REI Co-op Cycles Electric Bikes Roundup Review

by Nikola 

July 5, 2022

REI is one of the biggest outdoor retailers in the US. In 2016, REI launched its in-house bike brand, by the name of Co-op Cycles. 

Established in 1938, REI has always defined itself as a member-owned cooperative. The company invests the bigger portion of its profits back into the outdoor community through various means:

  • employee profit-sharing and retirement,

  • donations to nonprofit organizations dedicated to the outdoor community

  • garage sales

The REI brand already provides bike servicing, parts and accessories, and sells bikes from Ghost, Cannondale, and others. However, based on member feedback, REI found its previous in-house brand came up short. 

Therefore, REI rebranded the line-up into Co-op Cycles. With its primary goal of well-designed bike frames specced with quality yet affordable parts, Co-op Cycles provides a whole range of electric bikes suitable for all types of riders and riding styles.

Co-op Cycles has managed to design electric bikes with decent components at a below-average price tag.

Components such as the direct-drive hub motor and the mid-drive motor, lockable battery,  hydraulic disc brakes, and e-bike-specific front fork are all of decent quality, making these electric bikes great affordable options for anyone who is looking to get a standard commuter electric bike.

In a hurry? After 40 hours of research we recommend:
REI-CITY-e2.2

Our Top Pick

CTY e2.2

If you’re looking for one of the best electric bikes for this price range, you should go for the CTY e2.2. This bike has a decent charge time and plenty of torque - it’s perfect for everyday commuting!

REI-Generation-e1.2

Utility Bike Pick

Generation 1.2

Choose Generation 1.2 if you’re looking to buy a utility electric bike for short to medium rides and its heavy cargo carrying capabilities. Thanks to its versatility and comfort, this electric bike also makes a decent commuter e-bike.

REI-Generation-e1.1

Our Budget Pick

Generation 1.1

Go for Generation 1.1 if you want an affordable electric cargo bike with a solid range, and durable componentry - this bike is more than enough for daily urban riding.

Quick Comparison Table 

Our Utility Bike Pick
Generation 1.2

REI-Generation-e1.2

No suspension for additional stability

  • Fat tires
  • Very durable
  • 20 MPH top speed
Our Budget Pick 
Generation 1.1

REI-Generation-e1.1

A super fun e-bike that can hold a lot of cargo

  • Very affordable
  • Comfortable
  • Features a step-through frame

Things You Should Know Before Purchasing A Co-op Cycles E-Bike

Who Are Co-op Cycles E-Bikes For?

When it comes to buying an electric bike, one of the first questions one would ask is:

“Who is this bike for?”

Well, Co-op Cycles’ lineup of e-bikes is intended for beginner riders as well as more experienced riders on a budget. They are perfect for daily commuting in urban areas and serve well as utility electric bikes.

However, just because these e-bikes have lower costs compared to their competitor, it doesn’t mean they’re bad. Co-op Cycles e-bikes are decently designed and manufactured.

Apart from their design and build, Co-op Cycles e-bikes also come with pretty good motors. Each Co-op Cycles electric bike has an electric motor that will provide you with more than enough power for your daily commuting around the town.

REI Ebikes

What Kind Of Motors Do Co-op Cycles E-Bikes Feature?

Since the single most critical component of an e-bike is the motor and Co-op is focused on manufacturing and providing budget-friendly e-bikes, their motors aren’t the best, but they are sufficient for anyone who is looking to ride an electric bike in urban areas.

CTY models come with 250W motors, whereas Generation models feature 350W motors since they are meant to carry heavy cargo.

What’s The Battery Like On Co-op Cycles E-Bikes?

Co-op Cycles electric bikes feature batteries that range from 11.6Ah to 14Ah - the higher the battery’s capacity, the longer the range of the electric bike. 

The battery on all models is removable. You can easily pop it off and take it with you to charge it when needed without having to carry the entire bike. In addition, the battery on all Co-op Cycles e-bikes is that it can be locked.

REI City ebike

What’s The Range Of Co-op Cycles E-Bikes?

All e-bike models in the Co-op Cycles lineup have a range of about 50 miles. However, remember that the battery range depends on the riding conditions - besides the battery itself.

