Populo Sport Review

Populo Sport Electric Bike Review
Populo Sport
Populo Sport 250 Watt Internally Geared Hub Motor
Populo Sport 36 Volt Samsung Battery Pack
Populo Sport Flat Rubber Grips Low Rise Bar
Populo Sport H500 Monochrome Display Control Pad
Populo Sport Tektro Ebike Levers
Populo Sport Mid Dish Double Wall Rims Black 36h
Populo Sport 46 Tooth Chainring
Populo Sport Electric Bike
Populo Sport Electric Bike Review
Populo Sport
Populo Sport 250 Watt Internally Geared Hub Motor
Populo Sport 36 Volt Samsung Battery Pack
Populo Sport Flat Rubber Grips Low Rise Bar
Populo Sport H500 Monochrome Display Control Pad
Populo Sport Tektro Ebike Levers
Populo Sport Mid Dish Double Wall Rims Black 36h
Populo Sport 46 Tooth Chainring
Populo Sport Electric Bike

Summary

  • An affordable, fairly stylish, surprisingly peppy single speed electric bike that would be great for urban riding, available in five frame sizes and four colors
  • Very affordable at just under $1k, especially considering the wires are internally routed through the frame, the torque sensor is so compact and there are two USB charging ports
  • Nice looking battery, locks securely to the frame but can be removed for charging or reduced weight... the bike only weighs ~37 lbs with everything attached!
  • Wish the display was removable for protection, no suspension and all-Aluminum frame with narrow tires can be a little stiff, no rack or fender mounts, basic brakes

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Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Populo

Model:

Sport

Price:

$999

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Urban

Electric Bike Class:

Pedal Assist (Class 1)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

2 Years Electronics, 3 Year Frame

Availability:

United States

Model Year:

2017

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

37 lbs (16.78 kg)

Frame Material:

Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

19.29 in (48.99 cm)20.47 in (51.99 cm)21.65 in (54.99 cm)22.83 in (57.98 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

30.5" Standover Height

Frame Types:

High-Step

Frame Colors:

Matte Black, Silver Polish, Satin Orange, Gloss Blue

Frame Fork Details:

Rigid Aluminum Alloy

Frame Rear Details:

12 mm Axle with Bolts

Attachment Points:

Bottle Cage Bosses

Gearing Details:

1 Single Speed, 14T

Cranks:

YD 110 Alloy, 46T

Pedals:

HI Alloy Platform with Rubber Tread

Headset:

4.5 cm Riser Stack, 1-1/8"

Stem:

4" Length, 2° Rise

Handlebar:

Low-Rise Alloy, 23" Length

Brake Details:

Promax Linear Pull, Tektro Ebike Brake Levers with Rubber Edge and Motor Inhibitors

Grips:

Flat Rubber, Black

Saddle:

Velo Active

Seat Post:

Aluminum Alloy, Black

Seat Post Length:

300 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

27.2 mm

Rims:

Alloy Double Wall, Mid Dish, 36 Hole

Spokes:

Stainless Steel, 14G, Black

Tire Brand:

CST Super HP, 700 x 28c

Wheel Sizes:

28 in (71.12cm)

Tube Details:

Presta Valve

Accessories:

Full Size USB Charger on Battery Pack and Display, Walk Mode (Hold + Button), Hold Set to Adjust Power Mode, Press Power Button for Backlight, Park Branded Kickstand

Other:

Locking Removable Battery Pack, Plated Stainless Steel Horizontal Dropout with Torque Washers

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

HLGE

Motor Type:

Rear-Mounted Geared Hub
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

250 watts

Battery Brand:

Samsung

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

10.4 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

374.4 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

3 hours

Estimated Min Range:

20 miles (32 km)

Estimated Max Range:

30 miles (48 km)

Display Type:

H500 Fixed, Monochrome, Backlit LCD

Readouts:

Amperage Meter, Power Level (Eco, Normal, Power), Speedometer, Assist Level (0-8), Voltage, Battery Level (5 Bar), Time, Odometer, Trip Distance

Display Accessories:

Integrated Button Pad

Drive Mode:

Cadence Sensing Pedal Assist

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph)

