ELECTRICITY AND POWERSPORTS – IT’S ABOUT BEING ABLE TO RIDE!

Words by Jeff Henson – Video by Travis Pastrana

For seven minutes, put aside what you already know, or think you know, about electric vehicles and watch this video. Before we dig into it, we can assure you we’re not trying to lure you into a cult or turn you all into a bunch of smart-car driving do-gooders. I’ve got no intention of trading in my trusty 14 mpg F350 powerstroke, and none of us here at Dirt Wheels plan to give up our classic 2-stroke and 4-stroke sport machines. That would be heresy!

But electric dirt bikes and sport quads aren’t about saving the planet or selfish ‘look at me’ virtue signaling. And sure, the major American auto manufacturers are seeing a downward sales trend in the popularity of EVs, but we’re talking about something other than your daily driver. We also realize EVs have their own environmental issues that still require oil, gas, and coal to create and maintain. It’s not about that either. It’s all about a power upgrade with gobs of torque and speed – something we all crave – and having more places to enjoy it.

Fellow editor Cain Smead and I, skeptics and even anti-EV in the past, have gone back and forth about electric motors in powersports vehicles over the last year. We’re beginning to see the benefits far outweigh the cons of owning an electric powersports vehicle.

  • Off-the-line torque beats gas-burning engines every time.
  • There are hundreds of power curve and horsepower settings for every terrain type.
  • You can quickly tune it with your phone.
  • General maintenance consists of hosing it off and plugging it in.
  • Battery life has improved substantially, and charging time is much quicker.
  • Quick change battery setups are being developed.
  • Pricing is coming down to gas-powered levels.
  • The anti-OHV goons won’t complain about you if they can’t hear you!

PASTARANA’S TAKE ON ELECTRIC 

The most shocking part of Pastrana’s review is where he admits that Stark Varg has more power than he’s used to. “I just love to ride. This thing has got 80-horsepower. It’s got more take-off-torque than I could ever handle,” says Pastrana.

Pastarana addresses the complaints from powersports fans about electric vehicles taking over. “Everyone is like, ‘You charge it with a generator.’ Yeah, I don’t really care what you charge it with. Being green and going forward, that’s all fine, but I’m here for the horsepower… It’s either sit at home and complain about where the future is going – or go out and have fun and drive the most powerful vehicles on the face of the earth.”

Travis rode the Stark Varg at Pleasure Valley Raceway in Seward, PA, and mentioned that he still had 75% battery power after one full moto. “I could do a whole day’s session without needing a charge,” claimed Pastrana. The manufacturer claims the bike has a leisurely trail riding range of six hours, and charging takes one to two hours depending on the charging source.

Our favorite part about the future of electric vehicles is the new riding opportunities it could open up due to the lack of noise. To those who say dust will still be a factor, we say quit doing donuts in the staging area and get out there on the trails where you won’t be seen or heard.

“I think it’s going to be a bike that you can run in all places. So many tracks get shut down. I know when 4-strokes came out, and even though they seemed not much louder than 2-strokes, the sound traveled so much more, and we had so many more complaints,” says Pastrana. “So many tracks are getting shut down, even with the 2-strokes. As cities grow out toward the tracks, I believe these are going to help more tracks go up in more places, which is going to help people ride more, which is going to help our industry. We need these electric bikes coming in so we can race in more places and more people can have more fun. This thing will open up so many doorways to being able to ride places you would never be able to ride before.”

We see the new electric wave spilling over into ATVs, and we’ve already spotted some new electric sport quad patent design drawings being submitted by the major ATV manufacturers. Youth models are already here as the electric trend appears to be bringing the all-but-absent younger generations back to off-roading; There’s power in numbers! As competition heats up for market share, it only makes sense for more manufacturers to test the electric current in a full-size and lighweight four-wheeler chassis.

More torque, more horsepower, more tunability, more places to ride and race, more people in the sport, and possibly more sport quad model choices. Why would we argue against any of that?

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