SUPER SOCO TC MAX (2019 - on) Review
- Electric motorcycle that's ideal for urban commutes
- Equivalent to a 125cc petrol bike
- Ultra-low running
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£80|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The Super Soco TC Max electric motorbike makes a convincing case that a lighter, simpler, short-range commuter is a better use of today’s battery tech than a big roadster, especially for just £4k. As a commuter there’s a lot to be said for its near-zero running costs and the convenience of refuelling while you sleep.
- Related: Super Soco offering 10% discount for key workers
- Related: Lend of Super Soco TC-Max for key worker who had bike stolen
Since its performance is similar to a 125cc bike, it can be ridden with a provisional driving licence by those aged 17 and over, as long as you've got a CBT and show L-plates. You won't be able to use motorways, but then this isn't a bike particularly well suited for that anyway...
- Related: How to pass a CBT
Does it spell the end of petrol? Not yet. A Honda CBR125R is cheaper, twice as powerful, has four times the range and refuels in minutes. Still, for just £4000 the TC Max comes closer to replacing a 125 than an electric superbike comes to replacing a Fireblade.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
A single charge of the battery lasts for around 60 miles of steady town riding, or 30 at full throttle. The remaining range is displayed both as a percentage and in bar chart form on the LCD dash, which is handy. The bike works okay around town, although a slight surge from the motor when holding the throttle steady suggests a lack of development. On open roads its meagre power and very modest top speed means you can find yourself being hassled by lorries. Better to stick to quieter, bendier backroads than trunk routes.
EngineNext up: Reliability
The TC Max is the fastest, sportiest and most powerful bike in Super Soco’s range, though that’s not saying much. It’s powered by a 6.7bhp electric motor, half the power of a learner 125, driving the back wheel through a toothed belt. The motor only needs to propel 100kg, which is less than the weight of a Honda MSX125.
Even so, there are three power modes: ‘1’ limits top speed to 30mph, ‘2’ restricts it to 40mph and ‘3’ releases the full package. That full package relates to a claimed top speed of 58mph, although our datalogger recorded a less-than-impressive 49mph.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
In short: who knows? Super Soco is such a new brand that both reliability and battery durability remain unproven – more time and miles are needed. The overall sense of component quality (tyres, suspension, pegs and grips) is best described as in-keeping with its budget price, although nothing went wrong during our fairly brief test ride. The TC Max comes with a two-year warranty, extended to three years for the battery. A service is needed every 2000 miles.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
With BMW’s C-evolution costing £10k, Harley-Davidson’s new Livewire a hefty £28,750 and Zero’s SR\F almost £20k, the £4045 Super Soco TC Max represents incredible value for an electric motorcycle. Ok, so it lacks the power of the aforementioned, but still offers a very affordable way to get around town or to work and back. That value for money makes this electric machine a very viable alternative to its petrol-powered rivals; Yamaha’s YZF-R125 costs £4574, for example. A full charge costs around 50p, meaning the TC Max’s ‘fuel’ bill is minimal – just a penny per mile. And the belt final drive means no lube or cleaning is required.
There are neat touches like keyless ignition, linked brakes (no ABS), and an alarm which locks the rear wheel when activated. The TC Max also comes with spoked wheels for an extra £100. You can charge the bike by plugging the external charger into the side of the bike, or you can remove the 3.24kWh lithium-ion battery and take it into your house or office to charge it up. But it weighs a whopping 21.6kg, so a few sessions at the gym might be needed before tackling this task.
|Frame type||Steel cradle|
|Front suspension||35mm, telescopic forks, no adjustment|
|Rear suspension||Monoshock with adjustable pre-load|
|Front brake||240mm disc with three-piston caliper|
|Rear brake||240mm disc with single-piston caliper|
|Front tyre size||90/80 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||120/70 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||-|
|Annual service cost||£80|
9 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||2 years, 3 for battery|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||7 bhp|
|Max torque||133 ft-lb|
|Top speed||49 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||60 miles|
Model history & versions
- 2017: Super Soco TC is a slightly cheaper version with less power and lower top speed (claimed 45mph).