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Written Review

I’ve been reviewing electric bikes now for several years and I got into it because my knee is a bit sensitive. I wanted to commute to work in Austin, Texas but struggled with pain towards the end of the week as I had several hills along the way. So, with a little Internet searching I discovered ebikes then quickly felt overwhelmed by the price and possibility of damage or theft. The Populo Sport addresses these two latter concerns perfectly by being affordable and super tough. Having only one gear, you don’t have to worry about adjusting a bent or broken derailleur or cracked shifter levers. This is key for crowded bike racks. Also, the frame looks simple which helps it blend in and the battery is removable so it’s easy to protect and recharge when you’re at work or school. Taking it off also means you’ve got portable energy because there’s a USB port built in (and they placed it well along the lower edge of the pack so you can still use it while riding without getting in the way of your feet or crank arms). Amazingly, there’s even a second charging port on the bike located just under the control pad / display panel. This is perfect for keeping a smart phone topped off if you’re using it for GPS directions or music. I guess it’s not really amazing to have two USB ports but it is kind of rare, especially at this price point :)

As much as I like the display, it’s easy to reach and large enough to see clearly when seated upright, I do wish it was removable and some of the settings are a bit more involved than other e-bikes. The display is really the one vulnerable spot on the bike, especially when parked outside at a public rack. It’s the one thing that might attract unwanted attention from a thief and given the size and nature of the LCD screen it could get worn down more by weather weather and other handle bars coming into contact over time than a simpler LED readout. This isn’t the only non-removable LCD display out there on the market and people make it work (some cover theirs with little cloth pouches or plastic bags), just an area for consideration and improvement by Populo. Frankly, given that this was the first time I’d even heard of the company, I thought they did a great job with most of the bike and I love having more readouts about battery capacity, how far I’ve ridden and how fast I’m going than with the simpler displays.

The battery pack on this bike resembles some other downtube styles and is curved and streamlined without being gaudy. It’s narrow enough that you don’t clip it with your shoes or legs and it has an integrated loop ledge at the top that works like a handle. You get a very average 36 volt 10.4 amp hour capacity but I was told the cells inside are made by Samsung… Upgrade! Unfortunately I didn’t get to see the charger to see how many amps it puts out or take the battery off to weigh it (feel free to chime in with comments about this below if you get the bike). The motor used here is a real superstar, it’s rated at just 250 watts but performs more like a zippy 350 and it compact and discrete, blending in with the black spokes and rims. It did produce a bit more noise than some others I’ve tested but it was mounted well with stainless hardware and a torque arm on the horizontal rear droput. This is another area that seems nice but could be improved with a screw tensioner. And I love that the bike has a kickstand but wish it was rear mounted vs. center to stay clear of the left crank arm.

At the end of the day, this thing is priced well, it performs and it looks good. In fact, it looks better than most of the other low-priced single speeds I’ve tried. I cannot understate the five frame sizes they offer or the four color options. Possibly the biggest win is just how light and well balanced the Populo Sport is. At just ~37 lbs it’s easy to lift and carry up stairs and that’s key if you live in an apartment. Sure, I wish it had fender bosses and rear rack bosses so I wouldn’t have to wear my backpack to carry gear but at least it has bottle cage bosses (or so I was told it would by the rep). Yeah, lights would be nice but many helmets now have them and in the city there are street lights. Please consider reflective clothing and the silver frame if you ride in the dark a lot because it will help keep you safe. I guess we’ll see how well this thing holds up as customers chime in but my experience was good and Populo has an entire line of ebikes now so I hope to review more soon. It’s neat that they are selling through shops too, so people can take test rides and get warranty coverage. I could hardly believe they offer two years comprehensive warranty for this thing at this price. Big thanks to Populo for partnering with me for this review.

Pros:

  • Extremely light weight at just ~37 lbs, this is the sort of electric bike you can easily lift up steps or mount on car and bus racks
  • Super simple and durable single speed drivetrain… much less likely to drop the chain when riding or get damage when parking at the bike rack
  • Low price point of $999 makes it hurt less if/when the bike gets damaged or stolen if you ride in the city but you still get a high quality battery with Samsung cells
  • Impressive torque and pep from the 250 watt geared hub motor, I wasn’t expecting it to feel as zippy as it does… hopefully it holds up over time as I’m not super familiar with HLGE motors?
  • Available in five frame sizes! So even though it’s a high-step, it should fit better than some other affordable city bike models
  • I like the color options, choose from four colors including timeless black or silver, the bright orange and blue look nice and the branding is minimal, I love that the cables and wires are all integrated (this is a purpose built electric bike)
  • Mid-frame battery keeps weight low and center, I like that it locks to the frame but is removable for reduced weight or charging separately (and protection)
  • Reinforced stainless steel horizontal dropout (for tighetining the chain) with a torque arm washer to improve strength and handle motor forces
  • Two full sized USB ports, one on the battery to use for portable power and the other on the display panel for use on the go (phone gps, music or lights)
  • Nice to have brake levers with motor inhibitors that override the motor… especially since this bike uses a cadence sensor for pedal assist that’s sort of average in terms of response time
  • Pretty impressive warranty considering the price, you get two years comprehensive and three years on the frame, being sold through shops so you can test ride and get support vs. online

