Our Rating - 4.5/5
With the release of the Prodigy, Ride1Up made an exciting upgrade from their previous offerings that strikes a balance between high-end specs for an electric commuter bike and the price tag.
Ride1Up Prodigy - In-Depth Review
Until the Prodigy came along, we expected the same rear hub motor hub format from Ride1Up’s commuter line of electric bikes. However, this new design shakes things up with a more efficient mid-drive motor, proving to be the breath of fresh air that enthusiasts have been waiting for.
But that’s not the only notable change we see on the Prodigy; it is also the most expensive offering yet from the manufacturer. The important thing, nonetheless, is that the company’s overall philosophy remains with this new bike, namely- outfitting high-end specs on a reasonably priced electric commuter.
So, what’s so great about the prodigy? Let us find out in the following Ride1Up Prodigy review.
Schwalbe G-ONE 27.5”x2.0”
Brose TF Sprinter German-made mid-drive motor 36V14ah Phylion BN21
36V14ah Phylion BN21, Samsung Cells
28mph pedal assist
Tektro Orion HD-M745 hydraulic disc brakes
Ride1Up Prodigy at a Glance
The Prodigy turns heads around with its sleek matte black color. But you’ll even be more impressed when you get to know the kind of specs it harbors on and within its frame. So, to clue you in, let us delve into the features individually.
The Ride1Up frame tradition has been maintained in the Prodigy, with aluminum being the material of choice and a high-step or step-through format to choose from. However, this bike offers a third frame design choice in the form of an MTB variation for your cross-country exploits.
While the step-through version retains a top-tube; unlike the previous iterations, it is noticeably lower and extremely approachable for people with bad knees. The frame is paired with a hydroformed aluminum fork to smoothen your ride on the occasional bumps you encounter on the city roads.
The bike’s geometry is comfortable to suit a typical urban commute and features slightly swept-back handlebars, alongside a cushy Selle Royal saddle. The result is a relatively upright riding posture that takes it easy on your back.
Ride1Up also remembered to accessorize this bike to save you the trouble. Included is an ultra-bright Buchel headlight to provide optimum illumination when riding in dark environments.
This is nicely complemented by a taillight to make you visible to motorists behind you. Not to forget the well-placed kickstand on the back wheel for convenient parking.
Aside from the lights, you’ll appreciate the inclusion of two fenders and a rack, which allows you to carry groceries and other relevant packages you buy in town. The bike is lightweight at 48lbs (without the fenders and rack) but it can support up to 275lbs, just like all its predecessors.
Something worth noting is that the mountain bike frame variation of the Prodigy sports a few alterations compared to the other two. For instance, it upgrades to a suspension fork for improved trail performance.
Furthermore, it rolls on more expensive knobby Maxxis Forekaster tires as opposed to the Schwalbe G-ones on the high step and step-through versions, although it also sheds the fenders and rack.
The only downside is that the Ride1Up is available in only one color, so you don’t have too many options. Luckily, the matte black naturally suits the urban setting.
The motor is hands down the most impressive feature on the Prodigy. To this day, we are still beaming at the fact that Ride1Up managed to fit a mid-drive motor in one of its bikes...about time! The Brose TF Sprinter German-made36V 14ah Phylion BN21 is unheard of at this price position.
You get to enjoy a powerful performance that will get you to a top speed of 28mph on pedal-assist. Just like in the Ride1Up LMT’D, the Prodigy incorporates a torque sensor to offer you a livelier e-biking experience than a cadence sensor.
The Brose TF motor is encased in an aluminum housing and produces a punchy torque of 90Nm. This means riding up those hilly stretches of the road will be a walk in the park for you. However, you should note that the Prodigy doesn’t come with a throttle, so you must always put in some pedaling effort to keep it moving.
Another neat detail on the Prodigy is the 9-speed Shimano transmission, which serves as an able substitute to the throttle on climbing lanes when you are trying to conserve battery life.
This bike also features 9 different pedal-assist levels, allowing you to gradually get into the gist of the ride as you switch from the lowest to the highest. You can do this from the minimalistic 3.5” Brose display, which comes with 6 controller buttons.
It will also show all the information you need to know about the ride, including the pedal-assist level, speed, battery capacity, etc.
Paired with the strong Brose TF Sprinter mid-drive motor is a 14Ah 36V Phylion BN21 battery pack with Samsung cells. The 504Wh battery offers a riding range of up to 50 miles on a full charge cycle.