All Co-op Cycles e-bikes come with a relative battery display on the controller so you can see how much battery charge you can expect based on the current riding conditions.

So, for instance, if you’re riding on a flat road, you can expect to achieve the advertised maximum range. However, if you take your bike for an off-road ride or in a hilly area, the range is most likely going to drop quite a bit.

How Much Do Co-op Cycles E-Bikes Cost?

As mentioned, Co-op focuses on designing and producing budget-friendly electric bikes.

With that being said, here are the prices of Co-op Cycles electric bikes at the time of this writing:

  • CTY e2.1 - $1500

  • CTY e2.2 - $2700

  • Generation e1.1 - $1500

  • Generation e1.2 - $1900

While this may seem a bit pricy for some, keep in mind that the prices for electric bikes range from $1000 to $5000 - and even more. So when you take everything into consideration, Co-op Cycles e-bikes are a bargain. 

Generation Models Are For REI Members Only

It’s worth mentioning that if you want to purchase any of the Generation electric bike models, you would first need to become an REI member.

A lifetime REI Membership requires a one-time fee of only $30 - once you’re in, you’re in forever. A lifetime REI membership fee quickly pays for itself, so even if you’re only an occasional shopper, becoming a Rei member will save you money.

Their membership comes with access to all sorts of benefits such as:

  • Free standard shipping: No minimum purchase is required 

  • Access to the Member Collection: Early access to limited-edition releases 

  • Expanded shop service discounts: REI Members get up to 20% discount for bike shop purchases and snow shop services, as well as free flat-tire repairs and machine waxes

Re/Supply access: All REI members can purchase and trade-in used gear in-store and online
REI Ebike City

REI Co-op E-Bikes Reviewed

1. Co-op Cycles CTY e2.1

CTY e2.1 is a robust e-bike made for frequent urban use. It features thick tires and a rigid aluminum frame that comes with an integrated rear rack if you need to carry heavy loads.

REI-City-2.1

Co-op Cycles CTY e2.1

The Design

Everything about this electric bike feels like it has been intentionally designed to take on the rigors of urban cycling. CTY e2.1 features the Suntour front suspension fork that can easily swallow up the shock from potholes and any other obstacles you may encounter on the road.

This bike weighs 50 pounds and features a 9-speed Shimano drivetrain, Acera Rapidfire shifter, and an Alivio rear derailleur.

Other notable features include riser adjustable handlebars, a kickstand, and integrated rear and front lights that don’t require separate charging.

The Specs

CTY e2.1 comes equipped with the 1.95″ wide puncture-resistant Schwalbe tires that can tackle any type of road or weather conditions - you can even take it for an off-road ride through parks and fields.

This e-bike also features Shimano Altus hydraulic disc brakes which provide quick and responsive stopping power in both dry and wet weather conditions.

These brakes are more than enough for basic city commuting.

REI-City-2.1-back

The Motor And Battery Power

The CTY e2.1 comes with a 250W Shimano motor and 40Nm of torque, so overcoming uphills will feel like a breeze. However, the CTY e2.1 is a Class 1 pedal-assist bike; therefore, you’ll have to give it some pedaling to get going.

Once you get rolling, you will feel the powerful motor kick in and aid you along rather fast, reaching speeds of up to 20mph. 

REI-City-2.1-Battery

On a single charge, the 418Wh battery will last up to 50 miles, which is more than enough for daily commuting around the town. This battery also comes with an ABUS lock for extra security, so you don’t have to worry about leaving the e-bike parked around town.

Verdict

Even though the bike’s weight and battery charge time could show us some improvements in the future, there aren’t any major things not to like about this e-bike.

Overall, the Co-op Cycles CTY e2.1 is a decent-quality commuter e-bike that offers good value. It’s not the cheapest or the lightest e-bike on the market, but it's perfect if you’re looking for something reliable for frequent use.

REI-City-2.1

Co-op Cycles CTY e2.1


2. Co-op Cycles CTY e2.2

Co-op Cycles’ CTY e2.2 is one of the company's leading commuter e-bikes with a powerful motor and durable frame for carrying heavy loads.

