Since the Segway personal transporter debuted in 2001, the Segway product line has expanded considerably with offerings like a kids bike, scooters, a go-kart, electric skates, and a one-wheel. This year, the company is launching two new electric dirt bikes in the first several months of 2020.
The two new bikes are the X160 and X260. The X160 is the smaller one with 17-inch wheels. It has a predicted range of 40.4 miles (65 km) and a top speed of 31 mph (50 km/h). Priced at $3,000, it costs $1,500 less than the larger, more powerful X260 with a $4,500 price tag. This dirt bike’s range is 74-75 miles (120 km) and it has a top speed of about 46 mph (74 km/h).
The more powerful one, the X260, has a 5 kw motor. Segway says this dirt bike can accelerate from 0 to 31 mph (50 km/h) in about 4 seconds. A full charge can be completed in 4 hours, and the batteries can be swapped to allow for longer riding sessions.
Currently, most dirt bikes are gas-powered. Gas motors produce exhaust containing greenhouse gases and air pollution that is harmful to human health. Dirt bikes are usually not for practical use riding on streets, highways, and interstates to and from work or to pick up groceries. They’re typically used for off-roading fun, like trail and dune riding, mudding, and so on. They also can be used for some field work, such as on farms or ranches.
Gas-powered dirt bikes also tend to be loud, so there is a noise pollution issue. If you’ve ever been near an area where people ride them, the noise pollution can be irritating. If gas-powered dirt bikes are ridden in national parks, state parks, or county parks where there are wildlife present, the noise pollution can drive wild animals far away and disrupt their normal movements. When this occurs, they might not be able to forage as easily, or sleep. They may also become unnaturally stressed.
Riding an electric dirt bike produces no direct greenhouse gas emissions and no noise pollution. Depending on where you are and how you charge an electric vehicle, there could be some greenhouse gas emissions produced. Many utilities receive electricity from coal and natural-gas burning power plants. However, there are some states, like Oregon and Washington, that produce a lot of electricity from hydropower. California’s energy mix includes hydropower, solar, wind, and geothermal. So if you use an electric dirt bike in these states, the carbon emissions will be much lower than riding a gas-powered dirt bike. If a gas dirt bike has a 2-stroke engine, the emissions are even higher than from 4-stroke engines.
The toxic emissions and noise pollution from gas dirt bikes are why these new electric dirt bikes are important.