Charging ahead: Can the new Electric Motion Epure Race match its petrol trials bike rivals?
If there was ever a sector of motorcycling made for electric bikes, it is trials. As a discipline trials is all about slow-speed control, explosive-yet-useable power and light weight.
E-bike tech is improving fast, but its biggest weakness on the road remains range but trials is different, with riders rarely using 100% throttle and even if they do it’s only for very short periods, which means there’s plenty of time for the batteries to recover.
The Epure Race is the top of the range model for serious competition. It has three modes which in conventional petrol terms equate to 200cc, 250cc and 300cc – and there is a definite difference between the three.
In 250 mode, the power is strong and completely linear with its relentless acceleration capable of taking you by surprise. Unlike its petrol rivals, with the Epure Race there are no dips in the power or torque curve.
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After ridng the Epure for two hours, with frequent stops (as you would in a trial) the bike still had 65% battery charge remaining, meaning you would have more than enough capacity for a club trial.
Weight is another area where electric bikes have historically been compromised. At a claimed 70kg ready to compete, the Epure Race is heavier than the 67.5kg dry claimed weight of a 300cc GasGas for example. But the Epure Race requires no fuel, coolant or engine oil, putting it on level with its fully-fuelled petrol-burning competition.
As soon as you hop on the Escape R it feels like a hybrid trials/trail bike. It’s thin, short and a little cramped. The fork is a Tech branded unit with only 175mm of travel and it’s super soft so charging into braking bumps isn’t really its cup of tea. The shock is an R 16 V with 170mm of travel, so not much better for big braking bumps. If you haven’t heard of those brands, don’t stress, not many people outside the trials world would have. It’s standard trials suspension which isn’t designed for hard trail work.
It runs a thin seat that goes all the way up to the steering stem but it’s only 820mm high so only 15mm taller than a Yamaha 125L and almost a full 100mm under the KTM Freeride E-XC which sits at 910mm. So it’s short which is good for beginners or those vertically challenged. The handlebar felt normal, the small handguards worked at protecting my digits from branches and the odd tip over.
The bike only weighs 83kg so it feels as light as it is which is great for late braking and changing direction on single track.
Same but different
Most of you want to know, what’s the motor like to ride? It’s not that dissimilar to a regular petrol-powered bike. The power is probably comparable to a GASGAS EC 250F and despite what many think, it isn’t aggressive or on/off. It felt pretty smooth and linear and when trailriding through single track you could crawl it around tight hairpins without it feeling jerky off the bottom and I didn’t have to use the clutch to do this (yep, I’ll get to the clutch soon).
You could even crawl this electric motor. While the Sur-Ron Storm Bee could also be crawled and the Stark Varg walked, the EM Escape R could go even slower. We assume this is because the motor was built for trials but you could actually do about half the slowest speed you would on a EC 250F but with no clutch at all. Because you don’t have to think about gears or stalling the bike you don’t have to think hard what you’re doing when going slowly. Electric bikes actually make things less complicated.
We did have a chance to race it against a modified GASGAS EC 350F and it got cleaned up. Even off the start the EC3 350F launched out of the gates harder and when we tried a rolling start it got even worse for the Escape R. This bike isn’t designed to out-drag your mates petrol bikes, you’ll probably need a Stark Varg for that. The engine isn’t massive, producing 6kw at normal power and 11kw at peak power but it does produce 600nm of torque. The max speed claimed by EM is 75km/h and we can confirm, you won’t go a single peg over that.
Nuts and bolts
How does the clutch work on Escape R?
The Electric Motion E-Pure Race and Escape R share the same diaphragm style mechanical clutch. There is no need for a gearbox with an electric motor drive-train as they can produce max torque from zero revs and just keep accelerating to their designed maximum RPM.
The design of the EM clutch is very simple, the primary drive shaft from the Ashwoods motor has a heavy fly-wheel added, mated to the output shaft and clutch. The clutch basket runs in a normal oil bath and is hydraulically operated from the handlebar. The pressure plate is also adjustable for pre-load to adjust the feeling/engagement of the clutch.
The EM mechanical clutch allows the rider to build up the revs with the clutch in, when you let it out, the fly-wheel effect really kicks in and lots of torque goes to the back wheel for exciting acceleration.
How long does the battery last and how long does it take to swap?
The battery pack in Escape is 2.6 Kw/hours capacity. The Escape has a range of 40km to 60km, based on riding style and rider mass. If the rider uses the regenerative braking often, the range is better. The Escape R battery is longer and narrower than the E-Pure’s, it is not designed to be ‘hot-swappable’ like the Trials bike. The Escape battery can be removed in a workshop.
