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Ariel Rider has been producing electric bikes since 2011 and the M-Class is one of their newest models. The company is best known for their classically styled cruiser electric bikes with long swept-back handlebars, oversized saddles, and hub motor drive systems… You can see this with the W-Class and N-Class. Since first reviewing those bikes in 2016, the company has grown, maintained it’s one year comprehensive warranty, and moved more towards direct sales (online only) vs. shops. This strategy has allowed them to keep prices lower but also means that you’ll have to get your hands dirty unpacking and adjusting the product. It’s always nice to test ride a bike first and actually see the colors in person, but the M-Class (which stands for mini) only comes in one frame size. During this review, I spent extra time going over the adjustable stem and seat positioning with the founder’s brother Berk and my friend Brandy. Berk is a fairly large individual who has lost over 135 pounds by riding electric bikes. He wasn’t as comfortable with the full sized models from Ariel Rider but the M-Class is low enough that he can mount easily, even stand over the saddle with both feet on the ground, and ride for 30 to 40 minutes without getting a back ache. He told me that diabetes and high blood pressure runs in his family and that his father passed away from these conditions. He used to weigh in the range of 400 lbs, which is probably above the maximum recommended weight for this product, but it worked out for him. Note that smaller wheels tend to be sturdier, the aluminum alloy frame here has a top tube and downtube for increased strength, and the brakes offer more power because of the 160 and 180 mm rotors and hydraulic design. With high quality fenders, a chain cover, integrated lights, and reflective tires… they’ve nailed utility and safety. I like how the top tube protects the battery pack, note that it slides forward for removal vs. hinging up like some other designs (which requires a higher top tube and in turn, raises the stand over height). Brandy is about five foot three and a half inches, and she had no problem mounting the bike but could not stand over the saddle without being on tip toes. This is partially because the stock seat post offers 26 mm of suspension. The saddle could go two or three inches lower if you were to replace the suspension post with a 28.6 mm solid post like this. Anyway, both Berk and Brandy appreciated the twist throttle on the left, easy three speed grip-shifter on the right, and comfortable padded grips. There’s so much to appreciate about this electric bike and the founder and lead designer, Arda, asked me sincerely about what I would change about the bike when all of the reviewing was finished. I feel that their attention to detail has lead to great decisions about hardware like the sturdy Wellgo pedals and adjustable Massload kickstand. Their custom designed front and rear racks (which are sold for $70 a piece) match the bike perfectly and work seamlessly with child seats like the Yepp Nexxet Maxi and their compact panniers (which come in black, red, or white).
Driving the M-Class electric bike is a 500 watt internally geared centerdrive from Dapu. This brand produces some of the better hub motors on the market, in my opinion, and has been used frequently by other leading companies like Pedego and Easy Motion for the past several years. This is only the second time that I have tested their mid-motor because it’s relatively new, and I came away feeling very impressed. Yes, it does produce some electronic whirring noise at the higher power levels and no, it does not offer shift detection… it also weighs more than Bosch, Yamaha, and Shimano offerings that tend to be priced higher. However, the combined cadence and torque sensing assist, that the motor controller measures and responds to, worked very well and shift detection isn’t as important with an internally geared hub. The bike felt smooth when pedaling and stopping, I never felt out of control, and this is one of the only mid-drive compact electric bikes anywhere that offers throttle operation. The only catch is that the throttle is not setup to override assist. You have to reach over with your left thumb and click the minus key on the control pad until it says zero before the twist throttle will work. Most of the other Ariel Rider products do allow for throttle override because they utilize hub motors from Dapu vs. the mid-drive. I want to point out that the chainring on the M-Class has a sturdy alloy bash guard on the outside and a support bar for the chain cover on the inside which combine to create a sort of guide, so you shouldn’t have issues with chain drop. There’s only one rear sprocket vs. a full cassette, and all of the gear switching happens inside the Shimano Nexus Inter3 hub. Internally geared hubs tend to be more durable than derailleur setups in my experience, and three speeds was just enough to climb moderately steep hills but also hit 20+ mph comfortably. Actually, I was able to hit 26 miles per hour by pedaling very quickly but also comfortably. The crank arms used on this ebike are slightly shorter 165 mm in order to reduce pedal strikes when turning, this is important because of the lower frame (smaller 20″ wheels bring the frame down). All in all, this motor and drivetrain deliver efficiency and an impressive amount of power, up to 95 Newton meters, and is backed by a name that I recognize and trust in the space, Dapu.