Cons:

  • I wish the display panel was removable… everything else on the bike is tough and built for the city but that display is vulnerable to weather or getting scratched and broken at the rack
  • All-Aluminum frame and fork make for a stiff ride, especially given the narrower 700c road tires, consider a compact 27.2 mm suspension seat post like this but note that it will still raise the minimum seat height by about three inches (to be honest, the bike felt better than I expected during my ride test, more comfortable)
  • I like that it has a kickstand but prefer the rear-mount design vs. mid-mount because this one gets in the way and collides with the cranks if you walk the bike backwards
  • The brakes are kind of basic, given how light and cheap the bike is they work alright but I’d much prefer v-brakes for more power or disc brakes that stay cleaner
  • I love that it has bottle cage bosses but wish it also had rack and fender bosses for those who commute with gear or have to ride in the rain… lots of aftermarket fenders, racks and lights to choose from but it’s nice when they aren’t piling up on your seat post and mount stronger (note that Sam was wearing an LED Torch helmet which is a great way to be seen without the hassle of on-frame lights)
  • The three drive modes and eight levels of assist just seemed like a lot compared with most other ebikes I test (that only have for our five levels)… it almost seems like you could miss the modes entirely but I do see their purpose (less power use but still capable of higher speeds), hold set to enter the modes and change them with plus or minus for eco, normal and power)
  • In order to tighten the chain you have to manually pull the rear wheel backwards in the horizontal dropouts whereas other bikes with a similar setup often have a screw tightener tool that’s easier to work with, this just means extra screwing around and possibly a two person job if you have to take the wheel off to fix a flat
  • Narrow high pressure tires need to be checked and topped off a lot more regularly, it’s way easier to get a “snake bite” or “pinch” flat, no quick release so changing flats is more work
  • The motor makes a bit more noise than some of the other geared motors, especially in higher power modes
  • I’ve seen several comments recently about battery failure and frustration with low quality parts such as the wheels, hubs, and bottom bracket

Resources:

More Populo Reviews

Populo Lift V2 Review

  • MSRP: $1,399
  • MODEL YEAR: 2018

An approachable step-thru electric bike with basic suspension for and seat-post suspension that improve comfort, large display is simple and easy to read, integrated headlight keeps you visible. Efficient 250-watt hub motor drives the Lift V2 to a top pedal-assist or throttle-only speed…...

Populo Sport V3 Review

  • MSRP: $999
  • MODEL YEAR: 2018

An affordable, single speed electric bike available in three colors and four frame sizes, driven by an efficient 250-watt hub motor for a top pedal-assist speed of 20 mph, no throttle mode. Extremely basic setup makes for easy operation and potentially lower maintenance than electric bikes with…...

Populo Scout Review

  • MSRP: $1,699
  • MODEL YEAR: 2017, 2018

A relatively affordable, surprisingly powerful eight-speed electric bike with a comprehensive HUD and front suspension that feels like a great fit for urban commuting, it also comes in two frame sizes, 49cm and 54cm to accommodate a wide range of rider heights. Extremely accurate torque sensors and quiet 350-watt mid-drive motor allows for a 27-mile real-world range…...


bikerjohn
1 year ago

Nice review, Court! That Populo has a clean look. Hoping to see a review of the Populo Peak, soon.

Reply
court
1 year ago

Thanks! Yeah, I’m excited to check out some of their other models in the future and learn more about the company :)

Reply
Susan
1 year ago

This bike checks off everything on my list except for the stupid non-removable display. I have had countless parts stolen off my bikes when forced to lock up outside. Even if the thief couldn’t remove the display, there’s a good chance they would just smash it out of frustration- so then that leaves you with a non-operational motor. Wonder if Populo would replace it.

Reply
court
1 year ago

Hey Susan! Unfortunately part of my girlfriend’s bike rack was just stolen the other day… for no reason! Now she can only put one bike on it and I’m guessing that somewhere out there, possibly in a bush, is the extra bar. Sometimes people are lame… Anyway, I do think that Populo would be likely to have replacement parts for sale. They seem like a bigger company with their act together but you might want to reach out and ask first (and check the price). I’m guessing the displays will be $100 a pop. The other approach would be to actually unscrew the display and re-mount it with velcro then unplug at the end of each ride when parking. Hope this helps… None of the more affordable electric bicycles seem to have removable displays.

