The 2023 KTM E-XC Freeride is the first time that MXA has ever tested a 12-year-old bike as though it was brand new. However, the bike in this MXA test video has an interesting back story. The first time MXA saw this bike was way back in 2010 when it made the rounds of a few European bike shows. There wasn’t a lot of interest in electric trail bikes 12 years ago and the bike didn’t surface again until KTM put it into limited production in 2012, but none came to America. It wasn’t until 2015 that KTM decided to bring 100 of the electric Freeride bikes to the USA. The 100 bikes were divvied up between ten Midwest KTM dealerships as a marketing test of the bikes sales potential. There wasn’t any potential evident and no more Freerides were forthcoming to America. But, KTM did not give up. In 2018 they put in a denser battery for more range and updated the electric motor for more power. And then everything sort of stopped again. The only Freerides we saw from 2018 to 2022 were bikes that KTM gave to influential business partners and factory riders who ask for one (mostly notably Marvin Musquin and Max Vohland). Other than that it was crickets.

In June of 2022 KTM told MXA that they planned to import 1000 Freerides, not as a giant sales program to sell large numbers of Freerides, but, in light of the success of the KTM SE-5 Pee-Wee bikes, they wanted to bring the Freerides to the USA to remind American riders that KTM has been building electric dirt bikes for the last 12 years and have successfully introduced KTM, GasGas and Husqvarna  electric Pee-Wees—and Husqvarna and GasGas electric mountain bikes. Along with telling MXA that they were going to bring Freerides to the USA, they also stated that they were going to introduce 20 new electric bikes in the next few years. We know that sounds aggressive, but given that KTM has three brands to spread the 20 new models across, they could easily get six new electric bike on showroom floors quickly by manufacturing an electric KTM 65, GasGas 65 and Husqvarna 65, followed in short order by electric 85s (across the same three three brands).

This is not do-or-die project for KTM. Nor a do-or-die bike test for MXA. The 2023 Freeride is just a limited production $11.099 electric trail bike—not an enduro bike nor motocrosser. It is just a boutique bike for someone who wants to get their feet went in the world of electric dirt bikes. And it is a time capsule in how long it takes to bring new products to the market when the consumer doesn’t want them yet.

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