SILENCE S01 (2021 - on) Review
- Spanish-made electric scooter
- Trolley-style removable battery
- Decent underseat storage
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£80|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The world of small, affordable electric commuters is dominated by Chinese-built bikes, but the Silence S01 is different. It’s made in Spain, in a factory near Barcelona where unknown-to-the-UK-until-now firm Silence quietly (ahem) build nearly 10,000 self-designed leccy scoots a year. Silence has been going since 2012, but the bikes are only now arriving in the UK thanks to a new importer (www.silenceuk.com).
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The S01 is the firm’s flagship model and, performance-wise, it’s close to a 125. However, its party piece is that the entire 5.6kWh battery pack not only quick-releases out the left-hand side of the bike, but also sprouts wheels and a handle so it can be carted to a convenient power socket. The ingenious design also allows for loads of underseat storage – enough to store two lids. Most electric scooters offer a lot less (or none) because the space is normally filled with batteries.
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A few details on the S01 could be improved – speedo accuracy and throttle pickup to name two – while adding ABS would improve safety. As an urban slow-speed daily ride with minimal running costs, there’s loads to like. But £4995 is a lot for runabout, especially when Honda's PCX 125 or Yamaha’s Nmax 125 are so much cheaper. There’s also a bit of a leap of faith needed given Silence is so new to the UK, and there isn’t yet a handy network of established dealers. But on first impressions, the S01 is one of the more impressive electric commuters.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
The battery unit weighs in at a whopping 41.4kg, but its clever low-down placement helps keep the S01’s mass central and manageable. On our scales the S01 weighs over 150kg, but it feels a lot lighter to ride. The short, slim scooter dances around deftly at walking pace and pulls easy full-lock U-turns, making for a fine traffic-buster.
Suspension is a set of 33mm forks at the front and a monoshock at the back. Neither end offers any adjustment, but the ride quality is pretty good even over potholes and speed bumps.
Like most lightweight electric rivals there’s no ABS. The brakes are instead linked: there’s a three-piston front caliper, but only two of its pistons are triggered by the front brake lever. The third comes into play when you squeeze the back brake lever. Stopping power is good, and in Eco mode the engine helps out by adding some regenerative braking. However, at times that regen action can feel a tiny bit grabby when you’re only trying to brush a lever gently.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The electric motor in the S01’s rear wheel produces a peak of 12bhp. In the most powerful of the bike’s three riding modes (Eco / City / Sport) it sprints from 0-30mph in just four seconds, which feels more lively that it perhaps sounds. Top speed is a claimed 62mph, though our GPS datalogger shows a true 55mph – so the speedo’s pretty optimistic.
But the S01 isn’t built for sitting flat-out for miles on end. Just 23 miles into a top-speed ride a warning light illuminated due to something in the drivetrain overheating. Instead, this is very much a city commuter capable of keeping up on occasional stretches of ring road, not a high-speed, long-range tool for slogging along empty A-roads.
Sticking to 30mph or slower can tease 70 to 75 miles from a charge. For urban riding the motor’s plenty perky in the default City mode. Around town the only slight irritation with the powertrain is that the throttle pickup from stationary can be a tiny bit over-eager and jerky.
Out of town, riding flat-stick in Sport mode, that range drops to just shy of 35 miles per charge. A full zero-to-full recharge (which can be done with the battery either in or out of the bike) takes a lengthy 8 hours 45 minutes – the charging rate is capped at a modest 600 watts to help preserve the battery’s long-term health.
Though battery capacity is claimed to be 5.6kWh, a full charge uses just 4.5kWh of energy. That works out to a cost of around 70p per full charge, or 1-2p per mile depending on how fast you ride.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
Silence is new to the UK, though they’ve had a presence in Europe (mostly Spain) for a few years. Silence say they’ve 25,000-mile old batteries still holding 97% of their original capacity. That’s impressive, and it’s a reassuring sign that Silence is concerned with long-term durability, rather than headline-grabbing charge times. One way they do this is by using a heater built into the charger. When it’s cold outside, the heater raises the battery’s internal temperature to a more willing level before starting charging, rather than forcing energy in while the chemistry is cold.
The S01’s battery comes with a three-year warranty, while on the rest of the bike it’s a standard two-year warranty. Silence UK also include two years of AA roadside breakdown cover, which is a welcome bonus.
