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Kawasaki have released their own electric balance bike and it’s nothing like the others. It’s called the Kawasaki Elektrode.

The Kawasaki Elektrode is essentially an electric bike but the pedals have been replaced with footpegs and a powerful 250w, in-wheel brushless electric motor does the pedalling. It has three selectable speed modes (low/mid/high) with a passcode so parents can lock it and a disc brake only on the rear. It runs a pushbike seat that’s adjustable while the dirtbike-like handlebar and brake lever are also adjustable.

It has a lightweight, aluminium frame that has a surprisingly low centre of gravity which allows the seat to also go very low for little legs, and cast aluminium, 16-inch wheels with proper pneumatic tyres. The footpegs fold up, and the battery is integrated into the frame and Kawasaki claim it can last up to 2.5 hours but we’ve gone for much longer rides than that.

One of the coolest things is that it is designed and built by Kawasaki in the same factory their fun bikes are coming out of. Most manufacturers with electric balance bikes are sourcing them from external companies, usually out of China, but not Kawasaki. This bad boy is a Japanese special and that’s a good thing from a quality control perspective.


The Elektrode is nothing like the other kids electric bikes. For starters, it runs a hub-drive motor whicheliminates the need for a chain. As far as I’m aware, there are no other kids’ bikes doing this. We’ve only tested electric balance bikes with mid-drive motors that are brushed and brushless.

That hub drive motor is a whopping 250watts! To give you an idea, the legal motor size for an electric pushbike in NSW is the same. Jax has managed to crack the 30km/h mark on his Elektrode on a flat surface.

So the motor is stronger and more powerful than any of the other 16-inch bikes we’ve ridden. On every 12-inch bike we’ve tested, Jaxon has snapped at least two chains. The hub drive motor is also more durable than the mid drives. We’ve hit it with the hose and Jaxon can hammer through muddles and no water gets in.

The battery is mounted in the frame tube which is great for protection but does mean it’s a little bulky. Some other brands run a drill battery hanging off the front which can be easily damaged by rocks or water. But replacement batteries are easier to carry with the drill-style batteries. They are the two main differences when looking at 16-inch electric kids bikes.


The Elektrode is incredibly reliable. Jaxon has been riding it for three months and we estimate he puts eight hours a week on it which would mean he’s done around 100 hours in three months. The only thing that needs replacing is probably the brake system as the cable is trashed and the thread on the adjusters is buggered and the tyres are looking quite bald.

It may be hard to believe that Jax has done 100 hours in three months but I recharge the bike three-to-four times a week. He rides pretty much every day, even the day he goes to kindy as I ride with him there and back, and we take the long trail. Kawasaki claim the battery will do 500 cycles before starting to lose some of its charge.

You’re best letting the battery fully discharge before charging it and remember to always recharge it back to full. Wait for the green light on the charging box before unplugging.

The battery lasted a lot longer than the 150 minutes Kawasaki claim. We’ve found this is often the case with electric dirtbikes, even full-size ones. Manufacturers are a little gun-shy when it comes to battery life as they don’t want to be responsible for Joe Blogs being stranded in the middle of the Pilbara.

Manufacturers aren’t factoring in the coasting we do on dirtbikes, especially when trailriding. Kawasaki probably measured the battery life on low power mode while pinned on a treadmill but we’ve managed to go for a near three hour ride on the full power mode and just got home on one bar.

The motor is incredibly solid. There’s good torque and the top speed is much faster than most other mid-drive motors. It’s not the gruntiest motor, which is a downside to the hub drive setup. The crawling speed as soon as you open the throttle isn’t as strong as some others.

Jax has a hard enduro loop he loves which is actually a local mountain bike track. It’s rocky and steep and Jax takes the Elektrode up it. There are a few rocky sections where the hub drive motor just won’t crawl using the torque for Jax to be as smooth as he has been on other bikes. The power sometimes builds a bit too much and it disrupts his flow a little.

When we get up to the four-wheel drive or walking tracks he can unleash its full power. On an analogue mountain bike I struggle to keep up with him. It absolutely hammers. The mid-range power is exceptional and it screams all the way to the top.

It’s also so much quieter than his other mid-drive bikes that make a lot of chain noise. This sometimes frightens people when we do a lap of our local walking track.

The power modes are quite different which is great if this is the first throttle your little one twists. Jax has been riding these things since he was two so he went straight to the full power mode and had no problem. A beginner would find the lowest power setting excellent for learning as it trundles along at walking pace and isn’t too responsive if they get a little throttle happy.

The brakes are also excellent. This was the first bike Jax rode with disc brakes and they’re infinitely better than the weird belt style or drum brake on the other 12-inch bikes. It was very strong and accurate so he could do big skids!

The handling is great providing you don’t smash into rocks at speed. The fork and rear-end are fixed so it bounces around a little bit but we just run 10PSI in the tyres to take some of the harsh feedback out. It turns tight and is really easy for Jax to balance.

The seat is also the best seat we’ve come across. It has more padding and a bigger surface area than the others which is more comfortable. It can also drop really low, even my two-year-old daughter can sit on it! But it can also go so high, Jax can’t touch the ground when extended all the way out.

For the full feature, check out issue #531 of ADB.