The Alta Thread

Discussion in 'Electric Motorcycles' started by swamp, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. bluefxstc

    bluefxstc .

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    This is my impression of the 2017 Alta Redshift MX that I have had as a demo over the past couple of days (4/4-4/6). I got the bike from Moto One in Nampa and Boise, ID. They are a great Alta/KTM dealer and I highly recommend them for parts and accessories. I haven’t had any work done on my bike there so I don’t know, good or bad on the shop, but they are great folks so it is probably good. (https://motoonektm.com/). It might also help to say I have been interested in, and driving, electric vehicles for years. I converted my first car to electric in 1995 and currently drive a 300zx which I converted to electric as my daily driver. I am a fan of electric so this may not be a completely objective review. I am also closer to 60 than I am to 50 so if you are young, maxed out and like big air, that is not me so this may not tell you much. I am a trail rider who normally rides a DRZ 400, so if I can get an electric motorcycle that will do 40-60 miles of forest service roads and single track in the Idaho mountains, I am great. It would fulfil 90% of my riding with fewer maintenance items and help fulfill my environment goals. I am also data driven so I tried to collect objective info to make a decision on which I will share. The post may be a little long, sorry. :photog


    Wednesday April 4, 2018

    Picked up the bike around 1:00 and headed south to ride in the Owyhee Mountains at Reynolds Creek (See ride 1 GPX track, route picture and altitude graph). I went out with some friends and my son. There was a KTM 530, KTM 350, DRZ 400 and the Alta. The Alta had no problem keeping up. It is fast. I thought it was an amazing ride, going up hills was so easy not having to worry about slipping the clutch or what gear you were in. It was awesome to ride ( I think I already said that once). I thought the suspension was great although my neighbor with the KTM 350 didn’t like the suspension. In Alta’s defense it was a demo bike with 1000 miles on it so there was no customizing and it had probably been ridden pretty hard as a MX bike. Over the day we rode 22 miles over a couple of hours and used about 2/3 of the pack by the gauge. In general, I only rode in mode 1 which I thought was more than enough (refer back to closer to 60 than I am to 50), but we all tried in in mode 4 just to say we did. If I do buy a bike I can see me using mode 1-3 but not 4 as I don’t need it for the riding I do. When I got home I charged the bike up to full (I think it was full when I got it). The charger drew around 1330 watts from a 120 outlet, provided 3.79 KW to the charger (measured by a kilowatt meter) over about 3 & 1/2 hours or about 165 W per mile. I am not too sure of the relevance of the KW provided since the charger does have some inefficiencies (probably 3-5%) and the bike does run the cooling system while charging. These are probably minimal, but the power provided to the battery is something less that total power used by the charger. I was a little surprised how high that was but we were in sand and gravel and climbing and descending so that takes more. As a comparison my car is about 350-400 W per mile, but that is on pavement.

    I will continue the report on the next post, I am limited to 4 files in one post.

    Attached Files:

    #61
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  2. bluefxstc

    bluefxstc .

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    Thursday April 5, 2018

    Rode in the desert south of Boise. I don’t have a GPS track of this route as my son didn’t go on my DRZ with the GPS. I did include a screen print from my Spot Tracker. Not as good as the GPS track, but better than nothing. It is a pretty flat area with small hills, probably less than 200-300 feet in elevation change and any one time. For this ride it was a total of 43 miles through pretty flat terrain. Not a lot of sand or lose dirt, but I did end up running through some fairly thick piles of tumble weeds that went on for 10-500 feet. Awesome ride, see some of the pics. There is picture in there of a hill I climbed and that is where the bike really shined. It is so easy to climb a hill with electric. No worries of gear selection, being in the power band, no running start, just slowly pick a line and start up. The bike just pulls and pulls. Incredibly easy. On this ride the suspension did seem a little soft. A couple of times going over goffer holes it seemed to bottom out so tuning would be needed if it was my bike. When I returned home the battery gauge was empty, and I mean empty. It was past flashing at me and no hash marks showed on the gauge. I didn’t notice any performance drop with the dead battery indication, but I was just riding it to the barn to charge it so I didn’t get on it. The kilowatt metter showed it took 5.57kw, but part of that went to running the system and charger inefficiencies. These would be small relative to the battery so I figure around 5.5kw which calculates out to be about 130w per mile. Substantially better than yesterday’s ride in the soft sand.


    Summation:

    The good:

    1. Bike easy to ride. It is a blast from beginner to expert. Everyone can have fun on this bike.
    2. Good suspension and handling, although I think the demo I had needed some suspension tuning. It had over 1000 miles and they were probably pretty hard miles being an MX version.
    3. Awesome power. Bike just keeps pulling and pulling to about 60 mph then it seem to slow a little.
    4. High quality bike
    5. Lack of noise. I was able to put ear buds in with slightly higher than normal volume and listen to tunes the entire ride.

