MXA BIKE TEST: OSET MX-10 ELECTRIC PEE-WEE MINI BIKE
Q: FIRST AND FOREMOST, IS THE 2019 OSET MX-10 BETTER THAN THE 2018 MODEL?
A: The Oset MX-10 has been on sale in Europe for five years, but it is just entering its second full year in the United States. More significant, 2019 is Oset’s first attempt at making a motocross-specific electric bike. All their other models more closely resemble trials bikes. The 2019 Oset MX-10 is the company’s first electric model with motocross-specific styling. As to whether the 2019 Oset MX-10 is better or worse than the 2018 model, we can’t say because we were never attracted to Oset’s trials-style machines.
Q: HOW LONG HAS OSET BEEN IN BUSINESS?
A: The marketplace for first-time young riders from 2-6 years of age has only had one major player over the last 29 years. The Yamaha PW50 YZinger was first introduced in the summer of 1980, and it has remained virtually unchanged since then. It is, as many modern factory stars can attest, a remarkably good bike for young kids to start out on. Its little, laid-down, 50cc, two-stroke, single-speed engine is easy to repair, and based on the number of older-model YZingers being passed down from kid to kid, it is ultra reliable. Its shaft-drive design, which means no chain, and unique pivoting suspension system, where the rear wheel goes up and the engine goes down, makes it as simple a motorcycle as possible. But, the technology is 40 years old. The power delivery is snail slow. The suspension, no matter how innovative, is severely limited in performance and, worst of all, its internal-combustion, air-cooled engine can get very hot to the touch. There are other kids’ bikes on the market, but all have the same basic issues as the PW50.
Oset founder Ian Smith wanted to make a better, quieter, safer, more environmentally friendly entry-level bike for his son. In 2004 Ian took the concept of electric-powered scooters and transferred it over to a kid-size electric trials bike with the help of a fellow trials rider who was an engineer. Ian’s son loved it, and other parents wanted one, so Oset became a reality. The machines have been constantly updated since their introduction and are currently offered for sale in over 25 countries worldwide.
Q: WHO FITS ON A 2019 OSET MX-10?
A: The great thing about this bike is that it can grow with the rider as he becomes more skilled and gets taller. The seat height adjustments on the MX-10 include three different frame and bar heights. The seat height adjustment has a variance of 45mm, while the bars can be raised 10mm. Both these adjustments can be made in a matter of minutes. Additionally, the front and rear brake levers, which are both on the handlebars, are adjustable. With the turn of an Allen, the levers’ position can be moved further in or out.
Underneath the ignition key switch panel there are three tunable power adjustments. These are exceptional tools for neophyte riders to keep them from riding above their skill level. It should be noted than an electric motor produces full power at the slightest twist of the throttle. This is in stark contrast to internal combustion engines that build power over time and rpm. The three MX-10 power control dials can be used to meter throttle response, top speed and overall power. MXA turned the response meter down for first-time riders, as electric power is very jumpy at full tilt. As the rider gets used to the feel and sensation of instant torque, the power can be turned up.
For heavier riders, at the top end of the 2 to 6 year age range, the MX-10 also comes with a heavier rear shock spring that doesn’t take much time to change.
Q: WHAT BATTERY DOES THE MX-10 COME WITH?
A: It has a rechargeable 48-volt lithium pack that drives a 1400-watt, 48-volt Oset neodymium magnet DC motor.
Q: HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO RECHARGE THE BATTERY?
A: It takes 4–5 hours for the standard rate charger to fully recharge the batteries. Plug the charger into the charge port on the bike and that’s it! If you’re at an all-weekend event with no electricity, you can plug the charger into an inverter and charge from your car battery or straight from a generator. Run time depends on many factors, but as a rule of thumb the Oset will run for 1 to 2 hours; at lower power levels perhaps 2 to 3 hours. Full-throttle motocross riding, without stopping, could cut run-time in half.
Q: WHAT ACCESSORIES DOES THE MX-10 COME WITH?
A: Oset supplies a mini tool pack—a set of Allen wrenches and a crescent wrench, which are the basic tools needed to work on the bike. It also comes with a stiffer rear shock spring and manuals for the suspension and chassis.
Q: HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
A: The MX-10 is priced at $3199. In comparison to the 2019 Yamaha PW50’s $1499 retail price and the Honda CRF50F’s $1549 retail price, the Oset is expensive; however, for the premium cost, you get a machine that doesn’t use gasoline, is powered by a proven electric motor and runs silently—save for the whir of the chain and tires. Without the exhaust note of an internal combustion engine, your kid can ride the Oset MX-10 in the backyard without the neighbors hearing anything but laughter.
