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Sondors Metacycle: A $5,000 Breakthrough in Electric Motorcycles?

Electric motorcycles increasingly appear to be the future of this industry. Current electric bikes, however, can be impractical for any number of reasons, including limited range, limited availability of recharging facilities and high purchase cost.

Leaving aside the little “toy” bikes that lack the power to travel on the highway, most electric motorcycles will set you back well over $10,000 at time of purchase. Now, an electric bicycle manufacturer named Sondors has introduced a new motorcycle that appears to break through some of the performance/cost constraints.

The Sondors Metacycle will be priced at $5,000 when it hits the market at the end of this year, according to Sondors. In addition to the cool design (but is that seat practical/comfortable?), Sondors claims the Metacycle will do 85 mph with a range of 80 miles with a 4kWh lithium-ion battery.

With a claimed weight of just 200 pounds, and that affordable price, the Metacycle might just be the way for a die-hard ICE enthusiast to dip their toes into the electric water.

Below is an informative video from Electrek about the Sondors Metacycle:

27 Comments

  1. Darrel says:

    My 2018 Prius Prime has an 8.8kw battery (only uses the middle 60% of that for battery health) and I get 25-30 mile range in EV mode. In the last 30,500 miles, that has covered 85% of my driving.
    The metacycle has a standard mode that limits to 45 mph and a sport mode that does the 80 mph. I think the 80 mile range in standard mode is quite realistic. Which is how I would be using it mostly anyway. I think I’ll get a white one.

  2. JohnR says:

    Wow, a lot of negativity here. Is this intended for ‘us’ – someone who already has a motorcycle and rides tank after tank? No, not as an only bike for sure. But as a gateway to ‘real’ motorcycling for folks on electric bicycles or in cars, I think this could be great. The unsprung weight of a hub motor isn’t ideal, but will it matter for this class of ‘standard’? Will it actually do 80 miles? Well, the 3.2kWh (usable) Zero FXS is rated at 160 Whr/mi at constant 70 mph. At similar efficiency, that puts this at 25+ miles – perfectly reasonable for an urban or semi-suburban commute – it should be able to recharge most of that 4kWh from a 110 outlet in a few hours. There is additional info out there that they do intend to offer 2nd battery/storage/fast charge options for the frame space. With the primary battery at 54lb. a smaller capacity 2nd won’t add that much weight. And I have no doubt it’ll do 80mph for a few miles – the FXS with only a few more kW will do 100+ if you unlock it. The FXS will also crush a CB300 0-60, and I’d bet this will comfortably beat the CB to 60 as well. And those look like Michelin Road 5’s to me.

    • todd says:

      Interesting perspective. In what universe will a 11-20hp bike out-accelerate a 30hp bike (assuming close weight)? This has 130lb-ft at the rear wheel whereas the Honda 300 is around 500 and something lb-ft in first gear at the rear wheel. There isn’t much comparison.

      • JohnR says:

        The universe where the Sondors has 130lb-ft constant from 0-60 and the CB only makes 500lb-ft (peak) below 25mph, weighs 100+ lbs more and needs 4th gear (3 shifts) to get to 60. I could be wrong, of course, but I’d be willing to bet.

        As far as actual availability and range – mostly fair. I’ll be mildly surprised if folks start getting these in hand in October. And if you want to go far, no question this or the FXS is not the right bike. But I think this has way more appeal than any scooter, and you will probably meet some nice people riding them. 🙂

    • fred says:

      The negativity is well-merited. It’s not available, so the promised specs from a company with a history of over-promising and not delivering mean nothing. If it did exist, it wouldn’t appeal to “us” as motorcyclists. It is not a gateway between bicycles and motorcycles, it would be a gateway between bicycles and 50cc DUI scooters. Look at the controls – scooter. Look and the motor location – scooter. The tires and brakes look like motorcycle units, but that’s it.

