NEW Sunra MIKU Super and Robo-S (2021)

 

Time for a confession. Two weeks ago, if someone had asked me to name a motorcycle manufacturer valued in excess of $1bn that produced 4.1million units each year, I’d have struggled.

Not only that but this company delivers to over 70 countries worldwide, has been around since 1999 and, since 2013, has been a partner in China’s Aerospace project. In fact, if you’re a fan of watching people running, jumping or throwing stuff, this firm was the official vehicle provider to the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. Its name is SUNRA, and it’s China’s no.1 EV brand. And four of their electric bikes are now available in the UK.

We got to ride two of these commuter-centric machines around the mean streets of Milton Keynes; the beautifully named MIKU Super (‘MIKU’ originating from SUNRA’s executives wanting a short word that doesn’t already exist in the English language, and they say it loosely sounds like ‘Me Cute’ – maybe it got lost in translation) which looks like it’s been the victim of a shark attack. Then there’s the more traditional looking scooter-looking Robo-S.

These two look set to really shake up the commuter market.

 

For and against
  • The silence is rather tranquil
  • Funky styling (MIKU Super) / Practicality (Robo-S)
  • Cheaper than chips to run
  • Removeable batteries for charging options
  • Lightweight manoeuvrability
  • Range. Obviously.
  • Old fashioned switchgear and dash (Robo-S) on a next-gen machine
  • Side-stands on both models don’t offer enough lean
  • Glitches on a couple of bikes restricted them to 30mph regardless of mode
  • Slight pulsing while maintaining steady speed

 

2021 Sunra MIKU Super and Robo-S Price

Because both electric vehicles are eligible for the 20% Plug-In Motorcycle Grant (PIMG) the prices including that discount are:

MIKU Super: £3499

ROBO-S: £3299

Each bike comes with a two-year warranty while the batteries have a three-year warranty or 18,000 miles, whichever comes first. One massive advantage of an electric vehicle also happens to be its downfall – while cheap as chips to run (at approximately 27p per full 4-hour charge from a UK 3-pin socket – the equivalent of making a cuppa), it’s 2.4m (2m for the Robo, randomly) lead can only be used via a conventional UK socket and not at a motorway/supermarket EV charge point. However, in these two Sunra’s, the batteries are removeable so you can plug-in wherever and whenever it suits you. With their electric nature, both emit zero emissions, have no road tax nor congestion charge fees.

MIKU Super is available in Blue, Red or Black while ROBO-S paint options are more simple; white or black and they’re in UK dealerships now and can ridden with a CBT licence.

 

Road test of the Robo-S and MIKU Super
BikeSocial’s Michael Mann takes on Milton Keynes with the two EV’s from Sunra.

 

Power and torque

A precise and sharp throttle connection is idyllic on any electric bike for instant power and a speedy getaway though being a 125cc equivalent, the meagre 4bhp won’t see you ditch too many R6’s away from the lights. Fifty miles per hour is the harnessed top speed and is reachable in 8.5 seconds though much of that depends on which way the wind is blowing and how much you ate for lunch.

Ask a bunch of journalists to test an electric scooter in a town laden with traffic lights and of course they’ll line-up five-abreast to see who’ll get the holeshot. A variety of techniques were discussed, which is easy given the lack of noise… in fact electric bikes may well put a dent in the comms device market. Pin the throttle, tuck in (for what it’s worth) and the trip to 30mph was laugh out loud funny. There’s enough urgency to keep up with, if not beat, traffic but even though the pair will gallop around comfortably between 30-50mph, you’ll be happier away from the outside lane on dual carriageways.

Despite the 50mph top speed claim, I saw 54mph indicated on the MIKU Super’s rather smart, wide colour, digital instrument panel, though try and keep the bike at a constant speed (like a cruise control system would) and the motor surges. It’s gentle but noticeable. Changing between the three modes can be operated on the fly by a simple flick of a button on the right-hand side of the handlebar, which amends the top speed between 30mph, 40mph or 50mph. That counters my surge comment of course; if you’re in a 30mph zone then put it in mode ‘1’, keep the throttle pinned and not get into trouble.

 

Above: MIKU’s storage spaces is big enough for your packed lunch while the ROBO-S is good to store a full-face lid. Both are driven from the rear-wheel-mounted 3kW motor

 

Engine, gearbox and exhaust

The ‘high torque’ 3kW dual-mode motor drives the rear wheel directly because that’s where it’s located, in the hub. And that means no maintenance of chains, shafts or belts, just an occasional check on brakes and tyres is all you’ll need. Gearboxes are not relevant to electric bikes (except the Brammo Empulse, remember that?!) nor are exhausts. The bikes used on our press ride use identical motors and batteries though weight, dimensions, tyre size and rear brake disc size alter slightly.