Powering the motor, backlit LCD display panel, and integrated lights from Blaze-Lite and Spanninga is a sleek 48 volt 11.6 amp hour lithium-ion battery pack that slide-mounts to the downtube. If this pack mounted from above, like the Bosch Powerpack, the company wouldn’t have been able to lower the top tube so much. I love where the positioned the battery, low and center on the frame for improved balance and steady handling. The battery weighs almost seven pounds, so it’s wonderful to be able to remove it if you’re climbing stairs, mounting the bike to a car rack, or performing maintenance. The 18650 battery cells inside the pack are produced by Samsung and offer great energy density meaning that you get more power for the same size and nearly same weight of each cell. To maximize their lifespan, it’s best to store the battery in a cool, dry location. It’s also best to avoid completely draining the pack, some companies recommend charging when it gets down to 20% full. You can charge on or off the frame, and I like how the plug is positioned up high near the top of the pack on the right side, vs. way down low near the crank arms. I see that design on a lot of competing products and it always concerns me because you don’t want to bend the plug or snag the wire. The battery charger itself is fairly compact and lightweight, it uses a smaller circular plug that could be a little weaker than some, so just be careful with it. The battery pack is one of the most expensive parts of an electric bike and this one does not have a handle, so handle with care. While I like the design and relatively high capacity of this pack, it would have been nice to have a little USB port somewhere to tap into. I often use these for maintaining my cell phone or powering additional lights or speakers when riding electric bicycles but have heard that they can add electrical complexity and reliability issues in some cases… so, whatever. Depending on your weight, the terrain, the weather, and the level of assist and throttle used, expect at least 25 miles and up to 75.
Operating this bike is fairly comfortable and intuitive. The display panel is clean and compact, with only three buttons to interact with. It isn’t removable and doesn’t swivel easily, so it could take some damage at public racks or in your car during transport, and it might glare or reflect at times. Once the battery pack is charged up and mounted to the frame, just hold the little power button at the top left edge of the display to power it on. The monochrome readout blinks on fairly quickly showing your current speed, a power meter, assistance level (0-6), the battery charge level, and some trip stats below. You can change the readouts by tapping the power button, and this will show average speed, max speed, odometer, and trip time. Most of your interaction will probably be clicking the plus and minus keys to raise or lower the pedal assist level. The bike starts off in level three and Arda explained that they chose this because it offered a balance between convenience and safety. Remember, the throttle is only active in assist level zero, so you won’t accidentally zip off when the bike starts up in level three. The pedal assist sensor is pretty smart here, so it won’t zip off if you put pressure on the pedal but aren’t moving the crank arms. I found myself clicking up to level four or five assist just for fun, and then clicking -, -, -, -, repeatedly to use the twist throttle. Part of me wishes that the throttle could override at all times with full power, and maybe just have a physical on/off switch for safety. Again, I’m grateful that the bike has a throttle at all, and I found that my pedal strokes felt natural and comfortable because of the adjustable seat post and handlebar. I pulled the handle up and back using the tool-free adjustable stem for a more upright body position and easier read on the display. You can activate the display backlighting by holding the + button and activate walk mode by holding the – button (for 7 km/h 3.7 mph assistance). Walk mode is nice to have if you’ve got a fully loaded rack or child seat on the back and you’re cutting through a park or get a flat tire etc. There are even more settings to explore in the menu system by double tapping the power button. This is where you can change units, adjust backlight brightness, and raise or lower the top speed by entering password 1919 at the last screen.
