Faraday Cortland Review

Faraday Cortland Electric Bike Review
Faraday Cortland
Faraday Cortland 8fun 250 Watt Internally Geared Motor
Faraday Cortland 26 Wheelset Bamboo Fenders
Faraday Cortland E Ink Display Power Selector
Faraday Cortland 160 Mm Disc Brakes
Faraday Cortland Controller Rear Led Light
Faraday Cortland Curved Downtube
Faraday Cortland Internally Routed Cables
Faraday Cortland Gates Cdx Belt Drive
Faraday Cortland San Francisco Bay Bride
Faraday Cortland Scissoring Kickstand
Faraday Cortland Shimano Alfine 8 Speed Hub
Faraday Cortland With Yepp Child Seat
Faraday Cortland Child Seat Rear Rack
Faraday Cortland Electric Bike Review
Faraday Cortland
Faraday Cortland 8fun 250 Watt Internally Geared Motor
Faraday Cortland 26 Wheelset Bamboo Fenders
Faraday Cortland E Ink Display Power Selector
Faraday Cortland 160 Mm Disc Brakes
Faraday Cortland Controller Rear Led Light
Faraday Cortland Curved Downtube
Faraday Cortland Internally Routed Cables
Faraday Cortland Gates Cdx Belt Drive
Faraday Cortland San Francisco Bay Bride
Faraday Cortland Scissoring Kickstand
Faraday Cortland Shimano Alfine 8 Speed Hub
Faraday Cortland With Yepp Child Seat
Faraday Cortland Child Seat Rear Rack


  • One of the most beautiful, well balanced electric bikes I've ever tested, silent belt drive with internally geared eight speed Shimano Alfine hub
  • Modest 250 watt front hub motor (custom tuned), perfectly integrated downtube battery and new optional saddle-bag battery to double range
  • Available in two frame sizes and two classic colors, leather and bamboo accents, integrated LED lights, smart phone app with range estimation, tuning and speed adjustment (zero to 28 mph)
  • Comfortable 1.75" tires with Kevlar puncture protection, vibration dampening steel frame (that is still stiff and responsive thanks to double-tube design), smooth hydraulic disc brakes with 160 mm rotors

Video Review








Body Position:


Suggested Use:

Neighborhood, Urban

Electric Bike Class:

Pedal Assist (Class 1), Speed Pedelec (Class 3)
Learn more about Ebike classes


2 Year Motor, Electronics, Frame and Battery


United States, Japan, Australia, Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Spain, France

Model Year:


Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

42.5 lbs (19.27 kg)

Battery Weight:

4 lbs (1.81 kg)

Motor Weight:

6.5 lbs (2.94 kg)

Frame Material:

Chromoly Steel

Frame Sizes:

19.3 in (49.02 cm)20.5 in (52.07 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

Small (844 mm Seat Tube, 566 mm Top Tube - Effective, 400 mm Reach, 150 mm Head Tube, 598 mm Standover Height, 1077 mm Wheelbase), Small (5224 mm Seat Tube, 580 mm Top Tube - Effective, 401 mm Reach, 190 mm Head Tube, 615 mm Standover Height, 1092 mm Wheelbase)

Frame Types:

Step-Thru (Traditional Dutch Twin Top Tube)

Frame Colors:

Classic White, Stingray Blue

Frame Fork Details:

Chromoly Steel, Rigid

Attachment Points:

Fender Bosses, Rear Rack Bosses

Gearing Details:

8 Speed 1x8, Gates CDX CenterTrack Sprocket, 22T

Shifter Details:

Shimano Alfine 8 RapidFire on Right Bar


Faraday Forged Aluminum with Chainguard, Gates CDX CenterTrack Sprocket, 50T


MKS Japan, Sylvan Touring, Aluminum


Prestine Sealed Bearing, 1 1/8", Threadless


Faraday Forged 6061 Aluminum, Ahead-Style


Faraday 6061 Aluminum, 25.4" Long

Brake Details:

Tektro Vela Hydraulic Disc with 160 mm Rotors, Tektro Vela Hydraulic Levers


Faraday Leather Lock-On


Faraday Comfort

Seat Post:

Faraday Forged Aluminum

Seat Post Diameter:

