SUR-RON ULTRA BEE (2023 - on) Review


  • High-tech, well-engineered electric trailie
  • Green laning made easier than ever
  • Silent Sur-ron soothes public relations

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Annual servicing cost: £50
Power: 17 bhp
Seat height: Tall (35.8 in / 910 mm)
Weight: Low (196 lbs / 89 kg)


New £6,299
Used N/A

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
3 out of 5 (3/5)

The Sur-ron Ultra Bee lightweight electric, street-legal trail bike might not be the cheapest at £6299 (including a £500 discount for the government’s ‘Plug-in Grant), and only has a limited power range and versatility. But ridden in the just right environments, off-road being its very best home, the superbly built Chinese bike performs well overall, with its lack of noise and pollution making it more socially acceptable.

Just the job for tackling off road routes which many bigger, heavier bikes of this sort would struggle with unless they have an expert rider at the helm, the 85kg trailie with its almost mountain bike-like agility, makes exploration of the countryside’s more remote and technically challenging byways a whole lot easier and less physically demanding.

It’s perfect for those with less experience venturing out onto zones of reduced grip, with the absence of gears and clutch helping them to focus and learn more about meeting the extra demands of trail riding. Just as importantly, once you’re onboard with the suspension compressed (ignore the quoted academic 910mm seat height in the specs), its confidence-boosting low seat will give them the chance to add some all-important extra stability with their feet whenever the need calls.

Sur-ron Ultra Bee motocross track

Even more experienced riders will be impressed by the Sur-ron’s easily attained, impressive acceleration, especially from a standstill. Everyone can benefit from the beautifully engineered Ultra Bee’s tech, including three rider modes, adjustable traction control and engine braking, and battery regenerative system. It even has a reverse gear. The dynamic quality is boosted further by its very capable suspension and brakes.

Less usefully and limiting the Sur-ron far more than a petrol-engined equivalent, is its shorter range. Opening Google Maps to check your journey length is crucial before popping out. It’s fine if the whole trip will fit into the Ultra Bee’s estimated 40-60mile range, or if you can plug it into a three-pin wall socket for a few hours (it takes four hours from flat to full) during the journey. However, if like us you head for some more remote riding far from recharging points, you’re going to need to plan things more carefully to avoid being stranded.

Given it’s one of the very few electric trail bikes on the market, with no rivals to match its overall combination of price, build quality, tech, and very light weight, perhaps it’s worth coping with the Ultra Bee’s restrictions. It’s hard to argue with its suitability on green lanes, though better tyres would make life easier in the wet.

Sur-ron Ultra Bee water crossing

As a stylish commuter, the learner-suitable Ultra Bee will do a good job too, just choose more minor routes to make sure its 55mph top speed doesn’t leave you at the mercy of other faster traffic. In town, it's a wonderful congestion beater. Filtering, and feet up, full-lock U-turns can be executed with total ease thanks to the Sur-ron’s compact dimensions, excellent balance and weight distribution, and above all, bicycle-like weight.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
3 out of 5 (3/5)

Our test of the Ultra Bee began with the tricky challenges of an undulating enduro loop through some hillside forest with grip in short supply. The Sur-ron’s waif-like weight really helps its manageability in situations like this, and if you do get stuck anywhere the simple option of just getting off and physically hauling the Ultra Bee from the offending restriction is welcome.

Sharp, hydraulic, twin-piston brakes, with both front and rear levers mounted on the bars, need time to develop a more delicate touch to avoid wheel lock in such conditions. There is an option of ABS on this off-road version of the Ultra Bee, but it wasn’t fitted to our test bikes. It’s the same story with applying extra power, with more careful throttle application important to avoid wheelspin.

Adjustable traction control is fitted, but I needed more time than I had to figure out the best settings. Instead, I relied on altering the power modes; Eco, Daily and Sport providing stronger levels of thrust to keep the wheels turning.

Sur-ron Ultra Bee on a trail

Just as they did on the MX track later, a couple of racers present to show off the Sur-ron at its best, and several others far more talented than me, proved the rider is the biggest governing factor to maintain uninterrupted progress. Jumping the Sur-ron (again not to the same level as some) highlighted the quality of the long travel suspension, with landings showing the adjustable forks and shock can provide enough support not to bottom out.

Better assessment of the Ultra Bee came after lunch (and a battery top up charge) when some of us went for an hour’s trail ride, something I’m more familiar with as a keen green laner. Suspension’s compliant enough over rocks and ruts, and braking power isn’t overwhelming once you’re in tune with it.

The beautifully linear nature of the electric power helps to find grip even on wet rocks, though ultimately, it’s an adhesion battle the Sur-ron’s key weakness doesn’t cope with that well. Skinny CST (Cheng Shin Tire) rubber simply can’t offer the bite it needs to on occasion. The tyres aren’t bad on drier terrain, but I’d want to change them ASAP.