You can credit this to the pedal-assist-only format programmed on the prodigy, which goes a long way to lengthen battery life. However, the actual range will depend on other factors aside from the pedal-assist level you choose, including rider weight, weather, terrain, etc.
An integrated smart BMS (Battery Management System) helps to keep the battery in ideal shape and prevent damage during usage. To keep the removable battery safe from thieves at all times, two keys are provided for locking it on the frame when you leave the bike unattended in public.
The only downside to the battery is that it requires up to 5 hours to fully recharge- a long wait if you just got your hands on the new Ride1Up Prodigy. On the bright side, you can always get a backup battery to keep the motor roaring.
When it comes to braking, the Prodigy is equipped with a pair of hydraulic disc brakes with 4 pistons to go with 180mm rotors. These not only work smoothly but are also very responsive, making for efficient stopping power.
The ride feels secured even in wet conditions when the road is slippery. For those who choose the MTB frame version, the hydraulic discs will come in handy on steep descents and sharp turns.
A high-quality Shimano drivetrain groupset is the other impressive feature not often seen in this budget level. The 9-speed shifter maintains the pace of your ride when transitioning between gradients whereas the Alivio derailleur keeps everything going smoothly.
WHEELS AND TIRES
To complete the features on the Prodigy, you get 27.5” x 2” Schwalbe G-ONE tires on the step-through and high-step frame designs, which just hit the sweet spot for urban riding. The tires roll smoothly on the city tarmac and use reflective details on the side to make you more visible on the road.
If you want to take on rougher trails in the backcountry, the Maxxis Forekaster tires on the MTB version will be a better fit. These are notably wider for better traction on the surface and feature generous treading to keep you stable on loose surfaces.
What Do I Like?
Several specs stand out on the Ride1Up Prodigy commuter e-bike, but what will get the market talking is the Brose TF Sprinter mid-drive motor. This is not just a break from the monotony of the rear hub geared motors that have become synonymous with Ride1Up bikes; the power and efficiency it offers is not something you’d expect on a $2000 range bike.
Multiple frame design options offered by the Prodigy mean that it’s not only urban riders that will enjoy the high-end specs on Ride1Up bikes. With the MTB variation being introduced, it’s now possible to venture into the rougher trails in the outskirts of the city.
The hydraulic disc brakes are just what you need on an e-bike that can get you to a top speed of 28mph. These go a long way to enhance your riding confidence by assuring you the bike will stop on a dime if and when you need it to, which is especially crucial for off-road riding.
Unlike some of its previous offerings, the manufacturer did a great job of including extra accessories on the Prodigy; all of which help to facilitate urban commuting. From the bright lights and the fenders to the rear rack, this bike will easily suit all your urban adventures.
The Prodigy weighs only 48lbs, which is conveniently lightweight and simplifies your task when you need to carry it upstairs. You might also be able to ride it home without much strain when the battery runs out before you get there.
Although there is no throttle on this e-bike, we feel that the pedal-assist-only mode works great as far as extending the range of the battery is concerned. Furthermore, the BMS system is a useful addition that serves to keep the battery in the right shape.
Overall, the bike looks as good as it feels. The integrated battery results in a clean and seamless appearance.
Lastly, you won’t easily get better value for money than what the Prodigy offers. With all the high-quality specs found on the bike, especially a mid-drive motor, it’s exciting to think that you only need to part with a little over $2000 to own a new unit!
What I Don’t Like?
There is not much to complain about the Ride1Up prodigy. However, our only gripe is with the time it takes to charge an empty battery. Five hours is a long time to wait by industry standards, and may possibly cause you to pull the plug on the whole cycling adventure.
The only consolation is that the manufacturer made the battery removable, giving you the option of getting a backup battery to extend the range.
Advice to Buyers
Although you have to part with a lot of cash for a Ride1Up commuter bike, the Prodigy makes it all worth your time. The bike is not only charming to look at but also comes with a powerful mid-drive motor that you wouldn’t expect on a $2000-range e-bike.
If you’ve had a chance to ride a Ride1Up bike, the Prodigy surely offers a fresh taste that you might be curious to experience.
It’s satisfying to see Ride1Up upgrading to mid-drive motors and giving customers a break from the less efficient hub drives. But what’s even more exciting about the Prodigy is that it doesn’t compromise any of the high-specs we’ve come to expect from the manufacturer.
Not to mention that you get the chance to ride off-road without having to worry about the results. Overall, this is a promising city e-bike that Ride1Up enthusiasts are going to have a blast with.