Swiss Electric Motorcycle Review
Yes, it’s the 21st century, but the notion of a high-performance electric dirt bike that could be as much fun to ride as, and possibly competitive with, a petrol-powered dirt bike seems to be about as real as the Tooth Fairy. I can’t imagine being able to dice with a buddy on the MX track, and be able to have a conversation with him at the same time.
Well, that’s how I used to think before I met up with the Quantya FMX electric dirt bike—a machine designed by a group of Swiss dirt bike enthusiasts to combat the noise complaints that were shutting down their local tracks and trails.
At first glance, the styling is familiar to motocross and off-road enthusiasts, but that’s where the similarities end. The FMX is powered by a 20-horsepower electric motor powered by a proprietary 48-volt lithium gel battery. Suspension is handled by 35mm Marzocchi forks up front and a beefy linkage-less Sachs shock in the rear. Front and rear disk brakes are actuated by hand levers located on the handlebars, just like on a mountain bike. As it is an electric motor, there is no transmission, clutch, or shifting mechanism.
Now comes the easy part—you just twist the throttle and take off! The first thought that ran through my mind as the front end lifted is that this bike has a lot of beans! The next thing I knew, I was rocketing down the trail at nearly 40 mph…silently! You can actually hear the tires grip the rock or spin through a sandy berm, noises that are usually drowned out by the raucous roar of an internal combustion engine!
The traction is unbelievable, on par with that of a trials bike on grippy granite. On the FMX, you can crawl at a snail’s pace, picking the best line through gnarly rocks without worrying about stalling the bike or feathering the clutch. At high speeds, the FMX is incredibly nimble and knifes through sandy turns with ease. Thanks to the hand-controlled rear brake, you can have either leg extended and still use the rear brake to initiate a turn.
A few things take a little while to get used to, such as learning how to “blip” the throttle on an electric motor, and getting the feel for the rear brake, but after that it’s all about pure silent fun!
And as our riding areas steadily diminish across the country, the clean and quiet Quantya FMX may be the answer. The FMX is more expensive than many better-performing dirt bikes currently on the market, but, at $10,000, an environmentally concerned rider definitely can still have fun while reducing tailpipe emissions to zero.
Photography by Don Williams
Helmet: Shoei V-MT Veer TC-5
Goggles: Progrip 3450 Army
Pants, jersey, + gloves: Moose XCR
Boots: Sidi Crossfire