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Stark Varg Electric Dirt Bike First Ride Review
While electric dirt bikes remain the wave of the future, it’s been difficult to fully commit to them because of certain frustrating characteristics. Recharging between races and sputtering out without notice can turn your day into a bummer, not to mention sacrificing engine noise and shifting when it’s all you’ve known.
The Stark Varg, however, has appeared to finally change the game for electric models going forward. Designed from the ground up, the Stark Varg electric dirt bike is an engineering marvel. Stark Varg literally translates to “strong wolf” in Swedish, and it’s both modern and futuristic in complementary ways. Stark has left nothing to chance in their production line, and they’ve included quality components at every turn. With almost 10,000 preorders as of June 2022, the Stark Varg is well on its way to being a new fan favorite.
First Impressions of the Stark Varg Electric Dirt Bike
Concerning overall weight, the Stark Varg electric dirt bike doesn’t feel drastically different from a standard 450cc dirt bike. This commonality is to be expected since the Varg weighs in at about 242 pounds. The battery is located where the gas engine normally sits, and this placement saves weight by being an integrated part of the overall frame.
This is where most of the similarities taper off, since the Stark Varg electric dirt bike feels far narrower between the legs than a standard 450. Additionally, the seat runs almost directly to the handlebars on the Varg. While this sounds comfy, it’s balanced with a lack of graphics that left us wanting some stability on our ride. The smooth texture feels noticeable, so this feature may need to be remedied once it’s yours. This improvement is especially true with the relocated brake modification, since your right foot will now be flush against the dirt bike. Once we started it up, there was notably less vibration from the Varg, which is a huge plus for hand fatigue.
As far as comparing brands, you can quit wondering which is more innovative. The responsiveness of the Stark Varg electric dirt bike can almost be disorienting if you’re not ready for it. Top speed is reached swiftly, all the while with you barely noticing how fast you got there and just a quiet whistle to gauge your acceleration. Forward momentum and responsivity are the Stark Varg’s bread and butter, and the lack of shifting was fun & liberating, even if it did come with a learning curve. It’s also a new sensation to both hear and feel background details like chain movement, suspension activation and rock fragments crunching under your tires.
As such, the Stark Varg electric dirt bike gave us a new appreciation for all that goes on behind the wall of normal engine noise. The Varg feels stable & unshakeable, and that’s a serious feat for an electric dirt bike. It’s wild that such a narrow machine can have so much power. Although it’s still difficult to gauge the long-term power on it, we feel very comfortable saying that the Varg had no problem keeping up for the short time we had with it.
Funny enough, Stark supplied standard 450 gas-powered models after our first go with the Stark Varg electric dirt bike so we could easily compare them. This power move took an immense amount of confidence in their product, and cemented our eagerness to get on the Varg again and notice all the minute differences we could. As such, here are some of the noticeable details we picked out along our second ride.
Power Delivery on the Stark Varg Electric Dirt Bike
While 450 models are powerful in their own regard, gas-powered dirt bikes of all levels are still confined by all the moving parts that are required for functionality. This is not true of the Stark Varg electric dirt bike. Since you’re not actively combating momentum in all directions, the result is a smooth and prompt power delivery at all times.
Power on electric dirt bikes tends to lose momentum on the mid-to-high-end, but this is not the case with the Stark Varg electric dirt bike. Though it’s hard to say how long you could ride this power, you’ll be able to catch up in a big hurry when it counts and sneak up noiselessly to boot. Stark engineers were happy to explain that the on-board computer is constantly moderating power levels on the Varg, so you’ll get steady power delivery at every step of your ride.
As part of this programming, battery preservation is a huge priority. Engine braking is a unique feature on the Stark Varg electric dirt bike since downshifting isn’t an option. This, combined with deceleration, means that the Varg works hard to save all the battery power it can for an optimal ride. You also don’t have to worry about the normal maintenance like clutch swaps or oil changes that you’ve come to expect from a standard 450 dirt bike. We know some folks can go either way on this, but for those who find maintenance to be a chore, it’s a definite selling point.
Stark offers two different electric dirt bike options as far as horsepower. The 60 hp model is technically the low end, but for just $1000 more, you can bump up to 80 hp for the ultimate thrill ride. When you’re coughing up that much cash for a new dirt bike, we think it’s worth it to go all the way. The Varg isn’t for those just looking for a cheap ride, and the new tech makes this investment worth the wait. We could see the Stark Varg electric dirt bike being even more fun if we’d been able to tinker with the map settings to create our perfect ride, but we’ll save that for when they’re a bit easier to get ahold of.
Stark Varg Handling & Responsivity
For those of us who are used to shifting, the Stark Varg electric dirt bike has a bit of a learning curve associated with it. Even though shifting might give you a bit more control, we have to say it’s super fun to just zip along the track without a care in the world.
