In mid August 2019 there has been a flurry of excitement from current Sur Ron Light Bee owners over the announcement of the electric motorcycle named Booom Bee. An actual electric motorcycle from Sur Ron shown in spy videos and posts. This post is not about the actual facts about the bike, but my concern that how the new bike sales ‘may’ affect the future of Sur Ron in general. Because I rode in the heyday of motorcycling, it has saddened me to watch the shrinking of the motorcycle community. So many motorcycle shops who existed for decades in the Bay Area have closed, replaced by fast food shops or For Lease signs.

Image courtesy of Adam of AE Bikes in Australia. Thanks Adam

Electric startups like Alta who was based here in San Francisco suddenly folded due to finances.

Sure the estimated price for the new Booom Bee is projected to be much less than Alta, Zero or Harley. But my concern has less to do with pricing and more to do with overall interest in motorcycling. The Light Bee occupies a space formerly unknown in the motorized two wheel market. Sure it can be compared to old ICE pit bikes, a high powered eMTB but in my mind something like the SR didn’t really exist. We all can go back and forth arguing until we are red in the face about the future of motorbikes. I just want Sur Ron to remain financially viable so I can selfishly continue to enjoy improvements they make to the Light Bee.

Will the financial burden of the Booom Bee tax Sur Ron too much?!

Come On Booom Bee! I love my Light Bee so sell like crazy…please!

Update 8-28-19

I just read this article about Harley offering ebikes! But the part that I’m hoping only applies to street riding is this passage:

“As anyone following H-D’s continually sinking fortunes (and stock price) understands, the company needs to branch out beyond ground-pounding, big-inch boulevard cruisers and high-dollar touring rigs if they hope to survive. Maybe far beyond.

Keep in mind that Levatich is more than a pencil-pusher or Harley-come-lately. He’s been with H-D since the halcyon days in 1994, when The Comeback was in full swing. He’s also a mechanical engineer, and he’s watched the downturn go from a trickle to a receding tide. The problems H-D faces are many and varied.

Harleys can be expensive, but worker wages haven’t kept up with rising economy, while rents and other expenses (like home prices and health care) definitely have. Older and returning riders are aging out of the market and into the safety of cars. Young people are not into motorcycles like their parents and grandparents were; they’re into their phones, video game consoles, those ever-multiplying city scooters and rideshare services to get from A to B. To them (and more and more people it seems), cars are expensive luxuries, and motorcycles? Danger, danger, forest ranger.

Kids brought up in ever-safer cars with a dozen airbags and full-body padding plus helmets on their bicycles aren’t exactly embracing the road rebel lifestyle as adults, at least not in the numbers that can keep H-D afloat with new riders as in the past. Analysts can debate those points and opinions all they like, but the truth is on the streets: People are ridesharing, riding bicycles, scooters and last-mile tech more and more, and electric bikes are surging in popularity as prices fall and quality rises. Ebikes represent an especially strong vector of this suddenly popular electrified transportation paradigm, and offers new opportunities in design, marketing and profits for bicycle makers. Why not motorcycle makers as well?”

I have recently seen more motorcycles on the road lately, but certainly not in the numbers I have seen in the past….

13 Comments

  1. Word.
    There is reason to be concerned. I’m hoping someone who is influential in the China factory for Sur Ron understands the Light Bee is the game changer! Not E Motorcycles in general which is one very costly, tough market. Make them LB’s a little better every year like they did when they went to the X model, add more accessories and modifications to the light weight wonderful product they already have.
    Just my unsolicited 2 cents.

    • Fingers crossed…..

  2. One of the things on-line that I see is a general distrust or plain old unfounded resistance to all things “E”. Most folks think “E”, and jump right to Musk and the Tesla. That guy may be a pioneer, but talk about baggage. He brings a lot of polarity to the “E” market and overall perception and conversation. I doubt I will have interest in a full size motorcycle, as the Bee is exactly what I would have described for my needs. But Sur-Ron does seem to grasp quality, and on the fly innovation and market demand. I wish them luck, if the full size bike is on their horizon. The US “E” market might be a tough nut to crack.

    • Craig I have seen the quality of engineering of Sur Ron based on my experience with the Light Bee. I really hope that they are successful where other firms have struggled in the full size motorcycle market. I don’t plan to purchase the Booom Bee simply because my days riding larger motorcycles are over. Nope the Light Bee ticks all of the boxes for me now. Like I’ve said many times, it’s the iPad of two wheelers for me, a new segment I never even knew I’d want to be in….until now.

