Updated July 10 2019

For some reason this week has been filled reconnecting with friends I have not seen in decades. First a friend who just got Principal Horn for the Chicago Symphony, one of the top three symphonies in the USA! Then my former teammate James who was the fella in the trauma center where I awoke after crashing in turn 10 at Thunderhill Raceway at 140 MPH. I don’t remember this, but apparently I yelled out “James what the fuck are you doing in my bedroom man!?” LOL Ah concussions, they make one crazy…. Anyway I let him take my bike for a spin and you can judge for yourself his reaction…..  Holy shit man you put an Ohlins shock on the rear?!

He’s a goner now.

In my photography life I’ve always held that a camera is just an excuse for me as a way to meet people. Sure I love the craft of creating imagery, but it’s the people I meet and befriend that motivates me to do it over and over and over. The Sur Ron is the same way. Although the majority of people I interact with are ‘virtual’ friends who I’ve never met, when I have the opportunity to meet one of my brethren I jump at the chance. Eli, a fellow owner sent me a note to tell me that he was visiting the area where I live. So I rode over to meet he and his best friend Nick so we could shake hands and meet in real life. My favorite. At this point the Sur Ron community is small. But those I’ve met through this amazingly well engineered device are great folks.

You can’t tell but it has been raining off and on here. So when I went to meet Eli I used the shower cap to cover my beloved custom suede seat.

First off this is a completely different then the technical information about the Sur Ron then on this site. This one focuses on the many varied aspects of my enjoyment and love of this bike. I purchased it sight unseen on April 11 2018. It was backordered and didn’t arrive to my driveway until June 13 2018. Two months are two days of agony.

I’ve owned, raced and ridden a ton of bikes both off-road and on road. 1968 is when I started riding seriously and I ended my road racing track days in 2006. Thirty eight years of riding. There was a brief stint when I didn’t own or ride a motorcycle, it’s when I had kids and my wife and I decided we didn’t want to have daycare raise our children. So it went from a DINK (Double Income No Kids) family to a family of four with one income; meaning no money other than for food and shelter.

So years later I bought myself a Specialized Rockhopper hardtail mountain bike and fitted Rock Shox air forks. At least I was still on two wheels! It was fun until the day I was on a trail in mud just after a heavy rain, my foot slipped out of my toe cage and my balls impacted on the crossbar. After I lifted myself out of the mud and hauled my bike home, my right nut swelled up to the size of a softball. A doctor at the ER used what I still recall as the longest, largest diameter needle that I swear was shaped like a corkscrew with a blunt end to draw out the fluid. If you’re a guy reading this it’s OK to cross your legs and grimace, yeah it was bad.

The thing that made mountain bike riding kinda boring was the limited amount of wrenching I could do on my bike. Compared to a motorcycle, MTBs are well….yawn! But at the time and with my limited funds and time it was a ‘nice’ alternative. As the kids got older and my income increased I began an on road racing segment of my life. First as an individual, then as a team member and finally as a racetrack trainer. Those were some of the best two wheeled times of my life. The comradery was exceptional and I will forever remember those days with a smile.

The ‘team’ That’s me with hair on the right.
Laguna Seca turn 5
Me and Ginny goofing around during a class. We got into trouble of course….
Turn 2 at Thunderhill conducting a student lesson. They were in the infield and I started the infield on fire with my illegal knee sliders. I got Black Flagged during fucking class!

So later in life I got interested in eMTBs. I had looked at the FLX bikes which were crowdsourced electric bikes, but decided against them. Crowdsourcing was just not for me for 1500.00. So I ended up purchasing a Haibike Fullnine RC and LOVE it. Electric two wheeled vehicles became my new love. I rode and still ride it everywhere. But then came the Sur Ron…..

