- An approachable, highly adjustable, high-powered electric bike with lots of utilitarian extras including fenders, lights, extra reflectors, and integrated rear rack
- Compact mid-drive motor keeps weight low and centered on the frame while freeing up the rear wheel to work with a NuVinci N380 or Harmony continuously variable transmission
- Reliable Gates carbon belt drive won't fall off as easily as a chain and doesn't make as much noise, hydraulic disc brakes provide excellent stopping power without requiring much hand strength
- Responsive cadence sensing pedal assist with trigger-throttle override and motor-inhibiting brake levers, only one frame size but they offer two colors (dark grey or white), extra USB ports for charging portable electronics via the battery pack or LCD display panel
eProdigy is a Canada-based electric bike company that has been producing and selling a range of mid-drive products since 2011. Their Achiever motors are compact, efficient, and in the case of the Magic and Magic Pro… very powerful. This is an ebike that was designed from the ground up to be approachable, comfortable, and utilitarian. The base model comes with a smaller battery and traditional 9-speed Shimano Alivio derailleur but the Magic Pro, which is the focus of this review, comes with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) NuVinci drivetrain. For those who are unfamiliar, the NuVinci N380 can be shifted at standstill and uses a slide of 380-degrees vs. stepped gears. There’s no mashing or clunking, and this is especially relevant when paired with a centerdrive because there’s more power going through the drivetrain (your legs power and the motor). The NuVinci hub adds a bit of weight and friction, but works perfectly with the Gates carbon belt drive for clean, quiet operation. In order to offer the N380 or upgraded NuVinci Harmony (which provides automatic electronic shifting for $499 more), the Magic Pro was designed with a cutaway frame for the belt to fit on. The frame only comes in one size, to keep the price down, but is offered in two colors. With hardware like the adjustable angle stem, swept-back handlebar, and wide range of saddle heights, it remains approachable even though there’s only one frame size.
There is so much to say about this electric bicycle, many things that set it apart and make it both enjoyable and utilitarian. Take the wheel size and tire choice for example; eProdigy opted for a middle-sized 27.5″ diameter vs. 26″ or 28″ and this allows for a blend of approachability (the frame sits closer to the ground) and comfort (the slightly larger wheel size can span cracks, overcome obstacles, and provide more cushion because of increased air volume). They chose Premium Schwalbe tires based on their highly puncture-resistant casing and reflective sidewalls. Even the rims have been upgraded with reinforcement eyelets to improve strength. The bike fork and frame have reflective accents, and the headlight and backlight are wired-in, running off of the main battery. There are some drawbacks to consider here however: the rear light is a bit basic with only one LED and the kickstand is fitted with an adapter vs. a standard tab, the fork is rigid vs. using suspension, the plastic fenders can rattle a bit, and the motor makes a whirring noise regardless of power level. Frankly, there aren’t many products out there that offer a belt drive, the NuVinci systems, battery capacity choices, and a sturdy step-thru frame. Notice how the downtube and seat tube are reinforced with an additional bar for strength. The bike felt stable and tracked well during my test rides in Burnaby, Canada. One of the founding team members, Melody, even hopped on for a test ride. She’s 5’2″ (157.48 cm) and was able to mount and pedal comfortably while still having room to lower the saddle more if she had wanted. Owners of this bike can lower the motor power and even reduce the top speed… they can disable the throttle completely to go from Class 2 to Class 1 if needed, but I love how the trigger throttle overrides assist for easy starts and those times when you might want to rest your legs. The Magic Pro is a wonderful addition to thee eProdigy lineup, my favorite model to date, and it’s the platform that is being used for their new rental program in Vancouver called Bees Knees Rentals.
Driving the Magic, Magic Pro with NuVinci N380, and Magic Pro with NuVinci Harmony is the same 750 watt Achiever mid-motor. This is a proprietary canister drive system that is very compact, but capable. Its peak output reaches 1,000 watts and I’m told the torque can be as high as 120 Newton meters. That’s significantly more than Bosch, Yamaha, Shimano and the other big name brands that hover around 70 to 80 Nm. For someone who weighs more or expects to climb a lot of hilly terrain, the extra torque is a great thing. However, that force is all transmitted into the chain or belt and the gearing system, and there’s no fancy shift detection to keep it from straining the drivetrain. It’s less of an issue with the sturdy Gates carbon belt drive and CVT hubs, but the base-level Magic (with that 9-speed cassette) could take some damage if you don’t shift carefully. I found the 12-magnet cadence sensor to be very responsive, but it’s not as dynamic as a torque or torque+cadence sensor… so you’ll really want to ease off or even tap the brakes when shifting gears if you get the standard Magic. Coming back to the Magic Pro with the CVT hub, you can shift however you want… even when using the throttle, because there are no steps in the gearing. It cannot mash and there’s only one belt ring cog and one rear sprocket so the belt cannot drop off. Many shops and brands that work with the Gates belt drive system have told me that it is extremely reliable and clean. It’s also quiet, but the Achiever motor does produce some whirring noise when in use, so the quiet is spoiled a bit. I love that both the chain or belt are covered by a full-length plastic chain cover to keep your pant legs or dress ends clean and snag-free. Both wheels are covered by durable plastic fenders with rubber flaps. I noticed that they utilized double support stays to reduce rattling, which is great. All things considered, I welcome and appreciate this proprietary motor system because it’s aesthetically pleasing, powerful, and compatible with a throttle while most other mid-motors are not.