  3. Mark,
    the Light Bee hits all my checks marks, as well. My Honda Trail 90 is so long in the tooth, I am afraid to take it anywhere far from camp/home. Trying to find something ICE “modern” means weights in excess of 200 to 300 pounds. My Bee can be easily lifted into a bicycle carrier, and as I am finding out, lacks nothing on the trail, other than long range. Looking forward to see what the new offering will bring to the market, and what segment is being targeted. Fun and interesting times we are living in. Craig

    • Craig thanks for your story. As more and more people ‘discover’ the Bee I hope everyone comes to know its advantages. It’s just one sweet ride, smiles smiles, smiles.

    • Craig Gillio, I share your feelings about the Honda 90 trail, I still have one. The Light Bee checks all the boxes for close to home non street legal absolute fun. As I get older my ICE bike gets heavier, so I have a street legal / Trials framed 1986 Honda TRL 200 Reflex (195#) 90 MPG parked next to my 280# 55 MPG Honda XR250 Dual Sport bike for riding into my 70’s… Both however get little use because the Light Bee is more agile. I have absolutely NO interest in a heavy bike anymore, be it a Sur Ron Boomer, an ALTA, a Harley, a KTM, or a Zero on the electric side. Nor do I have any interest in an ICE bike that weighs in the high 200# range, the little Sur Ron Light Bee has spoiled me. In my perfect world I would find a 150# street legal / off road ICE bike and the Light Bee would get both a VIN number and more range.

  4. Can’t confirm if this is the Boom Bee or not, but I just found this video floating around this weekend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmkaITb3G1Q

    If so, I hope the price point and build quality can make it into what the KTM Freeride was supposed to be and introduce a whole new class of rider to Sur Ron.

    Been following your build for quite a while, btw- love it. I was wondering where your older blog posts went…now I see you’ve been hard at work! The new site looks great!

    • Soumik, yes that’s the video that has been circulating about the Booom Bee. I’ve posted an article about it here. Thanks for your kind words about my site. I took my SR stuff down from my pro photography site because I was receiving too many private emails about the bike. I have a comment section so people can leave comments, if I’m able to do so I answer them so others can see. Individual emails don’t accomplish that task.

      You may or may not know, but there are not a ton of SR sites which contain a lot of information. As an owner I just post what I would like to see in terms of information and how I have changed my bike. I only say what has worked for me because everyone is different. Thanks again.

      • That makes sense! I’m not a very frequent user of Facebook and that one monster Endless Sphere thread can get a bit difficult to pull useful info out of at times, as you probably know. Your site is the best organized/documented resource I’ve found thus far and it doesn’t hurt that I seem to agree with all of your modification principles. Keep up the great work. (While I’m throwing out praise, your photography work and site is quite stellar as well!)

        • Thanks so much. I just tried to develop this site as I would like to navigate a site for information. I just have not found any Sur Ron sites other than forums where information is collected. Thank you.

  5. Craig Gillio, I share your feelings about the Honda 90 trail, I still have one. The Light Bee checks all the boxes for close to home non street legal absolute fun. As I get older my ICE bike gets heavier, so I have a street legal / Trials framed 1986 Honda TRL 200 Reflex (195#) 90 MPG parked next to my 280# 55 MPG Honda XR250 Dual Sport bike for riding into my 70’s… Both however get little use because the Light Bee is more agile. I have absolutely NO interest in a heavy bike anymore, be it a Sur Ron Boomer, an ALTA, a Harley, a KTM, or a Zero on the electric side. Nor do I have any interest in an ICE bike that weighs in the high 200# range, the little Sur Ron Light Bee has spoiled me. In my perfect world I would find a 150# street legal / off road ICE bike and the Light Bee would get both a VIN number and more range.

    • Lee,

      I had a funny thing happen last weekend on the weight issue. We had a small Electric Vehicle Expo in my little town, and I had my Sur-Ron, my offroad van, awning and a couple of posterboard displays showcasing the Sur-Ron, and offgrid solar charging. Probably talked to a couple hundred folks about the Sur-Ron, never stopped talking from 11:30 to 4 PM. At closing time, one of the event coordinators stopped by, and I asked if he had any questions. he said “nope, just here to watch you load that bike, because it can’t be as easy as you say”. Using my motorcycle carrier, I lifted the front wheel into the rack, then lifted the back onto the rack. He agreed, it is that easy. If I never have to roll or ride another ICE bike up a ramp, I will not be heart broken. Craig


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