- A handsome, cruiser style electric bike with neatly integrated cables, strong alloy fenders, a clean plastic chain cover, and uniquely designed rear cargo rack, everything matches
- Emphasis on comfort for the rider with soft Big Ben balloon tires, an extra-wide saddle with rubber bumpers, high adjustable-angle handlebar, padded grips, and suspension fork
- Powerful 500 watt geared motor, 48 volt Lithium-ion battery, and 18 Amp controller can support larger riders and power up hills more easily, 28 mph pedal assist and 20 mph throttle on demand
- Heavier build at nearly 60 lbs in part due to the large battery capacity, only one frame size and color choice for now, independent lights and reflective tires improve safety
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In recent years, Magnum has expanded their line of electric bikes for sale in the US, and the Cruiser is one of the newest models. It builds on the 28 mph top speed, pedal assist + throttle operated, extra-large battery concept that the Metro and Peak models also use, but really emphasizes comfort and style. With a bottom bracket that is pushed forward and smaller 26″ diameter wheels, you can more easily mount, stand over, and stabilize this bike at stops. When it comes time for pedaling, you still get decent leg extension because the cranks are positioned forward. And upper body position is extremely adjustable here, you can angle the high-rise bars forward or back to suite your arm length and the adjustable angle stem can raise or lower the base position. When you combine puffy padded grips with an enlarged comfort saddle, fatter 2.15″ balloon tires, and an adjustable suspension fork, you end up with a very satisfying ride. This is one of the few cruiser style electric bikes that’s priced within reach for a large audience, and still comes with fenders, lights, and a custom mid-frame battery pack. In my opinion, it really does offer a great value… even if you decided to remove the fenders and rear rack to emphasize style and shed a few pounds. Weighing in at nearly 60 lbs, I was surprised to discover that the Cruiser model is not heavier than the similarly specced Metro. The Metro just looks lighter to me because it’s a commuter frame with skinnier tires. The features overlap quite a bit, though the Cruiser has a 180/160 mm disc brake setup vs. 180 mm for both on the Metro, and the Metro also has an integrated headlight vs. independent lights on the Cruiser. I think the big decision between the two should be based on body position and ride style. If you care about active pedaling on a narrower saddle and more forward aerodynamic position, get the Metro. Otherwise, the Cruiser is just as capable. Note that the Cruiser frame is only available in this swooping high-step design and you can only get it in black with bronze accents at the time of this review.
Driving this ebike is a very capable Das-Kit internally geared hub motor rated from 500 watts nominal to 700 watts peak. The motor controller offers 9 Mosfets and puts out up to 18 Amps for smooth, quiet, and powerful operation. Notice how large the controller unit is, and how it’s mounted outside of the frame (there near the bottom of the downtube). It’s insulated against water, just like the motor, display panel, button pad, and battery, but gets more direct airflow here. I also believe that they positioned it as they did, so that the battery could slide down lower for improved frame balance. Everything works together and while the aesthetics are slightly altered, the controller box is mostly hidden by the chainring and I feel that it is mostly out of the way of water and debris because of the large alloy front fender. As with all internally geared hub motors I have reviewed, this one does produce some electronic whirring noises. It does not interfere with pedaling, so you can shift easily and smoothly regardless of power delivery, and it works best if the bike has a little bit of speed going. I was able to climb some steep sidewalk sections in a garden area near the capitol building in Salt Lake City and had no issue once the bike got going a few miles per hour. I only weigh 135 lbs, but got the impression that this bike would be capable of handling heavier riders and gear on the rack. The rack is rated to 55 lbs. Perhaps the best part of this setup is that the motor can be activated anytime the bike is powered on by simply pressing the trigger throttle near the left grip. It’s wonderful to have such control at your fingertips and not have to pedal… but this will drain the battery quickly, and if you’re starting from standstill on a steep incline it may struggle. The throttle offers full power if you depress the trigger throttle all the way but maxes out at 20 mph. If you want to hit the maximum speed of 28 mph, you will have to arrow up into the highest level of assist and pedal along. That said, you do not have to push while pedaling because this bike relies on a cadence sensor to measure crank movement, not crank torque. For those who are interested in lower speed operation, Magnum or your local dealer can set a different top speed. Coming back to the throttle for a moment, take care to always turn the bike off when dismounting or moving it because the throttle is always active and could easily get bumped. This could lead to the bike getting out of hand and crashing.