Powering the base level Magic is a 48 volt 8.7 amp hour battery pack, but the Pro models come with a higher capacity 14.5 amp hour battery. It doesn’t weigh much more, I’m guessing under one pound, and is physically the same size. It’s just using fancier “high-capacity” Lithium-ion cells. For people who might wish to upgrade the battery on the stock Magic ebike, eProdigy only charges $375. The higher capacity 696 watt hour battery will help you ride further or move more weight and climb more effectively. It’s a neat upgrade, and there are many ways to spend the energy… not just the motor. The integrated lights are efficient but do draw a bit of power from the pack, the backlit display is the same, and both the battery and display panel have USB ports built in for running or charging portable electronic devices! I’ve seen many ebikes that only have a USB port on the battery, and this requires a long cord that could get snagged while pedaling. By having a port up at the display panel, you could charge your phone, an additional light, a GPS device, or maybe some fun Christmas lights while riding. Once you reach your destination, the main battery pack could be removed for charging or to use as backup power. I frequently remove the battery from my ebike to fill up at work and to keep it out of the hot sun or cold winter air. Extreme temperatures can be hard on Lithium-ion packs and it’s best to keep them charged up and avoid going under 20% to keep the cells from stressing. Thankfully, eProdigy has opted for high-quality Panasonic cells here, which are known for being long lasting and reliable. All things considered, the battery pack is sturdy (being encased in aluminum alloy), well designed (with a handle for easy carrying), and positioned well on the frame (low and center for balance). The charger is a bit basic, only putting out 2 amps vs. 3 or 4, but is compact and lightweight.
Operating this bike is a cinch, once the battery pack has been charged and locked onto the frame, you simply hold the center button on the rubberized control pad which is mounted near the left grip. The monochrome LCD boots up, displaying your current speed, battery level, and assist level 0-5. Level zero disables pedal assist and the throttle, but allows the display and lights to run. Weighing in at roughly 58 lbs with the NuVinci N380 and high-capacity battery, this isn’t the lightest ebike… but the rear rack, fenders, and lights all contribute, and it’s also not the heaviest bike out there by any means. So pedaling it around without assist is possible, especially with the efficient tires, as long as you have them aired up appropriately (higher pressure is more efficient but less comfortable). Speaking of comfort, the ergonomic grips and gel saddle feel very good, but I’d probably purchase a 30.9 mm seat post suspension if I was riding far or expecting bumpy road conditions. Back to the display, you can activate the lights by holding the up arrow and activate walk mode by holding the down arrow. Simply clicking these buttons will raise or lower assist, and I love how the throttle is active with full power anytime you’re using 1-5 assist, it’s not capped by the level. Considering that the trigger throttle offers variable power output, it’s just nice to be able to really juice it to catch up with a friend or climb a short hill… but leave your pedal assist down in a more modest 1 or 2 level for pedaling. This display is fairly large, and it can swivel a bit to reduce glare, but it is not removable. I feel like it’s well protected at the center of the riser handlebar, but it could still get scratched at a rack and take some sun and rain damage over time. The systems should all be highly water resistant (eProdigy is based in Vancouver where it rains after all). I appreciate how most of the wires are internally routed through the frame, and how nicely the blend in on the dark grey colored frame, but the white one might be safer for early morning and night rides.
I really enjoyed covering the eProdigy Magic Pro and catching up with Melody Chan to hear about their rental program. Electric bikes can empower people to commute to work without knee and hip strain or sweat, they can flatten hills, reduce the effects of high wind, and they can enable us to ride together if skill levels differ. They are super efficient, especially mid-motors, and in this case super intuitive (with the shifting at standstill or electronic auto-shift option). I haven’t explained that much… but for $499 extra, the NuVinci Harmony lets you set a preferred pedal cadence, and then it automatically shifts to allow you to pedal with the same force and at the same speed by slowing the bike down or speeding it up. It’s a very unique option, one that lets you focus more on the surroundings vs. shifting. I feel that the grip shifter on the N380 is also very intuitive, and the control pad is reachable and simple enough to be enjoyable by less tech savvy riders. I realize that shifting gears can be confusing and intimidating for some riders, and then you add a little computer into the mix and it can feel overwhelming. The eProdigy system is very intuitive and also durable with the NuVinci CVT, you won’t grind gears or damage it at bike racks or if the bike tips as easily. Yes, the bike costs a bit more with these options, but they should last. That also goes for the company, they are super friendly and provide an excellent two-year comprehensive warranty with all of their products. For those who want to commute with the bike, the rear rack was sturdy and had both pannier hangers as well as bungee loops. The kickstand is positioned out of the way, the pedals are large and sturdy, the adjustable stem is simple to use and doesn’t even require tools. One of my favorite aspects of this ebike however, is that it comes with adjustable hydraulic disc brakes that have motor inhibiting levers for instant stops. The bike feels natural and safe, it gives you lots of control, and I think it looks great as well. Big thanks to eProdigy for partnering with me on this post and to Melody for meeting with me. I’ll do my best to answer questions in the comments below and welcome you to join in the discussion and post stories and photos in the eProdigy Forums!
