Ride1Up Roadster V2 e-bike review
An urban e-bike with a focus on fun, but it's easily capable of work as well as play
The Ride1Up Roadster V2 has a cool, urban aesthetic and it's an absolute blast to ride, especially at the highest of its five levels of electric assist. If you're looking for an e-bike at around $1,000 for commuting, car-free shopping trips or just enjoying for its own sake, this is a great option.
Doesn't look like an e-bike
Tough to pedal without electric assist
The Ride1Up Roadster V2 has a stripped-back, urban singlespeed vibe and doesn’t even look like an e-bike at a glance, but the powerful motor that whirrs into action propelling you effortlessly up hills and into headwinds leaves you in no doubt whatsoever. And at $1,045 the fun-to-dollar ratio is very high.
This is a class 3 e-bike with a 350w motor that assists it up to 24mph. That means it doesn’t meet EAPC (electrically assisted pedal cycles) rules in the UK unless it’s registered and taxed and you wear a crash helmet and have a driving licence. So this is strictly one for our US audience. Additionally, direct-to-consumer brand Ride1Up doesn't ship to the UK at the moment, but they're a young company with big plans, so watch this space.
Ride1Up Roadster V2: construction
The Roadster V2 frame is made from 6061 aluminium tubing – a type used for standard pedal cycles as well as e-bikes. The clean look is enhanced by the smooth welds.
There are mudguard eyes and braze-ons for one bottle cage, and also rack mounts on the seatstays. Although you’d class it as a leisure bike rather than a tourer or a utilitarian city bike, it could be used in a more practical way if that's what you were looking for.
There's a quick-release seatpost clamp so that you can change saddle heights easily if you're sharing it with your household or letting your friends have a go.
The frame has a retro look with its straight tubes but it is cleverly designed to house the battery in the down tube. You wouldn’t know there’s a battery in there, which is great for the aesthetics, but it means you can't whip off the battery and run the Roadster V2 as a standard pedal bike, as you can with some e-bikes, and there’s no provision for a range extender battery. However, the battery is replaceable. Reassuringly, Ride1Up says it plans to keep the Roadster model for years to come, and will also stock replacement batteries ($190 each) – but we’re talking 2-4 years and hundreds of charge cycles before you have to think about that.
Like the battery, the electric components are really neatly integrated, or even disguised. The controller on the bars just looks like a basic cycle computer with a black-and-white LCD screen and the wiring to the Shengyi 350w motor, which is in the rear hub, is tidily concealed under the chainstay.
It’s worth pointing out there’s no throttle – you select your assistance level on the controller by pushing the ‘up’ arrow or ‘down' arrow on the controller to select levels 1-5 and assistance only takes place when you're pedalling. Unless you’re in a real hurry I've found it’s rarely necessary to go beyond level 1 or level 2 (level 5 is the highest power) even on moderate hills, so it works best to set it and leave it.
As for sizing, I am 5ft 10in with relatively long legs and the size large fitted perfectly. This is the kind of flat-bar bike where you want to be sitting upright with a good view of city traffic rather than crouched over the bars, so the fit was correct. However, I’d say if you were in between sizes – there’s just two, large or small – at, say, 5ft 7in, it would be better to size down and get the extra standover height. A medium size would be nice to have for those people.
Ride1Up Roadster V2: components
The standout component has to be the singlespeed belt drive. I’m a big fan not just because of the silent, smooth running but also because belts don’t need oil or lube. The Roadster V2 is not crazy heavy at 33lb, but if you’re shouldering it up some steps or out the front door it’s not as easy to hold clear of clothing as a lighter pedal bike.
Singlespeed also gets a thumbs-up from me – it adds to the bike’s minimal look and is one less thing to maintain. And if you have electric assist and you plan to use it then you don’t need gears, simple as that. The levels are the gears.
The wheels are very sturdy and come with some pretty heavy duty Kenda Kwest 28c tires that you’ll struggle to puncture. They don’t need to be the lightest and the supplest because you’ve 350w of assistance at your fingertips – reliability is the name of the game here. But if you wanted to improve rolling resistance, get a bit of extra speed and squeeze out more battery life they could be upgraded to something a bit lighter.
The Tektro dual-pivot caliper brakes look as though they’re going to be underpowered, especially considering the 33lb weight and the extra speed they have to check, but actually they were perfectly fit for purpose during our test period. I would imagine that over a longer time their performance might diminish, especially after a rainy ride or two when dirt works into the pads, and when the time comes I would upgrade the pads to the separate shoe/pad type from the cheaper moulded pads that come as stock – it’s an inexpensive but worthwhile upgrade.
