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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

A Silent World – Red Bull Posts Video of Electric Freestyle

It might be difficult to understand just how transformative electric dirt bikes could be. The dust is still there, but the exhaust fumes and noise are gone. Take a look at this Red Bull video of Freestyle Motocross rider Mat Rebeaud playing in the fields with the cows.

If the dust is controlled, we can see motocross tracks popping up in small neighborhoods and inner-cities. Have a look (and a listen).

See more of MD’s great photography: Instagram


  1. Mr.Mike says:

    Motorcycle engines sound great but silence is better. Bring on the quiet.

  2. Dave Sumner says:

    Bring on the quiet. I am sick and tired of other peoples’ noise. I don’t care to listen to it or add to it.

    • Provologna says:

      Holy Krap! If you’re a non-military interventionist, then I respectfully nominate you to be King of the Universe!!!

  3. McCabe says:

    I like the sound of Ducati’s. I like the sound of Moto Guzzi’s. I like the sound of Moto GP Bikes. I like the sound of superbikes. Even like the sound of Harley’’s!. I like the sound of internal combustion in every form. I like the sound of Ferraris. I like the sound of Mustangs. I like the sound of Camaro’s.
    I especially like the sound of Porsche’s.
    I don’t care for the sound of chain noise and whirring. I guess I’m the odd man out on MCdaily.

    • Reginald Van Blunt says:

      Chain noise and whirring do nothing, but an inline 3 with no intake attenuation under full throttle is heaven. A Rolls Royce V-12 Merlin is god speaking.

      • Provologna says:

        Never heard the Merlin, and wish I had.

        Every hear a very finely tuned, low mileage, otherwise stock ’79-’80 Honda CBX engine with carbs professionally jetted and professionally installed Denco 6-1 header?

        This particular CBX was an ’80 w/’79 cams (’80 cams around 10% softer for emissions), rare OEM black tank (gold/silver pin striping IIRC, best color of all naked CBX IMO; the other tanks were smoke silver or candy apple red), Honda OEM sport kit (lower I-beam bars, rear sets, control cables, etc.), S&W dual spring shocks, fork brace, re-valved fork internals, Pirelli Phantoms, etc. ’80 swingarm had brass swingarm bushings; ’79 were awful nylon.

        Stopped at a red light, blipping the throttle as quickly as you possibly can, you just want to have that things baby right there. By comparison, an air-cooled in-line four with a header sounds like a farm implement.

        It’s interesting that you mention “no intake attenuation.” I generally seem to dislike intake noise, especially V-stacks (horns), which are of course tuned to a particular resonant frequency, and can dominate all other resonant tones.

  4. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    Sound, gives its own texture to life. Excessive and unwarranted sound is noise. Embrace tonal quality, rather than announcing the arrival of another idiot.

  5. John A. Kuzmenko says:

    If somebody does not like or want motorcycles riding someplace, it does not matter if it’s a gasoline engine, electric motor, or what ever else you got beneath you.

  6. Hot Dog says:

    I put 100K+ on a Wing and never once turned on the radio/stereo. Quite is a good thing. “Hey look at me, can you see how cool I am”? Nope, you’re not.

  7. ill_mostro says:

    I love the sound of an ICE motorcycle. Half the reason I ride a Ducati is because of the music (to me anyway) of that 90 degree twin. Having literally grown up at a Yamaha dealership in the 70s with posters of King Kenny and Bob Hurricane Hannah on my walls, I get kinda nostalgic when I smell the sweet smell orf a good ol’ two stroke. Unfortunately, those are also the sounds and smells of the planet getting warmer and warmer. So I say bring on the solar/electric future! Before you know it they will be lighter and faster, and that will be it for the old ICE.

    So yeah I’m a hypocrite who still burns up some gasoline in my Duck (though I probably put 10x the mileage on my bicycle) but an electric/solar future is the only way we are going to hand something resembling a livable planet to our kids. Our current plans are for solar panels on the house and the next motorcycle and car purchases to be electric, with only one gasoline vehicle left for longer trips.

    • Motoman says:

      Pretty much sums up the way I feel too.

    • Motoman says:

      Pretty much sums up the way I feel too.

      • David Fisher says:

        I completely agree. I put 4000+ on my bicycle every year and somewhat less on my Honda. Sure the sounds of the gas engine are wonderful but we have a RESPONSIBILITY to make the change. Honda, where is your electric motorcycle?

  8. CrazyJoe says:

    Maybe I shouldn’t say it. Way back at the dawn of computers my boss trying to choose who would be on Cad bought my schpiel, arm waving and all, I was given a two screen computer. Lucky me. Should I play the same game here in a quest for social acceptance in an attempt to fit in, to be one of the guys? Electric motorcycle’s the wave of the future: silent, fast, green?

