—The story of CAKE’s off-road e-motorbike.
The era of sustainability encourages automotive inventors to think outside the box, sparking motivation and creativity. Electric vehicles alone have the potential to revolutionize how we use energy, and the challenge for manufacturers is to do just that, albeit without comprising the performance and design. Swedish off-roading manufacturer, CAKE, has constructed a bike, the Kalk, concentrating on the advantages sustainability can bring to the electric two-wheeler. The customized e-motorbike is capable of traversing various terrains, without infringing on the environment with a gas-powered engine that all bikes run off of. With positive feedback from hundreds of customers from 15 different countries across the globe, the Kalk aims to reinvent the traditional dirtbike and provide an interesting look into the future of off-roading.
With an idea stemming from his love for the outdoors and after getting in contact with Quantya—an Italian electric motorcycle brand—Stefan Ytterborn, the founder and CEO of CAKE, began the quest of pioneering a new off-roading motorbike. An electric bike that could still offer the exhilarating thrill and discovery of the traditional outdoor experience, but could break the stagnation in the motorbike marketplace, setting itself apart in its own category. He explains, “They tend to do what they always did, putting an electric drivetrain on a motorbike which has been developed for the combustion engine. But due to the different characteristics of the combustion engine and an electric drivetrain, there are very different consequences in terms of how the perfect ride actually comes out. Again, the motorcycle industry is stuck with the old.”
The zero-emission and soft-sounding Kalk motorbike is comprised of custom-built components, engineered to give the rider performance efficiency and a 150-lb lightweight body, without imposing on the environment. The Kalk provides three specifically designed modes of riding: Explore, Excite, and Excel, allowing one to choose a distinct riding experience. The adjustable Ohlins suspension has been developed to focus on durability, while 24-inch tires—deriving from a specific rubber—creates low rolling resistance, making for a nimble ride. With a 15-kW electric motor powered by a 51.8 volt, 50Ah battery, the Kalk runs at optimal torque, exhibiting a range from one hour of intense riding to about three hours of comfortable cruising. Its low maintenance, strong performance, and flawless, lightweight design revamps the typical off-road experience at just the turn of the throttle.
Because Ytterborn’s incentive has always been to positively impact the environment, he partnered CAKE with Utellus, an eco-friendly electricity provider, to create and implement a solar power charging system in CAKE’s electric motorbikes. The solar powered system has been programmed to charge the motorbike without consuming electricity.
Kalksten, which happens to be the Swedish word for limestone, is how CAKE created the name for their motorbike. The limestone bedrock of Gotland, a Swedish island now in the Baltic Sea, was largely comprised of coral reefs that were formed millions of years ago. The infamous continental drift sent Gotland from tropical waters all the way to the Baltic Sea, where the rest of the surroundings are mostly granite, giving it that unique whiteness in its color.
The distinct limestone became part of the layout for CAKE’s latest innovation, Track Concept, a specialized roadway built exclusively for electric bikes. CAKE believes that the upcoming generation of lightweight, electric off-road motorbikes needs a personalized and dedicated course that still captures that ‘get down and get dirty’ feeling. The Kalk’s attributes present an immense amount of power for a mountainous bike or enduro trail, but the longer course did not do the bike any justice due to its short ranges. Seeking help to design a track to accommodate both weaknesses, CAKE turned to mountain bike racer Robin Wallner.
“Light, electric off-road motorbikes have unique combinations of torque, speed, lightness and snappiness,” explains Wallner. “When Stefan reached out to me to help create a track concept that would suit the type and style of bike they were working on, I knew I had to design a track that would maximize these advantages and encompass curves, table tops, jumps, banks, and rollers.” Wallner’s creation left smiles on all the riders who’ve tested the new grounds, and has even made an appearance in Central Stockholm at Hammarbybacken/SkiStar. Furthermore, CAKE promotes the blueprints of the track can be built anywhere: in urban areas, any other available public or private space, and surprisingly enough, your own backyard.
The Kalk has brought nothing but success to the company and increasing interests from buyers all around the world—most notably from North America. The Swedish manufacturer has expanded its operations to California, where the project will be led by new hire Dan Green, overseeing all North American operations. Green has a resume worthy of acclaim, proving CAKE’s reasoning for hiring him. Green used to race motorcycles and cars professionally for 10 years and before teaming up with CAKE, he ran a self-owned company, Dan Green Restorations, which heavily specialized in marketing and strategy consulting for a variety of industries, including the automotive/motorcycle, motorsports, and cycling industries. Green says, “Being able to get in on the ground floor with this innovative brand is so exciting. CAKE is all about exploration and discovery and I can’t wait to bring this new category of adventure to North America.”
The invention of CAKE’s new e-motorbike proves to automotive pioneers how one small idea can lead to something much bigger than all of us. More specifically, winning achievements such as the Swedish Design Awards, the Grand Award of Design, and ‘Best of Best’ at the Automotive Brand Contest, all in 2018. CAKE continues to push their limits and speed up the journey towards a sustainable experience, combining excitement with responsibility. And it looks as if our view into the future is closer than we think.