Freway VR-01 Review

Freway Vr 01 Electric Bike Review
Freway Vr 01 Ebike
Freway Vr 01 250 Watt 8fun Gear Motor
Freway Vr 01 Locking Removable Battery
Freway Vr 01 Display Locking Grips Shifters Assist Button
Freway Vr 01 Integrated Led Headlight
Freway Vr 01 Integrated Led Back Light Quick Release
Freway Vr 01 Kenda Nevegal 27 5 Tires
Freway Vr 01 Shimano Alivio 27 Speed
Freway Vr 01 Sr Suntour Xcm 30
Freway Vr 01 Tektro Hydraulic Disc Brakes Kickstand
Freway Vr 01 Velo Active Saddle
Freway Vr 01 Optional Battery Dock Usb Charger Light
Freway Vr 01 36v 5.2ah Samsung Scud Battery
Freway Vr 01 350mm 27.2mm Seat Post
Freway Vr 01 650 52b Tires Schrader
Freway Vr 01 Bars Shifters Lcd Panel Assist Button
Freway Vr 01 Backlit Color Lcd Touch Screen
Freway Vr 01 Usb Charging Port On Display
Freway Vr 01 Stock 1
Freway Vr 01 Computer Display Stock 1
Freway Vr 01 Electric Bike Review
Freway Vr 01 Ebike
Freway Vr 01 250 Watt 8fun Gear Motor
Freway Vr 01 Locking Removable Battery
Freway Vr 01 Display Locking Grips Shifters Assist Button
Freway Vr 01 Integrated Led Headlight
Freway Vr 01 Integrated Led Back Light Quick Release
Freway Vr 01 Kenda Nevegal 27 5 Tires
Freway Vr 01 Shimano Alivio 27 Speed
Freway Vr 01 Sr Suntour Xcm 30
Freway Vr 01 Tektro Hydraulic Disc Brakes Kickstand
Freway Vr 01 Velo Active Saddle
Freway Vr 01 Optional Battery Dock Usb Charger Light
Freway Vr 01 36v 5.2ah Samsung Scud Battery
Freway Vr 01 350mm 27.2mm Seat Post
Freway Vr 01 650 52b Tires Schrader
Freway Vr 01 Bars Shifters Lcd Panel Assist Button
Freway Vr 01 Backlit Color Lcd Touch Screen
Freway Vr 01 Usb Charging Port On Display
Freway Vr 01 Stock 1
Freway Vr 01 Computer Display Stock 1

Summary

  • A light weight, super affordable electric mountain bike launched on Kickstarter in 2015, available on Amazon and Newegg now
  • Available in two frame sizes, a 19" diamond in black or a 17" mid-step in white, quick release front wheel, removable battery, 27 speed Shimano Alivio drivetrain
  • Fancy backlit color LCD touch screen display that isn't removable unfortunately, nice hydraulic disc brakes with average 160 mm rotors but not motor inhibitors
  • Awesome 5 year frame and 2 year motor + battery warranty but some translation issues on the website and a greatly inflated range estimate

Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Freway

Model:

VR-01

Price:

$1,199

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Urban, Trail

Electric Bike Class:

Pedal Assist (Class 1)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

5 Year Frame, 2 Year Motor & Battery

Availability:

United States

Model Year:

2016

Rating:

8.5

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

43 lbs (19.5 kg)

Battery Weight:

3 lbs (1.36 kg)

Frame Material:

X6 Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

19.5 in (49.53 cm)17.5 in (44.45 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

Mid-Step: (17.5" Seat Tube, 27" Stand Over, 21.5" Reach, 67" Length)

Frame Types:

High-Step, Mid-Step

Frame Colors:

Gloss Black, Gloss White

Frame Fork Details:

SR Suntour XCM 30 Suspension with 100 mm Travel, Rebound Adjust and Lockout

Attachment Points:

Rear Rack Bosses, Bottle Cage Bosses

Gearing Details:

27 Speed 3x9, Shimano Alivio

Shifter Details:

Shimano Triggers on Left and Right

Cranks:

Shimano

Pedals:

Plastic and Aluminum Platform

Handlebar:

Low-Rise Aluminum Alloy

Brake Details:

Tektro Draco Hydraulic Disc with 160 mm Rotors

Grips:

Flat Rubber, Locking

Saddle:

Velo, Active

Seat Post Length:

350 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

27.2 mm

Tire Brand:

Kenda Nevegal, 27.5" x 2.1" (650 x 52b)

Wheel Sizes:

27.5 in (69.85cm)

Tire Details:

60 TPI Casing, Wire Bead

Tube Details:

Schrader Valve

Accessories:

