Chinese Electric Motorcycles: Options, Range and Reliability


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Last Updated: 4th October 2021

Sales of electric motorcycles lag behind those of four-wheeled EVs. Arguably, the old guard of the motorcycle industry is missing the point of electric vehicles, opting to build large, powerful machines that are intimidating, impractical and out of most people’s price range.

In parts of the world where electric two-wheelers have taken off (East Asia and the densely populated cities of Europe), smaller, lightweight, cheaper, commuter-type machines are the reason. Thankfully, the Chinese are here to save us with a bunch of budget bikes. 

We’ve made a list of some of the more affordable Chinese-manufactured electric bikes in the UK. Even if (like me) you’re not ready to buy an electric motorbike, it’s hard not to be curious about this growing industry sector.

Someday, we’ll probably all own one. Even if (like me) you’ll still have combustion bikes in the shed on vintage insurance. 

Super Soco TC-Max

Super Soco TC-MAX

Specs:

Range: 60 miles
Charge Time: 4.5 Hours
Top Speed: 49mph

With comparable performance to a 4 stroke 125cc combustion bike, the Super Soco TC-Max is an exciting learner-legal electric option (say that 4 times fast).

Priced under the 4000GBP mark, it’s also an affordable one.

And there’s a lot to like.

Battery and Charging

Super Soco battery

The 72v 45Ah battery charges in about 4.5 hours, giving you a range of about 60 miles. This puts it comfortably in the commuter class for most urban and suburban riders.

The easily removable battery is a nice touch, meaning you can get it charged up even when parked somewhere without a plug socket. 

Most people in urban environments don’t have a garage or lock-up to leave their bike plugged in to charge. Removable batteries are a game-changer for commuters and probably the way forward for this class of bikes.

A quality lock and rain cover make leaving this outside while you take the battery inside to charge a possibility. Sure, there are benefits to integrated batteries too. But when an electric bike can offer a 60-mile range like the TC-Max and include a removable battery, it’s impressive.

Aesthetics

Super Soco seat

Looks-wise, the lightweight frame and body get more right than wrong, creating a fairly neutral street bike look.

Its flat, cafe-racer style seat looks low key but can comfortably fit a passenger when needed.

The rear mudguard hugs the tyre closely, making it almost invisible – style points! The front guard is slim and short, giving it even more cafe racer DNA.

It uses Brembo hydraulic brakes with a combined system for efficient, safe stopping and a chain-free, maintenance-free, carbon fibre drive train to keep things simple, clean, and quiet. 

Extra Tech

Super Soco Dash

Extra touches here include specially designed pouch cell technology that increases battery longevity, keyless ignition, built-in alarm, and app integration.

Some customers aren’t that pleased with the built-in lock. Integrated locks are typically fine in a pinch, but if you’re going to leave this locked up anywhere for a long time, bring a heavy-duty one.

For the price, this is a great bike. This company has also gained momentum to the point that it’s unlikely they’ll disappear within a few years. We can’t say the same for every Chinese import electric motorcycle. 

Check it out on Super Soco


Horwin CR6

Horwin CR6

Specs:

Range: 60 miles
Charge Time: 3 Hours
Top Speed: 58mph

The Horwin CR6 makes a clear effort to distance itself from the ultra-lightweight e-scooter/bike aesthetic. It looks like a full-fat cafe racer. There’s some inspiration from 80s Honda street bikes like the Bros or Hawk models – right in our wheelhouse!

Performance

Like the rest of our list, the focus here is primarily on commuting and short trips. Speed is capped at 58mph, but acceleration is whippy – 0-38mph in about 5 seconds.

Range

Horwin CR6 Charging

Some of the company’s copy gives the range at 90 miles, but reliable accounts from riders put it at more like 60. And that’s not going flat out. On a country road, going maximum speed could cut that range down to 30 miles. 

Aesthetics

Horwin CR6

The 815mm high bump seat, axel-mounted mudguard/license plate holder, and blacked out spoke-like, skinny alloy wheels give the CR6 its distinctive looks.

There’s a definite retro theme.

And while the upside-down forks and rear mono-shock fit the bill thematically, they aren’t especially suited to the bumpy stuff. Then again, that’s not what this list is about. In the city, this will hold its own with traffic, and the suspension is good enough to keep you in contact with the road.