25.4 mm


36H Hubs, Faraday Double-Wall Disc-Only Rims


36 Total, 13 Gauge Spokes in Front and 14 Gauge Spokes in Rear

Tire Brand:

Continental Contact, 26" x 1.75"

Wheel Sizes:

26 in (66.04cm)

Tire Details:

SafetySystem Breaker Puncture Protection (Kevlar Reinforced Nylon)

Tube Details:

Schrader Valve


Integrated Faraday 4 Watt LED Headlight and LED Tail Light, Massload Twin Scissoring Kickstand, Front and Rear Bamboo Fenders, Optional Stem Extender Handlebar Raiser $44, Optional Porteur Rack $225 (20 kg Max Load), Optional Rear Rack $125 (20 kg Max Load), Optional Leather Pouch $69, Optional Spurcycle Bell $39, Additional Charger $49, Additional Pouch Mounted Battery $499


Thun Germany X-Cell RT Torque Sensor in Bottom Bracket, Gates CDX CenterTrack Carbon Drive Belt, Smart Phone App Due in September 2016, Wireless Firmware Updates, Automatic Bike Shut Off After 10 Minutes, Max Weight 275 lbs (Rider + Gear)

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

8Fun (Custom Tuned SYXD-01F)

Motor Type:

Front-Mounted Geared Hub
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

250 watts

Motor Peak Output:

350 watts

Battery Brand:


Battery Voltage:

43 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

6.7 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

290 wh (24 18650-PF Cells)

Battery Chemistry:


Charge Time:

3 hours

Estimated Min Range:

20 miles (32 km)

Estimated Max Range:

25 miles (40 km)

Display Type:



Battery Level

Display Accessories:

Toggle Switch (Off, Assist, Boost), iOS and Android App (Range, Lights, Map, GPS Recovery, Speed Adjust, Motor Power Adjust)

Drive Mode:

Advanced Pedal Assist (Torque and Cadence Sensing)

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph)

Written Review

Update! The Faraday Porteur and Cortland moved from $3,799 to $3,499 in 2017 and the review listing price here has been updated to reflect that.

Faraday produces some of my favorite electric bikes because they’re well balanced, light weight and self-contained. The battery stays in the downtube and hardly changes the look or ride quality of the bike. The motor is minimal but noticeable when activated, especially on high power mode or when climbing hills. Frankly, even if their products weren’t electrified I would still appreciate the aesthetic and detail imbued into each model… classic colors, relaxed but comfortable handlebars handlebars and vintage pedals celebrate the rich history of this artistic tool. The bicycle exercises our body and mind by connecting us with nature and each other and for me, beautiful bicycles like the Cortland also exercise emotion because they inspire and attract. But you already feel it I’m sure, I guess I’m celebrating this aspect deeply because it comes at a higher price of nearly $4k.

Faraday is a fun company but they do sweat the details and it really shows when you take a closer look. The Cortland is their first step-through model and this review focuses on the premium Cortland vs. the more affordable Cortland S (mirroring the Porteur S in component downgrades and price). This ebike is loaded with upgrades including an internally geared eight speed Shimano Alfine hub that can be shifted at standstill (great for hill climbing), a quiet and clean belt drive system with center-track alignment technology, hydraulic disc brakes, leather touch points and bamboo accents as well as the integrated lights and mobile app compatibility that other new models get. It’s quieter, cleaner and probably more reliable than the entry level S model but the internally geared hub adds a bit of weight and the bamboo fenders aren’t quiet as wide and protective as the curved steel alternative.

Depending on your needs, Faraday offers a whole line of accessories including a leather pouch that doubles as a u-lock holder, front and rear racks that are sturdy and compatible with Yepp! child seats and other accessories and even a GPS tracking unit for theft recovery. Everything is well thought out and most owners of existing models can upgrade parts independently to be included on the latest and greatest features. The Cortland model has been a long time coming and that’s partially because the company has been sourcing better parts, hiring staff and opening a headquarters location in San Francisco where cycling and technology are continuously progressing. The new mobile app is a perfect example of this as it incorporates realtime range estimates based on battery charge level and power selection, drive model adjustment (more or less power) and even speed selection for those who appreciate a leisurely pace or want to take it beyond 20 mph as a speed pedelec (topping out around 28 mph). This is fantastic technology and while not entirely unique to Faraday it’s definitely leading edge and very well done.

