What makes the Sur-Ron Ultra Bee special?
With the launch of Sur-Ron's Ultra Bee in 2023 we take a look at what makes it so special.
The Sur-Ron LBX has been the UK’s top selling electric motorcycle for around three years, albeit that this feat is rarely recognised by an industry that’s focused on new vehicle registrations. Around 70% of Sur-Ron sales are for the off-road model, which is why it’s success can sometimes be misunderstood.
Growth in the traditional EV market has been driven by grants, tax incentives, the avoidance of ULEZ charges and the appeal of a zero emission drive train. However, in the case of the Sur-Ron the qualities that have driven success are, low weight, quietness, agility, low running costs, simplicity, and minimal maintenance requirements. In many cases the LBX has created a market that simply didn’t exist, although some of its owners were already traditional off-road riders.
The popularity of the LBX, and other new entrants like the Talaria Sting, has been driven by the pure appeal and simplicity of a torquey and clutchless electric drive train, combined with the desire of off-roaders to preserve their sport by minimising the impact on those they share green spaces with.
For the most part, the performance of the Sur-Ron LBX has met the needs of its customers, although some have invested in performance upgrades, typically 72v controllers and batteries which dramatically increase acceleration and speed. Some may invest in uprated suspension and brakes, whilst others may do both to create a super-light, agile, fast and entertaining off-road bike that has no peers in the petrol market.
In 2021 Sur-Ron launched the Storm Bee, which at 135 kg is more than double the weight of the 57 kg LBX and with its 21.5 kW motor has over three times the power. Although much quicker and with massively upscaled suspension and brakes, the Storm represents a big leap for many riders who simply didn’t want to lose the compelling agility and manageable power to weight ration of the LBX. Consequently, the Storm hasn’t been as successful as the LBX and its price premium of around £4k has been as much of a factor as its 78 kg weight premium.
So it’s with great excitement that for 2023 we’ll see the launch of Sur-Ron’s third platform, the Ultra Bee, which sits comfortably between the LBX and the Storm. Its 85kg is closer to the LBX, as is peak power of 12.5kW, however, its 4kW battery has almost the same capacity of the Storm’s, which gives the Ultra Bee the best range. Brakes and suspension also compare favourably to the Storm, which means there’ll be little need to upgrade either, and the addition of SRTC (Sur-Ron Traction Control) will help to tame the extra weight and power to create an exceptionally quick and controllable package that will attract a wide range of riders.
With the X Edition Ultra Bee expected to cost around £2k more than the LBX, its arguably a far better package than an LBX with an upgraded controller and battery. For a start you get motorcycle-grade brakes and suspension and it also has three riding modes, plus a reverse feature, traction control and a battery with almost twice the capacity of the latest LBX power pack.
So who will buy the Ultra Bee? We believe there’s a significant opportunity for existing LBX owners to upgrade and we also see the Ultra Bee attracting people that found the Storm to be a bit larger, heavier and costlier than they wanted. We also believe that traditional petrol die-hards that wanted more than the LBX could offer, and a lighter and more agile bike than the Storm, will now turn their attention to the Ultra Bee.
Price point will be key to the Ultra Bee’s success, and at around £6.5k for the X Edition (off-road, which is £2k below the Storm’s £8.5k price tag, we feel that it will find a niche that competitors will find hard to attack. The Ultra Bee takes the qualities that made the LBX a first to market runaway success and combines these with technology developed for the Storm to create a new milestone in the electric off-road sector.