If you’ve been counting down the days until one of the Japanese Big Four released an electric bike, your wait is finally over. On June 7, 2022, Kawasaki launched the Elektrode, its first-ever electric bike. To be clear, it is a balance bike aimed at children. It’s no speed machine, but it represents a step forward both in terms of electrification, and also getting kids on electric bikes. Let’s check out Team Green’s latest.
While some other legacy OEMs have partnered with StaCyc (which is now owned by Harley-Davidson) to make their electric bikes for them, Kawasaki opted to keep their operation in-house. The Kawasaki Elektrode is powered by a direct hub motor that keeps operation nice and quiet.
The 36V 5.1Ah, 250-watt battery is good for a claimed 150-plus minutes of ride time, according to Kawasaki. It’s a lithium-ion battery that’s in the frame of the bike, and can charge in about 2.5 hours. It’s good for about 500 charge cycles, after which point it should hold about 80 percent of its original capacity, according to company testing. It can charge using the provided cable and a regular household socket, anywhere you like.
Gallery: 2023 Kawasaki Elektrode
The Elektrode comes with a lightweight aluminum frame, and the suspension is rigid at both ends. It rolls on 16-inch cast aluminum wheels, and comes with a 160mm rear disc brake. The seat is adjustable like a bicycle seat, which is good since this bike is meant to fit kids from ages 3 to 8 and up to 45 kilograms (or 99.5 pounds) in weight. The machine’s curb weight is about 32 pounds, which is honestly about what my adult-size pedal, completely non-electric bicycle weighs. The handlebars and seat on the Elektrode are also super adjustable, to the point where Kawasaki says the machine can comfortably fit kids from 37 inches in height to 55 inches in height.
What about speed and power modes? The Elektrode has three power modes: Low, Medium, and High. They’re accessible via a passcode, so parents can keep their kids going at a top speed they feel comfortable with when they’re first starting out. Low speed is 5 mph, Medium is 7.5 mph, and High tops out at 13 mph. If your kid isn’t quite ready for the powered modes yet, no worries. The footpegs on the Elektrode can be folded up out of the way for use as a push bike.
The 2023 Kawasaki Elektrode comes in just one color, and you probably already know what it is: Lime Green. MSRP at launch is $1,099. Ask your local Kawasaki dealer about availability if you’re interested in getting your favorite kid riding.