As I pointed out earlier, assist levels 1 and 2 are easily enough for riding along on the flat at about 17 or 18mph with minimal effort, and up gradients slightly at a slower lower speed. Once you go up to the top assist levels yes, it’s much more thrilling but the battery drains that much quicker.
It’s hard to say exactly how many miles you get per charge because everything depends on the terrain, the wind and how much of the input is from your legs. Ride1Up says 20-30 miles, but if you’re zooming up steep hills in level 5 it’s going to be considerably less. Or, if you use the assist sparingly, you can get more.
Probably my only criticism of the Ride1Up Roadster V2 is that if you run out of charge and you’ve got some hills to go up, it’s very tough with no electric assist and only a single gear – which is quite a big one (86.4 inches). Due to the size of the gear and the weight of the bike you can't realistically ride it like a standard, geared pedal cycle once the battery has run out (unless you live somewhere very flat) so you’ve got to factor that into your schedule and make your plans around its range.
Charging takes around four hours tops, so you could easily keep a charger at work and one at home if you planned to do a longish commute and blitz some climbs on level 5.
Ride1Up Roadster V2: the ride
This bike has become my guilty pleasure. It’s just so much fun to ride that I rarely take the direct route to wherever I’m going on it and I’ll often throw in an extra loop on the way back too. I say guilty because I’m also a regular road bike rider who trains and races. And because I have to somehow explain the grin on my face when I arrive back from what ordinarily should have been a short and mundane shopping trip.
The smooth acceleration you feel when the motor kicks in is addictively exhilarating. Even after three months of riding the Roadster V2 it’s still a novelty and a joy. If you’ve put in thousands of miles on a standard road bike over the years, to suddenly be spared the effort and still be cruising along at a good pace is something I'll probably never get over.
As for the hills – if I was less than scrupulous I could very likely grab the Strava KOM on any steep hill. Level 1 means you lose a bit of speed on a hill but you still go up without breaking sweat, but start increasing the levels and you find yourself surging upwards at a ridiculous speed.
Starting from a standstill on a hill is not easy, however, since the cadence sensor in the bottom bracket needs the cranks to be turning before it activates the motor. I struggled to get moving after having to stop at some lights halfway up a hill. As with the battery life it's best to anticipate what the bike doesn't cope with so well when unassisted. If you don't live in a hilly area, it's obviously not an issue.
The motor is extremely quiet, even on level 5. I’m convinced people just assume I’m some kind of superman when I’m tearing up a 15 per cent climb in the saddle. There's a muted whirring but it could easily be the drivetrain as far as anyone not in the know is concerned.
Ride1Up says the motor will assist up to 24mph. On the flat you also need to be pedalling pretty hard yourself to reach that speed, but downhill I have to say I didn't feel it cutting out at higher speeds.
As for practicalities, the geometry feels surprisingly aggressive. Whether you’re level 5-ing it or not, you’re sitting in a powerful position over the bottom bracket, which is good for when you want your own input to count.
However, it feels super stable at speed. I’ve caught myself secretly wishing all my race bikes felt this good descending. The fork is very direct and you’re in total control at speed with the riser bar – at 30mph upwards the Roadster still feels totally solid, more like a motorcycle. Obviously the weight helps, but it has a nice balance when it's going fast.
I've had no technical or reliability issues whatsoever. It is literally plug and play, fit and forget.
Value and conclusion
Currently on sale at $1,045 this bike represents good value. For around the $1,000 mark there are e-mtbs, e-folding bikes, e-hybrids and city bikes to choose from but I haven’t come across anything like this e-urban singlespeed.
Check out our e-bike buyer's guide to compare models themselves.
Provided you don’t need to carry lots of bags and as long as you don’t leave yourself with a flat battery and a big hill to go up, the Ride1Up Roadster V2 represents one of the biggest doses of good, clean fun you’re likely to find.
|Ride1Up Roadster V2 $1,045||Header Cell - Column 1|
|Motor||Shengyi geared hub 350w nominal, 500w peak|
|Controller||36V 15A Landian Sinewave|
|Battery||36V 7.0Ah Samsumg 35e cells|
|Drivetrain||64x20t belt drive|
|Brakes||Tektro R315 dual pivot caliper|
|Tires||Kenda Kwest 700x28c|
|Handlebar||25.4 x 550mm narrow riser|
|Saddle||Custom Gel Ergonomic|
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