This weekend I shot a round of the Vilaca Racing Series at Zwartkops Raceway which is usually something that ends up registering 12 000 steps or more on my watch thanks to the massive size of the venue. If you’re taking pics on the pit straight and you decide to get some shots up at the table-top, it’s a mission of a walk, and mostly uphill. This takes some time and a lot of effort, and so if there’s a way to make it easier to do, I’m all for it. Plenty have seen me kicking around the larger venues on a BMX or jump bike, and while that does make things easier, there’s still effort involved and sometimes later in the day I’d rather have an ice cold Coke in the pits than mission across the venue to get a pic. There’s a solution though, and it’s a freaking game-changer for me. The Talaria Sting MX3.
As you can see from the pics, it’s a bike, but there are no pedals. There’s also no engine, well not a conventional one anyway. This thing is electric. Now if you know anything about electric bikes it’s that they’re usually silly money, I see electric-assist setups in mountain bikes being sold for over R200k, even rising above R300k. That’s a lot of K for something you still need to pedal. While this Talaria Sting isn’t chain-store cheap, it’s also not a bank-breaker. I’ll get to that later… So the technical speak is that the Sting has a lightweight CAD-designed frame that houses a 60v 38Ah lithium-ion battery that makes use of automotive-grade LG 21700 cells. Even with the worst Eskom schedules, there’s more than enough time to charge the bike up, you’re looking at 4 hours of charge time and that will give you between 75 and 100 km of range. The former would be when using the bike in Sport Mode and the latter in Eco Mode, and of course a bunch of factors will influence the distance covered between charges, as with any electric-powered device. The Sting’s electric motor is powerful, rated to produce a healthy 6kW of power and 31.8 Nm of torque. The specs say the bike can do 75 km/h on top, but my 78 kg frame on this 63 kg bike saw it hit 80 km/h.
It's easy to ride, you turn the key and go. Which is also a problem, because when most get on a bike with a twist throttle they like to give it a twist or two. Do that on an electric bike things will go pear-shaped fast and you’re likely to end up in a fail video. The Sting is light and easy to manoeuvre, I’m used to a BMX, and the bike feels much like that except there’s no pedals to flip back and shatter your shins. It comes with off road tyres, which makes sense because the bike was designed for dirt, but it’s competent on smooth tar. I wouldn’t hoof it on tar with the knoblies, but if you’re a better rider than me you won’t have any issues. The gearbox used is like a CVT in a scooter, so there’s no cog-swapping involved, and also no whine like there’s a slipping clutch. When I say it’s easy to ride I mean it. I like modifying things, and there’s a lot that can be done to the Talaria Sting to make it faster, but at my skill level it’s already as good as I’d want it. I’d play with other things, which is quite easy because the front section is much like a mountain bike. The forks, brakes, stem and handle bars can be upgraded and swapped with whatever brands and components you like from any reputable bike shop. The Sting has a small box on the left side that has an OLED display that shows all the info an electric bike needs like top/average speed, range, battery data, ride mode, error codes, regen level and more. It can also be tweaked to work properly when changing sprocket sizes and wheel sizes.
Using the Sting at Zwartkops was absolutely brilliant, I managed to get to places I‘ve never shot from before, and it was as easy as pointing the bike where I wanted to go. The bike got me to the top of the hill on the opposite side of Turn 2 for some interesting new angles I haven’t had before. It drew a heck of a lot of interest too, every single time I stopped riding, someone would ask all about it, which is a good sign for the product. One thing I did learn is that with an electric bike is that when you stop, you turn it off. It seems that everyone who comes to chat has an urge to twist the throttle, which will instantly throw you off the bike. Over 30 Nm of instant power is more than you’d imagine. There are fail safes though, if the kick stand is down, power to the throttle is disconnected. The same goes for if you have your finger pulling either of the brake levers, no power when you twist the throttle. This is also something that Sting owners change pretty quickly. The way the braking works it does some regen charging, and it also stops you from locking the front brake and spinning the rear wheel and makes wheelieing a bit harder to do. There’s a wire running into the brakes that makes this happen, but it can be disconnected so there’s no riding restrictions. If using the Sting to get around events, I’d rather leave it connected. I did have a bit of an oopsie in this regard when the bike was handed to me while switched on and in Sport Mode. With camera in left hand and right hand grabbing the handlebar to catch the bike it gave 1 mm of throttle and that was enough to launch the bike into the air and flip. A bit of a kak one on tar, but hey, this is how we learn… to order replacement parts for a new bike.
If you’re needing something to help with mobility at events, on holiday, at the farm – then this is something you must consider, for real. They currently retail for R89 500, and while that does sound like a fair bit, it’s really not bad. The amount of fun is endless, I mean you can buy a fun little 80 – 100 cc 2-stroke, but ripping that around in your garden or in the small veld across the road will have all the neighbourhood Karens stalking you with their smartphones in no time. You could have 20 of these over at your house for some private races and the most noise would be coming from friends laughing and cheering. This thing is amazing, and I must have one because it makes the job I love doing a bit easier, and adds in a fat helping of fun. Plans are in the works though, along with a transporter from XRAMP that makes getting the Sting around rather hassle-free… For a little more on the Talaria Sting MX3, head on over to the Pinned website (https://pinned.co.za/product/talaria-sting-off-road/). Like Tag Share
Massive shoutout to Grant from Pinned for the raddest experience!
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Chris "Krutch" Wall from CW Media is a freelancer in the lifestyle experience. He is a unique story teller, bringing you imagery and tales of his journey into what humans are passionate about remembering through the ages...