I sit here on this lovely 70 degree morning in mid November. Our whole team is sneaking off for quick coffee breaks on whatever e bike we can ride, because this weather is soon over. We are looking at a product that is getting closer to production every day, our first samples will be complete before the end of the year and production should start right after the new year.
The trip gave us a good level set, through head to head testing on a wide variety of e bikes.
Below are more images from that trip.
For testing our focus was narrowed down quickly to Three categories of bike.
Play Bikes: ONYX, Coastal, Super 73, Zugo
Transitional Bikes: SurRon, Cake, Highly + modified Sur Rons and Cakes
Serious Bikes: Alta, KTM Freeride, Zero
This may seem like a very wide breath of vehicles to test at price points that vary widely, but there is reason behind this shotgun blast. We wanted to test the lower end of the market (play bikes), and the higher end transitional e bike and into some more serious full sized vehicles.
Our Main takeaway from testing the play bikes (Super 73, Coastal and Onyx). This is not a direction we are interested in from an experience, quality or power standpoint. A few riders who have never experienced a powered 2 wheeler before loved the top speed of the ONXY, but the build quality and handling were universally commented on as unacceptable. The handling and braking is akin to something straight out of the 60’s. Hey, we call it like it is.
To further elaborate on what Super 73 and Onyx has done right. They have developed a very loyal fan club be engaging socially, in that ra ra west coast way. It is something HD has not been able to do with the *under 75 year old set (*Series 1).
Onyx is producing a FMVSS (DOT) regulated product (Motorcycle) with no compliance. Echos of 2008 EPA non-compliance. The FED’s eventually prosecuted many. Let’s see how many thousands of bikes they produce before the feds crack down on this illegality.
So then we come to the SurRon, which I believe is the most competent Chinese electric dirt bike to date. When ridden hard, the brakes and suspension simply can not handle the terrain, which make a fairly affordable bike quickly grow in price to over $6000 when the suspension and wheels are upgraded. As a play bike the Sur Ron was many peoples favorite, and it lead to a week of discussion on preference of wheel sizes for a bike like this, if a 21” is preferred to 19” on the front, and the size, weight, etc., generally all good conversation when developing and benchmarking product.
Moving onto the CAKE, the most loved/hated bike of the bunch. Love the looks, and the buttery power delivery. Love the analogue dials on the dash. Hate the fact that after one outing the white is permanently stained brown. The seat height is goofy, and you feel like you are on stilts around corners. The absurd wheel size means having to source very specific tires, and the inability to quickly change between tires to find what fits your riding style. It is a prefect example of challenging the standards, but failing to understand the ramifications of putting a 24” wheel on your bike.
The KTM / Alta class. Clearly the KTM and Alta are impressive machines, but that ultimate performance comes with compromise. On the KTM, it is dismal range (roughy 40 miles), and on the Alta it comes in the form of weight (275lbs), but the Alta in general did most everything well. The verbal feedback is amazing, there is so much torque that you can hear the bike hookup just before you feel it, it’s intoxication. As enthusiasts it is sad that Alta is gone.
So what is this critical look at other manufacturers product all about?
I guess it all gets down to a simple question, who are we @ LAND, what type of product do we desire to produce. Product testing allows us to quickly see where others have succeeded and failed, and we can use that data to improve our approach from the start.
The DISTRICT is as close to full motorcycle performance as we can get while focusing on the transitional space. We did not see a reason to hop right into the big sport bike class, as battery technology is simply not competitive enough with the liter bikes (1000cc baby). We did not want to go down to the play bike category, as there simply is not enough power to hold our interest in that product, and competing with the Chinese is difficult at the bottom end of the spectrum.
We hope this post gives you some insight into who we are, what stance we are taking in the market and our desire to produce a better product than what is currently offered.