Adjustable Length Kickstand, Optional Freway Workstation (Battery Dock with 2 USB Charging Ports and an LED Light) for $199, Optional Second Battery Pack for $299

Other:

2 Amp Charger (2 lbs), IP 67 Rating (Totally Protected Against Dust Ingress, Protected Against Short Periods of Immersion in Water), Dynamic Load Balancing and Discharging for Battery Protection

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

8Fun

Motor Type:

Rear-Mounted Geared Hub
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

250 watts

Battery Brand:

Samsung (20 Cells, 18650)

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

5.2 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

187.2 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

3 hours

Estimated Min Range:

15 miles (24 km)

Estimated Max Range:

25 miles (40 km)

Display Type:

Fixed, Backlit, Color, Touch Screen, LCD with USB Port

Readouts:

Timer, Speed, Average Speed, Calories Used (Kcal), Trip Meter, Battery Level, Assist Level (0-3), Odometer, Estimated Range, Headlight, Tail Light, Screen Brightness

Display Accessories:

Independent Assist Level Button on Right

Drive Mode:

Cadence Sensing Pedal Assist (12 Magnet Pedelec Disc)

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph)

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Written Review

The VR-01 is the first electric bike introduced to the US from Freway, a Chinese company that’s part of the SCUD Group. They are based in Shenzhen China, a province that is famous for being home to other producers of high precision, low cost electronics being produced at incredible speed for customers like Hewlett Packard, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nintento, Sony and even Amazon… It is my understanding that most of the electronic hardware seen every electric bike is produced in this region but often rebranded for marketing purposes in America (as with computers). And so, in this case, one of the OEM manufacturers (the SCUD Group) is building their own brand (Freway) to deliver high-end hardware at lower costs. So far I am very impressed with their first product. The key areas of aesthetics, performance and price for the VR-01 are spot on and while there are some grammatical and wording issues on their Kickstarter campaign (which launched the bike in mid 2015) as well as their current website and Amazon page, the product itself more than make up for these shortcomings.

The VR-01 electric bike is light weight, at just over 40 pounds (depending on the model you get), and seems best suited to active riders. Instead of the standard 350 watt motor I usually see in the US, this one has a 250 watt motor. It’s made by 8Fun, a leader in the geared hub motor space. And instead of the standard 36 volt 10 amp hour battery I’ve become accustomed to, this one offers a smaller 36 volt 5.2 amp hour pack. The pack itself is made by SCUD, the parent company mentioned earlier, while the cells inside are from Samsung. This is a good thing because SCUD is a world leader in producing batteries and Samsung offers some of the most reliable cells around with high energy density (keeping them light weight). Whether you buy into the branding of SCUD and Samsung or not, Freway offers an incredible two year warranty on both the motor and battery for this e-bike which is unprecedented for a sub $1,500 offering in my experience. So again, you’re not getting a ton of power from the motor or battery with this specific model but that’s by design to keep it light and affordable. I like to say that 250 watts basically doubles your human output because that’s about what human cyclists often put out on average over long rides.

The bicycle frames for the VR-01 come in either a large 19″ diamond which is painted gloss black (for him) and a smaller 17″ mid-step with curved top tube painted gloss white (for her). I liked the white one and am not super tall at 5’9″ so that’s the one shown in the review. I could see myself adding a rear rack and using the Freway VR-01 it as a commuter platform with the occasional rough patch in between. In the video above I got to take it up a dirt path overlooking Los Angeles and come bombing down to test the suspension. It’s solid and perhaps even more safe feeling than the big powerful ebikes to me because I’m light weight at ~135 lbs. The brakes worked well enough with average sized 160 mm rotors in large part because they are hydraulic, making them smooth and easy to actuate. One of my complaints is that the Tektro Draco levers don’t have motor inhibitors so you could end up fighting with the motor if you kept pedaling while braking… but it’s unlikely to happen and the smaller motor would lose if you squeezed hard enough. I love that both frames are purpose-built with power cables run through vs. being tacked onto the outside. You get a front and rear LED light that run off the main battery, bottle cages (on the seat tube with the black bike and under the down tube for the white bike) as well as a solid Suntour XCM fork with lockout adjust (to reduce bob on paved streets… for commuting). The active Velo saddle and rear mounted kickstand round the package out. Really, it’s amazing for me to see this level of accessories on a trail / mountain style ebike, especially at this price. The best part is a 27 speed drivetrain with Shimano Alivio components, that’s a solid mid-level derailleur with plenty of gears to climb with and make up for the weaker motor.

