- Powerful motor combined with a large battery pack for distance and climbing, frame flexes under weight and pressure
- Lower end components (suspension and drivetrain) with a basic pedal assist sensor that isn't as responsive as I'd like for actual trail riding on loose terrain where precision becomes important
- Attractive price point, limited availability in the USA, questionably high pedelec top speed ~30 mph pushes legal limits
Warning, in some configurations this electric bike is classified as a moped or motorcycle and may not be ridden on cycling trails or paths. It may require licensing, insurance and lights when used on public roads.
The Jetson Electric Mountain bike is the first bicycle-style ebike I’ve seen from the company which is traditionally known for scooter-style designs. This new model offers plenty of power, decent weight distribution and both pedal assist and throttle mode for a relatively low $2K but skimps on component quality and pushes the legal limit of “speed pedelec” designation riding at 30+ in assist mode. This means that it could potentially put the rider in a bad spot if they were to accidentally damage property or harm another person while riding. Beyond legal ramifications, the unique beam-frame flexes under the weight of the extra-large integrated battery packs and the basic six-magnet pedelec sensor does not provide as much sensitivity and responsiveness as I’d prefer for actual trail riding. It’s a bike that feels most at home on streets and paved paths but is marketed as a mountain or trail product where handling may become more difficult.
The motor used with the Jetson Mountain Bike is a 500 watt geared rear hud design that keeps weight and size down. It delivers high torque for climbing and accelerating but also produces more noise than a gearless setup and may wear faster. Compared with a mid-drive it’s less efficient but much more affordable and less complex. There’s a nice cable quick-disconnect point near the left chain stay which makes removing the rear wheel easier for maintenance but you still need traditional tools, no quick release here. Keep that in mind if you’re riding this off-road and may encounter a flat tire – bring some wrenches. Being a geared design, this motor freewheels nicely and does not produce any drag. It also blends in nicely with the rear cassette and overall bike with its black paint job and smaller size.
The large battery pack powering this ebike is actually two regular sized packs that mount to either side of the primary tube. They look pretty nice when attached and do have keyed locking points for security. In total, they offer 48 volts of power and 17 amp hours of capacity which is nearly double what traditional 48 volt systems provide. That means you can go further but also have to deal with added weight. I misspoke during the video review stating this bike weighs ~50 lbs (that’s the information I was provided by the reps at Interbike) when in actuality the bike weighs closer to 65 pounds. A lot of this extra weight comes from the large battery and this also contributes to a bendy feeling when maneuvering the frame. The unique beam design just isn’t as stiff as a traditional triangle setup. The cells used on these batteries are Lithium-ion which is known for aging well and the comprehensive one year warranty from Jetson is nice, though getting service may be difficult with limited outlets selling the bike.
Operating this bike is a bit more tedious than some other models I’ve tried. It requires that both batteries are charged and connected to the frame and that a key be inserted into the ignition slot on the extended seat tube. One grip here is that the key slot seems dangerously close to where your feet go when pedaling and could present a snag-hazzard. I’ve bent keys off before and snagged my pants on bottle cages and other protrusions so this caught my attention. It also means that if you have multiple keys on a chain, there could be some added clinking noises or chipped paint over time as they swing around. So once the power systems are all in place and the key is in the on position, operation is as simple as activating the display and either twisting the throttle or choosing one of five assist levels and then pedaling. The display itself is relatively easy to reach and provides a monochrome readout of speed, battery level, odometer and assist with rubberized buttons to switch levels. It’s a generic display that is not removable but it gets the job done.
All things considered, this is a functional electric bike at a very attractive price point. I can see why many people would be drawn to it and while there’s only one frame size to choose from, the mid-step configuration makes it easier to approach and the suspension fork, seat post and ergo grips offer comfort. Compared with something like the ProdecoTech Outlaw SS which also goes for power, speed and affordability I prefer the balance of this Jetson but there are still many design issues and potential legal ones to consider. depending on your location it may also be difficult to test ride this bike though it is sold on Amazon and can be delivered to many different locations in the US and Canada.
- Several nice ergonomic enhancements that smooth out the ride including leather ergo grips, suspension seat post and basic suspension fork
- One of the more affordable electric bikes with large 29″ wheels, offers a higher attack angle for rolling over obstacles, improved rolling momentum, less maneuverable than a smaller 26″ or 27.5″
- Multiple drive mode options including twist throttle and cadence sensing pedal assist which extends range and reduces strain on battery when climbing
- Motor cutoff switch is built into both Tektro brake levers and may come in very handy to deactivate the system when riding off-road given the less responsive pedal assist setup
- Mid-mounted battery pack spreads weight across the frame vs. a rear rack, it’s removable for convenient charging or to reduce weight when transporting the bike
- Due to the unique frame there are no rear rack bosses, fender bosses or bottle cage bosses so adding accessories may be difficult
- Relative to traditional triangular geometries this bike feels less stiff, the frame sort of bends and flexes when the bike is maneuvered quickly
- Lower end components including SR Suntour suspension fork with basic rebound adjust and no lockout, Shimano SIS index shifter vs. Microshift triggers, mechanical disc vs. hydraulic
- Only available in one frame size however, the frame is a bit easier to mount given the mid-step design
- Cadence sensing pedal assist is not as responsive or fluid as a torque sensor or a multi-sensor setup, with just six magnets on the sensor ring (vs. 12 on many new ebike models) this bike is less responsive and may prove more difficult to manage precisely when riding off-road
- Even though the battery is mounted on the downtube/top-tube here, it’s still relatively high compared to some other off-road models which is less ideal for balance, the frame itself may be more difficult to mount on some racks given the oversized, slanted tubing configuration
- The key must remain in the bike in order to activate electric drive but is positioned in a place where it may get bumped and cause damage, it may also create jingling noise if you’ve got other keys on a keychain