The low-cost 80 mph (130 km/h) SONDORS Metacycle may be one of the most highly anticipated electric motorcycles of the year, but that huge spotlight also shines a light on controversies surrounding its delayed production.
Originally intended to roll out by the end of this year, the delivery timeline was briefly moved up to Q3 of 2021 before again being pushed back to the end of the year.
As the end of 2021 approached though, it began to look increasingly unlikely that the $5,000 electric motorcycle would make it into reservation holders’ driveways in time.
On cue, just last month the company’s CEO Storm Sondors confirmed that production was now updated to begin in mid-February, with the first bikes beginning to ship out of Asia by the end of that month. Initial receipt of bikes on US shores was then claimed to start by the end of March, and the entire first batch of 2,000 electric motorcycles would be produced by April 6.
Now that timeframe has been drawn into question, as several Metacycle reservation holders have shared with Electrek a new email update from the company with a longer timeline.
The company explained to customers in the email that they could now expect the bikes to arrive at their addresses by June:
As one of our preferential first round owners, we want to keep you informed on the latest shipping estimates. Founder & CEO Storm Sondors shared this exclusive update at the LA Auto Show: production of the first 2,000 units will be completed by April, with shipping to customers in the US expected to begin by June, 2022.*
That asterisk then leads to a shipping disclaimer that has become common in the e-bike market:
Shipping estimates are our current best estimate working with continually changing timelines. All estimates are subject to updates in either direction, depending on global shortages, setbacks and complications affecting our global manufacturing, supply chain and shipping partners.
We reported on Storm’s interview at the LA Auto Show where he did in fact confirm that production would begin in February of 2022 and that the first 2,000 units would be finished by April. However, the delivery timeline for US customers was quoted as being much rosier, beginning in March.
In actuality, many shipping containers have taken more than two months to complete what was previously a three-week trip from Asia to the US West Coast. Thus, this new longer timeline is likely a more accurate estimate of true delivery expectations based on the current shipping constraints for international sea freight.
The email was also one of the first pieces of Metacycle marketing or communication to feature new artwork of the updated design.
When the Metacycle was first unveiled, its sleek and futuristic design impressed the industry but drew questions about how much of the design could make its way into a street-legal motorcycle.
Late last month we reported exclusive photos showing the latest production-ready version of the Metacycle with several key design updates intended to fulfill DOT requirements. Changes were largely aesthetic, such as the inclusion of new lights, reflectors, and a license plate holder.
However, the battery department also seemed to be redesigned with a larger shelf to hold the removable battery.
You can see the design changes in the image comparison below.
Now SONDORS has started using the updated design in its marketing emails and website, though many of the original concept images can still be found around the pre-order site.
The pre-order page shows the new design and retains the $5,000 price (not including delivery charges or tax), but Sondors previously indicated that the price is likely to increase to $6,500 at some point.
As painful as it likely is for Metacycle reservation holders to know they’ll now be waiting until at least June of next year, I think this is a more reasonable estimate.
When I first covered Storm’s new delivery timeline last month, I noted that it was fairly optimistic to expect to receive the bikes in the US just one month after leaving Asia. With current backlogs in ports, even two months would be seen as a quick turnaround.
Of course those new shipping realities are outside of SONDORS’ control, but it still would be nice to see more conservative estimates that don’t needlessly raise hopes for earlier-than-likely deliveries.
It’s also good to see the new imagery being used on the site and in marketing materials, since the new design certainly has several key differences from the flashy concept bike.
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