Bike Of The Week: Black Tea Bonfire

Black Tea Bonfire electric motorcycle on the road.

Black Tea made some waves when they pulled the covers off their first motorbike back in 2020. Here was a fully electric motorcycle that oozed vintage-enduro-cool, set to retail for under $5,000. With its polished aluminum tank, old school tube steel chassis, spoke wheels, and single round headlight, you might be forgiven for mistaking the Bonfire Black Tea for a custom Yamaha XT 500.

At second glance, however, the Black Tea Bonfire is a dead giveaway for an all-electric motorcycle, from the rear hub-driven motor to the unapologetically big and square battery box sitting in the front of the frame. The Bonfire has been a budget bike since the start, but it’s a damn good-looking one, especially with some knobby tires spooned onto its aluminum spoke wheels.

Black Tea Bonfire scrambler doing donuts in a gravel lot.

The Black Tea Bonfire is currently offered in three trim/power levels, the Bonfire S, E, and X (because SEX sells, I guess), which are built based on the legal/licensing requirements for different countries. Their lowest power/least expensive option, the Bonfire S, is electronically limited to roughly 28 mph (although it’s essentially identical to the Bonfire E in terms of equipment and power output) allowing it to be used in the EU with an AM or B level license, whereas the faster E and X models require A1/A2/A licensing.

Black Tea Bonfire: Overview, Specs, Price, etc.

So which Black Tea Bonfire is right for you? Well, if you live in the USA, the answer should be pretty simple: All Bonfire models require the same M1 motorcycle license, so chances are the Bonfire X is your best bet.

That’s because the Bonfire X has the highest top speed of just over 60mph, as well as the highest claimed peak power at 8kW (nominal power is rated at 5kW). It also ships with two 1.8kW batteries (and two separate chargers), yet still retails for an attractive $6,400. Range for the Black Tea Bonfire X is rated at 100km, or about 62 miles.

Bonfire X dashboard display in detail.

With that being said, if power isn’t particularly high on your priority list, both the S and E models bring value to the table. The S model, for example, retails for just $4,516, and due to its electronically limited speed, actually gets the highest claimed range of the bunch at 74 miles. Of course its 28mph limit is painfully slow for anything outside of the city, so if you want to step it up to the E model’s 50mph limit, it can be had for just over $4,900 at the cost of a little range (62 miles claimed).

Unfortunately, both of those range figures are quoted using two batteries rather than the single battery setup both the S and E ship with. That means unless you’re willing to drop an additional $1,050 for a second 52V battery, you’re gonna want to half those numbers and hope they’re accurate. That puts the two lower-spec models at $5,566 and $5,950 respectively, and if you add in a second charger, you’ll start to see the value in “splurging” for the Bonfire X. There’s just one hangup:

Black Tea Bonfire electric motorcycle action shot in black and white.

The folks at Black Tea originally planned to have the Bonfire X’s street-legal certification sorted by March of 2022, but haven’t shared any updates on its pending status since January of this year. According to their website, however, their bikes are street legal anywhere they ship. We’ve reached out to the folks at Black Tea for confirmation that the Bonfire X is fully street-legal and ready to register in the US, but haven’t heard back from them yet. Stay tuned…

Their current wait time for US orders is listed as 4 to 5 months, and as of January 2022, the first 4 Black Tea Bonfires were ready to ship to the states. Black Tea also reported in January that they were having trouble reserving a shipping container through Fedex and/or Kühne&Nagel though, so we’ll be looking forward to a status update on that front in the coming weeks.

Black Tea Bonfire X Specs:

Dimensions

  • Length: 1900 mm
  • Width: 700 mm
  • Height: 1250 mm
  • Wheelbase: 1300 mm
  • Fork Angle: 24.5 °


Weight & Load

  • Gross Vehicle Weight Restriction: 260 kg
  • Total Curb “Wet” Weight: 109 kg
  • Total “Dry” Weight: 86 kg


Body

  • Steel frame, Swing Arm, Box, Side Panels & Fenders
  • Frame: Steel Tube Chassis
  • Anti-Theft Protection: Steering Lock


Drivetrain

  • Type: Hub Permanent magnet motor (PSM)
  • Rated Power: 6 kW (8 HP) at 900 RPM
  • Peak Power: 8 kW (12 HP) at 960 RPM
  • Torque: 195 Nm
  • Environmental Protection: IP54


Ride Modes

  • Top Speed: 95 km/h (60 mph)
  • Ride Modes: Eco, Normal & Sport
  • Features: Ride Modes with different torque, acceleration & top speed


Range

  • Eco Mode: 105 km
  • Normal Mode: 85 km
  • Speed Mode: 65 km


Charging

  • Type: 2 x External charger for standard outlets
  • 0-80%: 3 hours
  • Charge Current: 2 x 10 A


Battery

  • Cells: Premium 18650 Li-Ion cells
  • Configuration: 2 battery packs in serial
  • Voltage: 104 V
  • Capacity: 35 Ah / 3.6 kWh
  • Peak Current: ~90 A
  • Battery Voltage Range: 90 – 117 V
  • Dimensions: 310 mm x 220 mm x 100 mm
  • Weight: 2 x 11.5 kg
  • Connector: QS8-S Anti Spark
  • Life Cycle: Rated for 800 Charge Cycles
  • Features: Removable, Two batteries fit in the Bonfire, Can be charged while installed


ECU

  • Controller Type: Electronic Sine Wave (BLDC)
  • Environmental Protection: IP66
  • Features: Enhanced Regenerative Braking,
  • Hardware Over-Current and Over-Voltage
  • Protection, Low Voltage Battery Protection, Fault
  • Codes, Aluminium Housing for Maximum Heat
  • Dissipation


Electronics & Dashboard

  • Throttle Type: Full Twist DOMINO Hall (IP66)
  • Display: Battery SoC, voltage, speedometer, odometer, trip meter, ride mode, time and warning lights.


Brakes & Recuperation

  • Type: CBS Hydraulic Disc Brake
  • Front: 265 mm Disc with 4 mm thickness
  • Rear: 220 mm Disc with 3 mm thickness
  • Brake Fluid Type: DOT 4
  • Regenerative Braking: Activates when you brake


Suspension

  • Front: Hydraulic forks featuring 31mm tubes for
  • extra rigidity and strength.
  • Travel: 200mm
  • Rear: Adjustable 335mm dual shocks

Wheels

  • Hub: Aluminum hubs with 12 mm axle
  • Front Rim: 1.85 x 18” 36 spoked aluminum rims
  • Front Tire: 90/90 – 18 Heidenau Dual Sport K60
  • Rear Rim: 2.15 x 18” 36 spoked aluminum rims
  • Rear Tire: 110/80 – 18 Heidenau Dual Sport K60


Regulatory

  • Classification: L3e-A1 (EU) / Motorcycle (USA)
  • License requirement: A1 or B196 (EU) / M2 (USA)

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