- An approachable step-thru commuter with stiff durable frame, great weight distribution, sturdy front and rear racks, nice integrated lights, comfortable and flexible geometry with tool-free adjustable angle stem, an entry-level suspension fork, and basic semi-ergonomic grips
- Great attention to detail with all hardware accents in black (spokes, hubs, racks, handlebar etc.), integrated cables, and water resistant threaded connectors. The Shengy hub motor is zippy thanks to a 48 volt battery and 22 amp controller combo. The controller is separate from the battery, keeping cells cooler and making replacement packs a lot less expensive
- Feature-complete setup here with decent fenders, chain cover, 25kg (55lb) rated rack with dedicated pannier hangers, great integrated lights, and premium Schwalbe tires that are puncture resistant and reflective, great kickstand choice and placement as well
- Only available in one frame size and color, but it looks nice and is approachable and somewhat versatile thanks to the adjustable stem. Reention Kirin battery box doesn't have a USB charging port like the older Dorado box and is a bit longer and bulkier. Mechanical disc brakes aren't as easy to use or adjustable as hydraulic
To run the forums, host the website, and travel, I charge a universal service fee for my reviews. This in-depth review was sponsored by iGO. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased with you, this video and writeup are not meant to be an endorsement of iGO products. I welcome your corrections, additions, and feedback in the comments below and the iGO Electric bike forums.
- iGO Electric has been selling ebikes since 2006, way before EBR had even launched! I considered their products when I bought my first ebike in 2011 because they had a purpose-built frame, offered free shipping in the US and Canada, and were available to answer questions via email and phone. They’re still doing a great job, and have expanded the lineup quite a bit. The Core line is their most affordable, and features external battery packs called Kirin from Reention
- There are three Core models, all priced under $2k USD ($2.4 CAD). The Elite II and Extreme 2.0 utilize the same battery, which is cross-compatible. The Fat Freddy uses a cheaper silverfish battery pack that is fairly universal, but not cross compatible with any of the other iGO bikes. All three models have fenders and lights, but Elite II and Extreme 2.0 have integrated lights front and rear as well as bottle cage bosses and adjustable angle stems. The Extreme 2.0 is a fat tire bike, while the Elite II is a more traditional 28″ x 2.75″ hybrid city tire that will be lightweight, quiet, and more efficient.
- 100% feature-complete with everything you’d need to commute to work day or night, rain or shine. Good plastic fenders and chain cover, above-average integrated lights, premium tires with puncture protection and reflective sidewalls to make you extra visible
- What sets this ebike apart from other city commuters is the approachable but stiff step-thru frame that still has bottle cage bosses and a very sturdy rear rack plus a front tray rack! You could always remove the front rack with four bolts and re-mount the headlight on the handlebar (like the shop I visited had done)
- iGO was definitely trying to keep this product affordable, but none of the parts are entry-level. The Shimano Altus drivetrain is one step up from base, and the Tektro Aries mechanical disc brakes utilize large 180mm rotors and top-end rubberized brake levers with an integrated bell. I love these brake levers because they keep your fingers warmer than all metal, the bell is durable and happy sounding, and they both have motor inhibitors for extra safety when stopping
- Most of the deep wave step-thru frames I test suffer from frame flex… especially if they have a rear-rack battery. The iGO Core Elite II felt stiffer than most and has good weight distribution. The battery pack actually sits on top of the downtube vs. inside, so the tubing itself is very sturdy and a bit wider than normal, there’s also a gusset tube welded on top of the bottom bracket box that connects the downtube and seat post… great job here without raising the standover height of the frame!
- At first, I thought that maybe this was a mid-drive electric bike because of the black box thing at the bottom bracket. This is actually just a storage compartment for wires and the powerful battery controller. Separating the controller like this makes it easier to replace, keeps the battery cooler, and makes replacement battery packs much less expensive
- Inside that bottom bracket box is 32 pulse cadence sensor that is VERY responsive and durable. Most of the cadence sensors that I see and test utilize 6 or 12 magnets. They can get bumped around easily because they are external… but the electronic sensor that iGO is using seems like an upgrade and it worked well during my ride tests
- I noticed that the handlebar is a bit narrower than some competing products, and this could be a good thing if you have to walk the bike through doorways or ride in crowded areas. Thankfully, the upright stem, ergonomic grips, suspension fork, and padded saddle mean that you’ll still be comfortable. Some cruiser ebikes spec extra long handlebars as a way of reducing vibration and shock, for a more comfortable experience, but the Elite achieves this with short bars, which I think is great
- Great attention to the little things: adjustable kickstand positioned perfectly at the rear of the bike (won’t get kicked or cause pedal lock and will support a loaded rack), wide 30.4mm seat post for strength and more suspension seat post or dropper post options aftermarket, rack is far back so it won’t block the seat coming all the way down, rack comes with a nice triple-bungee cord for securing loose items like jackets or small boxes, all hardware is black and matches beautifully (rims, spokes, hubs, fork, seat post, cranks, stem, handlebar etc.) and the rims utilize reinforcement eyelets for added strength!
