Fast Ebike Podcast #2 – The Sur Ron Episode

May 31, 2019
6,809 Views continued our recent podcast series with podcast #2 with special guest Mark Kitaoka founder of the Sur Ron Owners group on Facebook and Matt Richards, Fast electric bike Facebook co-founder .

The podcasts are broadcasted on itunes, spotify, google play and tunein so anyone should be able to tune in and listen on your car. We shoot the pocbasts live on electricbike facebook, then publish later on youtube….so you can see the video, picutres, and ebike parts we are talking about visually.

Let us know in the comments what you think about the format or any suggestion for future podcasts in the comments.

We have done a total of 5 podcasts although 2 are not published yet because of poor audio quality. So officially we only did 2 podcasts but you can find the other 3 in hidden places.

  • Podcast #1 Eric and Bjorn from Kranked bikes at the dyno (see it on youtube)
  • Podcast #2 Matt Richards and the state of Facebook ebikes (see it on facebook video)
  • Podcast #3 Sur Ron (this article)
  • Podcast #4 Eric and DIY master builder Adam Livingston talk about inspirational bikes and building the wolf pack battery. see it on youtube

The Sur Ron Podcast in the video 2 was a deep dive into everything Surron. its an hour video… for your convenience here is a table of contents (also in the youtube video description) so you can jump to parts of the video that interest you.

Please help us out and encourage us to do more videos by subscribing and hitting the notify button.

00:01 Demonstration of Belt Drive ASI Sur Ron 01:19 Podcast gets stared / introduction 00:03 Mark decides to buy a sur-ron 02:11 Mark Decides to buy a Sur-Ron 02:48 Jackson tears down the Sur-ROn 03:10 Eric decides to go with Sur-Ron 05:28 Comparing surron to honda and suzuki 05:46 The Importance of Tooling 07:33 Mark compares Haibike to Sur-Ron 08:13 How often does mark ride sur-ron vs haibike 08:31 Pedal kit on Sur-Ron 10:40 Bitching about pedals 11:05 Do you wish your Haibike had a throttle? 11:56 Faux Peddles 13:00 Changes at Sur-Ron 14:39 homogenize Sur-ron 17:01 Optibike 18:05 Ass holes on ebikes 20:21 How did Sur Ron meet Luna 24:18 Parts from Sur-Ron 28:59 Ebike warranties 32:35 Future of the Sur Ron line up 34:29 Belt Drives on Sur Ron 36:23 Doing 50mph on Sur-Ron 37:12 90mph Sur-Ron 40:06 $3000 Suspension on Sur-Ron


Marks Review of the Surron… Mark Tours the Luna Cycle factory last summer:… Sur Ron Owners Group Facebook  Luna Cycle Sur Ron Sale Page

For further convenience we have added a full written transcript of the podcast.

Matt: 00:00 Tonight on the very special Fast podcast, we’re going to have Mark from the Facebook, Sur-Ron owners is going to be here and we’re going to interview him, and we’re going to tell him some special surprises about some new upgrades coming out for the Sur-Ron including the best drive, and amped up controllers. Let’s get at it.
Matt: 00:26 Hey, guys. Welcome to episode two of [inaudible 00:00:29], also known as Mark Sasake for those of you in the Sur-Ron Facebook group. We’re happy to have Mark, and we’re going to discuss the Sur-Ron motorcycle tonight and how it rose to fame, and how Mark’s been involved since, and what he’s done for Luna with that.
Eric: 00:48 All right, and not forget Matt Richards. Thanks for coming.
Matt: 00:52 Yeah, of course. [crosstalk 00:00:53].
Eric: 00:52 He’s of course the founder with me of Fast Electric Bike, and big in the electric bike scene. A huge hobbyist, loves riding. Mark, as well. Mark, why don’t you tell us how you got started in electric bikes, how you got interested, and how you ended up going away from electric bikes and going to a Sur-Ron?
Mark: 01:11 Okay. Well, I originally looked up the Flex bikes.
Eric: 01:16 Oh, wow.
Mark: 01:17 But I decided against doing a crowdsourcing thing because I had been burned by a couple smaller crowdsourcing things in the past.
Matt: 01:27 I wish I had talked to you before I jumped into it.
Mark: 01:29 Yeah. I didn’t want to fork over 15,000 bucks or whatever it was, so I started looking at this bike called the Neumatic. It was manufactured somewhere in the European Union. They wanted 85,000 Euros for it. I was pretty convinced that it would probably be the bike for me, but again, I decided this vaporware crowdfunding thing wasn’t for me, so I opted not to do that. I have no idea to this day how I came upon Luna. I can’t remember how I came upon Sur-Ron, but I did and I kept reading about it thinking, “Do I really want to buy something for 35,000 that’s manufactured in China that I really don’t know anything about?” But what convinced me, because since I live in San Francisco, it’s not a very expensive flight to come down to El Segundo to check out the bike. But after I saw Kyle, who’s the guy that did the video for you guys, the tear down?
Eric: 02:40 I think that might have been-
Matt: 02:41 Jackson, that was Jackson’s video who-
Eric: 02:43 Oh, it was Jackson.
Mark: 02:43 It was Jackson.
Matt: 02:43 Yeah.
Mark: 02:43 So I watched that video, and he seemed like a really straightforward guy. As he did shots of the frame, and the welds, and all that, I decided, “Well, I’m going to save the $400 bucks it would cost me to fly down here, rent a car, do all that, and check it out.” I’d just order the bike. Yeah.
Matt: 03:04 Here’s a shot of the video here that he’s referring to.
Mark: 03:05 That’s the video.
Matt: 03:05 Yeah.
Eric: 03:06 Ironically, I remember it was Luke and Jackson, when we saw this bike, we got a sample of it early on, and I was trying to decide if we were going to go with this investment of we’ve never brought in a container of bikes before from China. This guy and Luke tore the bike apart, literally. We took the battery apart, the motor apart, everything. It was really turning the battery part that made us think, “My gosh, this is like a $2,000 battery pack.” There’s nothing like this anywhere that you can buy for under two grand.
Matt: 03:40 And the bike wasn’t much more than that, so it was crazy, right?
Mark: 03:42 Yeah.
Eric: 03:43 Oh my God. What he’s saying right now, it’s just like the quality of the tooling. It’s something that … with electric bike products, they’ll look like, “Hey, we’re trying to be Petago,” or something. We’re trying to beat Stealth Bikes or something. This bike looks like they’re going after Honda. Maybe I would say even a step above Zero in terms of build quality and everything. For the money, it’s just insanely good. And we decided on the spot that, “Man, this thing’s going to change the market, and we need to have a part of that.”
Matt: 04:18 Back to your intro to the bike, so you saw the video with Jackson. What happened from there?
Mark: 04:24 I decided to put 3,500 bucks on my credit card.
Matt: 04:29 Just like that.
Mark: 04:29 Just like many of us have done. Then, while I was waiting for the bike, I saw your videos about putting the bike together and some other things. What struck me was here was, at least on video, another guy who seemed honest to me, just like Jackson. And then of course your daughter, Macy, running around while you’re explaining. I fell in love with Macy a lot more than you, but that also convinced me that it was a good bike. Like I said, I put the 35,000 bucks. I waited. I think I placed my order in April, Eric, and I ended up getting the bike in June.
Eric: 05:09 Right.
Mark: 05:11 When it arrived, I put it together. I looked at the welds and the captured fasteners instead of just loose nuts at the end of a bolt.
Eric: 05:22 That’s right.
Mark: 05:23 And I was fucking impressed because I’ve worked on Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yama, and Honda motorcycles, and it’s Honda quality.
Eric: 05:32 Yeah.
Mark: 05:32 The welds were great, the way the frame was extruded, all that. It was truly what Jackson had said.
Eric: 05:40 That’s right. What you’re seeing a lot with that bike is a lot of tooling. I learned a lot about tooling myself and started wanting more tooling in our projects. And till this day, almost everything we do with batteries, we always want more tooling. But that’s-
Matt: 05:58 [crosstalk 00:05:58] There she is.