While I do have some minor gripes about this ebike, I feel that by and large Ariel Rider has done an excellent job delivering quality at a value price point. These compact electric bikes are fun and accessible. They feel sturdier than folding ebikes and tend to weigh less. This one came in around 47.5 lbs without the racks and optional cafe lock. I’d love it if the throttle could override assist because it’s no fun clicking down from assist level six to zero and then back up again, the charger is a bit basic and slow given the high capacity of the battery, it would be nice to have bottle cage bosses somewhere, puncture resistant tires, and a suspension fork… but at least the tires are reflective, the saddle and grips are comfy, and the seat post suspension comes stock and is adjustable. Try to avoid flats by keeping the tires inflated between the recommended 35 to 45 PSI. Higher pressure will roll more efficiently and accommodate heavier loads but offer less comfort. It was interesting to see how many parts were branded on this ebike, it really felt like a higher end product. Everything from the grips, saddle, display, and battery pack say Ariel Rider… but the branding on the frame is minimal. To me, the bike looks classy vs. flashy and the metallic paint is beautiful. Almost all of the accents are black (fenders, chain cover, rims, seat post, stem, handlebar, baskets), and the faux leather grips and saddle match perfectly. Do note that if you opt for the front basket and move the headlight onto the little tab there, it will no longer point where you steer. Ariel Rider has opted for a frame mounted basket to separate the weight of front cargo from steering… it’s the right choice for strength and stability but can feel a bit awkward at first when you turn the handlebar but don’t see the front wheel moving (because it’s blocked by the stationary basket). It’s really inspiring to hear how electric bikes can change people’s lives, allowing them to keep up with friends, get to work without sweating so much, or lose a bunch of weight without back pain or over exertion. It’s handy to have a throttle when climbing or just feeling tired. Big thanks to Ariel Rider for partnering with me on this post and demoing all of their accessories and other bikes back to back. I’ll do my best to answer questions in the comments below and welcome you to engage with other owners in the Ariel Rider Forums.
- Incredibly feature-rich for the price, you get reflective tires, a high-quality chain cover and fenders, hydraulic disc brakes, upgraded pedals and kickstand, plus integrated lights… the optional racks, panniers, frame lock and child seat put it over the top
- Surprisingly comfortable… smaller wheels and rigid forks can create a jarring ride but the 1.75″ tires provide cushion, the adjustable stem and riser bars offer a more upright body position if you want it, and the suspension seat post works very well with the stock saddle
- The bike handles well, I didn’t experience twitchy steering or speed wobble and the frame doesn’t flex because of the double-tube design, it’s an approachable but sturdy mid-step
- I really like the three-speed internally geared hub choice here, it’s lightweight, durable, works very well with a mid-motor (can be shifted at standstill), and is easy to shift with the grip twister, I think three speeds is way better than one and actually felt decent when I unlocked the bike for 26 mph riding (I could keep up)
- Excellent battery position: low, centered, and protected by frame tubing from below and above, it’s also great that you can remove it for charging separately or reducing bike weight when transporting on a car rack etc.
- The chain probably won’t fall off because there isn’t extra slack (just one chainring and one sprocket at the rear) but Ariel Rider has gone even further by adding a chainring guard and cover that acts as a guide from the inside
- The grips and saddle match well, and they even got some colored accents on the saddle to match the frame, both are branded “Ariel Rider” and use faux leather that is soft and comfortable, the saddle has an integrated handle for lifting and moving the bike easily
- For people with limited hand strength or just smaller hands, it’s great to have hydraulic disc brakes because they tend to be easier to pull, both levers have adjustable reach and the rear disc brake rotor is larger 180 mm for added stopping power if you’ve got a loaded rack or child seat setup
- Ariel Rider left the steering tube extra long and used five spacers to bring the bar up for a more natural seating position, I love how they paint-matched the fork itself to the rest of the frame and love that the bike comes in two colorways (metallic blue or gold)
- This is a purpose-built electric bike with internally routed cables, a custom motor interface, and reinforced tubing to handle the extra weight of the motor, battery, and optional racks
- The racks are very nice in my opinion, the rear rack works perfectly with their optional panniers (since it has hangers on both sides) and can support Yepp! child seats or their own Polisport model, the triple-bungee attachment is cool and you could use a trunk bag to add a spot for a water bottle, the front rack is mounted to the frame and won’t tip when you steer and park, though it does also point the light straight vs. where you steer
