Quick review of the 2020 M

Heliophobic1

New Member
Last updated: 1/24/20 bop

Hi all. New here and thought I'd drop a note. The Ariel community seems a bit sparse so I'll add my thoughts as a new owner. Looked at ebikes for a while, but couldn't quite find a good fit. I was in need of something compact and insistent on a mid-drive so, here I am with the '20 M-class.

A note on the 2020:
It gained a suspension fork and mine came with a Nexus 8(site still said 7, last I looked).

Shipping:
The bike was intact, but the packaging had obviously reached its limits. The cardboard was pull-apart tenderized.

Quality:
So far I'd have to say the components seem to be pretty high quality...for the most part. I'm not getting any voltage on the headlight plug and haven't sorted that yet. Haven't contacted Ariel either so, shame on me. Getting there.

Range:
With the holidays I've barely had my hands on the bike since I got it, but I have managed to get in a few short rides totalling 35mi. I say short because with the pedal assist a 10mi ride is easy. I've been deliberately blasting up and down hills in the neighborhood with all the hard acceleration and stop and go that entails and at 35mi the display shows 2/5 bars remaining while the battery indicator shows 3/4 remaining lights(no idea which to believe). Several miles were with the speed limit raised to 28mph running around in pedal assist 4-5 and a couple miles of nothing but throttle(except for rolling starts)so I'm looking at this as sort of a worst case scenario for range. Limited to a more reasonable 20mph and running PAS 2-3 at 15mph or so I expect closer to 50 easily, but I'll have to see.

As far as speed:
"Throttle only" can get you a little over 20, but it doesn't seem happy there without help. In PAS 2 I'm getting an easy 14-15mph cruising speed on flat ground. I'm running up to mid 20's on the level and "legging out" at 30 in both 7th and 8th downhill, so it's not the gearing...it's my current max output. I do have to exaggerate my body position a little due to the wheelbase, but I don't have locally available hills to really get a feel for how bad it could get at speed on grade. This being Flatlandia I may never know.

Comfort:
It's a short-wheelbase mini with 20" wheels...between the suspension fork and seatpost it's not too jarring when you're just cruising around, but get above 20 and she gets a little snappy. That said, this is Oklahoma...if I didn't weigh 160lb and weren't riding on low-traffic residential streets I'd be getting more of a beating from our rough roads. In fact, I wear CE level 1 riding gear for the day I blast into one of these craters at 30...I fear for my wheels, but hold out hope for my frame. We'll see.

Conclusions:
I'll update after I've dealt with customer support and gotten a couple of longer rides done. I'm hoping this will be a good commuter without too much work. I definitely intend to slap some tire liners and working headlight on before I try a 40mi road run. A springer seat will probably find it's way on there before I try upgrading the seatpost or suspension. We'll see how things go. I'm pretty happy with it so far. If anyone knows anything about these controller settings or has any handy maintenance or upgrade tips I'm all ears.

P.S.
Other than the racks I'd have to say the accessories offered on the Ariel Rider site have been pretty bottom of the barrel coming straight from AliExpress. I regret those purchases, so far. Haven't had the privilege of dealing with customer support yet, but I'll be contacting them over a rear turn-signal as well. I did notice they hid my reviews of said accessories though...not a good look.

!!!!!!! Updates Below !!!!!!!

-update 1/1/20-
The fourth of five bars fell today cresting a hill at 40.7mi. Built-in battery gauge still showed 3/4. It took pretty close to 5hrs to recharge so I'm assuming the displayed battery lvl to be pretty spot-on.

-update 1/1/20-
After 41mi, 23 of which were in the last two days I can say the saddle really isn't suited to long rides on my boney behind.

-update 1/2/20-
(Edited 1/24/20 for content after considerable review
So at less than 70mi total today the rear hub dropped out of 6th and went full free-wheel, clicking and all, while pedaling forward. This was at over 20mph in 30mph traffic. The bike is a blast when it works, but with if failing pretty catastrophically in traffic with only 6 hours in the saddle it's disappointing.

-update 1/24/20-
After innumerable phone issues leading to replacement I’m again able to share. I haven’t been idle. To date I’ve cranked out a total of just over 250 miles. Most of that has been in 20+ mi trail rides with the major exception of one 50 mi sojourn running against head and cross winds essentially the whole way. I feel qualified to say that I’m intimately familiar with the bike’s handling and performance. It’s impressive. Even just a few degrees above freezing and with zero tailwind I was able to ride nearly the full 50 miles in PAS 2 with a single bar still showing...of course it had been for nearly a dozen miles by the end with level two dropping to one on flat ground. I can tell you that certain combinations of grade and wind can be brutal on this bike. The wide-ish steps between gears and frequent shifting for changing winds gets a bit tedious, but if I hadn’t been riding into gusts that had me down in 5th on flat ground with the bike unloaded...it would have been much less an issue. Cross-country touring probably shouldn’t be what you buy it for, but know that it CAN do it. I’m at a bit over $100 in adjustments and parts including seat and grips from the LBS and it is a quiet, stolid performer, so far. If you’re equipped with outdoor plumbing I can’t recommend anything more highly than a new seat. A vented, pressure relief channel is a must and elastomer bumpers to dampen vibrations and any thudding is certainly a plus. It does need a new chain guard. The stock version snapped like a twig when it caught my pant leg coming off a traffic light. It was cold out, but still a little sad.
All things considered: for comfort and speed it’s a budget box people mover like an Accord...or a Yugo. Reliability will determine that difference. It doesn’t really seem to shine anywhere right now, but given the bike’s natural torque I’m considering dropping from 48/18 down to 20-22 for pulling a heavy trailer. She’s not really built for speed, but I think she can be a climbing and hauling champ. I would appreciate any thoughts.
 
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