    No can do. I never never understood exhaust noise. Like many I laughed at Harley riders that rev their noisy engines to scare the locals. I shouted at the guys with Mustang GT’s with modified exhaust that never shift out of second because they like the sound. I even shake my head at the sports motorcyclist who spend more on an exhaust system than I would on a bike. To me quite was good.

    Then I heard it. It was on a video. The new Big Boxer Cruiser by BMW. Nothing I ever heard was more beautiful. I dream of that sound day and night. Trust me you couldn’t sneak up on a cow with one of those. Electric bike my eye. Screw the future, I need the sound of a big twin and the smell of gasoline, now.

  9. Holygeezer says:

    As someone who rode a lot, I wish I could have ridden a silent bike. I wanted to move through the environment as stealthy as I could so I could be closer to nature so to speak. For those who have to have the sound of an ICE while riding, how about bikes come with a set of earphones that pump the noise of an engine straight into your ears so the rest of us don’t have to hear it. Especially out in nature. But apparently some folks just have to impose their noise on others no matter what.

  10. Gary says:

    The video is cool. I like everything about electric bikes except 1) the range (a hair scramble would be a race with time/charge), and 2) the price. Both of these will change over time.

    It’s a shame that Harley bought Alta only to let them fail…but that’s the Harley way.

    • todd says:

      It was a “partnership” in which H-D provided enough talk and carrots to suck as much IP as possible out of them. While they were in there, they also figured out who would be best to cherry pick for their new electric bike development team they were planning to start up down the peninsula. Ruthless…

  11. SVGeezer says:

    Title says “Electric” but it is really a “Battery” bike. People are gaming battery vehicles as electric as they don’t want to talk about the honest limitations of batteries. Simply put, when you are out in the middle of Gods Wilderness on a E-bike (B-bike?)how long before the battery is flat, how long to recharge, and how do you recharge them in the middle of nowhere? It’s not like you can carry a can of electrons and pour them into a battery.

    Battery bikes look insanely cool for short term use. Stop scamming us into believing they are currently more than that.

    • Dirck Edge says:


    • Mike says:

      They ARE in fact electric bikes. They use a combination of direct and alternating current.
      -You plug into an AC outlet which powers the charger which converts the AC into DC to charge the battery.
      -The DC from the battery is then converted to AC to power the 3 phase electric motor.

      Ever see or hear about somebody stepping on the third rail and getting fried? 550 volts DC.

      • Jeremy says:

        Yeah, if we have to call electric bikes “battery bikes”, then we should be referring to our current motorcycles as “gas tank bikes.”

        • SVGeezer says:

          I will up front admit my calling them battery bikes was to affect peoples view of them. I strongly suspect “electric bike” was chosen for the same marketing reasons. Electric is great! And has been since the 1890’s when it first was being used to power things. Problem is, where do you get the electricity. Motor generator is still best for anything mobile, but batteries,live power pickup, broadcast power, and high energy capacitors have all been used. And all those methods have real limitations that restrict their use. (Except, maybe, the motor-generator as diesel electric locomotives rule the rails and have for near 80 years)

          Oh and GAS and DIESEL is often used to identify cars and trucks. (you want a gas truck or a diesel truck?)

    • Just a matter of time until batteries are standardized and you can swap-em out. An IC engine will run out of gas…so you carry extra gas. Same thing, Geez. Now with every single IC manufacturer researching BATTERY technology like mad, the IC era is ending. Keep up your conspiracy theories like a good boomer.

      • todd says:

        Go ahead and hold your breath. I remember when floppy discs were a thing and they gave way to CDs. When those were reaching capacity I thought that computer and software companies were going to take the effort to simplify and write cleaner code that took up less space and required fewer hardware resources. Nope, it just kept getting sloppier so they started to figure out how to increase storage density and processing power. The car and bike manufacturers are not going to figure out ways to make batteries and charging more universal and swappable, they are just working on how to cram even more into the same space. Unfortunately, physics and chemistry has its limits so we will soon be in search of new chemistry and new physics to work with.

      • Ralph W. says:

        “An IC engine will run out of gas…so you carry extra gas.”

        Are you suggesting we could carry an extra battery? Are you aware of the size, weight and cost of them? Despite all of the research and development in battery tech they still can’t give anywhere near the range of an IC bike. It is easy to increase and even double the range of an IC bike by fitting a larger tank and carrying fuel cans or bladders. Then it only takes 5 minutes to ‘recharge.’ Battery powered bikes have a short range (at highway speeds) and there is no indication of there being any MAJOR change to that. If you are content to only ride short distances and never go far from a ‘recharge’ station, good for you. But for many of us they are nowhere near good enough.