    The bad:

    1. The range. At a max range of about 40 miles it is barely acceptable and will require me changing how I ride. Where I could just ride from my house on my DRZ and do 60 to 80 miles with 40 of that off road, with the Alta I will have to truck it.
    2. Rear brake seemed sensitive, but that could just be me getting used to the bike. I did only have 2 rides and a total of about 65 miles.

    Wishes:

    1. More range. I understand the battery weight tradeoffs concept, but a 7-8kw pack would be awesome. That would give a solid 50-60 miles of trail riding. Hopefully in the future, as battery technology advances, Alta will develop a replacement battery that will bolt in with more power.
    2. It would be nice to be able to increase the amount of regen braking on the fly. A switch similar the map switch where you could increase or decrease the amount of regen on the fly would be awesome. You could even use the same switch with one additional switch to determine what the switch was controlling. Several times when going down steep hills I had to use the rear brake to slow me down. It would be nice to be able to increase the amount of regen to capture that energy. Probably wouldn’t make much difference in over all range, but it would hurt.
    3. Key location and size. Probably not a problem for the MX version, as the key probably never leaves the bike on a MX, but on the EX it is small and the location makes it hard for a key chain. The key is located on the side of what would be the gas tank on most internal combustion motorcycles. It is a small key set in a small indentation so when you slide around you don’t hit it. It is well protected which is good for a MX bike. On the EX, because the key is so small, if you are going to ride it in town you might want to park it and take the key with you so you need a key chain, or at least I think I do. The indentation for the key is only slightly larger than the key, so with a normal key chain, it difficult to turn. I did find a key chain with a small ring so it is acceptable, but moving the key up by the bars or integrating it with the display would be better in my opinion. Small thing, but an area that could be improved on an already great bike.


    Overall, a great bike and a great couple of days of riding. What turned out to be a free demo of the motorcycle ended up costing me a new Alta Redshift EX that I picked up Saturday (4/7). I think that is what would be called a win for everyone. :jack :clap

    Attached Files:

    #62
  3. ex250mike

    ex250mike Been here awhile

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    Good info, thanks for sharing!
    #63
  4. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    I guess it is different across the country but if you know, what did "filling the tank" cost you in $$$?

    Im totally ignorant on the entire electricity needs, so Im just guessing this is more like running a 220w clothing dryer than a 40w light bulb while charging. This is one expense I havent heard a single bit about.

    My 450 might cost me $6-8 in premium pump fuel to do 50 hard race miles.

    Thanks.
    #64
  5. LocuL

    LocuL Gnarly Infantry

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    What do you pay pr. Kw on your electrical bill?
    In Denmark this would be around 5.5 x 1.8dkr = 9.9Dkr(1.64 USD)..in Denmark that would be at least 40% green energy and absolute nothing in money. Our daily driver is 3600dkr(597USD) per year(20000km). Dirt cheap.

    All comes down to your electrical bill.
    #65
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  6. Bucho

    Bucho DAMNrider

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    A local KTM shop is now carrying Alta. I asked about it. The sales guy was pretty positive (Im taking that w/ a grain of salt as its his job to sell it).
    But to me (and all of us non MX guys), I was happy to hear his biggest complaint is that its “too soft” as an MX bike “and it works on the trails much better”.

    Cool!


    Alta? OSET? EM? Id definitely like some sort of electric bike for riding nearby my nighborhood and stealthily near houses.
    #66
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  7. ex250mike

    ex250mike Been here awhile

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    5.5kwh will cost about $0.50-0.60 in Florida.

    Not big savings on a daily basis, but it would eventually add up to real money.
    #67
  8. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    Thanks, I checked with my power company just to see my costs. $0.11 a kw. Kinda hard to believe a " full tank" is less than fifty cents. They should be including that number in various reviews and ads. Im spending $20 a week at least to ride compared to $2? Yeah, that would add up.

    Of course, having to add a charger to the bill if the Alta kinda pushes those saving off quite aways... Isnt that like $700?
    #68
  9. ex250mike

    ex250mike Been here awhile

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    Plus whatever it costs to haul it around, entry fees etc...

    I think the real savings come from less maintenance. That only works if you keep the bike long term though. And if the battery doesn't crap out after a few years.

