Ride1Up seems like it’s taking the middle market by storm with its latest models. It’s no wonder why I’ve been seeing them more and more on the streets (and in the woods).
Today, I’m telling you all about my up-close and personal experience with one of the Ride1Up’s brightest models - Cafe Cruiser.
This model is praised by many as one of the best cross-over hybrids between an off-road e-bike and an urban commuting option.
Let’s dive right into my in-depth experience with the Cafe Cruiser from Ride1Up, and see the key takeaways.
Ride1Up Cafe Cruiser - First Impressions
As I’ve already mentioned, this e-bike is considered one of the best hybrids between an off-road e-bike and an urban commuter.
Some of the distinct features from both sub-categories of e-bikes that can be found on the Cafe Cruiser are the capability with Ride1Up’s “passenger kit,” allowing another person to sit behind you while riding, and the presence of front fork suspension that allows for an even smoother ride.
Nevertheless, let’s see if the price tag is hiding something behind it.
Read next: Ride 1Up Prodigy Review and Core 5-E review
One of the first things you’ll notice when looking at a Cafe Cruiser online is that you can choose from two different frames. Unexpectedly, this e-bike comes with either a step-through frame or a step-over frame.
Nevertheless, both frames are made out of 6061 aluminum alloy, making them durable yet keeping them relatively lightweight. Although this has become somewhat of an industry standard, it’s always nice to see a frame that can hold up and not weigh you down.
The Cafe Cruiser’s frame also has internal protected & locked electronics, making it safer than some of the competition.
Rider’s height range for this e-bike is 5'5"- 6'4", with an adjustable seat that can slide between 33” and 40”. Handlebar height sits comfortably at 41” with a handlebar reach of 20”. It’s an overall nicely designed frame that’ll provide you with a comfortable ride while commuting. At least, that was my experience.
The motor is one of those spots where you expect a company to save a buck or two. Somehow, that’s not quite the case with Ride1Up and their Cafe Cruiser.
What’s powering this commuting machine is the 48V Geared Hub Sustained Bafang Motor with 750w of power.
Since this is a class 3 e-bike, the motor can help you achieve the max speed of 28mph while using pedal assist and 20 miles per hour while using the throttle.
This isn’t a level of speed to be taken lightly. I have had the opportunity to try out the max speed of the Cafe Cruiser, and let me tell you - this bike will get you where you need to be in time.
Overall, this is a powerful and reliable motor that you can trust in your daily commutes since it will get you from point A to point B without any problems.
Another surprisingly good feature of this “budget” e-bike is the battery. The motor is fueled by 48V15ah Reention Rhino (39 x 21700) with Samsung Cells.
Ride1Up claims that you can get anywhere from 30 to 50 miles of range on one charge, but my experience is entirely different.
It’s understandable that if you’re light on the throttle, you’ll get closer to 30 miles of range. But, I gotta tell you - the battery drains fast on this one.
If you’re even a bit more liberal with the throttle than intended, you may very well bring another extra battery. Now, that doesn’t go to show that the specs displayed on the dealer’s website aren’t true.
Instead, this should be a warning to all to be careful with battery management. The most I’ve got from my rides is around 46 miles, and I achieved going under 30 miles of range when using the throttle almost constantly.
Now, the good news is that Ride1Up offers a spare battery for purchase and a secured and locked removable battery on this model. This means that with just a “few more bucks,” you can get a spare battery, giving you that extra stretch of range you might need.
What notifies you about what’s going on inside your Cafe Cruiser is a Handlebar Mounted 2.2" Two-Tone LCD display. It’s a surprisingly good display that shows you battery life, speed distance, and other useful information. It also houses three buttons. A plus button, an M button, and a minus button.
The plus button is for throttle, the minus button is for powering down, and the M button is for modes. By clicking, you further customize the bike however fits your riding preferences.
For an e-bike that goes as fast as this one, you better hope to have some good brakes on you. This is the case, to an extent, with this bike.
The Zoom 180mm Hydraulic brakes are the industry standard, meaning I expected these kinds of brakes on the Cafe Cruiser.
The only thing I don’t like is the fact that you can ride this bike pretty fast, but the brakes don’t seem to provide you with the stopping power you might need when using the Cafe Cruiser to its fullest potential.
On the bright side, this particular model comes off with an automatic cut-off breaking sensor. This means that whenever you brake, your motor automatically stops sending power to the wheels. This helps for a faster stoppage and smoother braking experience, making it one of my favorite features.
Wheels & Tires
The Cafe Cruiser is equipped with SandStorm 26"x3" Chaoyang. Now, these tires aren’t as popular in the west, but on the Chinese market - they seem to be one of the most popular.
The wheels are a nice size, and they allow you easy maneuvering and steering. Ride1Up markets these tires like they provide “Cruising Comfort and Advanced Cornering and Traction”. I personally haven’t felt much of that, but the tires don’t seem to pose any kind of problems.
What I Do Like About Cafe Cruiser
This e-bike really is a serious cross-over between off-road bikes and commuters. At the same time, it’s comfortable to ride, but you still know there’s probably no obstacle in an urban environment that this e-bike couldn’t conquer.
The motor is quite reliable, in my experience, and it provides quite a kick if necessary. Pair that with the batteries on the Cafe Cruiser that have quite a steady flow of power into the motor, and you do have a decent commuter with a reasonable price tag.
I also quite liked the fact that you can pick and choose what frame works better for you. For those who are bigger or have less flexible hips, you can easily go with the step-through option and make your life much easier.
My choice was the step-over frame since I prefer those kinds of bikes, but that doesn’t mean that I think I’d have a less-enjoyable experience in case I went with the other option.
Lastly, I love the overall feel of this e-bike. It’s beginner friendly, a great commuter, and a reliable way to get yourself from point A to point B with no difficulties.
What I Don’t Like
At first glance, it was hard for me to find something to condemn on this bike. The Cafe Cruiser really felt like a well-rounded product.
But, as I spent more and more time riding this e-bike, I started noticing the little things that bug me.
The first thing is the tires. They aren’t awful, but a bit better pair (that might cost you a few bucks) very well may be a much better fit for your Cafe Cruiser experience.
Also, the battery feels quite limited if you’re one of those people that like to use the throttle. This may not be a bad thing for those who predominantly use the pedal assist option, but it was a downside for me.
Advice To Buyers
If you’re looking for an affordable beginner-friendly class 3 ebike, this very well may be the answer to your questions. I know you’ve probably heard that already for dozens of other e-bikes, but I stand behind my words. This is a powerful and reliable commuter that, with just a few optional upgrades, can meet all your urban needs.
Our Rating - 89/100
The Cafe Cruiser is a hybrid electric bike that combines the features of an off-road bike with those of an urban commuting bike. The model comes equipped with a powerful 750W motor that can reach speeds of up to 28mph. The bike also has a range of up to 50 miles on a single charge, making it suitable for longer rides.