Reply
Susan
1 year ago

Hey Court, After several months of debating and a current order in to Electron wheel that I’m planning on cancelling, I think I’m going to get this bike. I agree with your DIY modification recommendation. It looks like they sell extra batteries and I’m thinking this one is designed in a way that you can upgrade and modify it on your own even if Populo decides to discontinue the model. My only problem is figuring out what to do with my 8 month old Fuji Feather.

Diego Carrington
1 year ago

Hi Court! I just left a message on the voltbike elegant and I thank you very much for your response and even going further getting a code for a better price, you are really awesome.

Your website is so detailed and extensive that when you think you found a great option, you come across to a different great review.

That made me come across this model, populo sport. As I mentioned before, my budget aims for a cheap and reliable option and from what I can read this one hits good points. It looks discrete enough to not get unwanted attention (hopefully saving it from robery) and I think that the accessories missing (fenders, rack and light) can be covered with around 100 bucks using the options you provided. Also… 2 year warranty!

I promise I won’t be jumping on any more reviews asking if they are “my new best option” but knowing that the voltbike elegant might be small for me (6’2, 200 lb), what do you think comparing this Populo Sport with the radcity and its $1450 price? (which the sweet 50$ off).

I’m just a little concerned about the 250w not being powerful enough for me and from my Ebike lack of experience I don’t know if the lack of throttle is a must when buying one.

I really thank you for your time and attention!
Diego

Reply
court
1 year ago

Hi Diego! The bikes each offer something unique and I find myself justifying each… whether based on price or the specific use case scenario. I find that shops and companies promote their own as “the best” and people often use power as a deciding factor but you’ve kept a really open mind and that shows a lot of wisdom. Professional long distance cyclists put out around 200 watts from what I’ve read so if you get an ebike that can offer up to 250… and usually beyond that with peak output, you’re going to have a good experience. In parts of Europe they limit ebikes to 250 watts and people like them just the same. That said, since you have option and are a taller and heavier rider who wants something that will last and work with accessories I’d still push you towards the RadCity. The rack is sturdy, the fenders fit and won’t rattle as much, the tires will provide some cushion (along with the suspension). The Populo and other bikes like E-Glide are awesome for being minimalist but that’s not what I hear you describing as the use case. I have been in the position of trying to save money and then disappointed later when the bike didn’t perform (and I hear that a lot about ebikes, buyer’s remorse for not going higher quality). If you’re in this for a tool, get the right tool. The Rad Power bikes are still very affordable value oriented products, saving $400 or even just $300 after you get fenders, rack, lights etc. might leave you feeling like the extra power and strength and size would have been worth it. But again… any of these bikes can be GREAT if you work with them and look on the bright side of the base technology :)

Reply
JW ZHANG
1 year ago

Hey Susan, You are right, you are not the only one mentioned about the removable LCD screen since we released the product two months ago. We started design process a week ago for removable version for future production, for the time being we will send free replacement to customers who got their screen stolen or smashed whatever reason until we have upgrade.

Reply
court
1 year ago

Wow, that’s a neat offer. Thanks for sharing the news JW! I’m excited to see your improvements on future reviews.

Reply
Benjie
1 year ago

Hi, I just want to thank you Court for the awesome reviews you do. I purchased the Populo sport Dec. Of 2016, i’m getting to know the ebike and still learning how I can apply it with my cycling hobby. I normally ride average of 15-25 miles for recreational and exercise proposes. Just wanna share a small feedback about the range from this ebike. Ridden it from Fullerton to Huntington beach and back on single charge. Approximately 50miles, on eco mode, averaged 18mph. From a bellow average cyclist, which I use to do with my single-speed none ebike 5 years ago. I’m just happy I’m able do this again.

Reply
court
1 year ago

That’s awesome Benjie! Sounds like you’re really enjoying the Populo Sport… I love hearing real-world stats on distance per charge so thanks for sharing that. Would you mind sharing your height and weight so others can approximate their own performance?

Reply
Rai
1 year ago

Do you ship to Niagara region, Canada? How much for shipping cost?

Reply
Susan
1 year ago

I noticed your stats on the battery are different than what is listed on Populo’s site. They state it is a Panasonic, not a Samsung, although both produce great batteries, and their site states 8.7ah instead of the 10.4ah. I don’t know if that makes an overall difference in the performance however I am curious why they would change battery companies only after a few short months. Do you have any info on that? I just purchased the bike today and will definitely report back on performance!

