The following year the 500cc class title was won by Belgian Joel Smets, riding a four-stroke Husaberg, and it’s been four-strokes ever since.
The change-over happened pretty quickly and today we think nothing of four-strokes being raced at GP level (actually just as they were back in the 1960s when bike brands such as Triumph, Norton and BSA were popular in motocross), although two-stroke bikes continue to be manufactured by several bike companies and are still popular outside of the GP scene.
But now perhaps the writing is on the wall for the next generation of motorcycle development and electric-powered motocross bikes could possibly be taking over in the next few years.
The e-bikes are just around the corner and KTM is one company that has already moved into the new era in off-road competition with their KTM SX-5.
This is a newly-developed, high-end, adaptable, electric-powered mini-crosser aimed at both beginner and competitive junior riders.
The bike has six power modes allowing a complete beginner to step onto the bike with ease, whilst the full power mode is exciting and challenging for the fastest junior.
According to the KTM info pack: “The bike is fully adjustable in terms of ride height, especially with the additional KTM PowerParts lowering kit, and is aimed at riders aged three to 10 years old. The bike grows with the rider both in ability, and in size – a special feature for this high-quality machine.
“This innovative junior bike has an electric motor powered by an ultra-modern lithium-ion battery pack with a robust housing for maximum protection and safety was really at the core of the development of this new model.
“The power is smooth and controllable offering rideability benefits over other bikes in its class, whilst also providing fantastic agility on the motocross course. Like its combustion counterpart, the KTM SX-E 5 is fitted with WP XACT 35 air fork technology, as well as the WP XACT shock absorber, and it also features high-quality components such as premium disc brakes, cast foot-pegs, tapered aluminum handlebars and proper race ergonomics. In fact, the KTM SX-E 5 has undergone the same development process as the bigger SX models as raced by the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team. It’s truly an exciting, safe, innovative yet racy machine that will create new riding possibilities for riders and tracks in the future.”
With zero emissions and sound pollution, the KTM SX-5 is at the leading-edge of competitive minicross and is a viable alternative to the petrol-powered 50cc engine, bringing with it an entirely new generation of competitive racing.
According to KTM , the KTM SX-E 5 is fitted with a compact electric motor, powered by a strong power pack, delivering almost inaudible noise emissions. It also features high-quality components that make it significantly different from the many “toy-like” electric minicycles available on the market.
KTM says it is “a fully-fledged competition motorcycle” with low noise emissions, making it more accessible to younger riders for use in areas where noise emissions are restricted.
Don’t say we didn’t warn you that the e-bikes are coming … they certainly are, you probably just won’t hear them.
These new KTM e-bikes will apparently be available in New Zealand in the New Year.
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