Alta unleashes 50-horsepower, street-legal Redshift EXR
Alta Motors has expanded its electric dirt bike range with the road legal Redshift EXR. Beefed up to 50 horses and packing upgraded WP suspension and a 4-hour trail riding range out of a 1.5 hour charge, the EXR looks like serious sideways fun in a zero-emissions, near-silent package.
Fresh from a historic appearance at the famous Erzberg Rodeo – even if it ended up being a learning experience rather than a triumph – Alta Motors has announced its latest model for 2019.
The EXR is a street-legal road/trail bike designed for short to medium length trail blasting and the odd city commute. Its 5.8 kilowatt-hour battery is good for around 50 miles of road riding, four and a bit hours of zooming around in the bush, or three 25-minute flat-out backyard moto heats.
Four power levels let you balance things between outright power and efficiency, with the top Overclocked mode giving access to horsepower beyond the motor’s rated continuous output. That means you get a fair bit of extra kick, but if you flog it too hard, the bike might need to thermally limit itself until it cools down again.
The motor steps up from the 2018 EX’s 42-horsepower job to a full 50 ponies with 42 lb-ft of torque available at all times, albeit through a single speed direct drive. Performance in Sport mode is comparable to something in a 350cc race bike, Alta claims.
Also new for 2019 is upgraded suspension from WP – XPlor 48 forks with the adjustable damping split between them – 30 clicks of compression on the left, 30 clicks of rebound on the right. The new suspension was developed specifically for the Redshift bikes. There’s Brembo brakes, Warp 9 wheels and Metzeler enduro tires, as well as Acerbis bodywork.
At a list price of US12,495, the EXR is nearly US5000,000 more expensive than, for example, the KTM 350 EXC-F enduro machine. Of course, you can easily make up that money in fuel, air filters, servicing, oil and piston rings if you put the miles on it, not to mention saving yourself a bunch of time in the shed.
As on these electrics continue to drop, it becomes more and more a personal decision whether you’re willing to sacrifice all-day range for zero maintenance and near-silent stealth. We’re gonna need a new term for braaaap one of these days, though!
Loz has been one of our most versatile contributors since 2007, and has since proven himself as a photographer, videographer, presenter, producer and podcast engineer, as well as a senior features writer. Joining the team as a motorcycle specialist, he’s covered just about everything for New Atlas, concentrating lately on eVTOLs, hydrogen, energy, aviation, audiovisual, weird stuff and things that go fast.
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Havn’t ridden a dirt bike since I was a teenager, this one sounds like a good start. Especially when the price comes down.
These bikes are getting more and more tempting. I feel like I could almost get away with riding one, but I would sure hate to run out of juice on a long singletrack ride.
Knock that price in half and I’ll go into hock for one. I hope Alta and Zero get into price wars so we all win. But, hurry, guys! Month after month, MC fever hits me harder and harder, and I’m torn between a 10k Zero FX, a 12z Alta, and a sub-5000k Chiwanese Hawk 250 Enduro while my Social Security check laughs at me. (The tax rebates don’t apply to me. )Loz, you’re right about braaaaap. Having heard both a Zero and a KLM run, it’s more like a zzzzzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZzzzzz, but there’s nothing sleepy at all about their acceleration, so we’ll have to find another term. How about ZzzzzAh? Sort of a zip to speed and then an ah, or the last portion of the word huzzah. (shrug)
Electric motorcycles are improving but still a little niche but electric bicycles are seeing a lot of growth currently. All the major ebike companies (Juiced, Rad Power, Luna etc.) are struggling to keep bikes in stock. Rad Power bikes saw their revenue go from 7 to 30 million from 2016 to 2017. A 750 watt ebike motor only works out to about 1 HP but something like the Juiced RipCurrent S has a top speed of about 30 MPH and a range of 40-100 miles. That’s nothing close to this beast but they are 5000k and bike trail legal. RadRover is pretty similar. My ebike makes about 2 HP peak which is still a lot of fun in the woods and on trails. For just casually strolling through the woods a 50HP machine is overkill anyway. You can do 30 MPH (48 kph) through the woods on an electric mountain bike for 1/6th or 1/8th of the cost of these. The performance of electric mountain bikes is approaching the point where they are becoming a viable alternative to a proper dirt bike. The 3500 Luna Sur Ron with a 6000 watt (8 HP) motor is another example of a top end ebike that’s good enough on dirt trails for people that don’t want to drop 13k on something that’s really more for balls out racing.
