Ride1Up 500 or Espin Sport/Flow at current pricing

amock

New Member
Region
USA
Hi EBR community,

I have an opportunity to purchase an e-bike at a deep discount through a local incentive program. Only a select number of bikes are eligible for the program, so unfortunately, I can't choose any brand or bike that I want. The Ride1Up Roadster, Core-5, 500 are eligible, along with the Espin Nero, Sport and Flow. There are a couple of other brands, but are not worth considering due to low range and/or weaker motor.

The bike will be primarily for my wife to give her more options for her commute, so the R1U 500 or the Espin Sport/Flow seem to be the most appropriate options. I searched the forum and found plenty of comparisons between the two options, but the threads were from last year when the Espins are priced at $1,199, which was the same as the R1U 500 priced at $1,195. Currently, the R1U 500 is $1,245, while the Espins are $1,529 and $1,569 for the Sport and Flow respectively. Additionally, Espin is no longer including a rear rack, and has switched more components to unbranded ones.

The Espins have a color display, integrated battery (with a slightly higher capacity), 180mm hydraulic disc brakes, included fenders and taillight, suspension lockout, which are all upgrades compared to the R1U, but I am not sure that all of this adds up to the ~$300 difference. In contrast, the R1U has all branded components that are all slightly better, except for the 160mm mechanical disc brakes, and slightly longer gearing, which will be good on a mostly flat commute.

At the same price, these two bikes seem to be roughly even, but for $300 cheaper, the R1U is a no-brainer, right? Or is there something that I am not considering? Thank you to everyone in advance for your input.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
If it will help you make up your mind, I can tell you that the Flow and Sport both come with fenders and rack (a pretty decent one piece rack at that), and the Flow we received this past Feb. had a Bafang motor. I did a LOT of shopping and went Espin again last week. We have a Sport and a Flow due here this coming Friday.

I will say though, I'm totally spoiled when it comes to the controllers typically found on these inexpensive bikes. I changed the one on the earlier Flow we received, to an aftermarket KT control that is very adjustable. Since that Feb bike though, Espin says they've made some changes to the controller and display. We'll try them, but I suspect I'll end up changing these as well. Not saying they don't work, only that we've become spoiled with controls that work much better....

With the new controller, we love this Flow for it's styling and it's light weight. GREAT little bike with a pretty peppy motor!
 

GenXrider

Well-Known Member
I really like the Ride1Up bikes, especially with the included controller/display PAS system, although I prefer it on the 700 series, which you didn't list, which is the one I have. The gearing is only very sightly lower on the 500 than the 700 series, and I find the 700 is fine for hills, and I don't normally shift below 3rd gear or use more than 1/3 of the maximum PAS power when climbing the largest hill on my regular route. And it's geared nice and high for speed as well when you want it.

Since you're just commuting and don't care about exercise, maybe the performance and configurability of the Ride1Up controller/display PAS system won't matter as much to you, and you may be fine with the Espin controller.

There is an option to get rack/fenders with the 500 for $100 extra. You can't order them from R1U separately later. There's also the $40 pledge discount you can get on your first R1U bike.
 

amock

New Member
Region
USA
If it will help you make up your mind, I can tell you that the Flow and Sport both come with fenders and rack (a pretty decent one piece rack at that), and the Flow we received this past Feb. had a Bafang motor. I did a LOT of shopping and went Espin again last week. We have a Sport and a Flow due here this coming Friday.
Have you confirmed that the current bikes ship with a rear rack? Since February, Espin has made some changes, including a new controller and a different display. The default photos for the Sport/Flow do not show a rack, but did show a rack at the beginning of the year. The rear rack can be purchased individually now, but was not available as a separate purchase in February, which is what led me to believe that it is no longer included. An included rack adds around $50 of value, so this does get it closer to the R1U.