Mark: 05:58 Oh, I love watching that.
Matt: 05:59 There she is.
Mark: 05:59 Even looking back now.
Matt: 06:00 She’s great.
Mark: 06:01 Can you guys pull that up on the screen? [crosstalk 00:06:03].
Eric: 06:03 You can pause that right there, that frame. You can see all those shapes. That’s more than welding. That’s a sand-cast shape that’s really expensive to do for tooling wise, but once you have the tooling paid, it’s not so bad. There are so many custom parts on that bike, and it blew us all away quality-wise.
Mark: 06:25 Yeah.
Eric: 06:25 And you know how everybody stresses out which fork it has or whatever. Man, in the electric bike scene, we’re used to getting 20-dollar forks, and your say front suspension, nobody has name-brand forks like RST or DNM, or what’s the other one, Fast Ace. You never see that on a bike under $6,000.
Mark: 06:41 No, and the guy that I bought my high bike from, Motorstrano in Redwood City, he’s probably one of the biggest guys up there. I wanted to buy a full fat six, fat tire, high bike, full suspension, and he was going to give me a deal for 3,500 bucks, the same price I got the Sur-Ron for.
Eric: 07:01 Oh, you got a deal. I mean, you got a deal on the high bike for 3,500.
Mark: 07:04 Yeah exactly.
Matt: 07:05 It is a deal, honestly.
Mark: 07:07 I know. It is a deal. Anyway, to get off that and back to the suspension and things like that, the Sur-Ron is a $3,500 bike. Even on my race bikes when I first got Honda and Yamaha, I always redid the suspension, always. It was either Racetek and switch to Olands because after you-
Eric: 07:27 Is that your bike right there?
Mark: 07:28 No.
Eric: 07:28 Your high bike?
Mark: 07:29 Mine was a high bike-
Eric: 07:30 I was going to say if you got that for 3,500, I don’t want to buy it. That’s $4,000. That’s pretty good.
Mark: 07:37 Yeah, four grand.
Eric: 07:38 Yeah. Does yours look that good?
Mark: 07:41 It looks good. It’s a 29-inch full suspension. I think I bought it in ’16. That’s when I bought my high bike.
Eric: 07:52 There’s your beautiful Sur-Ron right there, and you’ve got a beautiful high bike. They’re both beautiful machines.
Mark: 07:57 Yep.
Eric: 07:58 When people ask me about what do I like better or whatever, I always think they’re just completely different.
Mark: 08:03 Yeah.
Eric: 08:04 How often do you ride the high bike, and how often do you ride the Sur Ron?
Mark: 08:08 I ride the high bike about 40% of the time, and the Sur Ron 60% of the time. So I still ride my high bike. I still like having to peddle and do things like that.
Eric: 08:21 Right.
Matt: 08:22 Getting exercise.
Mark: 08:23 Yeah, getting exercise.
Matt: 08:26 Yeah.
Mark: 08:26 I petal my Sur Ron, so I can ride on bike paths to get to the off-road-
Eric: 08:33 Oh, you put the pedal kit on that thing?
Mark: 08:35 Absolutely.
Eric: 08:35 Oh my God.
Mark: 08:36 I ordered the pedal kit, and I will tell you this. If you have not offered the pedal kit, I wouldn’t have bought the bike.
Eric: 08:42 Really?
Mark: 08:43 Nope, because where I live, just having pegs and being on bike paths or the trails I’m on, they’re going to say, “Oh, that’s a fucking motorcycle.”
Matt: 08:51 Yeah.
Eric: 08:52 Right.
Mark: 08:52 “You shouldn’t be here. Get out.”
Eric: 08:55 I don’t know. I don’t know. You could claim it’s a class-1 electric bike, a class-1 scooter. You can say-
Mark: 09:01 That’s great, but I know where I live-
Matt: 09:02 Even scooters can’t be on the bike path then.
Eric: 09:03 What’s that?
Matt: 09:04 The scooters can’t be on the bike path.
Eric: 09:05 Scooters can’t be either?
Matt: 09:06 Only class 1-20 bikes.
Eric: 09:08 All right.
Matt: 09:09 No throttle, just pedal.
Eric: 09:09 It used to be scooters under 20 miles an hour, you could be on the bike path.
Mark: 09:12 [crosstalk 00:09:12] Yeah, not where I live.
Matt: 09:13 [inaudible 00:09:13] change.
Eric: 09:13 Yeah.
Mark: 09:14 Plus, if I want to take it to Angel Island which is a statepark, no pedals. They’re not even going to allow me on the ferry.
Eric: 09:20 What city are you in? San Francisco?
Mark: 09:23 Yeah. I’m in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Eric: 09:25 Oh, shoot, in San Francisco proper?
Mark: 09:26 No. I’m in San Mateo County.
Eric: 09:29 Okay. I know in San Francisco, you can ride anything. We used to ride pocket bikes [inaudible 00:09:34] in that city, and as long as … I remember they came down on gas pocket bikes, and as long as it was electric, they’re still okay. I rode the craziest electric stuff, and they’d put their lights on, and go, “It’s electric.” Okay. Right.
Mark: 09:50 Anyway, getting back to the stock bike, I wrote it completely bone stock.
Eric: 09:55 Is this your bike right here?
Mark: 09:56 That’s part of it as I was evolving the bike. You could see I still have the RST things on there. I still have your pedal cranks.
Matt: 10:07 [crosstalk 00:10:07] early on there.
Mark: 10:07 It’s pretty much stock here.
Eric: 10:09 Here’s what’s interesting to me, that you’re one of those guys that are hopping up your bike and allow them to see that. But I don’t know what it is, but the Sur-Ron is one of the bikes. I hate to see people modify because it looks so beautiful-
Mark: 10:20 It’s beautiful.
Eric: 10:21 … and what we’re modifying ours right now and I almost feel like, “Ah man, like right there, that looks so good.”
Mark: 10:27 It’s a beautiful bike. I wouldn’t have bought it if I didn’t like the looks of it. And then the quality is incredible.
Eric: 10:36 Let me ask you about the pedals, right?
Mark: 10:38 Yeah, because everyone bitches about the pedals. So ask me all you want.
Eric: 10:42 Okay. So, we’ve had our crashes on that bike with pedals. Do you ever get pedal strike?
Mark: 10:47 No. And the reason I don’t get pedals strike is before my high bike, I had a hard tail stump jumper specialize.
Eric: 10:56 Right.
Mark: 10:56 And I got one pedal strike on that on a trail and I knew to [crosstalk 00:11:02] never do that again.
Matt: 11:02 You learned a lesson.
Mark: 11:03 I learned my lesson.
Eric: 11:04 Do you ever think about this since you have both. Both of them out pedals actually, but I think about this a lot like do you wish your high bike had a throttle so that you could avoid pedal strike situations-
Mark: 11:16 No.
Eric: 11:17 Like when you’re climbing or whatever, you’re just get used to it.
Mark: 11:19 No, I don’t wish for my high bike to have a pedal or a throttle.
Eric: 11:25 Right.
Mark: 11:25 I just don’t. And when I watch mountain bikers, like at Red Bull Rampage doing crazy downhill shit with pedals, I think, you know what? I’m not going to be a fucking princess. I understand why people want pegs only and that’s great. But for where I ride or what I want to do, I used to switch between pedals and pegs when I got to [inaudible 00:11:48]. Now I don’t, I just leave the pedals on and I’ve learned to adapt to it. So to each their own.
Eric: 11:55 The think about the pedal kit, if you guys that don’t know, we’re looking at it right now. This is really a Fox, is that the right word? Fox pedals kit? Like it’s really … the pedals are like how many millimeters
Mark: 12:07 You mean a Four?
Eric: 12:08 A four [crosstalk 00:12:08]
Mark: 12:08 A four pedals kit. Yeah.
Eric: 12:08 It’s a belt part.
Mark: 12:10 It’s a cosmetic pedal care.
Eric: 12:12 It really is hard. Have you ever run a charge and tried to peddle home?