REI-CITY-e2.2

Co-op Cycles CTY e2.2

The Design

The 6061 aluminum frame of the CTY e2.2 includes a built-in rear rack as well as puncture-resistant tires that provide a smooth and comfortable ride.

Other great aspects of this bike’s design include a kickstand to support the e-bike when stationary, adjustable handlebars that offer a comfortable upright seating position, and it even comes with mudguards for those rainy days. 

CTY e2.2 also has integrated rear and front lights that are charged directly from the battery for safe night rides.

The Specs

REI-CTY-e2.2-Back

For added comfort and stability on bumpy roads, CTY e2.2 comes with the Suntour front suspension fork with 75mm of travel, providing a sufficient amount of shock absorption from any unexpected obstacles you might encounter while riding on the streets. 

Schwalbe’s 1.95″ Big Ben tires also aid in absorbing any vibrations with their adequately thick tread for wet and icy roads. These tires will easily endure on dirt or gravel if you’re keen on taking CTY e2.2 on an off-road adventure.

The Co-op went with Shimano hydraulic disc brakes for the CTY e2.2. These brakes offer great stopping force, even if the bike is heavily loaded.

The Motor And Battery Power

250W Shimano motor that puts out 60Nm of torque provides enough assistance to carry you and any cargo you might put on this bike. If you live in a hilly area and commute often, you’ll definitely enjoy the comfort of riding the CTY e2.2.

The bike’s Class 1 motor can reach up to 20mph. In addition, the full charge of its 504W Shimano battery will last you up to 50 miles which is sufficient for you to keep riding all day long.

REI-CTY-e2.2-Battery

The CTY e2.2 also features a 9-speed Shimano drivetrain which comes with Acera Rapidfire shifters and an Alivio rear derailleur that will keep the motor chugging along.

If you’re concerned about the security of the bike’s battery, don’t worry – the battery comes with an ABUS lock so you can leave the bike parked with peace of mind.

Verdict

The Co-op Cycles CTY e2.2 is an impressive e-bike made for daily commuting - it doesn’t slack when it comes to quality. It’s surprisingly nimble and quick for how heavy it is. The CTY e2.2 just feels like an electric bike that can easily handle tough city streets.

REI-CITY-e2.2

Co-op Cycles CTY e2.2


3. Co-op Cycles Generation e1.1

Co-op Cycles’ Generation e1.1 is a utility electric bike made for comfort and versatility in city environments.

REI-Generation-e1.1

Co-op Cycles Generation e1.1

The Design

Generation e1.1 is equipped with wide tires, a step-through frame, and a suspension fork to deliver a smooth riding experience capable of riding on various terrains. 

Other great components of Generation e1.1 include a kickstand, battery-powered integrated rear and front light, and an integrated rear rack.

The Specs

2.4″ Schwalbe Super Moto-X Double Defense tires ensure safe riding on various terrain types. Additionally, the width of these tires offers a feeling of stability and control in all weather conditions, even if you’re carrying heavy cargo. 

One excellent component on this bike for this price range is the Tektro hydraulic disc brakes with 180 mm rotors. These provide powerful and reliable stopping force as well as increased durability compared to mechanical brakes. Furthermore, the 180mm rotors maintain performance amazingly for an urban electric bike.

REI Gen 1.1 Spec

The Motor And Battery Power

Generation e1.1 comes equipped with a 350W Bafang motor that offers 80Nm of power which can quickly get you up to 20mph. Although this direct-drive hub motor isn’t of the best quality, it should be more than enough for your daily commuting in urban areas.

The Co-op went with the Shimano Altus 1×7-speed drivetrain that features EZ-Fire trigger shifting. By utilizing the entire gear range you will be able to maximize the 417Wh battery’s range, which on average offers between 30 and 40 miles on a full charge. 

On top of being removable, this battery has a convenient lock - you can leave the battery attached to the bike and not worry about it being stolen.

REI Gen e1.1 Back

Verdict 

Although this e-bike is compatible with fenders, they aren’t included, which is odd for an urban electric bike. In addition, Generation e1.1 has a battery that is small for an electric bike that’s designed for carrying heavy cargo. 

