Sur-Ron Light Bee X review

Ryan Nitzen | July 28, 2022

We ride the Sur-Ron Light Bee X electric bike (or is it a motorcycle?)

Is it a bicycle? Is it a motorcycle? Either way, the Sur-Ron Light Bee X electric bike is fun.

Photograph by Trevor Hunter

You’ve probably seen one of these things pass you on the trail and thought, “What the hell is that?” Well, that’s what happened to us one day not so long ago. The Thing looked a lot of fun, though, but at first glance it was hard to tell what exactly it was (and still is) – some sort of cross between a downhill mountain bike and a combustion pit bike. . Further investigation, we thought, was necessary.

It turns out that this unique two-wheeler is built in China by Sur-Ron. What caught our eye that day was the Sur-Ron Light Bee X e-bike, and we managed to get our hands on one for a few weeks of fun…er, testing.

The world of electricity anything is booming right now. It seems like everyone has an electric car these days, but electric ATVs, kids’ motorcycles and more continue to make waves in the industry that we love too. No matter what you think of load-and-go two-wheeled vehicles, innovation is something we here at Cycle news enjoy. The Sur-Ron brand aligns with this ideology, and their Light Bee X is another option in the growing world of two-wheeled electric vehicles.

On Ron Light Bee X right side
The pedalless Sur-Ron is sold as an off-road bike only, which to us seems suspicious of an off-road motorcycle (as in a motorcycle).

The Sur-Ron Light Bee X is sold as an “all-mountain bike only,” according to most dealers who sell them. These bikes are shipped governed to a top speed of just 16 miles per hour to keep them “road legal” in “certain” states. Without a doubt, you should check your local laws before blasting the streets of your neighborhood on your new Light Bee X.

A quick YouTube search shows how easy it is to “hack” the Light Bee’s electronics and unlock a top speed of 45-50 mph. This is how we cycled.

The Light Bee X is not powered by your legs; it has no pedals. Instead, you twist a throttle. The Light Bee X is powered by a removable 60-volt Panasonic lithium-ion battery with two modes: eco and sport. Sur-Ron claims the battery life will last 20-60 miles per charge, but, of course, that all depends on what mode you ride it in and how aggressively you twist the throttle.

Action On Ron Light Bee X
The Sur-Ron’s suspension is surprisingly good.

The Light Bee uses an aluminum frame, 19-inch wheels and an inverted front fork with eight inches of travel. The suspension is like a downhill mountain bike, and many upgraded lightweight Bees pull high-quality components from the DH world. The seat height is approximately 33 inches and offers 10.5 inches of ground clearance. Overall, the bike is a bit bigger than a 110cc pit bike and feels more like a trail-specific bike, like a Yamaha TT-R125 or Kawasaki KLX140.

It’s hard not to have fun on anything with two wheels, and the Light Bee X is no exception. We’ve used it in two different riding locations and found both equally enjoyable. The first was on some local dual sport trails. We chose this environment to stay off the mountain bike trails where even pedal-assist mountain bikes can be frowned upon. The mighty little Sur-Ron motor is a blast. It swept through my 180-pound build without hesitation. Sport mode is a must for anyone with previous motorcycle experience, but eco mode worked well for preserving battery life and would also work well for teaching new riders. Power delivery and throttle response are vastly different on electric compared to a traditional cable-actuated gas engine, but you get used to it quickly, and it’s not too quick or intimidating to learn. The Light Bee navigated the trails with ease, and its quiet nature heightened senses that would otherwise be drowned out by engine noise.

Battery On Ron Light Bee X
There’s 60 volts of quiet fun here.

The components of the suspension and braking department are close to those of the MTB world. It happens to be our second favorite hobby, second only to motorcycles, so it came with familiar territory. Four-piston hydraulic disc brakes are standard on the front and rear of the Sur-Ron and provide strong stopping capabilities. Since the Light Bee only weighs about 110 pounds, the quick brakes make it easy to skid or slip the rear wheel. Again blending that line between motorcycle and bicycle, the Light Bee comes standard with dual hand brakes and no rear brake pedal.

The suspension was pretty soft, which was fine with our entry-level riders, but became more noticeable when we started pushing it. Both the fork and shock have compression and rebound adjustments that helped stiffen up the ride. This made it more enjoyable and capable for experienced riders who wanted to jump or charge the trails harder.

We found the ergonomics comfortable and neutral. The Sting-Ray style seat is wide enough for adults and provides enough cushion to wiggle around railing ruts. The foot pegs are smaller, again think pit bike, but we have already found plenty of wider aftermarket options.

You don’t need a big space to have a great time on the Light Bee X. It makes lunchtime in the office a whole lot more fun. Without the noise of the electric motor, we transformed a nearby dirt lot into an urban playground. No one knew or cared that we were there, which is a big plus with a bike like this.

Motor On Ron Light Bee X
The Sur-Ron is built in China with a lot of American influence. It weighs around 110 pounds – heavy for a bike, light for a motorcycle.

I admit I was disappointed when we had to return the Sur-Ron Light Bee X. It’s such a versatile bike that covers a lot of ground in different environments. We found its most significant benefits in three areas: teaching new riders, riding in new places you wouldn’t normally even consider, and its overall low maintenance. The Sur-Ron is also easy to use, which is a huge plus for new riders or anyone looking to gain confidence on two wheels. Two modes, no gears and no clutch are virtually foolproof.

Again, riding in new places is another plus. Getting around town on a pit bike is a surefire way to run into Officer Friendly, but doing so on an untapped Light Bee X shouldn’t be a problem. In small, confined areas, like on a backyard pitbike track, the Sur-Ron would totally shine, because no noise is a huge tick in the checkbox for your favorite anti-moto neighbors. Finally, no gas and no oil makes the Sur-Ron super easy to live with. Just plug and play. Yes, the chain, tires and grips will wear out over time, but these are much easier and cheaper to manage than mixing gas or rebuilding the top end, for example.

Sur-Ron Light Bee X trail

As with almost anything built in China, the quality of craftsmanship is always suspect, but the Light Bee X seems to be built quite well. We had no issues with it, even though we only had the bike for a short time.

The Sur-Ron isn’t a true off-road bike, and it’s not really a mountain bike either. Categorizing the Light Bee X is its only real struggle. What is that? Motorcycle or bicycle? Or, a bike, which kind of covers both. We lean towards the motorcycle; after all, we don’t know of any real bikes that you’re not allowed to ride on the street.

At $4400, it rivals prices in the modern pitbike market, but offers a more adult-friendly build and access to more legal riding. The Sur-Ron Light Bee X is a legit option if you’re looking for something a little different or just looking for a super fun and stealthy adult bike. NC

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