@PING 6

Ping sheds some light on electric minibikes, the differences in factory teams, and the pros and cons of watching Supercross live.

@PING

Do you think the KTM SX-E 5 is practical, affordable, and will resurrect the moto fever for the next generation? I, for one, was very enthusiastic about this new model for my son but disappointed when price, lack of run time, and no option for a quick-replace battery system made this seem like it would not be a viable option for us. Your thoughts?

?,

You sent me this question a couple of weeks ago, but we just got to go out with KTM and get the full introduction this week. I didn’t want to opine until I had some facts and had seen the little e-machine in action. The cost is about the same as their gas bike, as is the weight. While you can’t just pour gas in and keep going, there are benefits, including zero fuel costs, no oil maintenance, no air filter maintenance, no piston/rings/cranks/etc. to break or replace. The ride time ranges from 20 minutes on a deep motocross track with a really fast kid to upwards of ninety minutes for kids just cruising around. Most kids ride for ten or fifteen minutes and then come in for a drink and a little break. If you hook the bike up to a generator right away, you can get the battery close to full in ten or fifteen minutes and go all day like that. Our test rider, Bronx Grundy, loved the bike. He said that it wasn’t quite as fast as his Cobra race bike, but it cornered better and was a much smoother ride. He also said it was really fun to ride. I think for the uber-competitive racer, a gas version is still going to be the best bet, for now. But for somebody wanting to learn how to ride, this is as easy as it gets. It also allows you to moto in your backyard virtually undetected, so long as you keep the dust down. For the first offering from one of the major manufacturers, this is an awesome bike. This bike is a paradigm shift for those new to the sport going forward. Although electric seems odd to those of us who grew up on ICE’s, this is going to be the norm in five to ten years. 

- PING


Ping,

Is there that much of a difference between the factory team bikes? KTM has won the supercross title for the last eight or nine years, and I find it hard to believe their bike is that much better than Honda, Yamaha, or Kawasaki. Suzuki is kind of asleep at the wheel, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they are a little bit behind. Thanks for shedding some light, and stoked to see you here at Vital MX.

Platt

Platt,

Of course there is… they are all completely different colors. KTM has won as much as they have because they have the best complete program at the moment. They’ve spent a truckload of Groschen/Schillings/Euros in hiring the very best staff, including Aldon Baker, and it’s paying off in the form of championships. Is their bike head and shoulders better than the others? I don’t think so. It’s a game of inches at that level and they are squeezing every little bit out of the margins; that’s been making all the difference. One example is the test track they built about 100 yards from their shop in Murrieta. It has two supercross tracks on it, an Endurocross track, covered parking, showers, and proper bathrooms, and it’s literally walking distance from their shop. It’s small things like that which give them an edge. Can they do it again in 2020? The statistics are on their side. 

- PING


Pinger!

I’ve got my tickets for A1, and I’ve been bench racing with my buddies about who we think is going to win, and I’ve taken out a small HELOC to be able to afford beer and hot dogs at Angel Stadium. So, I think I’m ready to go. My question is, what is the appropriate reaction when I’m minding my business and enjoying the racing and some shit-for-brains spills his beer on me while trying to impress his skanky IE hood rat? In the past I’ve tried ignoring it, I’ve gotten into fights, and I’ve tried reasoning with them… nothing works. I’d pour my beer on HIM, but that seems like a waste of a perfectly good beer. I'm looking for a prudent, reasonable response.

Big Mikey

Mikey,

Sitting amongst the fans makes a great case for watching from home, in my experience. The temperature is always perfect, snacks are abundant and affordable and the drive home is a sleepy stagger to my bedroom from the couch. Still, watching from home isn’t the same when they sing the national anthem, when the bikes rev up on the start, or when you get the perfect amount of ketchup and mustard on your hot dog… the ratio is so important! Plus, you already have tickets, so there’s no going back. I want to tell you to spin around like a mentally unstable transient on bath salts and punch his lights out; kind of a ready, fire, aim approach, but I don’t think that’s the socially acceptable way to handle it. So, here’s what you do: stand up and turn to him, calmly explaining that he just spilled his beer on you [or whatever the insult happens to be]. Tell him that you’re trying to enjoy the races with your friends, and you’re just there to have a good time. Then, without breaking eye contact, explain to him that if he spills another drop of Budweiser on you, he’s going to have the bottle shoved up his ass, sideways, before he can say, “barley and hops.” 

That should either back him up or instigate a bench-clearing fight that will most likely get you kicked out. Not to worry though, because the coverage on your TV at home is awesome! Happy ass-kicking!

- PING


Do you have a burning question you need answers for? E-mail Ping at ping@vitalmx.com Want more? Click the @PING tag below to quickly find all the previous columns.

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