The bike isn’t perfect for everyone but thanks to the new low-step frame design it’s a lot more accessible. Available in two sizes and two colors, it’s perfect for petite riders and really anyone planning to carry a child along on the rear rack. I found that mounting, standing over and holding the frame steady was easier than with the Porteur (as you’d expect) but was delighted to find that frame flex had not become an issue. The ride was responsive but still comfortable thanks to the steel frame and larger diameter tires. I think the seating position and bars also play a role… it’s just way more comfy than it appears to me for some reason. For those who are active and agile this is a near perfect electric bike, one that’s fun to pedal around even when off, one that can now go further with the addition of a unique battery upgrade and one that is balanced and steady while riding or holding. It’s extremely quiet even though it uses an internally geared hub motor and intuitive to operate. I never felt distracted by the display or power level switch and never felt uncomfortable or out of place among other cyclists and pedestrians. To me it represents the evolution of what many bicycles will become in the future as technology becomes smaller, lighter and less expensive… but it’s also beautiful.


  • The pedal assist sensor measures speed as well as pedal force so it won’t accidentally activate the motor if you’re stopped and simply resting your foot on the pedal
  • The Shimano Alfine internally geared hub offers eight levels for a range of pedal speeds and can be shifted at standstill (useful if you have to stop for a moment while going uphill… just shift all the way down instantly)
  • Awesome smart phone app (iOS and Android compatible) shows your location, controls your lights (you can turn the lights completely off!) and can adjust speed (even going up to 28 mph!) and power with two profiles to match the two physical switch positions
  • Near-silent Gates carbon belt drive system with CDX center-track to reduce slipping, it’s cleaner, requires less maintenance and weighs less than a traditional chain
  • Available in two frame sizes to fit a wider range of riders, handle bar is swept back for upright body position and is shorter than the standard Porteur model, optional stem extender
  • Hydraulic disc brakes offer smooth controlled stops without straining your hands, plenty of strength with 160 mm rotors for one rider plus cargo or a child
  • Lots of high quality matching accessories including the front porteur rack, rear traditional rack, add-on battery (that doubles range) and bell
  • I love the clean, smart aesthetic… wires are integrated but all tubes are round vs. having welded-on covers, frame colors are beautiful and unique, the additional battery pouch matches the leather accents on the grips and saddle and the bamboo fenders and rack slats are beautiful
  • Surprisingly comfortable with 26″ by wider 1.75″ tires (that are kevlar lined to reduce flats), even though none of the Faraday ebikes have suspension forks or seat post shocks as of this review they still feel comfortable on rough city streets
  • The new GPS recovery system is cool for those who may be exposed to bicycle theft and I love that older models can be upgraded to work with this feature by replacing the controller
  • Despite being a step-thru the Faraday Cortland is stiff and responsive, I didn’t experience much frame flex during my demo rides
  • This is one of the lighter weight, better balanced electric bikes I’ve tested and it functions well even if you’re not using the motor (if you run out of juice or just want exercise)
  • Optional seat-mounted battery pack upgrade will double your range and make charging in-office easier because it clicks on and off the frame so quickly, the primary downtube battery is also removable but you need tools so it’s really meant to stay in


  • Very expensive compared to similarly specced electric bikes (modest 250 watt motor, 290 watt hour battery) but you get high quality drivetrain and aesthetic components
  • No throttle mode here, you have to pedal in order to make all of the Faraday electric bikes go but their torque sensing bottom bracket is smooth and responsive
  • The thumb switch control module is easy to use while riding but limited on what is shown (an e-ink display shows approximate battery charge level) to get speed, estimated range and other information you’ll need a smart phone with the app plus a mount and that could drain your phone battery (no USB charging ports on this e-bike)
  • No quick release systems on the wheels or seat tube but this is really a city bike designed to be theft-resistant (you can even get special locking bolt kits from Faraday)


More Faraday Reviews

June 1, 2018

Faraday Porteur S Civic Edition Review

  • MSRP: $3,499
  • MODEL YEAR: 2018

A limited edition Faraday Porteur ebike with upgraded NITTO bullmoose handlebar, Paul Components CNC disc brakes, Compass gravel tires, Brooks saddle, and PDW bell. Lightweight, quiet, efficient, and responsive motor system, custom Bafang geared hub motor with two planetary…...

