Part mountain bike, part motorcycle. The Sur Ron X is plagued with a bit of an identity crisis. That crisis, however, lends itself to a riding experience unlike any bike I’ve ever ridden.
Before riding the Sur Ron X, I genuinely did not know what to expect. Fitted with stationary foot pegs, a non-adjustable seat and a traditional twist throttle, it presents itself as an electric dirt bike and that much is clear. Where the line begins to blur into mountain bike territory are the components. The Sur Ron is fitted with a 200mm Rockshox Boxxer front fork designed for a downhill mountain bike. That fork mates itself to a bicycle hub that is laced to a slender 19” rim. The handlebars, stem and brakes are indistinguishable from those of the pedal bike genre. It appears that the Sur Ron X has mated two unlikely partners and given birth to its own category of motorcycle; the ultra light electric dirt bike.
After a basic appraisal, I charged the 60v battery and headed out for the maiden voyage.
The Sur Ron begs to be addressed as a motorcycle but it’s attributes scream mountain bike in almost every area of the machine. One twist of the throttle is all it took to remind me that I am indeed on the former.
The power plant on the Sur Ron X comes in the form of a 60v Panasonic battery and proprietary sine-wave controller that powers a 6 kW mid-drive motor.
A switch on the left side of the handlebar allows the rider to toggle from “Eco” to “Sport”. Eco provides a subdued power delivery with a governed top speed of 25mph, a great choice for beginners or those who want the bike to remain street legal as a class 3 electric motorcycle. Flip the switch to “Sport Mode” and acceleration is abundant and immediate, which is a common power characteristic of an electric motorcycle. In the same breath, electric motorcycles commonly fail to maintain this amount of power as their speed increases. Where a larger displacement motorcycle continues to pull, electric motorcycles have a tendency to sign off. This occurrence has historically tricked me into initially thinking a bike is “fast” when a more accurate adjective would be to call it “quick”. The Sur Ron is no exception to this; It’s quick, not fast.
After a handful of top speed runs to test said quickness, my speedometer terminated at 47mph on enough occasions to confidently declare that as it’s peak speed. After easing down the tempo, I pointed it into the rough and was once again reminded that this bike is built upon a hodgepodge of mountain bike parts and demands to be ridden that way. The little Sur Ron does not share the same privilege as a modern ICE dirt bike of smashing through rocks and roots without consequence. The 115 pound electric motorcycle can indeed handle most challenging obstacles you care to throw at it but as expected, those who choose their lines wisely will be rewarded.
The Sur Ron arrived with tires inflated to 35 PSI, which on any surface aside from asphalt is far too much. The wheel and tire combo provided with the Sur Ron resembles what you’d expect to find on a traditional dirt bike but in a much lighter-duty package. Due to the lightweight nature of this setup, it’s not feasible to run the same low PSI that you would on a dirt bike. I arrived at a front and rear tire pressure of 20 PSI which for a dirt bike is quite high and for a mountain bike is quite low. I found that for my weight of 160 pounds, any pressure above 20 PSI caused the bike to deflect off of obstacles in an undesirable manner. Alternatively, any pressure below 20 PSI felt best for traction but would ultimately result in a pinch flat.
The Sur Ron X comes equipped with size 70/100-19 CST tires and is the first thing I recommend changing on the bike. Overall weight was unquestionably a focus when designing the Sur Ron and the best place to save weight is in and around the wheels. To this expense, the carcass of the CST tire is extremely soft and paper-thin. The result is a tire that not only risks pinch flats and tears when run at a lower PSI (as mentioned above) but also a tire that does not hold up well under load. To maximize traction and achieve a more reasonable PSI, here are a list of recommended replacement tires and tubes that will mount up to the stock Sur Ron wheels:
While on the topic of modifications I would recommend immediately, the 31.8mm mountain bike style handlebars come with a very low bend. This may not be a problem for young kids or the vertically challenged but for anyone over 5’4”, a swap to Pro Taper 3” rise handlebars will be one that you will not regret. This modification will open up the cockpit substantially and allow for more comfort for most adult riders. It is worth noting that the Pro Taper bars are delivered at a very wide 810mm and I recommend cutting them down to 790mm.
The Sur Ron X Black I tested was a “Limited Edition” that came equipped with a 200mm Rockshox Boxxer front fork. This was a short term batch of bikes by Luna Cycle and is unlikely to return. Sur Ron’s most commonly come equipped with a DNM Volcano or RST Killah fork. These forks are perfectly suitable for day-to-day riding but as soon as the going gets rough, riders will be wanting for more advanced suspension. For those interested in upgrading their Sur Ron’s front fork to a Rockshox Boxxer, it would be a worthy choice. Bump compliance and hold up are notably better than the stock DNM Volcano or RST Killah fork that come on the common Sur Ron X. It should be noted that all double crown downhill mountain bike forks, however, are considered light duty for a bike of this weight. The issue is that existing equipment, such as the downhill mountain bike style fork, is being utilized for a task it was not exactly intended for. Where your average downhill mountain bike weighs 40 pounds, the Sur Ron weighs 115 pounds. The result is a fork that often flexes, dives under load and rides too deep in the stroke. It can result in a harsh feeling if ridden hard. It’s not all bad though, it’s just another opportunity to repeat my affirmation of “choose your lines wisely” and “ride it like a mountain bike”. The DNM shock isn’t as much of a concern, even though like the fork, the Sur Ron would benefit from a re-valve of the stock equipment or a replacement. Here are some recommended forks and shocks for the off-road crowd:
When it comes time to slow down, mountain bikers beware, the brake levers are set up in a motorcycle orientation; rear brake is on the right, front brake is on the left. The Sur Ron branded 4 piston hydraulic disk brakes are enough to get the job done effectively. The work doesn’t end at the caliper, though. The stock brake pads are in one word; terrible. Another affordable bang-for-your-buck upgrade are the Shimano H03C brake pads. It’s a cheap solution and you’ll be happy you did it.
Overall, this bike is an absolute hoot. It’s lightweight nature makes it fun and effortless to ride. A handful of modifications mentioned above will improve the experience but straight out of the box, this bike provides a lot of entertainment. If you’re riding the bike in rough chundery terrain at speed, expect some hardships but smoother flow trails make the little Sur Ron feel right at home.
The price on the Sur Ron X has proven to fluctuate but expect to spend an MSRP of around $4,000. If you’re looking for an alternative, check out the Segway X260, which is basically a Sur Ron X with different styling.