Good day, fellow two-wheel enthusiasts! Edwin here with Gosondors, where we embark on motorcycle adventures while learning about these incredible machines. Today, our guest is the Sondors Meta Cycle, an all-electric motorcycle weighing approximately 300 pounds and priced at $6,500.
Now, our dedicated Gosondors readers may be wondering if this is the machine that will finally convince seasoned motorcyclists that electric bikes can be fun. Well, maybe.
But it seems that Sondors is more focused on appealing to non-motorcyclists and showing them the allure of two-wheel travel.
So, on today’s ride, we’ll explore both perspectives as we embark on another “scoot to work.” Are you ready? I’m ready. Let’s ride!
Alright, everyone, let’s take a closer look at the Sondors Meta Cycle. Normally, we start with the engine on a motorcycle, but in this case, we’ll start with the motor on the Sondors.
As you can see, it’s a hub motor, located in the rear wheel hub itself, rather than a conventional setup with a motor in the chassis and a drivetrain connecting to the rear wheel. This hub motor design is reminiscent of electric bicycles.
The Sondors also features some interesting components, such as a robust upside-down fork, which is quite nice, and these unique cross-spoke tubeless wheels with tangs that hold the spokes in place.
Personally, I find them rather cool-looking, despite the criticisms they’ve received on the internet. Apart from that, it’s just your basic motorcycle setup—two wheels, a seat, and handlebars to hold onto.
I think it’s time we hop on and start the ride. To do that, we press this power button here. It’s worth noting that there are two different keys—one is a proximity key, and the other is a fob that requires manual unlocking.
Right, R2, off to the Dagobah system. This little compartment here even has a wireless phone charger. You can also leave the proximity key inside if you prefer, and the bike should theoretically remain unlocked at all times.
It’s a bit flimsy, if I’m honest, but the fact that you can charge your phone and there’s a storage compartment is quite nifty.
Okay, the bike is up and running, and I believe we’re ready to hit the road. Stand up, kick the stand, and press this little button to toggle between Park and Drive. Off we go, everybody!
On the Road
Silently, we glide down the road. As usual, let’s discuss some basic specifications. I mentioned the $6,500 MSRP, which is slightly higher than the initial price of $5,000 when the bike was first announced.
The weight, on the Daily Rider scales, actually measures 335 pounds, a bit higher than the company’s initial claim, but still quite light for a street motorcycle.
The seat height is listed as 31.5 inches, but you won’t be surprised to hear that it feels much lower due to the Sondors’ compact design. Approaching the bike is incredibly easy, as we often say here on Daily Rider.
The 4-kilowatt-hour battery takes around 5.5 hours to charge fully from a standard wall socket in your home. At least, that’s what we found during our tests.
Based on my experience, we don’t usually discuss fill-up times on Daily Rider, but electric bikes are different.
Power and Torque: Expectations vs. Reality
Another essential aspect to cover is power, which I find interesting.
The specifications, indicate around 20 peak horsepower, slightly less continuously.
However, the torque figures are what surprise me. It boasts 130 foot-pounds of peak torque and 80 foot-pounds consistently.
But if I’m being completely honest, my experience riding this bike doesn’t match those numbers.
Eighty foot-pounds of torque are comparable to a 1000cc sportbike, and I’ll demonstrate that by putting the bike in sport mode and accelerating next to this Honda Accord Sport.
We’re wide open, accelerating at maximum speed; to be fair, we are breaking the speed limit. So, it does have some acceleration capabilities when needed.
However, I’m still determining if I’m experiencing the full range of 80 to 130 foot-pounds of torque. I’ll turn off sport mode now since it has a two-minute limit.
We’ll need some juice as we approach the freeway.
Seat and Ergonomic Concerns
Moving on to the riding position, particularly on the freeway, it’s pretty neutral and comfortable. The handlebar and footpeg positions are generic and standard, immediately making me feel at ease on the bike.
The main concern with the ergonomics of this bike is the seat. Currently, it’s comfortable, but after just a few more minutes, I’ll be fed up with it.
It’s one of the worst saddles I’ve ever encountered on any motorcycle. I don’t know why this is the case, perhaps due to the design-forward nature of the machine.
Everyone I’ve spoken to, including some people at the company, has acknowledged the seat’s lack of comfort.
So, if you plan to buy one, I expect the seat to be less satisfactory. Furthermore, the aftermarket support for this machine is still limited.
