Most electric vehicles are playthings for the wealthy. They can easily cost $50,000 or more, even with federal subsidies. And you’ll basically need another car if you take road trips where charging stations aren’t reliably available.
But what about a sleek electric motorcycle for $14,000? That’s in the wave runner / snowmobile category, putting in the recreation budget rather than family transportation. Hey, times are good. A little splurge never hurt anybody. And Junior can wait couple of years to get braces.
That’s what I thought as I was driving the Cake Kalk&, a bantamweight electric motorcycle made in Sweden. My only complaint is that gangly name. Cake is the company. The Kalk& is the motorcycle. I have no idea why there’s an & at the end. Let’s just say it doesn’t translate from whatever the original Swedish is. That ampersand at the end is so weird I’m just going to pretend it isn’t there.
But forget that. The Kalk is a combo on-road/off-road bike that’s brimming with ya-yas. Yahoo Finance’s Pras Subramanian and I tested it on busy Manhattan streets, where gawkers shouted “what is that?” as we darted past delivery trucks and Ubers. You can see for yourself the way Swedish designers interpret industrial chic. It’s not a sport bike, not a hog and not a dirt bike. It’s modern art with a motor.
Harley-Davidson (HOG) sells an electric bike called the LiveWire, for $30,000. Love the bike. Hate the price. For less than half that, the Kalk offers less range and muscle but the same freewheeling liberation. Pickup isn’t explosive, as it was on the Ninja (7012.T) I once owned (but shouldn’t have), but it’s quick and exhilarating. The aluminum frame feels light as a glider, making this the most nimble bike I’ve ever ridden. There’s no clutch and no shifting, just a throttle. I love manual transmissions in cars, but I didn’t miss shifting on the Kalk.
A full recharge takes about two and a half hours from a standard outlet, so you don’t have to invest in a separate charging apparatus and hire an electrician. The Kalk can go about 60 miles on a charge, more if you choose the regenerative braking that helps recover energy. Top speed is limited to about 60 miles per hour, to discourage highway riding on a bike that weighs a scant 175 pounds. No matter. Take your Tesla on the highway and mount the Kalk when it’s time for some fun.