Generally, the owners always charge the battery packs whilst they are mounted in the machine.
The EM 1.9 and 2.6Kw/h battery packs are rated to last 1000 cycles and still be above 80% of their original capacity. 1 cycle = 1 x complete discharge/ re-charge of the pack. If you discharge to 50% and recharge, this is counted as half of 1 cycle. If you ride approximately once a week, that is well over ten years.
The key to good battery health is to look after your pack and never let it sit around at low charge for prolonged periods of time.
How does an electric motor work?
Most electric vehicles use an AC Induction type motor, first patented by Mr Nikolai Tesla at the start of the 20 th century. Put simply, there are ‘windings’ of copper wire that spin on a shaft at the correct angle to the fixed magnets of the motor. When the copper wire is given voltage, the electro-magnetic effect spins the shaft of the motor connected to the drive-train.
The modern electric drive-train has three key elements, the motor, the controller unit and the battery pack. The controller and motor work together to achieve the correct output at the back wheel, relative to what you are doing with the throttle input. The battery must supply the volts and amps at a quick enough rate to run the motor.
The controller on an electric bike does the job of the carburettor and exhaust on a petrol bike.
How does the Escape R rev up?
The new feature for the Escape R drive-train is the TKO or ‘tick-over’ function. You must hold in the clutch or keep on the back brake to make the ‘idle’ or ‘tick-over’ stop. The TKO can be switched on or off via the bikes map switch.
When balancing stationary with TKO on, the rider can feel the gyroscopic effect of the fly wheel assisting with balance. It is also useful for riding slippery creeks for example where you need delicate throttle control when going on and off the ‘idle’ part of the throttle.
The TKO gives the EM clutch drive-train a familiar feeling to conventional ICE bike drive-train.
Can the battery explode or catch fire?
The EM battery packs have a highly evolved Battery Management System or BMS. The BMS has a primary function of keeping the packs 14 x ‘cells’ at optimum and safe voltage. When the pack is receiving a charge from the standard EM wall-socket type charger, the charger and battery pack automatically shut down when the cells have reached maximum voltage. During discharge (riding) the pack will shut down when the cells reach the low point of ‘safe-voltage’. The BMS has many protocols and functions designed to protect the battery pack in all conditions.
Thanks to the frame placement of the battery packs, which are now CNC machined aluminium cases, there have been only minor damage to EM packs from crashes. If a very sharp object punctures the pack in the wrong way, the potential for fire does exist, this is the nature of lithium-ion batteries.
Can it be serviced?
The EM motors and drive trains have very few moving parts compared to ICE bikes. The motors are air-cooled, require no maintenance and have proven to be reliable and resistant to crash-type damage. The motor is approximately AUD 2000, the special engine encoder/sensor, mounted on the centre of the outside of the motor, is a 450 part from EM Australia, in the rare instance of it being smashed.
Being a hybrid trials trail bike I wasn’t sure what to expect but as soon as I hopped on I was away with a smile on my face. The power was great for the type of riding you’d want to do on this bike and while it’s a fair bit slower than my EC 350F, I never felt like I needed more either as it’s around 30kg lighter. The suspension is good for trails and trials but probably not quite up to the task of some decent jumps but in the bush it’s enough to get the job done.
The most impressive thing for me was the bike’s ability to take on any terrain, be it rocks, logs, ruts etc and the fun factor of being able to communicate with your mates whilst out in the trails. The battery performed above expectation and if you’re looking to hone in your trials and hard enduro skills, this bike would be a great help.
What to Look For
Street Legality: Like combustion dirt bikes, many of them will not be street-legal. And you may live in a municipality that will confiscate and crush them if you try to use them for that — electric or not. There are dual-sport electric dirt bikes (lighter than adventure motorcycles), which can also be used as commuter bikes. But make sure you clarify that before buying.
Battery Range: Range is a significant drawback to any electric vehicle. You want to ensure you have enough range to do the amount of riding you’re planning. expensive electric dirt bikes will have range that can exceed what most drives can handle physically. But that may be costly.
Battery Charging: A nother important factor beyond range is how long it takes to charge the battery. Shorter is better. Manufacturers may offer accessories that improve charging speed. Some dirt bikes can instantly swap in a newly charged battery and return to the trail.
How We Tested
Gear Patrol writers and editors are continually testing the best electric dirt bikes on a variety of terrains to update this guide looking at features like comfort, ease of use and riding characteristics. Our testers have spent time riding the Zero XF and the Cake Kalk INK so far; however, we’ll be updating this guide as we continue to test more models.