Owners' reviews for the SUPER SOCO TC MAX (2019 - on)
2 owners have reviewed their SUPER SOCO TC MAX (2019 - 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|
Excellent commuter and runabout. Good introduction to electric motorbikes, coming from big petrol bikes. At the time (Dec 2019) it was the most cost effective power/£ that wasn't a scooter.
Brakes are wooden and only just adequate. They are linked, and the "back" (back and one front piston) seems more effective than the front. I've tried to find after market pads but EBC only do a mirror image of the front pads. Very odd. It doesn't have regen braking which is a shame, and would help. Suspension is basic but works OK.
Pulls well from stationary but tails off at speed, as you'd expect from electric. Can manage a hill start on 1:10 with 100kg on board. No regen. The brake light switches cut the motor power so you can't do a hill start without rolling back a bit. At speed the throttle control becomes very on/off so its hard to ride smoothly above 40 on part throttle. The battery is quite temperature sensitive.
Some corrosion already showing in nooks and crannies. Its made fairly solidly so this will only be cosmetic. Seat/battery cover lock feels flimsy - like the key will snap one day.
Running costs are trivial. Elecricity is pennies, and tyres are in the cheap learner bike range. Haven't serviced it yet, but since there's only brake pads & fluid, tyres and a drive belt, it should be a doddle to DIY. I stripped the front brake to make sure it was all working OK (see below). Battery has a 2 year warranty, so we'll see how well that lasts. Could be an expensive replacement if it wears out after that.
LED headlight is good. Seat is thin, and not really big enough for two full sized adults (although you probably wouldn't want to ride any distance 2-up!). OK for transporting a child. Indicator switch is small and fiddly, and doesn't have push to cancel. I put a top box on for practicality and to improve the short seat / cafe racer style that I don't like. Hefting the battery out to take it inside to charge might be hard for shorter or weaker people. Its quite a lump and you have to lift it clear of the highest part of the bike. It does have the option to plug the charger into the bike, but that's only any good if you can do it in a shed or garage. Mine is out the front so I can't leave the charger out all night. I chose the alloy wheels as I didn't fancy trying to keep cheap chrome spokes clean through British winter road salt. Storage compartment in the "tank" seems to be designed to take the charger, but can also take a good sized U-lock, which is handy.
Buying experience: Really knowledgeable & helpful dealer. Delivered the bike for free as I was beyond it's range to ride home. Insurance was a nightmare. None of the big companies listed this model, just the TC, and this is after it's been on the market nearly a year. In the end I had to take out an entirely new policy, with no NCB, with Lexhams. Come renewal time they're getting all my bikes on a mutlibike policy. Enough said.
Annual servicing cost: £80
Great for what it's good at (city commuting) but nothing else. The low running costs and 0 tax make it a value proposition compared to other 125s even though it's slightly more to buy - but only if your use-case matches its capabilities.
For short commutes it's fine but the seat is fairly hard which you feel over rougher areas. The brakes are effective, but lack ABS.
The motor is a mixed bag. The instant response is lovely, and the acceleration from lights is fine despite the tiny HP rating (Similar to the KTM Duke 125 that my commuting partner rode as a learner bike despite a large power difference) However, the throttle control is not as smooth as it should be, with noticeable step changes in power output that can be annoying at some speeds where you're bouncing from one to the other. Acceleration falls off dramatically at speed, past 40mph it's pretty gutless and I've never got much faster than 50mph on the flat with my 100kg self on it. Again, for town commutes I don't find this problematic at all, but would not choose to ride it on a 60mph+ limit road, where a normal 125 is fine.
Had a few error codes and one loose connection that resulted in loss of power while riding that I fixed myself - still a scary moment.
Running costs are fantastic - I'm looking at 60 miles a week and that costs me less than 50p
Lacking ABS is a shame. The tyres seem passable. The alarm is very quiet so will not have much use. However, the immobiliser is nice - if you try to roll the bike away it locks the rear wheel using the motor. Granted, at 100kg it's pretty steal-able anyway but certainly a nice touch. Sadly while the bike comes with tracking in some markets, in the UK this does not seem to work.
Buying experience: Long delay to get the bike (I ordered right before the first units were due to arrive in the UK) but otherwise the delivery experience was fine and the bike cost just under 4k including fees as expected.