Mark: 12:16 No, but just recently I decided to try and peddled to see how fast I could go and peddling my ass off for about 50 yards. I got to four miles an hour GPS, four miles an hour. And then I got off and walked the bike. I could go five miles an hour and it was a whole lot easier to walk.
Eric: 12:36 That’s right. That’s the thing.
Mark: 12:37 That’s the pedals. Anyone expecting to buy a Sur-Ron with the pedal kit and think, “Oh wow, it can be peddled” That’s bullshit.
Eric: 12:45 It’s just to have fake pedals.
Matt: 12:46 Yeah. You almost need to just to have the rod and the fake panel’s just going through the center [crosstalk 00:12:50] we’ve tried that.
Mark: 12:50 Yeah. The problem with that, I tried that, I couldn’t get it to work to my satisfaction.
Matt: 12:54 No.
Mark: 12:55 So I have a pedal kit, why am I trying to reinvent the wheel?
Eric: 12:58 Well, let me tell you what we’re going through right now with Sur-Ron because Sur-Ron like a lot of these companies are moving targets and Sur-Ron listens to certain dealers lot and they’ll try to change things. And there was a lot of changes that just confused everybody. And I had a lecture with Sur-Ron when they were here. It’s just stick with one bike for the year and we don’t need it. But if you go back to that one picture, Sur-Ron did something really strange with the pedal kit. If you go back to his bike with the pedals you see the sprocket on your back? That’s what like 45?
Mark: 13:33 48.
Eric: 13:34 Did you change it with the one that came with the pedal kit?
Mark: 13:36 No.
Eric: 13:37 The ones that come with the Pedal kit now are 25. And the reason why, is that somebody told him, complained about the pedal cadence. So they try to correct it by making this incredibly high gear ratio, to another bike-
Matt: 13:50 They made it smaller?
Mark: 13:51 Yeah.
Eric: 13:51 25.
Matt: 13:52 That’s impossible then, you make a two miles an hour.
Matt: 13:55 No, no, no,[crosstalk 00:13:56] you could actually go faster.
Eric: 13:55 No, it makes the bike a lot faster.
Mark: 13:57 You could go faster.
Matt: 13:58 So wait a second.
Mark: 14:00 So the smaller pedal, when you look at the pedal kit video from China of the guy putting the pedal kit on, he’s got a sprocket that probably in diameter is four inches.
Matt: 14:10 If it’s the driven sprocket, which is the penance connected to of the smaller the sprocket, the slower it should actually go.
Eric: 14:15 No, no but everything’s backwards on … The pedal Kit changes everything because it’s using a jack shaft.
Matt: 14:20 I understand.
Eric: 14:21 And they do a lot of engineering on it and stupid like … I think Sur-Ron’s a company that tries, they’re a new company and they’re listening to too many people, for example, they’re trying to homogenize it or whatever-
Mark: 14:37 Homologate it.
Eric: 14:38 Which is ridiculous. It’s never going to be street legal.
Mark: 14:40 No.
Eric: 14:40 And Matt was one of the first people went out and just go to the DMV and register it as a moped.
Mark: 14:45 I have a moped, Plate as well.
Eric: 14:47 Yeah, but here’s the thing is I think this is Matt’s Assembly guide right here. I know this is-
Matt: 14:53 Yeah this is it. It’s Pelikan stall.
Eric: 14:54 Man, we’re having to deal with that right now. So we’re going, “Okay. Everybody’s upset, they got the pedal kit because they really change gearing.” But you know what? We’ll just make bigger sprocket because we could just make one right here. Oh yeah. But it’s harder than that because now we have to lengthen the chain so they provide the right note chain. So it’s a big headache. But in my mind just when it comes to legality and everything, I’m always believed in … there’s two ways to do it. Can be like, you a fly under the radar and bare all the rules, put a plate on it or … But I’m like a civil disobedient and I think, “Hey, it’s an electric and you know, I’m going to write it. I’m going to try and get a ticket.
Eric: 15:36 And I’ve never gotten a ticket on anything, I’ve lived in the Bay area, I’ve lived out here, we’ve done crazy things on him. We don’t ride as assholes and in the end it’s going to be just a ticket, it’s not going to be go on your driving record. Not going to be a-
Matt: 15:55 You’re not going to prison.
Eric: 15:56 They’re not going to confiscate your bike.
Matt: 15:58 Yeah.
Eric: 15:58 Like you hear stories of New York. There’s more electric bikes per capita in New York than probably any other city outside of Seattle or Oregon, something. More electric bikes than anywhere and they got or no electric bikes allowed. And the reason they have that is just to keep people from … just really taking advantage. So, if you take your Sur-Ron and you ride it in a place like, let’s say a recreational trail with other mountain bike riders, I think, people are going to get mad and they want to keep that from happening and have laws to give tickets to people who do that.
Matt: 16:34 Those guys try to get mad if you’re on even like a Livo, that’s totally stealth, low power. They still, I get comments on my Livo even still.
Eric: 16:41 Because a lot of them have had bad experiences with guys just doing. Like I was reading on some posts where guys get a big kick out of passing people on those paths and these guys who are really working to be in the shape and then have some guy just fly past them on some Walmart bike, it’s all cluttery. I would be-
Matt: 17:00 They better because they got passed, because they’re in shape.
Eric: 17:04 I’ve always stayed clear of mountain bike riders and there’s a lot of good single tracks in the Bay area.
Matt: 17:11 There are.
Eric: 17:12 And at one point I had an Opta bike. And the Opta bike isn’t super fast or anything. But it makes a lot of noise. And I would rather be in something that’s silent then be something that noisy. It was just obnoxious. And this was way before even people knew what electric bikes were, the thing was so loud, I had to get rid of it. Because, you’d be in this quiet wilderness area and your … It just didn’t seem right when you do single track in Morin. And the other thing is people aren’t expecting a bicycle to be coming up the trails that fast.
Mark: 17:50 True.
Eric: 17:51 It really just become a safety thing. Because a Sur-Ron comply up a mountain as fast as some people can ride down it. And you’re not expecting that. So, you can go around a blind corner [inaudible 00:18:02]. So, I don’t know, I think that people should use a lot of common sense while they ride their bikes.
Mark: 18:08 Amen to that. One of the things I see or hear people talk about all the time is avoiding police and things like that. In reality, I try and always be very conscious of people on bike paths or trails-
Eric: 18:24 That’s right.
Mark: 18:24 Because-
Matt: 18:25 That’s the key [crosstalk 00:18:25].
Mark: 18:25 … they have cell phones.
Eric: 18:27 Right.
Mark: 18:27 And cops have way more to do than worry about whether your Sur-Ron is legal. But-
Eric: 18:34 That’s right.
Mark: 18:34 … what they will react to is if you and you and you call on your cell phone and say, “Hey, there’s this guy on this electric something and he’s being a real asshole on the bike trail or.” Then the police have to react to that.
Eric: 18:50 More than react to it, I doubt they’re going to react to it. But the rangers are going to come up with rules and they say no electric bikes. And they’ve been doing that for years. And what people don’t understand is, I think most most trails, way before people even had electric bikes had made no motorbikes allowed rules. And what it was, what it’s always meant is that ride a lot of common sense, a lot of stealth and they won’t sweat you.
Mark: 19:13 Yep.
Eric: 19:14 So we did a big … I actually can pull that up, electric bike paradise video. And we did this in Morin and Malibu hills on a crowded Saturday. With rangers all over the place. And we were doing some really fast cuts and had some fast bikes there, but we used a lot of common sense. We’d wait until nobody was around. We had lookouts, everything else. The park rangers at one point came up and took turns riding our bikes. But we’re being super considerate, trying not to draw too much attention to ourself, not pass mountain bike riders. I think that, for example, if you see a road biker and he’s on a racing bike going across the Golden Gate Bridge, 30 miles an hour ago, flying past him clown pedaling, it used to be funny because they didn’t know you’re on an electric bike, but nowadays you’re not pulling anybody. I don’t know, I have respect for the guys who are in shape and can do those kinds of things on their bikes.
