- An affordable, light weight, single speed city electric bike that comes in two styles (high-step and mid-step), generous one year warranty and 30 day money back guarantee
- Clean aesthetic with matching black components and internally routed cabling, the front brake is upgraded from linear pull to disc for improved stopping power and smoothness
- Basic LED ebike console with limited battery capacity readouts but you get a separate wireless cycle computer for additional feedback around speed, trip time and trip distance
- Controller is mounted separate from the battery pack vs. being integrated, battery must be powered on before display can be activated and removing the pack requires unscrewing a cable vs. other click-in systems that are faster and easier
For over a decade (as of 2016) E-Glide has been a leader in the powerboard business… they created one of the first and most enduring electric skateboards on the market, the GT combines power and speed with go-anywhere ruggedness that’s well suited to events like Burning Man. The SS electric bike by comparison is more of an urban warrior. A budget friendly single speed with narrow tires that deliver efficient operation on smooth tarmac. At ~41.5 lbs it’s one of the lighter e-bikes and even though the battery isn’t integrated into the frame and the LED display console is stripped down, the bike is purpose built with wires internally routed and an add-on bike computer meant to communicate speed, range and trip time. It’s a compromise that doesn’t quit half way, a cheap bike that’s doesn’t cut so many corners and stands strong with a 30 day moneyback guarantee of satisfaction and a one year comprehensive warranty… something that’s almost unheard of in the ~$1,000 price range.
Before we get too far, let’s acknowledge some of the shortcomings on this bike. The motor isn’t especially powerful or zippy. Offering a very average 350 watts of power from an off-brand internally geared hub, the performance felt more smooth than zippy to me. It’s not a deal breaker by any means and the setup may actually contribute to increased range this way, but it didn’t wow me. The canister style battery pack powering the bike is pretty bulky for offering just 36 volts and 10.4 amp hours. Again, that’s average in terms of capacity and it takes up most of the inner frame triangle while many newer electric bikes have integrated designs or at least combine the controller. The E-Glide SS has opted for a separate controller box which is mounted to the seat tube where a bottle cage might otherwise reside. Thankfully, both items are black which really helps them blend in with the wires, chainring, spokes and motor casing. The overall look is good enough but the utility suffers a bit, one of the really annoying aspects is battery removal. You can of course charge it on the bike, leaving it mounted indefinitely, but should you wish to lighten your load or store the bike separately from your charging station the disconnecting / reconnecting process requires some patience and fine motor skills because the plug screws in at the base vs. a quick snap-in connection. And that area on the bike is pretty tight so reaching through can be difficult. One other gripe on the battery choice is powering it on, there’s a separate switch at the base (near the screw-in plug) which requires activation before a second power on process can begin at the display. It’s easy to forget and requires a big reach or complete dismount if you do. And finally, the bike doesn’t come with a kickstand and the motor power cable extrudes from the axle at the right side, somewhat vulnerable to tips or snags… which could brick the bike.
Okay, none of the complaints listed above are new. I’ve encountered most of them on similarly priced or older ebike models. They are compromises made to use parts that don’t cost so much and for the most part they are easy to work around. Where the bike shines is in its operation, its simplicity and durability. The E-Glide SS is a single speed… that’s what the SS stands for, and this means you don’t have the added weight and complexity of a derailleur. You won’t need as many tuneups and the chain probably won’t drop. This is not a fixie, you can pedal backwards, and E-Glide offers an upgraded chainring with 48 teeth vs. the stock 44 if you prefer a slower more powerful feeling cadence vs. spinning. One major draw of any electric bike is the assistance that motors can provide when starting and climbing and that’s exactly what you need on a single speed. Thankfully, the SS delivers completely by offering three levels of pedal assist in addition to trigger throttle operation that can be activated at standstill. Stop signs and red lights become a concern of the past and to me, it creates a more conscientious riding mindset. Having only one gear and being made to stop can be frustrating but with an electric bike it just doesn’t matter as much.
For an addition fee the standard SS can be upgraded to Plus which includes a nicer gel saddle from Selle Royal (which comes in men’s and women’s specific designs) and Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires. The tires are a big deal… delivering 5 mm of puncture protective lining and a reflective sidewall that will help this otherwise completely stealth non-reflective bike stand out… possibly saving your life during late evening commutes. Personally, I find the upgrades to be well worth the money and even the racks, chainring, lights, pedals and other areas where E-Glide offers to help are kept within reason and not price gouged. It takes them time and effort to buy and install these parts and none of them feel like a ripoff. It’s not like buying a new computer and having to pay double or triple for extra hard drive space than what you’d be able to buy and install yourself. You’re not having to pay a lot extra for those upgrades here and I really admire that.
