There’s certainly been a shift in trends this year. Latest MCIA figures show that electric scooters and bikes have seen a humungous 210.3% sales rise (2619 units till June 2021) over the same period in 2020 (844 units). That’s compared to a 31.4% (44,206 units up to 58,105) rise in sales of all petrol-powered two (and three) wheelers.
Bike sales, in general, are very buoyant so at least that’s one positive side effect of the social distancing message.
We’ve seen and felt that shift of trends at ScooterLab as well. We’re being asked to ride more electric scooters than we are fuel burners at the minute. In fact, this feature is just one of two electric road tests we did on the same day recently in different areas of the country (the other was for NIU).
However, the two machines above are the Sunra Robo S and Miku Super, both running the same hub motors and coming from the same parent company but with very different styles and personalities. Let’s find out more about them…
Who are Sunra?
Sunra started out as a bright idea in a Beijing garage and quickly became a leading innovative electric scooter company. Conceived in 1999 the company has grown exponentially. They now have four huge factories, employ over 5,000 people and produce 4.1 million units a year. They’re the number one Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer and are listed in the top 500 Chinese companies. They export to more than 100 countries and have over 10,000 retail outlets and 2,000 after-sales facilities around the world. In 2008 the company were the official and exclusive e-vehicle supplier to the Bejing Olympic Games. Then in 2013, Sunra became a partner of China’s Aerospace Industry to support the development of the space industry.
Sunra in the UK
Moto Electric is the UK official partner of Sunra Electric Vehicles. Formed by a British team of engineers with a wealth of automotive and motorsport design experience behind them. They’re located in Buckinghamshire and operate from a purpose-built facility which offers great transport links and the opportunity for full technical support, dealer training, spares and aftersales facilities. Moto Electric set up just before Covid hit so their launch was delayed until 2021.
Who are Miku?
Miku is a sub-brand of Sunra, they build a range of funky bike-style electric vehicles under the ‘Miku’ name.
Sunra Robo S: £3299 (Robo with single battery and moped restriction £2499)
The Robo S is a decent looking scooter, it seems to be built well and the spec and price aren’t bad at all. You have the option of going for a single battery (Robo) moped version at £2499 or the dual battery 125cc equivalent (Robo S) for a longer range and more useful top speed at £3299. All prices include the PIMG (Plug In Motorcycle Grant which has already taken 20% off the purchase price). To qualify for the grant each bike needs to come with a decent warranty on both machine and battery. Sunra (and Miku) both have a two-year manufacturers warranty and a three-year warranty on the battery.
We’d always advise you to buy a good quality electric scooter from a known supplier who offers a ‘proper’ warranty. Don’t always judge on price alone, especially when it comes to Chinese bikes.
The video above gives you a good look at how the Robo S performs, as well as some of the key features and spec but we’ll break it all down for you here as well. The Robo S has that classic scooter silhouette, albeit with a modern design giving it a look that is unmistakably 21st Century Chinese in origin. The scooter runs on a 3,000-watt hi-torque electric hub motor and is powered by two 72v 20Ah removable lithium-ion batteries. One is located inside the flat floorboards and the other can be accessed from under the seat. Despite the position of that second battery, there is still enough space to place your full-face helmet under there, which is a selling point to many riders. Those two batteries give a claimed range of 84 miles (although Sunra say 65 miles is more realistic in real-world conditions where hills will zap more power). Even 65 miles is still a respectable distance. Those batteries can be removed easily enough or left on the scooter for charging, charging time is around 4 hours for both (charged in tandem when on the scooter, or one at a time when off the bike). It’ll cost you around 27 pence for a full charge.
Sunra Robo S highlights
• Powerful LED lighting
• Keyless ignition with fingerprint recognition
• Dedicated app
• Digital instruments
• USB point
• 24-litre underseat space (large enough for some full-face helmets)
• 3 driving modes (plus reverse)
Overall the look and feel of the Sunra is pretty good for what is essentially a mid-priced electric 100/125cc equivalent. The seating position felt a little cramped when I first hopped on board, my legs were stuck at 90º with not much room for movement but it wasn’t uncomfortable (I’m 5’10”). There’s room for a pillion and fold-out pegs and passenger backrest come as standard.
Like any electric scooter you need to get it into ‘ready’ mode before you can ride it, that’s done by unlocking the scooter using your fingerprint on the app (or by having the key on you) then pulling in and holding the front brake lever until the display lights up as ‘ready’, then it’s just twist and go.
The digital screen is large and easy to read with plenty of info on battery condition/range etc. it also shows your speed on a large digital readout. The instruments are topped off with sleek-looking reflective black glass, although this can make it hard to read out on the road thanks to the reflection of the sun/clouds.
