The CSC City Slicker is an urban electric motorcycle designed to be ultra-affordable. Now that I’ve got about 200 miles on my City Slicker electric motorcycle, I can firmly say that you can’t find another e-moto out there that can do more for less. This thing has been an absolute hoot to ride. Read on to see why.
CSC City Slicker electric motorcycle
CSC is a motorcycle company based in Azusa, California. They have offered an impressive line of budget gas bikes for years. Last year they made the wise decision to get with the times and add an electric motorcycle to their line up.
All of their bikes come from Zongshen, which is well-known as one of the best light motorcycle builders in China. And before you go grumbling about Chinese manufacturing, consider that market-leading electric motorcycles like those from Zero and Lightning have a large portion (if not a majority) of their parts made in China at respectable factories. Just look up Zongshen and CSC. People rave about their quality for the affordable price. And after a few months of riding the City Slicker, I can see why.
This bike has been an absolute joy. And for the cost of even a fairly basic electric bicycle, you get a much more capable (and fun!) commuter vehicle.
Technically even though the City Slicker retails for $2,495, you’re likely looking at closer to $2,800 including applicable registration fees, inspection, etc. But that’s still pretty amazing for a capable little urban electric motorcycle.
For those that want to see the CSC City Slicker in action, check out my video review below. Then keep reading below for all the juicy details.
An electric motorcycle in a box
If you happen to live near LA then you could pick up your City Slicker at the dealer. For the rest of us, ordering it is a surprisingly simple process. You just buy it online and it just shows up in a box — all with free shipping.
It’s actually kind of funny, and it felt like I just went on Amazon and bought an electric motorcycle. A truck showed up to my apartment, dropped off a pallet box and I had a new electric motorcycle. Easy peasy.
If you’re the kind of person that enjoys unboxing videos, here’s mine.
CSC City Slicker performance
The City Slicker is a blast to ride, but you have to keep in mind that it is designed as an urban bike. I mean, it’s got “city” right there in the name.
As such, the top speed is just 74 km/h (46 mph).
It hits that top speed quickly though! When you twist the throttle, the City Slicker takes off like an electric bat out of hell. I’d say that it could out accelerate some popular gas sport bikes off the line, at least for the first couple seconds until they can spool up. Not having any gears to shift also makes the City Slicker incredibly easy to ride. You can take full advantage of that acceleration when all you have to do is hold on and enjoy the ride.
The swingarm-mounted motor is rated at 3.2 kW, but I put my power meter on it and found that it was really pulling 4.3 kW (5.8 hp). That might not sound like a lot compared to most motorcycles, but keep in mind that this thing only weighs 98 kg (216 lb). The torquey motor gets this bike moving quickly right off the line. It’s not quite enough to lift the front wheel, but that’s probably a good thing considering this will likely be a first motorcycle for a lot of people.
The removable 72V 26Ah battery is good for 1.9 kWh of energy. I ride the bike hard and fast in Power mode, which gives me around 50 km (30 mi) of range. In Eco mode you can expect to get closer to 65 km (40 mi) of range.
But I like to take it on the local (smaller) highways and spend a lot of time at top speed, which doesn’t help maximize range. Neither does gunning it when the light turns green, which I’m also guilty of quite often. When you have the power, it’s hard to resist the temptation!
One thing to note is that the performance of the City Slicker wasn’t always this sporty. When I first got the bike, the acceleration and roll on throttle were much more muted. The original controller profile was quite conservative. It gave me better battery life, but it limited speed and power. I offered to work with CSC on hot rodding the controller, and together with the engineers at Zongshen we modified the programming to take better advantage of the motor’s power. Now with the updated controller, this thing flies! I used to just give it full throttle right off the line, much like an electric bicycle. Now there’s so much power that you have to modulate the throttle responsibly.
I’m told by CSC that all new City Slickers from now on will come standard with this upgraded controller programming, and that City Slickers already on the road can be upgraded with a controller swap, if owners desire the higher performance.
The lights are certainly visible and no one will miss you. But they aren’t sufficient for lighting your path in the distance on a totally blacked out road without street lights. The high beam helps, but it just doesn’t throw far enough to be riding top speed in the pitch darkness. But again, this is an urban bike and there aren’t many places without street lights that you can find in a city.
How well does it ride?
The ride is surprisingly nice. I assumed that the brakes and suspension would be lacking, as is often the case on budget bikes. But the components are surprisingly good quality. The hydraulic brakes are dual piston up front and single piston in the rear, and don’t give me that weak feeling I’ve found on other budget bikes. I can easily lock the wheels and the levers are quite comfortable. I say levers, plural, because you get two. There’s no foot brake on the Slick. The right lever control’s the front brake like on any normal motorcycle, but the left lever is the rear brake instead of a clutch. To some people that might take some getting used to. For me it was pretty intuitive since I’ve been riding electric bicycles and scooters for years.
There’s also regenerative braking, though it isn’t incredibly strong. You can feel it kick in, but it’s not overpowering. I’ve ridden some bikes where the regen felt like you tossed out a parachute and could practically bring the bike to a stop by itself. On the Slick, you’ll still be using your pads on stops, though the regen will help extend their lifetime.