February 4, 2016

Faraday Cortland S Review

  • MSRP: $2,499
  • MODEL YEAR: 2016, 2017

A light weight city style electric bike that draws on classic styles and geometry but delivers good comfort and handling. Efficient 250 watt motor, responsive torque and speed sensing pedal assist with two power modes…...

June 14, 2015

Faraday Porteur S Review

  • MSRP: $2,499
  • MODEL YEAR: 2015

A light weight "minimalist" city style ebike with two levels of pedal assist, full length steel fenders and integrated LED lights. Optional front and rear cargo racks add utility, extremely well balanced motor, battery and five…...

September 28, 2014

Faraday Porteur Review

  • MSRP: $3,499
  • MODEL YEAR: 2014, 2015

One of the smoothest (steel frame), quietest (belt drive, internally geared), lightest weight (~40lb) ebikes around. Excellent weight distribution with 250 watt geared 8Fun SYX hub motor in the front, 8…...

November 10, 2012

(Prototype) Faraday Porteur Review

  • MSRP: $3,800
  • MODEL YEAR: 2013

Meticulous build crafted over two years of development, beautiful vintage style (reminiscent of 1940's and 50's bikes). Ultra lightweight, less than 40 pounds perfectly distributed across a unique double-top tubed frame...

Comments (24) YouTube Comments

5 years ago

A really thorough video review, Court, and with the text portion as nicely written as the Cortland is to look at. Good job! You didn’t comment – video or written – on the Cortland characteristic that stands out to me as most unique: that hub motor’s location on the front wheel. You’ll remember your discussion with Justin Lemire-Elmore last year wherein he claimed there was likely no difference in ride-ability between a front hub motor and one in the rear, all other things being equal. (You sounded a bit dubious about that claim, and that’s certainly how I reacted when hearing it). So what did you think? Altho’ the Cortland’s motor isn’t especially powerful or heavy, did you notice any distinct riding sensations attributable to that front hub motor? Presumably, the motor is up front because of that Alfine IGH in the back. No downsides?

Court Rye
5 years ago

Excellent observation and question Jack! I thought about going into this but with such a small, light weight motor felt it was unnecessary. Yes, in my opinion it still changes the steering (everything matters, everything) but to such a small degree… the bike rides great and the hub motor enables them to use an internally geared hub in the rear for pedaling and they do balance (weight wise and visually). If the motor was 350 watt with the added weight I might point it out a little more and definitely at 500+ but this little gearless design does not make a huge difference in my opinion when it comes to steering response and given the solid fork vs. suspension there are no concerns about strength or performance that way :)

4 years ago

Thank you so much for your thorough reviews. You help a lot of people. I think I will buy me a Faraday Cortland tomorrow ?.

Court Rye
4 years ago

Yay! Thanks for the positive feedback, I do my best and love to help people find a great fit… The Cortland is beautiful and I hope you enjoy it ;)

Steven Miyano
4 years ago

Hello Court, I am very interested in purchasing an ebike. I love your reviews and have learned so much from them. I am 65 with a little heart condition and live on a pretty steep hill. I would like to get back into biking for exercise but I know I can’t ride my Cannondale back up home. I am interested in the Courtland and Trek FX500. In your opinion, which would be better for climbing steep hills? Do you have any other recommendations? I presently am not a serious rider but live here in Sonoma county and there is a lot of nice country to ride/cruise around. Keep up the good work.

Court Rye
4 years ago

Hi Steven, I’m not really familiar with a model by Trek called the FX500 but have seen the XM700+ is this what you were referring to? I love the Cortland by Faraday because it’s quiet, light weight and comfortable to ride but the power is more limited given a front mounted geared hub motor vs. mid-drive or larger rear mounted hub. Depending on your weight and ability to pedal and contribute it might work well or be limiting. Some poeple in your shoes go the other way and get a heavy but powerful Pedego ebike and just use the throttle. I like pedaling and prefer a platform that’s easy to lift and maneuver so my choice is usually more along the lines of the Cortland. Hope this helps! The company is actually local to SF so you’d be close to service and support as well which is nice :)

4 years ago

Thanks Court for your response. It was very helpful. You were correct, I was thinking about the Trek XM700+….senior moment! Might you know a bike shop in the Bay Area that might have an XM700+ available to see any ride? None of the Trek dealers in the north bay have one. I hate to order one sight-unseen and it not make it up our street.