Reply
court
1 year ago

Hi Susan, thanks for the update… I’m actually visiting a shop right now and pulled a battery off one of the Populo Sport models. It says 36 volt 8.7 amp hours so yeah, I guess they changed it or I was given inaccurate information for the review. Thanks for pointing this out. Maybe the different battery size meant that they needed to change brands? Either way, I agree with you that both offer solid products that should last well. I’m excited to hear your updates after some ride time :D

Reply
Noel
1 year ago

Hey, I’m pretty confused and I don’t know if this is the bike that would meet my needs or not. I’m a student and I don’t have a lot OF money. Thing is I need to go about 20 miles to get to university and go all the way back home every day. I was wondering if this bike has that much range (40-50 miles) on power mode and if not, then what would be a good option for me ?? Thank you !!

Reply
court
1 year ago

Hi Noel! I like the Populo Sport but am not sure it would go as far as you’re talking about… The cool thing about the bike is that it’s relatively light and efficient so even if you run out of juice it’s still going to be easier to pedal than some others out there. Given the kind of daily use you’re talking about however, I’d consider a Bosch powered electric bike because they are super efficient, reliable and the batteries are higher capacity than Populo but still very compact and light (so you can bring them into class for protection or easy charging). There are more Bosch ebikes available now from a wide range of companies. I haven’t finished my review yet but the BULLS Cross E is going to be $2,499 and comes out later this year in a step-thru design. I realize that sounds like a lot more money but the bike will definitely go further and last longer based on my experience. Maybe look around for deals on last-season Bosch powered ebikes by using the sale section in the EBR forums here.

Reply
Susan
1 year ago

Ok, so I finally got around to un-boxing yesterday and it took me only an hour to assemble with my limited knowledge and confidence of assembling bikes-gotta make sure all the bolts are on tight and that you’ve put bike grease on the right parts as well as oiling the chain which they forgot to add in their video.

I rode it for the first time on my way to work straight through Boston and into Cambridge and from the first moment I began pedaling I could not stop laughing at what an incredible feeling it is!!! “Pedal-assist” should really be called “throttle pedal” because I only had to do a quarter of a rotation before the motor kicked in and zipped me off.

It is heavier than my steel single speed Fuji Feather but I was able to carry it down five flights out of my apartment building. Some minor adjustments I’ll make will be adding ESI bar grips for a more comfortable ride and possibly a shorter stem because even at 5’8″, the reach is a bit aggressive for my back.

I tried both normal and high mode but I didn’t really notice a difference as I think I was able to achieve 33kmh (20pmh) in both modes. I saw some youtubers get it up to 28mph so I’ll have to experiment.

As someone who has commuted to work nearly every day in Boston for the last 10 years on single speed bikes, this was a perfect transition into the electric bike world. I like the fact that I can just order another battery rather than say sending a Copenhagen or Electron wheel back to the factory when the battery dies. I love the simple design without permanent clunky racks or other items in order to keep the lightness of the bike. I also think because of its minimal design, it will be much easier for myself or a local bike shop to maintenance. I’m counting on Populo to stay committed to this model by offering upgrades and other accessories that will keep the bike running for years to come.

I’m in love with this bike after only one ride and can’t wait to fly around town this summer!

Reply
court
1 year ago

Hey Susan! I enjoyed reading your testimonial and tips about assembling and enjoying the Populo in Boston. You must be in great shape going up and down all of those stairs :P

Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm, I also hope Populo honors this bike by keeping parts available and offering good support. Feel free to chime in again anytime with updates and ride safe out there!

Reply
Schorschico
11 months ago

SUSAN,

just so you know, Ferris Wheels in JP has started carrying this bike in their store, so you have now a place to go and fix any issues.

I was pretty sad since I contacted them 6 months ago when I was looking for my first and they told me they didn’t carry any ebikes because they were too expensive and there was no market. So I went with the Eglide-ss (super-happy, but it’s great to have some local physical support). Glad that they have changed their minds. It looks like an awesome ride. They told me they plan to increase their list of ebikes to include multiple gears in the future.

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Tim
1 year ago

When I saw upgrade referring to the Samsung battery, I had to laugh. Don’t let the 8.7 vs 10.4 amp-hours fool you. Panasonic cells are far superior and degrade VERY SLOWLY over time. Samsungs not so good after a short while. I work with laptops and have even made ebike batteries from their cells. I always prefer Panasonic and Samsung is not close. FYI Sanyo not that great either.

