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Turning heads with the Sundiro Honda S07 electric scooter

Great things do come in small packages

The Sundiro Honda S07 looks and rides like the perfect city e-scooter. PHOTO BY HANS BOSSHARD

It’s pretty common to see hype whenever a new product comes to market, especially in the automotive world when marketing makes sure products get swept off the factory floor. Being in the world of automotive journalism, you kind of get a knack for finding out if something new would indeed generate organic buzz around it.

Some of us at VISOR expected a lot of curiosity surrounding the Sundiro Honda S07, but not to the same level in actuality. The initial article we put up was received fairly well; several social media platforms were buzzing with questions; and I could feel a lot of eyes gaze on the scooter as I stopped at intersections. I’ve gotten loads of inquiries from other riders waiting at the lights, and an SUV driver even rolled down his window to ask about the scooter.

Well, we ourselves were curious if it lives up to the hype. Boy, were we pleasantly surprised.

It's no wonder everyone's fawning over the S07—the design is just well-executed. PHOTO BY HANS BOSSHARD

From the get-go, it’s incredibly easy to see why the e-scooter turns heads: It’s just so darned cute!

A snappy body line follows the scooter from the handlebars, down to the floor, and back up the taillights. The thick seat sits atop an angled pillar, contrasted against the black swingarm and the rear suspension that renders the bike floating above the rear wheel.

The front LED projectors complement the rest of the styling. PHOTOS BY HANS BOSSHARD

Looking at the bike from the front, the same floating concept is extended. Japanese-styled LED headlights adorn the front, with a small branded wind deflector up top by the handlebars. The LED signal and taillights are plenty bright even in direct sunlight, and the whole affair is choreographed by the LED display gracing the center of the cockpit.

The controls are very intuitive to use. PHOTOS BY HANS BOSSHARD

The controls feel very much like a scooter, with the same switchgear layout and feel that you’d come to expect from its combustion-engine brethren.

Remote start is a rare feature, even for cars and motorcycles. PHOTO BY HANS BOSSHARD

The keys are stylish but optional, as the key fob allows for keyless operation. You will need the key, however, to be able to pop the seat and take out the battery.

The battery lives in a compartment underneath the seat. PHOTO BY HANS BOSSHARD

The 48V 24Ah battery can be charged in situ or separately using the same Honda-branded adapter. Charge times were fairly brisk, roughly 4-6 hours to full.

This gives you a purported range of 70km (we did manage to eke out at least 40km before the battery indicator started to sag at full throttle). That’s more than enough for most people’s urban commutes, and you could probably get way more range if you didn’t go full steam all the time.

You can charge the battery on the bike, or take it with you to charge indoors. PHOTOS BY HANS BOSSHARD

I rode it a lot at full throttle, though. The 400W Bosch motor has so much torque to get you from a standstill that it takes the control of a liter bike to tame. But to go beyond 40km/h, you will have to keep the throttle firewalled.

The Bosch motor is fairly mighty, even at 400W. PHOTO BY HANS BOSSHARD

It’s perfectly happy at those higher speeds—frankly better than some Vespas I’ve tried out. The Sundiro felt planted the entire time, and it could take surface conditions most other heavier scooters could handle.

It will hit its rated max speed of 50km/h on flat ground with no headwind, but most other times I was happy to cruise and keep up with city traffic at 45km/h. Inclines don’t pose that much of a problem, but don’t expect to be able to go beyond 30km/h up a flyover ramp.

It’s because of that top speed that it’s classified as an L1b EV under LTO’s AO 2021-039. You don’t need a license or registration to use the bike, but a motorcycle helmet is mandatory. With the scooter’s 50kg curb weight and the speeds you can take it to, I wouldn’t entrust my brain with anything less anyway.

It’s for those very reasons that I wouldn’t take one on the bike lane either. A cyclist doing 20km/h with a 15kg bike stands no chance against a 50kg e-scooter doing 50km/h. There’s no need to, as the classification allows it to use all but limited-access thoroughfares provided you keep to the right.

The S07's pedals brought about some confusion to the uninitiated. PHOTO BY HANS BOSSHARD

So why, then, does a square crank-arm taper jut out of the side if it wasn’t meant to be an e-bike? That falls under many of the bike’s quirks thanks to it being developed primarily for the Chinese market.

While it does come with chains and pedals, it merely masquerades as an e-bike. PHOTO BY HANS BOSSHARD

Some provisions of GB17761-2018—China’s e-bike standard—shine through with the S07. The bike speedometer still only indicates 25km/h, as this is the original permitted maximum speed.

The 50kg weight and the 400W motor are also restrictions brought out from the Chinese standard, alongside a pedestrian alert beep that could be heard above 15km/h.

The pedals are fairly useless with their positioning combined with the bike’s weight and gearing, but they’re merely an excuse to pass standards (and are, thankfully, not required here).

The front and rear brakes and suspension make the bike feel agile yet planted regardless of whatever the road might throw your way. PHOTOS BY HANS BOSSHARD

Beyond these quirks, fit and finish are surprisingly good. The styling is fantastic. The front hydraulic disc brakes grab on with excellent modulation. You get regenerative braking and electronic ABS brakes for the front and back wheels. The list goes on.

I have had the regenerative braking cut out when the battery has been charged up, but the front brakes are more than happy to compensate. The rear drum brakes merely exist, but frankly I have yet to try any vehicle that brakes exceptionally well with only the rear brakes. I’ve never gotten the ABS to trigger either—the stock tires are just way too grippy to skid.

You also get a USB charging port and two hooks to hang things from. PHOTOS BY HANS BOSSHARD

It carries quite a steep price compared to its competitors at P79,999, but you do get what you pay for. The importer, Popcycle Ebike Center, can also fit either a color-matched top box or a rear seat (at cost) to give the scooter a bit more practicality.

The distributor has also hinted on an updated instrument cluster that goes beyond 25km/h, if that bothers you enough. It comes in five colors: white, red, blue, black and teal.

Personally, I have no need for an e-scooter with the mobility options I currently have, but it has charmed nearly every single person I’ve shown it to, and its cute looks and sure-footed demeanor are making me reconsider.

Hans Bosshard

Hans is the ultimate commuter: He drives a car and he rides a bicycle. He also likes tinkering with mechanical stuff.