Italian electric dirtbikes pack 2WD capability and ingenious smartphone dash displays
Electric dirt bikes are a fantastic idea – machines like the Zero FX, Alta Motors Redshift and even the Stealth H-52 can give you serious off-road giggles without pissing off neighbors and locals. Plus, while range concerns still make electric roadbikes a tough sell outside the commuting arena, batteries are good enough for an hour and a bit of off-road use, which'll give you some good laughs and a decent bit of a workout.
Italy's Armotia is getting set to throw its hat into the ring with a pair of e-bikes that bring some special abilities to the table.
The Due X weighs in at 125 kg (275 lbs), about 8 kg more than a fully fueled KTM EXC-F 250 enduro bike. Continuing that comparison, the Due makes just 15 horsepower while the KTM makes 37 – but where the Kato makes about 23 Nm of torque, the Due can put out as much as 200(!). Tight trails will be less work, with no clutch or gearbox to fiddle with, and the Due can put its power down through both wheels.
This is accomplished by using two motors – one to the rear wheel via a chain drive, one small hub motor in the front wheel. No mention is made of how power is proportioned to the wheels other than to say there's three riding modes you can choose from. But on other 2WD dirtbikes we've seen in the past such as the Christini AWD setup, a small percentage of power to the front wheel seems to do the trick.
2WD should give the Due X superb climbing ability and drive in low traction situations. It makes a bit less sense on the Due R, a second model that gets a light supermoto treatment while keeping the same 21-inch and 18-inch wheels as the X. Mind you, it'll be interesting to see if there are actually any benefits for a 2WD system on the road.
The other interesting touch on the Due bikes is that they don't technically have a dash. Each one gets a built-in, ruggedized, waterproof RUG-GEAR RG600 Android smartphone as a display. The dash functions are achieved through an app, which can theoretically give you limitless customization options – but that's just the beginning.
Think of all the other bits and pieces a smartphone carries. SIM cards, Bluetooth, data connectivity and GPS chips. A range of accelerometers and sensors, as well as direct connectivity to your engine telemetry systems. The computing and display power to calculate and communicate in a number of ways.
And of course built-in cameras and data storage. The Due bikes will be some of the first to come to market with built-in action cameras. You'll be able to watch your videos back and share them directly from the dash of the bike. This alone is such a great idea that I find myself suddenly surprised that it hasn't been done before.
The Due bikes are slated to run off a 5.1 kWh battery. Top speed is around 80 km/h (50 mph) for the X and 90 km/h (56 mph) for the R, and both bikes's range is quoted as "up to 1 hour and 20 minutes."
Those aren't earth-shattering figures, but the 2WD functionality and the fascinating idea of a smartphone dash (not to mention the fact that Armotia will give you the STL files if you want to customize and 3D print your own bodywork) make this a company worth keeping an eye on. The Due bikes are set to become available for test rides very soon. Prices are expected to be around €12,300 (US$13,460).