SONDORS E-Bike Review 2024: Insights on Lineup, Financial Struggles, and Purchase Advice
SONDORS is a lesser-known e-bike and electric motorcycle brand based in the US.
As of November 2023, the company has a portfolio of seven electric bikes and one e-motorbike, most of which are out of stock at the moment due to instability within the company, which we discuss below.
SONDORS e-bikes cover five categories, including folding, all-terrain, mountain, cruiser, and motorcycle-style. In addition, the company has one e-motorbike, the MetaCycle.
The products look unique and have decent components, albeit at slightly inflated pricing. However, reported financial problems and unfulfilled orders mean we hesitate to recommend the brand at this time.
This SONDORS e-bike review will discuss the brand, outline its recent financial struggles, overview the current lineup, and finish with our thoughts on whether or not you should buy from the company.
About SONDORS Electric Bikes
SONDORS was founded by Storm (Ivars) Sondors in 2015, and since then, claims to have sold e-bikes in 72 countries. The company’s mission is “revolutionizing the way the world views affordable electric transportation for the masses.”
In the past, SONDORS has worked with Costco as a distributor, but it appears the partnership has ended, likely due to the brand’s issues with financing and supply.
As of year-end 2023, SONDORS bikes are only available to buy online through the company site, and only two of the seven e-bikes are purchasable (Smart Step and Fold X), confirming the brand’s struggle. Likewise, the MetaCycle electric motorcycle isn’t available to purchase anymore.
SONDORS’ attempt to enter the electric motorbike market has been unsuccessful so far, and this failure looks like it could bring about the end of the business.
Product Release Failure and Financial Trouble
Since its founding in 2015, SONDORS has had modest success as an electric bike company. On the back of this success, the CEO announced his plans to expand into an adjacent market of electric motorbikes.
This announcement came in 2021, and since then, things have gone from bad to worse for SONDORS. The initial announcement detailed an e-motorbike with impressive features and an even better $5,000 price tag. However, the ‘pre-ordering’ was actually a fundraising attempt. Additionally, the design and price were not finalized, which is a stunt they pulled with their first e-bike release.
After delays of around a year on the initial timeline and many unhappy pre-order buyers, the MetaCycle began shipping with significantly less impressive specs than the original design promise. In addition, most of those who ordered the bike didn’t receive one.
Meanwhile, the SONDORS support team stopped replying to customer complaints, and the headquarters in Los Angeles closed its doors, indicating the beginning of the end for the brand.
Despite this trouble, they still tried to kickstart another electric motorcycle project, the MetaBeast, and they tried and failed to take the company public in another attempt to improve the financial situation.
Again, as of year-end 2023, SONDORS seems to have used up all of its options to survive. To us, it looks like they’re selling off the remaining stock, given only two of the seven e-bikes are available to buy, but we will wait to see how the situation develops.
SONDORS Bikes: Pros and Cons
Despite the troubling situation at SONDORS, their e-bikes are relatively popular among owners, so here we will detail some things we like and dislike about the lineup.
SONDORS Electric Bike Lineup Overview
The full SONDORS lineup features eight models (including one e-motorbike) across five categories. For this overview, we’ve separated the bikes by style so it’s easier for you to find the one you need.
The brand’s ‘all-terrain’ category consists of one bike, the SONDORS X. Full price, the bike costs an eye-watering $2,259, despite having a hub motor and largely unbranded build kit. However, the sale price is $999, which is a bargain (if it comes back into stock).
The beastly 4.9″ fat tires will easily eat up soft terrain, but technical tracks should be avoided on a heavy (67lb) and bulky rigid fat bike like this.
In our opinion, the 500W motor is slightly underpowered, but the 17.5Ah battery will provide ranges of 40 to 60 miles, plenty for the needs of most riders.
Overall, the SONDORS X could be a good choice if you’re looking for a budget-friendly fat-tire e-bike.
Folding Electric BikesFolding e-bikes are SONDORS’ most popular category, with three options: 350W, 500W, and 750W. All three have fat tires (3-inch or 4-inch), 7-speed gearing, and mechanical or hydraulic disc brakes.
- Smart Step
- Fold X
- Fold XS
One strange feature of the cheapest build, the SONDORS Smart Step, is the use of 27.5″ wheels. This is the only folding e-bike we’ve seen with wheels of this diameter, meaning the bike will be much less compact but more comfortable, stable, and efficient.
The folding SONDORS e-bikes weigh between 65 and 70lb, so they’re not great for multimodal commuting that involves lifting the bikes onto public transit or up stairs. However, they’re handy for taking on road trips or storing in a small space at home.
