Over the past few months, I’ve heard a lot about the New Talaria Sting and how it compares to the popular Sur-Ron Light Bee. A lot of people were impressed with it, so I decided to do some research to see if there were any notable differences, and… I did find some significant upgrades that I’d like to describe here, so let’s get started.
Who is Tararia?
I’m always skeptical of any new company that seems to copy a popular product, but after some digging, Talaria has been importing the Sting for over a year now. The name Talaria means “sandal with wings” in Latin, in reference to the Roman god Mercury, who could fly fast because of his magical wings on his sandals. “Talaria Power Technology Chongqing Co., Ltd.” has an office in Hong Kong, but almost all of its business is in Chongqing, which is located in the mountains of central China.
There are two main differences between Sur-Ron and Talaria, as well as several minor differences. The first big problem is that the Talaria’s main drive is gear driven, and I’ll explain why I like that.
Electric motorcycles must utilize every cubic inch of space in the frame to maximize the power and range of the battery pack. This means that it is very important to keep the size of the motor as compact as possible. One way to get high power from a compact motor is to spin it up to very high RPMs. However, if you do this, it becomes much more difficult to pack the reduction in revs between the motor and the rear wheel. There are practical mechanical limitations on the size of the drive pulley as well as the size of the final drive sprocket.
Both the Sur-Ron and Talaria use double-stage reduction. Once the rev reduction is split into two stages, the pulleys and sprockets become smaller, and then more affordable and usable sizes can be found. This is especially important for the second stage of the rear wheel, as this is where customers can often easily swap out different sprockets in order to tune their ride to their specific preferences. Smaller final drive sprockets provide higher top speed, while larger final drive sprockets provide lower rpm wheel torque.
Sur-Ron chose a toothed belt drive for primary reduction, most likely because belts are generally quieter than chains. This was an adequate choice for stock Light Bees, but once they started being imported in large numbers, hobbyists started upgrading the power of their Sur-Rons, which made the belts wear out faster.
The immediate upgrade is to switch from the stock HTD belts to the slightly wider and thicker Gates-GT4. However, Sur-Ron owners are starting to crank up the Light Bee’s power to pretty crazy levels, and these electric motorcycles have seemingly limitless opportunities for upgrades and customization.
For high power, the Sur-Ron main drive has the option of a kit to convert it to a chain drive, using a #420 chain and sprocket, or a #219 Kart chain and sprocket.
In the photo above you can see the stock HTD pulley and toothed belt.
The second reason that using two stages is better is that it makes it easy to have the middle “intermediate shaft” perfectly aligned with the axis of the swingarm pivot. This means that as the rear suspension cycles up and down, the tension on the final drive chain remains constant.
Talaria chose to use helical gears for the primary reduction and they are protected within the housing as they rotate under sealed lubrication. Because the teeth are angled, they run much quieter than cheaper straight-cut steel gears. It took me a while to find this teardown picture that confirms that the gear is a helical gear. Image courtesy of YouTube channel
The picture above shows the motor and primary gear drive. Over time the chain stretches and the belt wears out, but…a sealed, lubricated gear drive should extend the life of the motorcycle in addition to being stronger.
The second major upgrade to the Talaria Sting MX4 “R” over the Sur-Ron Light Bee is that they built-in permanent magnet (IPM) motor. Both the Sur-Ron and the base model Talaria Sting MX3 use affordable “surface mount” magnets called surface permanent magnets (SPM) in their rotors. The “R” version is a huge upgrade, and I’ll explain what it is.
A popular way to temporarily increase power when the motor is accelerating under load is to use a high-performance controller that can deliver more AMPS for a few seconds without overheating. Once you’re driving with a more steady load, the components can have some time to cool down. Dirt bikes are slightly different than street bikes in that they can spend more time under heavy load and less time cooling down when crawling off-road trails.
The fact that the permanent magnet magnetizes the steel to a certain depth if a thin piece of steel is placed between the permanent magnet and the stator allows engineers to place the magnet a little further away from the eddy currents around the air gap of the motor.
The steel in the rotor is made of thin laminations that are magnetically and electrically isolated from each other by a thin coating. This makes them very resistant to waste heat from eddy currents. Since the magnets are solid blocks of material (not made from laminated layers), they do experience some eddy current waste heat as they approach the air gap between the stator and rotor.
The magnet’s susceptibility to eddy heat is one of the limits to how many amps you can use and for how long you can use those amps. The “R” model motors can take more current and take longer than the Sur-Ron motors or the base model Talaria’s MX3 motors.
The picture above is from the teardown video Compare Sur-Ron’s motor to Talaria’s Base model motor. Surface mount magnets are clearly visible on both.
Here is a picture of Talaria’s “R” IPM motor rotor with magnets embedded in the lamination stack. The Bafang BBSHD motor, the Zero Motorcycles Z-Force 75-7 motor, and the Tesla Model-3 motor (among many others) do just that.
Both ‘regular’ bikes use 60V, but the Talaria has a higher battery capacity of 45Ah, while the Sur-Ron has a 34Ah battery. And, as long as we talk about batteries, for those customers with deep pockets, owners report that the most dynamic power upgrade is the switch to a 72V battery and controller.
You can get more range or a higher voltage if you don’t mind the upgraded battery being taller and taller.here is one 60V / 63-Ah battery for one of Chibatterysystems’ motorcycles (called the Titan). This option provides longer travel, but does not require you to replace the controller.
For the highly recommended (but expensive) 72V option, You can buy a 72V/57-Ah battery pack from EBMX for up to $3100 (72V controller not included).
Sur-Ron has a head start of over a year in developing third-party parts upgrades compared to Talaria, but any company that has been making upgrades for Sur-Ron seems to be quick to jump in and add Talaria upgrades to their catalog as well.
The seat and seat riser allow for height adjustment, and the handlebar riser and pins allow the bike’s ergonomics to be customized to better fit each rider.
Both the Sur-Ron and Talaria have extensive rear shock and fork options to upgrade and customize ride response. Brakes remain one of the most popular upgrades, and depending on your budget and riding intensity, there are dozens of options to suit your needs.
The current price for a Talaria model “R” on Luna Cycle is $4500, which includes a gear-driven primary, a larger battery, and an IPM motor. Several importers offer the less expensive base model Sur-Ron Light bee, but with the upgraded Sur-Ron “X” at $4350, the Talaria is still more powerful for just $150 more.
The Sur-Ron Light Bee is selling well, and it has opened up a huge market in the US and around the world, allowing thousands of riders to experience the joy of a powerful yet lightweight electric dirt bike. Its sales numbers are well-deserved, and if you can find them in stock, some retailers are advertising the lowest-powered version for $3,600 during special sales. The upgraded Sur-Ron “X” and the base model Talaria MX3 appear to be somewhat similar in price and features, except that the Talaria has a geared primary instead of a belt, and the Talaria has a larger battery.
However, if you want to future-proof your purchase power upgrade, in my humble opinion, the IPM motor on the Talaria “R” version is worth the extra cost. It starts off more powerful than any of the Sur-Ron Light Bee models, and it has plenty of headroom to add more amps than Sur-Ron’s stock motors in the future…though, to be fair…whatever Which one can benefit from an expensive 72V mod.
All Luna Cycles Talaria Model “R” motorcycles are sold out through April 2023 and are currently available for pre-order and expected to ship by the end of May. If you want one, you have to get one when it’s available.
By Ron/spinningmagnets, April 2023