- A high speed and somewhat minimalist electric urban or city bike with a lot of agility, lightweight balanced design, all while remaining value priced at the same time
- Great 9 speed Shimano Alivio setup as well as hydraulic brakes, optional throttle, powerful Bafang mid-drive motor, and a strong 48v 10.4ah batterydisc brakes stop well
- A lot of nice features like the kickstand mounted away from the pedals, protected display, haptic feedback, efficient tires, and bottle cage bosses
- Motor can be loud, haptic feedback can be loud too (can be turned off though), not a lot of comfort but most comfort extras are available, you just have to pay extra for them
Warning, in some configurations this electric bike is classified as a moped or motorcycle and may not be ridden on cycling trails or paths. It may require licensing, insurance and lights when used on public roads.
To run the forums, host the website, and travel, I charge a universal service fee for my reviews. This review was sponsored by FLX. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased, this video and written review are not meant to be an endorsement of FLX products.
FLX is a bike company that has been around for a while now so when we heard there was some updates for 2019, we were excited to check out their lineup. Today, we are looking at the Roadster, a high speed electric road bike that is also value priced at the same time. Typically, speed pedelc (28mph) road bicycles are high priced, but the FLX keeps a tight budget by coming in at just $1,999. No bad considering it has a mid-drive with both torque and cadence based pedal assist as well as an optional throttle. More on that later, for now, let’s look at the features of this bike. So as I said before, this is a road bike, so the the comfort some may be looking for may be absent. No suspension is present and you have stiffer elements like this rigid fork, flat locking grips, and narrow seat. That may sound like a concern, but for many, it is a match made in heaven. The stiffer feel and lack of extras makes for a very fast bike with both a great top speed as well as acceleration. Not only do you get that speed, but you get a greater sense of control and agility since there is less getting in the way of you and the pavement. The bike only comes in 1 frame size (19”) but the lack of fluff also makes this bike surprising lightweight, I was shocked to find out it weighs about 46lbs which is not bad for an electric bike at all. The top tube is nice and sloped so it has nice approachability for a high-step. Assisting in that controlled feeling are these shorter length handle bars and this low rise stem which give the body geometry a more aggressive feel. While it is built for speed rather than comfort, many things could be added on, for example, the head tube is tapered so you could put a suspension fork on there. Also, you can opt for the touring package FLX sells which costs about $270 more but comes with rack, fenders, suspension seat post, a different saddle, and integrated lights. The one I am testing today is the base model, so instead of battery integrated lights, they included a couple of cheaper little independent lights to tack on myself on the front and back. It looks like they may have gone cost savings on the pedals too. These are Wellgo pedals, but one of the more affordable ones they offer. I do love the fast and efficient 27.5” x 1.5” tires, these travel well at high speeds and both the front and back have 100mm through axles with quick release. Other great features include internally routed cables, a kickstand mounted back to eliminate pedal lock (an annoying occurrence when striking the pedals against the kickstand while reversing the bike), bottle cage bosses, and an integrated bell.
Driving the bike is the Bafang M600 mid-drive motor. I think this is a great choice for the active and engaging style of riding that FLX is going for. Bafang has made a name for themselves in the industry with its ubiquitous conversion system; the BBS02, which uses only a cadence sensor to engage pedal assist. Cadence only systems like the BBS02 offer a very “easy-going” sort of ride in which rotating the cranks, at any level of tension, spars the pedal assist. The M600 operates principally using an integrated torque sensor built into the motor housing, and even employ’s Bafang’s own particular set of cranks for precise torque input from the rider. Torque based systems read the amount of torque the rider is putting into the pedals, and delivers pedal assist based on those readings. The riding position of the FLX Roadster really makes use of the M600 motor, allowing the torque sensor to really get a lot of positive engagement from the rider. The system kicks in very, very quickly when tension on the pedals is expressed, but it’s not so instant that it feels as though it should be tamed. The high top speed is greatly appreciated too. I felt right at home building speed on this platform. At a higher speed, the system seamlessly fades from relying on the torque sensor, to relying more on the cadence sensor (as the mechanical gearing begins to cap out). This torque based system would definitely be the choice for cycling enthusiasts or super commuters alike, looking to utilize the bicycle for the sake of cycling as well. For riders who wish to sit back and let the motor do the work, the throttle option is accessible from FLX. For an additional $50, you can order your bike to include a throttle that will expressly engage the motor without the need for pedaling at all. Since the FLX Roadster is using a mid-drive motor, the rider will need to change mechanical gears as the bike gains momentum, in order to maintain a steady build of speed. This is one of the surprising features of the motor; and active shift detection. While I’m not certain the methodology, the M600 cuts power to the motor during shifting which relieves excess tension on the chain and allows the rider to shift gears at full throttle without stressing the drivetrain. Mechanically, the bike is rounded off with a nice 9 speed Shimano Alivio system with trigger shifters. It has an 11-34 tooth cassette and a 44 tooth chain ring up front with a metal guard. Stopping the Roadster is this great set of 180mm rotor Tektro hydraulic disc brakes. These have 3 finger levers as well as dual pistons and really offers great stopping power for such a speedy bike.
