Choosing an Electric bike

wings02

Active Member
I am a new member to the forum and would like to ask the forum members some information about purchasing an E-bike.

I want to make purchase and the two that were recommended are from Sondors. The two models are the Smart Step or Fold X. My friend has 4, Fold X bikes and loves them. I do not have many requirements. It would be used a few days a week, mostly in our neighborhood in South Florida. Very flat roads. $1,000 price point is where I want to be but would be willing to spend a few dollars more on a better product. Any input about the models I am looking at and the Sonders company would be appreciated. Thank you!
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
You might get a better input here on Sondors Forum: https://electricbikereview.com/forums/forum/sondors/

Anyways,

On paper, the Fold X seems to be a better deal.
The battery is almost always the most expensive component on the bike.
That's quite a bit of difference in the battery capacity. (672Wh vs 374.4Wh)

Fold X
$999
500W motor
48V 14Ah battery
15A controller


Smart Step
$999
350W motor
36V 10.4Ah battery
15A controller
 

wings02

Active Member
You might get a better input here on Sondors Forum: https://electricbikereview.com/forums/forum/sondors/

Anyways,

On paper, the Fold X seems to be a better deal.
The battery is almost always the most expensive component on the bike.
That's quite a bit of difference in the battery capacity. (672Wh vs 374.4Wh)

Fold X
$999
500W motor
48V 14Ah battery
15A controller


Smart Step
$999
350W motor
36V 10.4Ah battery
15A controller
Thank you! Just trying to get more of an unbiased opinion on the brand
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
Thank you! Just trying to get more of an unbiased opinion on the brand
Yeah I have no idea why Fold X and Smart Step are the same price.

They both have the cable disc brakes, no hydraulic.
The material cost to produce the frame is probably about the same. When you look at all the other components, it's not like one is significantly better than the other.
I was thinking the front suspension, but that's a very basic coil fork, it's not an air fork or anything.
The crankset appear to be slightly better on Smart Step with aluminum chain guard (which isn't that expensive), but Fold X crankset has chainguard on both sides to prevent the chain fall.

I'd take the Fold X because it's more bang for your buck with better motor and battery.
 

TomD

Well-Known Member
After buying my first ebike online over a year ago and putting it together I took it to a bike mechanic for a tune up as I was having a hard time adjusting the brakes. I think it cost me $50. A year later I got a flat tire and figured out how to patch it myself. I would have taken it back to the mechanic for another tune up by now but I've been distracted by a new ebike. Not that LBS isn't nice to have, but not sure if it would have saved me any money. If you buy a more expensive bike it may be worth buying a service plan with the bike from LBS.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
After buying my first ebike online over a year ago and putting it together I took it to a bike mechanic for a tune up as I was having a hard time adjusting the brakes. I think it cost me $50. A year later I got a flat tire and figured out how to patch it myself. I would have taken it back to the mechanic for another tune up by now but I've been distracted by a new ebike. Not that LBS isn't nice to have, but not sure if it would have saved me any money. If you buy a more expensive bike it may be worth buying a service plan with the bike from LBS.
What brake was it? Mechanical disc? Hydraulic?
 

TomD

Well-Known Member
Mechanical (Avid BB5). He said the rotor was slightly warped which he could only true up so much, and they were entry level brakes with limited adjustment. He wasn't able to dial them in much better but was worth the peace of mind knowing my skills weren't as bad as I thought, and he made other adjustments like derailleur. For comparison one LBS charges $100 - $350 for a tune up unless you buy their maintenance plan up front $200 - $600. The maintenance plan seems a good deal if you buy the bike from them. I might take my bike elsewhere otherwise.

 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
Mechanical (Avid BB5). He said the rotor was slightly warped which he could only true up so much, and they were entry level brakes with limited adjustment. He wasn't able to dial them in much better but was worth the peace of mind knowing my skills weren't as bad as I thought, and he made other adjustments like derailleur. For comparison one LBS charges $100 - $350 for a tune up unless you buy their maintenance plan up front $200 - $600. The maintenance plan seems a good deal if you buy the bike from them. I might take my bike elsewhere otherwise.

