In January, electric bicycle company Sondors unveiled its first electric motorcycle—the Metacycle. The reveal certainly got people talking. After all, a 200-pound bike with an 80-mph top speed and 80-mile range is plenty to gab about. However, that didn’t stop electric motorcycle detractors from questioning the actual range, top speed, and design decisions.
Despite the skepticism, the Metacycle still made waves and the Malibu, California-based company didn’t waste any time getting the $5,000 model out on the road. Plotting a course from the Spectrum (a bougie shopping center) in Irvine, California, to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, the Sondors team set out to answer its critics. Despite the Metacycle smoothly sailing to its destination in the LBC, the video poses more questions for the entry-level electric.
The video opens on a Google Maps route that sends our protagonist weaving through industrial parkways and suburban neighborhoods. Once the Metacycle reaches the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1), it becomes clear that the pilot is avoiding major Southern California freeways. Mapping the route from the Irvine Spectrum to the Aquarium of the Pacific returns directions instructing drivers to use Interstate 405 North to the 710 South. Only when the ‘avoid highway’ option is clicked does Google Maps suggest the Highway 1 route.
Now, we can’t blame anyone for avoiding the infamous 405 traffic and the 710’s pothole-riddled asphalt, but we think it reflects more on the Metacycle’s highway abilities and top speed. It’s easy to cruise by the Ferrari dealership in Newport Beach and ride alongside the waves in Huntington Beach. It’s much harder, though, to not get overtaken by speed-happy Southern California drivers as your electric bike struggles to reach its advertised top speed.
Of course, the ride along the PCH is picturesque and frequently used to market motorcycles, but for Sondors specifically, it does little to silence the skeptics. Highway riding is also known to zap electric batteries, so the route could also comment on the model’s optimal range. Additionally, the rider’s bow-legged position on the Metacycle doesn’t bode well for the electric motorcycle at high speeds. Combined with its short 52-inch wheelbase, the inability to clench the “tank” with one’s knees poses a problem for high-speed stability. Yet another reason to stay off the interstate.
We should note that these are all questions that arise when watching the video. That doesn’t mean the Metacycle can’t achieve highway speeds or provide a stable ride. The only people that know that answer are those that have thrown a leg over the new Sondors. It does, however, beg the question of why the company is avoiding the subject even if it can make the 33.5-mile journey from Irvine to Long Beach.