Coming from the co-founder of POC helmets, which has a big following among cyclists, Cake is a new zero-emissions brand of motorcycles. Their first bike, the Cake Kalk, takes inspiration from enduro and downhill mountain bikes, then ups the capability, speed and fun-factor while keeping things light and nimble. And it’ll do all that with zero noise, zero emissions and virtually no maintenance.
Weighing in just under 155lbs (~70kg) ready to ride, the Kalk splits the difference between a 50lb eMTB and a 250lb gasoline powered moto. Where it differentiates from both is the lack of gears or clutch, keeping things simple with only a throttle and mode switches to control speed and performance. Three modes will let the rider adapt throttle response to their skill level or terrain:
- Discover: Slows acceleration, limits speed to 28mph, good for learning or kids.
- Explore: Balances battery life with a spirited ride.
- Excite: Maximizes speed, power and acceleration.
The motor directly drives the rear wheel, so there’s no shifting, and the suspension is a simple single pivot design to minimize weight and complications. Everything rolls and moves on SKF bearings.
The light weight combines with 24×3.25 tires to make the bike extremely maneuverable. Add in geometry, suspension settings, and rider positioning based off enduro mountain bike riding, and we’re guessing it’ll feel much more like a mountain bike when trying to pop a wheelie (or just lift the front end over puddles and small logs) or jump. And comparing to MTB’s, since there’s no clutch, another likely benefit is the ability to swap brake levers from left to right so you can use typical “moto / UK” style placement with right-hand-front braking, or stick to the usual MTB style of right-hand-rear braking.
While the geo and ride was meant to mimic a mountain bike, the components, suspension and frame were all designed from the ground up specifically for the Kalk. They say typical motorbike parts would have been too heavy, but mountain bike wheels, tires, suspension and cockpit parts wouldn’t have been strong enough.
So they custom developed all of their parts, partnering with Ohlins for the fork and shock. The 204mm fork gets that brand’s TTX dampening technology, 38mm stanchions, nitrogen-pressurized bladder reservoir system, 3-level high speed and 16-click low speed compression, and 7-low speed rebound adjustments.
CAKE KALK MOTOR & BATTERY SPECS
- 15kW peak/9kW continuous
- 42Nm peak torque
- 3000 rpm
- Adjustable regenerative motor braking
- 18650 lithium cells
- 51.8 Volt
The Kalk is named after the bright white Kalksten limestone found around their hometown in Gotland, Sweden, where they molded the land into berms and jumps for testing. Top speed is 50mph, which is just more than double what the fastest e-MTB assist will provide. And at $14,000 it’s about double what the top-level e-mountain bikes cost, too. Maximum range is 50 miles. Out of the box, it’s not street legal, meant for offroad use only. No word on whether they’ll make a street-legal kit for this, but they do say this is only the beginning for the brand. Their goal is to speed up the adoption of zero-emission vehicles, so we’d expect to see more soon enough.
The Cake Kalk is available for pre-order now with a $1,000 deposit securing you one of 50 initial bikes. Those limited edition bikes get extruded and CNC’d 6061 aluminum frames with carbon fiber bodies and special features like a Recco recovery alert beacon and delivery starting in June 2018, with parts and accessories coming online at the same time. Regular orders will be taken following the pre-sale and deliver in late 2018.