- This is a purpose-built frame with completely internal cable routing. Note that iGO is using threaded connectors with little rubber washers that are more durable and water resistant than press-fit
- The charger is pretty average, offering 2 amp output, but the fact that you can charge the battery on or off the bike means that you can store the bike in a hot or cold environment (or outside) while taking better care of the battery (store in a cool dry location and keep at least half full). This will help the battery last longer, it also means that you can reduce the weight of the bike by 3.94kg (8.7lbs) if you have to lift it onto a car rack or do repairs
- The battery connects to the frame without requiring the key, it clicks on securely and makes a sound so you know it’s safe. I like how the battery comes in from the side vs. down, because this puts the battery pack at less risk for bumping other parts of the frame… but do take extra care when handling it so it doesn’t tip all the way off and tumble to the ground. There’s a semi-handle type thing at the top, but it’s not a full handle like the Bosch PowerPacks, which was the best design I’ve seen
- The display is easy to use and fairly intuitive with only three buttons. Use the + and – buttons to navigate through the nine levels of assist and hold + to activate or de-activate the lights. Hold the – button to activate walk mode if you’re struggling to push the bike up a hill or through grass. Hold + and – simultaneously to get into settings, and again for deeper settings. This system is very modular, and there’s an area in the settings menu that communicates error codes so you can tell iGO what is wrong and they can honor the excellent two-year comprehensive warranty and send out a replacement part
- It’s nice to have pedal assist that can go slower and be quiet and efficient as well as throttle override with full power on demand and this ebike has both. Overall, I really like the display and throttle operation
- The pedals aren’t super aggressive but won’t cut your shins if you slip off, for those who have bigger feet or prefer more solid traction, consider upgrading to some cheap Wellgo alloy pedals like this
- The rear rack was specifically designed to stay out of the way so the seat can drop further down, and the seat tube was cut lower to accommodate this, the rack is sturdy (supporting up to 25kg (55lbs) of weight) and seemed securely attached
- I like the neoprene wrap on the cables at the front, it looks nicer than the plastic spiral wrap or mesh wrap on some other ebikes and is easier to work with if you do need to access something, I love that they color-coded the wire connectors too, in case you need to unscrew them someday and aren’t sure which goes to which
- The bike weighs about 62lbs, which isn’t super lightweight, but makes sense when you consider the two alloy racks and spring suspension fork, the fenders don’t add much but the battery itself weighs ~8.7lbs vs. 6 lbs on many other ebikes with lower capacities
- The way that the rear light is positioned on the rack keeps it protected during shipping, it’s under and behind the rack tubing… I think the bike also ships with a derailleur guard that helps keep the sensitive power cable and derailleur from getting bumped
- The 50 LUX dual-beam headlight is pretty bright and protrudes a bit, so should be visible from the sides… but the default mounting position is below the front rack. There’s some concern that it could get bumped if the suspension bottoms out (the tire could possibly hit the light and crack it adjust the aim). Since the front rack is mounted to the bike frame, the rack and headlight do not point where you steer the bike. If you do remove the rack, you’ll have to tinker with the light and find another place to mount it. The shop I had visited, Cap’s Electric Bikes in Port Moody, BC had repurposed a reflector mount and repositioned the headlight onto the handlebar
- The battery design allows the frame tubing to be more stiff, because it sits on top of the flat downtube vs. recessing inside of it. The downsides are that battery weight is higher on the frame, which is less balanced, and that the battery pack looks more “external” and is much longer than the Reention Dorado battery I saw on the older 2018 iGO Elite. It also does not have a built-in USB charger like the old one
- The mechanical brakes are a step-down in terms of quality and usability when compared with the rest of the components on this ebike. Mechanical brakes require a bit more hand effort to use, especially the rear brake which has a longer cable, and water and dust can get into the brake housing at the rear because it’s pointed up (as shown in the video review above)
- This bike is only available in one color and one size. This helps the company to keep the price down, and I feel like they chose well. The silver color is safe, because it’s visible, and I feel that it’s fairly universal and gender neutral. I also want to point out that the frame size can accommodate a wide range of riders thanks to the adjustable-angle stem and long 350mm seat post.
- The SR Suntour NCX suspension fork gets the job done, but is fairly basic in terms of adjustability. There’s no lockout, just preload adjust under the plastic caps on both sides of the crown… be careful taking these off, because they can crack easily, and make sure to adjust them in tandem so one isn’t loaded more than the other
- iGO raised the price for their Elite model by $100 compared to the last time I reviewed it in 2018. That makes sense with inflation and some of the upgrades here… but we also lost a few features like USB charging
- iGO really tries to support dealers by dedicating any online sales in their region to them, shipping the bike to them for assembly and support… but if you buy direct, there’s some work to do unpacking, assembling etc. These bikes come 95% assembled: just attach the front rack with 4 bolts, put the stem onto steer tube, add the pedals, the front fender and the headlight. This can take some time, and the tools they include are pretty basic
- This is a very minor point, but the throttle doesn’t work in assist level zero. This means that you’ll have to arrow up to 1-9 levels of assist in order to activate, but then the throttle offers full power! For me, five levels of assist would be enough, it’s a lot of clicking to get all the way up to 9, and the menu doesn’t cycle back to zero, so you click down, down, down, down, down, down, down, down to get back to level 1
- The trigger shifter component that iGO chose doesn’t offer two-way high shifting, you have to pull back on the lever with your right pointer finger. This is a very small consideration, but it’s something I notice because Shimano also sells a two-way trigger that allows shifting with your thumb for high and low, which is more comfortable to me
- The plastic fenders are durable and lightweight, but they can get bumped out of position a bit easier and then buzz on the tire tread. Plastic can also rattle more than aluminum alloy or steel, but they sounded decent during my test rides through the grass. I feel that an additional support connector under the rack would make the rear fender quieter
- As much as I love the tool-free adjustable stem that comes with this ebike, I have heard that they can become loose and suddenly change position over time if you really bear down, keep an eye on this part and tighten it occasionally if you’re a heavier or more aggressive rider
- The display panel is not removable and doesn’t have a password setup. If you park at a public rack, the display could get scratched or tampered with and will take more sun and weather damage. You could probably swivel it to reduce glare if you don’t over-tighten the clamp screw