- An efficient, relatively light weight and well-balanced electric bicycle. There's enough space for gravel tires, fenders, and mounting points to add a rear rack and folding lock. Clean aesthetic with internally routed cables and blacked out hardware. Custom battery pack uses premium 21700 Samsung cells, comes with an excellent three amp fast charger.
- Offers a unique blend of urban efficiency with good comfort. The higher volume 27.5" x 2.0" tires, raised stem, riser style handlebar, custom saddle, and locking ergonomic grips offset the harshness of a rigid aluminum alloy frame and fork. Optional suspension seat post further smooths the ride. Upgraded 12mm thru-axle in the front improves strength and handling.
- Powerful 350 watt internally geared hub motor sets this Propella apart from the 250 watt motor used on other models. It operates smoothly, is fairly quiet, and felt responsive thanks to a sealed high-resolution cadence sensor. Powerful 160mm hydraulic disc brakes with motor inhibiting reach adjustable levers. Fun to ride unpowered due to low weight and efficiency.
- Sold direct online with a bit of assembly required (front wheel, handlebar, saddle, pedals). Only available in one color scheme, one frame size, and high-step frame style to keep the price low. Key port for the battery pack is positioned very close to the left crank arm, but the charging port is up high. Shipping is $50 extra for the contiguous US and $100 for Canada.
This review was provided for free, but Propella did provide a temporary demo bike and accessories for me to test. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased with you, this video and writeup are not meant to be an endorsement of Propella products. I welcome your corrections, additions, and feedback in the comments below, and the Propella electric bike forums.
- The 9S Pro is a relatively new model for Propella, and it builds on the Single Speed and 7S with a 9-speed drivetrain, higher capacity battery (that is physically larger, a bit heavier, and uses Samsung 21700 cells vs. 18650 cells), and a slightly larger frame and handlebar. The elevated stem, riser handlebar, and 2.0″ wide tires improve ride comfort and provide a more relaxed upright body position compared to some of the older Propella models.
- This model is only available in one frame style (high-step) and one frame size (19″). It comes in the iconic matte black with white and blue accents that look cool. There are lots of optional accessories available from Propella including plastic fenders, a sturdy rear rack, suspension seat post, magnetic water bottle, and lights for those who wish to use it as a commuting platform. For the low price and clean look, the bike is actually quite adaptable and capable. Wider fork and rear stays mean you can outfit gravel tires.
- Propella has been around since 2015, and most of their models are similar in appearance and build. I feel that they’ve refined and really optimized the “affordable but cool urban ebike” concept. Even this higher powered pro model still feels light weight and is fun to pedal without assist.
- I was impressed by how smooth and quiet the Vinka 350 watt planetary geared hub motor was. It’s fairly powerful, offering 45 newton meters of torque and a peak 500 watt output, but could also be efficient if you use the lower levels of assist.
- At first, I though this model was using the same battery pack as the 7S because it’s custom designed and looks basically the same. It’s actually slightly larger and uses higher capacity 21700 cells that are made by Samsung. I like how the battery looks and appreciate the extra ~100 watt hours here, because it will help to support the higher powered motor.
- The battery pack is very light at ~4.5lbs. It’s positioned well at the center of the bike, low on the frame to provide space for their optional magnetic bottle mount or a frame bag.
- I love all of the additional mounting points on the frame including the rear rack bosses, fender bosses, and bottle cage bosses below the downtube… even though I’d probably use that spot for a folding lock instead. The accessories that Propella sells all look great, fit perfectly, and can transform this into a sporty commuting platform.
- I really like the compact color LCD display. It uses gray, black, and blue to match the color scheme of the bike, and is easy to operate. The + and – buttons have icons for headlight and walk mode (both activated by holding the button vs. tapping it). While the bike does not have integrated lights, the display does go dim if you hold the + light button so you won’t ruin your night vision.