Court Rye
4 years ago

Hi Steve! Sounds like you’ve checked around… I don’t know of many Trek dealers in your area off the top of my head. I searched the model out down in Irvine California and I think they only had a few. Seems like the company is just dipping their toe into the space. Maybe reach out directly to Trek for feedback? I don’t see why they wouldn’t or couldn’t do an inter-store transfer or something? You could always take a weekend getaway to one of the stores in SoCal area :)

3 years ago

I just bought a Faraday last December and have used it every day since. I notice that the Alfine 8 can have trouble shifting when the weather drops below 28 degrees (has trouble taking up cable slack). Studded tires eat into the range somewhat and the cold temperatures (expect 12-15 miles at 18-19 mph in 20 degree weather). I really like it though, so far there has been no maintenance (my old bike needed a check over every 200 miles). I originally didn’t like the front tire pulling design, but have found that on ice and in snow the front pulling action actually helps stability tremendously especially if you shift to lower gears and put it on max power. The weight is excellent and my wife can easily lift it and load it etc. We are considering getting another. The front rack is really stable and large. Pretty easy to throw a regular size pizza box in it with just sticking out the front rack. It recharges very fast making the charger worth bringing. It’ll easily recharge about half the battery in under 20 minutes, it slows down and takes longer to top off.

Court Rye
3 years ago

Great summary Don, I’m glad the bike is pleasing you and your wife… and that she can lift it! That seems to be a major hurdle for some and an area I personally dislike dealing with. The range on these ebikes is more limited but with the quick charging and fairly compact charger it sounds like you’re doing great. Neat to hear how it performs for you in snow… hadn’t even thought of studded tires! Where’d you get them? Any tips on brand or size etc.? Also, great feedback about the internally geared Alfine 8 hub. I have noticed some differences in how that behaves vs. a traditional derailleur, interesting that temperature has made a difference for you.

3 years ago

Hi Court, I spoke with Faraday and they seemed to think the issue with the hub is with the tension and that if they are not totally tuned right they can become cold sensitive, so perhaps it is fixable. I think a realistic range of the bike is about 16 miles. I have about 3 miles of slight incline and 3 miles of decline followed by about 10 almost perfectly flat miles then the battery e-ink indicates empty. I am excited about the external battery they are going to release this summer-ish as I am thinking that would double the miles to a very realistic 36 miles. It is extremely well made and I’ll write another update when I put 2k+ miles on it.

Keep up the awesome work on the website :)

3 years ago

I have a Cortland and I get about 2 miles when it is cold. Unfortunately I am in NYC and must leave the bike locked up on the street overnight and the battery just does not hold the charge after a cold night and we are not even into dead winter yet. External Battery would be great but so far they have not moved on development. So I am pretty disappointed. At this point the big CON would be no removable or external battery. I agree great website and good reviews.

Court Rye
3 years ago

Thanks Sharron! I’m so sorry to hear that your Cortland isn’t performing well with the cold batteries and that you’re unable to remove the battery for warm-safe keeping or bring the bike inside. This is a major downside to the beauty and balance of the bike. I’m glad my site has helped a bit in your research process and am grateful that you shared your experience here with us so that others can know the downside :/

3 years ago

Thank You Court – I actually arrived at your website to read the Raleigh review (removable battery) and saw my Cortland in the side-bar. I do prefer the front wheel drive. I’m currently trying to figure some battery tube wrap maybe with hand warmers but nothing lasts all night. Considering it only got down to 36 F – not really cold – I figure in the teens and twenties this bicycle could be DOA (at least until I get to the office.) Shame, because I was looking forward to see how she handled the snow and slush.

