- An approachable, mid-step, high-speed, urban electric bike with six levels of pedal assist plus throttle mode that can override with full power
- Fairly comfortable with larger tires, a basic suspension fork, and cheap seat post shock... the ergonomic grips, gel saddle, and adjustable stem also help
- Great safety features including a white frame option, reflective tires, and front and rear lights, however the lights require independent activation vs. being integrated
- A bit heavier at ~58.4 lbs due to the high-capacity batteries, alloy fenders, and rack, the kickstand gets in the way at times, no bottle cage bosses, fixed display
The Magnum Metro electric bike is essentially a souped up Magnum Ui5… It comes with 180 mm hydraulic disc brakes vs. mechanical, a 500 watt nominal motor vs. 350 watt, a 48 volt battery vs. 36 volt and a nicer drivetrain (gears, derailleur, and shifter). For just $300 more dollars, you get a boost in power and performance but the range might actually be similar because the system uses more energy, and it’s also a heavier bike by ~7 lbs. If you need the power for climbing, hauling extra weight, or just like the feel of going fast (this is a Class 3 speed pedelec after all) then this would be the right choice. In some ways, $300 doesn’t seem like that much money to spend beyond the Ui5, but it is almost 18% more (compare the Ui5 priced at $1,699 vs. the Metro models priced at $1,999). It’s fun to compare these two e-bikes side by side, but now I’m going to focus in on what the Metro offers and how it runs. This is a versatile product that could be used for neighborhood riding, grocery getting, or city commuting. The mid-step frame is easy to approach and stand over but sturdy and balanced enough that you don’t feel it flex. Much of the weight is positioned low and center on the frame vs. towards the back. the cargo rack is completely open for a trunk bag or panniers and even comes with a triple-bungee strap. You get Aluminum fenders with rubber mud flaps, a derailleur guard (very useful if the bike is shipped to you vs. buying at a local shop), and lights. It’s feature rich, but not all of the features and accessories are perfect. The rear light, for example, is not wired in to the battery pack. Both lights must be activated by hand and it’s easy to forget to turn them off (you literally have to turn them off, even the front one). But, because they are LED, they don’t take that much power and this gripe doesn’t amount to much more than inconvenience. Another gripe is the kickstand, which is positioned at the bottom bracket vs. towards the rear, out of the way of the left crank arm. This stand gets in the way if you forget to stow it and start walking the bike backward out of a garage or hallway for example. It’s something that bugs me on a lot of ebikes but again, isn’t much more than an annoyance. I like the comfort upgrades including a fairly basic suspension fork and seat post suspension, the Selle Royal gel saddle feels nice as well and those ergonomic grips, while hard, are thicker and nicer to hold than skinny rubber ones though they do not lock. Even though this electric bicycle only comes in one frame size (for this style) the saddle height is adjustable and the mid-rise handlebar can be positioned up or out to suit your reach and body position preference (relaxed or aggressive). For those who desire a slightly larger frame, Magnum sells a Metro+ model that comes in high-step and is a bit taller with 28″ wheels vs. 26″ here. In most ways, the two models are very similar and both come in either black or white and look gorgeous. This is the price point where you could opt to spend another $500 and get a mid-drive but many of them do not have trigger throttles or high-speed 28 mph operation. Magnum has done an excellent job outfitting, styling, and pricing this bike in my opinion and they have a growing network of dealers around the US, Israel, New Zealand, and Canada. I appreciate the dealer relationship as a consumer because it means the bike will be setup right, serviced (under the 1 year Magnum warranty) and you can grab some accessories… but for those who live in remote places or simply prefer delivery, they do sell through an official site.