      As far as the CB300F/R vs FX/S comparison, the Zero wins the 0-60 mph contest, but the Honda’s 60-65mpg gives it a 150-200 mile range with 5-10 minute top-offs. The Honda will run comfortably in city traffic, or at highway speeds, and will do it all day long if needed. The Honda can be easily used outside of it’s target niche, but the Zero is stuck in its limited use space.

      You meet the nicest people on a Honda. You may meet nice people on a Zero, but you won’t be able to ride anywhere cool with them because of the range limitations.

      • Jason says:

        This Sondors has similar specs to a Honda 125 Super Cub so I would expect similar performance.

        Plenty for city commuting but it isn’t going to be a road tripper.

  3. motorhead says:

    Looks to be maximizing unsprung weight. Not ideal.

  4. Litho says:

    Rear tyre not fat enough. 190/55 minimum (and the power to slide it) or gtfo!!

    On the bright side, at least it isn’t “internet connected”.

  5. clasqm says:

    I love electric cars. Electric motorcycles … not yet.

    That hole in the middle is a criminal waste of space. Shoehorn another battery in there. And hub-mounted motors … unsprung weight is the enemy of good handling.

    It’s a nice little commuter and it could replace 125-300 cc commuter bikes. But the real bike enthusiast, who does 80 miles before breakfast, will have to wait a while longer.

  6. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    Impractical, way too stylish, however if one would velcro 2 of them side by side the seat would be just right. Oh yea, – China ?

  7. todd says:

    Are people forgetting that you can get at least twice the performance out of a less expensive CB300F? This has the power of a 125cc bike in the scale of a Grom. 80 miles is a LONG ride on the shoulder in your neighborhood, or at least 40 miles out and 40 miles back at 15mph. Sure, it might have enough battery to make it up to 80mph (unlikely) once but it will be so depleted after that one attempt that your range and top speed will be severely diminished. This is still a concept bike (looks like they borrowed a bunch of parts off a Svartpilen 401) and it still doesn’t seem adequate for much anything better than a decent e-mountain bike that is still legal to ride on trails.

  8. John says:

    It’s the perfect bike—if you’re interested in a niche, within a niche, within a niche kind of ride. I’m not.

    • Stuki Moi says:

      As a business proposition, is mainly interesting as a marketing stunt for a company whose real business is selling paper to retirement funds. Not vehicles to pragmatic end users. Just like most else, particularly anything “electric” AND “vehicle,” these days.

      Electric bicycles work well, though. AS LONG AS they remain bicycle’y enough to be treated as a bicycle. Riding on sidewalks, running/ruring reds, rolling into stores and offices etc., makes up in point to point speeds, no need to park etc., what they lose in top speed, in denser urban settings, as bike messengers have demonstrated for decades even pre pedelecs.

      But once granted no more arbitrary privileges than the ICE competition, BEVs no longer look so good for all but some niche uses.

  9. It is cute at least. And I could use a little bike to get to work.
    The cost of an electric mountain bike is about the same.
    But, this one will let me ride on the road instead of on the shoulder.
    I will still have my H-D for real riding…it would be worth thinking about if it was built.

  10. Relic says:

    There’s a plague of e bikes this season already

  11. Kermit T Frog says:

    Ummmmm…There’s a hole where the motor should be. I’m guessing that’s to save weight so Mick will buy it? 😉 And to make matters worse, it looks like it has tubed tires…😂

    • Mick says:

      Nope! Sorry. My electric bike weighs 125 pounds and cost $3000.

      But then I despise cities and love forests. Time will tell if the citiots embrace this thing. But I have my doubts. That big hub motor will make it ride and hamdle poorly and the styling isn’t good enough for the vain to overlook that fact.

      The ice is finally thick enough. So I went ice racing yesterday on a 295cc two stroke with tubed ice tires. The lake has no snow in it and the ice is as smooth as glass, except where the aforementioned ice tires chewed it up a bit.