Reply
court
1 year ago

Interesting, thanks for sharing your experience with both brands Tim. I’ve heard that the cell density or quality level can matter as well and that the battery management systems make a difference… and having a fuse. It’s a bit misleading to just go by brand but I try to use it as an indicator for quality here and there. Where do you get your battery cells, pack designs, motor kits etc.? Sounds like you’re really into this :)

Reply
JimBo
1 year ago

I just picked up a barely used (100 miles), large frame Populo Sport (in matte black). It’s aesthetically sleek, its power delivery is smooth, and the LCD’s volt readings are a nice touch. The battery, however, rattles loudly in its mounts going over bumpier pavement.. I wish your review ride (and my *test* ride) wasn’t so brief. and only on smooth pavement. I might have offered a little less for it! Still, I got a great deal on what Court calls a “beater” in the review.

After getting it home and giving it the once-over, I put ten miles on it riding to and from the Post Office with the tires pumped to 100 psi. Sure enough, I hit a small pothole and got a flat, so I promptly ordered new 700x35c tires and self-sealing tubes from Nashbar. Meanwhile, I’m kind of worried about the battery – I’ve experienced 8-9 brands of ebikes from bike industry behemoths as well as crowdfunded startups, and this is the chintziest battery setup I’ve seen thus far.

The bottom battery mount was loose, but tightening it as much as I could did nothing to reduce the pronounced noise when riding over rougher stuff. When I removed the battery and shook it a little I could feel the cells moving around inside, almost liquid-like… should I be nervous? This shaking didn’t produce nearly as much noise as it makes on the bike, so clearly it’s just the mounting system. The Populo battery sure *looks* like a Bosch, but it’s clearly nowhere near the same quality.

I’m wondering if other Populo owners’ batteries rattle etc. I’m also curious if anyone else’s display has a constant full-battery reading, even as you watch the voltage readout and LED indicators on the battery itself drop to lower and lower levels. During Court’s review, I can see a voltage reading of 37.2, but the battery meter’s completely full. At full charge, my voltage reading was 40.3, so maybe it’s a common glitch?

Reply
court
1 year ago

Interesting… thanks for sharing all of these details JimBo. In the past, I have met people who used layers of duct tape to cushion and tighten their battery interface as the plastic mounting points wore down over time and the pack started to rattle but internal rattling is a whole different thing and very concerning. Damaged ebike batteries have been responsible for fires at shops (who are working to repair them) and even during rides on hot days like this. I’m wary of offering any kind of advice but would definitely start with a Populo dealer or even the company itself to see if an exchange / discount could be worked out for a new pack. I did not spend enough time with the Populo Sport to comment on battery readout but it sounds like you’ve identified an issue with their system.

Reply
JimBo
1 year ago

Thanks for the prompt response, Court! I applied Gorilla tape in the spaces of the battery mount where you can see rubbing had occurred, but now I’m especially nervous about the cell movement inside the battery so I doubt I’ll ride this bike again until its battery is replaced. I sent Populo an email over the weekend, and tried calling today at about 10am PST; hopefully they’ll call/write back soon. I’ll post an update if/when they do.

I also want to ask them whether the replacement batteries on their website are made with Panasonic or Samsung (it doesn’t specify but it does say they’re 10.4Ah and I believe the Panasonics were 8.8). I’m always wary of vague ebike specs (especially regarding electronics), but caught flak on the EBR Forum for calling another small ebike company out on their loosey-goosey approach to posting specs… I can understand the need for flexibility, but consumers deserve to know exactly what they’re buying, IMO!

Regardless of cell manufacturer, the Populo’s battery *builder* may be the culprit in the internal cell movement, or it could be that the loose mounts caused this issue over time. I have several other ebikes, however, including a few eMTBs that had seen much rougher terrain over longer periods, and none of them – including the crowdfunded startups – have batteries that did this. So I really hope they’ll replace it under warranty. They don’t specify “original owner” on their generous warranty, but they do limit their liability (understandable), and say, “If a defective part is found during the warranty period and the customer notifies us immediately, **the seller will repair or replace the part based on his sole discretion**.”

JimBo
1 year ago

Update: I got a replacement battery from Populo, but it also had an unsealed seam in the same spot the original had. Black 3M electrical tape blends right in with the matte black plastic battery case, so I taped the seam and you can barely tell it’s there. After two rides, the tape has held up and the internal cells do not move around inside like to original did. But there’s a small piece of something rattling around in there – I can only conclude that. they’re sourcing cheap batteries from a marginal supplier.

