This is by no means a “Best Electric Motorcycle for Hunting” story. There are thousands of those online, and even some that are written by real people. Some may even hunt. 

But rather than tread that ground and fill your feed with affiliate links to products we haven't tested, I thought it would be a good idea to talk this thought experiment out with you, our dear readers, and go through what I would look for in a good electric motorcycle to use for getting into the backcountry silently, carrying all my gear, and then potentially packing an animal out.

The idea is to give you insight into the process of that choice, as well as maybe put some plans into motion for later this year, offer some transparency into how these decisions are made and get you thinking about what would make a great platform for you. 

Because at the end of the day, something that works for me might not work for you. But it is good to understand how you can come to a conclusion.

Where to Begin?

I started with a list of manufacturers I have experience with, trust, and those that manufacture an electric motorcycle or e-bike designed for the great outdoors. Zero has two, there’s an Ubco 2x2 in my garage, as well as a QuietKat in my shed.

There are also manufacturers that I don’t have real experience with like Stark, Backou, Sur-Ron and Dust Moto. But those have reputations or people I personally know who I put some level of faith in thanks to friends and colleagues who’ve used them. 

But that’s a pretty wide breadth of bikes, and it’d help to whittle down the range of offerings.

Zero FX

Luckily, I don’t think that’s all that difficult, as though Zero has two off-road motorcycles—the DSR/X and FX S—the FX S is really what I’d be looking for. It’s light, agile and has plenty of off-road capability. I know, I’ve tested it in Utah’s woods. It’d be a helluva option as it's extremely quiet, which isn’t always the case with electric bikes, and is pretty damn simple to fix. Ask me how I know?

I would love to drop Ski-Doo’s Forward Adjustable Riser onto it to give it even more capability, plus a few more choice upgrades which...as I'm writing this, may make a great follow-up to this story...

And though I also have experience with the DSR/X and it, too, is great, it’s just too wide and heavy for the sort of backcountry treks to find deer, elk or any other big game animals. Whatever motorcycle I pick has to be on the smaller side.

Lightweight, but rugged. 

Stark Varg on Dirt
Dust Moto Alpha_1

The only other proper motorcycles that could potentially handle the rigors of backwoods use would be the Stark Varg and Dust Moto Alpha. Another cut has to immediately occur, though, as Dust hasn’t produced any customer motorcycles. The specs look good for the Alpha, and my talk with their founders gives me hope.

But it's not real until it's real.  

Stark, however, has production models and, being an all-electric dirt bike, looks to have the business of single-track awesomeness set. It has plenty of torque, horsepower and suspension travel, but it’s expensive ($12,999). Stark says it’s good for up to six hours of trail riding, which could be good for most backcountry hunts, but I do run into the question of multi-day hunts. All of these bikes have that issue, though, so I won't mark it down for that. It's just something I'd be aware of.

I do think there’s promise here, but I’d save “Saying Yes to the Dress” until I’ve had some proper seat time, though those who've ridden have had serious praise for the startup. I think some things may be brought to the surface that’d sway my thoughts and decision-making after a rip, though. 

Where there’s far more information, insight and experience, are in the e-bike world and those that straddle the line between e-bike and motorcycle. Enter, the Ubco and Sur-Ron. 

Australian Military Sur-Ron Tests
Ubco 2x2
Ubco 2x2

What’s cool about the Ubco is that it’s two-wheel-drive, meaning it has hub motors on the front and rear tires. That gives you a helluva lot of grip in situations where you absolutely need it. Think muddy single track, sandy spots and areas around marshes and swamps. I’ve taken ours up steep grades without issue, and there are front, middle and rear cargo areas that you could strap whatever meat you’re packing out.

It’s not enough to pack out a moose, but a boned-out cow elk or deer likely wouldn’t be an issue if you were taking one-three trips. 

The Sur-Ron, however, would be far harder. It’s small, has a far lighter payload capacity, and doesn’t have the range you’d want in a true backcountry companion. I’d say it’s out immediately, but could work for younger or smaller hunters who aren’t 6’4”, 200 pounds and carrying 50 lbs of gear.

It's just not built for me. 

QuietKat Lynx

There are also options from QuietKat and Backou, two of the biggest names in the e-bike hunting world. I was just at the Western Hunt Expo and Backou had a massive display, as the company clearly understands that folks may want to make their backcountry pack-ins and packouts easier.

But QuietKat has similar offerings, one of which I have in the company’s Lynx platform. But the company recently released its new Ranger AWD model that looks like it could compete for the crown.

According to QuietKat, "The Ranger AWD was designed to let hunters claw their way through the thick clay of the southeast and the slick mud of the Midwest. It’s single speed design means no derailleur to break or rip off and the comfy seat and suspension seat post mean best-in-class comfort.” All of which will only set you back $3,499. That sounds expensive, but in this world, it's practically a bargain. 

What I like about the e-bike hunting platforms, both from QuietKat and Backou, is that range isn’t really a worry, as you always have your legs as a backup. They also have platform shelves for gear or meat, and some even have the option to attach a small trailer to the rear so that you don’t have all that weight making the bike top-heavy.

This all works less if you’re trying to climb mountains, but these are proven commodities, and I’ve enjoyed my time with the QuietKat Lynx. That Ranger AWD, however...

Jonathon hunting
Jonathon hunting

So Which Wins?

As for which would be the best? Honestly, it’ll depend on what you do and who you are.

If you’re a whitetail hunter, you’re not going as far as an elk or mule deer hunter would go, so range might not be a factor. Scouting is a lengthy process, so having something with better range and more suspension travel—like the Zero, Stark or QuietKat—would warrant options that catered to that. 

But as with anything, there really isn’t a Best of the Best. There’s no one-size-fits-all and I think you’re going to want to tailor whatever electric motorcycle or e-bike platform to whatever you’re doing out in the woods. And be very critical of what you need out of it, as none of these come cheap.

For me, I'd want torque to hit up some harder peaks I tend to visit and I think the Zero FX would be great. At least with the upgrades I'm thinking of, though more on that soon. Likewise, some of the easier hunts, shorter distance hunts that aren't climbing a couple thousand vertical feet would be fine with the QuietKat or Ubco. But it'll even depend on where I'm targeting that day, what animal I'm after—turkey is different than deer or elk—and what I have strapped to my back. 

I’m going to be thinking about and playing around with a few of these platforms as we move closer to hunting season, and I’ve got more hunting stories coming soon. So stay tuned to see where I land and come along on my adventures. 

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