- An extremely light weight 35.5lb, affordable, good looking, single speed, compact Class 1 electric bike. Fits easily into most elevators and closets. Available in one frame style: high-step, size: 18.5" and color: matte black with blue and white accents.
- Good weight distribution with battery pack low and center. High quality compact battery charger only weighs one pound, can charge the pack on or off the frame. Battery locks securely, is easy to remove, only weighs 3.5lbs.
- Intuitive large display panel with integrated buttons, secure locking grips, 160mm mechanical disc brakes with motor inhibitors, high-resolution 12-magnet cadence sensor, Bafang brand motor, can mount fenders, racks, and bottle cage or lock.
- Top speed limited to 18mph. No suspension included, small wheel size can be jarring. No USB charging ports. Single speed drivetrain doesn't activate cadence sensor as quickly. Lower motor power and battery capacity. Some assembly required, direct sale only.
This review was provided for free using a demo bike. 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.
- I covered the MINI version 1.2 for this review, which has an updated LCD display panel and larger chainring that is more comfortable to pedal at speed.
- This model is only available in one frame style (high-step) and one frame size (18.5″). It comes in the iconic matte black with white and blue accents that look pretty cool. There are lots of optional accessories available from Propella including fenders, racks, a suspension seat post, magnetic water bottle, and LED lights.
- The bike is really convenient and fun. I found myself enjoying it a lot because it’s easy to lift, fits into different places like the elevator, there’s only one gear, and it’s zippy! I also think it looks nice.
- Despite having no suspension and smaller wheels, the bike felt pretty comfortable to me because of the tire pressure range (lower pressure helps improve comfort but isn’t as efficient), long stem spacer (that raises the handlebar), the mid-rise handlebar, and the great saddle. Perhaps the lower top speed also improved comfort because I wasn’t going over bumps as fast.
- Since there are no gears and the display only has power, +, and – buttons, it’s not very distracting to ride. The single-speed drivetrain is very quiet and it’s not likely that the chain would fall off because it’s tight.
- Even though the bike is made to be simple, they were very thoughtful to include holes and threaded eyelets for adding fenders, a rear rack, and a bottle cage or folding lock. There’s plenty of room on the handlebar for a cup holder or phone mount too.
- I appreciate the blue accents on the rims, battery pack, saddle, and locking grips! They don’t all match perfectly, but the bike still looks good and has a fun vibe. Notice the minimalist white branding and the white chain! That’s the first white bicycle chain I’ve ever seen :D
- Great hardware choice for the locking grips, pedals, and kickstand. They are all above-average and performed well during my test rides. I also want to call out the sealed 12-magnet cadence sensor that is an upgraded part.
- Both brake levers have motor inhibitors, so the motor will cut immediately if you need to stop. I noticed that the disc and calipers were Shimano, even though the brake levers were cheaper 5-Star. The orientation of the cables and the routing was all done well (which isn’t always the case).
- Since the bike is so light and has a big open section below the top tube, I found it easy to lift and carry up stairs. I actually carried it up 7-flights after a ride around the city. You can further reduce weight by removing the battery pack, and it’s nice that it can be charged on or off the frame. To maximize lifespan, keep the battery in a cool dry location and avoid high heat, also keep it charged above 50% if you’re not using it.
- I found the battery interface to work well. The lock is intuitive and clear of the left crank arm, the battery comes off without too much effort, and it can click back on easily. It did rattle a bit when riding over bumpy terrain… but it wasn’t terrible.
- Pretty good wire management, some of them are routed through the frame so they don’t get snagged. Overall, the bike looks clean and things are well organized.
- In the past, Propella has charged for shipping, but it sounds like it may be free within the contiguous USA and Canada now which is cool. The bike is very affordable at roughly $1,000 USD. I found it to be made better than some of the more generic stuff online. Propella has been around since 2016 and has good customer service so you can get parts and help.
- The bike comes with a one year comprehensive warranty and uses name brand Samsung battery cells and Bafang hub motor. These are parts I tend to trust as being more durable.
- Excellent battery charger choice. It’s compact, very light at just 1lb, and is a brand I’ve seen more expensive bikes using. It only puts out 2 amps, but that’s enough to fill the 252 watt hour pack in under three hours.
- I want to emphasize style one more time by calling out the black chain ring, black spokes, and black seat post and stem spacers. Propella even added a slap guard to the right chain stay to protect the paint, despite there being no slack in the chain (so it probably will not ever hit the chain stay). They went above and beyond.
- The display is easy to read, but it has limited readouts: current speed, trip distance, odometer, assist level, battery charge level. The precision of battery charge level is kind of limited with just 5 bars vs. a percentage. The display cannot change from MPH to KMH and the readout can be pretty bright at night. The buttons also take some reaching because they are laid out horizontally vs. vertically near the edge of the grip.
- The battery pack is compact and light, but it offers low capacity at 252 watt hours. I’d consider 500 watt hours average for current generation electric bikes… but most of those are way heavier and use more powerful motors. There’s no USB charging ports and no lights here, the bike is pretty basic.
- The motor is a nice brand, but is fairly low in terms of power at 250 watts nominal. It does alright because of the small wheel size and lower 18mph top speed.
- I love that the bike comes with mounting points for fenders, racks, and even a bottle cage or folding lock below the downtube… but I feel like there was enough room to put another bottle mount on the seat tube, which would be much easier to reach.
- Being a single speed, the bike takes more effort to start from standstill. Yes, the electric motor helps, but it doesn’t kick in very quickly because the single gearing is kind of slow and difficult to start. It’s geared more for comfort at the higher speeds. This wouldn’t be an issue if the bike had a throttle, which would make it Class 2.
- Minor considerations: the mechanical disc brakes require more hand effort than hydraulic, and could get sticky over time if dust and water enter the housings… thankfully they are positioned down at the ends. The pedals aren’t super wide and the soft metal can get bent in and sharpened if the bike tips vs. solid platform pedals.
- The bike is not available through shops, you have to order online and do some unboxing and assembly: front wheel, saddle on seat post, handlebar. Their video tutorial is really good and helpful!
- No chain cover or guard, so your pant leg and other clothing can touch the chain and get snagged or dirty… it’s not as much of an issue as it would be for a multi-speed.
- There’s no derailleur cage to protect the motor power cable on the right side of the rear axle. It doesn’t stick out much, but it could still get bent or snagged if you’re not careful.
- The bike only comes in one frame size and color… but I think they did a great job. You can still rotate the handlebar forward or back to adjust reach, or swap the stem for taller, longer, or shorter.
- Smaller wheels have a higher attack angle, so they don’t coast over cracks and obstacles as smoothly. These tires aren’t especially wide, so you don’t have as much air volume for comfort. There’s no suspension fork or seat post included, but the saddle felt great to me and the tires were decent. They do sell an optional suspension seat post and any 27.2mm aftermarket would work too.
- The battery pack mount connects to the downtube with two bolts vs. three or more. They are spaced fairly wide for better strength and the battery only weighs about 3.5lbs compared to most others being 7lbs or more, so it’s not a huge concern.
- I was a bit surprised that the front wheel had quick release but the seat clamp did not… I guess it improves security for the seat, but maybe they should also do it this way for the wheel too? It cold make transporting the bike easier, but it’s already so small and light.