It’s hard to say whether we’ve ridden any other 2-stroke dirt bikes (as an adult, at least) that do as well zipping out of corners. However, because of the associated power and responsiveness of the Stark Varg electric dirt bike, you’re in for some stuttering as a result. This no doubt shows the capabilities that the Varg has in store, but it also highlights how much power you have to contend with at a moment’s notice. Since downshifting isn’t possible, laying off the throttle as you’re hitting corners seems to be the ticket to more control on this electric dirt bike.
The included KYB suspension held up for optimal balance and made us feel secure the whole ride. Jumps are another big adjustment, but don’t let that sound like a bad thing. There was some noted deflection depending on our landings, but we’ll take that with a grain of salt. Since you can’t exactly dial into a gear on the Stark Varg electric dirt bike, the lack of sound and new feel will definitely take some getting used to. Our approach was to focus on the terrain in order to assess our speed coming up to a jump so we didn’t have too much or too little power. The Brembos leave little to be desired, and despite a variety of terrain changes, we didn’t find ourselves wanting for handling during our time with this electric dirt bike.
With these differences in mind, the act of jumping isn’t much different than on a normal 450, with the exception of your back wheel potentially spinning at a faster rate. Even in the air, the Stark Varg electric dirt bike feels somehow lighter than a standard 450, despite weighing in within the normal range. We think this goes back to fewer moving parts, but this makes jumping even more fun. As a result of these features, there’s no need to panic if you didn’t quite launch your jump as planned. Hitting the throttle will raise the front end mid-jump so you can actually correct your trajectory, which is a huge advantage compared to a gas bike.
One drawback we noted was the ultra-smooth body paneling and lack of graphics on the Stark Varg electric dirt bike. While this no doubt makes it look sleek and sexy, the lack of grip during a ride can easily become a problem especially in wet conditions. The rear part of the seat on this electric dirt bike is also quite narrow, and sliding around was a bit disorienting compared to a gas-powered dirt bike. Even though these issues aren’t deal breakers, they’re worth mulling over as you consider your purchase. Also, while riders in warmer climates may rejoice that their engine won’t act as a heating agent, riders in colder climates will have to find a new way to warm their hands in frigid temperatures.
Stark Varg Proprietary Parts & Charging
It goes without saying that the parts on the Stark Varg electric dirt bike have been painstakingly selected for their quality. Going even further, Stark has designed and crafted their own brake pedals, bodywork and foot pegs to complement their high end electric dirt bike. Stark also offers the relocation of the standard brake lever to the left handle, which results in unburdening the right foot so it can fit tightly against the frame. It may not be second nature for those of us who have been in the game for a while, but for anyone with a cycling background, the transition will feel second-nature.
Another built in feature to love on the Stark Varg electric dirt bike is the proprietary stand that integrates charging into your off-track breaks. Even though a full charge may not be realistic during rest periods, this system will add power back incrementally while you rest and re-fuel. This is one of the few areas that could always stand to improve, but for a first run, Stark has got the right idea. Despite charging and batteries on this electric dirt bike always needing some improvement, the Varg has got it where it counts for casual riders and professionals who don’t mind planning or being conscious of their day ahead of time.
Key Takeaways from Our Stark Varg Experience
Even though we know the serious gearheads among us may not embrace this change, the Stark Varg electric dirt bike offers an almost identical experience to a standard dirt bike without the noise and shifting. Regardless of individual opinions, fussy neighbors everywhere will rejoice that a quiet electric dirt bike of power equal to their noisy counterparts is commonplace. If that doesn’t quite sell you, your hands will thank you for the minimal vibration, and the surge of raw power will have you forgetting your qualms as you fly over the terrain ahead.
The breakthrough that begins with the Stark Varg electric dirt bike offers new riders especially an opportunity to learn to ride in the absence of a shifter or clutch. The added ingenuity of an Android phone to control and spectate all angles of ability and customization is an exciting one, not to mention making this electric dirt bike even more user friendly. We can all agree that everyone deserves the chance to ride, and the Varg invites everyone into the fold to learn and play.
Since every engineer on Stark’s production team is a rider, we know it’s super important to them to deliver a solid experience and only the best parts. It’s clear in our minds that the Stark Varg electric dirt bike is a window into the future, even if it’s admittedly ahead of its time and could use a bit more battery & top end power. Being mid-air on it feels like flying, and long after gas-powered dirt bikes aren’t viable, we know that the Varg will be there to stoke our fires and get us just as excited about racing as we were in our youth.
Whether you’re weighing your purchasing options or just enjoyed the read, we’ll be back with more motocross advice soon. Have fun out there!
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