Driving the Metro is a 500 watt nominal, 750 watt peak, internally geared hub motor from Das-Kit. This is a semi-new brand to me vs. the 8Fun motor on the Ui5. It’s the same company that makes the display panel, which works very well, and in practice I felt the motor performed well. It produces a familiar electronic whir at high levels of power but the control unit on the bike puts out up to 18 amps using a pure sine wave vs. square which means it’s smoother and zippier. This is what I was told at least, along with a peak torque rating of 90 Newton meters which feels misleading compared to most other hub motors that are rated around 40 Nm. I’m not sure how to measure or qualify either number but considering that the top mid-drive motors are rated around 75 Newton Meters and can climb almost anything with a low gear in use, the 90 number just doesn’t jive. You can definitely stall the hub motor out if you completely stop the bike on even a medium sized hill and try to throttle up. Hub motors are at their best when they have a bit of momentum because they can’t leverage and benefit from your cassette the way mid-motors can… but they also don’t complicate the drivetrain and at least they have a throttle. In practice, I enjoyed the smooth acceleration and general feeling of power and control that the bike offered. The trigger throttle (placed on the left side of the handlebar due to a more basic shifter with window on the right) was useful for accelerating after a stop light or stop sign. It all worked as expected but was definitely smoother and more refined than some of the cheaper products out there. When not using the variable speed throttle, you rely on a high definition cadence sensor that listens for crank arm movement and sends an on/off signal with the allotted power that you choose. There are six levels of assist with a zero level if you don’t want any pedal response and all levels can be overridden with full power by the throttle. It’s my ideal setup, slightly more risky if you forget the bike is turned on and bump the throttle (because it will take off) but much more empowering than a throttle-only mode or assist-limited throttle that companies like Easy Motion have used in the past. I don’t mean to hate here, Easy Motion products have nicer looking battery packs, but they offer a similar sort of ride experience with a different way of interacting (torque sensor vs. cadence here). For me, it’s nice to have a throttle to get going and then a cadence sensor (or advanced multi-sensor) to stay going vs. torque only because I don’t enjoy pushing hard all of the time. Cadence sensors, remember, are more like on/off switches and they send as much or as little power as you select. Before moving on… one thing worth noting is that the rear axle is connected to the bike with nuts vs. the front which uses a quick release skewer. This is because the power cable running to the hub motor goes in through the axle and there’s more force at the rear so the axle is thicker (ll mm vs. 9 mm up front). If you get a flat on that rear tire, there’s more screwing around to get the wheel off and change the tube. Thankfully, the tires used on the Magnum Metro have K-Guard 3 puncture protection lining. I also like that they have reflective stripes for safety at night :)
Charging the bike is fairly easy, you can fill the battery pack on or off the frame, and it locks onto the downtube with a key. Magnum seems to use a similar charger for all of their electric bikes and it puts out 2 Amps which is average… and maybe a little slow considering how large this battery is. The pack weighs 9.2 lbs (4.17 kg) all on it’s own and I would highly recommend taking it off of the bike before you try to lift or transport it. Expect upwards of six hours for a full charge if you empty the pack, the first half will fill much faster than the second because the cells will need to balance out. The battery is well protected when mounted to the frame but the charging port is a bit exposed to letting the charger cable snag on the left crank arm. Try to avoid this because if the charger gets tripped over or the crank arm bends the plug port it could damage the battery pack. Towards the top right section of the battery is a 5 Volt USB port which you can use to fill portable electronic devices while riding. It’s positioned mostly out of the way but I would still consider a right angle adapter from Amazon like this if you plan to use it frequently, and then maybe zip tie your wires to stay out of the way while leaving enough slack at the stem for turning (so it doesn’t pull the cable out). If you purchase the white Metro, you will stand out more at night which is great for safety, but the black battery casing and controller unit (near the base of the downtube) will also stand out. That controller by the way, is exposed because it puts out more Amps and might overheat if contained inside the tubing like most other electric bikes. I think it looks okay but is slight more exposed to water and bumps. I haven’t heard any complaints and for a city bike, it’s probably a non-issue (most ebikes do fine in rain and wet conditions as long as you aren’t submerging them).
Once the battery has been filled and you’re ready for some electric riding, just hold the power button on the little button pad near the left grip. It activates the display and you get several readouts including assist level, current speed, and battery capacity. Pressing power one time will activate backlighting and holding the down arrow constantly will activate walk mode (which can be handy if you have to ascend a ramp or even climb stairs). The display can also show different menus if you press the set button and depending on your preferences for speed or the geography you live in, Magnum dealers can lower the top speed to 20 mph or less by using a password. I like the size and position of the display, you can even angle it forward and back to reduce reflection glare, but it is not removable. For those who plan on commuting, it might be worth clipping your helmet over the display to keep people from noticing or scratching it, and also protecting it from the sun. And now back to the gripes about the lights not being activated by the display. Every time you want to use them, you basically have to get off of the bike and press a rubber button to get them on. This isn’t super fun, the headlight can be bumped out of position easily and the backlight has to have its triple-A batteries replaced every once in a while as they will eventually run down vs. being rechargeable like the main battery.
Magnum didn’t skimp on the little things with this model, you get a slap guard to protect the nice paint from the chain, a larger tapered head tube for strength, and those hydraulic disc brakes with adjustable reach levers… That’s a big deal for hand fatigue and for stopping a heavier, faster electric bike. I love the Wellgo platform pedals used here because they are larger and sturdier feeling than many cage style pedals and plastic pedals, but I do wish that in addition to the chainring protector, there was a second plate on the inside of the chainring to create a guide which would reduce chain drops. I did not have an issue with chain drops on this review ride but it has happened to me many other times on other similar bikes. It can be annoying and dirty, but it’s just part of riding a bike sometimes. At least the Alloy chainring protector that you do get, will keep your pant or dress clear of the greasy chain. Magnum has done a whole heck of a lot right with the Metro and I think the price is justified. It’s nice to have help setting the bike up and then tuning it as the shifter cables stretch over time. The 8-Speed Shimano Acera drivetrain is solid (several steps up from entry level) and I appreciate the more refined trigger shifters here vs. a large oversized thumb shifter on the Ui5. At the end of the day, I might personally still get a Ui5 because I don’t weigh a lot, there aren’t a lot of hills on my commute, and I appreciate a lighter weight bike… but the hydraulic disc brakes are a big draw. For commuting purposes, I would get a trunk bag and maybe some panniers to carry my work supplies. Big thanks to Magnum and High Country Electric Bikes for partnering with me on this post and hanging out for the shoot. It’s fun to hear what a shop employee thinks about a product and introduce the team bringing it all together.
