on electric dirt bikes can vary quite a bit. In general, kids models usually have a weight limit of around 152 pounds, while adult models can carry up to 340 lbs. 

You can carry some additional gear on an electric dirt bike, but not too much. The more weight you add, the less range you have, so I recommend you ride as light as possible.

Thankfully, manufacturers are innovating, and each new model's weight limit goes up.


Conclusion

Electric Dirt Bikes Final Thought

Electric dirt bikes are the same as their gas-powered counterparts, but they still have a long way to go in terms of price and range. 

Riding an e-dirt bike is incredibly fun. You can’t have instant torque on a gas-powered machine. On top of that, they’re super-quiet, so you’ll enjoy the sound of nature more.


About the author

Hi, I'm Nikola, your typical adrenaline junkie. Columnist and publisher by day, passionate mountain biker, and downhill skateboarder by night (or I guess weekends). I love electric bikes and own a Rad Power Rover 6 myself!


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