Speaking of comfortable, the suspension is comfortable enough. I certainly would not describe it as plush, but it isn’t overly harsh either. The rear shock has adjustable preload and the Slick even has an inverted fork up front. I definitely didn’t expect the components to be this good on a budget electric motorcycle.
The seat could be a bit more comfortable, but I’m a bit spoiled from my cushy scooter seats. For a sport bike (or as much as a 46 mph bike can be a “sport bike”), the seat is par for the course.
One thing to note is that the City Slicker is a bit small. I’ve seen riders over 180 cm (6 ft) ride it comfortably, but it isn’t a big bike. The seat height is just over 76.2 cm (30 in) and the wheels are scooter-sized with 12 inch tires. For you electric bicycle guys out there, motorbike tires are measured at the wheel, not the outside of the tire like bicycles. So the full diameter of the tire is closer to 18 inches. It’s still pretty small, compared to most electric motorcycles. As good as the suspension is, you’ll still sink further into pot holes so its best to avoid them when possible.
Some people will call this a scooter instead of a motorcycle due to the dual brake levers and smaller wheels. At certain point we’re debating semantics. But considering that you mount it and ride it like a motorcycle, and that it feels more like a motorcycle, that’s what I’m calling it.
How convenient is it?
The City Slicker’s convenience will totally depend on your needs. As an urban electric motorcycle, it fulfills its niche beautifully. I live in the city and I have never felt like I needed to go faster than 74 km/h (46 mph). Just for kicks, I took it on a larger highway posted 50 mph. I owned the right lane for one exit and considered the experiment complete. While the Slick gave me what I asked, I don’t think the bike is at home on larger highways.
I keep it to roads posted 40 mph or less most of the time now. It’s nice to know I can hit 74 km/h (46 mph) when I need to, but this is predominately an urban/suburban ride. If you need to ride on interstates then you might want to shell out another $8-$10 grand for a Lightning Strike or Zero S.
The City Slicker has pillion pegs and the seat is large enough for a passenger, though my wife only agreed to hop on with me for two minutes to film that clip in the video above. So I can say that the bike can easily carry a passenger, though I don’t have a lot of experience with it.
The “tank” on the bike is actually a decently large storage area. It can fit the bulky charger and still have room for your gloves, keys, wallet, phone and three or four bananas.
Another thing to note is that the City Slicker will be considered a motorcycle in pretty much every state that I’m aware of. That means that you’ll likely need a motorcycle license (and perhaps insurance, depending on your state laws) to ride it. I purchased a minimum coverage plan for $30/month which is actually fairly high compared to many other states. Thanks Massachusetts.
Getting a motorcycle license is usually fairly painless. You’ll need to take a two-day Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) course in many states, which is usually offered over the weekend. I highly recommend the course anyways because you’ll learn some great riding techniques and safety lessons. You’ll have to learn and be evaluated on a gas bike, which is kind of silly for people like us that just want to ride electric. But you get through it in a couple of days and pop out the other side with a license.
Another convenience factor is charging. If you park in a garage and have access to a wall outlet, charging is a piece of cake. Just plug the charger into the exterior socket on the City Slicker and listen to that charger purr. There’s no Level 2 or 3 charging support, so expect an overnight 6-8 hour charge. The charger is only a 5A charger, so I’m interested in trying out a 10A charger to see if I can cut that charge time in half.
If you’re like me and live in an apartment building without a wall outlet to plug into, you’ll need to bring your battery inside to charge. The battery weighs 16 kg (35 lb), which is about the heaviest I’d want a battery to be before I don’t really consider it manageable anymore. It has two carry handles on it to help with maneuvering it.
Removing the battery isn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done. This is one area where you can tell the bike is more budget-level. Whereas my $4,300 GenZe 2.0f electric scooter has a nicely designed one button battery release, the $2,495 City Slicker has a much longer battery removal process. You have to unscrew the battery door on the side of the bike, turn the key while wiggling the battery to release the battery lock, unplug the battery wires, remove the battery locking strap from the top of the battery, then slide the battery out. The whole process takes about a minute and isn’t terrible, but it’s just not a quick one-button operation.
Considering all the other advantages of the City Slicker, I can forgive the slightly involved battery removal process.
I am quite happy with the CSC City Slicker. Considering I live in an urban area and don’t take roads that require speeds faster than 74 km/h (46 mph), it can do everything I need.
I wouldn’t mind a little more storage space, but it is a motorcycle after all. Storage isn’t what these vehicles are built for. You could probably add some aftermarket saddle bags or cases if that’s important to you. I just wear a backpack when I go grocery shopping.
All in all I’m having a blast on my City Slicker. I can tear away at stop lights, climb hills quickly and corner aggressively. What more can you ask for from such an affordable electric motorcycle?
What do you think of the CSC City Slicker electric motorcycle? Let us know in the comments below, and visit www.CSCmotorcycles.com to get your own!
Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.