This brings me to Susan’s earlier comment/observation that Court’s review says the Sport’s batteries use Samsung cells while Populo’s specifications on their website say Panasonic. When I looked at their replacement battery offering for $329, I noticed it didn’t mention any brand at all. They have a little “live chat” function, however, so I asked “Panasoic or Samsung cells?” on two different visits a week apart. First time, they siad Samsung and asked where I was getting Panasonic from. I told them it’s specified that way on the Sport web page! The second time, however, they said Panasonic!

Something really sketchy’s going on there…

Susan
12 months ago

Jimbo’s battery experience is really alarming. I tried to purchase an extra one but at the moment they’re sold out. The frustrating part is they claim you can’t just find a similar shape and spec battery to use so what’s going to happen when this one dies? My bike dies with it? The fact they can’t truthfully reveal the manufacture is a red flag. I’ve been biking to work every day since I got it back 3 months ago in mid-March and the battery doesn’t quite seem as strong as it was in the beginning (the voltage goes down quickly). If I have trouble getting a replacement from them, I may just look into a whole new power supply for the motor if that is at all possible. I’ve been sealing the battery in saran wrap on rainy days as I don’t want to risk water damage.

The Populo web chat help person confirmed that a medium 55 would fit my 5’8″ height. Now, under the new specs for the sizes, they still have a 55 medium but it clearly states it is for those that are 5’10” and over- this would explain why the reach is just too far on mine.

Bottom line is it is still a great and powerful bike but because they needed to meet specific benchmarks for this price, they are not forthcoming about the specifics of the parts. I’m starting to worry that an electrical overhaul may come a lot sooner than I anticipated.

Reply
court
12 months ago

Hi Susan, that’s a frustrating experience but you’ve got a healthy constructive attitude. Your stem could be swapped for a shorter one or higher angle to reduce reach. I can’t speak for Populo batteries but you could reach out to Rechargeable Power Energy in Nevada for a replacement if/when you need a refill. I believe they repack almost any electric bicycle battery :)

Brucifus
11 months ago

I bought a Populo Sport in December and was really getting a lot of use out of it until it abruptly died on a morning commute. I had noticed significant internal rattling in the battery, as another commenter noted, even though my commute is over fairly smooth pavement the whole way. That first bike had about 600 miles on it.

Populo did not question my warranty, although they ignored my multiple requests to discuss it over the phone. They sent me a brand new replacement with a few included improvements to the new model (water bottle cage, rack bosses on the seat/chainstays) and covered return shipping costs. I thought I was back in business, until this second bike failed again during my morning commute. The replacement has less than 100 miles on it.

At this point, they’ve lost any future business from me. If I’m going to use something for my commute, I need reliability.

Reply
court
11 months ago

Wow, thanks for sharing your experience with the Populo Sport here Brucifus, I hope this helps others who might need a sturdier or more reliable mode of transport. I do my best to dig in with the videos and writeup but I cannot communicate longer term use the way you have here. I’m glad Populo at least tried to help you with a replacement but understand why you might need to move on now. The good news is, more and more high-end drive systems are coming down in price. You can get Yamaha, Shimano, Brose, and Bosch for a lot less in 2017 than you used to be able to and I hear good things in terms of reliability from dealers.

Reply
Dewey
9 months ago

Populo recently posted on the Reddit ebikes forum about the battery issues reported with their ebikes. This is the response from Populo’s representative Estaban, reposted here with his permission:

  • Batteries shifting around: when we investigated the “rattle” issue, we found that the mount on the battery was where most of the noise was coming from. The current mount is a metal on metal slide. We are in the process of designing an injection molded mount that will reduce the noise significantly in the next release. From our research, the current mount does not affect the durability or performance of the Sport.
  • Battery cells – In our first production, we had some battery cells that were Samsung and some that were Panasonic. All batteries in our current production are now Panasonic ONLY.
  • Quality Assurance – We have an extensive quality check at our factory and we distribute from our warehouses nationally.
  • Battery availability – At the moment, we have a reserved supply of batteries for warranty replacement. If you need to replace a battery under warranty, contact us at our website or go to your local dealer. If you’re looking for a spare battery to buy as an extra, we have a shipment coming now! Spare batteries should be available at the end of this month.
Reply
court
9 months ago

This is great information Dewey, thank you so much for reposting here… and getting permission! You’re awesome, I hope Populo keeps EBR and the forums in mind for future updates like this. It makes me excited to check out their newer models and I respect that they are in touch with their user base like this, offering an explanation for questions and concerns.

