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KTM SX-E 3 Electric Dirtbike | First Ride Review

Willa on the KTM SX-E 3
leads August on the Volcon

Testing the KTM SX-E 3 youth electric dirtbike at Hungry Valley’s mini track in Gorman, California. (Photos by Kevin Wing)

Riding a motorcycle is fun, but riding a motorcycle with a friend is even better. We recently tested the Volcon Kids Moto Two electric dirtbike, which was ridden by seven-year-old August Beck, the son of my friends Paul and Allison Beck. At the same time, we also had a KTM SX-E 3 electric dirtbike to test.

Related: KTM SX-E 3 | First Look Review

The SX-E 3’s styling and components resemble KTM’s larger MX bikes.

August just finished the first grade, and one of his classmates owns an electric dirtbike of her own. Like August, Willa Randall is a blond-haired Southern California kid who is full of energy. She’s the youngest member of a motorcycle family. Her father, Shaun Randall, grew up riding dirtbikes in the hills of Ventura County. Her mother, Jenning Steger, also rides, as do her older siblings. In addition to her electric dirtbike, Willa has a Honda CRF50 gas-powered dirtbike and a 200cc Polaris ATV, which is pink, her favorite color.

August and Willa are classmates and riding buddies, and they love their Fly Racing moto gear. (August received his gear last summer, and fortunately most of it still fits. He outgrew the boots, so his parents picked him up a pair of Fox boots at Plat It Again Sports.)


Helmet: Fly Racing Youth Kinetic S.E. Tactic

Goggles: Fly Racing Youth Zone

Jersey/Pants: Fly Racing Youth Kinetic Mesh Khaos Racewear

Gloves: Fly Racing Youth Kinetic

Chest/Back Protection: Fly Racing Youth Barricade Long Sleeve Suit

Knee Protection: Fly Racing Youth Barricade Flex Knee Guards

Boots: Fly Racing Youth Maverik MX

Socks: Fly Racing Youth MX Thin Socks

As the youngest in her family, Willa is used to wearing hand-me-down riding gear, but Fly Racing again stepped up and sent her a full set of kit: a Formula Carbon helmet, Kinetic Mesh Khaos jersey and pants, Kinetic gloves, Maverik boots, and Barricade armored long-sleeved suit and knee/shin guards. Willa was excited to have gear of her own, and she loved the matching black-and-pink color scheme.

Willa on the KTM SX-E 3 leads August on the Volcon Kids Moto Two around Hungry Valley’s mini track.

For the test, we went to the Hungry Valley State Vehicular Recreation Area north of Los Angeles, which has a mini track for dirtbikes and ATVs that are under 90cc.


Under its “Ready to Race” banner, KTM offers a full line of motocross bikes: 4-strokes ranging from 250cc to 450cc, 2-strokes ranging from 50cc to 300cc, and several electric models – the full-sized Freeride E-XC and two youth models, SX-E 3 and SX-E 5 models.

The KTM SX-E 3 has a beefy WP XACT nonadjustable fork with 5.7 inches of travel.

The SX-E 3 ($4,999) accommodates riders up to 90 lb, while SX-E 5 ($5,499) riders can be up to 121 lb. Both have an air-cooled 48V brushless DC motor that produces 2 kW (3 hp) of nominal output and 5 kW (6 hp) of maximum output.

There are six ride modes, with successively higher modes offering more torque and faster top speeds. In Mode 6, the SX-E 3 tops out at 8.9 lb-ft and 40 mph, while the SX-E 5 is good for 10.2 lb-ft and 48 mph. The higher-spec SX-E 5 also has regenerative braking (in Modes 3-6) and adjustable suspension.

Although the KTM SX-E 3 has tops out at 40 mph, top speed is determined by ride mode. Mode 2 provides up to 6.6 lb-ft of torque and a maximum speed of 12 mph.

With the same 10-inch diameter wheels and a similar seat height as her Honda CRF50, Willa made a beeline for the KTM. She took to it right away, starting off in Mode 2, which gave her access to 6.6 lb-ft of torque and a 12-mph top speed – perfect for the deep sand and bermed turns on Hungry Valley’s mini track.

The KTM’s small-diameter front wheel can create some challenges
riding in soft sand or over obstacles, but the motor produces enough grunt to
power through.

Whereas August is still learning the finer points of control, Willa’s years of experience on both electric and gas-powered bikes was evident in her confidence on the track. She also benefitted from the KTM’s premium build quality and components, which dealt with the rocks and bumps on the track.

With a couple years of experience under her
belt, Willa rides with confidence and style.

At $4,999, the SX-E 3 isn’t cheap. Like larger bikes in KTM’s lineup, it has a chromoly-steel tubular frame, a tapered aluminum handlebar with Odi grips, black anodized aluminum rims, Maxxis MX-ST tires, disc brakes with petal rotors, an inverted WP XACT fork with 5.7 inches of travel, and a WP rear monoshock with 5.2 inches of travel.

Center display shows charge level and ride mode. A wrist lanyard attaches to an emergency cut-off switch.

The key takeaway from the KTM SX-E 3 is that it’s a ripper. It’s an 86-lb mini dirtbike with a 40-mph top speed! The beauty of the ride modes is that a beginner can start off in Mode 1 (4.4 lb-ft, 7-mph top speed) and work their way up as they learn good technique and gain confidence. If there’s a youngster in your life who has aspirations to race, then the SX-E 3 is the perfect training tool.

Willa gives her stylin’
Fly Racing gear and
the KTM SX-E 3 two
thumbs up!

2023 KTM SX-E 3 Specs

Base Price: $4,999

Website: KTM.com

Motor Type: Air-cooled 48V brushless DC permanent-magnet motor w/ outer rotor

Battery: 648 Wh lithium-ion

Run Time: Up to 2 hrs.

Charging Time to 100%: 1 hr., 10 min.

Power: 2 kW (3 hp) nominal, 5 kW (7 hp) max.

Torque: 7.7 lb-ft

Max. Speed: 40 mph

Final Drive: Chain

Wheel Diameter: 10 in. front/rear

Seat Height: 21.9/23.6 in.

Weight: 86.4 lb

Max. Rider Weight: 90 lb


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