As we hit the on-ramps, we have a clear, enjoyable path. Although we’re not supposed to discuss twisty road performance on Daily Rider just yet, I’ll give you a little spoiler—it’s pretty fun.
Now, we’re heading onto the Los Angeles freeway, which is moving slowly. Hopefully, we’ll pick up speed soon.
Also, read about Review of the Revv 1 E-Bike.
Battery Performance and High-Speed Riding
Similar to many electric motorcycles, this poses a challenge for the overall range of the bike. Maintaining a constant, relatively high speed for extended periods is demanding for the battery, and the Sondors struggle with that.
However, it can sprint up to 75 or 80 miles per hour, which is better than other electric bikes in this price range, as far as I know at the time of publishing this article.
A thermal limit can be reached with the inverter, motor, and battery. I’m currently approaching that limit to some extent.
Occasionally, you might find yourself on the highway, enjoying the open road at 60, 65, or 70 miles per hour, and suddenly, the bike loses power.
Although there’s a small signal on the dash, it doesn’t adequately convey the weight of the situation. It can be disconcerting when the bike refuses to maintain that speed.
Regarding comfort on the highway, there is little to mention apart from the previously mentioned agreeable riding position. Unfortunately, there’s nothing to look forward to in terms of comfort.
Speedometer Accuracy and Managing Performance Expectations
As we climb this bridge from Long Beach to San Pedro, I’m wide open at 64 miles per hour. The speedometer appears to read higher than the actual speed.
Similar to other low-powered bikes we’ve tested on Daily Rider, it’s essential to be mindful of the situations you put yourself in because you can’t always access the bike’s full capabilities. And even if you can, it only sometimes guarantees a smooth ride.
Now, let’s address the issue of range.
The Sondors Meta Cycle, like many electric motorcycles, faces limitations when it comes to maintaining high speeds for an extended period. The battery can struggle to sustain consistent performance, especially during continuous high-speed riding.
This becomes an Achilles’ heel for the overall range of the bike.
While it can reach speeds of 75 or 80 miles per hour, surpassing other electric bikes in its price range, there’s a trade-off in maintaining that speed over a longer distance.
Managing Bike Capabilities and Battery Life
As we navigate the freeway, we encounter the challenge of managing the bike’s capabilities while considering its battery life.
It’s essential to be aware of the thermal limit that can be reached with the inverter, motor, and battery. In my current situation, I find myself approaching that limit due to the demands of the highway.
Although it may vary depending on traffic conditions, it’s crucial to understand that sustained high speeds can temporarily decrease power output.
The small signal on the dash indicating this limitation might not adequately convey the frustration of suddenly losing power while cruising at 60, 65, or 70 miles per hour. It can be pretty unsettling.
Regrettably, there are better suits for the Sondors Meta Cycle than comfort on the highway. Aside from the previously mentioned agreeable riding position, there is little to look forward to in terms of comfort.
Long rides on this bike might leave you wanting more, especially considering the notorious discomfort of its seat. Whether due to its design or other factors, the seat falls short of delivering a pleasant experience.
Setting realistic expectations regarding the seat’s comfort is essential, as even conversations with individuals within the company indicate that it could be a more vital point.
Additionally, aftermarket support for addressing this issue may still be limited.
As I continue cruising on the freeway, I observe the scenery and note that we’re climbing a bridge from Long Beach to San Pedro.
Despite being wide open at 64 miles per hour, the speedometer may overestimate our actual speed.
This discrepancy is reminiscent of other low-powered bikes we’ve encountered on Daily Rider.
It’s essential to remain mindful of the bike’s capabilities and adjust your expectations accordingly, as relying on maximum performance in every situation might not be feasible.
The speed required and the distance achievable on a single-charged battery depend significantly on the riding conditions.
If you predominantly ride on the freeway, it will be challenging. However, the performance will be slightly better if you mainly ride on city streets.
In my personal experience, I got a maximum of approximately 40 to 45 miles while riding on surface streets, maintaining speeds between 45 and 55 miles per hour within the town limits, obeying traffic signals, and stopping at lights.
On my typical commute, which consists of around 60 to 70 percent highway riding, I obtained approximately 30 miles before the battery was depleted.
Hence, the company’s claims of achieving a maximum mileage of 80 miles, with a real-world expectation of 60 miles, needed to align with my experience.