I really like the Ride1Up bikes, especially with the included controller/display PAS system, although I prefer it on the 700 series, which you didn't list, which is the one I have.
Since you're just commuting and don't care about exercise, maybe the performance and configurability of the Ride1Up controller/display PAS system won't matter as much to you, and you may be fine with the Espin controller.
The 700 is not eligible for the discount, and the net difference between the 500 and the 700 is over $1,300, which unfortunately puts the 700 out of consideration. Does the 500 have the same controller as the 700? I know that the displays are different, but performance-wise, are they both configurable in the same way?

Yes, this will strictly for commuting and short shopping trips. We have our road bikes and indoor trainers for exercise, so the only performance aspects that matter are range and torque. Any of the bikes that I listed will perform more than adequately for the intended purpose, so it just comes down to value.

In terms of performance, Espin has upgraded their controllers since February so it should be similar to what R1U has. I don't know about the new controllers, but the last generation has configurable PAS levels, although probably does not have the fine tuning options that the R1U controllers have.

 
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GenXrider

Well-Known Member
Have you confirmed that the current bikes ship with a rear rack? Since February, Espin has made some changes, including a new controller and a different display. The default photos for the Sport/Flow do not show a rack, but did show a rack at the beginning of the year. The rear rack can be purchased individually now, but was not available as a separate purchase in February, which is what led me to believe that it is no longer included. An included rack adds around $50 of value, so this does get it closer to the R1U.



The 700 is not eligible for the discount, and the net difference between the 500 and the 700 is over $1,300, which unfortunately puts the 700 out of consideration. Does the 500 have the same controller as the 700? I know that the displays are different, but performance-wise, are they both configurable in the same way?

Yes, this will strictly for commuting and short shopping trips. We have our road bikes and indoor trainers for exercise, so the only performance aspects that matter are range and torque. Any of the bikes that I listed will perform more than adequately for the intended purpose, so it just comes down to value.

In terms of performance, Espin has upgraded their controllers since February so it should be similar to what R1U has. I don't know about the new controllers, but the last generation has configurable PAS levels, although probably does not have the fine tuning options that the R1U controllers have.

The 500 and 700 controllers are the same from what I gather, but I'm not sure if the flashed software is 100% the same. They come with different displays. There are some differences in the configurability on the 500 vs. 700. There's even some differences between older generations of the 700 and the current generation. But with both the 500 and 700, you can not only set the range of levels, but you can set the power output of each level. And it will let you set each assist level on each range seperately and retain those settings for each level when switching between ranges. 2 of 7 can be different than 2 of 9, for example. On my 700, I have PAS 1 set to 5%, PAS2 to 8%, and then PAS 9 to 100% (which will show 999 watts on the display with a well charged battery). From what I have seen, the 500 display isn't as intuitive, but it does allow you to make those individual assist level changes. I've seen someone recently report upgrading their 500 display to the same display as the 700 (KD218 LCD).

Don't assume the Espin controller/display is similar to the Ride1Up simply because they changed it. I looked into it some and didn't not find definitive answers. It might allow you to set the range, but does it support granular power setting at each level? And even more importantly, are they still using the inferior speed based "cruise control" type of assist which also gives a heavy burst of assist when starting out, or did they move to a power/current based assist like Ride1Up did a year ago? It's possible that that they did, but I haven't seen anything conclusive that proves it. So, I don't know, and I recommend proceeding with caution. I knew what I was getting with Ride1Up. By the way, the current generation Core-5 has the same display and configurability as the 500. There are higher capacity batteries available for both the Core-5 and 500, but unfortunately, you can't choose those them over the included batteries, they are an additional purchase.

Regarding the move away from speed based assist last year:

 

amock

New Member
Region
USA
Don't assume the Espin controller/display is similar to the Ride1Up simply because they changed it. I looked into it some and didn't not find definitive answers. It might allow you to set the range, but does it support granular power setting at each level? And even more importantly, are they still using the inferior speed based "cruise control" type of assist which also gives a heavy burst of assist when starting out, or did they move to a power/current based assist like Ride1Up did a year ago? It's possible that that they did, but I haven't seen anything conclusive that proves it. So, I don't know, and I recommend proceeding with caution. I knew what I was getting with Ride1Up.
Yeah, I hear you on that. This is one of the main reasons why I am hesitant on the Espins. Nearly every detail is murky, and I have no idea what I am getting. Since February, they have removed the brand of the motor and folk from the specs, and switched from Shimano parts to generics. I can't even tell if a rack is still included or not. Everything that I have read seems to suggest that the new controller is power based, but like you said, there's no way to know for sure until money has been spent.

