Six months of an electric motorbike

I’m loving my Sur-Ron Light Bee but it is what it is – light, fun, and quiet but not a full-size bike. And that suits me great, this is for commuting and playing in the dirt, for someone who’s ridden mountain bikes forever but has stayed away from motorbikes coz I don’t want to die.

Sur-Ron Light Bee motorbike by Brooklyn Wind Turbine

There’s good and bad.

The good:
1. It’s just easy. No gears or clutch, it just goes. The accelerator is also most of the braking, coz regen. The actual brakes are just for emergencies and coming to a stop, which is good coz they’re only mountain bike brakes.
2. It’s really quiet. The chain is the loudest part. I can get out on dirt without pissing off everyone within a kilometre. Sur-Ron are bringing out a belt-conversion for the final drive and I’m very tempted to get that for even more stealth.
3. No petrol stations, just charge at home in three hours, so I plug it in one or twice a week.
4. Running costs are close to nothing. I’ll spend more on tyres than electricity.
5. Instant torque, especially from stationary. It’s trivial to lift the front and I’ve yet to find a steep slope that it won’t just cruise up.
6. It only weighs 50 kg so if the battery is flat I can just carry the bike home.
7. Stock tops out at 70k speed. People are modding these to 25 KW with new batteries and controllers. Fastest so far is 120k. That will also need upgrades from the mountain bike brakes.
8. People keep talking to me at traffic lights or when I’m parking: “yes it’s electric, 70k, 3 hours, yes I like it.”

The bad:
1. They are so in demand that there are none in stock in NZ or Australia till maybe March. Maybe later than that.
2. It is tiny. I’m 185 tall and had to get a longer stem and peg droppers to get comfy.
3. I shredded the primary belt out past Red Rocks. To be fair, I was playing silly buggers in deep sand. The belt is a standard industrial part so all of $35 but replacing it means the faff of taking off the swingarm.
4. The tail light/plate/hugger on the road legal version is ugly as hell, sticks out too far, and gets in the way. I moved the light and plate but that took some head-scratching to come up with a better solution coz the bike is so compact that there’s not many places to move stuff to.
5. For the purchase price, I could have got a new Honda 250, which would be a lot faster, if louder. Or if I wanted the cheapest commuter I’d have spent $2k on a scooter and lived with putting $5 of fuel in it every week or so.
6. It’s not a Real Bike for Real Men. Whatever…
7. People keep talking to me at traffic lights or when I’m parking: “yes it’s electric, 70k, 3 hours, yes I like it.”

So overall it’s working for me. If you want a bike you can ride all day or one that will let you triple the speed limit or don’t want to spend a bit more then electrics aren’t there yet. Thing is though, electric bikes are getting better much faster than petrol bikes are getting better. Batteries are getting cheaper and better every year. So it’s going to happen – petrol bikes are going to be gone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *