Have your cake and drive it – new electric motorcycles coming soon
Electric motorcycle sales are increasing nicely in the UK, with the latest UK figures showing an impressive 170% annual growth compared to 2020.
Total sales of electric motorcycles are relatively low, with 4,467 sales in the last year through September, compared to 92,574 bicycle sales overall. But growth is encouraging, especially when London cuts emissions, COP26 is in the public eye and the government aims to stamp out new sales of diesel and gasoline cars by 2030.
Now, with excellent timing, an intriguing new player in the electric motorcycle market from the country of Abba, IKEA and Spotify will be opening a new showroom in London next year, offering a range of mouthwatering, fun, high-end products. quality and relatively efficient. new bikes. At a price.
Designed and built by ‘Cake’ from Sweden, founded by visionary entrepreneur Stefan Ytterborn, bikes occupy a curious niche; clearly motorcycles, they nevertheless make a recognizable nod to the world of e-bikes – or e-bikes – too.
This is confirmed by their light, clean and minimalist design which makes them accessible, easy to drive and not intimidating.
Considering Stefan’s background, this isn’t too surprising, as I discovered when they opened their new showroom in Stockholm. Now in his 50s, Stefan told me, he used to run on skis and developed a love for outdoor sports – often downhill – including cycling.
It wasn’t until he started trying his hand at e-bikes, and then electric motorcycles, that the entrepreneur – who had previously founded a company specializing in protective clothing, including protective sports helmets ( POC, or “piece of cake”) – believed he had spotted a big gap in the market.
“For me, using an electric bike was like skiing a bike in the woods – but without snow; all without any pollution and without disturbing others with noise, ”he says.
However, as his interest intensified and he began to take a closer look at electric motorcycles, they weren’t what he thought they should be. The more Stefan looked, the more electric motorcycles seemed to understand little more than heavy frame mounted electric propulsion units and derivative transmissions and better suited to internal combustion engine machines.
“It didn’t seem like the best way to go. We decided to start from scratch and build from the start motorcycles shaped by their electric motors and batteries, ”Stefan explains. “I was not – at the time – a motorcyclist at all, I approached it from a completely different angle.”
The result was Cake Motorcycles, which now offers a sleek line of machines for on-road and off-road riding – or both. They range from the Kalk – an enduro-inspired street bike with a high riding position on 19-inch wheels, lots of attitude and suspension play – to the rugged Ösa, a more functional workhorse that would have l equally comfortable delivering flowers to Chelsea – or laden with plumber’s tools. Each spawns their own spinoffs, ranging from full-fledged sports machines for fun or off-road racing, in the case of the Kalk, to a limited-speed ‘moped’ version and a faster 56mph variant of the Ösa.
The latest addition to the lineup is the Makka step-thru, equivalent to a city scooter, with top speeds ranging from 15.5 mph (placing it in e-bike territory) to 28 mph (closer to e-bike territory). mopeds), depending on the model, its frame is reminiscent of a modern, reinforced Corgi parachutist bike.
Undoubtedly premium product, the street version of the Kalk (the ‘Kalk &’), described as ‘a high performance weekday commuter and weekend ripper’, costs from 14,000 euros (around £ 11,850 ). It has a range of 50 miles in the city and a top speed of 56 mph. It weighs around 174 pounds (around 79 kg, the same as an adult male) including the battery, and comes with a soft and beautifully designed Öhlins suspension.
On the road, it’s fun, agile and responsive, its suspension absorbing ridges, bumps and bumps well. There are three driving modes, offering different degrees of twist grip throttle response, and three braking modes, with different degrees of engine braking, in addition to a well-sorted front hand disc brake and a rear foot brake. disc brake actuated.
The off-road versions are sleek, more performance-oriented and have given birth to their own off-road racing series. Niggins? There’s no standard luggage capacity (you’d need a backpack; anything else would spoil the clean lines, though they do offer luggage nets and waterproof bags), and the great looking guards. mud are a little too much elegant; they do not provide sufficient protection against wet roads.
The Ösa (all names have various connections, obscure, Swedish) costing from 8,500 euros, is of a similar quality and just as elegant in its own way. It sits lower to the ground on 15 inch wheels, feels more functional with bike-style brake levers front and rear, sturdier and more maneuverable, with great luggage potential. The Makka is more utilitarian but no less attractive to it, depending on your point of view, and aims to conquer a new slice of the commuter market, starting at 3,500 euros.
All models can be ordered online now, but London cyclists would do well to wait for Cake’s new showroom to open in the capital next year, along with other planned outlets in Europe and the States. -United. Cake is now looking for a launch pad in London, looking for a place where testing is possible; it is, after all, crucial to show how easy these machines are to manage. It’s also important to see how they fare in London’s hectic traffic conditions, compared to quieter Stockholm.
Will avid bikers like the experience? Some will, some won’t, but the curious niche Cake has carved out means that many riders will want to try them out too, especially given their size; they are, after all, smaller than a “traditional” motorcycle. I found both bikes fun, easy to ride and responsive in Stockholm traffic. They behaved well, were virtually silent – and very easy to handle when parking or maneuvering. The throttle response was instantaneous, the brakes effective. The well-controlled (adjustable) suspension is a strong asset, especially on the Kalk. Most bikers won’t need anything more in London.
Virtually all of the components are custom, including the battery, and built, obviously of high quality, in Taiwan. They are assembled in Sweden.
So they’re fun on the road, and like other electric motorcycles on the market, they could be a great “green”, hassle-free way to get around. Charging time is approximately three hours and the batteries can be unbolted and put back inside. A secure but quick-release battery system would likely be easier, however, and buyers will need to outfit the Kalk with an additional handlebar mirror; it comes with only one.
For many, the Kalk’s all-terrain promise (which gave birth to the $ 13,500 “race” model and the $ 10,500 INK all-terrain model) is the icing on the cake. Cake’s racing series video (https://ridecake.com/en/cake-worlds-news/) shows how they behave off-road, and it looks like a lot of fun. Sure, you might want to change your commuter’s tires on weekdays when you venture off-road – which will get expensive – but the bikes are, Stefan says, unabashedly premium.
Future owners will need some disposable income – and an urge to try something new. Will those low top speeds be a problem outside of The Smoke, on the open road? They could.
Until now, electric motorcycle offerings have been limited, although the market is growing rapidly with offerings such as Harley-Davidson, BMW, and even SEAT. Now, however, you can have your cake and ride it.
Much of the development work has taken place in Sweden, but armed anti-poaching patrols are also putting versions of the Kalk to the ultimate test, pounding the savannah on “stealth” machines, in search of the bad guys.
Managed by the Southern African Wildlife College, Cake solar powered bikes are fitted with off-road tires and small racks for medical supplies. Enduring difficult driving conditions on a daily basis, the teams regularly submit reports to Cake headquarters on their findings.
ARE YOU CONFUSED ABOUT THE LICENSE YOU NEED TO DRIVE?
Ösa + – 10kw (13.5hp) or equivalent to 125cc – valid CBT or A1 license
Kalk & and Kalk INK & – 10kw (13.5hp) or equivalent to 125cc – valid CBT or A1 license
Kalk OR / Kalk INK – 11kw (15hp) or equivalent to 125cc – valid CBT or A1 license
Ösa Flex / Makka Flex – 4kw (5.4hp) or equivalent to 50cc – Driver’s license or AM license
Makka range / Ösa range – 1.8kw (2.4hp) or equivalent to 50cc but regulated at 25km / h – AM license, Driving license, CBT / A1 license