Now, let’s discuss the performance of the motorcycle. I am currently positioned next to a white SUV and will engage in sport mode and accelerate at full throttle. As you can see, the acceleration is impressive, with the power gauge maxed out at 11 out of 11.
We easily surpassed the SUV, showcasing the bike’s capabilities. I appreciate your attention thus far in this article for those unfamiliar with motorcycles.
You might be wondering if it is typical for a bike that costs around $6,000 to $6,500 to perform well on the freeway, overtake trucks, offer a comfortable standing position, easy operation, and the convenience of charging without the odor of gasoline or requiring extensive maintenance.
The answer is no; it is not typical. The Sondor motorcycle stands out not only in terms of value for performance but also as an appealing solution for two-wheeled transportation.
It is reasonably priced, exhibits impressive capabilities, and deserves credit. However, it is essential to acknowledge that the Sondor motorcycle has its flaws.
Moving on to another aspect, the mirrors on this motorcycle are exceptionally smooth. The electric motor produces minimal vibrations; overall, the mirrors function well. I rate them four out of five stars for their performance on the Sondor motorcycle—no issues to report.
The Bike’s Maneuverability at Low Speeds
Now, let’s transition from the open road to the neighborhood to explore the bike’s maneuverability at low speeds.
This is commonly called the stop sign challenge, where the goal is to come to a complete stop and then accelerate smoothly.
Although we didn’t achieve a complete stop, I assure you we were very close. Electric bikes typically excel in this aspect, as the throttle response is gentle, intuitive, and easy to adapt to.
Additionally, the bike’s weight is distributed low due to the positioning of the battery in the cast aluminum frame, enhancing stability and making it ideal for these situations.
Riding in these conditions is effortless and almost enjoyable enough to overlook the discomfort of the seat, although not entirely.
Let’s attempt to bring the Sondor speedometer to zero. It’s taking quite a while; it is slightly delayed.
This challenge tests my goal of achieving footless stops at zero miles per hour. I’m uncertain if I’m prepared to conquer it at this moment.
Passenger Accommodations and Convenience
Let’s discuss passenger accommodations on the Sondor’s motorcycle. Unfortunately, there are no passenger footpegs available.
Even if they were present, a passenger would only endure about five minutes of riding before questioning the discomfort of the seat.
For someone new to motorcycling, they might unfairly assume that all motorcycles are equally uncomfortable, which is different. The seat on this bike sets a low standard for comfort.
Moving on to the twisty road section, as mentioned earlier, the Sondor motorcycle provides a satisfying experience.
It’s enjoyable to lean into turns, thanks to its relatively wide tires despite being a small machine. The bike reacts responsively while leaning.
However, the suspension tuning leaves much to be desired. The fork lacks damping, resulting in stiffness, and the shock may also be too stiff, possibly due to the unsprung weight from the hub motor.
It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact cause, but the uncomfortable seat could be a contributing factor. The chassis feels poorly tuned, despite surprisingly instilling some confidence during cornering.
Battery Bars and ABS
Reverting to surface streets and winding down on the daily rider route, we are now down to three battery bars. We began with five miles on the clock and rode from the office to my house (approximately five miles), which means we have covered around 26.5 miles.
Currently, the battery indicator shows about 25 percent remaining, adding an element of intrigue to the situation.
Ah, a red light, an opportune moment to discuss the brakes. The brakes on this bike are excellent. Although there is no ABS, they offer sharp and confidence-inspiring performance.
I did experience a front wheel lock-up earlier, indicating the absence of ABS. Nevertheless, overall, the brakes are reliable and impressive.
Oh, we received a wave from the rider of the naked bike. That’s quite nice.
I’m impressed with the brakes, but ABS would be a wise addition to Sondors in the future. ABS is particularly valuable, especially considering the target audience of individuals new to motorcycling who may need to become more familiar with the potential risks of limited traction, especially in urban environments.
While we’re stopped at this traffic light, let’s briefly discuss the dash. It features a tachometer, typically used to display engine revs (RPM) on a conventional motorcycle.
However, in this case, the dash appears to have been repurposed from another source, showing energy output instead—indicating the amount of electricity or power delivered to the rear wheel.
There’s a battery gauge to indicate the remaining charge, a speedometer in the middle, and a trip meter at the bottom right, which resets every time the bike is restarted.
I find this reset feature inconvenient since it prevents accurately tracking mileage on the battery, which is one of the primary purposes of a trip meter, in my opinion.