Unlike some other EV’s there’s absolutely no noise. No whirring, whining or buzzing, just a bit of wind noise and barely any tyre noise from the road making it a rather tranquil experience which accentuates the quality of your helmet’s fit. It then makes it easy to converse with other EV users while riding. Sorry Cardo, Sena, et al.

Those two lithium-ion batteries are removable and have a conveniently located charge socket located in front of the seat if that’s the preferred charging method.

 

2021 Sunra MIKU Super and Robo-S Economy

A claimed range of 84 miles relates directly to how each bike is ridden. Potter about in mode 1 with little throttle-wrenching and the claim will become realistic but on our livelier press test the poor things would have struggling to get to 40-miles before needing to plug in.

Should you happen to switch the ignition off and on again for dining, recharging, shopping, chatting or wee-stops then you’ll find yourself annoyed at both the trip and elapsed riding time resetting themselves automatically. Of course, being an electrical appliance they sometimes go wrong and need turning off and on again, as was the case during my ride when, regardless of which mode I was in, the maximum speed was 30mph which mercifully happened in town and not on a road with faster moving traffic.

 

Handling, suspension, chassis and weight

12” wheels, a low centre of gravity and a 109kg/102kg weight is a decent recipe for some spirited darting between traffic and these two machines are both narrow enough to compete with a host of ideal commuters.

On the Robo-S, the twin batteries are located under the foot board to keep the weight down low while on the MIKU Super they’re stored in the space traditionally occupied by a fuel tank. Steering is direct on both models with the obvious difference being the upswept handlebars mounted to the top yoke on the MIKU Super which is also the bike which you’d straddle as opposed to the more conventional scooter style, feet-together Robo-S. I much prefer the seat and riding position of the sportier MIKU Super which offers more leaning confidence while feet together oriented Robo-S made me feel a little slumped.

With a sub £3.5k price tag you can’t expect fancy suspension yet equally this pair are designed for shorter dashes through city streets not bouncing around down green lanes or scurrying around b-roads. So, as hard as they both are, particularly at the rear, you’ve still got plenty of agility in the bikes to include ‘Miss the Manhole’ into your commute.

 

 

2021 Sunra MIKU Super and Robo-S Brakes

Roll off the throttle and the battery regenerates power by using the bike’s brakes, like an old-fashioned dyno used to, the battery symbol on the display becomes animated as if it were charging. Yet it only works on the MIKU.

The brakes on both models are linked though tug hard enough on the rear of either and it’ll lock which sounds even more emphatic/childish with no engine noise to block the screech. Their both relatively lightweight and with the off-throttle braking slowing the bike well, the single discs on the front and back don’t have to work too hard.

 

Comfort over distance and touring

Touring and distance comfort aren’t traditionally high on the wish list when buying a scooter-style EV though making big gains in city traffic in comfort with added practicality is. Whether it’s feet together on the Robo-S or straddling the MIKU Super, the relative comfort for the shorter distances on a narrow machine is the more appropriate measure. Whether it’s nipping to a train station, the shops, university, or whatever the journey, anything short and sweet is likely to be more beneficial with a Sunra. You’ve got the practicality of the Robo-S’s underseat storage plus the smaller-yet-unlockable glove compartments in front of your knees, while the MIKU Super has the unique style. Both have comfortable enough seats and riding positions though the potholed UK roads do not make for a comfortable hunting ground.

They’re small bikes, particularly the MIKU. I’m 6ft tall and my knees end up being right where Sunra placed the nameplates which isn’t particularly comfortable. The Robo-S appears to be physically larger though interestingly weighs 7kg less.

 

Above: Switchgear and display panel from each bike

 

Rider aids and extra equipment / accessories

We’ve talked about the three modes and their top speed differences but these two Sunra’s are also equipped with a reverse gear and unlike the similar set-up on Gold Wing that weighs three-times as much, the MIKU Super and Robo-S can back up by using the throttle. Handy for parking but it’s a system that doesn’t make a great deal of sense in terms of balance but also manoeuvring a 102kg bike isn’t that challenging.

Keyless start on an EV wins the convenience battle with ICE bikes who usually require a key then open the fuel cap. Additionally, these two come with fingerprint start so if you’ve linked the app then sharing bikes between delivery riders, for example, becomes simple. An app allows you to start the bike (using that fingerprint), mute it(!), lock it, pop the seat up or check the settings and remaining charge.