- I really like the higher volume tires here, and appreciate the move from 700c to smaller diameter 27.5″ with wider and taller 2.0″ tires. They provide improved comfort and stability, which is welcome on a rigid frame.
- Note the four 10mm spacers and one 20mm tapered base spacer that elevate the stem. The handlebar is also elevating as it’s low-rise vs. flat. You can swivel the bar back or forward to change reach, and the ergonomic locking grips feel nice. The saddle has some nice color matching and felt good to me.
- I was very impressed by the faster three amp charger that comes with the bike. Given the relatively low 350 watt hour battery capacity, that three amp charger will fill it quickly… and it’s not super bulky or heavy. Great charger with a nice three-prong interface vs. a barrel connector that could short easier.
- Since most of the bike is “normal” and it’s easy to lift, I think it would be less intimidating for bike shops or the owner to work on. It feels more like a bicycle than some of the fancy, expensive, heavy ebikes of today. I suspect that the battery pack could also be repacked or replaced more easily since it’s not as proprietary as Bosch, Shimano, Brose, Yamaha etc.
- The hydraulic disc brakes are a huge upgrade here. They are easy to actuate, have adjustable reach levers, and both levers have motor inhibitors so you won’t be fighting the motor. Disc brakes tend to stay cleaner than rim brakes, which is handy if you do swap the tires for gravel or just ride in rainy or muddy conditions.
- None of the hardware is quick release, which was intentional to reduce tampering and theft for urban environments. The addition of a thru-axle for the front wheel is unique at this price point, and should improve handling at speed as well as overall strength.
- Note the black hubs, spokes, rims, tubing, and other accents. The bike really looks nice. I kind of miss the shiny blue rims that their other models have, but I think they opted for wider rims here to support the higher volume tires.
- As with many direct to consumer ebikes that are purchased online, there is an additional shipping charge ($50 for the contiguous USA and $100 for Canada). The bike comes in a big box, and requires some assembly. The front wheel, handlebar, saddle, and pedals need to be installed… but it does come with the necessary tools.
- There is no derailleur guard included with the bike, and the motor power cable protrudes from the right rear axle. I did not unbox the bike, but these parts can be vulnerable during shipping and riding. Keep an eye on them, be gentle, and note that the light weight build makes the bike a lot easier to unbox and handle so that helps reduce the possibility of strain on such parts.
- The bike only comes in one frame size, which I measured at 19″ (seat tube length). It’s a high step, so the stand over height is higher, and there’s only one color scheme (black with white and blue accents).
- The 9S PRO is heavier than the 7S (7-speed model) by about four pounds. The battery pack weighs an additional pound, the motor is heavier (and stronger), and the larger cassette and frame size all add this weight. In my opinion, it’s still fairly light for an ebike, and well balanced.
- I don’t love the cage style pedals, because they can get bent and become sharp easier than solid platform pedals. They probably weigh less, and allow dirt and snow to push through vs. caking the top of the pedal, but they don’t offer as much surface area. It’s an easy and cheap thing to swap out if you wish.
- The locking cylinder for the battery pack is directly in the path of the left crank arm. It’s fairly low, and just more prone to damage in this position… but this is not uncommon and not a huge fault since the battery charging port is positioned up high on the top of the battery. The pack can be charged on or off the bike.
- The battery pack mounting slide uses two bolts vs. three or more, but they are spaced fairly wide for better strength and the battery only weighs about 4.5lbs compared to most others being 7lbs or more.
- The shifting mechanism worked well, but the bike I tested actually had a slightly upgraded derailleur from the production models. You can expect a Shimano Altus derailleur (which is one step up from base) and the shifter has a one-way high lever that requires the use of a the right index finger vs. being thumb operable. I prefer both shifters to be thumb operable so my other fingers can grip or be used for braking.
- The bike frame and fork are made from aluminum alloy, and there’s no suspension. The geometry and touch points help to introduce comfort, but this ebike is best used on smooth paved surfaces and could be a little jarring if the tires are fully inflated. I like that they offer an optional suspension seat post.