In use, the S01 feels pretty well-built. It all seems put together nicely, the battery removes and refits with remarkable slickness, and the brake and clutch levers have nice span adjusters. Nothing stands out as looking particularly worrisome for long-term use.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
As far as day-to-day running costs go, the Silence S01 is about as cheap as it gets. There’s very little to do on the maintenance side of things, thanks to there being no oil or coolant to change, no filters or spark plugs to replace, and no valve clearances to check. A service should be little more than a nut-and-bolt check, plus occasional brake fluid replacement. Electricity costs work out as low as a penny a mile, while VED (road tax) is free.
Its closest direct rival would be the twin-battery version of Super Soco’s CPx, which offers similar range, but charges a bit faster, has a useful windscreen and costs a couple of hundred quid less. However, the Silence accelerates far more eagerly, maintains a more consistent performance across each charge of the battery, and has useful underseat storage lacking from the CPx.
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But if you’re just looking for the best-value commuter scooter, irrespective of fuel, it’s hard to look past the temptingly affordable Honda PCX 125. It’s £1800 cheaper up front, can sit at a higher top speed, goes further and refuels faster, has ABS, and offers both Honda’s brand familiarity as well as its extensive dealer network. It’s a similar story with Yamaha’s Nmax 125.
The S01’s digital dash is fairly easy to read, though it’d be handy if the speedo was larger and the speed shown didn’t flicker around quite so much. Battery status and remaining range are shown clearly, as is whichever of the three riding modes is selected. There’s no rider aids, ABS or cruise control.
You can connect the S01 to Silence’s smartphone app, which lets you check the status of your battery and can also help with route-planning. You can use it to locate the bike too, so it could be used as a tracker in case of theft. There’s no alarm or immobiliser, but if you plan on removing the battery overnight you could always see that as an anti-theft feature.
Speaking of which, that removable trolley-style battery is far and away the S01’s key feature. Pop the scoot up on its centrestand, lift the seat, pull a lever and the entire battery slides out the left-hand side of the bike. A pair of wheels automatically extend to the floor, leaving you to pull it around using the telescopic handle just like a small suitcase. At over 40kg it’s still a bit unwieldy – it can topple over fairly easily, and you wouldn’t want to have to pick it up to lift it over a step too often. But for those who can’t charge their bike where they park it overnight, this portable battery design could be the difference between an electric vehicle being a viable choice or not.
|Engine type||Air-cooled electric motor|
|Frame type||Tubular steel|
|Front suspension||33mm forks, no adjustment|
|Rear suspension||Monoshock, no adjustment|
|Front brake||260mm disc with linked three-piston caliper. No ABS|
|Rear brake||240mm disc with two-piston caliper. No ABS|
|Front tyre size||120/70-15|
|Rear tyre size||140/70-14|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||-|
|Annual service cost||£80|
How much to insure?
Top speed & performance
|Max power||12 bhp|
|Top speed||55 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||20.79 secs|
Owners' reviews for the SILENCE S01 (2021 - on)
1 owner has reviewed their SILENCE S01 (2021 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£80|
Annual servicing cost: £75
I've been a biker all my life and this fills a big gap for me as it enables me to be on two wheels a lot more often. My other Bike is a GSF S1000F, the S01 will never replace it but if you love riding it gets you out and about on daily basis. I'd never have contemplated getting a petrol scooter because of the maintenance needed / reliability etc, the S01 is easy to use and the acceleration is electric (excuse the pun!). If you are a biker this little machine will put a big smile on your face every day.
The centre of gravity is low on the bike which makes it very easy to manoeuvre. It feels planted when cornering. The handling and the dual braking are excellent, which make it very responsive.
ACCELERATION! As anyone that has experience of electric vehicles knows the electric motor means there is no lag. I've been enjoying beating far bigger bikes off the lights and laughing to myself.
It is a very well made bike, I've owned 14 bikes over the years and know a good quality a bike when I've got one. I've had no problems with it what so ever.
The first service is included in the price subsequent services will be around £50-£100, with it being electric there are very few moving parts so servicing is cheap. The Bike is premium quality as is the battery and made in Europe so when compared to other bikes from the Far East it does cost more, but for me (and having spoken to Chinese electric moped owners) you def get what you pay for.
My two favourite features are the removable battery (which means I can charge it anywhere as well as in my garage without needing to removing it) and the reverse gear, which although not needed is a laugh a minute as it also beeps when you are going backwards.
Buying experience: I purchased the bike from Silence UK, Jack the product specialist was good and knew his suff. I paid £4995.00 for the bike and added two helmets and a top box.