SURU One Fifty, a made-in-Canada electric moped, is finally for sale, starting today.
SURU is the brainchild of designer Michael Uhlarik and Kevin O’Neil; many readers will recognize Uhlarik from his contributions here at CMG in the past. It’s not his first foray into the field of electric motorcycles. Uhlarik and O’Neil were the designers behind the Amarok P1, an electric motorcycle aimed at replicating a supersport racebike’s performance. Since then, he’s continued to tinker with battery bikes, and the SURU One Fifty is his latest project. Uhlarik and his partners haven’t had an easy time bringing it to market, but today, you can buy one for $3,499. A limited run of 150 units is available, for now.
The SURU One Fifty is a much more practical machine than the Amarok P1. It’s aimed at the commuter market, with top speed limited to 32 km/h, and a 50-km range (those numbers assume a 90-kg rider on level ground). And, there are bicycle pedals, meaning this machine is a moped, and therefore avoids strict legislation aimed at more powerful motorized vehicles. Uhlarik does point out the machine is compliant with all relevant American and Canadian federal laws, unlike machines that might be brought in via the grey market.
SURU One Fifty is powered by a 36V, 500 watt geared brushless DC hub drive, with a 650 watt-hr Sony lithium-ion battery. The charger is a 5-amp, 110v unit, meaning you shouldn’t need a heavy-duty outlet specially wired in for the machine. Weight is only 35.5 kg, and seat height is 79 cm. There’s a drum brake up front, and mechanical disc brake in back. It’s narrow, at 50 cm, and will fit anywhere a bicycle fits: car bike rack, apartment elevator, parking rack.
Charge time for the removable battery is 3.5 hours. The bike comes with DOT-approved rims and tires.
Of course, there are many Chinese electric mopeds on the market; the SURU One Fifty sets itself apart by using as many locally-made components as possible. About 60 per cent of the bike comes from made-in-Canada materials, even the stickers, and the bike itself is manufactured in Nova Scotia. Uhlarik says the parts his company had to find outside Canada (battery, motor, etc.) are high-quality. The intention was to build a proper commuting machine, not disposable junk.
Uhlarik says the monocoque frame technology used on the bike is the same as the P1 Amarok motorcycle, with increased strength, reduced weight, and 90 per cent less tooling cost than conventional frames.
For now, Uhlarik already has some units pre-sold, and with sales officially opening this week, he obviously hopes for more. But SURU has more potential than just everyday commuters; Uhlarik says “we want to expand into any areas of two-wheeled industry we can, mostly into power-train.” Does that mean another electric sportbike is forthcoming? We’d guess no, at least not soon, but Uhlarik does point out that “Amarok Racing inspired our innovation.”
You can find more details on the new moped at the SURU website.
A front drum brake? What’s the logic behind that over a disc?
A huge step above the scooter-like ones that are so prevalent, but why not just get an electric assist bicycle. Same speed, way more elegant in my opinion. Also, if this is aimed at commuters shouldn’t it have a fender on the back? As it is, you’ll get a great mud strip up the back in anything but completely dry conditions.
SURU uses a motorcycle drum brake because it is tough, incredibly strong and completely maintenance free. The rims, tires, and hubs are DOT-certified highway capable components designed for vehicles that weight three times as much and travel five times as fast. Unlike a bicycle disc brake which was never designed to handle the speed and weight of electric power, SURU components are actually UNDER stressed.
As for fenders, please note on our website that all SURU vehicles ship with integral fenders. The black model in the photos sports a stripped down appearance because some four customers prefer that.
Good explanations, thanks. It answers the other question I had about the triple clamp fork that appears to only have a couple inches of travel, and the piggyback reservoir shocks. Coming from the bicycle side they seem excessive, but coming from the motorcycle side they seem minimal. It’ll be interesting to see how this market develops in the next few years. Best of luck with the product!
Not bad … I assume this will legally operate under the new Low Speed Vehicle regulation in Ontario? http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/vehicles/low-speed-vehicles.shtml
SURU is Transport Canada compliant as a road-legal PAB (power-assisted bicycle), thus requiring no insurance, license and an approved bicycle helmet.
It is the only truly legal e-bike available in Canada that is not either a) a converted bicycle or b) a converted scooter. It uses motorcycle components in high stress areas that are typical weaknesses on bicycles, like wheels, lights and brakes, but standard fitment high quality bicycle parts in the pedal drive.
Hope that is clear. If you have any further questions, please send us an email via the SURU website.
I get the feeling this would be a good platform for upgrades. Another wheel motor up front? Bigger 72 volt battery. More power. All for off road use of course. Grin technologies is an electric bike parts company run by UBC engineering students and would be a great source of hop-ups for this bike.
We know Justin at GRIN. Great guys, extremely knowledgeable and committed to quality parts. We ordered many things from them over the past couple of years.
But to your point: yes, the SURU chassis system is beautifully versatile. We cannot and for the time being will not sell any version that is not strictly legal, and fully conformal to the laws of the land. However, it is clear that large output batteries and motors will tempt us down the line at some point.
That’s exactly what I was hoping you’d say. Very, very good indeed.
Good stuff. If you’ve been to Europe and elsewhere and have seen the pollution moped and scooters make you can fully appreciate the importance of this technology.
I’m still waiting for the t-shirt I bought and paid for during their Amarok fund raising campaign.
Richard, send me an email via the SURU website and let me get your information. Loads of those left I can send you.
I’m digging it! It looks the bees knees. It has enough of a motorcycle look that balances the bicycle side. Cool!
Thanks Doug. That balance was difficult to achieve, and super important to make it acceptable the greater cycling community that it hats share the roads/paths with.
The DUIs here in T.O. won’t buy it – no place to carry your twofour home from the beer store !
Well darn! There goes our target market…
Pedal assist as well ,I persume ?
Think of it as a hybrid. It is either a single-speed cruiser bicycle, OR a throttle controlled, electric moped. You can pedal when on the throttle but it does nothing. The electric motor is completely independent from the human-drive system.
Check out the website and sign up for the newsletter and we’ll let you know when we come to your city.
Note that the seat appears to be non-adjustable and too low for efficient cycling except for very short people, so think of the pedals as a regulatory compliance device rather than as backup or alternate power.
The pedals are high quality, long stroke, fixed gear aluminum cranks that are indeed completely functional link a cruiser bicycle. The width of SURU is identical to a conventional bicycle, and while the seat height is fixed, it has long length that comfortably accommodated testers riding with pedals only, as short as 5,5″ and as tall as 6,2″.
Is SURU a replacement for a high-end pedal-assist bicycle? No. Is it a fantastic, road legal electric bike that replaces single occupant car journeys? Oh yes.