Sondors Metacycle Review: Was it Worth the Wait?
Like most motorcycle riders, there is always the one that got away. I have had brief dalliances and long-term crushes, but my first true love was my Blue 1987 Yamaha Radian, the perfect racer: simple, fast, naked, and fun. I’m sure that had I kept it, it would be in the shop more than the road, but damn I miss that bike. A close second was my 2003 Triumph Bonneville T-100: pure class with a classic look, but far more bike than I needed to zip around the mean streets of San Francisco. That said, unlike most Triumphs, it did spend more time on the road than in the shop.
Could it be that bike lucky number seven, my just-arrived Sondors Metacycle, just might be my next grand love affair?* Read on to find out.\
The Sondor’s saga began in the Fall of 2021 when I plunked down my deposit to grab one of the new mid-level electric motorcycles to start hitting the market. Yes, sight unseen and never ridden, I decided this was going to be my next motorcycle. In my case, on September 27, 2021, I reserved my place in line to get a Sondors Metacycle at the starting cost of $5,000, to be delivered Q1, 2022.
Little did I know . . .
Over the next year, I would get sporadic updates and estimates about production delays and missed delivery targets. The online buzz was not good, customer service responses were vague, and understandably, many people asked for and received refunds. And then there folks like myself who waited, and waited, and waited. I admit, there was more than one occasion where I thought, damn, I’ve been scammed.
Still, I waited and waited some more.
Over a year later, reports began to surface that the bikes were being delivered and, even better, being seen in the wild. My hope started to bloom. Every time a Sondors email popped up in my inbox, I tried not to get too excited, but truth be told, a wee bit of serotonin was released into my brain holes. But time and time again, when clicking on the message, I found it was not the “Your Metacycle is on the way” message . . . until it was.
Finally, after confirming my delivery address, on December 16, 2022, I received the message, “Your MetaCycle Is On Its Way To Deliver To You!”
It gets better. While my stated delivery window was December 26–29, on the morning of December 24th, the driver left a voice mail saying that he arrived in town early and asked if I wanted him to drop it off on Christmas Day. First, sucks to have to work on Christmas Day, and B, I'm pretty sure I didn’t hesitate before texting back, “Yes, please! #SondorSanta”
In the immortal words of Napoleon Dynamite, “Heck, yes I did.”
So on Christmas day, at long last, my bike was delivered. While I am sure not everyone’s cup of tea, this bike is as cool looking as I had hoped, and I could not wait to hit the road.
So hit the road, I did. There was a break in our winter storms so on December 26, 2022, I had my first-ever ride on my as of yet not named 2021 arctic white Sondors Metacycle — and it was glorious.
TO BE CLEAR, this is a one-ride review, but even after less than an hour on the bike, I definitely have some thoughts.
Things that I love already:
- It looks damn cool. I must admit that there were quite a few looky-loos after parking it near my local cafe. Dude bike ego inflated ✔️ :-)
- Feels like a motorcycle. I was a bit worried that it was going to feel more like a scooter on steroids, but at 300 pounds, it felt much like my motorcycle of the past.
- Acceleration. I also have an electric car. The best part of driving it is the torque and the jump off the starting line. Truth be told, with my first ride, I pictured myself flying off the back and watching my new bike wheely on down the road without me. Alas, it was not to be, there is def a little hesitation before it flies into full speed. I did not feel like it was wanting for more, so while it was not as quick off the start as my Radian or Moster, it is plenty fast enough.
- And speaking of Speed: The specs say that the max is 60mph in DRIVE mode and 85mph in SPORT mode. I easily and safely got up to 67 in DRIVE mode, and it felt great. I actually never felt like there was any drag or that it was struggling to stay at 60+. I did not take it on the freeway, but can’t wait to air it out once the weather improves, “Safely, of course, mom and friends.” who all may be reading this post.
- Let me back up: Love the reverse setting. I have never had a bike with this feature, so it feels like cheating, but I’ll take it.
- Phone Storage: As you can see from my pics there is a clear compartment for a phone. It was not able to wirelessly charge my phone, and I didn’t try the USB, but it’s a great feature.
- Basic, in a good way: All the other features worked as they should. Controls are simple, accessible, and familiar. The simplicity is what I would have expected and what I wanted at this price level, so well done Sondors, well done.
The jury is still out . . .
- Range: I have no idea about real-world range, but that is not a big deal for me as it is going to be a commute and fun bike for me, so I don’t really need to pay for longer range capacity.
- Battery: Battery is not as remove-n-charge as promised. I have yet to try and take it out and bring it inside, so can’t tell you how easy it is. It may not be that big of a deal, but if you were hoping just to snap that baby out and bring it into the office, that’s not happening.
- Charger: The battery charger comes without instructions, so I had to do a little googling to figure out what the lights meant and if it was charging. To be fair, there is a how-to video in the Sondors Owner Portal, but still, a weirdly translated instruction paper would have been nice and familiar :-)
- Charging: Once I figured out that it WAS charging (Red Light), I thought that, like electric cars, there was probably an indicator on the display. Alas no. I am sure there is a reason, but it would be nice to have some kind of indicator like, “30 minutes until battery charged to full.”
- Getting started. Okay, again, they did send out videos, but I figure most of us just get on and try to ride. It took me about 5 minutes to get the right buttons and switches pushed before I figured out how to shift into Drive AND have it move as I oh so gingerly started to accelerate (See acceleration note above) So, while some of you geniuses will hop on and flip all the right switches in the right order like Han Solo in the cockpit of the Millenium Falcom, us mortals may take a beat. Again, watch the video and save yourself some time.
- Take cover. While I appreciate the branded cover, it’s not a long-term solution if your bike will be outside. I use a motorcycle storage tent from Bike Shield.
So, what it worth the wait?
Honestly, that is difficult to say as it was over a year, so “worth” is all relative, but I’m going to go ahead and say, yes. At this point, while folks will pay a bit more, you can now rest assured that the bikes are actually real, being delivered, and are on the road.
Circling back to the beginning of my motorcycle story, in my very brief ride, the Metacycle appears and feels like the perfect blend between my racer Radian and my classy Triumph: a simple and handsome machine that has all the performance one needs: acceleration, zip, and speed.
As soon as this pesky winter rain clears, I am going to take her out and test out battery range, top speed, and other as-of-yet-undiscovered features. I’ll update this review should anything new come up, but until then, if you are thinking about getting one, yes, they are real; and if you have yours already, happy and safe riding to you!
If you are an owner, I would love to hear how you have experienced your machine and/or if you have found any hacks, accessories, or other tidbits that will make our Sondor experience that much better.
*Below are a few bikes from over the years, including my first bike, a Honda Nighthawk 250, another Honda Nighthawk that I was going to try and restore *ha ha ha*, a vintage-looking 2003 Triumph Bonneville T-100, my brief fling with a 2003 Ducati Monster, my fun phase with the 2004 Piaggio Vespa, and my dear sweet 1989 Yamaha Radian. Such good times. You can see a complete album through the years here.