The R1U 500's parts aren't necessarily higher quality, and is missing some nice features that the Espins have, but at least I know exactly what I am getting. I think I will call both companies on Tuesday to see if I can get any more information, and make a final decision after that.
 

PatriciaK

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Pacific Northwest and Piedmont Triad
Yeah, I hear you on that. This is one of the main reasons why I am hesitant on the Espins. Nearly every detail is murky, and I have no idea what I am getting. Since February, they have removed the brand of the motor and folk from the specs, and switched from Shimano parts to generics. I can't even tell if a rack is still included or not. Everything that I have read seems to suggest that the new controller is power based, but like you said, there's no way to know for sure until money has been spent.

The R1U 500's parts aren't necessarily higher quality, and is missing some nice features that the Espins have, but at least I know exactly what I am getting. I think I will call both companies on Tuesday to see if I can get any more information, and make a final decision after that.
I found Espin was quick to answer any questions I had - just ask if the rack is still included.

I like the look of the Flow better than the R1U model, I like the weight and balance of the Flow, I like the feel of the assist, I like the battery range I'm getting. The components seem to be good quality, customer service has been responsive to my questions since before I bought the bike. I really, really like my Flow!
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Have you confirmed that the current bikes ship with a rear rack? Since February, Espin has made some changes, including a new controller and a different display. The default photos for the Sport/Flow do not show a rack, but did show a rack at the beginning of the year. The rear rack can be purchased individually now, but was not available as a separate purchase in February, which is what led me to believe that it is no longer included. An included rack adds around $50 of value, so this does get it closer to the R1U.
This is a partial quote from a note from them dated 5/26 (last week), so yes, pretty sure. -

"The rear rack will automatically come with the Sport and Flow already attached, and it will be the one shown on the Sport and Flow on the shop page. It will be the rack on this page: https://www.espinbikes.com/products/sport-flow-rear-rack-1
All of our rear racks have the same strength and carrying capacity, so that isn't something to worry about.

Let us know if you have any other questions.

Take care,
Andy
Espin Technical Support"
 

GenXrider

Well-Known Member
Yeah, I hear you on that. This is one of the main reasons why I am hesitant on the Espins. Nearly every detail is murky, and I have no idea what I am getting. Since February, they have removed the brand of the motor and folk from the specs, and switched from Shimano parts to generics. I can't even tell if a rack is still included or not. Everything that I have read seems to suggest that the new controller is power based, but like you said, there's no way to know for sure until money has been spent.

The R1U 500's parts aren't necessarily higher quality, and is missing some nice features that the Espins have, but at least I know exactly what I am getting. I think I will call both companies on Tuesday to see if I can get any more information, and make a final decision after that.
That's too bad that Espin is cheapening up some of their components. Although I haven't read anything about whether they are using power vs. speed based assist now, it does say on their website that the power levels are adjustable now:

Adjustable pedal assist settings

Go at your own pace. We understand that we each have our own preference of how much assist you need, which is why the new display on the 2021 Flow and 2021 Sport lets you customize the pedal assist settings. In short, pedal assist is a mode that tells your bike’s motor how much it should help you as you ride. If you want a little extra push, we already have level 1 set to 30% of max motor power. If that’s too powerful and you’d like less motor assist, you can now tone it down to say 20% or whatever feels best to you.
 

amock

New Member
Region
USA
I found Espin was quick to answer any questions I had - just ask if the rack is still included.
I sent them an email last week, but did hear back before the weekend. Can you confirm if your Flow came with a 11-32t cassette? Espin's website lists the cassette as a 13-32t, which is a really odd size, so I am wondering if it is a typo.

