Segway has launched their Indiegogo campaign to market the Sur-Ron Light Bee in the United States. There is a couple of problems for discriminating customers, as what Segway is selling you can already buy for a much cheaper price without the Segway stickers on it as a Sur-Ron Light-Bee. I don’t take issue with Segway, who is a ‘majority shareholder’ of Sur-Ron selling that electric dirt bike in the US, but I do take issue with their absurd claim of 74.6 miles of range for their electric motocycle. If Segway thinks that ebike enthusiasts who are cheapskates by nature are going to spend $400-900 more to buy a bike in 4 months that they can order right now, I think they are probably mistaken.
The Segway is being sold in the X160 model which has about 1/2 the battery capacity and smaller wheels than the X260 model. I would not recommend that anyone even consider the X160, with the Sur-Ron it’s go big or go home.
I bought one of the first Sur Rons fresh off the boat in the US 2 years ago, and honestly I have no regrets (anymore). I wrote about my initial experience testing it in the streets of LA here and then after a year of thrashing on it pretty hard I wrote another article. Recently I used my Sur Ron Light Bee to plant 500 trees in just one day. I have tested this bike extensively and I can tell you that the Segway ‘claimed range’ of 74.6 miles is absolute bologna (and not the good kind). In ‘real world testing’ I get about 25ish miles of range (1/3 of what they are claiming). Granted I’m 200lbs and live where there is a lot of hills and I can’t seem to ride it without pegging the throttle. In all fairness I’ve never tried a range test in EP mode, and I would never want to. EP mode sucks so bad I only turn it on when I hand the bike to my wife to ride, and even then she still manages to dump it. *sigh* Seriously, the only time I notice that EP switch is when my bike is performing so badly that I think it is broken, and then I notice that I accidentally hit the granny switch.
I’m not sure why range testing for electric dirt bikes and high power ebikes have are now being chronically overstated, but it’s disappointing to say the least. Maybe at 10 mph in EP model on level ground with a 100lb rider your Segway eDirt bike will go 74.6 miles, but never in the real world will you get this range. Hard to fudge your numbers when there are no pedals on your eMoto to help you claim unrealistic milage numbers (you can get a pedal kit for the Sur-Ron). Incidentally I don’t recommend a pedal kit because they look stupid and pedal strikes are the leading cause of you getting your ass kicked while riding around like a hooligan and suffering a pedal strike. From their Indiegogo FAQ page:
If you want to cancel your Segway order you can do it, but it is costly
As per their Indiegogo page :
“Before we ship out your order, if you want to cancel your Indiegogo contributions more than 10 days after it was placed, we will charge an administrative fee of 50% of your pledge and refund the rest. However, we do not refund after your order has been shipped.”
So what this means is that you can cancel your Indiegogo order if you figure out that you want a Sur Ron instead and get it right now instead of in 4 months, but you will likely pay 50% of your pledge to be able to do it. It’s also interesting that they are only charging part of the cost of the product they are selling, thus avoiding the steep indiegogo fees for the whole bike (5% on $399 is $19.95 vs 5% on $3999 is $199.95). They will also save on the 3-5% paypal processing fees so they potentially are saving $180-460 on every bike by doing the transaction outside of Indiegogo. It’s interesting that Indiegogo is allowing Segway to collect the balance of the payment outside their platform, which is an absolute no-no with kickstarter. This policy is causing Indiegogo to lose out on a lot of fees, and saving Segway a bunch of money on every bike. Pretty smart on their part.
Does the Segway have a bigger battery or beefier controller?
Looking at the stock specs it looks like not. The stock Sur-Ron Light Bee X controller puts out 5000W, the X260 puts out 5000W. The stock Sur-Ron comes with a 1920Wh battery, same as the Sur-Ron. As near as I can tell this is the exact same bike as the Light Bee except with a front and rear fender. The only difference I can see is that the X160 has 17″ wheels instead of 19″ wheels. As a ‘whole lotta man’ at 6′ 9″ I can tell you the Light Bee is already too small so 17″ wheels is only if you want to buy it for your child (adults need not apply). The stock Sur-Ron Light Bee ships with 19″ tires, but I wish they were much bigger, it would be the easiest and cheapest way to keep the Light Bee from feeling like a toy without changing the frame too much.
What about the shipping cost?
Strange that the Segway Indiegogo page makes no mention about the cost of the shipping other than the 5 people who ‘won’ free shipping for their Segways. Expect that the shipping is not going to be cheap, especially for Hawaii and Alaska. Luna charges $180 for shipping so I would expect it to be at least that high, and possibly higher.
Should I buy a Segway/Sur Ron?
I can tell you that when I first got my Sur-Ron I was disappointed by it’s performance on single track trails. I was a little sad and thought about selling it, but I’m glad I didn’t. I’ve been using it on my farm as a UTV and it is just awesome, always charged and ready to go, insanely fast and it can carry about 50 lbs of crap and a shovel with my homemade racks. Looking back I can say it was probably one of the best purchases I ever made and I’m sure I’ll get another 10 years of use out of it. Unlike a gas moto, it requires almost zero maintenance, just make sure the tires have air and the front shocks are working and you’re good to go. Recently I’ve needed to bleed the rear brakes (I never use the front ones), that is the first maintenance I’ve done on this bike in 2 years.
Is there any reason to wait?
I’m not sure why Segway is releasing this motocycle without any improvements over the Light Bee. They could have used better 18650 cells to give the battery more capacity, or a beefier controller that could dish out more power, or hell even bigger wheels would have been fine. Instead they have rereleased the same product already on the market at a higher price and expected that their ‘marketing genius’ will be able to sell a lot more bikes. Consumers aren’t stupid and if you can buy two identical products and one is hundreds of dollars cheaper, most people are going to buy the less expensive product. Honestly I just can’t figure out what Segway was thinking on this one.
You can buy the Xmas Sur-Ron Light Bee right now for $3600 from Lunacycles here or you can visit Segway’s Indiegogo page and reserve your X260 here for about $400 more (that includes a whopping $500 ‘discount’). I would only buy the X160 for someone else’s kid, preferably if you don’t really like them. Lunacycle is also notorious for having insane Black Friday deals so maybe it makes sense to wait another day.