E-Moto E-Bike Controllers

Unleash the Power: Exploring the Benefits of Upgrading Your Surron Controller

What Does a Controller Do on a Surron?

A controller on an electric dirt bike is a computer system that takes information from various electrical components and passes it onto other components in a way that they can interpret. For example, it takes the electrical signals from the throttle and converts them into data for the motor to output the correct power.

example of controller singals
Example of Controller Signals

The controller also oversees these signals to ensure it is kept within the parameters for a safe ride. Some of these parameters can be modified to suit your riding style and needs. Sports mode and Eco mode are excellent examples of this – if you need to conserve power on a daily commute, eco mode (also known as EP on the Surron) will limit power output from the battery so you can achieve further range. Sports mode will allow the most amount of power your battery can provide.

Other parameters can be modified depending on the controller. The stock controller will allow reprogramming of parameters such as regen or the power curve while some aftermarket controllers have many more options for fine tuning. These can be achieved by entering programming modes on the stock Surron by using the brake lever or kickstand and plugging in the red light indicator cable. Aftermarket controllers can be adjusted via Bluetooth to a phone app, or via a cable to a PC.

Electric Terms Explained

A basic understanding of electricity is vital if you’re considering upgrading your Surron X controller. You need to make sure you’re comparing apples with apples regarding terminology. Otherwise, it won’t be clear if you’re actually upgrading, or swapping to something that simply sounds cool, or something that could result in damage to other components on your Surron.  The first time I came across the terminology, I was digging deep trying to remember science lessons from school ( I confess, at the time, I Googled lots and asked the experts many questions!) To make this easier for you, I’ve listed below some common terms with explanations here.

Electric Dirt Bikes: Understanding the Electrical Components
Electric Dirt Bikes: Understanding the Electrical Components
AI Artistic Impression

Watts

A Watt is how you measure the power. You can work out Watts by calculating Amps x Volts.

Voltage

Voltage is a term that describes how much ‘pressure’ pushes electricity. Higher voltages ‘push’ more electricity flow into an electronic device. Think of electricity as a stream. It will flow from a place of higher pressure to a place of lower pressure, much like a stream flowing from the top of a mountain to the bottom. You could replace the word flow with ‘current’ and voltage with the potential energy ‘pushing’ it downstream.

A 2024 stock Surron LBX battery has 60 volts. That will push the electricity out with 60 volts of energy. You can swap out your stock battery and upgrade it with a 72-volt battery – this will ‘push’ the electricity out faster – think more speed and acceleration (in most cases, and pending other components). An interesting note is that batteries don’t drop to zero volts. When the 60-volt Surron LBX battery drops to 48 volts, it is considered ‘empty’ and will no longer be able to supply power. 

Amps

Amps is how you measure how big the stream of electricity is. It is how much current is flowing through your electrical circuit. Think of the water inside a big hose vs. a small hose. 

Amp Hours

Amp Hours measures how many amps can flow in one unit of time. It is a simple way of measuring how ‘big’ the battery is. (Think: how much gas is in your tank) For example, the stock Surron LBX battery on the 2024 model is a 60V 40Ah battery. This means the battery can supply 40Ah. Theoretically, it can supply 40Ah for 1 hour or 1Ah for 40 hours. Remember Watts = Voltage x Amps, if you’re pulling greater volts from the battery (ie twisting the throttle for faster speed), the amps will increase. This will subsequently drain your battery faster, much like putting your foot down in a car – you will use up the gas quicker.  

Phase Amps

Simply put, phase amps are how much current each winding or phase is being put to the motor.

Circuit

A system of electrical wires and components that is a big loop where the electricity current can travel through.

Torque

Simply put, torque is a measurement of rotational power and is measured in Newton-meters (Nm). It is the same in gas and electric-powered dirt bikes, but where the energy comes from is different. On the 2024 Surron X, the Nm rating at 1000rpm is 35.4Nm. Surron

What Controller Does the Surron Use?

The 2024 Surron X runs:

  • Controller: X Version Sine Wave controller
  • Battery: 60V 40Ah Lithium Battery.
  • Motor: PMSM air-cooled 6kW 

In that configuration, Surron claims it will produce 35.4 Nm of torque at the motor shaft. Hitting a top speed of 47 mph (73 kmh) and with a range of 60 miles. All on a battery you can recharge within 2.5-3.5 hours.

Can You Just Upgrade One Part of This?

Let’s start by working out why you’re upgrading. Are you looking for faster acceleration, higher top speed, or more customization options on the power delivery? Do you simply want more range without a higher top speed – in which case, you may be able to upgrade the battery only.

The question then becomes: Do you upgrade just the controller, or the controller, battery, motor and wiring loom, and can you do it at separate times for financial reasons?

