In a recent interview with Stefan Ytterborn, the CEO of Cake Electric Motorcycles told us his bikes are about “inviting new people—outdoor people, mountain bikers, motorbike guys, whoever wants to get out there—to experience something new.” The 2018 Kalk Limited Edition, which is the bike we tested, is the first model in Cake’s lineup and is sold out. However, it’s essentially the same as Cake’s second bike, the Kalk OR, which is a 2019 model and is available for purchase. Cake informed us the only differences between the two are that the Kalk Limited Edition has carbon-fiber bodywork, while the Kalk OR uses injection-molded plastic. The two bikes are essentially identical. Cake brought a 2018 Kalk Limited Edition for us to conduct a one-day test, and we headed to the poppy-filled hills of Southern California to swing our leg over this eBike for the first time.

The Kalk Limited Edition is powered by a 51.8-volt, 50-Ah, 2.6-kWh battery. The bike has no clutch or shifter and offers three riding modes: Explore (map 1), Excite (map 2), and Excel (map 3). Cake describes “Explore” (map 1) as being designed for just what the name implies—“exploration,” or average speed trail riding. This map has a claimed top speed of about 28 mph and two hours or more of battery range. “Excite” (map 2) is recommended for “enduro or active trail riding” with a battery life of one to two hours, according to Cake. “Excel” (map 3) is the “track or race mode” that provides “maximum torque and speed” with a battery life claimed to be up to an hour.

We rode the bike for a total ride time of approximately an hour and the battery life fell just below 50 percent, and that was with switching between the three modes throughout the duration of the ride—mostly Excite (map 2) and Excel (map 3)—at average trail speeds. According to Cake, it takes 1.5 hours to charge from 0 percent to 80 percent and 2.5 hours to charge from 0 percent to 100 percent.

One of the biggest hurdles to getting used to riding the Kalk Limited Edition, and most electric bikes for that matter, is the lack of response from the initial opening of the throttle to when the bike begins accelerating. It takes about one-fifth of the throttle opening for the bike to begin moving, so you have to be mindful when you are on and off the throttle and plan ahead more so than with a gas-powered bike.

Cake Kalk Limited Edition
The 2018 Cake Kalk Limited Edition is an electric motorcycle that retails for $14,000. The Kalk Limited Edition is sold out, but Cake’s second bike—the 2019 Kalk OR—costs $13,000 and is available for purchase.Jeff Allen

We began riding the bike in Explore (map 1) to get used to the power delivery and found it to be very user friendly as it was predictable and didn’t accelerate quick enough to spin the rear wheel. Holding the throttle wide open in this map brought the bike up to a comfortable trail speed. When we switched to Excite (map 2), the bike accelerated much quicker and had a plentiful amount of torque, which made it easy to maintain traction. In the most powerful map, Excel (map 3), twisting the throttle from a quarter turn to wide open provided enough power to easily spin the rear tire in minimal traction situations so you needed to modulate your throttle hand carefully. In optimal traction conditions, this map enabled us to ride the bike more like a motorcycle as far as obstacles and gaps. After experimenting with the three modes, we switched between Excite (map 2) and Excel (map 3) for the remainder of our ride time, depending on our riding speed and technicality of the trail.

Öhlins suspension
Three power modes, three engine-braking settings, and Öhlins suspension are some of the features that come standard on the Kalk Limited Edition.Jeff Allen

The Kalk Limited Edition has three engine-brake settings: Freewheel (map 1), Two-Stroke (map 2), and Four-Stroke (map 3). Freewheel (map 1) has virtually no engine-braking, while Two-Stroke (map 2) has the same amount of engine-braking as an average modern-day four-stroke dirt bike. Four-Stroke (map 3) has lots of engine-braking, so much so that we felt like the brakes were dragging. Among these three maps, we preferred Freewheel (map 1) in nearly all scenarios, but we could see how Two-Stroke (map 2) and Four-Stroke (map 3) could come in handy when descending a steep climb as the engine-braking helped maintain a slow speed.