Riding the VR-10 felt better off-road than a lot of other electric bikes I test because it was so light weight. The 27.5″ wheel size is a positive in my book because it’s large enough to create stability and feel more like a city bike but not so large (as a 29er) to make you slide out, clip your toes with deep turns or slow down turning response. This fancier wheel size will increase the cost of tube and tire replacements down the road but 650b is becoming more mainstream so that’s not a huge issue. It’s easy for me to get excited about an ebike when it’s cheap but still cool looking like this because I feel like it will bring many more people into the space (especially younger people), benefitting from more time outside in the community and less time sitting in traffic. The VR-01 definitely has room for improvement though, and one big area is the display which is beautiful as long as it’s not super bright out because it becomes difficult to read on even the brightest setting. This thing is color, backlit and touch sensitive but it’s not removable and that makes me cringe. It feels too nice for the bike and I would be biting my nails parking it at a public rack where the sun and other riders might beat it down or try to break it off. The reps I met from Freway were all very nice, responsive and humble and I know we’ll see more cool stuff from them in the future. There was only one experience I had that was disappointing and that was the over-estimated (in my opinion) range published by them on the official website. They have 60 miles listed but the display panel itself has a range estimator readout that said 16 miles when the battery was very full (~98% when I began my test rides). You could probably get excellent range in the lowest assist on flat paved ground with no wind if you weigh 100 lbs but for everyone else expect 15 to 25. There’s a lot to celebrate here and I’m genuinely impressed, this isn’t a platform for everyone but I appreciate what it offers and the price it comes in at.

Pros:

  • The price is a huge selling point, this is one of the most affordable ebikes I’ve seen and the components, warranty and aesthetic are all pretty great, I love that you get free shipping on Amazon because it’s usually $200+ for electric bikes
  • Very light weight, easier to maneuver and lift, this is a trade off for range and power with the smaller motor and battery but for active riders it works well
  • Responsive pedal assist thanks to a 12 magnet pedelec sensor with easy “on the fly” adjustment using the red button near the left grip, just press to go from 0 to 1, 2 or 3 without taking your hands off the grip
  • Quick release on the front wheel and seat tube makes transporting to trails easier (if you have to put this into the back of your car) and the battery also comes off… I love that you don’t have to leave the keys in the pack when riding for the systems to stay on
  • I love that they offer two frame sizes here in ~19 and ~17 to fit a wide range of riders, the decals and colors look professional and the mid-step frame is great for shorter people or those who want to wear skirts or dresses but still prefer a sturdy rigid frame vs. true low-step
  • The suspension fork felt great and includes rebound adjustment and lockout, together with the larger 2.1″ diameter tires the bike felt comfortable and capable on trails and light mountain terrain, there was no rattling
  • The included lights were perfect for this price point, they looked great, were adjustable and ran off the main battery pack so you don’t have to replace batteries separately, just note that the rear light may be blocked by a platform rack if you decide to add one
  • I appreciate the bottle cage bosses on both the high-step and mid-step models even though the bosses on the mid-step are below the downtube, I’d consider using this space for a folding link lock or mini-pump if I wasn’t wearing a backpack or using the rear rack, an inexpensive hydration pack would be useful for other gear
  • The electronic cables (including the headlight) are all integrated through the frame tubing to create a nicer look and reduce wear and snags, brake and shifter cables are run along the top tube as with many traditional bicycles, I like the quick disconnect point on the motor cable but the power line is more basic and comes out of the end of the axle vs. being tucked away on the left side of the bike near the brake rotor, this would reduce clutter on the drivetrain side
  • I love that you can adjust the lights, display backlighting and pedal assist using the touch screen display or the break-out button near the right grip! This button is easy to reach and much safer to use while riding because you don’t have to take your hand off the grip

Cons:

  • The pedals are a bit basic, not as wide or solid as some of the all-metal Wellgo’s I see on other bikes, they are decent for getting around town and for people with small or medium sized feet
  • The battery capacity is about half of what I would consider “normal” in the United States (based on reviewing other bikes), this is part of why the bike is so light weight and affordable, I feel that their website listing of “60 mile range” is misleading but everything else was spot on including weight
  • I wish the display panel was removable, especially because it looks so nice and might attract attention when parked at public racks, it works alright but didn’t always register my fingers (perhaps because they were dry?) and it also wasn’t super bright, even when turned up to the max (it was a sunny day for the review though)
  • At the time of this review you could really only buy the Freway ebike online through Amazon or Newegg and not at shops which means that trying it out before purchase and getting tuneups etc. might be more difficult, it sounds like Freway is trying to get into US IEBD dealers in the future so this may change
  • The hydraulic disc brakes work pretty well and felt smooth but they don’t have motor inhibitors built in so you could be fighting the motor power if you’re pedaling as you brake, this probably isn’t a huge deal for a smaller motor and lighter bike but it’s a best practice that has been missed
  • Some of the writing on the website is confusing and clearly coming from non-native writers who have learned English as a second language (the company is based in Shenzhen China and is a part of the SCUD Group)
  • I like the idea of a battery dock with USB charging ports and a light (as an emergency backup) but this thing is not worth $199… not even close! I feel like it should only cost $24.99