Gawd I would LOVE one of these. But I do regularly spend more than 4 hours out in the woods, and then I still have hours of more fuel in my WR250R with a 3 gallon tank in case something goes wrong (getting lost or a dead end trail). And if I run out, I have a small siphon hose where I could borrow some fuel from another rider. I really can’t wait for battery tech to get to the point where a bike this size can go 300 miles on a charge. My other problem is a ride for a long weekend and I can’t see how this could be charged in the woods or using the truck I carry the bike around on (whereas I can fuel the bike at any gas station or with a small jerry can strapped to the back of the truck. But I SOOO want an electric dual sport! The power! The silence!
Harley-Davidson Invests in Electric Bike Maker Alta Motors
Harley-Davidson announced today that it has made an equity investment in Alta Motors, a manufacturer of lightweight electric motorcycles, and that the two companies will collaborate on electric motorcycle technology and new product development.
“Earlier this year, as part of our 10-year strategy, we reiterated our commitment to build the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders, in part, by aggressively investing in electric vehicle (EV) technology,” said Harley-Davidson President and CEO Matt Levatich. “Alta has demonstrated innovation and expertise in EV and their objectives align closely with ours. We each have strengths and capabilities that will be mutually beneficial as we work together to develop cutting-edge electric motorcycles.”
Harley-Davidson has already announced the planned launch of its first electric motorcycle, informed by Project LiveWire. That motorcycle is on track for release in 2019.
Over the Edge: Alta Motors Electric Dirt Bikes
Since its inception, Alta Motors has designed and commercialized the world’s most advanced electric motorcycles, enabling everyone from pro riders to new riders to experience “the future of fast.”
“Riders are just beginning to understand the combined benefits of EV today, and our technology continues to progress,” said Alta Motors Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder, Marc Fenigstein. “We believe electric motorcycles are the future, and that American companies have an opportunity to lead that future. It’s incredibly exciting that Harley-Davidson, synonymous with motorcycle leadership, shares that vision and we’re thrilled to collaborate with them.”
As electric-drive innovation brings new levels of ease, accessibility and control, Harley-Davidson and Alta Motors aim to attract new audiences who are inspired by motorcycles and drawn to the “twist-and-go” ease and exhilaration of an electric motorcycle with no gears or clutch.
“We believe that EV is where global mobility is headed and holds great appeal for existing riders as well as opportunity to bring new riders into the sport,” said Levatich. “We intend to be the world leader in the electrification of motorcycles and, at the same time, remain true to our gas and oil roots by continuing to produce a broad portfolio of motorcycles that appeal to all types of riders around the world.”
About Alta Motors Alta Motors is a designer and manufacturer of electric motorcycles and lightweight EV drivetrains with a proprietary technology platform that offers new levels of energy density and performance. It offers a complete portfolio of battery and drivetrain components, a fleet of motorcycles manufactured at its Brisbane, California, facility and a trophy-case of podium finishes. Alta’s award-winning Redshift platform is now available to riders at 44 U.S. dealerships across 19 states. For more information, visit altamotors.co.
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Oh goody – no gears, no clutch, no noise = no Harley customers. I recognize that Harley needs to cultivate a new generation of “Baby Bikers” but I think I speak for those of us with gray beards when I offer a respectful, “No Thanks”. 2003 Ultra Classic – 100 year Anniversary – not to be confused with 105 – 110 – 111 – well, you get the point.
Think of it, a new Harley Davidson dirt bike. Back in the 1970’s they rebadged Italian dirt bikes. One of the brands they used for a Harley enduro was a Benelli. They also were into the snowmobile thing back in the early-mid 70’s, first with AMF and then by themselves. Funny, even their snowmobiles were known to be loader than most anything else.
I’m not a Harley owner and probably at this late date never will be but I understand what they’re trying to do. Harley has been struggling, as has every one else, to get their footing back after the ‘Great Recession’ of 2008. Bike sales are down substantially for just about every manufacturer and they’re all trying to field new more ownable and rideable new bikes that might appeal to younger buyers who are perhaps more attuned to the new technologies such as electric power. If they can achieve a reliable electric bike with a 300 mile range that can be recharged in a reasonable period of time I can see urban riders where parking is scarce, fuel is expensive, and noise is something they’d like to get away from. They make a lot of sense in city environments where absolute range isn’t as important as maneuverability, lighter weight, and easy handling would be primary.
Actually, you don’t speak for all grey beards. I have nerve damage to my left hand that severely limits clutch use. I bought a 650 Burgman scooter with twist and go and loved it.I ama true HD fan and can ride my Switchback, but the no clutch thing is real and good.
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Lets hope that Alta doesn’t allow HD to gain controlling interest so that they can run them into the ground like Buell.