Sur-ron Ultra Bee chain and swingarm

Trouble is the spoked wheels are 19-inchers which really cuts down replacement choices. All other off-road focused trail bikes have 21” front and 18” rear wheels fitted, as did both the speedy racers’ bikes who’d had the necessary £1100 (+ tyres) spent on the bigger wheels and tyres to give superior grip. Sur-ron say future Ultra Bees will have the bigger wheels fitted as standard.

Excepting the issue of lower grip, albeit a key one, and a preference for higher bars to help my shorter arms when I was standing up, overall I was happy with the Ultra Bee. Apart for its huge fun factor, I especially liked the reaction from the walkers we came across along the way, who unlike several I meet when I’m trail riding, were quite curious to find out more about the silent Sur-rons. More often, riding noisier, smellier petrol-engined bikes can bring out a more hostile, negative response from ramblers.


Next up: Reliability
3 out of 5 (3/5)

The key distinction between all electric and ICE bikes, the power source, requires a change in attitude to understand and accept. The pros and cons of the 12.5Kw PMSM (Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor) lecky motor will differ in proportion depending on your preferences, but it’s hard not to be impressed by the way the Ultra Bee delivers its goods.

Needing a couple of switches to be set correctly to become ‘live’, with a green light on the small TFT dash to remind you, the motor will propel you forward with zero hesitancy the moment the throttle’s twisted. Forget the normal business of pulling in a clutch, selecting a gear and the subsequent need to balance throttle and clutch bite to get cracking – or even to remain upright on tricky trails.

With the Sur-ron it’s just a simple a case of ‘twist and go’ to instantly move forward very promptly in the easiest and most linear fashion, without (much) noise or any vibration. To some, this reduced involvement in generating speed may appear totally unappealing and lacking reward. Perhaps the best way of judging it is to simply accept it (or not) as just being different.

Sur-ron Ultra Bee motor

It's all about torque, though be very mindful of the Sur-ron’s claimed maximum of 325lbs.ft. That figure (four times that of a Suzuki Hayabusa) is unrepresentative because of the way it’s measured in electric motors. In reality, regardless of it actually being far less, it still assists in accelerating the Ultra Bee from a standstill astonishingly quickly, especially if you select the Sport mode.

It’ll initially beat a petrol engine bike with higher peak power and torque figures away from the lights for several reasons. For starters it’s got bugger all weight to challenge it, secondly because it couldn’t be any more simple to launch, and thirdly simply because of the immediate way the electricity produces thrust. That speed gain begins to die off a little after you reached 35mph but will get you to a maximum of around 55mph pretty keenly.

You’re dreaming if you think it’ll go much faster than that though. All the fun will naturally run out sooner the greedier you are on the throttle, with some saying as little as 25 miles of harder use in the Sport setting (essential for climbing steeper hills off-road) will flatten the 55AH battery. More realistic riding, juggling between the Daily, Eco, and Sport options and keeping your eye on the battery level gauge will get you between 40 and 60 miles, with the motor dropping into ‘limp home’ mode once the battery capacity falls to 20% remaining.

Sur-ron Ultra Bee jump

The Sur-ron does have a brake-activated regeneration system to add another maximum of five miles under the right conditions – regularly descending lots of lengthy, steep gradients. A tilt sensor will cut the power connection to the rear wheel if you fall from the bike to prevent subsequent inadvertent throttle twisting causing a safety issue.

Connect the Sur-ron’s charger (which you can carry under the seat) to a three-pin household socket, and you’ll be good to go the full distance again in four hours. Fast charging isn’t possible yet, and it should be noted new batteries need to go through three of four recharging cycles before they can give their very best performance.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Feast your eyes on virtually any part of the Ultra Bee and you’ll appreciate this bike has been precisely engineered and assembled to a very high standard.

The welding of the forged alloy frame sections is a great advert for this, with workmanship as good as you’ll see on any hand-built special or top-level race bike. Switchgear feels of equally high quality, and though the TFT dash is small with some of its information difficult to read, there’s plenty on display.

Equipped with its multiple high-tech electronic features, the Sur-ron is clearly a product of a serious manufacturer. Any connotations with Chinese produce being cheap and nasty should immediately be dismissed in this case at least. There is little to fail, at least mechanically – as long as the electronic components resist water and dirt ingress, it should prove far less hassle than an ICE trail bike.

Sur-ron Ultra Bee approaching water crossing

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Given its spec, build quality and performance, the Sur-ron arguably represents decent value. Even so, shelling out over £6000 for a bike still needs some careful consideration. Take the longer term view of very low running costs of around 2-3p a mile for the electricity, extremely cheap servicing and low wear on consumables and the Ultra Bee starts to look far more financially viable.

Road tax is free until April 2025 too. Don’t forget though, the Sur-ron will still need to be looked at periodically; chain adjusted, pads checked etc. Learning to do that yourself isn’t difficult and will keep the spending down and given the rigours of off-roading knowing how to fix stuff is crucial. Budget for some new tyres straight away and consider going the whole hog with bigger wheels too. You’re more likely to stay on board if you do.

Theft can be a big issue on bikes of this type, so insurance cover could be very costly for those living in bike crime hotspots, so we'd advise checking how affordable this is first, and certainly recommend investing in some high-quality anti-theft equipment – as we do for all bikes.

