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Ridden: Super Soco TC Retro-Styled Electric Moped Has the Heart of a Motorcycle

There’s no doubt that the world around is changing its ways to accommodate a more electrified future. And while we’re promised electric planes, boats, and cars, it’s urban mobility that has seen the largest acceptance towards this newfound tech.
Super Soco TC 63 photos
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From e-skateboards, e-scooters, and e-bikes, urban mobility is teeming with electric components. Recent advancements in electric technology have spilled over into every nook and cranny of this industry and are now starting to turn heads. This time, I'll be talking about the turning heads and questions I received as autoevolution let loose the Super Soco TC on the streets of Bucharest, Romania.

Super Soco is a Shanghai-based company that has seen major funding back in 2015 from Xiaomi and a few other high-profile companies. In time, its collaboration with top-of-the-line component makers such as Bosch has brought forth a new generation of EVs, mainly in the shapes of scooters, mopeds, and motorcycles.

Sure, it may sound funny when you read “in the shape of,” but that’s kind of what you’re getting when you grab yourself a TC, as this EV is considered a moped. Yes, this beautifully attractive vehicle, with the body of a café racer and the feels of a motorcycle, is actually a moped! I, for one, was ecstatic to find this out as I only have a standard license, which means I can ride it. Oh, and how did I ride.

How to Get One

I recently made a new friend over at Electric Is Better in Bucharest, and as it turns out, some folks are still open to giving things away to perfect strangers who sign a liability waiver. So I got myself a TC (if only for a couple of days) and rode the hell out of it just to find out what all the buzz is about.

Now, if you find a local dealership in your town that has one of these babies lying around, do give them a call. Most places will be more than happy to offer you a test ride, especially when the vehicle they’ll eventually sell you costs anywhere from €3,500 ($4,263 at current exchange rates) to €4,500 ($5,481 at current exchange rates). Sure, you’re paying around $5,000 for a moped, but keep reading as things get juicy. Oh, and do check out the video at the bottom to see the TC in action.

First Glance

It was one o’clock in the afternoon. My taxi had dropped me off at the corner of a dead-end street. I pay the man and step out of the taxi, looking for the words “Electric Is Better.” Honestly, I didn’t even need to see the building because out in front, glistening in the afternoon sun, was the TC, waiting just for me.

The TC is the sort of vehicle that you only need to see once to remember for the rest of your life. Its retro café racer styling is not the only thing the Chinese team seems to have done one hell of a job with, but it’s the main aspect that gets people saying, “What is that thing?”

As I stood before it for the very first time, a huge grin crept across my face, followed by a soft, “How you doin'?” I think I even let Dan Bondoc, the middleman for this experience, talking to himself for a moment; I was in love. Once I snapped out of it, I signed some paperwork, got a five-minute instruction on what the buttons do, and got in the saddle.

As it stands, the TC has a wheelbase of 1,320 mm (52 in), ground clearance of 198 mm (7.8 in), and width of 703 mm (27.6 in), so it isn’t very large. That makes it perfect for squeezing through traffic like it doesn’t exist; no joke. I would compare it to a 50-cc bike but with a slightly higher seat—770 mm (30.3 in)—and bulkier body.

A wonderful round speedometer with an LCD and needlework completes the retro styling beautifully and sits right above a large, round LED headlamp with low and high beam function and LED turn signals. The inverter suspension fork looks and feels solid and helps add to the motorcycle feel.

Something I found rather odd, but later grew on me, were the brake fluid reservoirs. Seeing them clamped to the handlebar, these two reservoirs give the Super Soco TC a bit of personality. I feel it looks like a bumblebee; wait, no, a hornet. Yeah, that’s the proper description, a hornet.

The bike's rear continues with motorcycle styling and cues, including a swing arm and a monoshock suspension, grab bar, and seating for a passenger. Also, here you’ll notice that the 17-inch wheel at the rear houses the motor.