        The batteries have a very short life compared to the rest of the bike and are hideously expensive to replace. I used to think that standardized batteries and having the bikes designed for them to be easily swappable at recharge stations would be the solution for most people. But for that to work there would have to be at least three times the number of batteries in circulation (probably a lot more) as there would be battery-powered vehicles on the road. Would that be cost effective?

      • Jason says:

        Standard batteries will happen about the time that internal combustion engines are standardized. Two huge problems with standard batteries:

        1. Battery tech is the way manufacturers differentiate their vehicles. No company wants their competitors to have the same tech as they do.
        2. Standardizing would freeze battery development in place. Today it is rapidly changing which each company trying to gain advantage. Standardize it and you lock in today’s battery technology for years or even decades.

        • Ralph W. says:

          The batteries would only have to be standardized in size, shape, fitment and terminal position so they fit many or all different vehicles. Battery manufacturers would still be able to research and improve what goes into the internals. At the moment we have standardized fuels of a few different types. Vehicle manufacturers can make whatever type of IC engine they like as long as it is suitable to run on the fuels that are available.

    • Jeremy says:

      Well, I didn’t see where it was affixed to any cables along its route, so I think it would take a pretty daft idiot to assume the bike can run without batteries. It is an electric bike. And it runs on batteries.

  12. Jeremy says:

    I’ve wanted an electric dirt bike for a while now. The defunct Alta Redshift was really, really close for me. The range was just a bit short for me to be able to use the bike for anything more than just a fraction of my riding. I’d have paid an extra 25 lb penalty to get a bigger capacity battery for more range. But I know they wanted the Redshift line to be competition bikes, not play bikes, and they were at the weight limit for that.

    The KTM Freeride E is neat, but it has even less range than the Alta. If your backyard resembles the guy’s in the video, I’m sure the Freeride is perfect. Even if you are just an MX track rider, it is probably good for that as well if you bring a generator with you.

    In any case, I think off-road riding and electric motorcycles have a bright future together. At least KTM is participating. I’d like to see Zero try their hand at an off-road model. Or better yet, I’d like to see the Japanese get serious about the segment.

  13. todd says:

    I guess some people prefer their bike sounds like squealing pigs or it fondly reminds them of their old Power Wheels Jeep. I just run stock mufflers to keep quiet.

    • Ralph W. says:

      I don’t care about what sound a bike makes, although it can be safer to be heard. I like the idea of there being no more Harleys with open pipes blasting past my place. Those guys really are inconsiderate idiots.

      • Hot Dog says:

        Those boys have inadequacies they are hiding and trying to make up for, give em’ a break.

  14. DucDynasty says:

    I dunno. I have mixed feelings about it. I love the rauckus noise, the smell and all that goes with engines/pipes. However, I think electric cars, bikes, scooters and motorcycles are pretty cool too.

    I would attend races of any electric vehicles. Why not?

  15. Gregory Plassmann says:

    Alta – Come back!!! E-Bike development seems to have taken a pause. Can we even get a KTM Freeride E in the US anymore?

  16. Mark says:

    That does absolutely nothing for me. No soul.

    • Motoman says:

      It looks like an absolute hoot to me. And I can ride just like that too…

      And that high-pitched whine is starting to grow on me.

      • Mark says:

        My motorcycles are all quiet. I like quiet bikes but the electric bikes are NOT quiet, I wish the journos would be straight about that. All this zinggg zinggging around, that incessant whine, would get to me quick.

    • Dave says:

      I think it’s great for open space riding. I wouldn’t miss the noise. For racing, different story. I’m not sure how fans would react to quiet racing.

  17. bowtiedaddy says:

    Cleanest shop floor on the planet.

  18. Dave says:

    Noise & pollution was always the issue opponents used to deny motorcycles land access. Looks like we’ll find out if that was real before much longer.

    • Austin ZZR 1200 says:

      Perhaps..but the real risks of erosion (mt biker here) and liability will remain

    • VFRMarc says:

      Guess what? Cows are great polluters too. Methane gas as a byproduct of their digestion contributes to global warming and runoff from manure piles have been compromising streams, rivers and bays all over the globe. Tell that to the land use opponents. Great video; the future is now.

    • Mick says:

      As a guys who rides well built thirty year old trails that were popular with mountain bikers, until a nearby place built a bunch of mountain bike tails, I call bunk on the erosion bit. That is unless the ATV people come along and destroy the tail in a weekend.

      Harley killed Alta. Thanks a ton Harley.

      I am also a mountain biker. I must admit that I ride fat bikes most of the time. Something about the cornering being more similar to a dirt bike.

      • austin zzr 1200 says:

        And I can BS on you being a mountain biker. Trails close for a reason in wet weather.

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