Your helmet is essential, but it's typically the machine accompanying that helmet that really impresses. Perhaps that's why Stefan Ytterborn, founder of global helmet brand POC, turned his attention to the world of powered bikes. His new company Cake debuts to make dirt trails a little quieter and cleaner. Its launch product the Kalk, however, makes no pretensions of being a means of exercise or fitness – it hits the trail as an all-electric dirt bike that's light, lithe and ready to party.
When we first saw Cake on the roster for the recent Outdoor Retailer and ISPO sports shows, we assumed it had an electric mountain bike waiting in the wings. And by the way it teased the bike prior to its full reveal, we assumed it to be a high-powered (but still pedalled) electric bike like the Stealth B52 or Greyp G12S.
We were wrong. The Cake Kalk doesn't wear pedals at all and is very much a full-blown electric off-road motorcycle meant to throttle its way over dirt and rock. Leg muscles simply aren't required when there's a 15-kW (20-hp) mid-motor powertrain running the show (the aforementioned Stealth B-52 runs on a 5.2-kW/7-hp motor for comparison). Once the juice gets flowing from the 2.6-kWh lithium-ion battery, the motor will get the bike firing to speeds of up to 50 mph (80 km/h) or ranges as far as 50 miles (80 km) a charge. The 31 lb-ft of torque help get the bike up to a brisk pace from standstill.
Riders manage motor power using a three-mode computer-controlled system with a beginner-oriented, 28 mph (45 km/h)-limited "discover" mode, a range-maximizing "explore" mode, and a quick, high-powered "excite" mode. A motorcycle braking system and engine braking bring the 24-in wheels to a stop.
It may be all motorcycle by definition, but we suspect the Kalk will distinguish itself by its mountain bike-inspired ride. Enduro and downhill bikes, in particular, helped guide its geometry, suspension, components and handling. One only need watch it in action to see it maneuver and corner very much like a bicycle, albeit with no pedalling effort. Cake says the Kalk weighs in just under 155 lb (70 kg), and with the mid-motor powertrain and central battery cage, those pounds are clearly focused centrally and lowish inside the carbon-faired 6061 aluminum frame.
The Kalk's frame is obviously quite unlike the average mountain bike or motorcycle because its development involved a ground-up, from-scratch mentality. Existing mountain bike parts were deemed too weak, existing motorcycle parts too heavy, so Cake engineered and fine-tuned its own solutions with help from partner brands.
The upside-down fork specially developed by Öhlins features an air/oil spring system inside its sturdy 38-mm stanchion tubes, offering up to 8 in (204 mm) of travel. Öhlins also whipped up a special linkage rear suspension using its TTX coil spring tech with a nitrogen-pressurized bladder reservoir and plenty of compression and rebound adjustability.
The trail-ready Kalk bike may help speed the acceptance of electric dirt bikes, but despite being quite successful on the OR and ISPO awards circuits, it isn't the first of its kind. We've seen a number of light, maneuverable electric dirt bikes of various shapes, styles and power levels, most recently the LMX 161-H, and the Stealth H-52 and EMX before that.
Cake introduced the Kalk at the inaugural Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show in Denver late last month right before bringing it to ISPO Munich, where it was a finalist for a Brandnew Award. The US$14,000/€14,000 first edition bike is available for pre-order now for a $/€1,000 reservation fee. Deliveries will begin in mid June, and the series production model will follow later in 2018.
Cake says the Kalk is the first "among a number of models to come." In case you're thinking the name is related to the caulk you seal bathroom fixtures with, it's actually a reference to kalksten, the limestone that serves as the bedrock of Sweden's Gotland island, Cake's proving grounds.
Be sure to check out the footage below. Or perhaps we should say, after scrolling straight down and watching the footage, you can find more details about the bike above.
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