Matt: 20:20 So I’ve got a question, we’ve talked to mark about how he got started. I have never asked you, Eric, how did you guys get started at Sur-Ron? How did you find Sur-Ron? What made you say, “Hey, we got to be the dealership for the US.” What got you guys hook up from day one and how’d you become the biggest Sur-Ron sale in the world now?
Eric: 20:34 Well, I told the story earlier a little bit, is that we got a sample bike. They were raving about the bike on the north sphere. Guys are talking about doing a group bike, one of my friends called me and said, “Hey, do I want to get behind this and help do a group bike.” I go, “Dude, group bikes are a disaster?” Like, he’s naive. I go, “What are you going to do?” You’re going to get a group by and then you’re going to what? Take People’s credit cards and send a $3,500 bike. Who’s going to ship that bike?
Matt: 21:04 Yeah, exactly.
Eric: 21:05 Just complete nonsense. Anyways, I said, “Well, I want to see one.” So, I called him and I had one that I shipped here so I could check it out. And that’s when I said, “We tore it down.” We were really impressed. In fact, when we started doing videos on it, I thought, should we tear it down and show people what’s inside? And because we were interested in selling the product or respect for the company. We don’t do many tear downs where we take a competitor’s product or even a product that’s not ours.
Eric: 21:36 And just completely tear it down, show what’s inside. But that battery pack was impressive, the motor was impressive, right? We knew that … it just blew up me away. It’s the very first time I’ve seen a product out of China that I said, “Hey, we can’t really compete with this. This is really tough.” And I’ve never seen that an electric bike product out of China ever. Like, I know bikes kind of a joke, you go to a new bike and still have Chinese bikes. And nothing really blows you away like the San did. The Sur-Ron was like, “Wow.” So, we really felt like if we weren’t a part of this, we’re going to miss out.
Matt: 22:09 So what happened then?
Eric: 22:11 Well, we decided to make the commitment to-
Matt: 22:14 You just call these guys up or how did you get hooked up with Sur-Ron?
Eric: 22:17 We’re talking to him the whole time and they wanted a distributor in the USA. And I remember there was a gun under us because they were about to sign with somebody else. And the person we were talking to really wanted to see us get it. Because there’s not many people who could handle like a nationwide distribution to the bike.
Matt: 22:36 Right.
Eric: 22:37 We already understand how to do it and they were having a lot of dealers wasting their time. They only have one big sales guy there and then we’re really looking for distributors varias so they said, “Okay, you’re going to have to commit to buying a couple thousand bikes a year and we’re taking $100,000 deposit. And if you don’t sell the 2000 bikes a year, you lose the exclusive and we keep $100,000 deposit.”
Matt: 23:04 Wow.
Eric: 23:04 So, it was a really, really big risk. I remember Carl Gleason from electric bike blog, told me, “It’s a super bad idea, don’t do it.” And it turned out to be pretty, pretty awesome for us. We got lucky in a lot of things about the bike. The bike doesn’t break much. We learned that because most things come back, you get a certain return percentage. My good friend Luke, his son wanted one. I said, “Well, first person to returns when we’re going to return it to your son.” And we waited three months and nobody ever wanted to return it.
Matt: 23:40 That’s fantastic though.
Eric: 23:41 It worked out great for us.
Matt: 23:42 Yeah. [crosstalk 00:23:42].
Eric: 23:42 Well, how you said it took a couple months for you to get your bike? I think that was last year or something. We were sold out before the containers got here, so it was a great, almost a crowd funding campaign, but we had paid for the bikes, we were waiting for them to come. They ended up … there was a lot of good and bad. It took like three or four months after they got our money for the bikes to get here, it was murder. So, it really hurt us in terms of our own bikes, our own products, because we can’t do that with what … sitting on a ton of our money for four months. We’re still filling that. Like, half of our resources go to buying Sur- Ron bikes. It’s a great product. It’s a great brand. But, we decided not to put our name on it and sell it as a Sur-Ron.
Matt: 24:25 So, Mark.
Mark: 24:27 I have a question on parts.
Eric: 24:29 Yes.
Mark: 24:30 So one of the things I had noticed as a consumer is, it seems to take awhile for Luna to get parts from Sur-Ron.
Eric: 24:39 Oh hell yeah.
Mark: 24:39 Can you talk a little bit about that?
Eric: 24:42 Man, yeah. Okay.
Matt: 24:44 Hoo, hot seat.
Mark: 24:47 Who got sweat?
Matt: 24:47 Yeah. Sorry, hold on.
Eric: 24:49 I can tell you it’s not us.
Mark: 24:51 I figured it’s the ordering thing. But it helps to understand what you go through.
Eric: 24:57 Let me tell you what I go through. Because I like Sur-Ron as a company, but they let us down a lot. And I just want people to understand that, it doesn’t get much better than Sur-Ron. So all these people want to think they can make a lot of … that this is a good thing to get into.
Mark: 25:13 Yeah.
Eric: 25:14 Half the people I know dream of selling electric bikes somehow or whatever. And we lost a friend out of it because he wanted to be the USA distributor of Sur-Ron but he didn’t have any money.
Mark: 25:25 True.
Eric: 25:25 So, he want me to put up all the money. The Guy who first contacted me about the … It’s quite pretty weird story. But let me tell you about parts. Okay. We have about nine Sur-Rons that we were dying knowing next door. All nine of them aren’t running. Right? When we go over there because we’re stripping parts off of them for customers. Right? Now. We’ve had orders in for parts for Sur-Ron for months, four, five months. They don’t care about parts. They’re anxious to send us a container of bikes, but they’re … when I’m complaining, “Hey, we need X controllers, we need this, we need that.” They send us one batch of X controllers that has regen. And then the next, generation of bikes don’t have regen.
Eric: 26:10 And then, “Hey, we need more X controllers.” “Hey, we want more pedal kits, we want more of this or that.” And we have a whole list of parts we need. So, when they came onto their Chinese new year, when is Chinese new year about? December or something. For some reason they just put a container of parts on the water and it just felt like they just sent us everything that they just had sitting around the warehouse. They sent us 200 supermoto kits, 200 of them.
Mark: 26:38 Holy crap.
Eric: 26:39 That we did in order. And yeah, things got really out of line.
Mark: 26:43 So what’s the expectation you pay for them?
Eric: 26:46 Absolutely. They sign import and we also had two containers of Sur-Rons coming at the same time. They were also expected to pay for it. And when we look back on it, and this isn’t dead of winter time. That’s why we’re doing sales in the middle of the winter to survive this. And we literally ran out of space. Imagine a whole container of parts and they’re not the parts we needed. And this has been an ongoing thing. And usually it’s much better that you can say, “Hey, I need this part.” Like they were here, they were here for what, a month? About a month. And I kept telling him we need these parts, we … I thought it was going to be easy, just put them on a plane and get them to us. I understand that sea shipping takes four or five months for some reason because they’re in deep inland China.
Eric: 27:31 But as I got to know the company better and better, I started to understand that this is a different company than [Popping 00:27:39] or other Chinese companies we’ve dealt with. Now they’re very progressive. Right? I haven’t said any of this publicly, but we believe that Sur-Ron is more of an engineering company, that’s a group of engineers and they’re not a factory. And mostly they get those bikes built by a motorcycle factory and it’s very hard for them to get parts. So, really what happens to us is when we need to get parts for a customer to keep the bike from coming back, we have to take it off a brand new bike or we have to source our own parts and it starts to become, we’re putting a lot of work into a product that’s not ours. I prefer if we’re going to make custom parts, right now we’re making belt drives because it’s hard for us to get chains or whatever.
Eric: 28:24 The biggest pain in the ass is this new O-ring chain because just when we had chains figured out they changed the O-ring chains. So for example, it’s not as easy to change links on an O-ring chain to do different sized sprockets. And when somebody gets a pedal kit, you have to worry, do they … it just makes it more complicated. So, it’s a reason why I as a dealer, why you want to buy directly from us and why you’re glad that we’re here doing that. Because I don’t know many dealers who just take apart a bike at $3,500 bike or $4,000 bike and take a kickstand off of it and take the chain off of it and take the back seat off of it and pretty soon we got nine bikes that aren’t running.
