Our Rating - 4.5/5
The Ride1Up 500 Series is an electric commuter bike that checks most of the boxes for an e-bike in its price range. It is a great example of the latest crop of value models to hit the market, where high-specs are slapped on a bike without necessarily driving the price through the roof.
Ride1Up 500 Series - In-Depth Review
For a new kid on the block, Ride1Up is causing major ripples in the electric biking circles. The San-Diego-based brand has done a great job of carving out a niche in a very competitive industry, earning a fair share of the market within a few years of existence.
By outfitting high-end specs on reasonably priced e-bikes, the company managed to offer consumers greater value for their money than its competitors. It is a trend that they have maintained from the time they released their first model, the Ride1Up 500 Series.
It comes as no surprise that the 500 series took the market by storm when it was released by Ride1Up, proving to be the brand's most popular offering so far.
So, what’s so special about this bike?
We’ll try to answer that in the following Ride1Up 500 Series review.
53 lbs (55 with the rack and fenders)
6061 Aluminum Alloy
Kenda Kwick Seven 5 - 27.5"x2.2" (650b)
48V Geared Hub Shengyi Motor
48V 13AH Reention Dorado ID Plus with LG cells
28mph PAS (20mph throttle)
Tektro Aries Mechanical Disc Brakes
Ride1Up 500 Series at a Glance
The 500 Series can be credited with bringing the Ride1Up brand to prominence. It is a well-designed city bike that offers more than just good looks, thanks to an assembly of high-quality parts meant to deliver a pleasant riding experience.
But this doesn’t really give a true picture of what the 500 Series can do. For that, we take a deeper look into the individual features of the bike:
Ride1Up has maintained aluminum alloy as a frame material through all its bikes, and the same is true for their first iteration of city bikes. The frame is fairly clean with a semi-integrated battery and comes in one standard size but two different designs.
You can choose between a step-through and a cross-over design, with the latter featuring a slanting top tube to make for easy ons and offs. This is a nice touch that shorter riders and those with knee issues will appreciate.
The bike also comes in either black or gold colors, as well as a clesan frame option and one accessorized with a rack and fenders. The riser handlebar features a slightly swept-back design, which allows for a more upright riding geometry. Together with a well-cushioned height-adjustable Selle Royal Freeway saddle, you get to enjoy a comfortable ride.
This is reinforced by a front spring fork that soaks in the impact on bumpy rides. One small detail that we liked is the color-matching saddle and leather handlebar grips, which either come in black or brown.
A fairly bright headlight is fitted just above the front wheel to let you ride in the dark more comfortably. We would have preferred a higher placement for better illumination of the road ahead, but it should serve its purpose as an element of safety.
Unlike the 700 Series, the kickstand on this bike is positioned more towards the rear, which prevents pedal block anytime you're reversing. Also, you don’t get a rear rack and fenders (unless you add them).
Overall, this bike weighs around 53lbs and can support up to 275lbs of weight. But by adding the rack and fenders the e-bike gains an extra 2lbs. Additionally, the frame is best suited for riders of heights between 5’1” and 6’2”.
The bike is powered by a 48V Geared Hub Shengyi Motor with 750W peak power, a tested and proven brand within the e-bike circles. This Class 3 e-bike can push you to a top speed of 20mph on throttle mode, but if you want to go faster, then you’ll have to put in some little pedaling effort in the PAS mode, with a top speed of 28mph.
The motor produces a punchy torque of 60nm, which should make light work of any hilly roads that you have to climb. On the downside, the motor can be a little bit noisy. You can clearly hear it roaring when you ride at high speeds, especially when using the throttle.
A left thumb throttle on the handlebar lets you enjoy a laid-back ride without moving a muscle. But for a more active ride, you can choose any of the nine available pedal-assist modes. In other words, you can fully customize the ride to your preferred pace.
The handlebar-mounted display is pretty intuitive with easy-to-operate controls when you want to change the settings. It is also backlit to give you a clear view of the different riding information.
The LCD provides crucial data such as the current speed of the bike, battery level, pedal-assist level, etc. to give you full control of the ride. You can also turn onoff the lights from the screen.
Meanwhile, the controller is safely hidden inside the frame, reducing the risk of damage.
The 500 Series is fitted with a decent capacity 500Wh 48V 13AH Reention Dorado ID Plus battery with LG cells. This is semi-integrated into the frame with a part of it visibly sticking out of the downtube, so you don’t get the clean frame look that later models sport.
You can conveniently remove the 7.5-pound battery anytime you need to charge it and replace it with a backup for extended range. Two keys are provided to let you lock the battery into the frame when mounting it, which serves as a useful security feature whenever the e-bike is left unattended.