Supporting that powerful motor is an equally powerful high-capacity Lithium ion battery pack. It offers 48 volts and 13 Amp hours for a total of 624 watt hours (over half a kilowatt hour!) that should take you anywhere from 25 or 30 miles up to 60+ miles per charge. The range is fairly wide and imprecise because speed, rider weight, and terrain greatly influence operation. If you always use the first one or two levels of assist and rarely juice the throttle, it will go much further than if you sit back and zip around like a scooter. The battery pack fits neatly into the downtube and clicks in from the left side. You can charge it on or off the bike with the included 2 Amp charger, but be careful with the plug interface because the charger wire ends up in the path of the left crank arm and could get snagged or bent if you turn the pedals accidentally or move the bike when it’s plugged in. I also noticed that the little rubber cover that seals the charging port on the battery can be difficult to press in. Near the top right side of the battery is a second port which has a standard sized USB female plug for charging portable electronics. You could use this while riding the bike to keep your phone charged (perhaps if you’re using it for GPS navigation) or when the pack is off the bike, as a backup source of energy. The rubber cover for the USB port fits much easier and I appreciate that this plug is out of the way of the cranks and your legs when pedaling. So, you can also take the battery completely off the bike for storing or charging inside, which is convenient if you work in an office and have to park the bike outside. Lithium-ion batteries tend to be very durable but it’s best to avoid extreme heat or cold to really make them last for the 1,000+ rated full cycles. Note that this battery pack weighs about nine pounds, and would be worth taking off if you have to lift the bike or transport it on a car rack. The front wheel can also be removed with a simple quick release mechanism and the seat post is the same way. You will need some tools to get the rear wheel off, but there’s a simple disconnect port on the motor power cable to make it easier.
Operating the Magnum Cruiser is simple and clear. Once the battery has been charged and mounted, you press the rubberized power button on the pad situated near the left grip. The Das-Kit LCD display panel blinks to life, and you can tap the power button once more to turn on backlighting. Unfortunately, this display does not activate the headlight or tail light. They are both independent, relying on AAA batteries and separate on/off switches. This is a grip for me because the battery is so large and easily rechargeable. It takes extra time and memory to switch the lights on and off when parking, but at least you get the lights, and I appreciate the reflective tire casings as well. Since this is a black colored bike, it’s important to have some front and side reflection and lights if you plan to ride in early morning or late evening conditions where automobiles might miss you. Note also, since the headlight is mounted to the moving portion of the suspension fork, it may create a less consistent beam and even get jolted out of place over time. During my test rides, I took the Cruiser down some steps and across a few very bump sections of sidewalk, and I could hear the kickstand bouncing up and down. But the fenders and light seemed solid. It was easy for me to look down and get a sense for speed, battery capacity, and assist level because the display panel is so large and centrally mounted. I do wish that the display was removable, for reduced wear at bike racks, but it’s better protected than most because of the taller handlebars. The button pad allows you to arrow up or down for more or less power and speed with assist… but remember, the throttle is always hot and offers up to full power depending on how far you push it. This is a more advanced and “full control” setup than a lot of other electric bikes and as a regular, possibly more confident rider, I love it. You can hold the down arrow to activate walk mode for climbing steep sections or just taking a break. It’s useful if the bike is loaded with gear or when you’re walking through tall grass or other soft terrain.
There’s a lot to say about this electric bike because it’s packed with features. The fenders are correctly sized for the large balloon tires and the plastic chain cover kept my pants clear of the chain. There’s also an alloy bash guard that would protect the chainring from curb strikes and other tall obstacles… but that’s a bit overkill for more of a neighborhood/urban styled ebike. I think the chainring guard looks nice, but wouldn’t mind having a full chain guide (a second plate on the inside) to keep the chain from bouncing off track. I never dropped the chain during my test ride, and did appreciate the plastic sticker style slap guard to protect the black paint on the right chainstay. Even the kickstand has been optimized here, though not completely 100%. It is positioned far back enough on the left side to stay mostly clear of the left crank arm when walking the bike backward or servicing the chain, as long as the pedal is not in the flat position when it passes. This stand is adjustable for length and supports the bike well, even in soft grass. Magnum continues to do a great job with their purpose built, value oriented electric bikes. To some people, $2 might not sound affordable, but you get the proper assembly and year long support that dealers can offer with this product. Little extras like the derailleur guard keep your gears and the motor cable in good shape if the bike tips or is parked next to other bicycles in a rack, and the internally routed cables look nice and stay protected. Stopping is a big deal, especially because this bike is heavier and capable of high-speeds, so the hydraulic disc brakes with motor inhibitors are a win, and the little bits (like the custom rack with pannier blockers and bungee cord) all add up to something really special. I’d like to thank Magnum for partnering with me on this review and bringing their Metro model for side-by-side comparison. I feel like they have a good model here, balancing value against performance and service, and enjoyed this ebike very much.