Both bikes are equipped with LED lighting though the Robo-S claims a “30° illumination angle & max 12 metre illumination distance”. The horizontal strip right in front of the fly screen gives a new-age appearance though the instrument cluster and screen soon wipe that verdict away – some very old-fashioned switchgear while the green on black digital display reminds me of my Dad’s work computer c.1990.

Thankfully the display on the MIKU Super is much clearer to read, wide and modern. Both bikes come with a USB charging socket.

Both bikes are fitted with a side-stand which are very short leaving each bike to stand almost unstably erect - a glancing blow would have the thing over. The Robo-S also comes with a centre stand which adds weight and is virtually unnecessary given how upright the side-stand makes the scooter. It also tends to drag on the ground at any kind of (heroic) lean angle.

 

Rivals and competitors

EV two-wheelers are all the rage at the moment, especially with the recent lockdowns and commuters’ subsequent desires to avoid Petri dish-like public transport. Brands we’d never heard of two years ago are showing their goods with appealing design, price, range and/or practicality, and their popularity is beginning to shine through in the sales charts. Super Soco, Niu and Sur-ron are among the main players in this sub-£5k commuter EV market.

 

Above: the full colour range for both models

 

2021 Sunra MIKU Super and Robo-S verdict

The funky MIKU or practical Robo offer excellent value – once purchased they’ll require little spending on them other than the 27p per charge so for budget-friendly, silent and entertaining commute then sort a test ride. They’d also be suitable as a paddock bike or to take on your caravan/motorhome trips.

There are still questions over ‘real world’ range plus the odd electrical glitch and I’m a bit disheartened with the Robo’s digital display and switchgear considering it’s pitched as being the ‘cutting edge of electric personal transport’ but it still offers a huge 24-litre underseat storage space. While the MIKU is a smart, agile little scamp who’ll attract plenty of attention and is seemingly very well built, though time and weather could scupper that assessment.

The MIKU is smaller but I prefer the straddle riding position despite the knee-knocking nameplates. It’s cool, silent, economical, convenient and they’re top entertainment.

 

2021 Sunra MIKU Super and Robo-S specs

 

MIKU Super

ROBO-S

New price

£3499 (inc. PIMG)

£3299 (inc. PIMG)

Powertrain

Electric hub mounted dual-mode motor

Engine

100% electric FOC Sunra motor

Power

3 KW (c.4bhp)

Torque

c.25Nm

Top speed

50mph

Transmission

Rear wheel, hub-mounted motor

Average range

Max 84 miles (Claimed)

Battery

Two x 72V 20AH lithium-ion removeable batteries

Charge time

4 hours (UK 3-pin plug)

Rider aids

Three rider modes affecting top speed (30/40/50mph), and reverse mode, keyless go, fingerprint start, App connectivity

Frame

Steel

Front suspension

Hydraulic shock absorber

Front suspension adjustment

N/A

Rear suspension

Hydraulic shock absorber

Rear suspension adjustment

N/A

Front brake

3 piston hydraulic caliper with 220mm disc. Combined with the rear brake

Rear brake

1 piston hydraulic caliper with 190mm disc and regen capability. Combined with the front brake

180mm. No regen

Front tyre

120/70-12 tubeless

110/70-12 tubeless

Rear tyre

120/70-12 tubeless

110/70-12 tubeless

Dimensions

1840mm x 785mm 1050mm (LxWxH)

1750mm x 740mm x 1150mm (LxWxH)

Wheelbase

1280mm

1230mm

Storage space

5 litres

24 litres

Ground clearance

138mm

140mm

Seat height

760mm

755mm

Kerb weight

109kg

102kg

Warranty

Bike: 2 years

Batteries: 3 years / 18,000 miles

MCIA Secured rating

Not yet included

Website

www.sunra-uk.com

 Photography: Jason Critchell

Video: Motocom (edited by Too Fast Media Group)

 

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2021 Sunra MIKU Super Robo-S electric bike review price spec_24

 

What is MCIA Secured?

MCIA Secured gives bike buyers the chance to see just how much work a manufacturer has put into making their new investment as resistant to theft as possible.

As we all know, the more security you use, the less chance there is of your bike being stolen. In fact, based on research by Bennetts, using a disc lock makes your machine three times less likely to be stolen, while heavy duty kit can make it less likely to be stolen than a car. For reviews of the best security products, click here.

MCIA Secured gives motorcycles a rating out of five stars, based on the following being fitted to a new bike as standard:

  • A steering lock that meets the UNECE 62 standard
  • An ignition immobiliser system
  • A vehicle marking system
  • An alarm system
  • A vehicle tracking system with subscription

The higher the star rating, the better the security, so always ask your dealer what rating your bike has, and compare it to other machines on your shortlist.

 

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