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Global Briefing Innovation

The Dirt Track to Zero


Britain may be the first G7 country to commit to a net zero greenhouse gas emission target for 2050 with a plan to look at what the government, business and society must do to deliver the significant reductions needed from all forms of transport in 2020, but it looks like our Scandinavian counterparts are taking the lead with practical, design-led solutions.

Cakes Kalk e-BikeThere are several wheeled electric vehicles available with an ever-improving legion of e-bikes, but Swedish off-road electric motorbike manufacturer Cake is one of a kind. Still a young company, it is already promoting a sustainable future producing dynamic, state-of-the-art two-wheelers. Founder Stefan Ytterborn announced his venture making electric off-road bikes in 2016 and the company raised capital by selling shares in 2017. The bikes are clean, without compromising on design, performance or uniqueness.

“These custom-built bikes provide all the excitement and exhilaration of traditional motorbikes, without the noise typical of such extreme vehicles.”

Cake is focused on reinventing the dirt bike. Instead of building an electric motorbike that does everything a petrol one can, the innovators have concentrated on the benefits electricity can bring to two-wheeled vehicles. The simple, silent and contemporary design is the opposite image portrayed by the existing motorcycling culture which tends to be noisy, macho and aggressive.

Cakes Kalk e-Bike, a stylish, electric two-wheeler that is as sleek and futuristic as it is high-quality, debuted two years ago, challenging the traditional fuel burning, tough biker image. The bike cost around £11,600, and delivery began on the 1st January 2019, with free shipping offered worldwide. These custom-built bikes provide all the excitement and exhilaration of traditional motorbikes, without the noise typical of such extreme vehicles. Additionally, the number of parts are less than half compared to a traditional off-road motorbike, and the need for servicing is drastically reduced.

The 2018 Kalk Limited Edition was the first model in Cake’s impressive line-up and it was a sell-out. The original Kalk OR is billed as a halfway house between a mountain bike and a motorcycle, weighing just 69kg, with a top speed of 46mph. The subsequent bike – the Kalk& builds on this speed, adding indicators and lights, while different internal gearing helps it reach 60mph. Despite being so small, the Kalk battery is powerful enough for 2 – 3 hours off-roading, equating to approximately 50 miles.

The main difference between the two bikes is that the Kalk Limited Edition has carbon-fiber bodywork, while the Kalk OR uses injection-moulded plastic. The zero-emission motorcycle is capable of high-performance off-roading, and every component has been custom-built to be as light and efficient as possible. With the current emphasis on climate change, you’d expect the eco-friendly bike to have direct competition, but in terms of style, design and performance, this electric motorcycle is winning the race.

Next up, the new Ösa motorcycle is everything you’d imagine an electric motorbike from Sweden to be, and is geared for both city commuting and getting off the grid. The Ösa will be available in two versions: the Ösa Lite, with a top speed of 30 mph and 74-mile range, and the Ösa+, with a top speed of 63 mph and 62-mile range. The Ösa Lite will sell for $4,500 without a battery, or $6,500 with the Lean battery and $7,500 with the Long Battery. This keeps it in a lower classification of bike in many (but not all) American states, opening the door to a new class of rider, a clever move by the innovative company. The Ösa+ will sell for $6,500 without battery, $8,500 with the Lean battery and $9,500 with the Long battery. Cake describes the new bikes as modular utility commuter vehicles that are also equipped for off-road trips.

“Heavily influenced by the workbench, the Ösa design features a large grey bar extending out from underneath the seat. This uni-bar, modular clamp-on system serves as the heart of the Ösa, allowing users to attach baskets, bags, tools, and more to create over 1,000 different possible configurations,” Cake stated in a release

The Ösa stands out, largely because of its versatility. Its customisable frame doubles as a workbench and it has a central spine with a locking clamp, enabling the rider to attach various accessories, depending on their own personal requirements. Operating with one or two seats, as well as worktops, baskets and racks, the new two-wheeled multi-configuration looks like a walking toolbox. The battery also serves as a generator, so if the user needs to power tools or gadgets, they can plug them straight into the bike. And once it’s flat, it’ll recharge in just 3 hours from a normal domestic plug. It comes with a price tag of $8,000 for the Ösa+ and $6,000 for the LITE, and it will be available to buy from March 2020.

Described by Cake as “a clean and efficient utility vehicle, with propulsion included and the ability to drive through the countryside” – the Ösa is essentially an off road capable and street legal, electric modular motorcycle, that transports the rider and their belongings virtually anywhere in Swedish minimalist style.

For more information: www.ridecake.com

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