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24-HOUR SURRON PROJECT: THE FEED

by News7

Gas-powered motorcycles currently dominate the off-road endurance racing world, but with electric bike technology progressing rapidly, could we be in for a changing of the guard in the near future? Kade and his dedicated crew at KC Powersports in San Juan Capistrano, California, think it’s possible and set out to show the world at last year’s 3 Bros Racing 24-Hour Endurance Race held at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, California.

Surron built the Storm Bee to be a trail bike, not a race bike, but no one told the KC Powersports crew that.
Surron makes a variety of two-wheeled electric models. Most people are familiar with the Light Bee or the Ultra Bee that you might see the younger generation ripping around your local neighborhood. The Storm Bee is an entirely different machine; well, in theory, it is, but it does share the same technology and uses some of the same components. But, unlike the other models, Surron’s Storm Bee shares more resemblance to gas-powered off-road motorcycles on the market today.

Surron designed the Storm Bee as a trail bike. We don’t think they ever had any intentions of racing it, but Kade and his KC Powersports crew thought otherwise and approached Surron with the idea. Much to their delight, the CEO of Surron was all in and backed the project. With the okay from Surron, the real work started.

Unlike an internal-combustion-engine-powered motorcycle where you stop at the local gas station to get go-juice, the KC Powersports team had to figure out how many batteries they would need, and how they were going to change and recharge said batteries in the middle of a 24-hour off-road with limited access to ample amounts of electricity. The team would use six stock batteries in rotation during the 24-hour event, changing one every lap around the little-over-10-mile racecourse that took roughly about 30 minutes to complete. Once the battery was removed from the race bike, it would immediately go on a charger so that it would be ready to use again when the time came.

After the KC Motorsports team completed the 24-Hour, they let us have the Storm Bee for some off-road fun.
Kade commented, “We got our battery changes down in time to about what most of our gas-powered competitors without quick-fill systems were able to perform.” But imagine, the battery swap had to happen about every 30 minutes for 24 hours straight. Now that is dedication to the cause!

AHM Factory Services reworked the stock Storm Bee’s suspension components. In stock form, the shock was overpowering the fork, causing the front end to be unpredictable. So, AHM went down a few spring rates on the shock, and re-valved it internally to slow down the action to give it a more connected feel to the ground. Up front they went the other direction by basically building a mid-valve circuit and adding preload to create more hold-up giving the bike a more balanced overall feel.

Other than making sure the Storm Bee had enough charge in the batteries, as well as the AHM suspension modifications, there were only a few additional items the KC Powersports crew used on their Surron during the 24-hour event. Those items included a wheelset built by Woody’s Wheels using the stock Surron hubs, but with upgraded spokes and rims wrapped in Dunlop AT81 tires with heavy-duty tubes for flat prevention. Not pictured on the bike we got to ride, but used during the event was a set of SRT wraparound hand guards. For the night time portion of the race the stock headlight and a variation of helmet lights on each rider was used, Kade mentioned for the next event that would not be the case and they will definitely be looking to upgrade.

History was made for electric bikes. The KC Motorsports team rode a Surron Storm Bee to the finish, rotating batteries and completing the 24 hours of Glen Helen.
We have the KC Powersports race bike in the shop right now, and we were definitely surprised when we finally got to ride it. There are multiple power delivery options and a turbo button, so naturally we wanted the most power possible. Just like most electric motorcycles, the power is instant right off bottom, with the main hit right away and then slowly building up to a top speed of around 70–75 mph. Unlike a gas-powered motorcycle, once you are at higher speeds, there is no chopping the throttle and popping the clutch to get over something; you gotta plow through it and hope for the best.

With a short list of modifications, KC Powersports managed to defy the odds and set a world record in the process.
Another characteristic that takes some getting used to is to have both brakes be hand-operated; not having a rear brake pedal located by our right foot is just odd. The brakes work well on the Storm Bee. With the lack of engine braking, we found that when applying just the rear brake under hard braking the bike got pretty loose, but using the front and rear brakes simultaneously kept the bike under control, making it spot a lot quicker.

AHM did a great job balancing the bike to make it off-road-ready. We had a blast on the KC Powersports-built Storm Bee and love the possibilities it opens up for the sport. Who knows, in the coming years we could see a Surron electric motorcycle on the top step of the 24-Hour Endurance Race podium.

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