First Mount

Once I was on the TC, the position of my legs felt all too natural. It shows that Super Soco really put some hard work into the design of the bike. The foot pegs even include three adjustable positions, and the handlebars position your body in a very relaxed upright position. There's no stress on your back or shoulders, and not so much on the wrists. However, I later realized that my wrist discomfort was my mistake and not because of design.

If you’ve even ridden a 50-cc motorcycle, then you’ll probably know how to ride the TC, too. If you’ve ever ridden a moped, you can ride the TC. Honestly, I can even say that if you’ve ever ridden a bike, you can probably ride the TC. Why? Simple, it’s that easy and intuitive.

Turning on the TC is an experience in and of itself. Every time your press the keyless ignition, the sounds and lights go off, giving you a slight toyish feel; I assure you that this is just an illusion.

I haven’t ridden a motorcycle or moped in over 15 years (been busy), but the moment I got on the TC and finally twisted the throttle, the smooth, elegant, and constant acceleration did absolutely everything for me.

Your bike riding instincts instantly kick in, and with a couple of trips around the block, you’ll be ready to kick it into high gear among traffic, assuming you have a standard driver’s license and know what the road signs mean.

The Streets

After a couple of rounds testing out the inverted suspension and rear mono shock, and figuring out how the left brake activates CBS technology while the right only stops the rear, I was ready to hit the streets. Normally, your left lever is a clutch, but since no shifting is needed by the 3-kW (4-hp) Bosch motor mounted in the rear wheel, extra safety doesn’t hurt.

Currently, the TC has three top-speed variants, and even though the speedometer goes all the way up to 90 kph (55.9 mph), I got to ride the speed-capped version as I have no motorcycle license. But 45 kph (28 mph) is still more than enough to beat city traffic in rush hour.

Just to give you an idea of how efficiently you can move around your town, I took a trip during peak traffic, and the one-way trip that would normally take 1:15 minutes to complete was finished in around 36 minutes and 17 seconds, according to the GoPro session. Half the friggin time!

The motor pushes out a peak 3 kW (4 hp) of power, so it may not be the fastest takeoff you’ll ever experience, but you will feel that linear acceleration up to your speed cap. Actually, when I twisted the throttle hard and didn’t let off, I was able to constantly break my 45 kph (28 mph) speed cap and even hit 53 kph (33 mph). That's a nice little treat if you ask me. The 83-kg (182-lb) net weight of the bike, plus my own 77 kg (170 lbs) extra, was easy work for the motor's peak 150 Nm (111 lb-ft) of torque (dependent on model year.)

My first experience with the TC bobbing and weaving through traffic and being the first off the line nearly every time (once got beaten by an e-bike also sporting a Bosch motor) really made me feel like I was riding a real motorcycle. An idea that sprouted among our team from the experience was that the TC could be used as an introductory motorcycle to anyone looking to learn how to ride.

One thing I do need to point out is that because the TC is a rather small “motorcycle,” what you’ll need to consider are bumps in the road; if it’s a big one, chances are you’ll feel it. There are a couple of moments in the video that point out what I mean.

Because of its size, the TC presents itself as being a nimble little bumblebee, and it sure is. I really need to point out the fact that traffic jams do NOT exist for you when you’re riding this EV.

With the battery the TC comes with, a 60V, 30Ah lithium-ion pack weighing 11 kg (24.2 lb), you’re looking at a max range of 80 km (50 miles). Personally, I can’t say I was able to achieve this range, as I rode this thing mostly in third (the most soliciting speed), but was still able to cruise for about 70 km (43.5 miles) on full blast, more than enough to cover your usual visits to a café, picking up a friend, hitting up another café, and finally making it home, but not before you circle the city at least one more time.

Sure, it may not be the next delivery vehicle with which to conduct your business, but the fact that you can add another battery pack to the mix and double your range makes it very appealing to just about anyone. Heck, if you play it smart, you probably could run a delivery service with one of these.

