When paultan.org first published news of the arrival of Super Soco electric motorcycles (e-bikes) in Malaysia, we were curious as to how these urban personal mobility vehicles would stack up on local roads. We got our chance with a quick introduction to the Super Soco TC and TSX, carrying identical frames and power units, but with different styling.
Of course, one of the main questions asked by readers is, “what kind of a licence do I need to ride an e-bike in Malaysia?” Speaking to Syazril Amri of Super Soco, he explained the type of licence is based on the motor power output of the e-bike in question with the upper limit being 7 kW.
Taking the Super Soco TC and TSX with a electric motor rated at 2.1 kW, JPJ requires a class B2 licence. “It all depends on the rated power, so, for a larger e-bike like Energica or Livewire, you will need a B licence,” he explained.
The TC and TSX are smaller e-bikes, designed for short trips in and around the city as well as being something of a lifestyle statement. Pricing has not been set as yet, but Syazril informed paultan.org the two e-bikes in question are currently undergoing vehicle type approval (VTA) and estimated to go on sale at around RM16,000.
Yes, we heard the collective gasp from all of you, this is not a cheap motorcycle for its class by any measure especially when you consider the performance. But we are not here to debate the pricing structure of e-bikes in Malaysia in general, a lot of which hinges on variables such as exchange rate, shipping costs and incentives from the government, if any.
Now that you’ve gotten over the shock of the sticker price for the TC and TSX, here’s what we thought about this pair of e-bikes riding them around. First off, these Super Soco e-bikes follow the traditional motorcycle styling language, the TSX resembling something of a naked sportsbike like the KTM Duke while the TSX has rather more retro styling with a flat seat covered in brown fake leather.
Getting on the TC and TSX, seat height is a low 770 mm meaning almost everyone can ride these e-bikes since the seat is about the same height as your typical kapchai. Weight, or the lack thereof, is very obvious, the TSX coming in at 65 kg while the TC weighs 70 kg.
Power comes from a single battery pack rated at 60 Volts and 30 Ah, with space to add a second battery pack to extend range. We didn’t have the time to test range but Syazril informed us the battery pack is good for about 70 km of travel on single charge while using twin batteries doubles the range.
Charging uses domestic current, with the removable battery pack making it easy for off-bike charging in the home or office. This also makes swappable batteries an option, with one pack being used and another charging, a situation that will make sense for, let’s say, a pizza delivery service.
Motive power uses a Bosch hub-mounted motor rated at 2.1 kW and having seen the development of the motor via various interviews and technical visits with Bosch across the previous five years, we can tell you the motor just works and works well.
Setting off on the TSX/TC, a key fob disarms the security system and a press of the ‘ON’ button brings the LCD dashboard on the TSX – the TC gets a combination LCD/analogue instrument binnacle – to life with a musical tone letting you know the e-bike is live. There are three power settings, 1, 2 and 3, which correspond to the top speed and range, the two being interdependent… more speed, less range and the choice is left up to the rider.
Top speed is governed to about 70 km/h which makes the TSX/TC strictly town use only. We were told there are aftermarket options to increase top speed at the expense of battery life but we’ll leave that to the hackers amongst you.
Setting off, acceleration is quick to about 50 km/h, after which the TC/TSX gradually increases speed to the preset maximum allowed. In terms of handling, these e-bikes behave exactly like a small motorcycle of about 125 cc displacement.
Steering is quick and light and while we didn’t get the chance to push cornering to the limit, we had no issues with the general road holding and feedback. This is helped by the 17-inch wheels, meaning full-sized motorcycle rubber can be used – the TSX rolling on 70/100 front and 100/70 rear tyres, the TC on 90/80 front, 110/70 rear.
In practice we found the TC was rather quicker in the steering department, the TSX feeling a touch more stable. For braking, a combined braking system uses single 180 mm diameter hydraulic discs front and rear and we had no issues with the brakes.
No, these are not Brembos, so adjust your braking distance accordingly. For the seating and ride comfort, again, as urban bikes meant for short trips, there was enough space to accommodate the author well, though carrying a pillion might be out of the question considering the 2 kW power of the motor.
One thing we did like was… the silence. Twist the throttle, no worry about changing gear, just ride along at 60 km/h and enjoy the breeze. It was quiet enough the author had to turn down the music inside the helmet speakers which is usually set to rock concert levels.
The pair of Super Socos attracted a lot of attention when we were parked during the photoshoot with many taken by the looks of the e-bikes. Lots of questions were asked and one over riding question was, “when are these coming to market?”
With the lockdowns and Covid-19 slowing down the approval process, Syazril could only give us an estimate which he says could be in a couple of months, pending VTA. The TC and Tax will be joined in due course by the Super Soco TC Max with 5.1 kW motor and the CPX electric scooter, rated at 4.8 kW.
All in all, taking the Super Soco TSX and TC as what they are, electric motorcycles designed for urban riding and environmentally conscious lifestyle, they deliver what they promise. The price tag will be off putting to some, acceptable to others.
You can leave out your arguments about “I can buy a Y-suku for two thirds the price and get more performance,” that is not the question being asked. The Super Soco is intended for a very specific type of motorcycle rider who wishes to make a very specific lifestyle statement.
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