This is a partial quote from a note from them dated 5/26 (last week), so yes, pretty sure.
Thank you for confirming this. It's good to know that the rack is still included. Front rack is a separate purchase, right?

That's too bad that Espin is cheapening up some of their components.
The motor brand used to be specified as a Bafang, and the folk was a Suntour XCT. Now the motor brand is specified as an Espin, and the folk is unspecified. Derailleur, cassette and shifters used to be Shimano Altus, but are now a generic Chinese brand. The rotors have been upgraded from 160mm to 180mm, but the hydraulic brakes are still the Zoom HB-875, which can be purchased for $46 on Aliexpress. Hydraulic disc brakes sound really good on the spec sheet, but it's really just a generic part that is hard to find any information about.

If the Espin comes with a rear rack, then the cost difference is only around $200, since rack and fenders are a $100 add-on for the R1U 500. The mechanical brakes can be upgraded to hydraulic with a cheap Tektro or Shimano set for $50-75. The remaining $125-150 difference is down to the color display and integrated/larger battery on the Espins. So that makes it really close between the two. I'm still leaning towards the R1U due to the known branded parts, but I'll decide once I get a chance to speak with both companies.
 

GenXrider

Well-Known Member
I sent them an email last week, but did hear back before the weekend. Can you confirm if your Flow came with a 11-32t cassette? Espin's website lists the cassette as a 13-32t, which is a really odd size, so I am wondering if it is a typo.
Did you find out about this? I assumed it was 13-32T as Espin lists it, but there have been other things that appear incorrect on their website, so I'm not sure now. It used to be 12-32T for the Sport when I was looking last year. It seems odd they would go in the wrong direction, but someone else mentioned they were moving away from Shimano towards more generic parts, which could be one explanation. The information in my last post about the assist level change (changing from 30% to 20%) doesn't appear to be correct based on other user feedback, but it's still much improved over last year's model, so kudos to Espin on that matter.

Edit: looks like the % adjustment is relevant to the Nero and Nesta, not the Flow, and probably not the Sport.

Found this posted in the Espin users group:
Our 2021 Nero and Nesta came with PAS LEVEL 1 set at 40%, which is way too high (too much power) for starting out. We evaluated several different power levels and decided to reset our PAS1 for 20%, PAS2 at 40%, PAS3 at 60%, PAS4 at 80%, and PAS5 at 99%. Now we have good power performance at all five PAS levels.
 
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amock

New Member
Region
USA
Did you find out about this?
No, they didn't pick up the phone when I tried calling this week. They answered my question about the rack over email after a few days. The rear rack is still included.

Neither Shimano nor SRAM make a 13-32t 8 speed cassette, and I can't find any references to a "S-Ride 13-32t" anywhere except on Espin's website. Unless S-Ride made a custom 13t cog with a spacer, it is probably a typo and the cassette is a 11-32t or 12-32t.
 

Paul1839

New Member
Region
USA
Hi fellow E-bike riders. Back in February I bought a Ride1up 500 series ( I’m 74 years old) and enjoy getting outside for exercise and a nice ride, the weather is nice now and I will enjoy many riding days ahead. I have a hub motor on the bike and the throttle is great for hills. Last month I took a ride with some friends and when I was about to go uphill I engaged the throttle I heard a grinding noise coming from the hub motor? I let off the throttle and t grinding noise stopped, the rest of the ride went fine. Now after a few more rides the grinding noise happens a least twice on every ride, the hills don’t have to be steep, just a incline, and I engage the throttle and pedal assist the motor starts making grinding noise and the gears feel like it not engaging. This morning I went out for a ride, i came to my first incline, engaged the throttle and pedal assist and the grinding noise started and the gears would not engage the bike stopped on the uphill, I got off to the side of the road waiting for a few minutes I continue the ride, for the rest of the ride everything went well. Have anyone else here had a motor noise or gears grinding noise? Thanks
 

GenXrider

Well-Known Member
Have anyone else here had a motor noise or gears grinding noise? Thanks
This thread, and this section, is about choosing a bike. I recommend posting your own thread to the correct section and read the Ride1Up support pages that address noise issues.
 