Like all-electric scooters the power delivery is pretty linear so acceleration is fairly quick on both the Sunra and Miku and they’ll both show a tad over 50mph at the top end. Admittedly that’s a bit slower than most 125s but the acceleration makes up for the lack of top speed. You can of course alter that power delivery by swapping to Eco (30mph) or Normal (40 mph) mode but we stuck mostly to Sports. When somebody else is paying for the 27p charge you can afford to be frivolous with the power! If you want a steadier getaway, or you want to conserve battery power those modes are easy to swap into with the flick of a button. There’s also the option of using reverse if you want help getting out of a parking space. Although there’s no weight on the spec sheet one of the Sunra guys told me the scooter weighs around 110kg which isn’t bad at all and it doesn’t feel much heavier than a petrol 125 when you’re moving it around.
I was impressed at the way the Robo S pulled uphill with not much of a drop off in power, a testament to the decent spec motor and batteries, it was also easier to control at slow speeds than some electric scooters I’ve ridden. Some can be snatchy on the throttle when you’re trying to steady the scooter with the rear brake covered. The Sunra (and Miku) weren’t bad at all in that respect despite having linked brakes with discs at both ends. The brakes were very good on both machines as it happens. The Robo S has the kind of suspension you’d expect on a mid-range 125 scooter, not overly plush but it didn’t feel cheap either and did the job, as did the 12″ CST tyres. Overall it’s a great little electric scooter for not a massive amount of money.
If you’re only likely to cover a few miles and will be on slower roads then the lower speed Robo could be an option for you. That one is equivalent to a 50cc moped so is limited to 28mph and can be ridden by anybody over 16 years old with a CBT and provisional licence, or anybody with a full car licence who passed their test before February 2001. To ride the Robo S you’ll need to be 17 or over with a CBT and provisional or full bike licence.
Miku Super: £3499
Let’s put the Robo S to the back of the toy cupboard for a minute and get out on the Miku Super. This mini-bike is aimed at the Honda Grom/Monkey bike market and it does it very well and with an easier to ride set up. The Miku (and Robo S) are both twist and go so there’s no gears or clutch to worry about. This makes it instantly more appealing to lots of riders. The dimensions and style of the bike give it that ‘cute’ factor, it looks different and your mates won’t have seen or heard of a Miku until you turn up silently on yours… No doubt you’ll soon be part of a Miku gang though. An electric bike makes a lot of sense to the majority of commuter/college type of rider. They’re very cheap to run, don’t cost much to maintain and they’re generally reliable.
The Miku is a mini custom bike in the making and Sunra are working with a couple of aftermarket companies to design stylish parts for them, so expect to be able to bling your bike up before too long. Even as it comes standard it looks the part, with a fancy-looking alloy swinging arm/motor cover, an LED name badge on the dummy tank (there’s a bit of storage space inside as well), stylish six-spoke alloys, modern instruments, LED lighting, fingerprint keyless ignition etc. It’s a good looking and well spec’d little bike.
Most of the running gear is shared with the Robo S so performance, battery power and range are pretty much identical, as are the 12″ wheels. Even so, the whole feel, the geometry and the riding position make them feel like two completely different machines.
Miku Super highlights
• 3Kw hub-mounted dual-mode Sunra motor
• Intelligent motor controller
• Climb capacity 27º
• 3 drive modes (plus reverse)
• LED lighting
• Two lithium batteries
Although small in size the Miku feels comfortable and is nippy enough for roads up to a 50mph limit. You can throw it around the bends well enough, with the twin rear horizontally mounted rear shocks taking care of the road holding, whilst the chunky motorcycle-style upside-down front forks do a good enough job at the steering end.
It feels physically very much like the cult Honda Grom from a riding position point of view and is an easy bike to just jump on and ride. It certainly turns a few heads as well. We were asked about it by people of all ages whilst doing the photoshoot in town. It’s a perfect bike to stick on the back of a motorhome, or just to use as everyday transport. It may not be quite as practical as a scooter (not as much storage space/flat floorboards or space for a top box) but practicality isn’t always at the top of a buyer’s wish list. Being a little different to the norm is worth sacrificing some storage space for certain riders and with that in mind I’d opt for the Miku just for the novelty factor, although it is a decent little bike in its own right.
Both bikes and the rest of the Sunra range are well worth a look.
Photos: Jason Critchell
Video: Ben Fish (video edits/on board Iggy)
Want to find out more?
You can find your nearest Sunra dealer, check out the range of Sunra and Miku bikes by visiting their official website here.
Looking for an insurance quote?
Specialist insurance company, Lexham can quote on your next electric (or petrol) scooter, they also offer breakdown cover, agreed value, cover classics, modern and fleet vehicles, they even cover motorhomes. QUOTE ME NOW!