- The Magnum Metro offers good value for your money in my opinion because it sort of does everything… you get a powerful drive system, high capacity battery, raised top speed, and feature-rich accessory package
- I appreciate having a throttle to help get up to speed after stopping at traffic signals and stop signs, the variable speed trigger throttle on the Metro can override any level of assist and works smoothly, it gives you full power up to 20 mph at all times (so if the bike is on, be careful not to accidentally bump the throttle because it will go)
- You can charge the battery pack on or off the bike and it’s well protected where it mounts to the downtube, the charger isn’t especially compact or fast but it is relatively lightweight, be careful when charging on the bike so that the cable doesn’t get snagged or bent by the left crank arm
- Due to the higher energy capacity stored in the battery (48 volt 11 amp hours) and the alloy casing, it’s a bit heavy at ~9.2 lbs but you can easily take it off to lighten the bike and the front wheel has quick release so they combine to make it a bit more portable
- The Aluminum alloy fenders look great and provide wide protection, metal tends to be quieter than plastic and alloy doesn’t rust compared to Steel so overall, I really like these fenders (and they have flexible mud flaps)
- The brown tires, faux leather grips, and gel saddle blend together and look nice, it’s cool that the bike comes in two color options so you could have a his/hers setup or blend the battery in more with the bike with all-black (though it’s less reflective and visible at night than white)
- Considering the heavier weight and higher potential top speed that this ebike offers, the 180 mm hydraulic disc brakes are an important feature, they worked well and offer adjustable-reach levers to fit different hand sizes or be easier to use with gloves
- Minor pro here but the Wellgo pedals feel solid and offer great traction compared to the cheaper cage or plastic style pedals on a lot of value bikes
- In addition to headlights, the display panel is backlit (just tap the power button once it’s on), and you get reflective tires, I also appreciate the little flick bell for signaling other riders… it’s a basic bell but it works fine
- Magnum has a wide network of dealers in the USA, New Zealand, Israel, and Canada, and is also available direct through their website, I get the feeling that they don’t try to undercut their dealers and offer good support (I hear good things about them from the dealers I have visited), this means that you get a better experience as a customer
- The rack looks nice, feels solid, and would work well for panniers or a trunk bag which would not block the backlight, it’s neat that you get a triple-bungee strap with the bike for securing small items
- With a slightly more compact frame and lower stand-over height, the Metro is approachable and easier to mount for smaller people and those with hip, knee, or balance challenges but the adjustable seat post and adjustable angle stem allow it to accommodate larger riders too
- Understandably, this electric bike is on the heavy side because it has a high capacity battery, spring suspension, alloy fenders, and a rack
- Aesthetically, the bike looks really good and I appreciate the two color options, but the controller box is a bit more exposed than most other electric bikes, I was told that because it sends more watts this position (near the bottom bracket) helps it to stay cool
- Having dropped the chain while riding many times on other electric bikes, it would be nice to have a chain guide on the Magnum Metro vs. just a chainring protector
- As with most hub motor driven e-bikes, servicing the rear wheel or fixing a flat can require more effort and time than the front wheel, you might have to cut zip ties and definitely need a tool to remove bolts vs. quick release but at least the motor disconnect point makes completely removing the wheel easier
- There are better kickstand designs out there which position the stand further back so the left crank arm can turn freely (the cranks turn automatically when backing the bike up, perhaps out of a garage or hallway), at least the stand is adjustable length
- Minor gripe here but the geared motor, fenders, and kickstand all produce a bit of noise while riding at high speeds, the motor whirs vs. a gearless design, the fenders can bounce a bit, and the kickstand jitters on bumps
- The suspension seat post and fork are very basic, apparently you can remove the plastic caps at the top of the suspension fork to adjust preload but you have to do both sides and keep them even for best results, there’s no lockout option so the bike may dive forward when braking hard and heavier riders could experience more bob… but I’d definitely prefer suspension vs. not for the comfort aspect it offers, even if it’s more basic
- Having to turn the lights on and off independently vs. activating them through the display panel meant that I had to get off more frequently, bend over, and tinker with the bike (possibly bumping the headlight out of alignment), the rear light runs on two AAA batteries vs. being wired in which means more tinkering but is part of what keeps the bike less expensive
- The rear rack is capable but positioned closer to the seat tube and saddle, this means that if you lower the saddle it can block part of the rack and make it less usable, in this case panniers (side bags like this) would be a good alternative