- I think it’s cool that you can raise the top speed to ~26 mph or lower it below 20 mph if you want… it actually felt pretty stable at higher speeds but I realize that some riders just want to take it easy, and lower the max speed will help you increase efficiency too… just double tap the power button and get to the password screen, enter 1919 to adjust the max speed
- While the frame does not have bottle cage bosses, presumably because there wasn’t room, they did include mounting points for a rear wheel lock (also called a frame or cafe lock) and they sell that separately, it could really be handy for quick errands around town vs. locking up at a rack
- Ariel Rider has been in business since 2011 and offers a pretty solid warranty with one year on the battery, two year motor, and lifetime frame
- The bike comes with a decent tool kit for assembly as well as touchup paint so you can keep the bike looking great… the frame and fork are aluminum alloy, so they won’t rust even if you do get some scratches or chips
- Only available in one frame size… but I’d consider this a minor gripe because the adjustable stem and long seat post fits a pretty wide range of riders (my friend Brandy is ~5’3″ and Arda is over 6′)
- This Dapu mid-motor doesn’t offer shift detection, but that’s not as much of an issue with an internally geared hub as it would be for a traditional cassette and derailleur setup
- Depending on your height, the minimum standover height of the saddle could be just a bit high because of the seat post suspension… my friend Brandy had to stand on her tip toes when on the saddle but could easily mount and straddle the frame itself
- I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t a USB port on the battery or display for charging phones and other portable electronics on the go, especially since the battery offers such great capacity
- The charger only offers 2 amp output vs. 3 or 4 amps on some others (which will charge faster) but at least it only weighs ~1.1 lbs and is compact, making it easy to pack and bring along
- I really wish that the throttle could override all levels of assist vs. only being active at level zero, I found myself twisting the throttle hoping for support when using pedal assist and then having to look down and click to get to zero which was distracting… I asked the Ariel Rider team and was told that the motor controller wouldn’t allow for throttle override (which it does on some of the other bikes because they use hub motors)
- Ariel Rider has been available through some shops, but it seems like they are mostly going direct… this allows for a lower price but also requires some assembly and means that test-rides aren’t as easy to do
jhoblho5 years ago
Good review! I really appreciate that they designed a bike for those of us who are heavier, but has a lower frame. I’ve always liked the RM Tinker, but I can’t imagine paying what they want for that… This seems like a decent alternative. The only thing I dislike is being restricted to 3 gears. If they had a hub option for more gears, I’d consider this bike even though I’m waiting for someone to come out with a folder that can handle us heavier folks plus cargo (I’ll be waiting a long time, I think.)Reply
court5 years ago
I was impressed with how well the-three speed worked, but yeah, I’m used to the 7 or 8 speed hubs from Shimano. I didn’t do a ton of climbing, but I did test the unlocked speed and was able to pedal up to a solid 26 mph without feeling out of control. It was pretty cool :)Reply
jhoblho5 years ago
I wonder if it would be problematic to convert to an Alfine 8. Maybe the rear wheel of the Orbea Katu-E 10 could replace this one for an easy conversion? I do like how this bike doesn’t scream E-BIKE!; the blue-black color downplays the motor enough that it can pass as a regular bike. I don’t know much about Dapu motors, I hope people let us know about their experiences with it.
CT K5 years ago
Hi Court , my concern is the warranty, if the bike needed repair where do I take it to? and if the company refuse to honor the warranty what recourse would I have since it’ll be a online purchase? Thx. Court! P.s. I am in Los Angeles.Reply
court5 years ago
Hi CT! Most online companies will send parts if there’s an issue down the line. The first year, everything is covered against manufacturer defects. After that, you might have to purchase a replacement battery but the motor and controller are still covered. My own experience with ebikes has been that they can last a long time if you take care of them and local bike shops can still perform general maintenance and tuneups. I hope this helps! You could definitely purchase a different model from a local shop that carries electric bikes and they will fit it and often throw in a few tuneups for free :)Reply
WLS5 years ago
Anyone know how many amps the Dapu-MD500 motor controller has?Reply
Ranny5 years ago
How does this bike ride compared to other 20″ bikes. My concern is short wheelbase combined 1.7″ tires will result in an annoyingly harsh ride.
Also, I have not been able to find much info about the Dapu mid-drive. I know it’s not at the same level as the big 4 (Bosch, Brose, Yamaha, Shimano), but how would you say it compares to a Bosch? Does it activate quickly and smoothly? Is the speed easy to modulate? For a budget bike, they might have been better served sticking with the hub motor.Reply
Court5 years ago
Hi Ranny, I’d say that it feels similar to the other folding or compact ebikes I’ve tested over the years, but it’s nice to have suspension built in from the start! I also like the adjustable stem and padded grips. For lower speeds and shorter rides on relatively smooth streets or sidewalks, it works pretty well.
