With international travel in lock-down and Rex from Himalayan Heroes has been wanting to scratch that itch of what is electric transport, So we let him loose with Perth Cafe Racers on the new SuperSoco TCMax. As always a entertaining read Cheers mate.
“A Step in the Right Direction”
The instruments said I had 7km of range left. This was going to be a problem as home was 9km away. The last 2km was downhill so maybe I would make it to the top of the hill and roll down. Setting off from Scarborough Beach in mode 1, which limited me to a top speed of 60kmh, I quickly became a mobile chicane for the traffic behind me on West Coast Highway. Flicking it to mode 2 upped my top speed to 80kmh but it’d reduce my range even further but at least I wouldn’t be a hood ornament for a Hot Rod doing bog laps of the coast road. I made the decision to remain alive and push the bike as I selected mode 2 and accelerated up to 80kmh, turning off into Trigg, a distance of 1km. According to the instruments, I had 4km of range left. I was optimistically hoping that the bikes computer would give me a false reading and keep a little bit in reserve but any hope of that faded when the instrument went from 4km left to 2km left in one foul swoop. I was still 5km from home. 2km became 1km and then as it hit 0 range the throttle became non responsive to which I instinctively started swerving left to right trying to swish the fuel around hoping it’d find a bit more. Electricity doesn’t swish about a battery apparently.
The Super Soco TC Max is a step up in performance from the Super Soco TS which is an alternative to small capacity scooters with its motor in the rear hub. With an extended test ride organised with MotoMax, I picked it up and headed into Leederville to meet up with mates on their ICE motorcycles. The smallest capacity was a 750cc twin so I’d need a head start if I was going to keep up on our regular Fast Friday ride. The starting procedure is easy, press the unlock button on the remote, press the power button on the tank with the side stand up and then hit the start button which is in the usual position at your right thumb. While my mates fiddled with keys, fuel taps, finding neutral and annoying the outdoor diners on the café strip as they revved their noisy dinosaurs to warm them up, I Marcel Marceau’d away into the night. Pulling up at the lights, they started revving for a traffic light drag race. I did the same and bunny hopped into the middle of the intersection…ooops. When the lights turned green, I was with them all the way for the first 4m and then they were gone. The TC Max is not the Tesla Roadster of electric bikes, taking 7 seconds to get to 60kmh. It’s about the same as a Honda Grom but while the Grom will sound like Cardi B with a $10 loud hailer from the Reject Store, the Super Soco is like an elevator fart.
The TC Max is incredibly thin and at only 100kg it was a breeze to flick between traffic and get to the front at the lights. Unlike the Super Soco TS, the motor in the TC Max is where normal motorcycles have them (and for the owners of Harleys, the answer is not “in pieces”). With no gears, your left foot has nothing to do, however your left hand is still busy as the front brake lever is where the clutch lever usually resides. The right foot also has nothing to do as the rear foot brake lever is removed and in its place is a linked front and rear brake lever at the right hand. It takes some time to get used to it but I found that I rarely used the left hand lever. I did grab it twice, once when I nearly Crutchlow’d a 90 degree left hand corner and the other when the lights changed on me while I was daydreaming I was on a MotoE bike. Brakes are good, acceleration is adequate for its intended purpose, handling is spot on and I got nods from all types of riders so it certainly looks the part.
So, is it a replacement for a motorcycle? Not its close though. It’s a replacement for a scooter or as a 2nd bike if your daily total commute is less than 70km and you don’t need to go over 80km/h. I rode the bike as I would normally on a Fast Friday ride with lots of full throttle and I made it 58km from a full charge. If I had left it on Mode 1, I would have gotten 140km before needing a charge with the top speed limited to 60kmh. Mode 2 is 90km range and limited to 80kmh which is where I would leave it until I needed to overtake a bicycle. That’s when I’d flick it into mode 3 which gives you 70km range with a 95kmh top speed. You can switch between modes on the go so it’s easy enough to manage your range. Interestingly, the different modes don’t affect acceleration, only the top speed. When driving my car and the fuel gauge hits empty, I know I still have 50km of range left, when the light comes on, I have 35km left and when it starts flashing it’s time to park it in the driveway and let my wife sort it out on her way to work. Like in a car, one would quickly get used to what the numbers on the clock really mean.
The charging is a little more complicated than it needs to be. On an electric car, you plug it in and a few hours later its charged. On the TC Max, you turn the key and lift the seat, lift the tank cover, take out the glovebox tray, flick the battery lead clip off, pull the battery lead off and then plug the lead from the charger into the battery. All up it take about 30 seconds but it could be easier. At least you don’t have to ride around looking for a petrol station, waiting behind Karen who hasn’t worked out that the petrol pump hose is long enough to reach the other side of the car, remove your gloves and helmet, choose your octane, get your hands covered in corona virus, run the gauntlet in the rain across the oily petrol station forecourt into the bright lights of overpriced junk food and phone chargers. You then stand in line behind grandpa who can’t remember his PIN and Wayno who orders a packet of Winnie Blues, a diet coke and a sausage roll that has been sitting there since last week before finally making it to the counter to be asked for the one loyalty card that you don’t have, all the while hoping there is enough money in your account.
While we have become accustomed to the inconveniences of ICE vehicles (refuelling, maintenance, noise and emissions), our grandkids will not fathom why we didn’t see the light earlier. The Italian manufacturer of the motorcycles used in the MotoE races – Energica, already sell a motorcycle that has hypercar acceleration, a top speed that I have never achieved and a range that is further than the vast majority of bikes. It’s not cheap of course but its early days and that will come will with time.
The TC Max is very popular with the electric motorcycle crowd, less so in the ICE motorcycle forums but I suspect that has more to do with expectations than reality. The future is bright for those that like to customise their ride, as there have already been people tinkering with the ECU to increase acceleration, top speed, continuous and momentary draw as well as regenerative braking.
While I might not have made it to the top of the hill and I might have given the TC Max a lift home on a trailer and I might have had the piss taken out of me all night by my mates, I’m excited about the future of electric motorcycles. The Super Soco TC Max is a step in the right direction.
Not having to refuel
Sound of Silence
50c for a full charge
Limited to commuting
A little too appliance like
Can measure acceleration with a sundial”
If your interested to experience the TC Max for yourself? send us a DM, give us a call or just drop in we will be happy to show you the future of urban commuting