Mark: 29:07 Yeah.
Matt: 29:08 And that’s the stuff most people don’t see that you guys do in the background. That’s pretty admirable because otherwise they’d be like, “You’re screwed.” It’s a product that you can’t get support part for you do you sit on.
Eric: 29:17 That’s exactly right. And we hear this, like people say, like Sur-Ron is saying they got a two year warranty. Warranty is the biggest BS in the world when it comes [crosstalk 00:29:26].
Matt: 29:26 Sounds as good as the service.
Eric: 29:27 And the electric bikes. As like Popping says they have a two year warranty. We haven’t been able to get replacement parts from Popping ever. You know what I mean? And that’s us giving them millions of dollars.
Mark: 29:36 They turned out last year, two years [inaudible 00:29:38].
Eric: 29:37 Warranty is just like … this is why I don’t … I think warranties for companies that haven’t proven themselves, that people know we stand behind our products. But like if you have, let’s say a Sur-Ron part goes bad, that’s defective. We replace parts that aren’t even defective, but we don’t want to sit here and argue you probably did something. We don’t want to be those guys. Because I’ve never been able to get warranty replacement parts from anyone as a hobbyist. Like, no matter how much money I gave the company, and I can’t remember the last time we got something for free from China for a warranty replacement, buying large quantities of this stuff.
Eric: 30:16 I got one quick story about warranty, that was pretty funny. We got a really expensive printing machine and we spent $10,000 on the machine and their heads are 1500 bucks and we’ve spent like four or $5,000 in parts just trying to get it working initially. So anyways, the heads definitely broken. A professor figured that out. That’s professor over there. Thanks professor.
Eric: 30:40 So anyways, we bought the head like a week before and we called them and we said, “Dude, this $1,500 head doesn’t work.” Right? Can you send us another one and we send it back? They go, “No, warranty on head.” It goes, “Company don’t offer us warranty. So you not get warranty.” And I said, Just getting any worse than that, that you get it dead on arrival and you’re getting no support at all. But Sur-Ron is very, very difficult to order parts from. And you’re talking of four to six month lead, but the funniest thing was when we got in tire container. Now imagine everybody tells me about this. They say, “Also send a container of bikes we didn’t order.” Because now we got credit with them. Imagine we’ve got to come up with 150,000 for this and $400,000 for the container and the debt of winter time. And it almost destroyed us. And so you know what happens, the containers was sent import and you start tacking up $300 a day and storage costs, right?
Matt: 31:40 300 a day,in storage.
Eric: 31:43 300 a day. Welcome to doing business. And like this is what we deal with regularly. You know what? The same time, but thanks on this container, we did an order. They send us duplicate containers. How do you do that? They said, “Oh.” Anyways, so we’re going through this all at once. And it was really the parts that threw us off the edge because we go, “You know what? We need those parts.” We came up with the money for the parts first, because we felt we needed to stop stripping bikes. So, we got-
Mark: 32:12 [crosstalk 00:32:12] Because you can’t sell those bikes.
Eric: 32:14 Exactly. Number of the batteries have been bad. We hard tough to test every battery before we send it out and like to two out of 10 batteries are bad. It was batteries costs us 1000 bucks each. But they haven’t sent us a single replacement battery yet.
Matt: 32:29 God.
Eric: 32:29 Yeah, we buy.
Matt: 32:30 Well, you guys are doing a good job, responding to the service issues I have to say for what you’re dealing with. What do you see now moving forward the next six months to one year for the Sur-Ron bike line? What are you guys going to start doing that’s coming out soon?
Eric: 32:44 We’re doing a belt drive for sure. We’re going to do some special edition belt drives. They’re really hard to install. I was going to ask mark what you thought of this. Because we got some the-
Matt: 32:53 He’s Mr. DIY. So-
Eric: 32:54 Yeah, you’re Mr. DIY.
Mark: 32:55 So I would say if you’re going to ride your Sur-Ron on dirt regularly-
Eric: 33:00 No.
Mark: 33:01 I would stay away from the belt drive.
Matt: 33:03 Right.
Eric: 33:04 Well we can improve that too. Because, the reason why it gets that reputation is it uses a cheap a belt for its original reduction gear. And we got a relationship with gates right now. Okay. We’re actually sending them a couple of Sur-Rons because they’re fans of them. And we also want to do a special, gates carbon belt for that reduction, which will fix that problem too. Right? So what happens is those belts are weak and they’re known for snapping, but it’s not a real gates belt. And we’re going to do a gates belt on the outside and we already got the sprockets made. “Hey, professor, can you grab me the sprockets? One is there, and one’s there and I’ll show you the sprockets before anybody else in the world sees them.”
Eric: 33:49 Anyways, the belt drive is really interesting. And we know we’ll take the power because this is the same belt that was used earlier zero motor cycle. So, we decided to go with that belt no doubt about it. If it takes a hundred horsepower, it’ll take sure. Whatever you can throw out at it. It does run quieter, we have when you can drive right now. Anyways, but the problem is, this is what I want to ask you about. It’s hard as hell to put on. How much of a do it yourself or are you?
Mark: 34:22 I’ve done a lot to my Sur-Ron.
Eric: 34:24 Okay. Here you go. Have you ever cut into your frame?
Mark: 34:27 No.
Eric: 34:28 So you’re going to have to hacksaw your frame-
Matt: 34:30 Is there a piece there?
Eric: 34:31 You’re going to have to break. How did a piece of the frame off to get the belt to go on? How do you feel about that?
Mark: 34:37 I don’t like to.
Eric: 34:38 Yeah, that’s what I think [crosstalk 00:34:40].
Matt: 34:39 Do you have some parts from here?
Mark: 34:40 That’s way behind, might do it yourself.
Eric: 34:43 And those aren’t three D printed belts. Like on the video I saw on YouTube that some guy in Europe has. Those are real metal.
Mark: 34:48 Yeah. It’s right.
Eric: 34:52 So, you’re going to have to-
Mark: 34:53 It’s tough.
Eric: 34:54 … and they don’t tell you that part, but you’re going to hack into the frame, right? You got got to cut off, where your pedal kit mounts to.
Mark: 35:01 Yeah.
Eric: 35:01 So what we’re going to do is we’re going to offer a kit where you can bolt it back together, but [inaudible 00:35:06] Okay, it’s going to be no problem.” Right? Well we installed that belt kit, I think just this last weekend, I think. Last week and I think we installed it. Man, Jackson who is like … Jackson’s the guy on the videos.
Mark: 35:18 Yeah, yeah.
Eric: 35:19 Dude, if he says something is asked not that hard, it’s pretty hard. It’s just fucking hard. You know what I mean? It took him like 20 minutes. So he said it’d take a normal guy like an hour. [inaudible 00:35:29].
Mark: 35:30 A normal guy.
Eric: 35:30 I go, “Man, I’m going to try it myself.” Because, you know what? With belts … I got this joke about belt drives because we’re thinking about going to belt drives on a lot of our bicycles on our highland bicycles as well, like the Apollo and the Apex.
Matt: 35:42 Sure.
Eric: 35:42 But I’ve played with belt drives, I’ve dreamed of belt drives. But one thing I’ve always said about boundaries, let’s say we all like had belt drives on our bicycles, we’d all be trying to figure out a way to like convert him to chains, you know what I mean? But in the case of the Sur-Ron, it’s really, really nice. You would like it because it makes it 10 times more stealth, it really does quiten it down. Have you seen it yet Mark?
Mark: 36:06 I haven’t seen one.
Eric: 36:07 It’ll blow you guys away.
Mark: 36:08 I love to try it.
Eric: 36:09 And not only that, you guys got a special treats on the ASI bike.
Mark: 36:13 Sweet.
Eric: 36:13 That’s 70 miles an hour and it’s quiet. [crosstalk 00:36:16] So, we figured-
Matt: 36:17 Mark’s game? Look at that he’s excited.
Eric: 36:19 Though-
Matt: 36:19 I said Mark’s excited. Look at him. He’s like, [inaudible 00:36:23].