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Mark 73573
3 weeks ago

Be perfect with a 2sp.rear hub.

Honky Tonk
4 weeks ago

i would buy this.

acc001 dw
1 month ago

@electricbikereview i really do wish you can do review of those affordable ebike. Not everyone can afford like 2k for a ebike. Thanks

yvonno1960
4 months ago

It should be sold in europe...

andrew reid
3 weeks ago

yvonno1960 it is, brick lane bikes

Major Twang
4 months ago

that bike, with 20" wheels - 500 watt motor - no pedal assist - but with a thumb is what i want.

Bob Sled
4 months ago

2 words - Great product

Is it available in the UK yet?

Major Twang
5 months ago

Build/sell one of these for 699$/799$, with 20" wheels and only thumb power, no torque senser, no computer, no USB ports..and i'll buy 2...

De Cnijf Kris
6 months ago

very cool.to be prrsented on Brussels bike fair next February.

carolcheny
7 months ago

wow. Bicycle Eunich. sounds like the balls fell off. I think I'll go for electric dirty bikes.

Dario Milardovic
7 months ago

Still overpriced. For that think I will pay $450

.
6 months ago

get a kit for 600$

Zhang Simen
7 months ago

Nakto 26" 300W Fat Tire Electric Bicycle 6-Speed Beach Snow 36V10AH Lithium battery

Nakto ebike is best price with quality, this will be a nice choose!

http://www.ebay.com/itm/26-300W-Fat-Tire-Electric-Bicycle-6-Speed-Beach-Snow-36V10AH-Lithium-battery-/253108949477?epid=10002922721&hash=item3aee7811e5:g:p5cAAOSw259Z3axi

Jon Neet
9 months ago

I am a 63 year old retired dude. I had been riding a cheap bike, a Thruster Fixie. It had a reversable hub, so it could be a "true" fixie, or with the hub as it came stock, it was a single speed, and the pedals could freewheel backwards. Then, Last August 2016, I took a fall and blew out my right knee. I often walk with a cane as the right knee has not much strength. I sold the bike to my daughter, as no way could I ride it back then. I've been thinking lately about getting an electric bike with the thought that, in power assist mode, I could get by with one weak knee. I would plan on riding it in a lower power pedal assist setting to maximize the range. I would want to run into Hilo and back, which would be at least 30 miles. This Populo and the Everly 202 seem like a good way to get into ebikes for me. Not many hills at all on the roads I would ride on. I know you mention in several reviews that you have a weak knee also. Maybe riding one of these bikes might help my knee. My Doctor said, when I did the injury, it didn't look like I'd need surgery. Does my thinking seem plausible? These two bikes seem like they might be light enough for riding some even without the electrics. I'd rather have the bars from the Everly, but the extra range of the Populo.

Aayush Parmar
9 months ago

You can import giant road E+ from Amazon India at very cheap price like 300dollars

Saqi S
10 months ago

i just bought this today. its amazing. i live and work in the city

Bernardo Diossa
2 months ago

How is it on hills?

F T
10 months ago

Nice price point. Nice and good looking design. But the 20 mph cap is not so nice.

Richard Roscoe
11 months ago

It looks like a painted Schwinn Stites. Add the same Chinese components and you have yourself the same exact bike for around $600.

Richard Roscoe
11 months ago

The frame looks 100% identical to the 6KU fixie, though.

Refuso Againo
11 months ago

The kid speaking is well versed but why do all the interviewers seem to think that we want to listen to them? They're supposed to ask questions of the Expert, who is responsible for the bike. Run off at the mouth syndrome dominates this otherwise very informative video.
Bill Maher does that too. Great guest, doesn't allow him to speak.

Kurtwell
11 months ago

How fast can it go?

VideoNOLA
11 months ago

Try it out on New Orleans roads if you wanna see a bike destroyed instantly!

metamorphicorder
12 months ago

its not as loud as you would expect. its probably so zippy because its prettt light. my old ezip had a 350 watt external geared hub motor and it was sluggish but the bike was heavy. my first was a sealed lead acid battery and the frame was just huge and over built. with regard to the 14 ga spokes, the purchaser should definitely take road contidions, total weight and riding style into account, the ezips had 14 ga spokes and i broke them until i just parked the bike. the wheel was custom with a right side sprocket (special sprocket too reverse threaded freewheel sprocket 11 tooth ), threaded on, so you couldn't just replace the wheel and retain the motor use. so thats a big deal even at 1000$, if the rear wheel is damaged or spokes break, people not in areas where ebikes are common might be able ro easily fix the issue. nice bike though.