- A sturdy, high torque, cargo style electric bike with enormous range thanks to a 48 volt 15 amp hour battery pack with premium Panasonic Lithium-ion cells
- Powerful 500 watt internally geared front hub motor by 8Fun, benefits from a smaller wheel diameter for climbing and hauling, updated to start more smoothly and avoid spinning out
- Oversized rear rack is welded directly onto frame and is compatible with a wide range of accessories (child seats, cargo baskets, platform seats), hydraulic disc brakes provide ample stopping power under heavy load
- Three speed internally geared hub makes shifting at stop possible, fenders keep you clean and dry, battery does not easily detach for charging or reducing weight (65 lb total bike weight with pack), no suspension, basic LED console with limited readouts
The original Juiced Riders ODK U500 V3 review was done in fall of 2013 at Interbike and you can watch that video review here and see images in the gallery (they are the blue ones towards the end). Over the past two years the company has changed its name to Juiced Bikes and made some minor adjustments and improvements to the ODK U500 which is still in its third generation. The green images in the gallery show this newer model with those updates which include: the handle bar does not sweep back so much but still offers a six inch rise, the controller has been refined for smoother starts (to reduce spinning the front wheel), the brakes have been upgraded from mechanical to hydraulic for less effort in activation. And so, without further ado, here’s the written review.
The Juiced Riders ODK line of electric bikes offer unsurpassed cargo hauling capability. Whether you’ve got a child seat rack, storage box or insulated food storage container this bike will get the job done. The frame is custom designed with oversized tubing that’s welded at all points instead of bolted on. The weight is distributed fairly well and kept low to the ground thanks to 20″ wheels (as compared with traditional 26″ or 24″ wheels). Originally offering an entire kilowatt-hour of battery capacity at 48 volts, 23 amp hours and now offering three sizes at 15 ah, 23 ah and 32 ah, this bike can deliver excellent range. Hydraulic disc brakes make stopping a breeze, even with heavier loads, and the 500 watt motor makes starting again feel like no problem at all. By leveraging a three speed SRAM internally geared hub, the chain is kept tight and thus won’t fall off and you can switch gears even at standstill. It’s a focused offering that really delivers something special.
While I opened this review focused on the hauling strength of this bike, that doesn’t mean it won’t work for commuting or cruising. The soft seat is pretty comfortable and the upright body position puts less strain on the back and neck while keeping your head up and alert for other bikes and cars. Pedaling this bike feels pretty average, it’s not setup for racing and it doesn’t offer pedal assist. It’s really setup to drive and the twist throttle works great for this but could get tiresome on longer journeys. Thankfully, there’s a cruise control feature built into the display that you can press while holding the throttle to engage.
The ODK V3 is a relatively heavy bike. That’s due in large part to the big motor, enormous battery pack (that’s protected by a metal case) and oversized super-tough frame. This means that in order to move it effectively, a large motor was required. The 500 watt geared design they chose works very well and really helps to balance the weight of the bike out because it’s mounted in the front wheel. In some cases a front-mounted motor can seem vulnerable (adding stress to the dropouts, suspension and headset) but the fork on the ODK V3 does not use a shock and is reinforced very well with an extra long head tube. By keeping the motor up front, the rear hub is be freed up for use as a three speed pedaling hub which avoids the maintenance, wear and noise of a cassette. It also means you can change gears at rest, making the first few starting strokes much easier. The one concern I have about the hub motor is that the power cable protrudes from the end of the axle and might be vulnerable to snags or bends if the bike tips. Thankfully, the included kickstand feels solid and you can also upgrade to an even more stable double-leg design that splays very wide, making loading a lot easier as well.
The battery pack on this bike really steals the show. It offers 48 volts of power which is on the very high end along with 15 to 32 amp hours of capacity which is quite a bit more than other ebikes offer! This thing is custom designed and uses trusted Panasonic cells. Not only is it large, it’s well protected and feature rich. Built right into the aluminum casing is the charge port, a rear light and a female USB jack for charging your phone or other electronic device. I love that everything here is integrated! I wouldn’t mind if it had a headlight in addition to the rear brake light but that can easily be added later if required, even wired in with help from a shop as discussed in the video. One downside to this battery pack design is that it’s not easily removable. That could make charging at work or transporting the bike (which weighs nearly 70 lbs using the smallest battery) a bit arduous. thankfully, the pack is so large that most trips won’t require a half-way top off.