Zero’s FX isn’t a one-trick pony; it’s good at a little bit of everything. It’s fast but torque-heavy up front. For comparison, it’s nimble but still about 50 pounds heavier than KTM’s 350EXC-F. And it’s quiet, which anyone who’s ridden a dual sport before knows has distinct advantages and downsides. (Upsides include not disturbing nature as you ride through and saving your eardrums; cons include being unable to announce yourself to other riders on the trail or cars on the street.)
The FX’s ride is very smooth — from city streets to rutted-out trails and even completely off-road in the ungroomed wild. The tires grip well on city streets, even after a light rain. The FX can reach a top speed of 85, but I rarely found myself pushing it above 65 — this is a great cruising bike built for the trails as much as it is for the road. The acceleration feels torque-y until you get the hang of the feeling; I’d recommend starting in Eco until you get a feel for how the bike handles, experienced rider or not.
The profile is lean and mean, just as advertised. Your tester is 5’4” and weigh 110 pounds, and she could handle and maneuver this bike with relative ease, although she did make sure to get comfortable on the bike on uncrowded trails before taking it to the streets. Zero says the charging time is 1.3 hours, but I found it to be much longer than that. the bike was delivered to me with an 80 percent charge, and it took more than two hours to get it full. The range is 91 miles which is a solid day’s ride, but unless you have the means to give the bike a good overnight charge, you’ll be SOL the next day. And that 91-mile range is in the city — if you’re riding on the highway at 70 mph without starting and stopping, it drops to 39 miles per charge.
We’ve been fans of Swedish manufacturer Cake — and Stefan Ytterborn’s helmet/eyewear/apparel brand, POC — for years. Founded in 2016, Cake has consistently put out smooth, innovative electric bikes that offer both gorgeous looks and purpose-built function.
The Kalk class of offroaders, however, is much more about play than work. The street-legal Kalk INK picks up quick thanks to 252Nm of electric torque, while reliable suspension (200mm of travel) and beefy dual-sport motorcycle tires help you keep the shiny side up from the road to the trails.
- Removable battery charges from 0 to 80 percent in two hours, 0 to 100 percent in three
- Three ride modes and three braking modes adapt to your style and environment
- Not exactly the cushiest seat on the planet (or this page)
- You must come to a full stop to adjust ride and braking modes
Care and maintenance
Because brush heads must be replaced roughly every three months, the total cost of owning an electric toothbrush adds up. Some retailers sell replacement brush heads in bulk, and some manufacturers regularly issue coupons, which can both help keep costs down. (See our blog post on the cost of replacement brush heads, including some generics we tried but ultimately didn’t like.)
Nearly every electric toothbrush we’ve tested requires rinsing and/or wiping down between each use. Otherwise, you may end up with dried toothbrush-spit residue gunking up any crevices—particularly where the brush head meets the handle. In addition to a quick rinse and wipe between uses, you may find it worthwhile to periodically remove the brush head to clean this junction. In our experience, a cotton swab is well-suited for getting gunk out of any small divots in the brush handle. You can also reuse an old toothbrush head for this purpose.
How to reuse old toothbrush heads
Toothbrushes and toothbrush heads that are no longer usable for toothbrushing make excellent cleaning tools. In addition to using old toothbrush heads for cleaning the crevices of your electric toothbrush handle, you might also find them handy for scrubbing grout, shower heads, hair brushes, almost any type of shoe, the hard-to-reach components of radiators, stubborn spots on area rugs and car seats, the dishwasher filter, dusty camera lens caps, bird feeders, and many varieties of mesh baskets or metal gears.
Some speciality recycling and take back programs exist. However, most toothbrush heads are not recyclable as part of household waste, so they should be tossed in the trash when they’re no longer useful.
How to dispose of an electric toothbrush
An electric toothbrush should last for years—at least two, in the case of our picks, each of which are warrantied for as long and which we’ve used for five or more. But once it stops working, it’s important to dispose of it properly because the battery can harm people and contaminate the environment. Electronic toothbrushes should not go in your household trash, and unfortunately, programs such as Best Buy’s electronic recycling program do not accept electronic toothbrushes. But you do have options, including:
- Oral-B offers a recycling program that accepts toothbrushes and brush heads of any brand, along with toothpaste tubes, mouthwash containers, floss containers, floss string, and floss picks. You must pack and ship it; Oral-B provides a free shipping label.
- Call2Recycle is a national resource where you can enter your zip code and find locations near you that accept batteries for recycling.
