Motorcycles The Disruptors: CakeThe Swedish startup is boldly entering the electric motorcycle market with a test track made from crushed limestone, known locally as "kalk."
- Words Julia LaPalme
While the first electric vehicles were invented in late 1800s, it has been gas-powered vehicles that have ruled the roadways for over a century. But there is a growing movement determined to change that, and over the past two decades, electric vehicles have slowly slipped into the mainstream as the public’s impression of EVs has improved. People are now more aware of the effects of noise and exhaust pollution, and the cost of owning and operating a gas-powered vehicle is driving more traffic toward EVs. Technological advances, cost of operations, and other barriers to entry have been lowered, making it easier to enter the market; as a result, a handful of boutique motorbike and motorcycle companies have emerged. Each of the following seven companies present their own electric motorcycles and e-bikes with a unique approach, hoping to make a lasting impression on the personal mobility market.
Cake’s test track is made from crushed limestone, known locally as “kalk.”
Stefan Ytterborn founded CAKE in 2016 with the help of his two sons. Over the past three years, the Stockholm-based company has grown from three employees to 19, spread between Stockholm, the U.S., Taiwan, and Europe. CAKE currently offers one e-bike, the Kalk, in two trims: the Kalk OR, made exclusively for off-road use, and the Kalk&, an on-road model with a slightly lower gear ratio. “Kalk is probably equivalent to between a 125cc and 250cc dirt bike,” Ytterborn explains. “The bike weighs 150 pounds, which is 30 to 40 percent lighter compared to an equivalent combustion bike, making it a snappier, flighty, flowy ride.”
CAKE is Ytterborn’s fifth company, so he is no stranger to building products from the ground up and bringing them to market. With a background in the snow sports and cycling industries, Ytterborn first marketed CAKE’s e-bikes to the mountain bike crowd, and over time CAKE’s customer base has grown to include mainstream motorcyclists, who now account for the majority of sales.
Ytterborn says CAKE’s customers prioritize sustainability and environmental responsibility, and when he founded CAKE he wanted to create something that spoke to the next generation of vehicle users. Electric bikes simply made sense: very little noise pollution, no emissions, and relatively light weight with easy-to-use power. Ytterborn says, “To be successful and to make a difference has always needed disruption.” And CAKE is certainly disruptive.LEARN MORE ABOUT CAKE