Engine

Horwin CR6 wheel spin

The brushless 6.2kW engine delivers smooth acceleration, if not insane top speeds. Like the Super Soco, this thing is trying to compete with 125cc combustion scooters – which to its credit, it does pretty well.

You’ll leave many petrol bikes behind at traffic lights, only to see them again once they can run up through their gears.

Brakes are decent, using a combined braking to help keep you safer in emergencies. Handling, especially at low speeds, is excellent on the CR6.

This is tailor-made for urban commuters who face congestion and want to cut through it nimbly—a decent option at the price. 

Check it out on Horwin


Lexmoto Cypher

Lexmoto Cypher

Range: 30 miles
Charge Time: 6 Hours
Top Speed: 30mph (restricted)

Lexmoto is one of the better-recognized Chinese import brands in the UK. They’re mostly known for making affordable, low displacement commuter bikes and scooters.

And while they’ve had a few electric scooters on the market in recent years, the Cypher represents their first motorcycle-style offering.

Price

The first thing to get out of the way here is the price. At under 2000GBP, it’s one of the cheapest bikes on the market. And apart from its undersized wheels, it does a decent job of looking and feeling like a motorcycle. 

Battery, Range and Charging

Lexmoto Cypher Battery

The removable battery here is also welcome. It makes this a more viable option for people living in apartments with bike sheds etc.

With its 6-hour, flat-to-full charge time, it’s nice to be able to bring it inside and forget about it. Lexmoto’s copy put the range at up to 40 miles. Reports from real-life riders put it at more like 25-30 in average, city riding conditions. 

Performance

The restricted, 30mph top speed puts it in the AM category, opening this up to 16-year-olds with an L license.

And the low price point makes this the first viable electric option for many younger people. Its AM status also means the Cypher might be attractive to full car license holders looking for an electric runaround. Though that bracket mightn’t be into Cypher’s Gen-Z flash and branding.

Aesthetics

Lexmoto Cypher Side shot

Looks-wise, this won’t be for everyone. Many of its visual touches are not functional. There’s an artificial heat grill and some heat-sinking fans that don’t sink heat! 

The Cypher looks vaguely like one of those brightly-coloured gaming chairs.

Doubtless, Lexmoto (and the people making those gaming chairs) know their market. The 16 to 20 demographic will probably eat it up.

Lexmoto is well established and has a good reputation for customer service. A good choice if you’re worried about parts and labour. 

Check it out on Lexmoto


WK E-Colt

Wk E-colt

Specs:

Range: 37 miles
Charge Time: 7.5 Hours
Top Speed: 28mph (restricted)

This is an interesting one. It’s essentially an electrified version of the combustion WK Colt we covered several months ago.

Check out that and the rest of WK’s low-displacement, budget-friendly range.  

The E-Colt is very much a 50cc equivalent in the same way models like the Super Soco try to mimic a 125cc.

This can be ridden on a CBT, like a 50cc, and typically won’t break the bank to insure.

Performance

Performance-wise, this is about the same as a typical 50cc scooter – its top speed is capped at 28mph, but acceleration on the E-Colt is faster than its petrol counterpart. The small wheels can make this feel surprisingly nippy. 

Battery, Charging and Range

A full charge takes about 7.5 hours. This gets you a range of about 60km – not huge but enough to satisfy the needs of most inner-city commuters.

Price

The sub 2000GBP price tag is attractive for an electric commuter. And for younger riders who want to progress onto motorcycles, starting on something like this makes more sense than a scooter. The riding position and handling will transfer over to bigger bikes in a way that starting with a moped won’t. 

With no clutch, no fluids to top up, no fuel filter, and no drive train maintenance, the E-Colt will make it harder for teenagers to destroy their first bike through neglect.

Jokes aside, for under 2000GBP, there aren’t many options for electric motorcycles.

For teenagers looking for an urban commuter, this or the Lexmoto Cypher make sense.

Both companies have a long-term presence in the UK and offer excellent customer service and parts. 

