There’s a curious thing happening in the electric bicycle market. Bike makers are creating fabulous machines, no doubt, but they typically fall into a “performance class” category, typically between Class One and Three. The key word here is “typically.” In 2020, I had several ebikes in for review that really don’t fall into those preset classes – except for when they were set to. One was the plain crazy Delfast Top 2.0 ebike, another was the more typical but powerful Priority Current, the cool Vintage Electric Roadster, and most recently, the Juiced Bikes Hyper Scorpion. This seems to be a trend.
The Ukrainian-made Delfast machine was more of an outlier, really just an electric motorcycle with some fairly useless pedals added to it. The Priority Current is a good indicator of what’s to come as far as legally “compliant” but more powerful ebikes go, but the Juiced Bikes Hyper Scorpion is different yet again; it’s a bicycle that wants to be a motorcycle, while still being a serviceable bicycle. And after several months of riding it, it’s become one of my favorite fun machines, often for surprising reasons.
Everyone who sees the Hyper Scorpion asks the same question: “Is… that an electric motorcycle…?” Well, yes, sort of, but it also has pedals and a rear derailleur, like a bicycle. However, the form factor of the Hyper Scorpion is definitely much more akin to recent market entries like the Super 73 ebikes, which have more of a scooter/moped stance, but are also still pedalable ebikes. But as you’ll see, the Hyper Scorpion isn’t just one or the other, it’s really both.
Tech and Design
The Hyper Scorpion uses a low-step frame design rather than a full triangle, making getting on and off a snap for just about anyone. Very bicycle-ish, but low-step frames tend to have a lot of flex, not a good thing. However, the burly construction of the Hyper Scorpion’s frame keeps flex to a minimum, and it was never an issue, but that strength comes with weight, and at 102 pounds, it is heavy. It also has a long, flat and soft non-adjustable seat, much more like a motorcycle (a taller seat is an option). More motorcycle bits round out the picture: very motorcycle-like adjustable front and rear suspension, with a triple clamp fork packing pre-load, adjustable compression and lockout, and motorbike-style twin rear shocks out back, as well as high-rise “buckhorn”-style handlebars, more like a cruiser motorcycle – or an old Schwinn.
It has a big round motorcycle-style LED headlight (and it’s bright as heck), as well as a very bright full-time LED brake light activated by the Tektro hydraulic disc brakes. It also has turn signals, a very loud horn and a USB port on the left bar for your phone or GPS. It even has a remote alarm system, much like a car! Motor power comes from turning an inner twist grip on the right handlebar (just like a motorcycle) instead of a thumb throttle, but it also has 6 levels of automatic pedal assist – like most ebikes.
Wide fenders cover moped-like 20-inch 6-spoke solid wheels that carry fat motorcycle/scooter road tires, and the stout Bafang electric motor is cleanly ensconced in the rear hub, where it is essentially invisible. A large, removable 52Volt 19.2Amp-hour 1,000Watt-hour battery sits on the front frame rail, and it comes off with a key, the same key used to turn the bike’s underseat “ignition” on – like a motorcycle. While the motor is rated a stout 1,000 watts continuous, I suspect it can peak at over 1,700 watts, mostly because I saw a figure north of that numerous times on the power output display.
Range on throttle-only riding is about 30 miles, and you can double that up if you feel like pedaling. Coasting feeds power back into the battery. The small backlit LCD panel on the right grip reads out the usual vitals but as noted, includes power output in watts, which this wirehead appreciated. The hydraulic single-puck disc brakes on each wheel provide robust stopping power, but could be better with another piston in the mix.
My test bike included two motorcycle-style rear view mirrors perched on the tall handlebar. A large and useful rear rack was also along for the ride, and indeed, there is a delivery version of the bike available with a larger rear rack as standard. The Hyper Scorpion is the most powerful of the Juiced Bikes Scorpion family, and retails for $2,499. Juiced Bikes was kind enough to let me use the Hyper Scorpion through the summer and fall as the pandemic raged, and my family and I put hundreds of miles on it in all kinds of scenarios, ranging from alpine bike paths to dirt trails to skirting waves on Oregon beaches, plus many miles rolling around the neighborhood in the sun and rain. We never had a single problem with the Hyper Scorpion, despite using it as often as possible.
