Faraday Porteur S Review

Faraday Porteur S Electric Bike Review 1
Faraday Porteur S
Faraday Porteur S 250 Watt 8fun Syxd 01f Hub Motor
Faraday Porteur S Internal Battery Tube Panasonic 18650 Cells
Faraday Porteur S Riser Handlebars Synthetic Cork Grips
Faraday Porteur S Avid Bb7 160 Mm Brake Rotor
Faraday Porteur S Avid Bb7 Mechanical Disc Brakes
Faraday Porteur S Integrated Led Headlight
Faraday Porteur S Charging Port Led Backlight
Faraday Porteur S Custom Pedal Assist Control Pad
Faraday Porteur S Five Speed Sturmey Archer Internally Geared Hub
Faraday Porteur S Matching Steel Fenders
Faraday Porteur S Mks Sylvan Touring Pedals
Faraday Porteur S Sturmey Archer Grip Shifter
Faraday Porteur S Panaracer Pasela Tires
Faraday Porteur S Torque Sensing Bottom Bracket 9niner Insert
Faraday Porteur S Ebike
Faraday Porteur S Optional Rear Carry Rack
Faraday Porteur S Rear Carry Rack 20 Kg Max Load
Faraday Porteur S Optional Leather Pouch Lock Holder
Faraday Porteur S Optional Front Carry Rack
Faraday Porteur S Stock Headlight
Faraday Porteur S Stock Front
Faraday Porteur S Stock Head Tube
Faraday Porteur S Stock Back
Faraday Porteur S Electric Bike Review 1
Faraday Porteur S
Faraday Porteur S 250 Watt 8fun Syxd 01f Hub Motor
Faraday Porteur S Internal Battery Tube Panasonic 18650 Cells
Faraday Porteur S Riser Handlebars Synthetic Cork Grips
Faraday Porteur S Avid Bb7 160 Mm Brake Rotor
Faraday Porteur S Avid Bb7 Mechanical Disc Brakes
Faraday Porteur S Integrated Led Headlight
Faraday Porteur S Charging Port Led Backlight
Faraday Porteur S Custom Pedal Assist Control Pad
Faraday Porteur S Five Speed Sturmey Archer Internally Geared Hub
Faraday Porteur S Matching Steel Fenders
Faraday Porteur S Mks Sylvan Touring Pedals
Faraday Porteur S Sturmey Archer Grip Shifter
Faraday Porteur S Panaracer Pasela Tires
Faraday Porteur S Torque Sensing Bottom Bracket 9niner Insert
Faraday Porteur S Ebike
Faraday Porteur S Optional Rear Carry Rack
Faraday Porteur S Rear Carry Rack 20 Kg Max Load
Faraday Porteur S Optional Leather Pouch Lock Holder
Faraday Porteur S Optional Front Carry Rack
Faraday Porteur S Stock Headlight
Faraday Porteur S Stock Front
Faraday Porteur S Stock Head Tube
Faraday Porteur S Stock Back

Summary

  • 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 speed internally geared hub
  • Comprehensive two year warranty, available in slate grey or white, optional saddle and bell upgrades, this bike is more affordable than the original Porteur because it offers fewer gears, a chain vs. belt drive and has downgraded saddle, grips and fenders

Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Faraday

Model:

Porteur S

Price:

$2,499 USD

Body Position:

Upright

Suggested Use:

Neighborhood, Urban

Electric Bike Class:

Pedal Assist (Class 1)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

2 Year Motor, Electronics, Frame and Battery

Availability:

United States, Canada

Model Year:

2015

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

42.5 lbs (19.27 kg)

Battery Weight:

4.5 lbs (2.04 kg)

Motor Weight:

6.5 lbs (2.94 kg)

Frame Material:

Chromoly Steel

Frame Sizes:

20 in (50.8 cm)21.5 in (54.61 cm)23 in (58.42 cm)

Frame Types:

High-Step (Traditional Dutch Twin Top Tube)

Frame Colors:

Slate Grey, Classic White

Frame Fork Details:

Chromoly Steel

Attachment Points:

Fender Bosses, Rear Rack Bosses

Gearing Details:

5 Speed 1x5 Sturmey-Archer Internally Geared Hub

Shifter Details:

Sturmey-Archer Grip Shift on Right Bar

Cranks:

Lasco, Thun X-Cell RT Bottom Bracket

Pedals:

MKS Sylvan Touring

Headset:

Threadless External 1-1/8" with Sealed Cartridge Bearings

Stem:

