Eurosatory 2024 – STRiX: an all-electric dirt bike from Slovenia

Shaun Connors

Covering the last part approach silently, moving swiftly on an all-electric motorbike, can be a plus for Special Forces of reconnaissance units. This should be the niche market for the STRiX, a Slovenian-made dirt bike available in a military version

The military is traditionally quite late to many technologies that cross over between the civil and military environments – arguably with good reason. Whatever the technology may be, it needs to be proven. It needs to be fit for purpose – before lives depend on it. A shining example here is the issue of electric (or hybrid) drive for vehicles. Over the last 20 years stories have regularly appeared regarding military intent to adopt some sort of alternative to the internal combustion engine, usually with an ‘electric’ flavour. With little or no exception, they have remained just stories. The technology has either not been available, or simply failed to prove itself in the military environment. This is even more the case with all-electric or battery power. There remains considerable doubt in many corners that battery power is even the way forward in the civil environment, let alone the military one – for all of the patently obvious reasons. However, there are always exceptions, always small niches that can be exploited, and Slovenia’s STRiX eMotors appears to have successfully exploited one such small niche.

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The advantages of battery power to certain military users are the option of near silent running it offers to vehicles – both moving and stationary. The low thermal signature of anything powered by a battery is also a definite bonus. Additionally, electric power is also very ‘torquey’, providing immediate power and torque, which can be a great asset in certain off- and on-road driving scenarios. The negatives of course, revolve around limited range and extended recharge times – even supposing a recharge facility is immediately available!

However. What if there was a base – a mother ship – to return to after short, intense ‘in-and-out’ missions. What if your platform is small, stealthy, with low thermal and acoustic footprints? Enter STRiX’s all-electric dirt bike. Ideal for transport on, for example, the Slovenian Army’s JLTVs, the machine is ready for use in seconds and is more than capable of carrying out these types of mission.

In ‘civil’ parlance, the STRiX machine would be an enduro or dirt bike, and in terms of conventionally-powered competitors of comparable weight/dimensions, its performance leads its class – by quite some distance. Power output is stated to be 70 kW (95 hp), with 1,050 Nm torque at the rear wheel. The base machine weighs 118 kg – pretty close to its nearest competitor. The military version does weigh a little more, at 130 kg, but is capable of carrying a load of up to 150 kg.

Of the unladen weight, 40 kg is taken up by the removable battery, located where the fuel tank would usually be found. The 6.3 kWh NMC battery can be charged at a rate of up to 18 kW DC using an external charger that features a separate connector following the CCS standard. Along with two USB ports, the connector plug sits on top of the ‘tank’ for easy access.

According to the manufacturer, that configuration means the battery can be recharged from 20% to 80% in just ten minutes. It is also possible to charge the battery through an AC outlet, although this would take considerably longer – around 75 minutes. The company also states its endurance is up to 80 minutes of intense off-road riding – for the military, not an issue, considering the roles this machine is intended for.

Technically, the drivetrain is housed within a chrome-molybdenum tube frame with Showa suspension at the front and an Ohlins unit at the rear. Both of these are customisable. Brakes are handlebar-controlled discs on both wheels, and as a bonus the bike offers multiple riding modes which can be quickly adjusted via an app.

The term ‘waterproof’ is used, although quite what this translates to in the real world has to be confirmed, but at the very least the machine will have a fording capability. It has been evaluated by the US Navy among others, and is believed to be in use with Slovenia’s Special Forces

Photos by S. Connors and P. Valpolini