Öhlins 38mm fork
The Öhlins 38mm fork was firmer and more performance-oriented than we anticipated it would be. It offered good holdup in the stroke and impressive bottoming resistance.Jeff Allen

The Öhlins 38mm inverted fork and Öhlins TTX 22 linkage-equipped shock that come on the bike are developed specifically for the Kalk Limited Edition. The fork was firmer and more performance-oriented than we anticipated it would be. It had good holdup in the stroke and impressive bottoming resistance. The shock soaked up small trail imperfections well, with enough rebound to unload the rear of the bike easily when riding over obstacles and when hopping across gaps.

Explore
Explore (map 1) is very user friendly as it’s predictable and doesn’t accelerate quick enough to spin the rear wheel and break traction.Jeff Allen

The Cake’s 152-pound claimed weight makes it easy to throw around and put where you want it. It’s easily maneuverable at low speed and changes direction quickly at higher speeds as well. When ridden wide open in Excel (map 3) on terrain with mild bumps, the bike did not exhibit any twitchiness or headshake, though we didn’t ride it over any super-rough terrain at speed because that’s not what the bike was designed for.

Descending
Of the three engine-braking settings, we preferred Freewheel (map 1) most of the time as it has virtually no engine-braking. Two-Stroke (map 2) and Four-Stroke (map 3) can be beneficial when descending steep climbs or whenever the rider wants to maintain a slow speed.Jeff Allen
Excite
Excite (map 2) enabled the Kalk Limited Edition to accelerate quickly and had a plentiful amount of torque, making it easy to maintain traction.Jeff Allen

The Kalk Limited Edition has a flat and somewhat wide seat, making it easy to move forward and back on the bike. The flat bend and forward position of the handlebar provides the sensation of riding a mountain bike rather than a dirt bike. It has Formula brakes in the front and rear, and both are actuated by handlebar levers as there is no foot brake. Both brakes performed decently and could bring the bike to a quick halt when necessary. We also noticed the rear was grabbier than the front.

Kalk Limited Edition
The Kalk Limited Edition has a flat and somewhat wide seat, making it easy to move forward and back on the bike. The flat bend and forward position of the handlebar provide the sensation of riding a mountain bike rather than a dirt bike.Jeff Allen
Slab
The combination of the bike’s light weight, electric power, and mountain bike-style chassis had us experimenting with different techniques and riding styles in the varied terrain we rode.Jeff Allen

Riding an electric bike that weighs about as much as a trials motorcycle was a fun and interesting experience. The combination of the bike’s light weight, electric power, and mountain bike-style chassis had us experimenting with different techniques and riding styles in the various types of terrain we rode. We were impressed with the Cake’s overall performance, but with a retail price of $14,000 for the Kalk Limited Edition and $13,000 for the Kalk OR, these bikes are more expensive than any of the big six 450cc four-stroke motocross bikes and are pricier than most high-end mountain bikes on the market too. For that reason, we’d describe these as bikes that are well suited to someone who wants to own and experience a machine that somewhat bridges the gap between a mountain bike and dirt bike, and is different in terms of size and styling than most eBikes on the market.

TECH SPECS

 
PRICE $14,000
BATTERY 51.8-volt, 50 Ah, 2.6 kWh w/ 18,650 lithium cells
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 1-speed/chain
MEASURED HORSEPOWER N/A
MEASURED TORQUE N/A
FRAME Aluminum
FRONT SUSPENSION Öhlins inverted fork adjustable for rebound, high-speed compression, low-speed compression; 8.0-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION Öhlins TTX 22 shock adjustable for spring preload, rebound and compression damping; 8.1-in. travel
FRONT BRAKE 2-piston caliper, Formula 220mm disc
REAR BRAKE 2-piston caliper, Formula 220mm disc
WHEELBASE 51.6 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 35.8 in.
CLAIMED WEIGHT 152 lb.
AVAILABLE Now
CONTACT ridecake.com