Cindy immediately liked the EM as well as her Sherco 200, even though it is quite different to ride. She thought the differences would improve her riding. I found that to be true when I got my 4-stroke Montesa as it forces (allows?) you to learn different techniques. Cindy found the 5.7 to climb “her size” slopes better than the Sherco. It was equally adept at bumping over logs, but good rider positioning was critical, otherwise, it stopped dead. Riding at slow speeds and pausing requires better balance. She found not having to kickstart it a joy!
The bike has a high center of gravity. The skidplate is 1.25 inches higher than Cindy's Sherco. The “seat” is 2 inches higher.
We both found the regenerative braking button awkward to use if you also have one finger on the clutch lever. This was the first thing I planned to fix.
One of the bigger disadvantages I can see with the clutchless EM is not being able to blip the throttle. I do that frequently at very slow speeds to help keep my balance.
For me, the hardest thing about riding a trials bike without a mechanical clutch is how to generate lift without velocity.
One of the maintenance advantages of the EM5.7 is the availability of parts from other than the normal dealer network.
Vibration-less running is spooky and very pleasant!
Because there is no “neutral” the bike requires more effort to push than something with a gearbox. No problem in the garage, but a real PITA if you actually must move it any distance. Parking on a slope is a problem because there's no way to “leave the bike in gear” so it can't roll away.
Although not silent, it is much quieter than an ICE trials bike – especially at large throttle openings. After listening to various electric motorcycles in videos, I did not care for the sound. But it is not fatiguing and I quickly became accustomed to it.
The front forks are lightly sprung (which is probably okay for us lightweight riders) but my initial feeling was that there was insufficient compression damping.
I had great difficulty jumping logs with it. I tend to use the clutch to “shut off” after cresting a log. This thing just stops dead. I expect my idea for a progressive electronic clutch will help.
It does not turn tightly. The steering geometry seems wrong. The front wheel “pushes” (slides out) in sand. I will try moving the forks up in the triple clamps.
The rear wheel can easily lose traction. The motor controller runs in “torque” mode. This can cause a rapid increase in wheel speed if the load is removed (i.e., getting air). The controller can also run in “speed” mode, but I don't think that would be appropriate at all. There is a “balanced” mode that presumably melds both torque and speed. I tried it and found it to be unpredictable – not at all suitable for trials. I quickly returned it to torque mode.
Although it climbs simple hills well, I failed badly on more difficult loose climbs. This was partly because you can't “blast off” at the bottom of the hill with a clutch dump and gain momentum early.
I definitely did not want to even attempt my most difficult obstacles with it. Of all the trials bikes I've ever ridden, the EM 5.7 is the one I feel least confident on.
When coasting (zero throttle) down a long downhill, if you open the throttle slightly it slows down (that's a weird feeling).
Overall, my initial impression was that I can improve it quite a bit.