Alloy Forged One-Piece "Tall Stack" 1 1/ 8" with Forged Headlight Mount

Handlebar:

Aluminum Alloy Porteur Riser

Brake Details:

Avid BB7 Mechanical Disc with 160 mm Rotors, Metallic Pads, Shimano BL-R440 Levers

Grips:

Synthetic Cork

Saddle:

Standard City

Seat Post:

Aluminum Alloy

Seat Post Length:

250 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

25.4 mm

Rims:

Alex Alloy Double Walled

Spokes:

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

Tire Brand:

Panaracer Pasela T-Serv, 26" x 1.5"

Wheel Sizes:

26 in (66.04cm)

Tire Details:

Hybrid Tread

Tube Details:

Schrader Valve

Accessories:

Front and Rear Steel Fenders, Integrated LED Tail Light and Headlight (4 watt), Massload Scissoring Kickstand, Automatic Bike Shut Off After 10 Minutes, 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

Other:

Battery Sensor Shuts Off Motor Before Fully Depleted but Continues to Run Lights for Safety, Bluetooth Enabled (App Coming in 2015), Max Weight 275 lbs (Rider + Gear)

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

8Fun (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:

Panasonic

Battery Voltage:

43 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

5.8 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

250 wh (24 18650-PF Cells)

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

3 hours

Estimated Min Range:

20 miles (32 km)

Estimated Max Range:

25 miles (40 km)

Display Type:

E-Ink

Readouts:

Battery Level

Display Accessories:

Assist Selector (Off, Standard, Boost) on Left Handlebar, Bluetooth Enabled

Drive Mode:

Advanced Pedal Assist (Torque and Cadence Sensing)

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph)

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Written Review

Update! The Faraday Porteur S and Cortland S moved from $2,799 to $2,499 in 2017 and the review listing price here has been updated to reflect that.

When Faraday launched its original Porteur through Kickstarter in mid 2012 I was inspired by the custom design and “active” interpretation of what an ebike could be. The founder of Faraday, Adam Vollmer, left his job at famed design firm IDEO to pursue the concept and ultimately delivered the bike in three sizes, two colors and with several utility-enhancing accessories. He recruited a small team in San Francisco and stayed true to the vision while raising money and ultimately delivering to backers… though deliveries did take longer than expected. The production Porteur can now be had for $3,500 by any average Joe or Julie and is increasingly available through independent bicycle dealers nation wide (in the USA). Okay, so a few years have past and the Porteur is stable but kind of lonely because it’s the only model Faraday offers. Not anymore! In August of 2015 the company will begin shipping an economy version of the Portuer called the “Porteur S” for ~$700 less at $2,799 MSRP. The differences between the standard Faraday Porteur and this new S model include the use of a traditional chain vs. the Gates Carbon Drive CDX belt, a five speed internally geared hub by Sturmey-Archer vs. the eight speed internally geared Alfine hub by Shimano, a twist grip shifter on the right bar vs. the trigger shifters, synthetic cork grips vs. the Brooks leather, Slate Grey and Classic White color options vs. the British Racing Green and Classic White and steel fenders vs. the bamboo. In my opinion, this new S model performs just as well as the original and might even be preferable for people who want a sleeker more modern color option in slate grey.

The motor driving this electric bike is relatively modest in terms of power (by American standards). It only offers 250 watts of nominal power output (which happens to be the maximum allowed in most of Europe). This isn’t a bad thing, but it does change the way the bike performs. This motor is physically small, very light weight and extremely quiet (for a geared hub motor). It’s mounted in the front wheel of the bike whereas most ebikes I review have rear-mounted or mid-mounted motors. In short, because it’s so light and small, the motor doesn’t impact steering and because it’s mounted in the front wheel, an internally geared hub can be used in the rear wheel (for pedaling with). The two hubs balance visually and help to spread weight across the frame while reducing mechanical complexity (improving durability and cleanliness vs. a cassette and derailleur) in the back. It’s a good setup and one that compliments more active riders that enjoy pedaling (just to stretch, for exercise or to extend range). The motor peaks out at 350 watts and is capable of assisting up to 20 mph and it’s a more premium build from 8Fun so it looks a bit nicer. In terms of pedaling along, you get five gears to choose from with the Sturmey-Archer geared hub in the rear and while that’s three fewer than the original Porteur, I found them to be quite adequate (hitting a similar cadence range) for low speed climbing and higher speed cruising. There are fewer increments to choose from and the chain is louder than the belt drive but it more than gets the job done and still looks great in my opinion.

