It’s an electric motorcycle. It’s a mountain bike. It’s...somewhere in between the two. The Cake Kalk OR meshes some of the best attributes of both into a sleek package that adheres to the company’s motto of “light, quiet and clean.”
I recently got to test ride one on the world-famous Moab Slickrock Bike Trail. The Slickrock is the perfect testing ground for the Kalk OR. Twelve miles of a wildly twisted maze of Utah sandstone that leaves you breathless with its beautiful Mars-like scenery.
Throwing a leg over the Kalk for the first time I found my brain trying to make sense of just what the vehicle actually is. At only 152 lbs. the slight frame has the feel of a solid mountain bike but when I put my feet on pegs rather than pedals, hit the throttle and rocketed forward the vibe was all motorcycle. While I adjusted to riding over terrain unlike anything I’ve ever ridden before I was glad to find that the Trail Savers tires —developed and built specifically by Cake along with almost all the other components— tenaciously gripped the sandstone while the 11kW motor, powered by the 51.8-volt, 50-Ah, 2.6-kWh battery, delivered plenty of torque (206 lb-ft.) to climb incredibly steep inclines.
As my confidence increased, so did my speed. The Kalks impressive braking (Formula brand from Italy) and the 8” travel suspension (Öhlins fork and shock) provided excellent handling and control. So much so that I smoothly navigated some sketchy ground where I thought for sure I was going down.
As with all electric bikes, power and range are important performance factors. The Kalk has three drive modes that adjust the power delivery so the top speed in mode one is 28 mph with 3-4 hours of ride time up to the third mode which opens things up to a top speed of around 55 mph. I rode for nearly three hours mostly in the second mode and was surprised to see that I still had around 75% power remaining. Cake claims that if the power remains above 15% it should take less than an hour to get it back up to 85% and with the just-released Kalk&—a street-legal version— it’s relatively easy to ride in close proximity to a power supply.
With its clean styling and quiet propulsion, the Kalk got plenty of attention on the trail. Everyone from mountain bikers to dirt bikers and hikers had to stop us and ask about the unique rides. It’s obvious they are highly appealing to the environmentally conscious, fun-seeking crowd. And without having to deal with the learning curve of a manual transmission—if you can ride a bicycle you can ride one of these—the only barrier to entry is the $13k price tag.
Cake also introduced us to the newest creation in their lineup, the Ösa, which made its debut at EICMA in November of 2019. The Ösa is part electric scooter and part workhorse. Its design was influenced by the almighty workbench (no kidding) and has a clamp system that allows the user to add all sorts of attachments — up to 1,000 different configurations. From college campuses to urban delivery services to ranch hands, the Ösa will be the Swiss Army Knife of utilitarian transportation. Available in the spring of 2020.
For more information on the Cake story check out Issue 036 of Iron & Air Magazine.