So why all the crap about my bike history? For those who may be considering the purchase of this bike I wanted you to know that I’ve come with some two wheel history to the Sur Ron. I enjoy the following things about any two wheeled vehicle I’ve owned:

  • Riding it
  • Working on it
  • Looking at it

So I’ll cover those three things about the Sur Ron

Riding it

It’s NOT a motorcycle. It’s NOT a bicycle. It’s somewhere in between and in the best way I would have never imagined. It’s small, it’s silent, and it’s an automatic. No gear changes, no gasoline, no oil, only fun. I ride my bike damn near everywhere. E V E R Y W H E R E ! On bike paths, on gravel roads, on small motocross tracks, in fields, in vacant lots, on public roads. Because mine has the pedal kit I’m treated like a bicycle. Sure I have a California moped plate too, but find I never use it. As a police officer told me one day “As soon as anyone sees a license plate, you’re treated differently. But as a bicycle, you are well, a bicycle – just a damn fancy and cool one!”

The pure joy of just charging up my bike, turning on the key and heading out to ride without disturbing a soul is amazing. I’m fortunate to live in the land of Milk and Honey where the varied number of venues to just go ride are endless. I can ride in neighborhoods with a vacant lot, or an area where construction is being done and because of its silent nature no one even blinks.

I ride on public roads when I feel like doing errands on the bike. I ride in the bike lanes. I ride through public parks, or over wooden foot bridges. I’m NEVER an asshole because I don’t want to be one. So many people ‘worry about cops’ but police have way more important things to investigate then an old fart on a fancy electric bike. The things I do concern myself about are assholes who ride like they are on their own racetrack. People with cell phones collectively calling to report those folks ARE THE PEOPLE THE POLICE MUST RESPOND TO. So being friendly and courteous is just the right way to behave in my book. And unfortunately I have not yet matured enough to not speed up to those riding fast like asswipes and either stop them or yell out “Slow the fuck down asshole.” Direct confrontation dies hard in my family history.

This bike is more enjoyable and fun than any bike I’ve ever owned. EVER. Enough said.

Working on it

OK I like, no wait, I LOVE to tinker with my mechanical stuff. There is just a pleasure for me to analyze and if necessary improve or replace components of a bike to customize it to my liking. It’s just who I am. As I stated earlier MTBs even eMTBs just don’t have quite ‘enough’ mechanical stuff to satisfy my itch. For this point in my life I want something that I can improve, but not be too easy, but not too much of a hassle. ICE bikes are a total hassle for me now; though they weren’t in the past. It’s kind of a ‘had been there done that’ type of thing. The thing I’m not as educated about is electric engines and batteries…but I’m learning. Suspension, brakes, fasteners, fabricating…..ah heaven on Earth for me. Just enough to keep my hands and mind happily occupied; or not if I don’t want to do so. Make no mistake, like any vehicle be it a bicycle or car it does require attention. Checking brake pad/disc wear, tire pressure, chain adjustment and lubrication are all part of the deal. If you’re the sort that just expects a self-driving vehicle you won’t be happy with a Sur Ron. LOL!

Changing the forks was the smartest thing I did for my taste.

Looking at it

Ever had a girlfriend, boyfriend, dog, movie poster, porn channel…oops that you cannot stop looking at? For me my Sur Ron is just that, easy on the eyes, a piece of art, a masterpiece of engineering. Since my day job is as a professional photographer….. of course I’m going to photograph my fucking bike! I primarily use my cell phone, but on rare occasions have used my work camera and strobes. As my daughter bluntly put it “Dad you shoot your bike like you shoot naked women.” I can see her point.

 

One of the reasons I bought the bike sight unseen was due to Matt’s assembly video of the bike. In it his daughter Macy was happily running around. I fell in love with her on screen and actually flew down to LA just to create a portrait of she and Matt. She’s even more adorable in person.
And what kinda photographer friend would I be if I didn’t do a badass environmental portrait of Matt?! A boy with all his toys surrounding him in a Reservoir Dogs mood shot. His beloved Audi, his Specialized Levo, his Sur Ron and man , all of those cool tools!