Check it out on WK Bikes


Sur Ron Storm (Road Legal)

Sur Ron Storm

Specs:

Range: 60 miles
Charge Time: TBA
Top Speed: 68mph

The long-awaited Sur Ron Storm has been turning heads at recent demos. This road-legal version of their popular motocross bike has added a lighting rig, license plate holder and changed the rims and tyres to pass muster.

Aesthetics

With an aluminium alloy frame, large mudguard clearances, adjustable 290mm suspension travel in the front,  adjustable 290mm travel rear mono-shock, and serious torque, this machine can handle the trails too. 

Performance

Prototype spec sheets suggest the Storm’s air-cooled motor will put out 30hp with 382lb-ft of torque. This isn’t confirmed.

But if that’s even close, this will be a powerful machine. At around 139kg, this will also be seriously light for an electric motorcycle with that power output.

Battery, Charging and Range

With a top speed of 68mph and a range of 60 miles at about 30mph, this is still very much a commuter. 

One nice feature the designers included is a sine wave controller that can handle up to 150V. The Storm currently only has a 90V battery, but the designers wanted it to be compatible with any larger voltage batteries that may come out in this format in the future.

Versatility

If you want to buy an electric commuter that you can also have fun hacking around the countryside, this might be the best choice.

The future-proofing is the icing on the cake. It’s rare to see companies in this space think about making their machines a viable long-term investment.

Honestly, if more companies went showed interest in the future of their bikes, consumers wouldn’t be so hesitant. 

Check it out on SurRon


Voge ER10

Voge ER10

Specs:

Range: 75 miles
Charge Time: 4 Hours
Top Speed: 56mph

The ER10 is based on the previously showcased White Ghost by Sur Ron. Voge bought the rights to this design and are bringing it to production with some changes.

Performance and Range

Voge E10 front view

The most significant of these is the smaller, 14.4hp, liquid-cooled motor. The top speed is still a respectable 56mph with a range of 75 miles.

This range is estimated by the company and probably leans on the positive/ideal side. Flat out on the motorway; you may get significantly less. Still, this is a more motorway-capable machine than many of the others on our list.

ABS front and rear disc brakes have decent stopping power. The ER10 also features adjustable front and rear suspension, a forged alloy frame,multi-link, and adjustable central shock absorption. If it handles as well as it mimics a science fiction Tron bike, then it’ll be fun. 

Tech

Voge E10 dash

Keyless start, digital display, USB charging ports, and storage space in the “tank” are all present.

Reliability

As far as pedigree goes, Voge is a subsidiary of Loncin – a manufacturing partner of brands like Volkswagen, Mercedes, Ford, Audi, and Volvo in China. This should reassure wary consumers of the quality and longevity of the product.

Aesthetics

Voge E10 side angle

The swingarm-mounted motor, axel-mounted rear mudguard, and high seat clearance give this a distinctive, futuristic look. Very much an electric, 125cc equivalent, the ER10 hits that sweet spot for many people looking for a middleweight electric motorcycle. 

Check it out on Voge


Evoke Urban Series

Evoke Urban S

Specs:

Range: 75 miles
Charge Time: 3 Hours
Top Speed: 81mph

Evoke has developed a decent reputation around the globe and are now available in the UK.

Performance

The Urban S is among the most powerful machines on our list. Producing 25bhp with its 19kW hub motor, this bike has a top speed of 81mph. That’s fast. And you’ll get up to speed quickly, too – 0 to 60 in under 6 seconds. 

Battery, Charging and Range

The marketing copy puts the range at 124 miles in the city. “In the city” in this context means tipping along without too many pauses. At 60mph, the range is said to be 75 miles. If true, that’s decent.

A fast charging feature will get you 80% battery life in just under two hours and a full charge of just over three. Take these figures with a pinch of salt until some reviewers get their hands on the Urban S and report back. Regenerative deceleration is present, helping to extend that range slightly. 

Aesthetics

The front brakes use a four-piston calliper disc and the rear a two calliper disc system. They work well, and their levers are mounted in the handlebars like a bicycle. This may help someone new to riding or confuse someone used to the traditional placement of brakes on a motorcycle.

We’re not crazy about the muscular, futuristic street bike look. But that’s subjective. 

Overall, this is a serious machine that’s been well tested in other territories.

Check it out on Evoke


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