Electric Mountain Bikes
SONDORS offers two distinct electric mountain bikes: the MXS hardtail and the Rockstar full suspension. They are priced at $2,699 and $3,499, which is entry-level pricing, and this is reflected in the use of own-brand “SONDORS Shocks” suspension components.
Both models run on 27.5″ wheels wrapped in plus-sized 3″ Maxxis High Roller tires. This setup isn’t the most efficient on mountain trails, but it provides ample traction and comfort.
The MXS electric bike by SONDORS has a 7-speed Shimano Altus drivetrain, a 750W hub motor, and a 17.5Ah battery that returns 40 to 60 miles of range. In contrast, the Rockstar has 11-speed gearing, a 750W mid-drive motor, and a large 21Ah battery, resulting in a high weight of 83lb.
Overall, the SONDORS mountain bikes seem slightly overpriced for the spec they offer, but the sale price is appealing, should they come back into stock.
SONDORS Signature Electric Bikes
The Signature SONDORS electric bike category consists of two contrasting e-bikes: a comfortable and functional cruiser-style model and a stylish yet impractical motorcycle-style e-bike.
The SONDORS Cruiser is the second of two mid-drive options on the lineup. It has a huge 21Ah battery, 3″ Vee Tire Speedster tires on 27.5″ wheels, Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, and 7-speed gearing. We feel these components aren’t enough to justify the price tag.
The MadMods is an expensive e-bike at full price, costing $3,499. It has 24″ wheels wrapped in 4″ fat tires, 7-speed gearing, a 21Ah battery, and a 750W hub motor. Again, this is another model that doesn’t justify its price, with more affordable options available from Ride1UP or Super73.
These two models are among those currently out of stock, but if the brand pulls through and manages to start producing them again, keep an eye out for their sale price.
MetaCycle SONDORS Electric Motorcycle
The SONDORS MetaCycle is not an e-bike; it’s an electric motorbike. This ambitious attempt at delivering a high-performance, affordable e-motorbike at scale likely led to the downfall of SONDORS.
The final version, which only shipped to a small percentage of those who pre-purchased it, includes a huge 400oWh, 72V battery powering an 8kW motor. With this setup, the max range is around 60 miles, and the top speed is 60mph (sustained).
The MetaCycle weighs 300lb, looks futuristic, and has handy features like a phone case with wireless charging. However, the failure to deliver on pre-purchased orders means we’d recommend avoiding this bike should it ever come back in stock.
1. Who makes SONDORS bikes?
SONDORS bikes are manufactured in Asia alongside all of the major direct-to-consumer e-bike brands. The brand uses a “made-to-order” approach, which means if you order one, you must wait 90 to 120 days for it to be manufactured and delivered from overseas.
2. How long does a SONDORS battery last?
A SONDORS battery should last three to five years, depending on usage. The brand doesn’t specify how many charge cycles its batteries return, so it’s impossible to say specifically. With proper care and maintenance, an e-bike battery can last several years.
3. Is SONDORS a US company?
SONDORS is a US company previously headquartered in Los Angeles, California. However, the headquarters is now permanently closed. The company claims to have shipped to 42 countries, but this claim isn’t substantiated by any facts. The bikes are manufactured in factories in Asia.
4. How long has SONDORS been in business?
SONDORS has been in business since 2015, when it first began an Indigogo Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund production of its first bike, a low-power fat-tire e-bike. In typical fashion, the brand over-promised and under-delivered, and many buyers took several months to receive their bikes.
5. How fast does a SONDORS e-bike go?
SONDORS e-bikes can go as fast as 28mph. However, some of the less powerful models are limited to 20mph or 25mph. The SONDORS Cruiser and Rockstar have a 28mph limit, the MadMods has a 25mph limit, and the rest are limited to 20mph.
Final Thoughts: Should You Buy a SONDORS E-Bike?
Our review of SONDORS electric bikes tells a damning tale of a founder who, on multiple occasions, has made promises that are wildly exaggerated and misleading.
The unfortunate buyers who have not received their bikes or have pre-purchased a bike with a specific spec and received one with inferior performance should be a warning to anyone who plans to buy from this company.
While some of their e-bikes have been shipped and worked well on arrival, the lack of support offered by SONDORS means you’ll be on your own if your bike experiences issues.
All things considered, we would avoid SONDORS bikes and consider one of the many high-integrity electric bike brands that value their customers and provide reliable products and customer support when necessary.