– Feb. 8th 2021 7:55 am ET
A recently shared video is giving us our first look at the SONDORS Metacycle electric motorcycle performing real-world riding. It also finally provides us with some insight into the affordably priced electric motorcycle’s real-world range.
The highly anticipated SONDORS Metacycle electric motorcycle was unveiled earlier this year.
The bike’s (relatively) low price of $5,000 combined with its impressive specs created a significant buzz around the internet.
SONDORS, a company more well known for its electric bicycles, claimed max speed and range ratings of 80 mph (130 km/h) and 80 miles (130 km), respectively.
We assumed that the 80 mile range wasn’t at the bike’s top speed, a fact that was confirmed by company founder Storm Sondors in our lengthy follow-up Q&A session.
Neither Storm nor product manager Matt Irish were prepared to go on the record with a higher speed range rating at the time, but the company’s first real-world riding session is giving us new range insights.
The team took the Metacycle on a California coast cruise from Irvine to Long Beach. You can see the ride video at this link.
SONDORS cited the following details for the ride:
- Route: Irvine to Long Beach
- Distance: 48 miles
- Drive Time: 2.5 hours
- Average Speed: 45 mph
- Battery Remaining: 20%
SONDORS didn’t list the top speed reached during the ride. The speedometer is largely obscured by the handlebars during most of the video, but we do see it read 62 mph (100 km/h) for a brief moment when the rider leans forwards.
The 48 mile (77 km) trip that left 20% battery remaining would extrapolate to a 60 mile (96 km) maximum range at 45 mph (72 km/h) average speed.
With the Metacycle’s 4,000 Wh battery pack, that also works out to an efficiency of 66.7 Wh/mi or 41.5 Wh/km at 45 mph (72 km/h).
That’s a pretty darn impressive efficiency. For comparison, my electric scooters usually yield me around 50 Wh/mi at 30 mph. That means that the Metacycle would likely be even more efficient than my scooters if run at the same speed, keeping in mind that efficiency does not scale linearly.
Achieving this level of efficiency would be an impressive feat for the Metacycle. However, when I plot the same route that we can see plotted in the video, Google Maps tells me it is closer to 35 miles, not 48 miles.
SONDORS did mention that the rider’s trip took longer than expected, stating:
Due to a couple of wrong turns and stopping to answer questions from numerous curious bystanders, their trip up Pacific Coast Highway took longer than originally planned.
Perhaps this wasn’t reflected in the map shown in the video. But if the SONDORS Metacycle did indeed take the route shown in the video, then my calculation puts that at about 35 miles. With 20% battery left on that trip, the 45 mph range would be closer to 44 miles (70.5 km).
That’s still a respectable range for decently high-speed riding, but falls more in line with what I’d expect for an electric motorcycle spec’d like the SONDORS Metacycle with a 14 kW (20 hp) peak motor.
[Update Feb 8: The SONDORS team responded to let me know that the 48 mile ride distance is the correct figure. The informed me that the route map in the video wasn’t the actual GPS map, and rather was just a representation.]
A range of 60 miles (97 km) at mixed speeds averaging around 45 mph (72 km/h) is certainly a positive outcome.
That’s not bad for an affordable commuter bike. And with the approximately 3 kWh auxiliary battery that SONDORS is expected to provide to fill the accessory void in the center of the frame, that range could theoretically be boosted closer to 105 miles (169 km).
Watch out, Zero. Those are respectable commuter figures!
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