Resources:

More Freway Reviews

Freway Buffalo Review

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  • MODEL YEAR: 2017

An affordable hardtail electric bike with 650B wheels, 180 mm hydraulic disc brakes, integrated LED lights and solid Aluminum Wellgo pedals. Compact display seems tough and blends in nicely, two USB charging ports (on the headlight…...

Comments (38) YouTube Comments

Bob Metzger
3 years ago

I own this bike and I bought it on Kickstarter. I think your review is very accurate. I live in Korea in a very flat area and the bike works great for me. When the battery is fully charged, the display says my range is 14 miles and I think that is correct, but it is enough for me. I think it is fun to ride and seems to have good components.

I think you are also correct to question the after sale support. It’s been over 4 months since the bike arrived and I’m still waiting for a battery bank that was supposed to come with bike. It was “struggle” to get the bike shipped, even though it was listed as “ships worldwide”. It has been a struggle ever since to get the company to follow through on their promises. Too bad they seem to be shortsighted, when it comes to service.

Thank you for all reviews you do. I think they are very helpful.

  Reply
Court
3 years ago

Hi Bob! This is wonderful feedback, thank you so much for sharing your experience with the Freway VR-01. I wasn’t sure how many people would actually have one and it’s difficult to “guess” what a company will or won’t do. I don’t want to damage hard work and reputation but try to share my gut feelings, maybe it’s just a bit early and the company is starting out and trying to create best practices. I sincerely hope you get your battery bank soon and that the bike continues to meet your needs :)

  Reply
Charlie Halberstam
3 years ago

I too have this bike, actually I believe I was one of the first to receive theirs here in the States so I’ve had a bit of a chance to sample it before the winter fully hit the east coast, I’m now debating whether it’s all terrain enough for the current snowy weather but I think not. My Brother and I have a bunch of different Ebikes of different price ranges with which to compare the Freway with. Namely an OHM (with impossible to hide huge hub ;) a folding A2B, Kayman Flash plus, huge Pedego Cargo bike and I’ve also built my own 76v Electric Enduro build (I’m eagerly awaiting a Cutler Cycle Fusion too,) so nowhere near as many Ebikes tested as you, but a fair few at least, and so I feel I have a few points about the Freway VR01 (or the 5S as they called it on Kickstarter for some reason)

Firstly, My range says 18 miles on assistance level 3 at full charge (but changing to level 2 and 1 doesn’t change on the display to reflect an extended range.) I also feel that the 250w motor is weak and limited by the 10A max output of the FVS’s controller, no doubt to gain range from the small 36v 5.2ah battery.

The Bike is solidly built, handling as a trail bike is great, much better than the heavy (62lb) Kayman that wasn’t really suitable :( it’s actually a perfect hybrid of trail bike with a small electric ‘push’ to help on tough bits BUT since it’s pedelec ONLY you really better learn how to change gears efficiently! And if in town driving, anticipating the traffic lights to gear down first, something a throttle control helps with, on occasions when one inevitably forgets. The decent quality Alivio, original bafang, jagwire cables, hydraulics (an all the other good stuff you mentioned) is amazing at this price, in fact as an early bird on kickstarter I took everything including 2nd battery and dock (Yes it’s a ripoff even if it were 25 bucks! since my USB ports arrived BROKEN.) My problem with the Dock was immediately relayed to Freway at their requested method and was told to send it back after getting the RMA, ok np I thought, however still no RMA! Teething probs perhaps? maybe customer service isn’t quite up and they’re just stalling a bit? (fingers crossed.) Everything else works as advertised (or BETTER) It’s just a slow Ebike, great for help exercising, which after the Freway was something I realized the other bikes don’t really give me! (Yes I pedal, but I cheat w/my throttle too much I guess,) the Freway can get you a great workout you’ll really feel, (if you wanted to, that is,) and it’s screen can help record a decent amount of stuff (obv it doesn’t compare to my EEB’s Cycle Analyst v3) and it’s nice looking too and pretty solidly attached on the bike I think. I was initially gonna sell it (too slow i thought, my max speed is only 16.5) but now I re-evaluate that every fresh ride I take ;) I think this will do great for people that don’t expect OR want an electric scooter DISGUISED as a bicycle! It’s as light as a regular non electric, older steel frame, yet still very sturdy with nice components (Mine and every other US batch of kickstarter bikes had a broken headlight from shipping ), that the company has promised to remedy.) There is also a FB page that another owner has setup that Bob and I are members of, that you can also go and check out anytime.

  Reply
Court
3 years ago

Hey Charlie! Great points all around THANK YOU so much for sharing how the bike has worked and referencing other ebikes you own. It’s true I have tested many products but each day (I see a new one vs. having it for an extended period so your insights are valuable. I especially liked your points about shifting due to lack of throttle and the company support and broken light. Sounds like you’re still mostly happy with it and I hope it holds up for you!

  Reply
Charlie Halberstam
3 years ago

Hi Court, Well it’s been a month or so since I posted my experiences and I thought I’d quickly update you about some of the positive recent developments that are significant for future customers. It seems that the Customer service has now thankfully, been set up properly, and my 2nd experience was the complete OPPOSITE of my initial frustrating attempts to remedy a few simple problems. As others on Freway online forums had attested to the better service I once again Emailed them at their requested address. I mentioned I was an original backer that had a malfunctioning dock (cost $100 and a 2nd battery and charger for another $100,) from day 1 as well as the broken headlight mount. They replied very swiftly requesting pictures (yet again.) Sending the same proof pics this time yielded an immediate response, and I was advised that my replacements had ALREADY been mailed!. No RMA was required as well as not requiring me to bother returning the half broken dock, and sure enough 3 days later both the new dock and replacement headlight were in hand :)

Another thing worthy of mention is the NEW PRICE Fremo/Freway/Scud have set for the Dock. Obviously they’ve taken note of our opinion (Most likely YOURS tho,) and on Amazon this weekend they SIGNIFICANTLY LOWERED the price (Not the other sellers tho unfortunately :( they wanted $265!! still! altho they might catch up this week, unlikely tho.) Their lowered price is 1/20th of the previous and LOWER than the $25 you thought it worth…YUP its now $9.90 from Amazon with Free shipping! OBV I bought another one too, for my 2nd battery :)

However in case it’s an error I advise jumping on the deal NOW!! P.S Perhaps you could edit the review to more fairly and accurately reflect these great changes by the Company in turning Cons into Pros, I’m quite impressed now TBH. Lemme know what you think?

david lewis
3 years ago

nice bike but can you buy in the uk1111 very confusing sites

  Reply
Court
3 years ago

Hi David… I have no clue, wish I could be more helpful for you but yeah, their website is confusing. If you decide to move forward and purchase this for yourself in the UK please chime in again and let us know how it goes!

  Reply
Jack Tyler
3 years ago

For those wanting more info on the bike and a USA-based supplier, don’t overlook Court’s mention that newegg.com supplies these models. And they sell the bike and battery banks separately (as does Amazon) which would allow one to purchase a second battery (e.g. for extended range before recharging) more easily than attempting to purchase direct from the manufacturer. Both newegg and Amazon also offer user reviews (a total of 10 as of this post) altho’ Court’s review and the helpful reports above don’t miss much. A dominant theme through the reviews from owners at neweg, Amazon and here is lack of follow-up customer service support. So for that reason, it seems like other favorably reviewed and affordable ebike choices that DO offer customer support make better choices. A good example, so far at least, is the Magnum models reviewed by Court, e.g. the Ui5 found here: https://electricbikereview.com/magnum/ui5/

  Reply
Court
3 years ago

Thanks Jack, great points! I do my best to look at each bike and communicate a bit about the ecosystem of test rides, post purchase support etc. but comments and community feedback take it the rest of the way and are very important. Cheers!

  Reply
Charlie Halberstam
3 years ago

I also would like to mention the slightly inaccurate description of the Dock and it’s functionality. The right hand side, orange covered port, IS ABSOLUTELY NOT the DC IN port of the dock for any kind of external off-bike battery charge! that black rubber port, is on the battery itself! so that’s dangerous advice Court, and if you’d have assumed less ;) as the saying goes lol…No only joking, it actually has a much cooler function than that, which AGAIN, must’ve somehow got lost in translation lol, so please let me explain.

The MULTI function dock is actually both a step down DC to DC converter (Right side DC OUT port that is switchable from its 36v, to 19v for laptops, 12v and 9v (Tips were unfortunately not provided tho ): but c’est la vie, the left is Two 5v USB’s and the front has the LED, and the silly alarm with Morse bleeps, is on the back. So NOW for 10 buks delivered FREE, how freaking awesome is that? :)

  Reply
Court
3 years ago

Nice! Thanks for the explanation Charlie, you’re correct that I assumed wrong and now look like an ass… but thanks for explaining the correct way to use it so others aren’t so unfortunate :P

  Reply
benz
3 years ago

Does VR-01 complies with European standard (EN15194)?

  Reply
Court
3 years ago

Hi benz, I’m less familiar with this law but given the light weight of the bike, the 250 watt motor and limitation of speed (if set for 15 mph) plus removal of any throttle elements I believe this ebike would comply with european law for Class 1 pedal assist electric bikes.

  Reply
Markus
3 years ago

Hi Court, quick comment about costumer service: bought the VR-01 last month and it arrived with a broken light. After a few email exchanges the replacement arrived today. They were also helpful in shipping a second battery charger for $29 after I had found one online for $39.

My initial impressions of the bike are very positive! Range on a fairly flat greenway was 27 miles with the original tires and after replacing them with Freedom Thickslicks (highly recommend) I now get well over 30 miles. On the web I had found reference to both top speeds of 20 and 30 mph. When I checked with costumer service they said that was in the lab. With my bike the engine seems to shut off around 14 mph but provides me plenty of power to accelerate and power up hills. My guess is the bike (at least mine) is set up to meet the European standard (EN15194). Your response above seems to imply that a throttle element can be adjusted but I haven’t been able to find anything online; any advice is appreciated.

Overall I’m a very happy ebike convert and the VR-01 was an affordable way to try it out……and with a 5 year warranty on the frame; 2 year warranty on the battery; and a responsive costumer service this seems like a very good choice.,

  Reply
Court
3 years ago

Hi Markus, glad you’re enjoying the bike and Freway is treating you well (with regard to the light issue). I’m not sure about boosting speed but a little bummed by their “in the lab” response… that sounds suspect to me, most ebikes go 25 km/h or 32 km/h but few go faster… and those usually only offer pedal assist and are called speed pedelecs. I feel like this is a marketing thing but am glad that it’s not a huge sticking point for you. I’d love to hear about any other discoveries or updates as you use the bike more and more. Thanks again for checking in :)

  Reply
Mike H.
3 years ago

I just ordered one of these for $800 BRAND NEW! —- I hope it’s worth it – I only have about a 6 mile commute to work, so hopefully this works ok for me. Question tho — can the battery be swapped out pretty easily with one for higher capacity/range?

  Reply
Court
3 years ago

Hi Mike! If Freway sells replacement packs and larger sizes then yes, you could probably swap them out easily but I wouldn’t recommend using a third party battery unless you are very sure it’s the correct voltage and has the exact same interface… You’ll probably void your warranty and risk damaging the bike or worse, starting a fire. My advice would be to just buy a second pack from Freway vs. trying to get a larger capacity pack from somewhere else :)

  Reply
Mike H
3 years ago

Just received my Black VR-01 and easily assembled it myself. All tools are supplied to complete assembly. Only issue I had was that the attachment for the LCD screen to the handlebars arrived broken. I did manage to zip-tie it securely and took a picture of the broken part and emailed Freway (Support@iFreway.com) not figuring to get a reply for a while. Guess what?! they replied within 30 mins asking for my shipping address so they could send the new part out!

As for the actual first 7 mile ride – amazing! I’ve never ridden ANY ebike before but have ridden bikes thoroughly since I was probably 10 years old – now I’m a street+trail rider using a K2 Mountain Bike, so for me the assist was just amazing. Top speed with assist (as mentioned in Court’s review there’s only assist mode, no trigger or twist throttle) for me at 175lbs lightly pedaling was about 15mph. Even the meager 250 watt motor took much of the effort away making my commute something I actually enjoyed rather than dreaded. All components seemed to be high quality, and the headlight and tail light for a great touch.

So for my first ebike – I’m very pleased, especially with the support I received from Freway, but I’m afraid it only built up my hunger for more power and speed!

  Reply
Court
3 years ago

Wow! That’s an awesomely fast reply. So glad to hear that Freway is backing their products up with support like that. Electric bikes are indeed fun, so glad yours is turning out to be a blast :D

  Reply
David Larson
3 years ago

Hi Court, I absolutely love watching your reviews on EBR. I was beginning to edge toward buying a RadCity next week after seeing your review. In the meantime, I saw you talk about this bike. So, went on Newegg and found it for sale for $600. Could not believe my eyes – it was half price from what I saw in your review. So, I bought it and hopefully will have it in 4 days or so. With winter coming here in Wisconsin, I hope to be able to get some miles in before the big snow. My question is, will assembly be easy enough to do myself, or should I find a shop to do it? I have purchased a bike online before from Bikes Direct and did not find it too difficult to assemble, not sure about this though. Thanks for any info you could provide.

  Reply
Court
3 years ago

Cool! Sounds like you caught a great deal David :D I’d love to hear how the bike works out and yes… assembly should be easy enough. Usually it involves turning the handle bars and tightening the stem as well as mounting the front wheel. While assembling yourself is usually possible, I find that having a shop tune it up to make sure the wheels are straight and the shifters are all aligned properly can be worth the ~$60 charge.

  Reply
Yuri
3 years ago

I have got my VR-01 from a third party on eBay. This is a solid looking bicycle, all mechanics works fine, and it has a nice appeal. But to my great disappointment it didn’t perform well it’s main function: e-bike. I had fully charged battery, it provided reasonable assist in riding until I met first hill. That was not steep hill at all, something between 5 and 10 degrees. Very soon the display showed a yellow warning sign, and a motor was cut off. I tried different loading with a variety of combinations of gears and assist modes, but the outcome was always the same: the controller was shutting off the motor after some 30 m going uphill.

After less then a kilometer of such an exercise the battery was depleted from 33 to 11 km of riding capacity, as indicated on display. So now I am wondering whether it is an electrical component that is faulty or this is a poorly designed product. I have contacted the supplier and they, after a consultation with technical support, offered me replacement controller. What I am afraid of is: I may spend an effort trying to fix the problem that may not be fixable and at the end will loose the warranty, that is 3 month only (from the supplier) or my right to return it via eBay policy. So at this point I am inclined to go after returning this bike. Please advise whether you see this as a particular item failure or a generic issue with a low power bike. Thanks, Yuri

  Reply
Court
3 years ago

Hi Yuri, sorry to hear the bike isn’t performing as you’d hoped. In my experience, if you’re climbing steeper hills and either carry heavy cargo or are a larger person many ebikes are designed to cut power so as not to overheat. The Freway bikes are meant to be affordable, they look decent but aren’t using super powerful motors and thus, may not be powerful enough for the type of riding you’re doing. Do you mind sharing how much you weigh or how much load is being carried to help assess?

  Reply
Yuri
3 years ago

Hi Court, I weigh 78 kilos. No extra load has been carried.

  Reply
Court
3 years ago

Interesting, thanks for sharing Yuri! That’s about 170 lbs and what would be considered average weight for most electric bikes… it’s almost exactly what they use when testing range. Sounds like the Freway is a bit underpowered or indeed there might be a controller issue. For reference, I weigh about 135 lbs (61 kg).

  Reply
Justin
2 years ago

I purchased a black VR-01 last year and have since put about 1400 miles on it. I first saw it for sale at newegg, but was hesitant to it buy. After I saw your review, highlighting mostly positives, I decided to get it. What attracted me was the price, the looks and the weight of the bike.

When I received it, pretty much everything was out of tune. The derailleurs and brakes all had to be adjusted when I built it. Once it was built though, the bike handled very well and the motor power wasn’t an issue for me. It easily goes up the biggest hills in my town. I generally don’t like 3x gear systems, but I think the wide range of gears really helps in this case. It helps you complement the motor and have lots of cadence options to activate the cadence sensor. The selection of decent mid range components is very thoughtful, from the alivio drivetrain to the XCM fork. The bike is solid and in my experience, has handled everything. I primarily use it on streets, but it performs well on the trails too. One complaint on the bike part selection is I didn’t care for the Tektro Draco brakes. They stop the bike, but the levers are huge and even after I bled them, never felt solid. I upgraded to some used Shimano Deore brakes and swapped out the front 160mm disc brake to a 180mm and now the bike stops very well. The Kenda tires that are included are good, but they have a very aggressive tread pattern and are sluggish if you primarily ride on the streets. I put some Schwalbe Big Ben tires on soon after I got the bike, and not only do they ride so much better for urban commuting, but they increase the range of the battery with their lower tread pattern. I still keep the Kenda’s for the couple times I take it on the trails. In terms of the other parts, the only thing I’ve replaced for wear is the chain around 1100 miles. Everything else has held up well.

The motor and battery work well for the application. I’ve averaged about 25 miles with a full charge, but I also pedal very hard. I always ride at full power level, since the other 2 levels are very weak. The motor has good low torque and a long as you’re pedaling along will shoot you to top of hills. Unfortunately, the motors peak power seems to be around 15 miles per hour. I still hear the motor running after that, but it seems like it’s not doing much. I like to go fast, and since the bike is fairly lightweight, I have little problem pushing the bike over the 20 mile mark on my own power after that point. For a less expensive e-bike, I was surprised at the feature list. I really like the color screen, the usb charger coming out of it and that the bike has the option to password protect it. The password protection is great security feature and makes me feel more confident about parking the bike at racks. I watch a lot of your reviews and that seems to be a feature even $3000+ bikes don’t include.

It is still a budget bike, so some things are compromised. The plastic mount for the LCD screen never would stay centered, and then broke a month after I bought the bike. I ended up using a rotary saw to cut it off and got a Rokform metal phone holder that attaches to the top of the headset. I super glued the screen onto the twist mount and it has worked great since. Also the kickstand bolts never stay tight, so make sure to put some thread locker on them. I did it recently and it solved the problem for the most part. The rims also went out of true fairly quickly, but I kept and top of it and haven’t had to adjust them for a while.

My only true disappointment came with the warranty. My front light started flickering about two months ago and ended up blowing the controller. I e-mailed Freway and they actually responded right away and said they would send a new one. Unfortunately, a month later it never came. I wrote again and got no response, then wrote a third time and they responded and said again they would send a controller. Again, it didn’t come though. Thankfully, one thing that was important to me was to make sure the bike had replacement parts easily available and this one does. Amazon sells replacement batteries, LCD screens and controllers. I ordered a controller, it arrived quickly and I installed it in about a half hour. The bike was up and running again. It was $90 dollars I would have rather spent on something else, but I was happy to have my e-bike back. I also threw away the front light, so it wouldn’t blow the controller again. FYI, I did ride it for 2 months without power, and I worked fairly well. I don’t know what went wrong, but I think that communication issue you mentioned might have been part of it and maybe they aren’t used to customer service in the USA yet. I was disappointing though, as I purchased the bike thinking that support would be around if something went wrong. Hopefully, my experience will help people know what they maybe getting into.

Overall, I’ve spent about $300 extra on upgrades and maintenance over the past year. Even with that, I think the bike is way higher specced than the next level of e-bike. I’ve been following their new model, the Buffalo, and found it to be a downgrade. The motor and battery are more powerful, but all the bike parts look like they’ve stepped down in my opinion. The frame geometry also doesn’t look like it would do very well on a trail. I would much rather have a more solid bike in the middle and a lesser motor, as a the end of the day it is still a bike. I’m a very active rider though, and mountain and road ride on regular bikes often.

Also, I noticed recently that their Indiegogo campaign was shut down and I saw on their Facebook page that people said they are receiving refunds. I hope that doesn’t mean the company is shutting down, but as of now, this model is available on Amazon, along with the replacement parts.

I paid $1,200 for this bike and received a free 4k tv with it. I know, interesting deal! But I’ve seen this bike going for about $700 now, and even as low as $600. If you’re an active rider, mechanically inclined and are aware of what you’re getting into, I think this is a great e-bike to start with. Since I’ve had it, it has saved me money and I rarely drive anymore. I wanted something that would get me out riding more often, even when I didn’t want to, and this bike has been extremely successfully in doing that for me. I definitely want to upgrade in the future, but I will hopefully be sticking with this bike for a long time to come. Thanks for the reviews!

  Reply
Court
2 years ago

Wow, Justin… thanks for leaving the best comment this site has ever seen! Your recollection of the purchase, fixes and overall communication of the experience is outstanding and more than compliments my original review. You shared insights that I’m often unable to gain due to limited time and use (I realize I’m more of an overviewer than reviewer). In any case, I’m glad EBR has served you well and THANK YOU so much for contributing to it to help others. Rock on man!

  Reply
Homan Lobian
2 years ago

Good day. I am Homan Lobian. I leave in Albania (city of Tirane). I want to buy one of your e-bikes. Where is your dealer(if any in Albania)? If no dealer in Albania, then where are your dealers located in Europe? Or you can send directly from China? Our neighboring countries are Kosovo, Macedonia, Greece, Italy…

Regards,
Homan Lobian

  Reply
Court
2 years ago

Hi Homan! I wish I could help you find this bike in Albania right away but I am not sure. This was filmed in the US and the company appears to be based in China. Perhaps they will read your comment and chime in. You may be able to buy some other electric bike from a US company such as Motostrano that I believe ships abroad. I hope this helps you!

  Reply
Michael Phan
1 year ago

Is this company still alive? The website ifreway.com is dead. The bike it out of stock everywhere. I’m unable to find a replacement battery for the bike anywhere as well.

  Reply
Court
1 year ago

Hmm, I have heard similar feedback from other people Michael. It may be the case that Freway backed out of the US. Their team was difficult to reach and understand even when conducting my reviews. I hate to think that your bike may be limited by parts now, but that may be true. If you still have the casing, there are companies that can repack batteries such as rechargeable power energy in Nevada. Visit their website here and see if that helps!

  Reply
max
12 months ago

Buongiorno ,volevo chiedere squale batteria tampone monta il display

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