As for Dapu and their new mid-motor, I would rank it as a value play… similar to the Bafang mid-motor, but I do trust them a lot because big companies like BH (Easy Motion), and Pedego have been using them now. They seem to be more flexible to work with than Bafang and I just feel an affinity for them because their geared hub motors have introduced some good design concepts, like better wire protection. The drive unit did activate smoothly and feel good here, it’s a bit more smooth than the Bafang BBS02 motor but not as dynamic as Brose or smart as Bosch with the shift detection. I actually like that they opted for a mid-drive here because it keeps the bike balanced, makes it more efficient (longer range) and allows it to climb better… it also makes the wheels easier to service. The bike isn’t cheap, but it’s priced pretty well for the nicer equipment and custom frame :)Reply
Raaxas5 years ago
I ended up getting this bike and overall I like it. Its great value compared to what else is out these. Just a few points that might be useful to others…
- My fenders are pure plastic, there are no metal runners. If these were equipped just for the review, then that is somewhat deceitful.
- The tires/tubes are very cheap, and wore out very soon (~250 miles). I replaced them with Schwalbe Marathon, and its much better.
- The panniers sold by Ariel Rider are very basic and overpriced. They don’t even fit properly (the reason I got them). You are better off getting aftermarket ones.
- The rear rack is good, but not long enough. When panniers or a child seat is added, my feet hit the panniers/child seat. an extra inch of length night have helped.
Court5 years ago
Great feedback Raaxas, I didn’t see the metal runners in the fenders either… but was working with limited time and took Arda’s word for it. He seems like an incredibly trustworthy guy to me, so perhaps it was a translation thing, maybe he meant the support arms are metal? Thanks for sharing your tips on tire upgrades and the panniers not being super high quality. The guys definitely read these reviews and comments, so perhaps the future iteration of the bike will be improved in these ways :)Reply
Kingsley4 years ago
Since you seem to be the only person on earth I can find who actually bought this bike besides the traveling couple who have a YouTube video review of the bikes (and they are not answering comments) I hope you can give me some feedback on this bike because I am seriously considering buying it based on the specs, size, etc. I have a few concerns that I would really like to hear your thoughts about.
Range: Is it as good as they claim? What would you consider “real world” range on this bike, say at medium assist levels?
Comfort: Is it comfortable enough for long rides?
Handling under load: How is the handling when you have it loaded up? Do you feel under control on the downhills with a bunch of weight on it?
Anything you can tell me about this bike would be appreciated. Looks like a really interesting ride but not much info from users out there…
Isaac Kaplan-Woolner4 years ago
It seems like they have upgraded to a 7-speed hub, at least that is what the website now claims. I can’t find the cafe lock being offered anymore, though. I’d love to hear if anyone is using this for 10+ mile commutes, or if this should only be considered a short-distance bike.Reply
Adrian4 years ago
i thought it was originally from ariel rider and later i found that Orbea had the same frame and a Bosh motor, what do you think????Reply
Court4 years ago
Hi Adrian, I don’t think it’s the exact same frame because the motor interface would be different for Bosch. I like that many of the Ariel Rider models have a throttle, this is something you won’t get from Bosch… but their motors and controllers tend to be very responsive with features like shift detection, they are known for durability and long term reliability :)Reply
Aaron4 years ago
I’m trying to somehow find the right fit for multiple purposes, and this looks almost like it, but I have some concerns.
I want to use a front-mounting kid seat like the Mac-Ride, Shotgun, or DoLittle. They all seem like they could fit the frame despite the battery being in the middle. I also want my kid on the low side as he gets taller, so I can still see over him. But he also needs to be far enough from the front wheel. Will there be room on this bike to make it worth it? Or do I need to stick to a longer bike? Also, kid would survive anyway, but he wouldn’t get the seatpost suspension. Maybe I really need to stick to a bike with at least larger wheels so it won’t be too rough on any bumps.
I think my perfect bike might be almost exactly this but with larger wheels and maybe suspension, but still at least manageable for someone 5’2″, maybe that perfect thing doesn’t exist though.Reply
Luc4 years ago
Q: commute Winter conditions (need studded tires in city black icy here) live up north Canada, Yukon territory.
Q: oil in electric motor?! what type?! how it stand very cold weather, ex; minus 25 Celsius!
Q: oil in brakes? what type oil? how how behave cold weather??