There are lots of little extras on this bike that really take it to the next level in my mind. The front and rear fenders work great, the chain guide doubles as a bash guard to protect the front ring from contact with curbs and other obstacles which is very nice considering the frame rides lower with the small wheels. The oversized disc brakes are almost required with large loads but the fact that they are hydraulic makes them easier to use and more responsive, the cruise control is neat and comes in very handy on long rides, the enormous kickstand stabilizes the bike and any attached racks very well, the double-thick tubes help avoid flats, the high quality Wellgo metal pedals are stiff and grippy and they even managed to add braze-ons for mounting a water bottle cage to the V3! This is wonderful in my opinion but try not to kick the cage since it’s exposed more with this low-step frame design.
This is one of the best electric powered cargo bikes that I’m aware of and the price is very reasonable considering the high end specs… Just under $2k! The founder of Juiced Riders is responsive and continuously improving the lineup (this is V3 after all) and should be available to address any questions or concerns that come up. The bike also comes with an amazing two year warranty which should put your mind at ease. Whether you’re interested in the bike for personal transportation and appreciate the ultra-high power and low-step design or you’re a food delivery person looking to make the ride easier for yourself, this would be a great choice.
- Now offered with three battery pack sizes 48 volt 15 amp hour and 23 ah or 32 ah for maximum range, considering this is a throttle-only ebike, which tend to use more power than pedal assist, it’s impressive that you can still get up to 100 miles per charge with the largest battery option
- Low center of gravity thanks to the smaller wheel diameter (which also tends to be stronger), the frame is easy to mount thanks to the step-thru design so it’s stable (the optional two-leg kickstand makes it easy to load)
- Fairly well balanced front to rear since the battery is in the back and the hub motor is up front, the frame feels pretty stiff thanks to the extra tubing at the step-thru point
- Tough metal chain guide on the chainring, helps to reduce chain drops and also protects the sprocket teeth if you come into contact with a curb or rock (more likely given the lower frame of the bike due to smaller wheels)
- Beautiful custom front and rear basket options made by Ivan Stewart in San Diego, CA that are functional and light-weight, I like that the front basket is frame-mounted so it doesn’t impact steering
- I LOVE that the bike includes a bottle cage mount on the downtube… there’s enough room to step-thru but be careful not to kick it since the design is a bit more exposed, consider a bar mounted cage and using the frame mount for a mini-pump to allow more space
- It sounds like Juiced Riders will help to recycle your old battery or even give you a discount on a new one (perhaps by re-packing the shell)
- Extra thick tires and tubes are designed to be durable, more thorn resistant and longer lasting than basic bike tires but they do add a bit of weight
- This electric cargo bike is rated for 400 pounds (passenger and cargo combined), the rear rack provides numerous top mounting points that work seamlessly with the Yepp child seat, mobile food boxes, seat pads, the official Yuba baskets, a passenger seat and other accessories
- The cargo rack area also features side-mounted narrow gauge tubing for use with standard bicycle panniers that clip on and there’s a hook point below to keep them secure
- Ultra durable aluminum alloy battery box is protected on all sides by the rear rack in case the bike tips or you lean it against a wall, note that the motor cable is a bit exposed and vulnerable on the side
- Internal SRAM hub gear can be shifted from standstill which is helpful when hauling large loads, having to stop and start (especially when climbing)
- Solid Welgo platform pedals, high end Tektro ebike brakes (with motor inhibitors to reduce accidents and offer you control) and quality fenders that match and don’t rattle
- Hydraulic disc brakes are easy to activate without using so much hand strength, I find that they are also very smooth and responsive vs. mechanical
- Built in “cruise control” button on the display panel allows for twist-free riding over long distances, helping to reduce strain and fatigue
- This is a sturdy bike but it doesn’t offer a lot of extra cushion aside from the oversized saddle and can thus feel jarring at high speed when the road or sidewalk gets rough (smaller wheel diameter, rigid fork feel hard)
- The stock LED console is pretty basic, doesn’t list your speed, odometer, trip distance, precision battery level or other nice details the way an LCD does but you can upgrade to a Cycle Analyst LCD if you’d like
- Because the battery is more permanently fixed to the frame it’s not easy to take off for charging separately or reducing weight when you want to transport the bike
- Twist throttle only operation, you don’t get pedal assist here but there is a cruise control feature to reduce wrist fatigue
- The wires on this bike aren’t internally routed and don’t look as nice as some of the other ebikes around (they are just run below the downtube) and can get even messier if you add your own aftermarket lights and accessories
- It’s not easy to pop the front wheel up curbs on this bike because of the heavy hub motor, I tried to do this (and made it barely) but kind of got bounced off and cut my shin… so be careful ;)
- A rear light is included but you must buy and mount a separate front light and power it independently (though it is possible to wire it into the main battery along with other electronics as shown in the video, like a USB hub for speakers or charging your phone, mp3 player etc.)