Formed by Marko Ukota and a team of racers, enthusiasts and engineers, Flux Performance is a Slovenia based start-up with aims to bring a powerful off-road electric machine to market by 2024. The company is developing the Flux Primo electric motorcycle, that will be capable of taking on some of the most powerful ICE and electric in the bracket.
Flux Performance is lead by CEO and co-founder Marko Ukota, a Slovenian and Italian national supermoto champion, that is all too familiar with the many problems off-road riders face. But in recent years and with the increase in technology for electric mobility, electric motorcycles are taking on rapidly.
Marko had some experience with electric as far back as 2009, when he led an e-supermoto project at the age of just 19 years old. “The batteries just weren’t good enough at that time,” he explains as the cause for not taking the bike project further. Now, 11 years later, as an engineer, he gathered a team of professionals and is on the way to making his dream come true.
Three main reasons for ‘e-off-road’
The trio of reasons for making the Flux Primo, as seen by Flux performance and Marko, starts with Noise. This is after years of a decline in racing tracks (especially for MX) in recent years. In Belgium for example, Marko makes the example of the decrease from 60 to just 6 MX tracks from the 70’s and until today.
The additional and obvious reasons to make the Flux Primo, are ones that most of us already know, like the low maintenance cost and skill level requirements of electric motors, compared to ICE, and lastly – but surely not least – is the improved performance. And this should be, in our opinion a main focus.
“There are three unbeatable reasons for wanting an electric off-road motorcycle” explains Marko Ukota. “First, noise is the sport’s biggest enemy. In Belgium, the world’s cradle of motocross, there used to be around 60 MX tracks in the 1970’s. There’s only 6 of them now. And we see the same trend around the globe. Second, the engine maintenance requires skills, is very expensive and time consuming. All time and money that could be spent riding. And third: the controllability of the electric drivetrain in combination with smart technology has such potential that I’d never forgive myself if I didn’t put all of myself to finally create … To co-create the future of my passion that gave me so much in the last decade. With the electric drive, off-road motorcycles can expand to people and places currently unreachable, it could become as abundant as e-bicycles are today.”Marko Ukota, CEO and co-founder, Flux Performance.
Primo… ‘the First’
The Flux Performance team is made up of 4 Slovenian experts, that bring the know-how on electric powertrains in aerospace (electric light planes), and motorsport experience together, to create an improved and technology driven motorcycle.
Their first prototype, called Primo (which means ‘first’ in Italian), was built in a garage in true Startup tradition. Despite that, the bike was not just an assembly of off-the-shelf components, and the complete designed and custom made parts were made-to-fit. The battery pack, including electronics, control unit, water cooled drivetrain and transmission, as well as the software that makes it run – were all designed and developed in that garage.
It features a swappable battery with a capacity of 6.7 kWh, more than any other motocross bike on the market, while remaining comparatively light for a bike with 85 HP of peak power. The power is customizable via smartphone connection, so you can enjoy the riding experience regardless of your skill level.
The Primo will run on top notch suspension, a 48mm front suspension with custom settings, and Premium Öhlins TTX shock with twin tube technology, acting fast on small bumps, but sustained on big impacts and offering great traction & stability.
The Primo also features an active regen brake, allowing the rider to charge the battery during rear braking. Another interesting and cool feature that experienced riders could really appreciate is a virtual clutch. It essentially mimics how a traditional clutch works, without bringing its extra cost, complexity and overheating issues. While this may satisfy your phantom pains, it won’t serve any real function other than that.
To keep this powerful bike to the ground, the control unit is packed with sensory inputs for intelligence. “My 450 is too slow, said no one ever” remarks Ukota. With one of the challenges is actually getting the power to the ground consistently, where an electric drive enables more opportunities than any gas bike could, using electronically controlled power and torque ranges to keep power to the ground.
The Primo isn’t a production motorcycle yet, but only the first prototype for further development to take place on as a technological platform. Testing the Primo will provide data and enable development of special software to increase performance, safety and fun.
The Primo is meant to shows how much the team at Flux can achieve in a garage and base the foundation for targeted development of the production motorcycle.
“FLUX wants YOU as a test rider!”
Why were no exact range details unveiled yet? “E-mobility is full of false, sometimes silly promises”, explains Ukota. The Flux Performance team wants to be transparent with their customers and only publish numbers once the bike has been tested by the public in real-world conditions.
That’s another thing Flux intend to do differently, offering the chance to test ride the Primo for the public and provide their thoughts and feedback to be integrated into development of the final production model.
That means YOU! Flux wants you to give your opinion, effectively making riders a part of the development process.
The off-road 2-wheel space is heating up, faster than you think. From the recent ZERO release of the FXE, to the extremely powerful Stark Future that created create buzz, all the way to Czech startup MXM that have quite similar plans to those of Flux Motors. The options for a 450cc Electric Contender are getting more and more common.
Flux Performance has a great offering, for what looks like an awesome bike in a space that’s lacking more options. Generally speaking, that aren’t many players in the 85HP rank that offer a true off-road for racing and track.
Electric motors have superior capability to that of ICE, period. It’s no shock that more companies are looking to fill the gaps in the higher performance classes, and take on the market with some powerful electric machines – which we all know give immediate torque to the wheel, have superior motor efficiency and require no gear shifting.
It has always been the battery (weight and size) that held electric vehicles back from making a huge overtake on ICE, and as these batteries become lighter and with better capacity by the year, the weight of these off-road bikes became equal to that of internal-combustion.
As far as specification goes, and revealing only what they tested and know, I can really appreciate that. Flux won’t reveal an ‘estimate range’ before testing, when compared to companies that set targets based on lab-conditions, only to find out later that reality can (and will) be rough on riding conditions.
Source: Press Release | Flux Performance