I rode the HD Project Liverwire bike and liked it other than the limited range. What has prevented me from purchasing an electric bike is the lack of dealer support in most parts of the county which won’t be an issue with HD.
Cannot wait for an EV bike, I have a 1500 cc and electric car. Would enjoy not having to stop at a gas station ever again.
Have driven a Harley for over 55 years and enjoyed every mile! There comes a time when the future techies prevail! It is time for Harley to see the future for what it is! Whether it be electric, solar, or what ever! This is a step to the future of motorcycling. I will be happy to be one of the first buyer and continue the Harley legacy! Good Luck!!
High and Mighty in White: The Power of Alta Motors’ Redshift MX Electric Dirt Bike
A white speed machine will come in high and mighty on the dirt tracks and dominate it.
Given the rise of electric-powered vehicles, the white horse of Alta Motors is ahead of the electric dirt bike niche with the introduction of a formidable motocross (MX) bike. It can compete with carbon-belching combustion motocross bikes. It gives a strong statement that the future of MX biking will be powered by zero-carbon, adrenaline-pumping motorcycles.
Let’s get to know the Redshift MX Electric Bike.
In Focus: Alta Motors’ Redshift MX Electric Dirt Bike
The Redshift MX is a 2018 electric motocross bike developed by Alta Motors that paves the way for this electric motocross maker to take motocross biking to a more eco-friendly yet high-performing level. This bike is ready to rule the off-road courses in a world filled with electric vehicles. Here are the points you need to know.
Design and Style
Bike Style. This Alta Electric Dirt Bike belongs to the motocross species, as the MX on its name states. The welded aluminum frame and the plastic bodywork casing are kept tight and slim with a few outlines and holes that expose the rear suspension and upper frame to achieve lightness. It has some unnecessary parts removed to keep it light, like the plates and the headlights. This bike is strictly for dirt trails only.
Paint Job. The pure white paint job makes you feel almost righteous hopping onto it. We love that the white is tainted with an edgy accent of yellow that grounds the stark white. Visibility-wise, this bike is an attention-grabber, but if you’re not into purity, there’s an orange-colored variation being sold in the market today.
Battery Design. The honeycomb battery style is a fun substitute for the engine and radiator. It is energy-packed, compact, and armed with a thermal shedding system to make sure the battery stays cool for the duration of the ride.
Fully electric that rides like it’s not
The bike is definitely fully electric-powered, but the engine runs like it’s fed on gasoline. The acceleration and torque of the engine are akin to any high-performing motocross dirt bike and what’s awesome is how the electricity input makes it perform this way. It feels good to ride a dirt bike without adding to the carbon footprint.
Single-speed transmission makes it simple
The single gear transmission takes the headache off shifting gears on the dirt course’s tricky sections. You don’t need to shift down when charging a tight corner or prepare for the high gear when attacking a slope for longer air time. The engine and the throttle do all the work.
Sweet mileage range
The 350V lithium-ion battery can let you ride continuously for two hours before it dies out. When it does, you’ll have to charge it for 2 to 4 hours at 240V and 120V, respectively. The battery pack is also IP67 waterproof and shock-resistant up to 20G.
Adequate top speed
The 40 horsepower engine coupled with a 120 kg weight is powerful enough to give you an estimated top speed of 120 miles per hour. That is a standard speed that most combustion bikes can shell out. No wonder the Redshift is poised to take over its fuel-powered MX counterpart. This motocross bike is ultra-fun if you like to speed through the tracks and jump high on the ramps.
Throttle control hits it spot on
The throttle is responsive. It can read your input on the throttle grip quickly and apply it to the motor, and you will feel the result immediately. The rheostat of the MX Alta bike is tuned to perfection, giving you exactly what you need at any given section of the dirt track.
Four map options
Manage the power output of the Redshift with its four map options. The ECO is the energy-saving option perfect for maximizing your range. The SPORT balances range and speed to give you performance on a budgeted output. The PERFORMANCE option allows the motor to spend the energy it needs to reach its limit. Finally, the OVERCLOCK option pushes the bike beyond its power limitation.
Highs and Lows
- It stays on. Unlike manual transmission, fuel-powered dirt bikes that need some skills on the clutch, gear shifters, and throttle. The Alta Electric Bike is a single gear, electric-powered machine that, once the engine is on, stays on.
- You can concentrate on your racing skills. The absence of the shifter, kick starter, and clutch allows you to FOCUS on improving your racing skills like turning and braking effectively and knowing how to balance during a high jump.
- There’s enough power in this electric dirt bike to make it function even better than a regular motocross bike. We love that it can reach up to a 120 mph speed with 40 horsepower. This speed range will give a lot of wiggle room to play around with slopes and slanted corners seamlessly and in record times.