- Extremely clean, quiet, and durable drivetrain, this ebike uses a Gates carbon belt drive instead of a traditional chain, there’s no derailleur or cassette at the back so it’s less likely to go out of tune or get damaged
- Instead of changing gears, you smoothly adjust through a 380-degree range of cadence options using the NuVinci N380 continuously variable transmission hub, you can adjust this whether the bike is moving or stopped
- The battery and motor are positioned very well on the Magic Pro, both are kept low and centered on the frame which improve handling and stability
- The bike only comes in one frame size but it’s extremely easy to approach and mount because of the wave step-thru design, and you can dial in fit with the adjustable angle quill stem and swept-back riser handlebar
- I was really impressed with the high power and torque of the proprietary Achiever mid-motor, it offers 750 watts nominal and up to 120 Newton meters of torque for easy starts and effective climbing
- Excellent utility and safety here with reflective puncture-resistant tires from Schwalbe, reflective accents on the fork seat tube and rear rack support, integrated front and rear LED lights, a sturdy built-in rack with pannier hangers, and a chain cover and full-length fenders
- The motor is very compact, almost hidden compared with many other mid-drive solutions… it doesn’t offer fancy shift detection and it does produce some whirring noise when driven at full power, but it’s actually pretty impressive for an off-brand part (compared to Shimano, Brose, Yamaha, or Bosch)
- eProdigy is offering two versions of this ebike and the more expensive pro model comes with a high-capacity battery pack that fits into the same downtube interface, it provides 48 volts and 14.5 amp hours making it above-average for longer or more powerful rides
- Very few mid-drive powered electric bikes offer throttle operation but the Magic and Magic Pro do! It’s a handy option for people who might not be able to pedal comfortably or those who need help getting started
- The cadence sensor that activates the motor when pedaling is completely internalized and well protected, it felt very responsive to me but you can also just override using the throttle for immediate power
- Minor praises here, I like the adjustable kickstand, sturdy alloy pedals, quality rims with reinforcement eyelets, and internally routed brake/shifter/electrical cables (even though some cables are exposed below the bottom bracket), the black frame really hides the cables and battery pack well but the white frame color could be safer in low light – keeping you more visible from the sides, it’s nice to have a choice
- The frame felt pretty responsive and stiff despite being a step-thru, you can see the little brace tube near the base of the downtube (where it meets the seat tube), this still won’t be as stiff as a high-step, but it’s a lot more approachable
- Both the battery pack and display panel have a full-sized USB 2.0 charging port so you could maintain a phone, Garmin GPS device, or other portable electronic accessory on the go and when parked
- Unique wheel size here, the 27.5″ diameter splits the difference between a low frame height 26″ vs. a low attack angle 700x 28″ (it’s a balance of approachability and comfort)
- Great brakes, you get easy-pull hydraulic disc brakes with average sized 160 mm rotors, and both levers offer adjustable reach for smaller or gloved hands and they also have motor inhibitors built in for immediate power cutoff
- The NuVinci N380 adds to the weight and price of the bike, there’s a special fluid inside that enables shifting but this also produces some friction that reduces efficiency compared to a traditional cassette
- There’s no suspension fork here but the ergonomic grips, comfort saddle, and fatter 2.0″ tires provide decent comfort, you could always purchase a basic 30.9 mm suspension seat post like this to reduce impact on rough streets
- The display and button pad are easy to use and relatively easy to see, you can swivel the display a bit to reduce glare, but it is not removable and could get scratched or just take more weather-wear if you park outside at a public bike rack
- Minor consideration here, the charging port for the battery is positioned near the left crank arm and could expose the wire to snags or bumps if you’re charging it on the bike, just be careful
- Minor consideration, there are no bottle cage bosses anywhere on the bike, it seems like there might have been room on the seat tube, but I can see how that would have exposed an accessory to being kicked when mounting or dismounting, consider using a basic trunk bag like this with a bottle holster instead
- The rear light only has one LED, it doesn’t blink or do anything besides a constant on and it’s just a little basic… but at least it runs off of the main battery pack vs. disposable cells and turns on with the control panel vs. an independent switch :)
- Weighing in at nearly 58 lbs, this isn’t the lightest electric bike, but at least the 7.4 lb battery is removable if you do need to lift it or perform maintenance
- eProdigy has limited dealer reach in the USA which could make finding and test riding a unit a bit difficult… but they also sell online, be prepared to do a little setup work in this case, the company has been around since 2011 and is super friendly so that’s nice