Sur-Ron Light Bee electric trail bike nails the price point
We're big fans of the idea of electric dirt bikes, particularly for people who own a bit of land. The ability to zoom around the place and have a few laughs without ever annoying the neighbors or twirling a spanner for engine maintenance opens up plenty of opportunities for fun and fitness outdoors.
They're usually not cheap, though. In fact, they often flat out price themselves out of contention next to gas guzzlers of similar performance levels. And that's what makes this one stand out. Luna Cycles generally specializes in street-legal and not-so-street legal e-bikes out of China, and the Sur-Ron definitely approaches the electric motorcycle more from the e-bike side than the motorcycle side. But a motorcycle it is, and a pretty nifty little package too, from the looks of it.
Weighing in at just 110 lb (49 kg), the Sur-Ron has a 6-kW (8 hp) mid-drive, axial-flux motor, and Luna says it'll be doubling that power soon with an FOV sine wave controller upgrade as an option. Torque at the rear wheel is allegedly 200 Nm (147.5 lb-ft_ – thanks to a two-stage gear reduction off the 25-Nm (18.4-lb-ft) motor itself – and it's a single-speed powertrain. In performance terms, as stock, it'll ride well alongside something around 100cc. It most definitely wheelies in the right hands.
The battery is a lockable, removable pack comprising 176 Panasonic 18650 cells for a capacity of 33 Ah at 60 volts – or just under 2 kWh. Luna says this pack's one of the best constructions it's ever seen, and early teardown reports are in agreement. Charging is particularly easy, since like an e-bike, you can pull the battery out, take it inside and throw it on the wall socket.
It's got 19-inch wheels, four-piston hydraulic brakes and a chain drive, although it'll certainly need a chain guard. The frame is a high-strength, forged aluminum cradle design weighing in at just 7.8 kg (17.2 lb), while suspension is provided by an Intersect TR shock and Fastace forks – these are heavy duty MTB units that look slim compared to hardcore dirt bike gear, but should perform decently on a bike so light.
Clearly this isn't an Enduro beast for the fast, open countryside. Top speed is around 40 mph (64b km/h), so it's best suited to tight trails and single tracks where its featherweight handling can shine. It's not even a little bit road legal, so it's no competitor to, say, Zero's FX, but in the right situation it should be a terrific little fun machine.
As for price, well, Luna Cycles is selling this for US$3,475. To put that in context, you're looking at something a hair more powerful than a Stealth H-52 Hurricane, and otherwise similarly specified, for about half the price. Luna will tack on a pair of pedals as a $150 fig leaf if you want to pretend this tank of a thing's road legal. Good luck with that.
However, it is possible to get the bike cheaper. It's manufactured in China by a company called Sur-Ron, who sells it as the "Light Bee," which appears to be an adorable mistranslation of "Firefly." If you've got the stomach to deal directly with China and arrange your own import duties and whatnot, it's selling on TaoBao for a little under $3,000. Be aware that Sur-Ron makes cheaper models with smaller 1,500-watt motors, cheaper, smaller, non-Panasonic 48-volt battery packs and lower spec suspension, so be sure to do your homework if you go this route.
Whether you call it the Luna Sur-Ron or the Sur-Ron Light Bee, this is a solid and exciting looking electric trail bike option for anyone with access to forest trails or single track.
Source: Luna Cycles