And then there are those red lights illuminating on the side as you start moving, but they don’t have any meaningful purpose from what I can gather.
The interface needs some work, but it does provide the necessary information. However, it’s surprising that there’s no clock, which seems like a basic feature.
There’s still some room for improvement in that area.
Different Perspectives between Bikers
At this point in the ride, I’d like to reconsider and discuss the different perspectives between a seasoned motorcyclist and someone new to the world of two wheels.
For experienced riders who are passionate about motorcycles and own multiple bikes, this Sondor’s motorcycle probably wouldn’t be their first choice.
Whether it’s long rides, daily commuting, or off-road adventures, this bike may need to meet their expectations.
However, it’s a good choice if you have a short commute and are looking for a clean, easy-to-ride option that doesn’t require much energy to recharge.
It may not revolutionize the perception of electric bikes for all motorcyclists, but its affordability has undoubtedly captured the motorcycle community’s attention.
Other bikes in its performance category are generally much more expensive, but we’ll investigate that topic later.
Target Audience of Sondors
Now, let’s consider the target audience of Sondors: individuals who still need to be motorcyclists. For these newcomers, the Sondor motorcycle presents an attractive option.
It’s priced similarly to, or slightly higher than, an excellent electric bicycle. However, there’s a significant advantage that the Sondor’s offers over electric bikes—it can reach speeds of up to 80 miles per hour and can be ridden on freeways.
It can do everything we experienced during our ride on the Daily Rider route today, which is quite impressive.
On the flip side, when recommending a two-wheeled vehicle to someone new to this world, it becomes challenging because the bike gives off a startup vibe both in terms of performance and the support you can expect.
For example, when I inquired about the cost of replacing a mirror if it were to break, Sondors couldn’t provide an answer because they may not have readily available parts.
These uncertainties and limitations need to be taken into account.
While the Sondor’s motorcycle offers unique features not found in other motorcycles or electric bikes, and especially at such an affordable price point, there are caveats that we’ve discussed today.
Now, let’s address the question of off-road capabilities. Can you take this bike on a dirt road?
Well, I’ve ridden the Sondors motorcycle in the dirt before, and believe it or not, we have an upcoming episode of CTXP where I test it in those conditions.
I won’t spoil the details, but overall, it performs surprisingly well, despite the road-biased tires and stiff suspension.
However, I think only a few people would choose to ride the Sondors in off-road environments, nor would I recommend it. Yet, it’s interesting to note that it’s better than expected.
As for wheelies, let’s find out if this bike can perform them. Engaging in sport mode, I can confidently say that this bike won’t wheelie, not even close.
You might be able to yank the handlebars and strain your shoulders forcibly, but overall, it’s not designed for wheelie antics. W
e are now at 31 miles on the battery, and the low battery warning is blinking on the dashboard. So, regarding the range discussion, it has yet to enter limp mode, which it eventually will.
That’s a positive aspect, but we’re nearing the end of our ride.
Parking Spot Test
Let’s test whether the bike can be backed into a parking spot. Considering the rotating mass of the hub motor and the wheel, it can make it a bit harder to slow down the rear wheel when applying the rear brake.
Electric bikes like this could be better suited for this maneuvering, but technically, you can still do it. It’s a bit sketchy but still quite fun.
Overall, the bike handles well in this regard. However, one thing that bothers me is that the blinker switch doesn’t have a push-to-cancel function.
Instead, you must rock it to the right and manually return it to the center position. It feels a bit archaic, but it’s not a significant issue.
Okay, let’s move on to the U-turn test. We’ll go full lock to the left with our feet up. Excellent! It easily maneuvers within one and a half parking spaces.
Now, onto the U-turn to the right. Here, I noticed that the handlebar and fork bind up a bit due to the batch of cords or wires, which affects the turning radius.
It turns all the way, but there’s some resistance. This issue reflects the broader character of the bike—good in some aspects but lacking in others.
It’s capable in certain areas but has some basic limitations.
Speaking of limitations, we’ve reached the end of our ride. Overall, the Sondors motorcycle offers a unique package with pros and cons.
While it provides features that other motorcycles and electric bikes don’t, and at an attractive price point, there are still certain caveats to consider.
Its performance and support may not meet the expectations of seasoned motorcyclists, but it presents an affordable and appealing option for newcomers to the world of two wheels.