    Of course, if you wait 2 years something way better will be out.
    #69
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  10. voltsxamps

    voltsxamps Advolturer

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    True, although seems very unlikely as Alta builds their packs better than practically anyone else in the business (and many of their engineers came from Tesla)

    The Alta Pack is waterproof rated up to IP67, is durable enough to handle shocks and vibes up to 20G, and is digitally self-monitoring. Our patented stacked honeycomb architecture allows for extreme energy density at 185 watt hours per kilogram. The Alta Pack also boasts a proprietary thermal wicking system to shed heat faster than any other lithium-ion transportation battery in production. Our R5.8 Pack takes advantage of state-of-the-art cell chemistry to deliver extended full-power range at cooler operating temperatures.”

    “The Alta Pack is engineered to withstand 1000 charge cycles before it shows signs of capacity degradation. After 1000 cycles, the Alta Pack will continue to deliver full power but may operate at around 80% of its original capacity. Like all lithium batteries, the Alta Pack will continue to perform optimally for far longer if the user follows the proper maintenance guidelines.“

    https://www.altamotors.co/faq/#the-battery


    Let’s say you go riding twice a week.. 52 weeks/yr.. 104 0-100% charges. Let’s conservatively round that to 100 as it’s unlikely anyone will regularly deplete their battery to 0%.

    100 charges/year.. 1000 charge cycles.. 10 years before any noticeable battery degradation. Figure another 3-5 years on top of that with ~80% capacity. That’s on par with Tesla’s lithium packs.

    While tech will continue to improve, I don’t necessarily see the need to wait two more years as most of an EM’s cost is the battery. Now that Alta has lowered their msrp and increased performance, now seems like a good time to hop on one and enjoy it today. In 10+ years, a pack replacement will undoubtedly be less expensive and more energy dense but I’m not getting any younger and even if the price lowers another couple grand 2 years from now, two years of riding an Alta while others are waiting, to me, is worth much more.
    #70
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  11. Trialsman

    Trialsman Been here awhile

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    If you are going to sit on the sidelines while you "search for the perfect electric motorcycle". It will NEVER happen. I want to ride it now even though it may not be perfect.
    #71
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  12. bluefxstc

    bluefxstc .

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    I pay about 8 cents a KW in Idaho so a little less than 50 cents to completely charge the bike from empty. The big advantage for any electric vehicle is convenience, you never have to go to a gas station. Come home, park the bike, plug it in and go to bed. In the morning you are full, unplug and ride off. The savings are secondary to the ease of operation IMO. Going to a gas station is a hassle.
    #72
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  13. ex250mike

    ex250mike Been here awhile

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    I'm waiting for "perfect."

    While the bikes themselves are there, the batteries aren't. I've been watching e-bikes for 10 years now. I've seen the massive improvements made. I can wait a few more years for even more improvements.

    In the mean time I'll keep riding my 20+ year old ICE bikes. And saving my money.

    When I finally buy an e-bike I expect it will last till I'm too old to ride.
    #73
  14. Navin

    Navin Long timer

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    Im my case, needing to refuel for 2 hours every 30 minutes is a hassle. :lol3
    #74
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  15. voltsxamps

    voltsxamps Advolturer

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    Completely agree. I had gone an entire year and a half without knowing what gas prices were - or cared to know!
    #75
  16. LocuL

    LocuL Gnarly Infantry

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    My life...just car i stead
    #76
  17. Houseoffubar

    Houseoffubar HoFmetalworks.com

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    "Filling" on electricity is a small fraction the cost of gasoline. The other major consideration is that a gas motor is about 20% efficient, where as the electric is often well over 90%.
    This is the big attraction to an EV, a $30k car is affordable, and the more you drive the more affordable because your electric bill for charging your car/bike costs effectively nothing.
    #77
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  18. Tarmac Kid

    Tarmac Kid Doesn't Like Stuff

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    What is it like to wheelie on the Alta? I'm curious how it gets up on one without a clutch. Usually a power wheelie on an ICE machine is great way to end up on your ass.
    #78
  19. bluefxstc

    bluefxstc .

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    I try not to do wheelies, but there are some videos of people doing long wheelies out there. Given the smooth power, I would think once the front wheel was up and balanced it would be easy to keep it up.
    #79
  20. voltsxamps

    voltsxamps Advolturer

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    I power wheelie all the time. Sure it's easier to pop up on a gas bike with a clutch, but with an aggressive wrist twist, a torquey electric will point you upwards with ease. From there, it's just as easy as a gas bike to maintain and modulate the wheelie. Admittedly, at speed, it's easier to clutch up a bike like my FZ-07 in 2nd or even 3rd while an electric will require a weight shift or a sudden rise and drop (like a crown in middle of an intersection) to pop up on the roll.
    #80