A few years ago, a startup company called Alta Motors made headlines with its Redshift MX, with Josh Hill putting in impressive times on the Red Bull Straight Rhythm. Sadly, Alta is no more. But Josh has a brand new e-ride on the Stark VARG, an electric dirt bike made to rival anything in the 450cc motocross class.
The company, Stark Future, was founded by CEO Anton Wass. The goal was to make the fastest, most powerful motocross bike in the world. Their bike offers 80 HP, where most 450cc motocross bikes put out around 55-60 HP. They made it to be lightweight and have a range similar to a 450cc motorcycle with a full tank of gas. They claim either a full race, or 5-6 hours of trail riding, and 1-2 hours to fully recharge the 6 kWh battery.
The battery case features a patent-pending honeycomb structure to keep the cells protected but also let’s them vent heat through the air-cooled case. It’s IP69-rated, so you can ride it through water without concern.
It weighs in at a svelte 242 lbs. Their engineers compared current bikes on the market, and optimized the VARG in terms of weight distribution, chassis flex, and suspension for a more predictable, stable and comfortable ride. The front carbon fiber subframe has a tunnel for air cooling, There are also integrated aluminum handles at the back of the subframe to make moving the bike around by hand easier.
In their quest for lightness, they’ve gone after some innovative ideas. The skidplate floats to allow better protection for the battery and rider. Integrating the motor as part of the chassis also helped in this endeavor. They’ve even used a special alloy of stainless steel for the foot pegs that’s 40% stronger than titanium or chromoly.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
VARG, in Swedish, means “strong wolf”. In Sweden, the wolf is the king of the forest. Wass says it’s a “gentle beast” that can challenge the world’s best and fastest riders, but still also be set up to be easy for beginners. They set out to make a motocross bike first, because it’s the hardest type of bike to get right, with so many technical challenges, to prove they could do it. They claim they optimized every single component on the bike for its purpose, and design the powertrain and chassis to work together perfectly.
It offers no noise, no emissions (directly, some may come from the energy source used to charge the battery), and they claim it uses the least amount of plastic on any modern motocross bike. The low noise part is important, especially for Europe where it will launch first, where 20% of their motocross tracks have been shut down because of noise. Bikes like this may allow those tracks to reopen.
There’s no valves to adjust, oil to run out, or filters to clean. There’s just the chain, tires and brakes. Though some moto guys like making upgrades and modifications to their ICE bikes, this keeps it simple. There’s not even a clutch.
They developed their own motor, with a carbon cover, coming in at 9 kilograms. They’re also using the smallest inverter they could get in this power range. The motor and inverter are put into a water-cooled case that serves as a structural part of the bike.
The peak power of the motor is 80 HP, but the bike is designed to mostly be used in the mid-range, increasing efficiency.
The display on the bike is a shock-resistant, water-resistant android phone. That phone allows you so many ways to customize your ride. The phone charges while in places as the bike’s display. There’s an app that works on both Android and iOS for customization. You can adjust power curves, regeneration, even a virtual flywheel weight for acceleration and deceleration, and even set traction control.
There are over 100 different possible power modes, and you can have five live on the bike at any one time. You can change them on-the-fly using buttons by your left grip.
You can track lap times, even transfer your data between phones. It records lap times, lap data, speed, G-force, air time and power consumption. You can go crazy with the technology, it offers GPS navigation with trail mapping and even turn-by-turn navigation.
The price is $11900, and you can reserve one for just $100. It’s available in Stark Red, Fresh Snow or Forest Grey. Deliveries will start in September 2022.
This is a killer video featuring Josh on the new bike: