Ride1UP Core-5 Reviews

RickyBikes

Member
Region
USA
The Ride1UP CORE-5 is an urban commuter eBike currently retailing for $1,195.00 on Ride1Up’s website. It is available in two alloy frame sizes (ST & XR) and two colors (midnight grey & slate blue). This is a Class-3 eBike, meaning you can achieve 20mph with the throttle and up to 28mph with pedal assist. This is an approachable and attractive bike, particularly for the price. It has a clean design and has integrated the battery nicely. The 750W Shengyi motor produces 60Nm of torque, which is what I would consider value power. You get a decent motor without paying a premium price. It will have a slightly upgraded Shimano Altus derailleur which is a step up from the entry-level Shimano Tourney. Ride1Up is a company that takes care of their customers, providing solid customer support, free shipping and a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. They also have a variety of less expensive accessories available on their website.


Here's their official website www.ride1up.com and I'd love to hear your thoughts below, especially if you own the CORE-5 or plan to buy it!





While I haven't reviewed this electric bike myself, I have covered similar eBikes and I wanted to provide some insights and open things up for your feedback. I hope providing several sources, with varying perspectives, allows everyone to come to their own conclusions. Sometimes short reviews and those created by shops only cover the good aspects and can come off like a commercial, so I've tried to be neutral and objective with these insights:



Pros – things that stand out as good:

  • This is a sharp looking bike with a clean design and is on the more affordable end of the eBike spectrum at $1,195. Ride1Up takes care of their customers; they provide good customer support and a solid 1-year warranty. The low price is one of the big draws for Core-5 and it’s nice that they offer two color choices. I love that if you pledge to reduce your driving commute by two trips per month then you receive a $40-off coupon. Yes, I pledged! They also provide several cool accessories for a fairly low price.
  • Despite the limited range (25-40 miles) this is a proven Reention battery pack design with quality LG cells. I think this is sufficient for urban commuting and zipping through cities.
  • Even in assist level 0 the throttle works at full power. The more you throttle the less range you’ll have, however it’s great for folks who want/need a little help getting going. Depending on where you are, this could be considered a handy safety feature. Motor inhibitors are another nice safety feature – you don’t want to fight the motor when braking.
  • The rear-mounted adjustable kickstand is an excellent feature. You won’t have to deal with pedal lock when taking your bike out of your garage or away from a rack. The provided waterbottle bosses are another feature that prove their worth time and again.


Cons – things that seem like trade-offs or negatives:

  • It’s just the nature of many direct-online eBikes, but what you save on money you may spend on time and effort to put the bike together compared to other comparable ride-ready models you’d find in your local shop.
  • Although this is classified as a “Class 3” eBike, similar bikes (the Ride1Up 500 series – you can find Court’s review of that here) really top out closer to 25mph instead of 28mph.
  • Like a lot of eBikes that are considered more affordable, the Tektro 160mm mechanical disc brakes have small rotors and leave a bit to be desired. They do have motor inhibitors but require fair bit of hand strength (especially the rear brake) and potentially more maintenance in the long run than hydraulic disc brakes.
  • According to Ride1Up’s website it looks like the Core-5 isn’t available for purchase until at least July (Midnight Gray) or August (Slate Blue).
  • I appreciate the reflective strip on the tires, however considering commuter safety, a taillight, and stronger light would be preferred. Since this bike comes in darker colors it may be difficult to spot a rider at night.


As always, I welcome feedback and additions to these pros and cons, especially from people who have tried or own the bike. If you see other great video reviews for the Ride1Up CORE-5, please share them and I may update this post ongoing so we can get the best perspectives and insights.



Further Review Sources:
Ride1UP Core-5 Review | Electric Bike Report
20 Reasons to/NOT to Buy Ride1UP Core-5 (Jun 2021) | BikeRide
 

GenXrider

Well-Known Member
Ride1Up has changed from speed based PAS to current/power based assist since that old review by Court. My current gen 700 will assist to 28 mph with throttle alone or with PAS with a well charged battery. I went with the 700 over the Core-5 because it comes with rack/fenders, a color display with realtime power & granular battery level, hydraulic brakes, a 14 ahr battery, front suspension, wider tires on wider rims. Aside from the lower price, the only thing I liked better about the Core-5 was that it's lighter. But the 700 rides fine without power until you start climbing hills - just took a 31 mile ride today with no assist. Only the hills were tough. I thought about getting a Core-5 as a backup bike, but I decided to hold off until next year to weigh my options.
 

cykel

New Member
Region
USA
My wife took delivery of her Core-5 ST at the end of last week and has put in roughly 50 miles around town. So far she loves it! We’re both experienced cyclists but fairly new to eBikes, so not much I can meaningfully compare to. I'm on a VanMoof S3, so she needed something to keep up on for around-town use. We were basically between this and a RadMission 1. The aesthetic and 28mph limit are what ultimately led us to snag the Core-5, and now I'm the slow one :)

A few early observations:
- the battery bar progression as-delivered is odd and threw us off. luckily it was easy to find the V/% table from R1U along with recommended settings, so we changed it. overall I've been pleased with the ease of finding relevant technical info from R1U.
- by default, PAS level tops out at 5 corresponding to "70%" assist. we haven't tried it, but 28mph would likely be no problem if bumping this up a bit. atm her observation is that pedaling starts to take some effort around 26mph.
- a U-lock mounts nicely onto the seat-tube, but will interfere with a bottle cage if you want water on the bike.
- range estimate from R1U seems pretty accurate.
- we put the rear-mounted kickstand in the "Con" category - it's too close to the heel when pedaling. interference rolling is better than interference pedaling...we'll probably just remove it.
 

GenXrider

Well-Known Member
I don't have a Core-5, but don't recall ever striking my heel against my 700's rear mounted kick-stand, even before I put on my SPD pedals. I have to say that I actually prefer it and ordered my 700 shortly after they became standard on the XR model.

One thing to note on that PAS percentage is that the power will still drop as the battery level drops, which will be significant as the battery gets low. I have my PAS 9 set to 100% but have only used that level during testing, not during any actual riding. With a mostly full battery, it would show 999 watts. But with a much lower battery, it was closer to 500 watts ( don't recall how low the battery was now since that was back in March that I tested that ). The throttle power dropped significantly as well.

Range is dependent on so many things. I've ridden over 50 miles using less than 20% of my 700's battery because I use a lot of muscle power and minimal PAS.
 
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cykel

New Member
Region
USA
Good insight on the PAS settings, we’ll have to do some actual testing with it. The 700 kickstand looks to be quite a bit further forward than the Core-5, based on the website photos anyway. So far her range observations are PAS 3 or 4 with minimal human contribution, bumping into 5 (current max) only for passing. Otherwise she pulls away from me quickly.
 

GenXrider

Well-Known Member
Here are a couple pictures from the 700 after the kickstand was moved towards the rear.

 

BigNerd

Well-Known Member
@cykel

Have you observed how the PAS works on the Core-5? Does power reduce at each speed? And how much power is available in each PAS level.

Also, can you tell if it's true cadence-based... ie... the power delivered to the motor is inversely proportional to speed you pedal?

I'm looking at the Core-5 for my next ebike because of the weight. How is the VanMoof? That's a light bike too.
 

GenXrider

Well-Known Member
@cykel

Have you observed how the PAS works on the Core-5? Does power reduce at each speed? And how much power is available in each PAS level.

Also, can you tell if it's true cadence-based... ie... the power delivered to the motor is inversely proportional to speed you pedal?
No the Core-5 doesn't work like that. It's a true cadence sensor bike just like the 700, and it works like the 700, using the superior power based assist rather than inferior speed based assist, so it applies consistent power rather than acting as a cruise control that changes with speed. Kevin changed the Ride1Up bikes to power based rather than speed based by middle of last year. He discusses that in an interview from last June. Being class 3, the Core-5 will apply PAS assist power as configured for a level while pedaling until 28 mph. The amount of power delivered in each assist level on the Core-5 is adjustable independently for each level. And the range of levels is adjustable also. The only exception would be if you got a first generation Core-5 which uses a different LCD and has a more assertive PAS in PAS1 and you could not adjust the percentage. So, unless you buy a used one, that won't be an issue. The current generation Core-5's PAS power percentage is adjustable just like the 500 using the same KD21C LCD, and like the 700 but using a different LCD and steps to make changes vs the 700's KD218 display. Some of the Core-5 reviews on Youtube (and comments) are in reference to the first gen model.
 
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BigNerd

Well-Known Member
I'd rather hear from an actual Core-5 owner.

Also, "superior power based" vs "inferior speed based" is opinion not fact.

@cykel What's your experience?
 

GenXrider

Well-Known Member
I'd rather hear from an actual Core-5 owner.

Also, "superior power based" vs "inferior speed based" is opinion not fact.

@cykel What's your experience?
LOL. It works just like the 700's assist, which is what I have. Plenty of people have posted detailed feedback in the FB group. Companies like Ride1Up and Espin have moved away from speed based assist in their latest generations, so that should tell you something about which is better. The power based is really much better, is more efficient, more intuitive, more natural, and better for exercise. Otherwise, get a torque sensor bike like the Ride1Up Prodigy, which will be based on the Brose system for the best most natural performance. The LMT'D is selling as a cadence sensor bike this year, but it looks like it's coming back as a torque sensor bike next year, if you can hold off.
 

BigNerd

Well-Known Member
I still don't think you quite understand how Espin's PAS works but that's okay, I've explained it many times but you only see it your way. The system that is on my 2020 Sport is also efficient, intuitive, natural and just as good for exercise... but for some reason you discount everyone's opinion that is positive about the Sport so you are biased on what is "really much better".

How would you know anyways? You always say you rarely use the PAS on your 700 so really what kind of experience do you have? And you've never used the PAS on the Espin so you can't definitively make any comparison.

Anyone else but @GenXrider have any feedback on how the Core-5 PAS works?
 

GenXrider

Well-Known Member
I still don't think you quite understand how Espin's PAS works but that's okay, I've explained it many times but you only see it your way. The system that is on my 2020 Sport is also efficient, intuitive, natural and just as good for exercise... but for some reason you discount everyone's opinion that is positive about the Sport so you are biased on what is "really much better".

How would you know anyways? You always say you rarely use the PAS on your 700 so really what kind of experience do you have? And you've never used the PAS on the Espin so you can't definitively make any comparison.

Anyone else but @GenXrider have any feedback on how the Core-5 PAS works?
I know how the "old" Espin system you have works in detail. It doesn't provide consistent power in a given PAS level - very unnatural. I would hate that. That is what people complain about with cadence based assist because that's what they have experience with. I've known someone to rip out the old version of Espin's controller right after buying it and replace it with an aftermarket controller because of how it worked. But as I said, Espin upgraded their controllers for the 2021 model, so they must have learned their lesson. But then, this thread is about Ride1Up. And Ride1Up move their controllers from speed based to power/current based by the middle of last year, plus the have nice granular control of power levels. So, everyone is making improvements in their controllers. Even Aventon has a new controller to address the performance complaints of their old one.

Rarely use PAS on my 700? lol I actually use it every ride (except for one particular ride just as a challenge test) I take including a 61 mile ride that I took yesterday. What I have stated is that I use PAS 0 most of the time except into headwinds or up hills, not on level ground without headwinds, and certainly not downhill. But every ride I take has hills, and I regularly have to deal with headwinds as well, including both of those things on my long ride yesterday, so there are times during every ride that I use PAS. I just don't use it during most of the ride. And for that matter, this wasn't rocket science or complicated for me. I had researched on the Ride1Up PAS before ever buying, so I knew exactly what to expect, and my first ride on the bike was enough to confirm all of that. I've now got a lot of experience with it and remain happy with its performance. But what I really like about the Ride1Up assist, in addition to the granular customization of power/ranges, is that it provides consistent power at a given PAS level rather than the power fluctuating up and down based on the bike's speed (to the class 3 limit). So, if there's a headwind breeze, I can put it into PAS 1, which I have set to a low 5%, and it will provide consistent minimal assist, no fluctuations in power, no surging, very efficient, natural feeling, and I'll still get a good workout. Recommended.

If you want additional feedback on the Core-5, and don't get more feedback here, you try asking in the FB group. Questions there often get a number of responses. And there are a lot of Core-5 owners over there. Just be aware that the first gen Core-5 PAS didn't allow the customization of power percentage. I think it would be a nice bike. I've considered getting one as a backup bike in case my 700 is ever out of commission temporarily, but I might go with a Prodigy or something from a different company, that I would switch off with rather than being a backup bike. My standard Trek hybrid is my alternative bike for now.
 
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cykel

New Member
Region
USA
@cykel What's your experience?

From our observations the assist delivered is dependent on PAS setting but independent of pedaling cadence. I'd have to revisit our current settings to provide specifics on PAS level and corresponding power delivery. Off the top of my head I recall PAS level 5 being 70% and corresponding to 600W output. We haven't observed power droop but still not much true testing volume either. We're generally riding in the 40-80% charge range. Hopefully that's...marginally helpful.

My thoughts on the VanMoof are here...generally I would recommend it if the security features are of high importance to you, but otherwise I'm not so sure especially if you do longer rides with more than a little elevation change. Mine is used mostly to reduce sweat volume for short commutes / trips + quick stops in the city, for which it's great. When riding together we often just lock the Core-5 to the VanMoof and activate the VM alarm.
 

GenXrider

Well-Known Member
Off the top of my head I recall PAS level 5 being 70% and corresponding to 600W output. We haven't observed power droop
My Ride1Up 700 was defaulted to 70% in PAS 5 as well, but that's with the default range maxing to PAS 5, so that's 5 out of 5. It was a higher percentage at the highest PAS level by default when I changed to 0-7 or 0-9 (PAS 9 was like 84 to 86%). Core-5 probably would be same/similar in the regard. 600W sounds about right for 70% going off memory. I very rarely use that much PAS.