cycle—to just change an app if you didn’t like the way your
bike ran. You can’t do that with a gasoline motor, but you
can with electric. That was the start. They started working
on CAD models right away.
DB: When did you get involved?
MF: In 2009, I thought it was a terrible idea, but they
showed me some computer-generated models, and I realized how great the possibilities were. On paper, at least,
the technology was already there at the time to make an
electric motocross bike that met the goal of out-performing
existing gasoline products. It was never our idea to make
Marc Fenigstein unveiled the Alta RedShift MX
to the public at the AIMExpo last October.
The RedShift SM is a street-going spin-off of the MX model. It
is said to have a 50-mile range.
The Alta started off as a purebred motocross
bike, but now there are two models built on the
same platform: the RedShift MX and the RedShift
SM with street tires and DOT approval. Both will
have the same power supply—a 24-volt lithium-
ion battery that is said to produce peak output of
40 horsepower. This meets the stated goal easily,
although the claimed weight of 251 pounds (for the
MX) is still about 15 pounds more than that of a fully
fueled gasoline-powered bike. Test riders say that
the Alta brings other advantages to the table. “The
bike doesn’t feel heavy at all, because the battery is
carried fairly low in the chassis,” says test rider Kris
Keefer. “It gets incredibly good traction, and we’ve
come a long way in overall handling.”
Alta designers started with frame geometry similar
to that of a Honda CRF450R. They then incorporated
proven components like Brembo brakes and WP
suspension. “It doesn’t really feel like a Honda,” says
Keefer. “As the testing and development continued, it
developed its own personality, and I’m pleased with
where it is now.” The production version is said to be
capable of competition-level performance for over 35
minutes, which is enough to race a national champi-
onship event. The battery can be changed in minutes.
Charging can be accomplished through a 110-volt
outlet with Alta’s charging equipment.
WHAT’S AN ALTA?
The first offerings from the
the best electric bike out there. We always wanted to make
the best bike possible, and even in 2009, it was clear that
the future was electric.
We founded the company in 2010 and raised about
$50,000 from friends and family. From a financial point of
view, our timing wasn’t very good. There was a recession,
and the “clean tech” boom was already a bust. Tesla was
a big question mark at the time, and there were other elec-