- The moving parts of the Alta dirt bike generate considerable noise, particularly on the chain and tire. This can be annoying if you have ridden electric dirt bikes that barely hum when you squeeze the throttle.
- The Alta electric dirt bike price costs over 10,000, which is a couple of thousand dollars more than the average price of a combustion motocross bike.
Motocross is Taken to Powerful New Heights
The Alta Motors Redshift MX electric dirt bike is an exciting replacement for the combustible bike.
Removing certain functions such as the shifters and the clutch plus the improvement of torque and top speed makes this bike a viable replacement for the combustion MX bike. There’s no doubt that in the next few years, and with a couple more improvements, the electric MX bike will replace the gas-powered one.
On the other hand, it may not happen for a while. At least not until its price becomes on par with its combustible rival. But it does deliver enough power to get you just as excited about getting high and mighty on the slopes or skidding around the corners. The few thousand dollar additions you invest on this electric dirt bike will be worth it to get you ahead of taking motocross into new and powerful heights.
Why One Of The Greatest Electric Motorcycle Companies Failed
In 2016, the Alta Motors Redshift MX made history by becoming the first electric motorcycle to earn the number one spot at the AMA EnduroCross racing event (via Dirt Rider). The Redshift MX also won the Geneva Supercross in 2017, beating the odds against a gas-powered motorcycle. The glory just kept coming, and Alta Motors made another impression at the Reno Endurocross. It was obvious that Alta Motors was trying to prove a point; it was in the business of making electric motorcycles that were just as good, if not better, than gas-powered motorcycles.
But a wave of dark clouds was forming on the horizon, and shortly after Alta Motors gained some traction in the motocross world, it packed its bags and closed up shop. Our sincere gratitude goes to all those who have believed in Alta over the years, the company said in a farewell message on October 18, 2018. Since then, we haven’t heard from Alta Motors. Of course, it begs the question — why did Alta Motors fail?
It ran out of funds
When Alta Motors was the new kid on the block, it raised capital totaling 8.2 million by 2014 –- this was back when it was known as BRD Motorcycles. By 2017, Alta Motors had fundraised 27 million to expand its production of electric motorcycles. Everything was going according to plan considering that Alta Motors sold 1,000 electric motorcycles in 2018 and it was scheduled to deliver 300 more units the same year (as reported by Electrek).
But behind the scenes, Alta Motors was struggling to stay afloat due to cash flow issues, and it was searching for more investors to finance its operations. Like most startups, Alta Motors failed to secure enough funding to sustain its manufacturing operations and it eventually closed down. By the time Alta Motors was winding down, it had secured about 45 million of capital funding (via TechCrunch), but that wasn’t enough to save it.
A big deal falls through
When Alta Motors was looking for investors to jump on board, it just happened that Harley Davidson was planning to produce electric motorcycles. As a result, a scratch my back, I scratch yours opportunity presented itself — Harley-Davidson and Alta Motors struck a deal in March 2018. According to Reuters, Harley Davidson was going to invest in Alta Motors in exchange for Alta to develop electric motorcycles for it. Even though Harley Davidson didn’t divulge the financial details of the deal with Alta, it had separately pledged to invest 25 to 50 million every year in electric motorcycle technology.
However, just six months after Harley-Davidson invested in Alta Motors, it reportedly pulled out of the deal. One week after the deal was supposedly scrapped, Harley-Davidson revealed plans to open its electric motorcycle research facility in Silicon Valley (via Auto Evolution). Unfortunately, Alta Motors couldn’t find another investor on time, and it closed down a few weeks later. Harley Davidson eventually released its electric motorcycle and we reviewed it.
It’s difficult to sell electric motorcycles
As reported by the New York Times, fewer Americans were buying motorcycles after the 2008 recession. Even Harley-Davidson, the biggest motorcycle manufacturer in the U.S., was experiencing a sales decline in the domestic market (via Reuters). Besides Alta Motors, other electric motorcycle brands such as Polaris and Arc Vector have quietly disappeared from the domestic market in the previous decade. Not to forget, Harley-Davidson’s electric motorcycle, the LiveWire, was a flop, and it’s one of the reasons its CEO resigned (via Business Insider).
According to John McInnis, a former employee at Alta Motors who is now working for Harley Davidson, the biggest obstacle to electric motorcycle adoption is cultural aspect, since the older generations favor gasoline vehicles. It could be a while before electric motorcycles become mainstream, but electric bicycles have become more popular –- and even automakers such as Ford have ventured into the e-bike business. As for Alta Motors, we think it’s not coming back considering that the company that bought its intellectual property (BRP) has no interest in reviving it.