Cake has arrived in New Zealand
There’s a new e-bike in town, and it’s the real deal, whatever its tasty name.
Cake is a Swedish manufacturer, distributed here by Ride Elec. Two models are currently offered: the Kalk and the Osa.
Both come in two variations. The Kalk Ink & (pronounced Kalk Ink And) represents Cake’s entry-level full-size trail bike/motorbike, while the Kalk & takes the same base and upgrades the suspension to Ohlins and changes the colors a bit.
The Osa is your means of transport. You can get the Osa in Lite or + form. The Lite is the moped version – and here I mean the Waka Kotahi NZTA definition of a moped, which means a motor vehicle (other than a pedal-assisted cycle) that cannot exceed 50 km/h under its own steam and, in this case, a power source which is not a piston engine. Same as Ubco 2×2.
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Fortunately, speed limiting is done through the computer without reducing power or torque outputs. This means the Osa Lite still produces a healthy 151Nm of torque at the rear wheel (compared to 42Nm of motor torque thanks to the laws of physics I don’t understand and that big rear sprocket).
Meanwhile, the Osa+ uses the same base model but has a 90km/h speed limit.
The Osa and Kalk both have three riding modes: 1, 2 and 3. The first limits top speed to improve range, the second balances the two, and the third leans towards speed and power at the expense of autonomy.
Speaking of range, the Osa Lite will do 92km of mixed city driving, the faster Osa+ will do 84km and the Kalk twins will offer 83km. This range on the Osa Lite is greater than most other electric mopeds on the market and also comparable to combustion mopeds. Of course, the range will vary depending on your riding style.
They are also lightweight, with the Osa weighing just 89kg and the Kalks at 83kg (including the 17kg battery).
But enough specs. Ride Elec guest Thing all the way to its headquarters in Warkworth to experience and experience the range in person, and chat with boss Daniel Stump.
Stump said that although initial shipments were slightly delayed due to Covid issues, ground vehicles are now ready to go. On display were a trio of Osas and three Kalks, in different specifications.
Cake’s design philosophy means that their bikes are not only attractive to look at, but also incredibly easy to modify to your liking. For example, the Osa’s chunky center bar uses a clamping system that supports an extra seat for two-up riding, a rear-mounted basket, or a side cradle for surfboards.
Likewise, the Kalk can come with everything needed for road use, like turn signals, mirrors and lights, or be completely stripped down, with taller fenders and a larger rear sprocket, like a real racing machine. freeride. It’s also fairly easy to change bikes – Stump said it only takes about half an hour to get the lights and mirrors back on a Kalk.
Anyway, on what they really want to ride. By keeping things short and sweet, they are brilliant. As good on the road as they are to look at.
I started on the Oso Lite, and the 151Nm of torque to the rear wheels is pretty incredible, even though it only offers 4kW of power. It’ll blast through up to the 45 km/h limit in Drive Mode 3 without issue, and even hill starts won’t bother it. I weigh about 95 kg and it carried me very well.
Handles well too, although I found the two-seat plus basket configuration to be quite cramped, if I used the front seat as I would if there was another person in back. The basket also makes getting on and off the bike a bit difficult. Ubco’s progressive design is better in this respect.
Let’s go to the Kalk, it’s the big child of the range. I rode the Ink& first, the one with internal suspension and a bit more weight, but it felt perfectly fine on gravel and tarmac roads. Although it delivers a healthy 252Nm of torque to the rear wheels, it didn’t feel bulky or out of control at all. It builds a vapor head well, with a smooth torque curve, and tops out at 90 km/h.
Be nice if it hits 100, but range would take a big hit at this point, and stability becomes an issue. After all, it’s basically a trail bike, and you don’t often go through a forest at 100 km/h…
I also need to alter an older mindset – if you subscribe to the Quick Charge newsletter (which you should, because it’s fantastic) you may have read my recent intro where I lament the lack of sound electric motorcycles. It’s an outdated view, though not exactly incorrect, like how people say electric cars will never sound like a V8. True, but the Porsche Taycan and Audi e-tron GT sound brilliant in a different way.
The same goes for e-bikes, it turns out. At around 60 km/h, the Kalk Ink’s chain drive starts screaming like a supercharger, getting louder and louder the faster you go. It looks absolutely fantastic.
After riding the back roads of Warkworth for a bit I tried the fully kitted out Kalk OR which is the Ink & no road gubbins, added Ohlins suspension, big off road tires and a bigger 80 tooth sprocket rear (against 72 teeth on the Ink&). This is the real deal when it comes to trail riding, especially since that larger sprocket means the rear wheel torque increases to 280Nm.
The OR will devour just about anything you can throw at it and far surpassed my meager trail riding skills. Just be careful, if the throttle is wide open when you’re going up a hill, you’ll definitely get out of it, and the contraction of the electric motors means it’s easy to bounce over another if you’re not careful.
The only real downside to the Cake range is something that affects all EVs to some degree, and that’s the price. The Osa Lite starts at $12,500; the Osa+ at $14,898; Kalk & Ink $16,600; and the Kalk& $20,538. All these are excluding GST.
These are big numbers, especially with the Osa Lite, and mean the barrier to entry is quite high. But you have to remember how much you save afterwards, without paying for fuel and maintenance. And you get a very high quality machine to make all your friends jealous too.