KTM Goes Electric With Its Kid-Friendly SX-E 5 Dirt Bike

Kids’ electric motocrosser adjustable in sizes and power levels.

KTM’s new SX-E 5 brings the low-maintenance and silent running of electric motorcycles to the mini motocross ranks, substituting the 50cc two-stroke engine from the 50 SX with a twist-and-go electric motor.
KTM’s new SX-E 5 brings the low-maintenance and silent running of electric motorcycles to the mini motocross ranks, substituting the 50cc two-stroke engine from the 50 SX with a twist-and-go electric motor.KTM

Seems like today's kids are less inclined to spend time outdoors on things like bicycles and minibikes. Too complicated, too noisy, and too hot compared to the smartphones and tablets they often covet.

Well, the new SX-E 5 swaps a dirty two-stroke engine for a power source kids understand: electricity. Gone are oil changes, spark plug cleaning, and piston re-ringing in favor of a 5,000-watt motor. Other than adjusting and lubing the chain, there is virtually no maintenance required.

Forget the hassle of premix and kickstarting! Just plug it in while your kid sips down a Capri Sun between motos.
Forget the hassle of premix and kickstarting! Just plug it in while your kid sips down a Capri Sun between motos.KTM

Simply charge up the 907Wh battery, toss the 90-pound minibike in the minivan (no gas or oil fumes!), and unload it almost anywhere for instant two-wheel gratification. Or just rip around your yard if you’ve got room to roam.

The chassis of the SX-E 5 is a serious piece of kit. The main frame is quality chromoly steel, while the swingarm is lightweight aluminum.
The chassis of the SX-E 5 is a serious piece of kit. The main frame is quality chromoly steel, while the swingarm is lightweight aluminum.KTM

The key story behind the SX-E 5 is its adjustability, both in its physical size and its power output. Also notable is that this machine is of a quality far beyond any electric bike found at Wal-Mart or Amazon. It's built around a beefy chromoly frame, with a fully adjustable WP suspension and disc brakes at both ends, and boasts an aluminum handlebar that tapers down to just 18mm to fit small hands. Aluminum wheel rims too.

Pre-School

Some parents get their kids on motorbikes as young as three or four years old. The SX-E 5 is already small in its factory layout, but you can get its seat down as low as 21.9 inches if you purchase the accessory lowering kit ($150). Then toggle the power level to its lowest setting and your kid will be unable to get away while you walk alongside, even at full “throttle.” After confidence is gained, bump the power up a level out of the six settings. KTM says to expect as much as two hours of battery life when used by noobs.

A Neken aluminum handlebar tapers from 28mm in the central area to 22mm in the bends to 18mm in the handhold area. The thinner diameter provides better grip for young riders to reduce fatigue. The “tank” can be set to two positions over a 1-inch range.
A Neken aluminum handlebar tapers from 28mm in the central area to 22mm in the bends to 18mm in the handhold area. The thinner diameter provides better grip for young riders to reduce fatigue. The “tank” can be set to two positions over a 1-inch range.KTM

Safeguards include a wrist lanyard that stops the motor if your kid and the bike are parted. Additionally, a rollover sensor cuts the power in the event of a fall, but only after a few seconds, allowing the bike to be picked up and immediately ridden away after a minor tip-over. Keep in mind that there is never an issue about firing up the SX—just hit the button and go.

School-Age

Once your kid grows, you can remove the lowering kit and get the SX-E to its smallest factory configuration. Keep the extruded polymer subframe and rear shock to their lowest of two positions, and retain the fork in its lowest position to yield a seat height of 25.7 inches.

The compact permanent-magnet air-cooled motor is waterproof and produces peak power of 5 kilowatts (5,000 watts). The only maintenance is to inspect the motor shaft bearing after 40 hours of use. It has a two-year warranty.
The compact permanent-magnet air-cooled motor is waterproof and produces peak power of 5 kilowatts (5,000 watts). The only maintenance is to inspect the motor shaft bearing after 40 hours of use. It has a two-year warranty.KTM

A dongle under the seat locks the desired power level so your 5-year-old isn’t tempted to unleash the motor’s full 5,000 watts before s/he is ready for it. Use the instrument panel to set the power level to one of its middle settings and keep track of the battery’s state of charge. KTM says a charge from zero to 80 percent requires 45 minutes; 70 minutes from zero to 100 percent. KTM notes the SX-E isn’t designed for regular battery swaps, though it does sell the 12-pound battery packs for $850, which can be swapped in about 10 minutes.