2 years ago

Dear Court:

I’ve been thinking about purchasing the Faraday Cortland for a couple of seasons, and I think now is a good time as I’m looking for a nice step-thru frame with pedal-assist that doesn’t scream “E-Bike!” I test rode a Cortland recently but didn’t think it seemed very powerful. In reading your review, you mention the app that allows speeds of up to 28 mph. I’ve looked on-line as well as the App Store for iOS phones but couldn’t locate the app. I also reviewed Faraday’s website for information on the App with no success. Could you please direct me to where I can download the App?

Additionally, I understand that Derby Bikes has acquired Faraday Bicycles. Do you have any thought about what effect that aquisition will have on Faraday bikes like the Cortland? And, for example, might this mean that Faraday bikes will be using higher components in the future? Personally, I found their shifters and on-off mechanism to be quite cheap for such a nice-looking bike.

Thanks so much for helpful information!

2 years ago

Howdy, M. I also really like the integrated look that Faraday has created with their Cortland and Porteur models. The shifter and on/off mechanism were originally rapid-prototyped by Adam Volmer (founder of the company) and I agree that they felt a bit plasticky. Indeed, the company has been acquired or merged with the Pon Group, and perhaps this has delayed the launch of their app? I reached out to Adam via text and received the following response to your question about the app:

“The mobile app is not yet out. It’s not at all canceled, but our engineers are at full capacity working on other projects (auxiliary battery in particular, which starts shipping later this summer 2018), and we made the decision to put the app on the back burner for now due to bandwidth. Hope that Helps! Please keep the questions coming, always interested to hear what people are asking about and I’m always happy to help!”

Sorry it took me a bit of time to reply to your comment, M. Adam’s response has me pretty excited! It will be neat to see what sorts of changes come now that they are part of Pon and I’m definitely excited to check out the app too :D

2 years ago

Do the Faraday bikes have regenerative braking so the battery is charging while you coast going downhill?

2 years ago

Nope, I have only seen this feature on ebikes with gearless direct drive motors like the Stromers, OHM (BionX powered), and early Specialized Turbo. Those bikes tend to be very quiet, the motor is durable but not as torquey at low speed and also heavier. Regen doesn’t capture that much energy without a lot of weight, so it works pretty well for electric cars, but isn’t a big trend in ebikes. It may reduce some brake pad wear :)

zoe laven
2 years ago

Hi, thank you for the great review. I am currently in the market for an electric assist bike and love the Faraday – the only problem being I live in Canada and would have to deal with customs etc to get a bike over here – plus the currency difference which will make this bike even more expensive for me – but it looks and sounds wonderful. I was wondering what your thoughts were about the Electra Commute Go – I’m also thinking of that as a bike for me. Do you have a preference?

Cheers, Zoe

2 years ago

Hi Zoe! I am also living in Canada :D it’s true that there seems to be a limit on which ebikes make it to shops up here, and the exchange rate is tough… Faraday has created a beautiful platform that’s lightweight and simple, but I am not aware of shops that carry it (at least in BC) for the time being. The Electra Townie Commute Go! (and really, all of their ebike models) are winners in my book, because they use high-quality motor systems. Yes, the battery isn’t as hidden and the frames are not as lightweight, but they are reliable, comfortable, and easy to service. Have you been able to test ride the Electra? I think it’s worth visiting a shop to test ride (and explore other products) and maybe even drive to the US and make a day trip to consider the Faraday if you are having trouble finalizing your decision. Which part of the country do you live in? Maybe I know of a shop that is close to the border that you could visit in the US :)

2 years ago

Hi Court, I am very much interested in purchasing an ebike. Your reviews on the ebikes are very informative. I’m almost 60 and would like to get an ebike for a weekend of fun biking along the beach and hilly vineyards in southern California. I need a bike that could jump start at a standstill to a pretty steep hill with minor effort. I was considering a TREK Verve + until I saw Faraday Cortland. Now I’m not sure what to purchase. Any thoughts or any other recommendations?

2 years ago

Hi Aileen! Both of these ebikes are excellent, the Trek + Bosch combination is probably the most reliable but Faraday has improved a lot over the past couple of years. If you climb a lot and really need assistance, the Trek may be a winner because of its mid-drive motor. If you want quiet, hidden, lightweight features then Farady may be the winner. I hope this helps, it’s a tossup but the fenders and lights are available with both, Faraday offers more customization options and is working on a battery pack expansion to be released soonish from what I’ve seen :D


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