In conclusion, Generation e1.1 is a solid option for an urban electric bike especially if you take its price into consideration. It’s perfect as a lightweight utility electric bike.

Again, this bike isn’t particularly powerful, but it offers great comfort, stability, and versatility enough to do many jobs.

REI-Generation-e1.1

Co-op Cycles Generation e1.1


4. Co-op Cycles Generation e1.2

The Co-op Cycles Generation e1.2 is the more advanced version of the e1.1. The main difference between these two models is that Generation e1.2 has a more powerful 48V battery.

REI-Generation-e1.2

Co-op Cycles Generation e1.2

The Design

This electric bike is a beast when it comes to cargo-carrying - it’s designed to reliably haul huge loads. Interestingly enough, Co-op decided to remove the fork suspension for improved stability.

The Specs

Rei Gen 1.2Spec

The Generation e1.2 has the same Schwalbe Super Moto-X Double Defense 2.4″ tires that are puncture-resistant providing a stable base while carrying heavy cargo. Furthermore, the width and light tread of these tires offer additional traction when cornering in all weather conditions or taking on gravel paths.

The company opted for the same 180mm rotor Tektro hydraulic disc brakes which are used on the previous model. Again, these brakes are perfectly fine for an electric bike in this price range - they provide plenty of stopping force even when the bike is fully loaded.

The Motor And Battery Power

ReiGen 1.2.Back

Generation e1.2 relies on the same 350W Bafang motor with 80Nm of power that can achieve a top speed of 20mph. This motor should be more than enough for tackling light to moderate urban hills. 

This bike comes equipped with a Shimano Altus 1×7-speed drivetrain that provides enough gear range to keep pedaling on moderate climbs and descents.

The most impressive component of this electric bike is the 672Wh Bafang battery that provides up to 50 miles of range on a full charge, all while powering the integrated LED lights. 

 Also, this battery can be locked, so you can leave it attached to the bike if you intend on parking it somewhere outside

Verdict

The Generation e1.2 is a decent cargo electric bike and one of the best in this price range. If you're looking for a reliable and versatile electric bike that offers a larger range to tackle long days in the saddle, then this bike is for you.

REI-Generation-e1.2

Co-op Cycles Generation e1.2


How Do Co-op Cycles E-Bikes Compare To The Competition?

Now that you know what Co-op has to offer from their electric bikes, let’s take a look at how this brand compares to the competition.

Co-op Cycles Vs. Rad Power

One of the main competitors of Co-op Cycles has to be Rad Power. Both of these brands are known to manufacture great - yet affordable - electric bikes.

The key difference between the e-bikes of these two brands is the motor they chose for their bikes. Rad Power opted for beefier motors in their bikes and their bikes have a slightly higher range than Co-op Cycles’ models.

Co-op Cycles Vs. Juiced

Another brand that’s known for budget-friendly electric bikes is Juiced, however, most of their electric bikes fall in the mid-range category.

Compared to Co-op Cycles, Juiced e-bikes offer a slightly higher range, and certain models are noticeably faster. On the other hand, that implies that Juiced electric bikes are usually far pricier compared to Co-op Cycles’ models.

With that said, the build quality of Co-op Cycles e-bikes is on par with Juiced - the same goes for the comfort and stability of the ride.

If you decide to go for one of the Co-op Cycles’ electric bikes, you’ll get the same quality build, comfort, and stability, with a bit shorter range, but at a lower cost, which is a decent trade if you ask us.

Co-op Cycles Vs. Cannondale 

In contrast to the previous two comparisons, comparing Co-op Cycles and Cannondale wouldn’t be fair. The thing is, Cannondale has been around for more than half a century. 

In addition, Cannondale produces high-end e-bikes that just blow Co-op Cycles out of the water.

Compared to Co-op Cycles, Cannondale e-bikes provide superior speed and range at a higher cost, and not everyone has the budget for high-end electric bikes. So, if you’re looking for an affordable electric bike we recommend going for Co-op Cycles e-bikes.

About the author

Hi, I'm Nikola, your typical adrenaline junkie. Columnist and publisher by day, passionate mountain biker, and downhill skateboarder by night (or I guess weekends). I love electric bikes and own a Rad Power Rover 6 myself!