Mark: 36:23 Yeah, I don’t know if I’d like to go 70 consistently on a Sur-Ron, but we’ll see.
Eric: 36:29 That’s the biggest problem. We’ve been doing it for awhile and we understand that. Me and Jackson, we’re having a big talk about it today, and we know all the problems with it. You know what I mean? I don’t know if people want to hack up their bike. For example, I think, do we really want to sell these kits to the public or do we want to install them here on bikes. If we install them here, we’re pretty confident we’re going to send them a good bike without fucking it up.
Matt: 36:53 What’s your plan for the first set of belt drive bikes?
Eric: 36:55 It’s going to go on these first special edition bikes and then we’re going to see how happy these guys are. But, I think the bike is so beautiful as it is. I think that’s our 70 mile an hour.
Mark: 37:06 That’s your hot rods [crosstalk 00:37:07].
Eric: 37:07 That one does like, “Okay.” So that does like 90 miles an hour. And in a way we thought that was going to change all the motorsports.
Matt: 37:14 What’s the other area?
Eric: 37:15 That’s more racing as zero. it’s 120 pound bike and it’s doing a clear 30 horsepower. And I just know, I guess there’s some guys who say they’re doing it. It’s much, much harder than you think because we still get controller faults a lot and a controller faults for us, it takes a lot of the roadability out. When we did get our dyno, we were able to get really good at tuned. So, with the 4,000 right now we’re pretty happy. But how do you feel about like removing your wiring hardness and rewiring the bike? Are you happy we send you that?
Matt: 37:47 Plug and play though, right? The new ones?
Eric: 37:49 Well, we’re making a plug and play and that’s a lot of extra work.
Matt: 37:51 Yeah, it is.
Mark: 37:52 So, my expertise is all in internal combustion engine racing.
Eric: 37:58 Right.
Mark: 37:59 So my knowledge of electronics is very low. My knowledge about suspension, brakes and all the other stuff is pretty high. So, that’s what I focus on.
Matt: 38:12 But you did the [inaudible 00:38:14] swap yourself?
Mark: 38:14 Yes, I do.
Matt: 38:15 Very similar. If Eric can make it plug and play, it’s, very similar.
Mark: 38:18 Oh, then I could do that.
Eric: 38:20 I’m saying is that when you take a perfectly great bike, [crosstalk 00:38:25] it’s like-
Matt: 38:26 It’s hard to frame this-
Eric: 38:26 It’s a really excellent bike.
Matt: 38:28 It is.
Eric: 38:29 I don’t think there’s even much of a difference between the X controller and the regular bike. I think this is a new phenomenon that people get crazy about little details and they go nuts about it. They go, “Oh.” Now we can actually reprogram all the Xs now. People can send them in and we can per charge, we can reflash it and give them the variable regen, the regen where it drags. Right. But there’s people out there who happen to hate it, “I want the region that doesn’t drag.” It’s like, I want a freewheel. Like I love the idea of freewheeling.
Mark: 39:05 Yeah, I know.
Eric: 39:06 And Sur-Ron’s afraid of selling bikes with regen because a lot of the original problems they had, what the X bike, we’re regen faults. And in fact when we’re testing with ASIs, regen is a lot of the reasons for the faults we’re getting. It’s really actually really complicated to get regen to work right. And then you have battery company telling Sur-Ron that it’s dangerous because somebody is going to be at the top of a mountain-
Mark: 39:32 With a full charge.
Eric: 39:33 And they’re going to go down and use regen. And that power doesn’t have anywhere to go. It has to go into the battery just doesn’t disappear or something in the BMS has to tell the regen stop and then you don’t have brakes anymore.
Matt: 39:47 Or you still brakes look here on the Sur-Ron though.
Eric: 39:49 That’s the other thing, I think some of the most basic modifications that’s where I would like to ask you, because a lot of times while I’m banned from Milan sphere, so I can’t go on that 300 page group.
Mark: 40:01 I never go on that group.
Eric: 40:04 But there’s a lot of misinformation on there, but people are, don’t you put $3,000 forks on your bike?
Mark: 40:09 I don’t know why people call them $3,000 forks.
Eric: 40:12 You put Ohlin forks, right?
Mark: 40:13 No, I put Dorado, Manitou forks.
Eric: 40:16 Oh, okay. Somebody put $3,000 forks on it.
Mark: 40:20 I don’t know who that it.
Eric: 40:21 What’s your rear fork?
Mark: 40:23 My rear shock is an Ohlin.
Eric: 40:25 Oh my God. Olin’s are out of the best. Yeah we would [crosstalk 00:40:28].
Mark: 40:28 So because I’ve rode raced and it was only Ohlins.
Eric: 40:32 How does that bike feel now?
Mark: 40:34 So today when I was at Mats, I was able to sit on and ride a stock Sur-Ron with stock suspension.
Matt: 40:43 He forgot how much it sucked.
Mark: 40:45 It sucks.
Eric: 40:47 Yeah.
Matt: 40:47 Compared to his stuffs.
Mark: 40:48 Compared to mine now, it absolutely sucks.
Eric: 40:50 Ohlin is absolutely, insanely better than everything else. [crosstalk 00:40:54]
Mark: 40:54 The only reason I went with is because … Oh, there it is. Yes.
Eric: 40:58 How much did that fork cost you?
Mark: 41:00 Not a fork, it’s a shock.
Matt: 41:01 Your shock.
Eric: 41:02 Okay, I’m sorry.
Mark: 41:02 On E-bay I got it for 379.
Eric: 41:06 Oh wow. But isn’t that like a $2,000 fork or something?
Mark: 41:09 No.
Eric: 41:10 A $2,000 shock, I’m sorry.
Mark: 41:11 No. If you buy that shock without a spring, a 10 and a half inch brand new is $800.
Eric: 41:18 Wow.
Mark: 41:18 You’d have to add another hundred dollars for the spring.
Eric: 41:22 Wow.
Mark: 41:22 And then you’d have to put the spring on. So with tax and shipping, it’s about a grand. So for less than half that price, to me it was worth it. The thing is that’s a nine and a half in shock.
Eric: 41:36 Oh, it looks good.
Mark: 41:36 The OEM is 10 and a half. So I had a genius that lives by me, machinists, mill me of an aluminum billet extension.
Eric: 41:47 Wow.
Mark: 41:48 So-
Eric: 41:49 I don’t know if you know about Olin. Do you know about them?
Mark: 41:52 Oh, I do.
Eric: 41:53 Oh yeah. They’re insane. Tell them the story, they’re just insane. They’re probably the best shock company in the world right now.
Mark: 41:59 So, when I was racing in RC 51. My least favorite track was Buttonwillow out by Bakersfield.
Eric: 42:06 Yeah.
Mark: 42:06 I hated it. First of all, there’s no topography and the track is so fucking bumpy in the worst places. So, I went to the tuner, the guy that used to be the crew chief for Ryan racing, Dan Kyle. And he said, “Well, Mark, it’s about time you get Ohlins suspension.”
Eric: 42:23 That’s right.
Mark: 42:24 I said, “You just want a new pool in your backyard.”
Eric: 42:27 Yeah, they’re expensive.
Mark: 42:28 Oh yeah.
Eric: 42:28 They’re worth it. [crosstalk 00:42:29] if you’re a racer.
Mark: 42:32 He said, “Well let’s do both of them.” Then let’s do the forks and the shock.
Eric: 42:36 Right.
Mark: 42:37 Did it, I went out to Buttonwillow and I thought, “Wow, they’ve repaved this track, it’s so smooth now.” It was all Ohlins suspension.
Eric: 42:49 That’s right.
Mark: 42:50 Late breaking into corners-
Eric: 42:52 Oh, no.
Mark: 42:53 Getting on the pipe, earlier coming out of the corner.
Eric: 42:56 Exactly.
Mark: 42:56 It was amazing. So, I heard all the mountain bikers about forks and-
Eric: 43:02 Oh yeah.
Mark: 43:02 But I don’t know anything about that. I’ve never ridden a fork shock, but I know about Ohlin’s, so that’s why I went with that.