Powering the bike is a completely custom battery pack consisting of 24 high quality 18650 Panasonic cells (known for being some of the highest quality in the space right now). Again, by American standards the pack is small at ~250 watt hours but it’s configured to offer good power, rated at 43 volts vs. most bikes that offer 36 volts. I tested the bike on several medium sized hills without standing up and really exerting myself (and while riding in the lower assist level) and the systems performed quite well as long as I brought some momentum and continued to pedal, hills were not a problem. As with the smaller motor discussed earlier, this battery is also lighter than most competing products I’ve tested and the weight is very well distributed (low and center) through the frame. The aluminum tube that contains the cells is mounted in the downtube and is removable, but really only for replacement, not charging. There’s a plastic cover at the bottom bracket and once you take off the kickstand and a couple of hex screws you can slide it out. I’d estimate that you can get 1,500+ cycles from this battery if you care for it properly… To keep the battery going strong I suggest storing it with between 20% and 80% capacity in a cool dry place. You can gauge the charge level using the e-ink display readout located on the control toggle switch near the left grip. Honestly, it would be nice if you could remove the battery easily for charging off of the bike (like when you’re at work or storing the bike in a garage for the winter) but that’s one of the trade offs. The battery is completely “out of sight” in this frame and the integrity of the tubing is not compromised so the ride is stiff and responsive… You also get this beautiful stealthy look where people might not even know you’re on an electric bike, but you don’t have the convenience in charging. I’m really okay with that tradeoff given the ~42 lb footprint of the bike, it was easier to take up stairs and load in my car (and probably on busses and trains) than most other ebikes I try. One area I do feel that could be improved is the inclusion of bottle cage mounting points. It seems like there’s room on the seat tube but maybe this would get tight on the smaller frame sizes given the unique double top tube?

Okay, so the bike is light weight and efficient but kind of limited in brute force power and charging options. These characteristics also permeate the control interface… it’s strategic simplicity. The Porteur S only offers pedal assist (no throttle mode) and there are only two levels to choose from: Standard and Boost. I always find the Faraday bikes enjoyable to ride because the focus goes back to riding and engaging with your surroundings instead of staring at a display panel or trying to find the perfect mode as terrain shifts. There are other electric bikes that offer limited assist levels and I don’t tend to praise them for being “simple” the way I am here. That’s because they often lack the smooth and responsive characteristics of the torque and cadence sensing systems that the Porteur S offers. As soon as you pedal, and depending on how much force you exert, the motor kicks in and the bike just goes. As you decrease pressure or stop pedaling, the bike begins to coast. It just woks and the control pad is so easy to use that you can do it without taking your eyes off the road. I also like that the headlight and backlight run off of the main battery pack, and that the control system intelligently cuts motor power as the pack drains just so it can keep the lights running longer for safety. There’s no way to turn off the lights but they aren’t overly bright (in fact, you might want to get a brighter tail-light to mount on the rear rack if you opt for this accessory). The charger for the Porteur S is relatively small and light weight as well (about 1.5 lbs) so it’s easy to carry along with you in a backpack or saddle bag and they do offer a second charger for ~$50 in case you want to store one at home and another at the office. I like that their charger has a metal plug at the end because it will hold up better over time if dropped or stepped on.

In conclusion… it can be difficult to disconnect price from performance specs sometimes, on paper this ~$2,800 ebike has a small motor and battery. In practice however, it is light weight, comfortable to ride (thanks to the swept back bars and vibration-dampening steel frame) and extremely beautiful. The full length fenders are sturdy and quiet, they keep you clean but don’t sacrifice any style because they are custom painted to match the frame. The mechanical disc brakes offer great stopping power and nearly hide the two oversized hubs (you can also adjust the pads without tools by twisting a little red disc on the calipers as they wear down over time) and the scissoring kickstand completely stabilizes the bike. There’s a lot of vintage styling going on here but there’s also amazing engineering and cool technology melding to create a product that “just works”. And with a solid two year warranty and a small independent, dedicated and well-led team hard at work there is excellent customer service as well. The Faraday products are inspiring and the Porteur S makes them much more accessible price wise without sacrificing much in the way of performance. If you’re someone who does not like to pedal or wants more of a cruiser seating position, this may not be the e-bike for you but it’s surprisingly comfortable and more zippy than I first expected. It’s worth checking out. The Porteur S is true to itself and works very well as a utility bike if you get the racks (both offer up to 20 kg or ~44 lb max load). The front rack is especially cool but also easy and quick to remove. There are three sizes to choose from with the Porteur S and I can see the new slate grey color being popular… though I also like the white and am glad they are offer it as well. It’s nice to see a company taking a different approach in an industry that seems to attract power and speed hungry men (at least in America according to my Analytics and popular discussion in the forums). The Porteur S is classy, works well for men and women and accomplishes something really special in my mind, it’s still fun to ride even when it’s powered off :)