- Considering that Magnum sells their electric bikes predominantly through independent electric bike shops and offers a comprehensive one year warranty, I feel like their price points offer a lot of value, this thing has a powerful motor, larger than average battery pack, and lots of great comfort and utility accessories like fenders, lights, upgraded saddle, and suspension fork with lockout
- The whole bike is setup to be heavy duty with a thicker than average seat post, thicker gauge spokes and full 36 hole rims vs. 32 hole, and a reinforced diamond type frame
- It isn’t as loud or “buzzy” as some hub motor powered electric bikes because they use a pure sine wave controller to deliver power and have an upgraded controller to handle the extra power and dissipate heat better
- The fenders are extra wide to fully protect you from mud and water, since the tires are 2.15″ diameter, and I love the thin plastic chain cover that protects your pants from getting dirty or snagged on the chain
- Magnum custom designed this frame for comfort and a lowered body position, notice how the seat tube bends forward to connect with the bottom bracket (where the crank arms attach) this allows you to get more full leg extension while lowering the saddle for easier mounting and balancing at stops
- A tool-free adjustable angle stem and taller handlebar combine to make steering relaxed and upright, you don’t have to hunch forward and get a sore back and neck when riding… but this isn’t as sporty or aerodynamic as a road bike
- The rack can be removed if you want, but I thought it looked cool and offered a lot of utility (even just using the included triple-bungee cord), the fenders are also removable
- I love that this e-bike comes stock with powerful hydraulic disc brakes, they are easier to actuate than mechanical brakes and offer adjustable-reach levers, the levers also have motor inhibitors built in to cut motor power when stopping
- I love the pedal choice here, they are large and stiff for people with bigger feet, the nubs aren’t especially sharp so you get good traction but maybe not as scraped up if you do slip off
- Decent Shimano Acera drivetrain with eight speeds, you get a clean and intuitive grip shifter and at the derailleur there’s a steel guard to keep the motor cable and shifter mechanism in good shape if the bike tips, the eight speeds is just enough for the Class 3 speed version and more than enough for the standard Class 2 setup limited to 20 mph
- The front wheel and seat tube collar offer quick release so you can make the bike smaller and lighter or do service or fitting more easily, the battery is also removable to reduce weight or charge and store separately
- Since the lockout clicker on the fork is progressive, you can raise compression for a mixed suspension feel and decreased dive when stopping, this would be good for heavier riders or those carrying a lot of cargo
- This is a minor pro, but I appreciate how compact and sealed off the cadence sensor is, many ebikes use a larger more exposed magnet design that can get bumped out of place
- For people who enjoy portable electronics and want to keep them charged on the go, the battery pack has a 5 Volt USB charging port built into the right side, consider getting a cheap right angle USB adapter to keep the cables from getting bumped while pedaling
- I really like the display, button pad, and throttle setup on this electric bicycle, they look good, seem very durable, and are reachable without too much hand effort
- The controller box is larger than normal, you can see it mounted at the lower portion of the downtube, near the bottom bracket, aesthetically it stands out a bit but the utility of improved cooling and a lowered battery position is worth it in my opinion
- I wish the lights were powered by the main battery pack instead of independent AAA batteries, this means you will have to occasionally change the cells and spend more time powering them on and off before and after rides, at least the rear light is tucked into the rack so it won’t get blocked by a bag or panniers… but the headlight sits on the fork brace and may bounce around as the sliders travel up and down
- I like that chainring has an Aluminum alloy bash guard to protect the chainring teeth but didn’t see a second plate to create a full guide (and prevent chain drops), I did not experience chain drops when riding however so this is a minor consideration
- The battery charging port and kickstand are in the path of the left crank arm, so be careful not to bump them if you back the bike up (as the crank arms will automatically backtrack) or if you trip over the charger cable, to be fair, the kickstand is just barely clear if the pedal is not sticking out
- They didn’t have room for a water bottle mount on the frame, so consider adding a trunk bag with integrated bottle holster like this, I like that this particular bag is also reflective for added visibility
- The battery charger is compact and lightweight, but very average in terms of speed… and the Magnum Cruiser has a big battery, so it can take longer to fill, some e-bikes are now offering 3 or even 4 Amp chargers vs. just 2 Amp here