The multifunctional instrument allows users to select between the six ride modes, from ultra-mild to almost wild. The instrument also displays the remaining charge in the battery’s 84 lithium-ion cells.
The multifunctional instrument allows users to select between the six ride modes, from ultra-mild to almost wild. The instrument also displays the remaining charge in the battery’s 84 lithium-ion cells.KTM

Pre-Middle-School

Your kid’s getting bigger in size and in talent. Set the shock, subframe, and fork to their tallest settings, and you’ve now got a generous 9.9 inches of ground clearance and a seat 27.5 inches from the dirt. Use a bicycle pump to adjust air pressure in the fork to suit your kid’s bigger frame. Suspension travel is a relatively huge 8.1 inches up front and 7.3 inches at the rear. Compression and rebound damping are adjustable too.

Now that your young rider has worked through the bottom five power levels, it’s time for full squirt six. Peak torque is said to be 10.2 pound-feet, which is considerable for a diminutive machine weighing just 90 pounds. KTM says the SX-E is even quicker than its 50 SX sibling around a tight track, though the two-smoker will hold an advantage on faster circuits. If you’ve got a budding pro on board, that battery can get sucked dry after 25 minutes of racing.

“With zero emissions and sound pollution,” KTM says, “the KTM SX-E 5 is at the leading-edge of competitive minicross and is a viable alternative to the petrol-powered 50cc engine, bringing with it an entirely new generation of competitive racing.”
“With zero emissions and sound pollution,” KTM says, “the KTM SX-E 5 is at the leading-edge of competitive minicross and is a viable alternative to the petrol-powered 50cc engine, bringing with it an entirely new generation of competitive racing.”KTM

“The complete beginner can ride on a track almost straight away with this bike as it’s so easy to ride,” said Joachim Sauer, KTM senior product manager off-road. “Yet a national level rider can have comparable lap times to that of the combustion bike, which is something special.”

We believe the combination of zero exhaust emissions, minuscule noise emissions, extremely minimal maintenance, and the ability to adapt to riders of various sizes makes KTM’s SX-E 5 a highly desirable minibike.

When you add in the quality components and the expected durability from a reputable OEM like KTM for a price ($5,049) only $700 more than its two-stroke counterpart, we think there’ll be more than a few Christmas trees with an SX-E 5 under them this winter. Expect to see them at dealers in November.

2020 KTM SX-E 5 Specifications

The KTM SX-E 5 isn’t just a toy. It’s designed to hit motocross tracks hard once its rider is up to speed. “This is a fully fledged competition motorcycle with low noise emissions," KTM says.
The KTM SX-E 5 isn’t just a toy. It’s designed to hit motocross tracks hard once its rider is up to speed. “This is a fully fledged competition motorcycle with low noise emissions,” KTM says, “making it more accessible to younger riders for use in areas where noise emissions are restricted.”KTM
PRICE $5,049
MOTOR 48-volt permanent-magnet electric, air-cooled, 5kW at 3,900 rpm
CLUTCH None
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 1-speed/chain
FRAME Chromoly steel double-cradle
FRONT SUSPENSION 35mm WP Xact inverted air fork, fully adjustable; 8.1-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION WP Xact monoshock, fully adjustable; 7.3-in. travel
FRONT BRAKE 160mm disc
REAR BRAKE 160mm disc
TIRES, FRONT/REAR Maxxis; 2.50 x 12 / 2.75 x 10
RAKE/TRAIL 24.0°/ N/A
WHEELBASE 40.6 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 25.7–27.5 in.
BATTERY CAPACITY 907Wh, 2-year warranty
CLAIMED WEIGHT 89 lb.
WARRANTY N/A
AVAILABLE November 2019
CONTACT ktm.com/