Pros:

  • Priced $700 lower than the original Faraday Porteur but just as comfortable and capable because it uses many of the same components, same frame and the same battery and motor
  • Available in a Slate Grey as well as Classic White, the new grey color looks very professional and blends in more than the British Racing Green
  • Excellent weight distribution, the battery is mounted inside the downtube and the geared motor in the front wheel balances with the internally geared hub in the rear wheel
  • At just over 40 lbs the Porteur S is one of the lightest weight electric bikes I’ve tested, it also rides very comfortably because the chromoly steel frame and fork absorb vibration
  • Surprisingly good ergonomics thinks to the swept back porteur style handlebars, you don’t have to lean forward or crane your neck as with many other active city style bikes
  • Natural and fluid torque sensing pedal assist, the motor activates without too much effort when you begin pedaling and cuts out fairly quickly when you stop, some other systems I’ve tried are laggy or require more consistent force than this which negates the assist
  • The five speed Sturmei-Archer geared hub can be shifted at standstill, is less likely to get damaged (compared with a traditional cassette and derailleur) if the bike tips and offers a good cadence range, similar to the eight speed Shimano Alfine on the Classic Porter but with fewer increments
  • Nice mechanical disc brakes, Avid BB7 is a step above average and these ones have finger-adjustable caliper mounts meaning you can adjust them on the go as pads wear down, the 160 mm rotors hide the motor and geared hub from the side and just look really good because they match
  • Intuitive and beautiful human interface switch for activating assist, it’s very simple with just three levels to click through (off, standard and boost) which means you can use it without getting distracted or having to look down
  • The e-ink battery level readout on the control pad is unique in the world of ebikes, it offers more precision than an LED readout and isn’t distracting
  • Front and rear LED lights are sturdy, bright and efficient with the front light able to mount at the stem or below the porteur rack
  • The Faraday Porteur S automatically shuts down after 10 minutes of disuse to conserve battery, the bike also shuts down motor functions with some capacity left in the pack and this is meant to keep the lights active for safety
  • Three frame sizes to choose from (the one in the review is a medium), this makes the bike more comfortable and accessible for people of all sizes, ladies and gentlemen
  • Full length steel fenders are painted to match the bike frame (grey or silver) and keep you clean and dry, they didn’t rattle much while riding and felt very solid, the optional front and rear racks are also painted to match the frame if you order them
  • Solid two year warranty on frame, drive systems and electronics, the batteries used on the Porteur S are made by Panasonic which is widely considered the leader in 18650 Lithium-ion cells (in terms of durability and lifetime)
  • Even though this is the less expensive model in the Faraday lineup, the grips, saddle, pedals and scissoring kickstand are still upgraded, they work well and match the beautiful clean aesthetic

Cons:

  • While there are lots of great accessories available (rear rack, front porteur rack, bell, seat upgrade and leather pouch) they cost extra and that adds up
  • No water bottle cage bosses on the downtube (since battery cells are inside) or the seat tube (since the space is limited on the smaller frame) though I’ve been told they may produce a clamp-on bottle holder for the downtube at some point, consider a saddle adapter like this
  • Limited (but growing!) availability in bicycle stores around the US, this can make test riding and sizing the Porteur more difficult, Faraday does offer a 30 day return policy with a $200 restocking fee
  • Though the batteries are technically removable for replacement or service, they are meant to stay put in the downtube which means you have to bring the bike inside or near an outlet to charge it
  • No backlit LCD display panel to communicate your speed or odometer however the e-ink display does show battery voltage and the three-position switch is intuitive, also Faraday is planning to release a Bluetooth enabled smart phone app in late 2015 for more advanced readouts, one possible area of improvement would be a USB charging outlet on the bike to power smart devices while riding
  • Brake levers do not feature an integrated cut-off switch to the motor, this means that if you activate the brakes but keep pedaling the motor will continue driving forward, this is less of a concern with torque sensing pedal assist than cadence-only sensing and with a smaller motor such as the 250 watt used here
  • Limited side visibility for rear light, no flashing or blinking modes to choose from only steady-on, consider a secondary rechargeable light, especially if you use the rear carry rack

Resources:

More Faraday Reviews

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…...