Okay, so in closing, the E-Glide SS is a rigid, stripped down electric bike that strives for affordability but truly does stand out. The fact that the front wheel now has a disc brake for improved stopping power (something the original SS did not). The way that even the stock saddle is fairly comfortable, the bars are riser design (for improved fit, comfort and adjustability) and the grips are ergonomic. Even the steel fork which dampens a bit more vibration. The good size of the pedals even though they are plastic and all of the areas where the company acknowledges improvements and is willing to help you get them for a fair price. All of this makes for a bike that I truly respect and admire. No, it’s not the zippiest thing in the world but it works great if you pedal just a little bit. No, the battery and controller aren’t the most refined or integrated designs. No, it only comes in one size and now just one color (black) but they did go for a second style with angled top tube to reduce standover height… if only by an inch or two. You can’t have everything if you aren’t willing to pay but to me they jam packed most things at a price many people can afford. And perhaps the best part is that with an ebike like this you’ll tend to ride more frequently and feel less bad about damage or the possibility theft than if you’d spent $3k. Big thanks to E-Glide for partnering with me for this review.
- E-GLIDE has produced one of the most affordable electric bikes around at just over $1k, it’s great for getting around town and not worrying so much about how fragile or vulnerable it is when parked at a rack due to the simplicity and relatively low price
- You get plenty of drive options with a 12 magnet cadence sensor and trigger throttle that overrides assist so you don’t have to pedal to start or maintain top speed if you don’t want to… this is my favorite kind of drive setup for city riding with stop signs and lights
- I like that they introduced a 160 mm disc brake in the front for improved stopping power and ease of use, the rear linear pull brake is fine and both are mechanical vs. hydraulic but it’s still a nice upgrade
- Simple tight drivetrain… this is a single speed bicycle with a 16T sprocket in the rear and a 44T chainring up front (or optional 48 tooth for higher speed slower cadence pedaling), the chain doesn’t bounce around and you shouldn’t have issues with it dropping, I like that the rear dropouts are horizontal so you can adjust tension but would have liked a screw tensioner for added strength vs. just bolts on the side
- The black hub motor, black mid-dish rims, black spokes, black chainring, black battery and controller, black wires and black pedals all blend into the black frame… the bike looks cool and less cluttered than some competing models, they do sell a metallic green option but apparently it’s a lot less popular and limited in terms of availability
- Nice tire upgrade if you get the Plus model for $100 more, the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires should last longer than generic and repel punctures thanks to 5 mm thick SmartGuard lining and I love the reflective sidewall stripes given the “all black” frame and components
- The Selle Royal comfort gel saddle, soft rubber ergonomic grips on a riser bar and steel fork improve comfort since this is a rigid frame with narrower tires, consider adding a 27.2 mm diameter suspension post like Thudbuster, BodyFloat or cheaper option if you’re sensitive or ride on a lot of rough terrain
- The bike is very light weight at just over 40 lbs and since it uses a traditional high-step diamond style frame it’s easy to lift and mount on some car and bus racks (the hanging style ones) as long as you take the battery off
- Even though this is a cheaper ebike and some of the extra cables and control boxes show… it’s still a lot nicer looking than most kits I’ve installed, most of the cables are run through at least part of the frame to reduce snags and clutter
- I was impressed that not only do you get a nicer saddle if you upgrade to the Plus model but that they offer male and female specific saddles for an even better fit
- Solid one year warranty with a comprehensive 30 day money back guarantee (nice since this is predominantly sold online vs. through shops where you can test ride)
- The front wheel features quick release which is handy for moving the bike (just twist the bars sideways to lay it flat in the back of a car etc.) but this also makes theft easier… same with the seat tube collar, consider locking hardware if you plan to park at racks a lot where pieces could get stolen
- I like that the battery pack is black because it blends in with the frame and wires disappear but am not thrilled that the controller unit is mounted separately on the seat tube, it just doesn’t look as clean or professional
- In order to fully remove the battery pack you need to unscrew a plug at the base and this takes extra time and tinkering than a lot of click-in batteries like the Bosch Powerpack or Yamaha pack
- The LED display panel for the drive systems on this ebike is very basic so you don’t get speed, range or a deeper look at battery charge level… but I like the solution they came up with, just attaching a basic bike computer to the stem, it still doesn’t show a detailed battery readout but at least you get riding stats
- There are no bosses for adding a bottle cage or other bolt-on accessory (like pumps or locks) and at first I didn’t think racks would work but it sounds like thy offer some sort of aftermarket rack (front and rear) if you ask at time of purchase
- The frame only comes in one size but there is a “mid-step” style with an angled top tube, the geometry was nearly the same with possibly a 1″ lower stand over height
- The bike doesn’t come stock with a kickstand and is a bit vulnerable on the right side because the motor power cable comes through the axle, try not to let it get damaged or you might need to replace the entire rear wheel or spoke in a new motor
- Activating and de-activating the bike is a two step process where you have to click a toggle switch at the base of the battery pack and then power on the display panel with another button, reaching the first switch is a bit tricky since there isn’t much space at the base of the battery and it’s much lower on the frame, you might even have to get off the bike to do this and it could be easier to accidentally leave powered on
- I didn’t see an easy way to mount full length fenders, there are some quick release plastic ones that just hang there (and a rear rack might act as a fender) but otherwise this bike might be left without and if you commute in a location with rain that could be a bummer, this front fender and this rear fender appear to be the correct size and might work