I do lots of hills in winter commutes… battery, tork outtork outputs? Thanks for replying.Reply
Court4 years ago
Hi Luc! Is French your first language? If so, great job with the English. I wish I had great answers for you but I’m afraid that my knowledge of grease, oil, and super cold temperatures is somewhat limited. The good news is, I believe that heat is more damaging to ebikes than cold. I think that most hydraulic disc brakes use DOT approved oil that is designed not to freeze… but you could always choose mechanical brakes instead, and it would actually cost less. Your battery may be impacted by cold, so consider storing it in a warm environment just before use and getting a neoprene cover like one of these.Reply
Danica3 years ago
Thanks for the super helpful review! I didn’t see anything about riding on dirt or gravel, and I’m wondering if this bike would make it up the steep dirt road I live on. It’s only ~1.5 mile of dirt, but gets up to 17% grade at some points. Will it ride up dirt hills relatively well? My commute is 2200 ft of elevation gain over 14-miles, with the steepest bit on dirt at the end. I’d love to buy this bike if it can handle the dirt!Reply
Court3 years ago
Hi Danica, my experience with smaller 20″ wheels on dirt and gravel is that they aren’t as comfortable because the air volume is lower (less air in a smaller diameter tire) and the attack angle is much higher/steeper so the tires run into bumps and cracks vs. spanning and smoothing over them. This model, the M-Class, doesn’t have suspension either. So, you’re getting a lighter, more affordable, better handling (if the cargo rack is loaded) experience, but it’s not going to be super smooth feeling. As far as power to get up a steeper dirt road, I think you’d be fine, because the mid-drive motor is pretty powerful and can take advantage of lower gears… just shift down, keep pedaling a bit to help, and the bike will probably do fine. Now, your weight, the cargo weight, and the assist level plus your gear level will all play a role in this. In my opinion, the bike would work well, but could feel a little less comfortable than a full sized ebike ;)Reply
Pierre3 years ago
Hello Court from Southern Louisiana! I am considering an m-class and find your reviews very helpful. My problem is that the wife and I are RV’ers / campers and as such, have space constrictions and limitations. As the M doesn’t fold, I’m wondering if I could remove the seat, remove the front wheel and replace pedals with folding ones to perhaps garner a smaller silhouette. I suppose my question here is, do you see anything about the bike that would make you think that removing the above would not reduce the bike size for travel or stress it in any way. Keep up the great reviews and Thank You! PierreReply
Court3 years ago
Hi Pierre! I think that would help a lot. If you also remove the front basket, you’ll be able to turn the handlebars 90-degrees and lay the bike flat! Folding pedals are a good option, but you could also get a pedal wrench and use the standard platform pedals (which feel better, more secure). Keep in mind, pedals thread tighter as you pedal, so even if you don’t over-tighten them each time you ride, you should be fairly safe from them coming loose. I find that the time it takes to put on and remove a pedal compared with folding a pedal, it’s fairly similar if you have the tool. I hope this helps!!Reply
Pierre3 years ago
Thank You Court for your reply.. decisions, decisions.. but again thank you for all the food for thought.. Keep Up the Great work!! Pierre
S Bar3 years ago
This bike has good potential but unfortunately there are a few shortcomings which if fixed, this can be a really nice bike.
Sorry for stating only the shortcomings but if fixed, this bike will be great. I couldn’t return it because the restocking fee is outrageous 25%, plus 175 shipping and I sold it. Maybe it’s me but I liked it at the beginning but the more I rode, the more I disliked it.Reply
Court3 years ago
Fair enough! Thanks for sharing your feelings and experiences with this ebike. Glad you were able to find it a new home, and better luck with your next electric bike :DReply
Matt3 years ago
Hey S Bar, thanks for your comment, and I’m sorry you’ve had these issues. I feel you brother. I wanted to share my observations on the points you’ve raised, because I’ve had similar issues on some points.
I haven’t had an issue with the speedometer, and it tracks pretty much exactly with the results I get from Strava. I have my settings set at the default 20 inch wheels. I haven’t heard others with this particular issue.
Regarding your point about the controller voltage settings, I wondered about this too. I wrote Ariel Rider, and Chloe responded that the setting should be 48. My memory was mine had been shipped with the computer controlled setting as default, but I wasn’t totally positive, as I had messed around with the settings. So I changed it to 48. Rode it that way a couple times, and it worked fine–but no different that I could really tell from the “computer controlled” setting.