Sur-ron Ultra Bee flattrack

Strictly speaking the Ultra Bee has very few rivals in this class. Only the Talaria Sting can be directly compared. At £3999 it’s significantly cheaper, but its performance, equipment and build quality levels aren’t as high. Even so, it’s lighter at just 57 kilos, and boasts a gearbox compared to the Sur-ron’s belt drive arrangements. Like the Sur-ron, the 19-inch wheel sizes compromise tyre choice. We’d need to test them together to check relative performance.

Less direct comparison could be drawn to the Super Soco TC Max as a small-capacity electric commuter, although the TC is very much aimed at road use rather than dirt.

Honda's CRF300L is often chosen as a petrol machine for exploring the trails. Like the Sur-ron, the Honda is light weight (although heavier than the Ultra Bee at 153kg) and is built for the dirt with long travel suspension and big wheels. The Honda also makes more power with 27bhp on tap and when the fuel tank runs dry (after 230+ miles, no less) it can be refilled in seconds.

Sur-ron Ultra Bee rear shock


4 out of 5 (4/5)

Equipped well enough in standard trim for what it’s intended for – primarily off-roading, the Sur-ron’s biggest asset is its comprehensive suite of electronics.  Stuff like the power modes, traction control, tilt cut-out, and the regenerative braking system add to the Ultra Bee’s capability. Though some of them are less effective at times because of the limited grip of its rubber.

Choosing the ABS option is a no brainer. Changing settings is simple thanks to easy to access switchgear. The clock’s information is comprehensive though it might be easier to read with a bigger font, and a bright warning light for low battery level wouldn’t go amiss.

Given its main role, hand guards are a wise fitment, and the removable tail tidy has it become even more suited to off-roading in a jiff. Suspension adjusters are easy to get to, and with most equipment tucked in nicely, a fall isn’t instantly like to cause too much damage.

Sur-ron Ultra Bee suspension adjustment

Suiting its role as a commuter, the indicators and horn work well, the USB port is handy, as too is the battery charging socket. The battery itself can be swapped in seconds due its tool-less connectors. Spare batteries aren’t cheap at £1100 though. Storage of the charger, included with the bike, is conveniently located under the seat.

At the moment, Sur-ron only offers limited aftermarket extras such as seats of differing heights. However, there’s a mass of aftermarket equipment on offer from specialist firms including bigger batteries, upgraded controllers, bigger wheels, disc guards, footbrakes, engine covers, and bigger footrests.


Engine size -
Engine type PMSM electric motor. 74V55AH battery pack
Frame type Forged aluminium alloy beam
Fuel capacity -
Seat height 910mm
Bike weight 89kg
Front suspension 37mm, inverted forks adjustable for rebound and compression damping
Rear suspension Single rising-rate rear shock, fully adjustable
Front brake 240mm single disc with twin-piston caliper
Rear brake 240mm single disc with twin-piston caliper
Front tyre size 80/100 x 19
Rear tyre size 90/90 x 19

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax -
Annual service cost £50
New price £6,299
Used price -
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term 18 months (battery 24 months)

Top speed & performance

Max power 17 bhp
Max torque 352 ft-lb
Top speed 55 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 40 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

  • 2017: Sur-ron Light Bee – As its name suggests, the model is a superlight, 45kg trailbike originally designed to be a crossover between a mountain bike and motorcycle and used full off-road suspension and brakes. Producing 4bhp, the stylish Light Bee had a claimed top speed of 50mph and range of 60 miles. It’s proved extremely popular and is Sur-ron’s best seller. It was updated in 2020 its new engine making 7bhp and featured a water-cooled controller. It’s priced at £4695.
  • 2021: Sur-ron Storm Bee – Built with the aim of producing the most powerful street-legal, electric off-road bike, the Storm Bee was Sur-ron’s first effort to produce a more genuine motorcycle. It produced 30bhp and was the most powerful and fastest in its class. It had a claimed range of 75miles but weighed a quite weighty 125 kilos. It came in supermoto, trail, and off-road race versions. Its air-cooled controller was updated for a liquid-cooled one in 2022, though its weight remained unchanged. It’s not proved popular, primarily because of its weight and £8500 price.
  • 2023: Sur-ron Ultra Bee- Two versions of the Ultra Bee exist, the road-legal Trail (T) version we’ve tested here, and the X, off-road only model without rear lights and left-hand switch gear. It has a wider rear tyre and costs £6299 but is not eligible for the government’s plug-in grant.

Other versions


Owners' reviews for the SUR-RON ULTRA BEE (2023 - on)

1 owner has reviewed their SUR-RON ULTRA BEE (2023 - 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.

Review your SUR-RON ULTRA BEE (2023 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Engine: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Value vs rivals: 5 out of 5 (5/5)
Equipment: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Annual servicing cost: £50
5 out of 5
18 October 2023 by Eric

Year: 2023

Annual servicing cost: £50

This review is way off base. I've ridden dirt bikes for 20 years. This is the bike that made me sell my gas bikes! It's that good.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
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