You may be asked to remove the rechargeable battery before disposing of an electric toothbrush handle. Both Philips and Oral-B provide instructions in their manuals on how to remove the battery for this purpose. (First, you’ll need to run down the battery until the toothbrush no longer turns on). Once the handle is opened, the toothbrush is considered destroyed and its warranty voided.
Oral-B and Philips Sonicare
The Vitality brush is Oral-B’s least expensive electric model with a rechargeable battery. Oral-B declined to disclose the number of oscillations, vibrations, brushstrokes, or bristle movements for any of its toothbrushes, but we noticed that the Oral-B Vitality felt noticeably weaker than the Oral-B Pro 1000 and Pro 500. It has a two-minute timer but does not have an interval timer that buzzes every 30 seconds. It comes with a FlossAction brush head, which can be swapped out for other Oral-B heads. Unlike the Pro 1000, it does not have a blinking light to indicate if the toothbrush is charging.
The Philips Sonicare 2100, 5100, 5300, 6100, 6500, and 7500 all feature the same technology as the 4100 and 1100, with 31,000 bristle movements per minute. They differ in levels of intensity (for instance, the 2100 offers two levels while the 6100 offers three) and the number of cleaning modes (the 1100 and 2100 only offer one while the 6100 offers three). The pricier models also include accessories such as a travel case, which are nice but not necessary.
The Philips Sonicare 3 Series feels similar to and works much the same way as the 4100, with a glossy plastic handle and minimal gripping ridges. Now that our runner-up comes with a quadrant timer, this toothbrush has no features that we think are worth spending extra on. (It offers three total levels of intensity.) Overall, though, the brushing experience is roughly the same as with our runner-up pick.
The Philips Sonicare DiamondClean is pretty sleek with a matte plastic finish, and it has some real luxury features, like an inductive charging glass and travel case, but its price is a lot to spend for those items. The DiamondClean has five cleaning modes (four too many) that you must manually cycle through if you need to turn the brush off before reaching two minutes. It also has some of the most expensive brush heads, with each one around 11.
The AquaSonic Vibe is the closest to a Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush dupe we’ve found. Although over the long term it would be much more affordable when compared with our picks (and their lesser versions), we’re not prepared to recommend it as a budget pick without continuing to test it. It has so far survived our dunk, drop, and battery tests, plus more than nine months of twice-daily use. The Vibe, which like our picks has earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance, has three superfluous cleaning modes and comes in a starter kit with a travel case and eight brush heads. Usually these features make for a more-expensive brush, but not in this case: At this writing, the Vibe starter kit comes with eight brush heads and costs 37. Assuming you change the brush head every three months, and the brush handle lasts at least two years, the annual cost would be 18.50 for the first two years. (That’s more than 3.5 times less than our Oral-B and Philips Sonicare picks cost for the first year.) You need to register the brush to receive one year of warranty coverage. One tester, a self-described aggressive brusher, found that she had to replace the Vibe’s original brush head in just two months (whereas a Philips Sonicare head would last a full three). Even if you find yourself burning through Vibe brush heads more quickly than you would Oral-B or Philips Sonicare heads, the potential savings add up—again, assuming the brush handle lasts long enough to prove its value. AquaSonic currently sells Vibe-compatible replacement heads in an eight-pack that costs 35 (4.38 per head) and a two-pack that costs 11 (5.50 apiece), both more expensive than Oral-B and Philips Sonicare heads bought in more-economical packs. These multipacks are only available in black or a mix of black and white, so if you only want white brush heads, you’re out of luck.
The Burst is a sleek sonic toothbrush with quadrant pacing that you may have seen advertised on Instagram. It has three cleaning modes and a USB-only charging cord. In our testing, the battery lasted more than four weeks on a single charge with twice-daily brushing. Unfortunately, the “charcoal-infused” bristles didn’t last as long—on each of the two heads we tested, the bristles became bent out of shape in as few as three weeks. A company spokesperson said that our tester may have been applying too much pressure while using these brush heads. Burst offers an optional subscription program for replacement brush heads (which at this writing cost the same as subscription-only replacement heads for similar brushes from Goby).
Brüush, too, has an optional subscription program for its replacement brush heads (6 each, shipped in packs of three). The brush itself offers six cleaning modes—five more than needed—and quadrant pacing, plus optional USB charging. Compared with other sonic brushes we’ve tested (including the Burst and Shyn), on the default setting the Brüush was a touch quieter, and its vibrations felt more gentle. We found that its battery lasted more than 3½ weeks on a single charge. The topmost and bottommost bristles on the Brüush head are longer than those in the center, creating a sort of flared shape; depending on your preferences, this head design may feel like a feature or a bug.