However, recommending it to new riders can be challenging due to its startup feel and available parts and support uncertainties. It’s certainly an enigma, offering both positives and negatives.
Let’s begin with the first question from an anonymous user who asks if the motor’s added weight affects the ride.
Since this is a hub motor, the motor is part of the rear wheel assembly, and thus, the weight is unsprung. In high-performance motorcycles, carbon fiber wheels are used to reduce the impact of weight and rotational mass on the ride.
However, in the case of this bike, my answer would be that while it does affect the ride to some extent, it doesn’t have a significant impact.
Moreover, the absence of a drive chain or belt eliminates the need for maintenance, which is a positive aspect.
Next, we have a question 2, who wonders why someone would choose this bike over an e-bike considering the price and performance.
While an electric bicycle can fulfill specific requirements, it may not match the capabilities of this bike. In certain situations, like commuting across water or traveling short distances where walking or cycling is not feasible, the Sondors motorcycle offers an advantage.
However, if an electric bicycle makes more sense for your situation, it would be the better choice. The convenience of fitting in an elevator and parking it indoors is also a plus.
Moving on, someone asks if there is a genuine argument for urban dwellers on a budget to choose this bike over a used SV650. Considering the price of $6,500 for the Sondors motorcycle, plenty of capable used motorcycles are available for that amount.
In terms of pure performance and value for money, the Sondors motorcycle may be different from an SV650. However, Sondors targets a diverse audience – those new to motorcycles and want a hassle-free experience. For individuals who are not mechanically inclined and prefer the simplicity of an electric bike without needing maintenance, the Sondors motorcycle can be an attractive option.
The final question comes from someone, who inquires about comparing this electric motorcycle with others previously discussed, such as the Cake Kalk and the Zero FXE.
If I recall correctly, the Cake Kalk is akin to a robust off-road mountain bike with limited range and an uncomfortable seat.
It has a different design concept compared to the current motorcycle under review. However, both the Cake Kalk and the Zero FXE share certain similarities.
This motorcycle leans more towards being utilitarian, resembling the Zero FXE. The Zero FXE boasts a battery nearly twice the size, approximately 7.2 kilowatt-hours, compared to the current model’s four. It is also slightly lighter, weighing around 300 pounds instead of 335.
Additionally, both motorcycles offer similar ranges. However, it is worth noting that the Zero FXC, which is twice the price at approximately $13,000, raises an intriguing question.
Is the Zero FXE twice as good as the Sonders motorcycle?
From a transportation perspective, it is not twice as good. However, in terms of feeling complete, comfortable, and refined, the Zero FXE surpasses the Sonders by three to five times. Of course, it comes at the cost of being twice as expensive, making it a delicate balance.
This question highlights that the Cake Kalk and the Zero FXE have been reviewed previously on Daily Rider.
If you enjoyed today’s ride and are curious about those motorcycles, feel free to look them up. That concludes our discussion.
It may be a good time to step back and consider this motorcycle as a whole about the ecosystem we have created with all the leaderboards and daily rides.
It’s easy to criticize the Metacycle, pointing out its shortcomings like the problematic key fob system, misguided dashboard, useless fenders in the rain, slippery foot pegs, strange turning radius, lack of ABS, and flimsy trapdoor.
However, everyone in our data who has ridden it is genuinely excited about its existence.
The Metacycle offers something unique that no other electric bike does. It is an 80-mile-per-hour electric bike with a range of 30 to 40 miles, priced at $6,500.
No industry titans like BMW or Honda have achieved this feat, providing an affordable and accessible option for riders of various skill levels.
While the issues with the Metacycle can be frustrating, imagine a scenario where Honda builds a similar bike without those problems.
Nevertheless, Metacycle has successfully targeted a segment no motorcycle manufacturer has reached. Looking ahead to the future, bikes like the Metacycle will likely dominate conversations and find a place on this leaderboard.
Among the three motorcycles on the board, the Metacycle is currently ranked as the least impressive, falling short of both the SV650 and the $30,000 Honda CBR 1000 Triple R.
For further context, other electric motorcycles on the Daily Rider Leaderboard include the Zero FXE, which finished lower on the 2022 leaderboard, indicating that it outperforms the Metacycle. The BMW CE04 scooter is also a sophisticated and superior machine, albeit significantly more expensive.
Electric motorcycles still have some ground to cover and improvements to make. I eagerly await their evolution and hope they gain a more substantial presence in the industry, finding their way into more garages worldwide.