Accompanying the battery is a 2-amp charger that will recharge the empty battery in about 3 to 4 hours. An interesting detail to note about the charger is that it comes with an automatic shutoff feature that becomes active when the battery is full to avoid overcharging.
There is also a standard USB port on the battery, so you can charge your phone or any other relevant electronics on the go.
The Tektro Aries mechanical disc brakes on the 500 Series are a decent choice for a fast speed like this, although you won’t enjoy the efficiency offered by hydraulics. Thankfully, these have been upgraded in the 700 series.
Elsewhere, the brake levers feature a rubberized edge for a more ergonomic grasp, as well as Electronic Motor Shutoff to override an unintentionally engaged throttle. A feature you’ll also find on its upgraded version that goes a long way to preserve battery life.
The chainring has an alloy guard to prevent damage when you bump into rocks while the chain is rust-resistant, so you won’t have to worry about getting the bottom of your pants stained. We also appreciate the use of a Shimano Acera derailleur, which is three steps up in the Shimano hierarchy.
WHEELS AND TIRES
Ride1Up opted for a pair of Kenda Kwick Seven-5 tires for its first offering to the market. At 27.5” x 2.2”, these are slightly wider than your typical road bike tires and roll pretty smoothly on the pavement. The chunkier profile also helps to soak in bumps and potholes while providing enough surface to keep you stable.
A puncture-resistant lining on the tires ensures that you won’t suffer unnecessary flats, making for durable performance down the line. The wheels and the aluminum alloy double-walled rims come in an all-black color that matches most other parts of the bike.
What Do I Like?
One of the biggest draws for the Ride1Up 500 Series has to be the affordable price. At just over $1000, the bike offers great value for money considering what it can do on the road.
The frame of the bike is not aesthetically designed but also offers you two exciting color options to choose from, balck and gold. Furthermore, its 275-pound weight limit means that heavier individuals can ride the 500 Series without worries.
We appreciate the thoughtful placement of the kickstand towards the back, which avoids pedal lock when reversing.
The overall geometry of the bike favors a comfortable upright riding position with the swept-back handlebars and adjustable seat height. Also, the suspension fork helps to smoothen bumpy rides.
The battery offers a respectable range for an e-bike at this price level, but since it's removable, you can extend your range with a backup battery if need be. There is also a USB built into the side of the battery to let you charge your phone on the go.
With 750W peak power, the engine used on the 500 Series is quite strong and guarantees you top speeds that will keep you ahead of schedule. The same is true for the 60Nm of torque on offer.
You can choose from 9 different pedal-assist levels when riding the 500 Series. This allows you to ride at a preferred pace as you slowly get into the ride. Also the advanced LCD screen is backlit to enable easy reading.
The manufacturer offers a 1-year comprehensive warranty when you buy the bike, meaning any defects can be repaired or replaced free of charge. Furthermore, the free shipping incentive is a plus that will save you a couple of dollars once you order.
Puncture-resistant tires ensure you get durable use and secures the ride when you stray off the tarmacked course; no need to worry about flats.
What I Don’t Like?
We feel the manufacturer could have done better than the Wellgo Platform cage style pedals used on the 500 Series. They are quite thin and can easily bend in and get sharper whenever you tip the bike.
The mechanical disk brakes are a slight letdown on a mid-value e-bike. They are not as efficient as you may like and the levers require a lot of effort when pulling before the brakes engage. Going with hydraulics would have been a more fitting decision for Ride1Up.
Another tiny oversight on the 500 Series is that there is no guard on the lower edge of the frame to prevent chain slapping. You might notice the cute paint job coming off after a couple of trips on the bike. However, this is something you can easily sort out with masking tape.
A fair share of assembly is required once the bike is delivered, which may need you to hire a professional or take the bike to a bicycle shop. Any sloppy job during the assembly can greatly compromise the quality of your ride.
Advice to Buyers
The Ride1Up 500 Series is one of the best commuter bikes you can find in the just over $1000 range. If you want a practical two-wheeler that will take you to school, work, or even allow you to run errands around town, we feel it has the profile to match almost effortlessly.
Don't get me wrong; the Santa Cruz Heckler is an impressive machine - I honestly did enjoy riding it. The handling is a breeze, and you will be safe on this bike throughout the ride. But when it comes to overcoming very steep hills, you will find out that this eMTB is not almighty as it seems.
I would love to see a bit more innovation in Heckler, considering this model is quite late to the show and only recently launched, it can offer you the same performance as some older high-end eMTB models.