HONDA GOES RACING WITH ELECTRIC CR DIRT BIKE – COULD A HONDA E-SPORT QUAD BE NEXT?
Like it or not, electric engines are creating their niche in the powersports market. Our sister publication, Motocross Action, announced that Honda is going motocross racing with an electric CR dirt bike in Japan. Former 250 Outdoor National and 250 Supercross champion Trey Canard will pilot the new bike. Honda first introduced this bike in 2019 at the Tokyo Motorcycle Show, where it received a lot of attention. Since that time, Honda has updated it with improvements and appears to be looking at releasing it for mass production. We don’t have any information on the range or specifications at this time.
Will it be popular? The answer is a resounding YES if you don’t use social media comment space as a gauge. Beta, the Italian maker of exotic 2-stroke and 4-stroke enduro, dual-sport, MX, and trials bikes, recently announced the addition of the all-electric Beta Explorer for 2024. The Explorer is a smaller dirt bike designed for trail riding with different power modes, including a 10-second burst “Rocket” mode. It also has a reverse gear, a rare feature on any motorcycle. Depending on mode selection, the range on a single charge varies from 30 miles (higher performance) to 100 miles (Casual Mode). The 74-volt battery can be fully charged in 2 hours. Extra batteries can also be swapped out in minutes. Getting back to our point, we were surprised to find out that consumer pre-orders eclipsed dealer allotments for the Explorer, which begins shipping to Beta dealerships this month.
We’ve also seen many patent filings for electric ATVs from various manufacturers over the last year. That, along with the announcement of Honda’s new electric CR dirt bike, begs the question – could an electric Honda sport quad be next? Don’t shoot the messenger; we love our race gas-burning wheelers as much as you do, especially when mixed with a little Maxima Castor 927! We don’t see electric ATVs and side-by-sides replacing gas-powered offerings anytime soon, if ever. But would an electric Honda TRX-E be successful? We can see it being popular on the short track and bringing motocross racing back into the inner cities – indoors and outside. The ability to swap battery packs quickly makes cross-country applications doable. We know of an electric ATV startup looking to conquer the Baja 1000. Would it be viable for recreational use, such as trail riding and hitting the dunes? In the not-so-distant future, we’re about to find out.