Like any proud papa, Jean-Pierre Legris, Lito Green Machine ’s founder and president, enjoys talking about his kids. The name Lito is, in fact, a combination of the names of his children, Eli and Teo. In this case, however, we’re discussing the Sora (Japanese for “sky”), Lito’s first production motorcycle from the company’s industrial park address across the St. Lawrence River from Montreal in Longueuil, Quebec, Canada.
I use the term “production motorcycle” in the loosest sense, as the Lito Green Machine company is comprised of just five people. Five emotionally, financially, dedicated-to-the-cause people – the quinteingredients to any start-up. In sharp contrast to the BRP production complex I also visited while in Quebec, Lito’s facility is devoid of automated assembly lines pushing hundreds of models out theevery day. Each Sora is hand-assembled from a pallet of specially designed parts, and chances are Legris has been directly involved with the assembly of each Sora sold thus far.
The bike Lito is producing is unlike those of other electric motorcycle companies. Where Zero and Brammo are working hard at constructing mass-produced electric motorcycles affordable to the masses (think Model T ), and Energica and Lightning are focused on defeating ICE-powered superbikes (no matter what the cost), Lito’s Sora is more of a neo-art deco design that’s neither the fastest or slowest electric motorcycle nor the most or least expensive one, either. Legris describes the Sora as a wonderfully designed, beautifully crafted motorcycle that just happens to be electric.
With bodywork constructed from carbon fiber, and a frame and swingarm of 6061-T6 aluminum, the Sora, at 573 claimed pounds, still suffers a weight problem common to all electric motorcycles (damn those heavy batteries). Comparatively, Energica’s Ego weighs in at 584 pounds, but the Sora’s no race bike, so let’s match it to another, ICE-appropriate roadster such as Moto Guzzi ’s Griso , which tips the scales at 556 wet pounds, only 17 less than the Sora. The Griso is certainly no lightweight, but this puts the Sora in a more appropriate perspective.
The Sora features a reverse gear! Very handy for a 573-pound machine. The Forward, Neutral, Reverse switch atop the right frame spar is, however, inconveniently located. Carbon fiber bodywork is painted at the areas most likely to incur rock chips.
Continuing with the Griso/Sora examination, we find that the Sora, at 59.0 inches, is two less than the Griso’s 61 inches between tire contact patches. The Sora also boasts a steeper steering rake of 25.0º vs Griso’s 26.3°. Considering these figures, and having recently ridden the Griso in our Retro Roadster Comparo , I can honestly say the Sora is quicker to turn in than the Griso, but the Sora lacks a little bit of smoothness when transitioning from upright to leaned over.
Acceleration from the 12-kWh lithium-polymer batteries and liquid-cooled three-phase AC induction motor is brisk, but not overwhelming. Claiming 66.4 lb-ft of torque, the Sora is moving 8.63 pounds of mass per lb-ft of torque. The Zero SR ZF12.5 with 458 pounds and a claimed 106 lb-ft of torque halves the Sora’s number to 4.32 pounds of mass per lb-ft of torque. The Griso is marginally better than the Sora moving 7.59 pounds of mass per lb-ft of torque.