Electric motorcycles are about as close to real life Tron as you can get without tying an orange bed sheet to the back of your bike and only ever turning at 90 degree angles. Riding one is an experience akin to gliding around on a ghostly steed, the only sound the quiet rumble of rubber on tarmac, as well as the occasional beeping of the horn as you alert oblivious pedestrians to your approach.
There’s something to be said for the sonorous growl of a planet-destroying combustion engine, sure, but even better is zooming around London in near total silence, fuelled only by a bucket of electrons coerced into doing our bidding by raw human ingenuity.
If Greta Thunberg wanted to pop a wheelie in front of stunned UN representatives, it would be on this, the Super Soco TC Max. This is the fourth electric bike from Super Soco (a company that still has nothing to do with water pistols), joining the original Super Soco TS, CUX and TC.
The angular TS looks like it could’ve arrived out of a wormhole from the near future. The CUX is a practical electric moped. The TC is more classically styled, and modelled after the café racers of the 1960s. And now the latest in the range, the TC Max is a larger and faster variant of the original TC, with a new top speed of 58mph.
As somebody who once blindly followed his satnav on to the A40 flyover riding a moped with all the horsepower of a cordless hoover, that extra juice is more than welcome. But way before you approach that kind of speed, the TC Max feels fast and nimble.
This is a zippy bike, and very entertaining to explore the city on. Unlike petrol engines, the electric motor dumps torque into the rear wheel at once, so rather than revving up you get immediate bite at the slightest twist of the throttle.
Three speed settings limit how fast the bike will go, and help to prolong the range. Super Soco says the bike will do 60 miles in ideal conditions. I got between 30 and 40. The battery can be removed from the bike, immobilising it and allowing you to charge indoors. It weighs about as much as a bowling ball, and is easy enough to lug around for short distances.
Charging is a bit of a bother and usually an overnight task, taking seven hours to fully juice up. At £3,999 there are a lot of sensible alternatives to the TC Max – more convenient, faster, higher quality bikes – but none of them will be as attention-grabbing as this retro-styled, battery-powered silent stunner. The TC Max is ridiculously good fun.