Kalashnikov’s UM 1 Electric Adventure Bike might just be the symbol of this famed weapons manufacturer’s expansion from bullets to bikes. Whether that’s a good thing or not, you’ll find out as you read this article.
The UM 1 is the second motorcycle and first electric adventure bike from Kalashnikov made to live up to the AK-47’s legendary reliability in a diverse range of settings. It is also one of just a couple of branded models in the large electric adventure supermoto category alongside Zero’s DSR. It features a non-aggressive, laid back profile and simple aesthetics giving it a relaxed aura.
But will the UM 1 prove a strong performer in what is increasingly becoming a competitive market? Or will this massive electric dirt bike be relegated to obscurity alongside the Ural?
Who Is Kalashnikov?
As you may or may not have heard, Kalashnikov is the Russian weapons manufacturer behind the creation of one of the most popular weapons since 1947 — the AK-47 assault rifle. Though inseparably tied to the weapons industry, and while much of their business is still set in weapons of war, a small part of their brand is headed in a very different direction — electric dirt bikes. The Kalashnikov UM 1 is the most recent addition.
In 2018, Kalashnikov unveiled two all-new electric adventure motorcycles, called the UM 1 and SM 1 at the 2018 International Military Technical Forum. Though both bikes were manufactured by Kalashnikov’s subsidiary IZH, the UM 1 was designed for civilian use while the SM 1 was for military and police use.
Kalashnikov made a huge and risky transition from selling weapons into selling electric powered vehicles. The manufacturer has had great reception from the general public and is now at the stage of further developing its electric adventure bikes for mass civilian and military use.
Kalashnikov UM 1 Electric Adventure Bike Overview
Kalashnikov’s UM 1 electric adventure bike is a large adventure supermoto aimed at providing the cleanest, most relaxing ride. It features raised handlebars for easy riding as well as two large utility boxes on each side of the rear seat for storage purposes.
Not much detail is available at this stage, even on Kalashnikov’s official website, but what we do know is that the UM 1’s production model will feature a 15kW brushless chain-driven DC motor. This paired with a lithium ion battery will propel the rider up to a maximum speed of 62 miles per hour with a cruising range of up to a convenient 93 miles.
The UM 1’s cruising range further gives value to Kalashnikov’s promotion of the bike as an adventure supermoto as adventure bikes are known to travel at long ranges. 93 miles one charge is pretty good for an electric bike as some gas powered motorcycles can’t even go that far in one top-up.
Where Would Kalashnikov’s UM 1 Electric Adventure Bike Fit in the Market?
With its relaxed and laid-back demeanor, Kalashnikov’s UM 1 electric adventure bike would fit well in the large adventure cruiser category. This category is pretty tiny in 2020 considering there is only one other named bike in this space — the Zero DSR. It would be easy to think Kalashnikov would have a great time out in the market since there’s only one competitor. But Zero is a well known, solidly established manufacturer in the electric bike industry. Kalashnikov would have to create something extraordinary if it even hopes to match Zero’s excellence.
One of the biggest disadvantages when traveling long-distance with a motorcycle is the fact that there isn’t enough storage space for all your stuff. One of the best solutions to this problem is getting storage boxes.
Luckily, the UM 1 has these built onto its frame and that’s probably the best thing about the bike. The other model in this category requires you to purchase aftermarket boxes for that authentic adventure bike look.
When Will Kalashnikov’s UM 1 Electric Adventure Bike Be Released?
Kalashnikov hasn’t yet released any statements on the UM 1’s official release date, and information on the bike’s status is pretty scarce. It makes sense considering Kalashnikov is a weapons developer with a secretive background and the UM 1’s other version — the SM 1 is specialized for military use.
One thing’s for certain, Kalashnikov has been developing this bike for over two years, so the time when we finally get our hands on the bike may not be too far ahead. All we can do is wait for the enigmatic weapons developer to give us the go signal. Let’s hope there’s a rapid fire of information soon.
Mud Bike’s Take on Kalashnikov’s UM 1 Electric Adventure Bike
This segment in the electric bike industry is pretty young and still on its baby steps. It may be a little while before we see members of this electric bike space all over. Still, given the quality of the bikes already in this category and the reception from the general public, we’d say Kalashnikov’s UM 1 electric adventure bike has a pretty good chance of taking the top spot this decade. Here’s hoping Kalashnikov will star in the electric bike industry as it did in the weapons industry.