Electric bicycles, or e-bikes, are great cruisers. Don’t want to pedal up that last half-mile or more to get back home? Or go up yet another hill? No problem. Just turn on the electric motor, stop pedaling, and just focus on the road or trail in front of you.
But what if you want more? What if you’re feeling, as the cliché goes, that need for speed? Yet you don’t want to give up the green creds you’ve worked so hard to get with a fossil burner. Well, Quebec-based Lito Green Motion may have the ride for you.
The Sora superbike is an electric motorcycle (e-motorcycle). Part of a small but growing segment, competitors include Hustler X5 by Hanebrink, CRP Energica, and—of course—the Zero e-motorcycles . Spec-wise, all the expected parts– potent electric motor and 12 kWh rechargeable lithium-ion batteries–and details are there. Lito reduced the bike’s weight by extensive use of aluminum in the frame and wheels.
The Sora separates itself from the rest of the e-pack in three distinct ways. First, it uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT). That means there are no separate and distinctive gears to shift through. Gear ratios, then, are effectively unlimited, since the shift points are between a minimum and maximum value. CVTs are usually found in cars, crossovers, and similar four-wheel vehicles to improve fuel economy.
However, such transmissions can be also used to improve power and acceleration since there’s no ratios to, again, hunt through to figure out maximum power at a given speed. The Sora is the first e-motorcycle to use such a system. With a maximum speed of 124 mph and a 0-60 mph figure around four seconds, it blasts past the competition.
The second feature is the use of regenerative braking. Every time a rider brakes, the kinetic energy is converted into electricity and stored into to battery pack. Normal braking systems waste such energy as heat in the brake pads. The Sora has a maximum range of 186 miles between recharges.
The motorcycle’s seat is the third feature. Riders can raise or lower it just by touching a button. Sounds like something from a car, eh? The Sora also uses keyless start, or remote starting, as well.
Sora means “sky” in Japanese, and its $41,000 starting price tag definitely puts it up there compared to other e-motorcycles. (In comparison, the Zero S starts around $14,000.) But we can’t see any speed-freak coming down less than fully satisfied after riding this green machine.