Cake’s Electric Motorcycles Are Perfect for Minimalist Fun
Little noise and ease of maintenance are just some of the benefits electric motorcycles provide. Kawasaki’s manual-equipped prototype aside, these bikes make riding very approachable even for newbies. And they’re genuinely quick—faster than some electric cars. However, there are only a few truly affordable electric motorcycles. The LiveWire, for instance, maybe an excellent bike, but it costs almost as much as a new car. Cake’s electric motorcycles, though, may provide a solution.
The Cake electric motorcycle lineup
Swedish company Cake, much like California-based Zero Motorcycles, has gone all-in on electric bikes. Every single Cake motorcycle is electric. And if they remind you of Ikea furniture, there’s a good reason for that, Gear Patrol reports. The company’s founder and CEO, Stefan Ytterborn, is a former Ikea designer and marketer. Ytterborn also cites Lego as an inspiration, Forbes reports. And except for the suspension and brakes, Cake designs and builds all its parts in-house.
Cake’s first motorcycle was the Kalk dirt bike, which came out in 2018. However, the brand has since expanded its offerings. In addition to the updated Kalk OR and Kalk&, Cake also offers the Ösa+ motorcycle and Ösa Lite moped. The brand will also be adding more off-road bikes, Motorcyclist reports, in the form of the Kalk INK and INK SL.
All the Cake Kalk motorcycles come with a removable 2.5-kWh battery pack. The Ösa bikes have a standard 1.5-kWh pack, which is also removable and can be upgraded with the 2.5-kWh pack. With a standard outlet, the pack takes 2.5 hours to recharge from empty. A 0%-80% charge, though, only takes 1.5 hours. All Cake motorcycles come with adjustable regenerative braking modes, too.
Cake’s electric motorcycles only make about 14 hp and 31 lb-ft. However, their minimalist design makes them light: the Ösa+ with the large pack only weighs 180 pounds. That’s lighter than even the Honda Grom. And despite its off-road focus, the Kalk& weighs about the same.
Are Cake’s motorcycles worth riding?
In an interview with Cycle World, Ytterborn said that Cake’s goal is “inviting new people—outdoor people, mountain bikers, motorbike guys, whoever wants to get out there—to experience something new.” Indeed, Iron & Air reports, at rest, the Cake Kalk OR feels fairly similar to a large mountain bike. Which, as a cyclist and relatively-new motorcyclist myself, is a good thing from a new rider’s perspective. And despite, or perhaps because of, their stripped-down appearance, Cake’s motorcycles are very impressive.
The Kalk lineup comes with 3 riding modes, Popular Mechanics reports, ratcheting up performance at the cost of battery life. Cycle World found the 2nd and 3rd ‘Excite’ and ‘Excel’ modes, which unlock the 56-mph top speed and max acceleration and torque, are the best for off-road riding. 14 hp and 31 lb-ft are plenty when the bike weighs less than 200 lbs. It makes the Kalk very maneuverable, and its brakes are easy to modulate with the handlebar levers. The Kalk OR and Kalk& also come with Ohlins suspension and forks. The only downside, Outside reports, is a lack of hand brush guards.
Meanwhile, the Ösa bikes perform well in their own regard, Jalopnik and Iron & Air report. True, they’re not quite as fast as the Kalks. The Lite maxes out at 30 mph, though the + can go up to 56 mph. But as urban commuters, they have a lot to offer. The batteries can be used as portable generators, for one. Their frames’ flat design makes it easy to attach accessories like an additional seat, baskets, luggage rack, and so on.
Pricing and availability
The Cake Kalk electric dirt bikes are somewhat pricey. The off-road-only OR starts at $13,000. The street-legal Kalk& is $1000 more.
However, that’s where the INK bikes come in. They’re basically Kalks with simpler suspension and heavier—but more robust—wheels. The non-street-legal Kalk INK is priced at $9500, and deliveries begin June 1, 2020. The SL, which can be ridden on public roads, is $10,500 and is due in July 2020.
That actually undercuts the upgraded-battery Zero FX dual sport by about $500, though the FX is noticeably more powerful. However, the Cake motorcycle has the range advantage. The FX’s estimated city range is 46 miles. The INK SL, meanwhile, has an estimated mixed riding range of 53 miles.
Meanwhile, the Energica EsseEsse9+ has an estimated city range of 250 miles. However, it costs about twice as much. It’s also a sportbike, not a dirt bike or dual sport, so it’s limited to paved roads.
But it’s the Ösa motorcycles that will likely be the best entry-point for new riders. The $6500 Ösa Lite, depending on where you live, doesn’t require a motorcycle license to ride. True, the standard battery only gives 41 miles of range. But for an urban commuter, that’s likely more than enough for daily riding. And because the battery’s removable, you can bring it inside to charge, which makes EV-riding more convenient.
The faster Ösa+ may cost $2000 more. But it doesn’t really have any electric motorcycle rivals. Even the standard Zero FX is $500 more expensive. True, it does 5 more miles of range, and its battery pack is swappable. But on a standard outlet, it’ll take about 2 more hours to recharge from empty. And you can’t add accessories as easily.
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