So after all of this if you do or do not decide to own one of these machines it makes little difference to me personally. I don’t sell or have a stake in those that do sell Sur Rons. No skin in the game if you will. But the amount of joy I derive from owning/riding/working on/looking at this bike is incredible. And I had loads of life joy even before the Sur Ron! I want it cremated with me. (just be sure to remove the battery pack first….or there will be BIG fireworks! LOL) Enough said.

13 Comments

  1. Great write up. Damn it! I want one. Haha. How much riding do you get on a charge? How long to charge?

    Thanks

    • Hi Garrett, balls to the wall in Sport mode I get around 20 miles on varied terrain and surfaces. I’m damn pooped by then. Cruising around on relatively flat ground I get 30-40. From dead it takes 3 hours to fully charge. Luna has a killer sale going on right now. The Non X version is actually cheaper than what I paid back in April 2018! 3300.00 for the non X 3650.00 for the X version. Just FYI

      • What bersion would you choose between the two? The dnm fork on the x is a good choice? Thank’s for the info

        • The X Version. No question. I’ve never ridden the DNM fork. But the X controller, O ring chain are easily well worth the marginal price increase. Especially with the sale that’s going on right now.

  2. Hey Mark. I just wanted to thank you for providing so much valuable content about the Sur-Ron. I read through this, your review, your PDF that lists all the modifications, and even watched your interview on the Luna podcast. All good and valuable information. I’ve been shopping for an e-bike and loved what I saw with Luna’s new Fixed Stealth, but then I stumbled on all your write-ups and am now rethinking what is right for me.

    • Hi T,
      Thanks for your kind note. I maintain this blog to help others either in photography or in this case for my other passion, my Sur Ron! LOL. I’ve never ridden the Fixed Stealth but I ‘think’ it’s a completely different animal than the Sur Ron. With the Stealth it appears you can ride it anywhere, bike paths, bike lanes, even on sidewalks when it’s safe to do so. The Sur Ron especially without the pedal kit is looked upon by most as a motorcycle, an electric one. Each person has to decide for themselves what they want to do with what they buy and if they can do it where they live.

      Obviously I love my bike for so many reasons which I’ve outlined.

  3. Really nice job on the site. I’m up way too late looking at all the amazing photos and reading about your visit to Luna and your history on 2 wheels. So cool that you put the time into this site, it really shows how much enjoyment you get from the Sur Ron and your photography. Keep up the good work.

    • Thank you Josh! And thanks so much to your company for developing what I consider to be an excellent headlight. And anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a REAL BITCH about light and donuts! LOL This site is really a labor of love for what I consider to be a remarkable piece of engineering. Sorry that my dad is no longer around to see just how cool this bike is in real life. Take care.

  4. Nice site.
    I just read your review on web bike world; well done. I might have to add that to the sites I peruse. I am a moderator on BARF and have been riding all my life, and for a very long time here in the bay area. I have several motorcycles, including an Alta. I rode the Zeros when they first came out, and recently a KTM E ride. Merlin on our site has a Sur Ron, but I was leaving as he rolled into Metcalf so i have not ridden one yet.
    We are doing an open house with Lightning this Saturday. https://www.bayarearidersforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=535321
    Maybe you want to check it out.
    Since I got the Alta in November of 2016 i have become a little involved in the EV thing. It is fascinating.

    • I see you have a Hodaka! We are from the same era.

    • Butch, I have to work Saturday afternoon, but am ‘thinking’ of coming by. I’m debating on whether to bring my Sur Ron. I had a bad experience allowing a dirt bike rider to ride my bike and he did TWO 100 yard wheelies and bent my pedal crank when he had a pedal strike upon landing. So I don’t like people ride my bike any more. I really could care less what people think about my bike as I have not modified it for anyone other than myself. Anyway I’ll think about coming Saturday.

  5. hey, I’ll share this site on our site…

    • Thanks. I built it to help other owners.


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