Eric: 43:09 Let me tell you what I’ve learned about fox. Forks and Packs.
Mark: 43:12 All right.
Eric: 43:15 Okay. So, I don’t know what’s going wrong with the bicycle industry, but we don’t have many good options for bicycle forks. And Fox is like a complete, like over the top, nice fork but expensive.
Mark: 43:30 Expensive.
Eric: 43:30 Over the top expensive.
Mark: 43:31 Yeah.
Eric: 43:32 And you really don’t have any options. And when I was first talking to Sur-Ron, we were going to go with top of the line fork on it and I was going to cost snacks for three or $400, we’re getting all the bikes made with it. It was going to be the Montague fork. You can call that up, ash and Montague, a triple clamp fork. Beautiful. And right before that deal happen, Montague got bought out by Fox, and Fox won’t sell to just anyone at all. And as far as motorcycle forks, the race teams, they race with what they want and Ohlin won’t even sell to most of the race teams, they’re not sponsored by the race teams or whatever. But the race teams or put all in shocks on their factory bikes. They’re that good. Is that the Montague? But really to me, the good options for forks or Rockshox and when did Rockshox become a good brand name? Because to me they’re-
Matt: 44:36 There’s some high end, my Sworks, the RTC pike 34, because it’s a 13 out of four.
Eric: 44:41 I don’t know, I don’t, maybe I’m older than you are a bit, I just think of RockshoX, I think of Judy. You know what I mean?
Mark: 44:47 You’re old school. Yeah. They evolve the a lot. They have a evolved.
Eric: 44:52 I don’t know why. You know, there’s not a decent fork option, but I’ll tell you that with the Sur-Ron before you upgrade that fork, there’s some other really weak components in it that need to be, so let’s-
Mark: 45:05 The headset.
Eric: 45:05 The headset is the first. And lucky for us and the brakes.
Mark: 45:09 Oh, so the brakes, I have not had it. As you can see, I’m still using OEM brakes.
Eric: 45:15 Right.
Mark: 45:15 I changed the front 225 from the 203. And I’ve always loved floating rather than the solid because of the heat dissipation is much better on a floating ride-
Eric: 45:28 Right.
Mark: 45:28 … than it is on the solid.
Eric: 45:29 Are you just using stock brake pads?
Mark: 45:31 No.
Eric: 45:32 Okay. That makes a big difference.
Mark: 45:33 Huge difference. And I feel that a lot of people do not know how to bleed brakes properly.
Eric: 45:39 That’s right.
Mark: 45:40 They do not. And most people want brakes they feel they get initial grab because they feel it’s powerful. My deal is I want a powerful brake that has great modulation.
Eric: 45:53 Right.
Mark: 45:54 … Because in racing, and I’m not racing anymore, but you get spoiled with suspension and brakes. I want great modulation with my brakes.
Eric: 46:02 Right.
Mark: 46:03 And the stock ones have that if you believe them properly.
Eric: 46:06 That’s right.
Mark: 46:07 And the pads that come on the bike are shitty.
Eric: 46:10 That’s right.
Mark: 46:11 But any aftermarket pad is a huge improvement.
Eric: 46:15 This is what gets me about brakes. This is my pet peeve.
Mark: 46:18 Okay.
Eric: 46:18 I’d be interested what Matt thinks about this. So these are bicycle brakes on the Sur-Ron. All right? And they’re not really made for high speed or whatever. And when you start doing 90 on one, we go through brake pads really, really fast.
Mark: 46:34 Oh, I bet you do.
Eric: 46:35 So one of the first things that we did when we built our ASI Sur-Ron, as we immediately worked on figuring out the whole region and variable brake thing to make it even rideable-
Matt: 46:45 Best thing in the world.
Eric: 46:49 But I remember just being an e-bike rider and going up mountains and those rotors getting so fricking smoking hot. I remember Josh professor burning his finger on a caliper once [crosstalk 00:47:01]-
Mark: 47:01 Well, that’s normal, they get hot.
Eric: 47:02 They get really hot. But they’ve got these technologies in brake pads that I believe in. But when I think about it, I haven’t really tested them. And I’m a big fan of Ice-Tech for Shimano. Have you heard of them?
Mark: 47:16 Nope.
Eric: 47:17 Okay. They are rotors that are made with the special technology of … They use multiple layers of aluminum, really good cooling and they can cost upwards like 80, 90 bucks each. But you get them cooling a motorcycle brakes with those in good pads apparently. But when I go to research this, because I have one friend who rode 60 mile an hour bikes and I rode with them and brakes were never a problem. We were running up and down the mountains. Never had to think about brake pads in 10 or 15 rides. But I researched online, nobody’s ever tested it. How hard could it be for Shimano to do a comparison between theirs and the competitors. So there it is, and that’s something that haunts me.
Eric: 48:02 Off and on, we’ve supplied Ice-Tech. It’s really hard to get because Shimano doesn’t … It’s hard to buy, even from quality bike parts are like 50, 60 bucks.
Mark: 48:11 And did they make … That’s a spline.
Eric: 48:13 Yeah, they make this interlocks too.
Mark: 48:15 They do. Okay.
Eric: 48:16 I have some coming. I always order them from time to time. And now that we have a Dyno, I really want to test them. It’s super easy to test you and just compare them with a heat gun and see but how well they hold up. And what’s the difference between brake pads? But I think the difference is a mix and how come the … Maybe you can answer this. In the bike industry that’s so geeky about every single component, why isn’t there any real testing on brakes and pads are-
Mark: 48:45 That’s a good question.
Eric: 48:47 I never see.
Mark: 48:48 Let’s take it upon herself to do that.
Eric: 48:51 Yeah.
Mark: 48:51 Seriously. And he saw the hills near my house today up in the neighborhood. It’s just up and down crazy steep hills. And it’s when I was borrowing the scooter to test the old scooters he had. It was rough on those hills because those little brakes and those tiny wheels were getting so hot. It’s heavy scooter with tons of power and no region braking. Those little brakes were struggling because it was such crazy hills.
Eric: 49:13 I just remembered a funny story. We had that flex of years. And when we did that hill race against our bikes. Right? So we managed to get to the top by pedaling it. Ashley had to peddle to the top.
Mark: 49:27 Why did you make Ashley do that?
Eric: 49:28 Because none of us could get to the top. You needed to be in shape and you needed to be a jockey a hundred pounds. We were trying to race it up the hill and the safe base with flex. We’ve got our best shape rider, 100 pounds got [inaudible 00:49:42] ride up. But you know what? Coming down, we completely roasted the brakes in one ride. One ride down a hill, it’s a basic of a bike that if it can climb a hill, the brakes have to be good enough to come down.
Mark: 49:52 Absolutely.
Eric: 49:52 But you notice they don’t talk about what brake pads and rotors that go. They only talk about the size. But you know what? The electric bikes, it’s almost like a different thing. Maybe you need some thicker caliper or something like who cares about 20 extra grams or something. It’s a whole different ballgame with electric bikes.
Mark: 50:12 So, what I’ve turned to now are the guys that build Motopeds. Gas powered Mopeds.
Eric: 50:20 And they used motorcycle brakes, right?
Mark: 50:22 No. But they don’t … Some guys are crazy and go with twin disks up front, which you may have to do on a 90 mile an hour Sur-Ron.
Eric: 50:33 Right.
Mark: 50:33 But they are pretty innovative [crosstalk 00:50:36].
Eric: 50:36 [inaudible 00:50:36] Racing motorcycles against the flex. That’s [crosstalk 00:50:39]. The day we took it out. That’s the day we took it out and we took it out with our big boys. Racing that bike was so much fun, and I clock in and I say [crosstalk 00:50:48].
Matt: 50:48 That’s great. So real quick, real quick, wrap up on the brakes. What were you going to say about the-
Eric: 50:51 The Motoped groups have some pretty innovative stuff that fits the Sur-Ron much better than [crosstalk 00:50:58]-
Mark: 50:58 Look at the truck on that thing. Look how fast he is.
Eric: 51:00 Bicycles.