PatriciaK

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Pacific Northwest and Piedmont Triad
Hi fellow E-bike riders. Back in February I bought a Ride1up 500 series ( I’m 74 years old) and enjoy getting outside for exercise and a nice ride, the weather is nice now and I will enjoy many riding days ahead. I have a hub motor on the bike and the throttle is great for hills. Last month I took a ride with some friends and when I was about to go uphill I engaged the throttle I heard a grinding noise coming from the hub motor? I let off the throttle and t grinding noise stopped, the rest of the ride went fine. Now after a few more rides the grinding noise happens a least twice on every ride, the hills don’t have to be steep, just a incline, and I engage the throttle and pedal assist the motor starts making grinding noise and the gears feel like it not engaging. This morning I went out for a ride, i came to my first incline, engaged the throttle and pedal assist and the grinding noise started and the gears would not engage the bike stopped on the uphill, I got off to the side of the road waiting for a few minutes I continue the ride, for the rest of the ride everything went well. Have anyone else here had a motor noise or gears grinding noise? Thanks
Paul, you might want to post this also in the Ride 1 Up forums, where more folks who have experience with that brand will see it, and be able to help... Good luck!
 

knharper

Member
Region
USA
Amok, Did you ever decide and purchase one of the bikes you were consiering? I have the same dilemma, only I'm wanting a step-thru, so no sport.
 

amock

New Member
Region
USA
Amok, Did you ever decide and purchase one of the bikes you were consiering? I have the same dilemma, only I'm wanting a step-thru, so no sport.
I ended up getting two 500s with the rack and fender upgrade – an XR for me, and an ST for my wife. A Sport and Flow combo would have cost an additional $450, so that was the primary factor for my decision. I wasn't convinced that the Espin was a better bike than the 500, so I just went with the cheaper option. The effective price on the 500 has increased by $50 since I made my purchase, so this may affect your decision.

I haven't had a chance to ride my bike yet, so I can't comment on how it performs. The XR arrived in decent shape, but the ST has some damage on one side (seems like the box fell on its side at some point). I am working with R1U to see what they can do about it.

One thing I would say is, if you are only considering a step-thru, the 500 ST is pretty awkward to step in and out of, due to the extra height of the exposed battery. If you have a bottle cage installed, it becomes even more awkward, as you need to lift your foot about 24" off the ground to avoid kicking either the battery or bottle. On the Flow, you don't have this issue, so this is something worth considering if ease of stepping in and out is important.

You should also consider the R1U 700 if the additional features on the Espin Flow (hydraulic brakes, integrated battery, color display, suspension lockout) are important to you. It is only $126 more than the Flow, so it should be on your list if you are considering the Flow.
 

knharper

Member
Region
USA
Thanks for the informative response. So good to know about the step through not being so user friendly on the 500. I'm leaning toward the Core 5, which has the battery enclosed in the frame. But the Espin is still possible. I am also wondering about suspension. The Core 5 does not have it, but it is the least expensive of the R1U line so far. Also sorry to hear about shipping damage and am curious to see how well R1U does in customer service area. I have asked some questions of Epsin and got responses very quickly, even on the weekend. Of course, those queries did not involve them having to spend any $$, so that may slow down response time. I also have kept the 700 on the list, too.
 

amock

New Member
Region
USA
If you are only going to ride on paved roads (or even dirt/gravel trails), a suspension is not necessary. The Core-5 comes with big 2.2" tires, and when you run them at the recommended 40-50psi, they basically act as shock absorbers. You also have your elbows and knees to use as springs, so you'll be fine without suspension as long as you are using your body while you ride.

In terms of customer service, my experience so far with R1U customer service is that you are better off emailing than calling. Emails are typically answered quickly during the week. Phone calls are often routed to a call center that knows nothing about the products, and the agents are only really able to create a request for a US-based staff to call you back.

I will update this thread once I have a resolution from customer service. In the meantime, good luck with your decision.
 
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