You could call the 2015 Alta RedShift SM the ultimate hooligan bike – if only the price was lower and the range longer. Unfortunately, these two factors make the Alta RedShift SM a rich man’s toy which is such a shame as it looks like it would be stupidly good fun to ride.
Here’s why. Firstly, the Redshift SM has the most powerful engine in a motorcycle today, based on a hp/lb ratio. It puts out 40hp from it’s 11lb engine. A typical 600cc engine weighs around 150lb and puts out around 125 hp – so the RedShift pumps out a hell of a lot of juice from a small package.
40hp might not sound like much, but the entire bike weighs only 265lb. Additonally, it comes with WP suspension (both front and rear fully adjustable) and Brembo brakes. So far it all sounds fantastic. Until you see the price.
For the Alto RedShift SM, you’ll need to part with $15,495. Granted, electric bikes are still in their infancy and attract a premium. But then there’s the battery range – 50 miles. No, I’m not missing a 1 at the front there – 50 miles is the calculated range for mixed riding, and you can guarantee that’s a conservative figure. To put that in perspective, if you ride on a freeway at 65mph, you’ll run out of power in about 45 minutes.
It’s like a remote control car you played with as a kid. You get a small amount of joy out of it, but most of the time you’re charging the battery. In fairness, the main point of this bike is to be raced and a 50 mile range is sufficient for this task. Alto has also designed it so that the battery can be swapped out in around 15 minutes. But this bike is being sold as a street legal motorcycle and for that purpose, it’s grossly inadequate.
Perhaps we should look at the Alto RedShift SM as a preview of things to come. In five years time when battery technology has matured sufficiently, a bike like this will probably cost half the price and have quadruple the range. And that’s something very exciting to look forward to. For now though, it’s hard to justify it’s expense. Especially when you compare it with the Zero FX. Granted, that’s not a true supermoto, but it has virtually the same performance figures, yet costs $9,845.
Alto is also releasing a dirt bike version (the Alto RedShift MX) with virtually the same specifications. So if you’re really serious about competition where range isn’t an issue and you want more reliability, no oil changes and no rebuilds, then perhaps the price is worthwhile. Otherwise, sit tight for a few more years.