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…...

Faraday Cortland Review

  • MSRP: $3,499
  • MODEL YEAR: 2016, 2017

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…...

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…...

(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 (16) YouTube Comments

Dan
4 years ago

I enjoyed that review, thanks Court! I think the full steel ebike design is novel for most designs, and add to that the simplistic, light, layout. It looks to be a comfortable, easy to go ride. Seems ideal for short commutes, city riding, relaxed and upright position.

  Reply
Court Rye
4 years ago

Thanks Dan, I enjoyed the bike and am excited to see Faraday offering some new options and pricing levels :)

  Reply
Neil
3 years ago

I was one of the first Faraday owners, having bought a bike on Kickstarter. The first year was great, so great that I ordered a Cortland for my wife. But, I have been w/o my bike for over 4 months now as it has just died. Customer service has been slow and unacceptable. The bike shop I use is so disgusted that they don’t want to be a dealer or work with Faraday any more. The lack of reliability and poor response is a reason to look elsewhere as good looks don’t get me to work… Sorry to burst the bubble, but Faraday is a losing proposition and I own 2 of them…

  Reply
Court Rye
3 years ago

That’s so sad to hear Neil, I’m sorry to hear about your predicament but appreciate you sharing here and I hope things are resolved so you can get back out and enjoy soon enough :/

Mikael
4 years ago

Another minimalist ebike is the Maxwell ep0 on Kickstarter. They need our help!

  Reply
Court Rye
4 years ago

Thanks for the tip on this Mikael! Looks like a cool concept, I really like these lighter weight ebikes that are almost more bicycle than electric. The Porteur has always attracted me and the Maxwell ep0 looks pretty neat. Did you back them?

  Reply
Mikael
4 years ago

I did, but just the tshirt as I need a bike in September, on the west coast. Leaning towards the Dash for now. Good job on the site btw!

  Reply
Ricardo
4 years ago

Is it possible for you to let us know if the standard seat and grips are real leather or faux leather? Thank you

  Reply
Adam Vollmer
4 years ago

Hi Ricardo, thanks for your question! The standard saddle that ships with both the Porteur and Porteur S is made with synthetic (faux) leather. It has a nice honey brown color and supple feel, but durable and long-lasting weatherproof finish. The grips on the Porteur are genuine leather. The grips on the Porteur S are an ergonomic rubber and cork composite.

For any customers who would prefer a leather-free Porteur, we are more than happy to substitute the leather grips for the rubber/cork alternative. Feel free to get in touch with us via riders@faradaybikes.com or visit one of our great dealers and we’ll get you hooked up!

  Reply
Matthew Cooper
4 years ago

I am very keen on getting one of these, I prefer the silver an the metal fenders on the S but the grips and belt drive on the regular version. can you take off the grips and put on other ones? what size would fit, 100mm or 130mm? how about a belt drive is it possible to retrofit?

  Reply
Court Rye
4 years ago

Hi Matthew, the grips can likely be swapped out pretty easily (you could even request that from Faraday if your order direct). The belt drive might be different, it requires a specific frame with cut-away to get the bel on/off. I’m not sure whether both models offer this but it would be expensive to add, even if the frames were the same. I’d suggest reaching out and asking about the options, maybe they can deliver exactly what you want :)

  Reply
Matthew Cooper
3 years ago

Thanks for the feedback, they have said that they are not currently shipping to Australia :( This is such a nice bike, would really like to get it but if I cant get it in Aus may need to look into other options, I was looking at some other bikes, what do you think about the Gi Fly Bike or the Vanmoof?

ana
3 years ago

Hello! I have a Faraday bike, however when the battery runs out I feel the bike has some resistance. I doesn’t feel like just any regular bike but it feels like you are riding with the breaks on… anyone else have this issue?

  Reply
TN Commuter
2 years ago

Court: I’ve really enjoyed my Porteur S. Now that Faraday is owned by Pon Holdings in the Netherlands, hopefully their service and new products will be even better. Those guys should devote themselves to design and let Pon corporate fill in the gaps.

  Reply
Court Rye
2 years ago

Glad to hear it! I’m also excited to see how their products and services might grow and improve with the support of a larger and older parent company. Adam and his team have done a wonderful job creating a beautiful, unique product. It seems things will only get better :)

  Reply

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