Q: IS IT LIGHTER THAN THE OTHER BIKES IN ITS CLASS?
A: At 82 pounds, with no gasoline or transmission oil necessary, the Oset MX 10 is light enough to throw in the trunk of car—and there is nothing to leak on the car’s carpet or interior.
Q: HOW FAST IS THE MX-10?
A: It falls somewhere between a fast mini bike, such as the KTM 50SX, and a slow mini bike, such as the PW50. It has the best throttle response of any small bike, and its acceleration is impressive; however, on the top-end, once the KTM’s or Cobra’s automatic clutches are fully engaged, they carry more speed than the electric motor. Still, the MX-10 can runs circles around the PW50 and 50cc four-stroke play bikes in its classification. The Oset MX-10 is great for kids and their parents in many ways.
Q: DOES THE SILENT MOTOR CATCH RIDERS OFF GUARD?
A: Yes and no. The MX-10 has three different ways to turn off the motor: the key, master battery switch (on the battery) and magnetic tether (on the bars). Oset has done a great job of ensuring that riders know when the bike is off and on. In order to turn on the MX-10, the battery switch must be turned to the “on” position, the key tuned to the “run” position and the tether must be attached. When the power is engaged, the MX-10 will make a click sound, and the battery level indicator, with its four red lights, will be illuminated. The battery also has an automatic shut-off system if the bike is not used for a set time. This feature saves battery power (although you need to take the battery cover off again and flip the switch from “off” to “on” again to turn the motor back on).
If you are wondering why we are going into detail about turning the bike on and off, there is a good chance that you have never ridden an electric bike before. When bikes are silent, people tend to twist the throttle. It is human nature. If they aren’t used to electric bikes, this can catch them off guard if the motor is turned on. This is especially important if an inexperienced kid climbs on a running bike and plays with the throttle. It will take off. Parents of MX-10 riders must educate their kids about the dangers of the silent motor. These bikes are powerful, especially from a standing start. Having the multi-phase on/off feature is great for the simple reason that it is hard for a kid or strangers to turn the MX-10 on by themselves. Be sure to start your young rider out on the mellowest power setting, because the power delivery takes time to get used to. There will likely be some loop-outs in the beginning.
Q: HOW IS THE MX-10’S SUSPENSION?
A: The forks and shock are DNM mountain bike components. The forks are a coil spring/air combo. All the riders loved the forks. They had enough adjustment for little Johnny and his dad. The air pressure just needs to be pumped up. We didn’t like that we had to loosen the bottom fork clamp to get an air hose on the Schrader valve at the bottom of the fork. Even then it was still tough to get the Schrader valve pump head on. It should be mentioned you can’t just use a regular air pump, as the head will be too big. You need a pump specifically designed for air forks. We blew a fork seal, thanks to an over-exuberant parent trying to ride the MX-10.
As for the shock, we don’t think it is an even match for the superb forks. The mountain bike shock doesn’t have enough damping for the weight that is put on it. Don’t get us wrong; this is much better than what Honda or Yamaha offers in comparison, but the forks greatly outshine the mediocre shock.
Q: WHAT DID WE HATE?
A: The hate list:
(1) On/off switch. We don’t like that you have to pop the battery cover off every time you want to turn it on. If nothing else, Oset needs to put a quick release on the cover so you don’t need to use a flat-blade screwdriver. We started using the Oset key to release the fastener when we didn’t have a flat-blade screwdriver handy.
(2) Fork adjuster. To put air in the forks, you have to loosen the bottom fork clamp. Even then, it is still hard to get a fork pump on there.
(3) Shock. The shock is too weak for the great forks.
(4) Rear brake. If Oset wants to make a great starter dirt bike, it needs a rear brake pedal, not a handlebar-mounted rear brake lever.
Q: WHAT DID WE LIKE?
A: The like list:
(1) Battery. This battery lasts longer than we ever dreamed. It lasted longer than our kids did.
(2) Forks. These forks have great adjustment for big and small riders and work very well.
(3) Disc brakes. These brakes can stop on a dime. They are almost too good.
(4) Adjustability. This bike can be fully customized to your kid’s liking, as the bar height, levers, seat height and power can all be adjusted with ease.
(5) Stand. This bike sits perfectly level on a stand.
(6) Recharging. The Oset comes with a battery charger.
Q: WHAT DO WE REALLY THINK?
A: Oset really has something here, and the company has entered the market at the right time. Within the next few months, KTM will release its all-electric SX-E 5, and Husqvarna will join the fray with its EE-5. That should help explode the electric Pee-Wee market. Oset has the advantage of getting to the marketplace earlier with a bike that is more than capable of turning Junior into an electrified Roger DeCoster.