2015 - 2016 LITO Sora
With every new entry into the electric motorcycle sector, the industry gets stronger and more viable as a whole. LITO Green Motion based in Quebec, Canada, jumps head first into the deep end with its own contender for the luxury sub-section of this burgeoning industry.
The Sora is a collection of top-shelf devices and features meant to appeal to the more well-heeled among us with a price tag to match, leaving other companies with products and prices well into the entry-level range to take care of the unwashed masses yearning to ride clean. Though this isn’t the first so-named “luxury” bike — Energica puts out a few bikes that meet the criteria — it does represent a viable competitor for the top slot, and so signals a certain depth and maturity for the electric sector as a whole. All good stuff for those of us rooting for clean transportation, even if most of us will never be able to afford, or at least be willing to pay for, such a luxe machine.
Continue reading for my review of the Sora.
2015 - 2016 LITO Sora
Engine:Liquid-cooled 3-phase AC induction
Top Speed:118 mph
Although the manufacturers of electric bikes have plenty of options and flexibility as far as layout is concerned, most of them cleave to something close to the standard smoker-bike format. So it is with the Sora, and before you argue that it looks very little like any existing bikes I would direct you to the Lotus C-01. I think we can agree that the two have a similar, aircraft-engine nacelle-like main body with an almost afterthought-class saddle suspended over thin air atop the rear wheel, and so the Sora looks like at least one other bike in the world. Carbon fiber forms the headlamp housing, body panels and big fuel tank bump. Of course, the “fuel tank” is a lie, but it does make the upper lines look like a “regular” bike, and the large bump really isn’t all that unlike the Ducati Diavel. Seat position is electrically adjustable between what the factory calls “custom” (29.5 inches) or “sport” mode (33.5 inches). This moves the rider’s weight and shifts the center of gravity of the whole bike which changes the handling characteristics and comfort factor. One thing is for certain; anyone looking at this ride is going to know it’s something special.
Lightweight bones made of aircraft-grade, 6061-T6 aluminum form the skeleton, but you don’t get to see any of it other than the swingarm and steering head. Said steering head comes set at a 25-degree angle which is comparable to other current streetbikes, and it pushes the front wheel out for a 59-inch wheelbase. A pair of 43 mm Ohlins forks support the front end with fully adjustable ride quality parameters, and an Elka, coil-over monoshock springs off the swingarm to support the rear. Opposed-piston, four-pot calipers bind dual, 310 mm discs while the twin-pot rear caliper pinches a 250 mm disc, and all three discs come in a petal-cut profile that dissipates heat more efficiently than round discs and also provide a bit of self-cleaning ability. Machined aluminum rims round out the rolling chassis and mount the 17-inch hoops with a 120/70 up front and 180/55 in back.
A liquid-cooled, three-phase induction motor drives the Sora more or less silently down the road. Ok, it’s not completely silent, but it’s far too quiet for my taste in this age of the distracted driver. Touch-screen instrumentation shows a digital representation of the critical information and provides easy access to the onboard GPS function on its 5.7-inch screen. Power Control software gives the rider a choice of three separate modes for variable performance and battery life, with regenerative braking that turns the kinetic energy stored in the bike back into electrical energy and sends it back to the battery. Waste not, right? Some electric bikes out there run direct drives, and at least one uses a regular transmission and clutch for a more traditional riding experience and feel, but the Sora sports a CVT (continuously-variable transmission) for twist-and-forget operation.
Speed, range and recharge times are always the burning questions on electrics, and the Sora doesn’t seem to be quite as far along as some others on the market right now. The motor cranks out a total of 66.37 pound-feet of torque that is available as soon as you roll the “throttle” off its stop; enough to hurl bike and rider up to 60 mph in only 4 seconds. Yeah, you best be hangin’ on when you grab this tiger by the tail. Top speed is 118 mph – not the fastest, but fast enough – and you can expect to get roughly 120 miles out of the 12 kWh, lithium-polymer battery in urban driving, and over 60 miles at highway speeds. An onboard charger can bring the battery up to full in around 9 hours, a relative eternity, but Lito offers a quick-charge device that clefts that in trice for a much more reasonable 3-hours charge time.
Now for the bad news. At $77,000, this ride is out of reach for most of us. Oh, and that’s for the base model, and Lito offers plenty of upgrades that can drive that price up over $100,000. You read that right, the upgrade package alone costs more than the majority of the bikes on the road today. So, if you’re looking for some really fun “conspicuous consumption,” this might be the ride for you.
With such a premium sticker there can be no serious head-to-head here. Nothing comes close to the price, and though Energica offers its own luxury bike in the Ego and Ego45, looks are as different as chalk and cheese.
Victory’s Empulse carries something closer to the look of the Sora, but at a fraction of the price with a Pike’s Peak title under its belt to boot. Then there’s Zero with over a half-dozen products on offer and prices well down into the everyman range to include dirt, street and dual-sport models.
To be perfectly frank, someone looking at a Zero ain’t going to be looking at a Sora, and vice-versa, but if you like the idea of electric bikes, there are plenty down in the affordable range. In short, until the Lotus hits the streets, this bike is in a league of its own... so far.
“Coolbeans! I love it, love it, love it. Though way beyond my means, and looking almost a little too “George Lucas” for my taste, its just another example of how electrics are coming on. Maybe this is a tactic; to get the rich fat-cats on board with electrics to help defeat the fossil-fuel lobby that would dearly love to quash the whole thing and keep us hooked on dino-drippings? Whatever the case may be, progress is good, m’kay?”
My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “I don’t even want to touch something that expensive. It would just ruin me to fall in love with something I could never afford. It’s not really a competitor for a Brammo or Zero and it’s not really a sportbike like the Ego. I guess it just comes down to being a roadster or a cruiser. I love the adjustable electric seat and where else have you seen a seat height range of four inches? Usually, to get more than an inch or two, you have to head to the accessories catalog. That’s awesome."
|Motor:||Liquid-cooled 3-phase AC induction|
|Transmissions:||Belt final drive and CVT transmission|
|Torque Crank:||90 Nm (66.37 ft-lb, 0-6000rpm)|
|SORA top speed:||190 km/h (118 mph)|
|Energy storage:||12 kWh lithium-polymer battery modules with integrated Battery Management System, on-board charge, J1772 compatible|
|Power Control:||LITO advanced software,integrated computer, regenerative braking, 3 control modes (performance, normal, safe range)|
|Chassis:||Lightweight aluminum 6061-T6|
|Front suspension:||43 mm inverted cartridge fork. Fully adjustable.|
|Front wheel travel:||125 mm|
|Rear suspension:||Elka suspension fully adjustable. Aluminum swingarm.|
|Rear wheel travel:||127 mm|
|Wheels:||6-spoke lightweight machined aluminum|
|Front:||3.50 x 17″|
|Rear:||5.50 x 17″|
|Front brake:||Dual semi-floating 310 mm petal discs, radial-mount opposed 4-piston calipers 2-pad|
|Rear brake:||Single 250 mm petal disc, opposed 2-piston caliper|
|Wheelbase:||1498 mm (59.0 in.)|
|Seat Height:||Adjustable electric seat from 750 to 850mm (29.5 to 33.5 in.)|
|Weight:||260 kg (573.2 lbs.)|
|Recharge Time:||Approximately 9 hours|
|Instrumentation:||Digital unit with displays for: speedometer, battery charge level and warning lights, 5.7in. LCD with touch screen: GPS and LITO’s application, USB port|
|Range:||City 200 km, highway: more than 100 km|
Source: Sora Electric Superbike