Suzuki Developing Electric Dirt Bike

Suzuki is developing an electric off-road bike, as it seeks to find its way back into the world of dirt bike racing

Suzuki RM-Z450

Suzuki is one of the most historic manufacturers in dirt bike racing, with its first world title coming all the way back in 1970 with Joel Robert in the 250cc World Championship. Now, it’s looking to be part of the first wave of the new era of dirt bikes, as the first Suzuki electric dirt bike looks to be on the horizon.

The Hamamatsu brand hasn’t really been a player in dirt bike racing since 2018, after it left the Motocross World Championship at the end of 2017. It stuck around in the US, and is still winning AMA Supercross races with Ken Roczen, but the factory support given to the HEP Motorsports team that runs its RM-Z 450 has been minimal.

Suzuki’s involvement seems set to increase, though, although not on the combustion side of things.

Patent filings published by Cycle World have revealed that Suzuki is working on an electric motocross bike.

The patents are void of detail on the batteries the bike will use, but it has detail about the transmission, which uses reduction gears to step down the power of the motor before it reaches the front sprocket. It’s the layout of the gears that is specific about the Suzuki, with it intended to minimise the size of the entire powertrain such that it - in its entirety - is no wider than the motor.

The frame Suzuki appears intent on using is that of the existing combustion Suzuki RM-Z, and the transmission layout’s minimal size means that the chain can be positioned in the same way as on the combustion bikes, which means the swingarm can be the same.

When Suzuki announced it left MotoGP, it said that it was so it could focus on electric bikes. On the road, electric bikes are still having a tough time matching up to combustion bikes in terms of practicality, with long recharge times combined with relatively short ranges resulting in many bikers sticking with their internally combusting machines.

Suzuki RM-Z450.

As a result of that, manufacturers wanting to explore electric power need to find an alternative way. Dirt bikes are the answer to that question. For a niche of motorcycling that still, in large parts, fawns (understandably) over two-strokes, and which began its four-stroke revolution five years before MotoGP, the dirt bike space is one that is quite open to electric bikes.

Alta produced a bike in the late-2010s that was generally well-liked, and the Stark Varg has become one of the most well-known motorcycles in dirt bikes since it was launched a couple of years ago.

And that’s mostly just considering the US, where there are still a lot of motocross tracks around. In Europe, the story isn’t the same, and even the most famous tracks like Lommel are at risk of being closed down due to noise. That, of course, is less of an issue with electric bikes.

Also, range isn’t such an issue with electric bikes, because they only have to last 35 minutes to match the combustion bikes over the course of a race in the top level of FIM World Championship or AMA motocross competition. That’s not necessarily possible with the bikes available at the moment, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be.

Further, MXGP announced earlier this year that it would be launching an MXEP class for electric dirt bikes from 2026. Suzuki could be aiming to join that, and could be going up against familiar opposition, as Honda has its CR Electric Proto, and Yamaha is also known the be working on an electric motocross bike with a powertrain derived from that used in its TY-E electric trials bike.

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