Powering the bike is a frame integrated lithium ion battery at 48v 10.4ah. This makes for 500 watt hours and I am told that they also offer an upgraded 13.6ah 650 watt hour battery for $300 extra. The battery is easy to get in and out of the housing and is protected by lock and key. It also has an LED light on it that flashes blue, green, and red, for respective power levels if you are wondering how much juice is left without needing to turn on the bike. The battery here weighs about 6.8lbs and comes with a portable charger that can get it full in about 3 hours. To really care for this and other lithium-ion packs, I have heard that storing in a cool dry location vs. extreme heat or cold will extend the life and try to keep it about 50% full when not using for long periods so you won’t stress the cells. Try not to let it run down to zero, because that’s really hard on the cell chemistry.
Operating the bike fairly easy and is done through this protected backlit grayscale display. I say protected because of the placement between the handlebar and the stem, this surrounds it a bit better if the bike takes a spill, a lot more so than if it were mounted out in the open in the middle like other displays. It shows the speed clearly and in the top right it has a battery info graphic as well as battery percentage. I love this since it leaves the guessing work of how much battery you have. For example, some bikes just show 4 ticks on a battery icon, so when you get down to the last tick, you don’t know if you have 25% battery left, or 1%… really quite a difference, so I am glad they included the percentage here. The buttons also provide vibration when you touch them, AKA ‘haptic feedback’, much like a cell phone would. This is a nice feature, but to be honest, I found the vibration a little loud and annoying, so I turned it off. The controls are on the left and are navigated with a +, -, and power button. To turn the power on, simply hold the power button with the battery in place. While + and – will cycle through the 0-5 modes of pedal assist, pressing the power button will change the status on the on screen display. You will start out showing speed in MPH, but pressing that power button each time will take you through trip, odometer, max speed, calorie counter, range estimator, average speed, ride time, and power output. If you press and hold + and – for a couple seconds, you get a deep dive menu. Here you can adjust some finer settings as well as turn off that haptic feedback if you wish as I did.
The FLX Roadster was a lot of fun to ride since it offers great speed and handling while staying lightweight and fluid. I think this bike will be great for a lot of people and you can even upgrade it to the touring package if you want something similar with a more commuter friendly orientation. However, I should mention some of the tradeoffs here. The motor is powerful, yes, but is is definitely on the louder side for an ebike, likely from that 120nm of torque rating. It has a winding noise to it in the higher levels and that could bug some people. Similarly, I found the haptic feedback on the buttons also loud, but you can turn that off. But probably the biggest trade off is paying for the extras. Since the bike is built for speed, it is missing a lot of comfort, so for some riders, they will be adding a suspension seat post, or integrated lights, or a more comfy saddle, or fenders, or rack… all of this comes at an extra cost, even the optional throttle is an extra $55. But this may not all be bad since the al a carte option will appeal to some that want to personally configure it, and even others out there will be happy with a minimalist fast road bike so the can feel the road better. I had a lot of fun taking this bike around and I want to thank FLX for the opportunity to do so.
As always, I welcome questions and feedback in the comment section below. Whether you own a previous version of the bike, have taken a test ride, or are brand new to the space, my goal is to provide an objective and honest resource. You can also join the FLX ebike forums and share your own photos, videos, and review updates to help others! Have fun out there, and ride safe :)
- A high speed pedelec electric road bike with a lot of agility, lightweight, all while remaining value priced at the same time
- Not only does it have a high top speed (28mph), but the acceleration is great too, thanks to the Bafang M600 mid-drive with 120nm of torque
- Comes with torque based pedal assist, cadence based pedal assist, and you can even get an optional trigger throttle for $55
- The electrical system is quite refined and streamlined, so much so that you can even shift gears without pedaling in the middle of full throttle
- The stiffer feel and lack of extras makes for a very fast bike with a greater sense of control and agility since there is less getting in the way of you and the pavement
- Assisting in that controlled feeling are these shorter length handle bars and this low rise stem which give the body geometry a more aggressive feel
- This bike surprising lightweight, I was shocked to find out it weighs about 46lbs with the battery in place which is not bad for an electric bike at all
- If you are looking for more comfort, they sell a touring version for $270 extra that comes with rack, fenders, suspension seat post, a different saddle, and integrated lights
- A nice 9 speed Shimano Alivio system with trigger shifters, 11-34 tooth cassette, and a 44 tooth chain ring up front with a metal guard
- A fast bike like this should be easy to stop for both safety and performance, luckily, they added a great set of 180mm rotor Tektro hydraulic disc brakes to handle the job
- The kickstand is mounted away from the crank arm, this is great since it reduces pedal lock, an occurrence where the pedals strike the kickstand when reversing
- The 48v 10.4ah battery is great and looks good too in the integrated frame, it can be upgraded to a 13.6ah for an additional $300
- I love that the display is mounted in a more protected area in case you drop the bike, it also has a battery percentage instead of a limited graphic bar, and is backlit
- The bike is built more for speed rather than comfort, so if you are looking for something relaxed, this may not be the setup for you
- This bike checks a lot of the right boxes, but there are some cost saving measures here and there, for example, the basic pedals and independent little clip lights
- The motor can get loud in the higher levels of assist, this may not be a big deal to some, but I wouldn’t say this is a quiet bike
- The haptic feedback on the buttons is a nice little feature, however, I found it annoying and loud, so I turned it off in the display menu
- The seat was narrow and not the most comfortable, you can upgrade through the touring package, but the one I tried out is on the basic side
- A lot of the missing elements like rack, fenders, suspension seat post, a different saddle, and integrated lights can be added to the bike which is great, but it comes at a cost, their package is an additional $270
- Official Site: https://flx.bike/