Perhaps best known for its electric bicycles, Sondors announced the Metacycle on Thursday, its first fully electric motorcycle with an 80-mph top speed and a relatively affordable starting price of just $5,000.
With the average price of a new car cresting $40,000 and many new electric motorcycles -- like the Harley-Davidson Livewire or the Zero SR/S -- coming in just as expensive, the Sondor Metacycle could find itself in an economical price-to-performance sweet spot, especially since the average American's commute is only about 16 miles per day.
The Metacycle is an eye-catching, lightweight (about 200 pounds) electric motorcycle built around an aluminum frame. There's a gaping hole where you'd expect the fuel tank to be, emphasizing the bike's fuel-free performance. The removable 4.0-kilowatt-hour battery pack is positioned low on the belly of the frame, and is good for about 80 miles of cruising range. Charging can be handled at pretty much any 110-volt wall outlet in about 4 hours, but it can also be juiced more quickly at Level 2 (240-volt) public and residential charging stations.
Forward motivation (and, presumably, regenerative braking) is provided by a 14.5-kW (about 20 horsepower) hub motor that fills the rear wheel's negative space, providing a nominal 8 kW of thrust under most conditions. Top speed is estimated at 80 mph.
80 miles and 80 mph make for a nice poetic symmetry, but we're pretty sure you won't be able to hit the max range while riding at max speed. Expect actual performance to fall somewhere between those extremes. That's not a lot of range and really just enough top speed for the highway, but as a street-legal commuter for shorter around-town trips, the Metacycle's low starting price certainly makes it a little tempting.
The Metacycle has all of the rest of your street-legal motorcycle bits -- mirrors, headlamps, tail lights and so on. Up front is an inverted fork suspension and providing stopping power are a set of hydraulic brakes built by Brembo-subsidiary Bybre.
We also reckon that hanging a heavy hub motor on the rear suspension has to have some effect on the Metacycle's handling, but the maintenance benefits of not having to deal with a chain and sprocket are certainly worth the tradeoff. The bike's modest performance goals mean that a small handling compromise is probably not a deal-breaker.
Don't expect a whole lot of tech at this price point, but with a clear-doored phone box that integrates a wireless charger, you can bring your own navigation on the road fairly easily.
Some may remember that, way back in 2017, Sondors attempted to crowdfund a $10,000 electric three-wheeled car. The Metacycle seems a bit less ambitious in scope, but more believable as a deliverable product. Expect deliveries of the Sondors Metacycle to begin in October.