Once your battery is out of juice, there’s a few ways you can recharge. Option one is to bring a cable out from your garage to your bike and run it through the inverter. Option two is to detach the battery pack, all 11 kg (24.2 lbs), and lug it with you upstairs. I’ll be real here, it’s quite heavy and you may need a bit of muscle to walk around with it. Once indoors, just plug the inverter into any standard outlet, and in three to four hours, you’re set to ride again.

Braking is more than enough for the bike in traffic too. I had no problems stopping from almost hitting a car in front because my hand slipped the acceleration at the wrong time. That saved me from buying a replacement TC on the spot. Even in a turn, if you’re coming in too hot, it's not a problem for this set of disc brakes.

Now, on my rides out with the TC, at one point it had rained, and the streets were wet. Even though I was initially worried about riding a bag-o-bolts on damp roads, the instruction manual stated that wet riding is allowed as long as I didn’t wade into any large puddles or water reached electrical components. With that ease of mind, I hit the streets. Cleaning it was also a breeze and it only took me about 30 minutes using a non-aggressive soap, water, and a couple of rags for washing and drying.

Currently, Super Soco claims that the TC can climb 17-degree slopes. After riding around my neighborhood, which sits atop a hill, going down to the base and back up tens of times over two days, I realized that the hill you’re climbing doesn’t matter for the TC; the acceleration is just as good uphill.

To test this limit of 17 degrees, I took the TC to an underground parking lot, where the climb to get you out goes beyond the limit. Guess what; the TC did it. It struggled a tad, but it kept climbing.

Extra Gimmicks

Ride and all, awesome, but the TC can do a bit more than what I've just described. Sitting down and talking to our TC dealer, I quickly realized that this EV is a whole lot more than a 45-kph (28-mph) moped—like that wasn’t obvious already.

One thing to know is that the TC speed cap is software limited. That means that with the proper puppy eyes, a valid motorcycle license, or a friend who specializes in IT, you can unlock your TC to the maximum possible speed of 90 kph (55.9 mph). Personally, I had to ask Dan if he would do it for me, but we all know the answer to that question. Even your acceleration is software limited, which, come to find out, can be tweaked too, depending on the version you’re running.

Storage is also quite large on the TC. If you don’t get yourself a second battery, that space can be used to fit a backpack or anything else you may need to store. In my case, I was rolling around with the charger, which, I must add, recharges the battery in as little as three hours. Oh, and the battery is removable, so if you happen to head over to a friend's house for a relaxing afternoon, you can easily recharge your battery as I did. Another storage tray is also available, albeit for a phone, water bottle, or wallet. Nothing more is needed, really.

What I also found surprising about the TC is the fact that you can make this thing nearly theft-proof unless it’s two guys and a pickup truck. First off, you have the alarm. If you forget to activate it, there’s a steering column lock that uses an actual key (usually attached to your remote). If you forget that too, you could always unplug your battery which needs to be accessed using the key. And if by any chance you also forget to do that, there’s a hidden kill switch that you can play around with.

Like I said, it can be stolen with two guys and a pickup truck because to ride off on it is damn near impossible without knowing where everything is. Oh, and if your TC happens to be on and someone comes around behind you and snags it, they’ll still need to know one last button that needs pressing before the motor engages. That last one even got me a couple of times.

Conclusion

There’s only one thing I disliked about the TC. As you get on the puppy and start cranking the throttle, you hear the motor producing a tsk tsk tsk sound that only gets faster and more repetitive as you go faster. Travel fast enough, and you won't hear it as the wind zooms past your head, but folks around you may.

The experience left me with a better understanding of how a motorcycle feels, how it handles, the benefits of owning one—an electric one at that. I even had a brief conversation with my middleman about lowering the price so I could get myself one of these.

All in all, I loved my experience with the TC. It was the absolute perfect vehicle to get me back into riding mode. Above all, I could hear nothing more than the sounds of the world around me. Well, almost nothing. In my opinion, it’s a very small price to pay for the experience and attention this “moped” will bring you.



Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party. Our thanks extend to Electric Is Better of Bucharest, Romania for offering us the Super Soco TC, and Andreea Tudose for her modeling services.

 
 
 
 
 

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