As a life-long motorcycle rider, the Hyper Scorpion riding experience definitely falls more into the “scooter” or moped circle of its complicated Venn diagram, but in the U.S., at least, it can’t be registered as such (yet), even though it has signals, lights, horn and even a spot for a license plate. So we kept to 20mph and the bike lanes in town, but otherwise jacked the power up on the controller to “R” (race!!) on the beach and on some bike trails during a lake vacation. And while it was great fun, highly reliable and one of the most exciting ebikes I rode this year, what was also surprising was the Hyper Scorpion’s excellent utility and ease of use.
The Hyper Scorpion is surprisingly easy to pedal, and with a huge front sprocket, the pedal assist never reaches a speed where the bike is going too fast to pedal, and it will render pedal assist up to Class III or 28mph levels with surprising efficiency. In other words, this thing is very fast, and it’s especially effective powering up hills, pedal assist or no. That very large front sprocket also means that you can still pedal the Hyper Scorpion with a fair bit of effectiveness in the flat (or downhill), garnering speeds above 30mph. At those speeds, the Hyper Scorpion is comfortable and composed, not twitchy or sketchy as some ebikes can be. It’s definitely closer to a motorcycle experience at the upper velocities.
If you don’t need quite that much speed, just keeping the output between Eco and Level 3 on the right controller keeps it in Class II territory, with the assist cutting off at 20mph, yet you still benefit from the huge torque output from the rear hub motor, especially going uphill. Juiced was forced to install the rear twist-grip type gear selector upside down on the left handlebar, but it only took a second to figure out which way to twist it for lower or taller selections from the capable and accurate 8-speed Shimano Altus derailleur. The full suspension and tall-ish bars, coupled with the large, soft seat, made for comfortable rides around the 17-mile long bike path that circles Diamond Lake in Oregon, and my partner, who is 5 foot 3 on a good day, had no trouble riding it thanks to the low-step frame. It’s also very quiet under way, with only a slight whirr under power.
Then there is the pure utility aspect of the Hyper Scorpion. My teenage son, who is still a few years away from a driver’s license (but knows how to drive and ride – long story), often rode it to soccer practices once they resumed, and I often used it to bust out quick errands and leave the car at home. With impressive range, more impressive power and speed, and a high fun factor, it was the go-to choice for our family for both fun rides or when we needed something at the store or to pick up some takeout – even at night, thanks to the excellent brakes, blindingly bright LED headlight, piercing horn and bright turn signals. In Europe or elsewhere, this may very well be a street legal vehicle, and I can’t think of a better workhorse for those with surface-street commutes or even as a delivery vehicle. It’s truly versatile.
The Juiced Hyper Scorpion truly is several vehicles in one. Although it’s heavy, you can still effectively pedal it like a bicycle if you run out of juice, which is more than I can say for some other “ebikes” in this, shall we say, “open class” segment. Under power, the Hyper Scorpion brings back those fun times from my youth, when 50cc minibikes were the rage and small-displacement motorcycles were viable tools for everyday transportation, as they still are in much of the world. But most of all, the Juice Bikes Hyper Scorpion was just great fun to ride, no matter if it was buzzing over to the soccer pitch, on a quick trip to the Thai place, tracing along the tide line at the beach or circling a lake at sunset to pick up a pizza. That’s what was so great about those little bikes back then, and that hasn’t changed today in the least, except with electrical power, disc brakes and other modern updates, the experience is even better. Looking for a fun and useful ebike that also fulfills your moped and motorcycle urges? You can’t go wrong with the fun, fast and versatile Juiced Bikes Hyper Scorpion.
• Powerful motor, big battery
• Easy to ride and pedal
• Low frame makes it accessible to a wide range of riders
• Bright headlight, brake light, turn signals and horn all standard
• Very reasonable price for what you get
• Seat is not easily adjustable
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