I raised this point with the Ariel Rider FB group, and others reported theirs too had been shipped with computer controlled voltage as default, and they’d left it that way without issue. So I think you may have just received a poorly programmed or defective controller. Just a guess though–I’m no expert.
Regarding the other three issues you raised, I agree on all three. No doubt the gearing is weak, and it should have a bigger chainring and maybe a smaller cog too. The C-class has the same battery and motor and has a bigger chainring, or so I’ve been told. Also, I wish the gearing in the cassette had more variance of distribution. I totally agree about the pedal assist, too. Wish that had more range. The lowest setting should be lower.
And yes, I’ve also heard a couple disconcerting sounds from the motor, sort of like something slipping, but it hasn’t really affected performance. At least not yet. I’ve only had it a month. Come to think of it, I heard these sounds when the controller was set to 48. So maybe it really should be set to computer controlled. Not sure.
The gearing issue is fixable, I think, and I plan to use the advice and links from this perceptive review of the bike to replace the chainring and cog. I need to find out if doing this will void affect the warranty for the motor.
All that said, I like the bike quite a bit. I found it to be quite peppy off the line, and the pedal assist feels powerful to me and fun to use with these 20 inch wheels, which I love for maneuvering around Queens. I like the improvements in terms of front suspension, USB charger, etc. I hope the replacements recommended in that review work as described, because that would make it pretty close to my ideal NYC commuter ebike and a still a heck of a deal, even if I pay a bike shop to make those gearing replacements.Reply
Court3 years ago
Great feedback Matt! Thanks for taking the time to follow up and share the other review. Good stuff :)
Matt3 years ago
Following up with my previous comment, I still hear the occasional odd noise from the motor. It sounds like a fairly loud click or a clanking sound. It kind of feels like a slipping chain, but it’s not a slipping chain. The chain tension is tight, and the gears are brand new. The motor seems to pause or slip in power for a tiny moment, then everything is back to normal. It doesn’t really affect performance, but it is disconcerting.
I have heard the sound maybe 6-7 times total, riding the bike about that same amount of times for about 10-15 miles per ride. Do mid drive motors like this occasionally make odd sounds? How worried should I be?
Rob2 years ago
Beware customer service. After having this bike for a month, the motor failed. It shuts off almost as soon as it is activated (by throttle or pedal pressure). Probably some sort of sensor failure. Without going into the constant back and forth with them, it’s been two months since I first contacted customer service and I’ve finally received a part that they are hoping will fix the problem but they sent no installation directions and they have not responded to repeated requests for those directions. (The part apparently goes inside the motor housing which I’m not about to disassemble without instructions).Reply
Court2 years ago
Oh man, be careful with the motor disassembly Rob. I’ve heard that some motors have very powerful magnets and I don’t want you to get pinched fingers or anything. Thanks for the update about limited customer service, and slower parts replacement here. My experience with the team is that they have been very supportive and believe in ebikes, but perhaps the global supply chain disruptions lately and maybe some personal life stuff has made it difficult. That doesn’t justify things, and I’m sorry for your struggles. I hope things get better for everyone.Reply
Kevin7 months ago
Did you eventually get instructions on how to fix your motor, Rob?
I’ve been looking for a used M-Class because I like the compact size but definitely worried about that mid-drive Dapu motor. If the Dapu fails, you just end up having an expensive bike that doesn’t work and a difficult time finding parts… especially since this bike has been discontinued for some reason. Closest thing is the RM Tinker but that’s way out of my budget. =[Reply
ROB7 months ago
Kevin, it’s been two years so I don’t remember the back and forth in detail. I did get instructions, the original part that was sent did not resolve the problem. After more discussion, they agreed the motor needed to be replaced and agreed to reimburse me to have a local shop do the work. Once we got to that point, everything went well. I still have the bike and like it quite a bit despite not having use of it for three or four months shortly after I bought it. FWIW, my impression of the customer service was not reluctance to help or a bad attitude, it just seemed one person was responsible for customer service and was overwhelmed and perhaps not well organized.
Kevin7 months ago
Thank you so much for the reply on such an old post. I’m glad things worked out for you. Since my last message, I have found many other “mini velo” or compact bikes but most of them were discontinued years ago. I’ll continue my search or hope they bring some back in the near future. Have a great Labor Day weekend!Reply
Court7 months ago
Thanks Kevin! I hope you have a great weekend too!Reply