Mark: 51:01 See how fast Ash is. Imagine that.
Matt: 51:03 That’s full throttle to [crosstalk 00:51:04].
Mark: 51:04 That’s our Jockey right there.
Eric: 51:05 We’re ready [crosstalk 00:51:06].
Matt: 51:06 We will take it upon ourselves to do some brake testing in the coming months, I think you guys are [crosstalk 00:51:10] on that.
Eric: 51:09 That’s a great idea.
Matt: 51:11 Eric, two quick questions then before we wrap up-
Eric: 51:13 Wrap it up. Yeah.
Matt: 51:13 … We’re almost an hour now. The special editions around coming out, what can you tell us about it? What can you leak out now before you officially announce? Anything you want to share? You don’t have to if you don’t want to, if you want to keep it a surprise.
Eric: 51:27 We’ve been working on it for a while, we could really say it. I don’t want people to … The Sur-Ron is a great deal. I don’t know, we’re going to … I can say that when we first offer, we’re going to do it on just 10 bikes or 20 bikes or so, as a test pilot. We’re going to sell it to people we know. I don’t want to sell it to any of these. Sometimes you sell bikes to guys who don’t know nothing about bikes and they don’t know anything about us and expect too much or. When you get a hot ride bike, it’s not going to be as nice and reliable as the factory bike and you have to write it with common sense.
Matt: 52:04 What’s going to make these bikes special, to be a special edition?
Eric: 52:08 We’re going to sell them with a lot more power and there’s going to be a lot of special … We want to do it with a belt drive. That’s the holdup right now as we’re waiting for belts from Gates and we have everything else ready to go. We’re going to do some special seats and special-
Mark: 52:23 Oh, you’re going to take the torture rack off.
Eric: 52:25 Yeah. And of course do the headsets. We got a really great relationship with Cane Creek. In fact, I’m going to do a Cane Creek headsets, it’s upgrades for anybody who wants them. And were going to make sure that we offer this to people who bought Sur-Rons. And this is going to work with both the X versions and the non X versions. We’re going to be selling upgraded controllers that, maybe not the ASI 8000 and even the ASI 4000 is a bit. I have to see and talk to people, maybe see how you like it. But the stock bike is so nice.
Matt: 53:01 Well that’s was going to be my last question. A lot of questions about the ASI 4,000 all the time. When’s it coming out? When are you going to sell it? What are the plans from Luna for the ASI 4000 or 8000 controller?
Eric: 53:10 Well, to really do the ASI right, we need to build the battery, and actually we’re talking about building a battery for it as our next big project. We have one new major battery we’re announcing by the end of next month that we’re making up in Oregon in our new factory. And I’m really excited about it. We’ve decided to pull the trigger and go to full production on that. The same time we’re going to start designing, a pack just for Sur-Ron. Because the problem with the Sur-Ron really when it comes to hot riding it is, the cells are not up to it. PF cells really can’t put out that much power. And what happens is you get a hard shutdown. So the packet’s too hot. And we know this from hours and hours [inaudible 00:53:59] testing. Luckily there’s a soft shutdown first, but if you keep muscling [crosstalk 00:54:03] it-
Mark: 54:03 And you’re chocking it, full throttle, full throttle just for hours with a load of the [Dyno 00:54:08], which most people-
Eric: 54:08 That’s right.
Mark: 54:09 … That’s your climbing crazy hills for half an hour, it’s not going to happen.
Eric: 54:12 That’s right. But there is a chance that we sell to some hardcore people and they go out trail riding. They could be three miles out and their bike over here could freak out. And then you have to walk the bike back, and maybe die of heat exhaustion or something. I don’t know.
Mark: 54:26 So coming out, but it can be a few months till we get some new batteries-
Eric: 54:29 I think We’re going to release the whole full ASI version. We’re going to sell as a kit, because I don’t want to sell a whole bike that is just going to probably be really dangerous because … What do you think Mark? Your bike right now, doesn’t feel that dangerous. Right? It’s really safe. But really I want you to put an ASI 8000 on it. It’s your bike and you need to upgrade the brakes, the tires, for it to be really safe.
Matt: 55:02 What are your thoughts on the test ride my bike to the special edition one that he got to test ride today?
Eric: 55:08 That that’s impressive. The what?
Matt: 55:10 The special edition. One that’s coming out. He got to try mine today, the prototype.
Mark: 55:14 So I would gladly upgrade my bike to that.
Eric: 55:19 Oh yeah.
Mark: 55:19 I probably would not upgrade to the 8000.
Eric: 55:22 That’s right.
Mark: 55:23 I have no-
Eric: 55:24 Or even to the 4,000. You’re talking 70 mile an hour bikes. It changes everything. Like the safety factor.
Mark: 55:32 Yeah.
Matt: 55:33 And you stock bike brakes.
Eric: 55:35 You have bike brakes, you’re going to need to upgrade those right away. You’re going to need better tires. You’re going to need, oh man, for sure, you’re going to have headset problems.
Matt: 55:45 Yeah.
Eric: 55:46 And that’s when you’re going to want your role in suspension or a high end [crosstalk 00:55:50].
Mark: 55:50 I already like good suspension. So the power on Matt’s bike-
Eric: 55:56 Look at this one. Look at this. [crosstalk 00:55:58].
Mark: 55:58 Yeah. That’s crazy.
Eric: 55:59 Now you’re doing that on bike components, 70, 80 miles an hour. And it’s a little crazy. And even if we torque it, we just gear up way down. I know you’re going to be pulling Willie’s up 40, 50 miles an hour. It’s insane.
Matt: 56:15 Yeah. I think the Sur-Ron special edition power right now is pretty much perfect because it feels like a powerful motorcycle now. Well you can pull the wheel up when you want.
Mark: 56:24 It feels powerful enough for the components on the bike.
Eric: 56:28 Look at the way that’s looked there and looking at him, not much scares him. Look how much gear he’s wearing every time he gets on that bike, because it is a really short wheel base bike. So I think I’m pretty excited about the art version we’re releasing. It’s going to have about a reasonable amount of power close to double than the stock and that makes a lot of [crosstalk 00:56:46] big difference.
Matt: 56:46 Big difference.
Mark: 56:46 Yeah.
Eric: 56:47 And we are going to make it available to everyone who’s bought bikes in the past. I don’t think if you buy a bike now that you’re going to be left out.
Mark: 56:56 That’s really admirable, by the way, because you truly do reward early adopters. It’s not bullshit, which I appreciate.
Matt: 57:04 But with that awesome having you here down, Mark and-
Eric: 57:07 Thanks guys.
Matt: 57:08 All right. [crosstalk 00:57:09]. Luna, Eric
Eric: 57:10 … Thanks to professor and Ashley.
Mark: 57:10 Yeah, thanks for hosting us again, of course.
Eric: 57:12 Thanks for hosting.
Matt: 57:13 And we’ll have much more topics to cover in the coming weeks. But for now, that was good wrap up of where we are with the Sur-Rons and we’re going to get our brake testing plans in a way.
Mark: 57:22 Yeah, that’s a good idea.
Eric: 57:23 Our what?
Mark: 57:23 Brake testing.
Matt: 57:24 Our brake testing plans in order.
Eric: 57:25 Oh, I think that’s needed.
Matt: 57:27 We’ll do a break shootout.
Eric: 57:28 Man, I’m so glad we got a dyno because man, all the answers you want, we can get so fast. It’s overwhelming.
Mark: 57:35 Big Believer in dynos.
Matt: 57:36 Include the breaking, [inaudible 00:57:37].
Eric: 57:37 Oh, sure. I can break down those easier than the power dyno. If you’ve got a power dyno breakdown is easy.
Matt: 57:43 So stay tuned for that guys.
Eric: 57:44 All right guys.
Matt: 57:44 Thanks everybody. We’ll sign off from here. Goodnight.
Mark: 57:47 Goodnight.

Eric has been involved in the electric bike industry since 2002 when he started a 6000 square foot brick and mortar Electric Bike store in downtown San Francisco. He is a true believer that small electric vehicles can change the way we operate and the way we think.

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