  12. Sleeping Dog says:

    Given that my Sunday morning ride while the wife is at church is 50-75 miles and the weekly ride with the boys for lunch is 200-300, this won’t cut it. Nor will any of the other e-bikes out there.

    I’ve often thought that an e-scooter, about the size of a 150-200cc Vespa, with a range of 50-60 miles would be an interesting errand bike. Small enough to park on the sidewalk and enough storage for a 12 pack or a bag of groceries. But this, nah.

  13. EZ Mark says:

    Wow, 80 miles.
    I could make it halfway to our favorite lunch spot.

  14. fred says:

    No, it’s not a breakthrough in electric motorcycles. First, it doesn’t exist. Second, it’s highly unlikely it will ever exist, much less at the promised price, or by the promised date. See the Sondors electric car fiasco. Third, it’s not a motorcycle, it’s a scooter.

    EBikes and EV’s make big promises, but the reality is just another promise of free beer tomorrow.

  15. motomike says:

    I agree with Jeremy. All these mileage claims are based on very conservative throttle use. The Zero I rode a few years ago was a hoot but only at WFO. This is all folly at this point. Until range is maximized and price gets minimized, these will just be toys for the wealthy. Gimme dead dino gulping ICE sickles. Oooh I made a funny 🙂

  16. Jeremy says:

    Cool bike. I’m skeptical of the 80 miles range claim from a 4kWh battery, even if that is 100% city cycle riding.

  17. mickey says:

    Wow, unusual looking. Looks kind of frail. Good price though.

    I’ve ridden a Zero S, a couple years ago, and it was an interesting experience.

    I’d buy a Zero SR/S for $5000. Maybe even $10,000, but anything above that loses its value to me.

  18. joe b says:

    One thing about the electric bikes, is that they are quiet. Maybe the whirr of the chain, but this has no chain! zip, nada, not even a whoosh. I almost walked into an electric car at the gas station one day. one second, it was just parked there, next thing I knew, it was rolling and i had walked in front of it, oops! I like the idea of an electric motorcycle, but its all about the battery. make the battery on this twice as big, and it gets real heavy, very heavy. They have a long way to go. I will see. Maybe in another lifetime, it will be normal for them to be.

  19. Gary in NJ says:

    I watched the video, and I think the host (Micah) gave a honest spec-sheet appraisal. First, it’s not a bad looking machine, in fact it’s borderline interesting. I do think that the negative space where the tank normally resides will leave you wondering where to put your knees…but then again I never really think of that when I’m blasting down a hill at 35-40 mph on my bicycle, so maybe it wont be missed here either. I’m hoping that the bike is of a normal size, like the size of a 250cc street bike and not the size of a Honda Monkey/Grom. If it’s a normal size, then 200 pounds is impressive and welcome. An 80mph top speed is acceptable for a city bike or back-road machine where 45-65mph is the norm. It’s the 80 mile range that sucks the enthusiasm out of the Metacycle. Of course, they have the room in the negative space to add an additional 2-4kW of storage…raising the weight of the bike to the 250 class…which still isn’t all that bad. Heck, my DRZ-SM is 300 pounds and it’s a lightweight hoot, so a 250 version of the Metacycle (Megacycle?) that can deliver an honest 80-100 mile range is still fun. But alas, that is not the bike Sondor is offering – and not at $5k.

  20. Gary says:

    Eighty miles of range is a breakthrough? Maybe for some limited commuting applications, but not for me. I think the only hope is for someone to make a BMW “boxer” style powerplant, where the weights of the batter packs extend out of each side, counterbalancing each other. Maybe that way they can deliver decent range.

    • Jeremy says:

      Looks like there is a great big space in the frame where they could have squeezed another battery into. Maybe that will be an option in the future.

      A 4kWh battery is a pretty small fuel tank. I’d think you’d need some pretty sluggish speeds to achieve 80 miles out of that.