Have you ever thought about doing it yourself?
None of those services look hard.
Many people with little to no bike maintenance do it. It is not that hard especially these days YouTube videos are available.
Park Tool has videos almost every scenario.

Imagine how much tools and stands you can buy with that kind price.
It will easily pay off in one service.

 

Sierratim

Well-Known Member
That's only if you have money though..
To some degree I would agree but many times it comes down to a performance issue the supplier doesn't respond to. Then, without an LBS, it's up to you to figure it out. In my younger years i was fine with that. Some people never are. Hence my suggestion re LBS support.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
I bought a Sondors Fat Bike off Craigslist in May 2016. In those days customer service was nonexistent and a 30 day warranty. The only support, and Sondors directed people to this like it was their support, was the Facebook Owners Page. It still is the most valuable place for information with around 8,000 members, but Sondors does monitor it now and will even post. My gear hub motor failed at 1600 miles. I sent it to a guy on that Facebook page who was supported by Sondors and was really their only service. He soldered some cold joints on the hall sensors and sent it back. It failed again in 6 miles. The guy waited till Sondors got a shipment of motors from China and sent me a brand new motor for no cost. Way above and beyond! I sold the bike recently, just didn't like riding it after getting several other eBikes. I can't reply about other models, no experience.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
For the price, I don't think you can go wrong with a Sondors, but don't you have to buy them when they're in stock? Otherwise, you gotta wait for the next boatload.

If you buy the Fold-X, and if your friend is a good one, you can swap parts if you have problems. You can even get a motor cable and have one bike test the other's motor.

Personally, I would prefer the Step over the Fold. I have a 20" fat tire bike, and I prefer riding skinny tires on pavement.
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
One obvious disadvantage of consumer-direct sales is that you can't (usually) have a test-ride. With flat roads and leisure use I would prefer a handlebar more swept back than on those 2 Sondors. Manufacturer website shows completely flat handlebars. Actual models reviewed by Court have it slightly curved but still not what I would want. A lot depends on the reach, maybe it will work well for you but you won't know until you buy.

Another disadvantage is electrical troubleshooting. Most users are not good at it. Company would send you a part when they know what part, this means you have to find out what is wrong and then install it yourself or find a shop that would agree to do this.

There is no benefit in buying a folding bike if your use doesn't require it to be folding. Apples to apples, folders weigh several pounds more than a comparable rigid model. It looks nice and beautiful sitting in a hatchback, folded, but lifting and maneuvering a bulky 60-65 lbs item into a car won't be much enjoyable. Smart Step will be ~60 lbs with rear rack and lights, Fold-X is heavier yet.
 
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Timpo

Well-Known Member
To some degree I would agree but many times it comes down to a performance issue the supplier doesn't respond to. Then, without an LBS, it's up to you to figure it out. In my younger years i was fine with that. Some people never are. Hence my suggestion re LBS support.
yeah I guess so.

I'm a budget conscious buyer so when I was looking around for an ebike, I was looking at so called "internet bike" that's typically sold online like Juiced, Rad Power, Surface 604, etc.. were significantly cheaper than bikes sold by LBS.

Something similar to above internet bikes was Pedego, but because they have a physical store, their bikes were a lot more expensive, their prices are generally about double of internet bike counterpart.
Which is fair, running a business is expensive, and if they have to have a physical store, they have to pay the rent, keep the lights on, hire staff, and still have to make money to stay in business.

Then there's well known brands like Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, Giant, etc.. again they're a lot more expensive.

When I got my Juiced, I guess I kind of assumed those risks. But yeah, it is inconvenient when there's no LBS and I can see why people would pay more for extra customer support.
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
There are some companies in the between
... sold online like Juiced, Rad Power, Surface 604, etc.. were significantly cheaper than bikes sold by LBS.

Something similar to above internet bikes was Pedego, but because they have a physical store, their bikes were a lot more expensive, their prices are generally about double of internet bike counterpart.
There is also Aventon in between. With both internet sales and physical stores/dealers, but priced cheaper than Pedego. Though dealers will charge $100-something if you want it assembled with in-store pickup.