Most KTM models are at the sharp end of the performance spectrum, and Team Orange matches that performance with equally sharp styling. However, that aggressive aesthetic isn’t for everyone. In February, 2021, California-based custom builder Roland Sands proved that KTMs could take on a retro guise while retaining all that Ready to Race power with the Urban Assault KTM 790. Now, Australia’s Grid Cycles is taking a similar tack with the brand’s Freeride E-XC electric dirt bike.
Born out of Australian custom shop Purpose Built Moto, Grid Cycles is the passion project of builder Tom Gilroy. Despite the offshoot status, Grid Cycles also values the vintage-inspired styling and modern-day performance that put Purpose Built Moto on the map. Starting with a KTM Freeride, the team knew the e-bike’s stock performance largely suited its needs, but the same couldn’t be said for its looks.
After sheering the angular plastics from the electric E-XC, Gilroy constructed a custom subframe to accommodate the new bench seat. The custom tuck and roll upholstery stays true to the enduros of old but adds gripper material for modern comfort and convenience. The new subframe not only transforms the Freeride’s silhouette, but also allows Grid Cycles to tack on a custom surfboard rack and tidy the tail with streamlined brake light, indicators, and license hanger.
Gilroy does the same at the front end, tossing the standard KTM headlight for a round unit paired with minimalistic blinkers. While the electric E-XC isn’t road legal from the showroom floor, the upgrades turn the Freeride into a bonafide dual sport. Of course, the road requires more than Freeride E-XC’s 50-mph top speed and a quick front sprocket swap yields five more miles per hour on the speedo.
Of course, Grid Cycles’ e-scrambler catches the eye with a retro-style “gas tank” and striped paint job, but the hollowed-out Yamaha XT500 fuel cell cleverly hides the build’s electronics as well. To match the new throwback aesthetic, Gilroy also fabricates a trim front fender out of aluminum.
The custom KTM Freeride E-XC may be a looker but it’s also a ripper, and Gilroy proves as much with a blast through local trails and shorelines. Grid Cycles’ Freeride build proves that refined retro stying is also a good match for KTM’s aggressive demeanor and sharp performance.