To paint the whole picture, we must also look at the complete electrical side of the powertrain. That is the controller, battery, and motor (and to some extent, wiring etc.). They all need to work safely in harmony. That is why I included the definitions above. When I first learned about electric dirt bikes and Surron, I couldn’t wrap my head around how the components work together and what you needed to upgrade if you wanted more power. It makes sense to simply drop in a bigger battery or a larger motor. But it just doesn’t work that way! I didn’t stop to think about whether they were compatible and why. 

If you upgrade only your controller, you need to be aware of the limitations on your stock battery and motor. Basically, you can’t get your controller to ask too much from your battery and get it to perform above what it’s capable of. It will overheat very quickly. If it is compatible, you’ll need to be very careful and choose a tune with parameters that are safe for the battery and motor.

Do You Upgrade the Controller?

Upgrading your controller is a bit like putting a turbo on a car. Do you really need it? Hmm, Yes! Who doesn’t want more power, smoother acceleration, and faster top speed?! But before you jump in and watch the dollars disappear, look at what you have. If your Surron X was built before February  2018, you’ve probably got the older square wave-style controller. If your Surron X was built more recently, you’ve likely got the new X version Sine wave controller, which has 20% more torque on the older model and up to 10% greater top speed, with smoother control. Either way, if you’re looking for more, read on!

Like I’ve previously mentioned, if you choose to upgrade the controller, you need to consider your current battery and motor, as well as any potential upgrades you may want to make to them in the future – to avoid buying another new controller if you want something even bigger!

What is the Best Surron X Controller?

A fantastic option for a Surron X controller giving an all-round, great value for money, with great features could be the KO Moto Nano, unanimously agreed upon by team GritShift. Rusty, GritShift’s R&D guru says ‘KO Moto Nano is the best bang for your buck.’  A great feature on the KO Nano is how tunable it is. You can still use the OEM Sport and Eco modes, but now you even have the ability to tune them individually via the phone app. Run one for the tight, technical sections and one for fast open areas. Or one for lazily coasting on your way to work, and one for weekend fun!

Simply connect to the KO Moto app on your phone, follow the easy-to-understand instructions here to adjust the tune, and select the parameters that would be safe for your battery. Yes, the KO Nano will work with the stock Surron X battery and motor, providing you keep the parameters within the allowed range for the battery which is 6kW, if you choose to not bypass the battery BMS. You also have the option for upgrading the battery and motor to take full advantage of the 15kW. A massive step up from the stock Surron X with a peak output of 6kW. 

Suggested upgrade: 

The KO Moto Nano Controller installed on a Surron
The KO Moto Nano Controller installed on a Surron

Wanting Even More Power From Your Surron? 

Perhaps you’re thinking ‘I need even more power to make the upgrade worth it’? It depends on what style of riding you enjoy. More power means you must have the ability to transfer the power to the ground dialed in – in other words, your suspension/tire choice must be really good for the terrain you’re traversing. If it’s not, extra power could result in lots of wheel spin, especially for off-road riding. Depending on what you’re after, The KO Pro supports up to a huge 35kW of power. This controller can work with a stock battery – you just need to ensure the tune is safe for the battery/motor combination. However, to get the full use of its power, a battery and motor upgrade would be needed. This is something that you could consider in the future if you’re upgrading slowly. Rusty says: “My personal preference is right around a 12-14kw tune for Surron and Talaria sized frames. Anything more than that is wasted power and just spinning for off-roading but for street use could be usable.”

Suggested upgrade for even more power: 

  • Battery: 72V upgrade
KO Moto Pro Series Controller
KO Moto Pro Series Controller

What is the Best Order to Mod Your Surron? 

This doesn’t need too much explaining, I just want you to imagine this. It’s a beautiful summer day, birds chirping, you’ve just installed a more powerful controller/battery/motor combo on your beloved Surron X, and you’re flying along the trails. You can only hear the whisper of the motor and the tires connecting with the dirt. You’re going faster than you did before, with more confidence as the power delivery is perfectly to your liking. Then, as you sight a tight left-hander, you pull on your stock Surron X brakes to wash the speed before the turn and they don’t react as you’re expecting… They’re heating up to dangerous levels being used under greater pressure due to increased speed, and you’re getting massive fade. The corner is coming up faster, your front forks preload as the brakes try their hardest to pull up with the extra speed, and you feel the forks hit the stoppers… 

See where I’m going with this? I recommend looking at your controller when you have beefier brakes, or at least be aware of stopping with more power! Read this article to get in the know with all things brakes. To fully get the advantage of more power, upgraded suspension would also be strongly advised. Here is an article on suspension I would recommend you check out. That way, your Surron will be fully set up and ready to receive a new powertrain, and you’ll be able to transfer the full power through the wheels to carve up the dirt.


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