The Phantom line of electric bikes from ProdecoTech has always been capable of folding, starting with the Phantom X… even though it’s a full sized ebike with 26″ wheels. This has several drawbacks including loss of stiffness in frame and increased weight but it also makes the bike easier to store. For the Phantom X3 the company is taking a new direction and dropping the foldability feature in favor of increased ride quality and durability. Of all the ProdecoTech bikes I’ve had the chance to ride, this one’s my favorite.
The motor propelling this bike is 500 watts with a peak output of 750. That’s pretty solid and more than capable on flats with some solid hill climbing potential. It’s gearless meaning it has fewer parts to break but offers a bit less torque. It’s also super quiet and coasts frictionlessly… again, no gears. It does weigh a bit more than some gearless options and it could have been capable of regenerative braking which could reduce wear on the brake pads or top off the battery pack, but this thing already has a huge battery and that would have cost a lot more with upgraded controller and LCD computer system.
What you get with the control system on this and other ProdecoTech bikes is pure simplicity. You stick the key in… turn it, press the on button and see three LED’s light up for green yellow and red (to indicate battery level) and then you twist the throttle. It’s like riding a motorcycle but without the gears; anybody can do it. As with some other ebikes, the battery pack does require that the key be left in when riding which kind of bothers me because I don’t like the jingling sound or having to remember to put it on my keychain each time. The upside is, the battery pack itself is removable for charging and the key acts as a lock to secure it on the bike.
The chemistry of this and many other ProdecoTech ebikes is Lithium Iron Phosphate. It’s known for being durable, capable of withstanding ~2,000 charge cycles vs. ~1,000 before losing capacity. It’s also more stable if you’re worried about fires and such (rare…) but it doesn’t offer the same energy density as some other Lithium-ion combinations. That means it has to be heavier to provide the same capacity. So the battery is a bit heavier, that’s not a huge deal, but it does bother me that it’s mounted so high on the frame. That reduces stability when riding and makes sliding out or even tipping when parked much easier. Even so, there are many ebikes with rear-pack designs but this one doesn’t offer storage possibilities. Panniers and rear packs won’t work, you really can’t put anything on this rack and that seems like a missed opportunity. On the plus side, the pack does have a built in rear light for safety. Nice.
From the solid metal pedals that offer excellent traction, to the stiff frame and aggressive geometry, the RockShock fork with lockout (further increasing stiffness) to the oversized hydraulic disc brakes and reinforced battery platform, this bike is getting things right. There are still some trade offs here including the positioning of the battery pack and lack of storage mounting options to the absence of pedal assist but overall the price and components work together well. ProdecoTech offers a generous two year warranty on their bikes but keep in mind you’ll need to pay shipping on anything that breaks after the first 30 days and you’ll need to assemble and service the bike yourself.
The Phantom X3 is a great choice for riders who are comfortable with aggressive geometry and forward leaning handlebar position. As an athletic male who is 5’9″ I found the bike to be more sporty than comfortable and a little large. This is not a comfort cruiser step through with soft plush seat and upright handlebars! While the 500 watt motor and battery are capable of moving heavier riders, I recommend that you approach this bike thoughtfully. The true irony is that this pack can last up to 50 miles in flat conditions but your wrist will probably be sore before the ride is over. If you’re right for it, this bike can sure be a lot of fun but if you’re not coordinated it be hard to mount, feel unstable and end up being frustrating. Then again the Phantom X3 delivers great value for some high end components and a capable drive system and it’s my favorite ProdecoTech model.
- More balanced than the Outlaw ProdecoTech bikes, less aggressive angle on front fork
- Stiffer frame than the other Outlaw bikes that fold, shock locks out and pedals are solid metal, better power transfer
- Sturdy kickstand makes parking the bike easier
- Two year warranty (free shipping in first 30 days if something breaks)
- Front shock significantly smooths out the ride, larger tires also help
- Hydraulic Avid DB disc brakes are easy use and offer great stopping power
- Beautiful grips, easy to use twist shifter controls 8 speed cassett
- Battery pack is removable and features a built in rear light
- 500 watt gearless rear hub motor offers great power and torque, also very quiet
- Aluminum bash guard keeps chain on track and protects teeth on the front chain ring
- Doesn’t fold like some of the other Phantom bikes (maybe this is a pro?)
- Curved frame and rear mounted motor and battery make transporting with bike racks more difficult
- Twist throttle only mode could leave you with a tired wrist over long rides, no pedal assist
- Can’t mount anything on top of the rear battery pack, also won’t work with panniers
- Have to leave the keys in the battery pack when riding
- Despite using a gearless hub motor, no regen mode or regenerative braking
- Challenging to find and test ride in person, mostly sold online
- Battery technology is heavier due to lower energy density of LiFePO4