About eight years ago, a group of friends began a project to rethink the motorcycle. As longtime enthusiasts of things on two wheels, they were inspired by the potential of electric power using the then new lithium-ion battery.
The year was 2008. Tesla was a new company winning headlines, and major auto makers were once again promising that the long-awaited electric car revolution was around the corner. Electric motorcycles led the way with the world's first all electric road race in 2009, and media attention exploded. By the next year, new EV startups were announcing themselves weekly, and the end of petroleum seemed on the horizon.
Then the recession hit, and then in 2014 world oil prices crashed, making big, gas-guzzling cars popular like never before. Most of the EV startups, on both two and four wheels, quietly went out of business while big auto firms, like Toyota, went from being early champions of electric propulsion to abandoning and even later mocking it. Of dozens of electric motorcycle brands that started, only one major player remains.
The friends with the electric motorcycle project? They too wound down their activity, seeing the opportunity slipping out of reach. Some interesting technology had been developed, but there was no business case for expensive, high performance electric motorcycles.
I was one of those friends. And I put much of what we had been working on for so many years into the mental box labelled "someday", and went on with my life.
How do you influence mobility?
About one year ago, I was mulling for the millionth time the situation with regards to our project. The Amarok P1 was not special because it was an electric motorcycle. There had been plenty of those. It was special because our integrated approach to design created a lightweight, fast and compact bike that was not expensive to produce. It achieved this by treating the electric drive system and part of the whole machine.
Reading about the exploding market for electric bicycles in a business magazine, and curious about their technology, I decided to have take a deeper look. What I saw was shocking. 99% of the e-bikes on the market were little more than batteries and electric drive kits slapped onto conventional bicycles.
Cables and wires were strung all over the frames, often held on with plastic cable ties. Lithium batteries, by far the most expensive part of any e-bike, were boxes on a cargo rack or clipped into the main frame like an after-thought.
Most e-bikes were heavy, ugly, expensive and poorly integrated. A lot like early electric motorcycles...
SURU - A new beginning for a very old invention
With a clean sheet of paper and a bag full of proven technologies learned during five years of experimenting with electric superbikes, five friends founded SURU, with the intention of designing an e-bike that could be as light and easy to use as a bicycle but robust and cost-effective as the millions of low speed motorcycles that work every day all over the world.
We have spent a year proving our concept, refining the design and validating our engineering. The result is the SURU One. 50 km of all electric range, the only e-bike in the world with DOT certified tires, wheels and lights for comfort and safety, low weight and a very competitive price.
And best of all, all SURU cycles are hand made in Canada using responsible manufacturing techniques. The SURU One uses about a dozen local suppliers, for everything from aluminum frame parts down to the stickers, to keep jobs in our community and quality at a level unheard of in this market.
We are proud of SURU. We hope that as the news of our little company spreads that pride in craft will equal the trust we want to earn from consumers.