Propella 3.0 7-Speed Review

Propella 3 0 7 Speed Electric Bike Review
Propella 3 0 7 Speed
Propella 3 0 7 Speed 250 Watt Bafang Motor
Propella 3 0 7 Speed Kickstand Saddle
Propella 3 0 7 Speed Cockpit View
Propella 3 0 7 Speed 36v Battery
Propella 3 0 7 Speed Display Controls
Propella 3 0 7 Speed Front Fork
Propella 3 0 7 Speed Shimano Altus System
Propella 3 0 7 Speed Battery Charger
Propella 3 0 7 Speed 2amp Battery Charger
Propella 3 0 7 Speed Stock High Step Black
Propella 3 0 7 Speed Electric Bike Review
Propella 3 0 7 Speed
Propella 3 0 7 Speed 250 Watt Bafang Motor
Propella 3 0 7 Speed Kickstand Saddle
Propella 3 0 7 Speed Cockpit View
Propella 3 0 7 Speed 36v Battery
Propella 3 0 7 Speed Display Controls
Propella 3 0 7 Speed Front Fork
Propella 3 0 7 Speed Shimano Altus System
Propella 3 0 7 Speed Battery Charger
Propella 3 0 7 Speed 2amp Battery Charger
Propella 3 0 7 Speed Stock High Step Black

Summary

  • A handsome and sleek yet agile, lightweight, and affordable road ebike continually upgraded and revised via Propella’s crowd funding campaign
  • Reliable Bafang 250 watt hub-drive with 7 speed Shimano Altus system and Shimano Tourney TX 160mm rotor mechanical disc brakes
  • Features a revised battery housing and mounting system from previous versions as well as a newer front fork and head tube with sealed cartridge bearings
  • Built more for active riders so comfort is not abundant, battery is on the smaller side, for these reasons, you may not want to use it for a super long distance trip

Video Review

Introduction

Make:

Propella

Model:

3.0 7-Speed

Price:

$1,299

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Neighborhood, Road, Urban

Electric Bike Class:

Pedal Assist (Class 1)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

1 Year Comprehensive

Availability:

United States, Canada

Model Year:

2019

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

38.3 lbs (17.37 kg)

Battery Weight:

3.2 lbs (1.45 kg)

Motor Weight:

7.28 lbs (3.3 kg)

Frame Material:

Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

19 in (48.26 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

19” Seat Tube, 22” Reach, 29.5” Stand Over Height, 32" Minimum Saddle Height, 25” Width, 69” Length

Frame Types:

High-Step

Frame Colors:

Matte Black with Metallic Blue Accents

Frame Fork Details:

6061 Aluminum Alloy, Tapered, 100mm Hub Spacing, 9mm Axle with Quick Release Skewer

Frame Rear Details:

135mm Hub Spacing, 10mm Threaded Axle with Nuts

Attachment Points:

Fender Bosses, Bottle Cage Bosses, Front and Rear Rack Bosses

Gearing Details:

7 1x7 Shimano Altus Derailleur, Shimano MF-TZ500-7 14-28 Tooth Cassette

Shifter Details:

Shimano Trigger Shifters on Right (One-Way High Lever, Three-Shift Low Lever)

Cranks:

Lasco CF 12 Aluminum Alloy Crank Arms, 170mm Length, 46 Tooth Chainring

Pedals:

Neco WP-101, Aluminum Alloy Platform, Cage Style

Headset:

Threadless, Sealed Cartridge Bearings, Tapered 1 to 1-1/2"

Stem:

Zoom Aluminum Alloy, 90mm Length, 10° Rise, Three 10mm Spacers, 31.8 mm Clamp Diameter

Handlebar:

Zoom Aluminum Alloy, 630mm Length, 6° Up Sweep, 10° Back Sweep, 30mm Height, Low-Rise

Brake Details:

Shimano Tourney TX Mechanical Disc with 160 mm Rotors, Arteck Four-Finger Levers with Motor Inhibitors

Grips:

Flat Rubber, Locking, Black with Anodized Metallic Blue Lockers

Saddle:

Vader, Active with Gel, Black with Blue Accents

Seat Post:

Aluminum Alloy

Seat Post Length:

300 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

27.2 mm

Rims:

Aluminum Alloy, Anodized, Double Walled, Deep Section, 20.8 mm Outer Width, 36 Hole

Spokes:

Stainless Steel, 13 Gauge, Black with Silver Nipples

Tire Brand:

Kenda K193, 28” x 1.25”, (700 x 32c), (32-622)

Wheel Sizes:

28 in (71.12cm)

Tire Details:

50 to 85 PSI, 3.4 to 6 BAR, Reflective Sidewall Stripe

Tube Details:

Presta Valve (60mm Long Stem)

Accessories:

Rear-Mounted Kick Stand (40mm Bolt Spacing), Optional Additional Charger ($49), Optional Additional Battery ($249)

Other:

Locking Removable Downtube-Mounted Battery Pack, 1.1 lb 2 Amp Charger, 14 Amp Peak Pure Sine Wave Controller, Maximum Weight 220 lbs (100 kg)

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Bafang

Motor Type:

Rear-Mounted Geared Hub
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

250 watts

Motor Peak Output:

350 watts

Motor Torque:

35 Newton meters

Battery Brand:

Samsung

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

7 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

252 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

3.5 hours

Estimated Min Range:

15 miles (24 km)

Estimated Max Range:

35 miles (56 km)

Display Type:

King-Meter J-LCD, Fixed, Grayscale, Backlit LCD

Readouts:

Battery Level (5 Steps), Clock, Assist Level (0-5), Current Speed, Avg Speed, Max Speed, Odometer, Trip Distance

Display Accessories:

Independent Button Pad on Left, Buttons: Up, Down, M, (Press M to Cycle Trip and Odometer, Hold Up to Cycle Avg Speed and Max Speed, Hold Down for Walk Mode, Hold Up and Down for Settings Menu to set Clock and Units)

Drive Mode:

Cadence Sensing Pedal Assist (Sealed Sensor)

Top Speed:

18 mph (29 kph)


Written Review

To run the forums, host the website, and travel, I charge a universal service fee for my reviews. This review was sponsored by Propella. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased, this video and written review are not meant to be an endorsement of Propella products.

Propella is a brand and a bike that has been around for a while now and continuously makes upgrades and improvement each year. They do this through the crowd funding route and this helps them keep the cost down each year. The one we are reviewing today is the 3.0 version with an optional 7 speed drivetrain. Most of the upgrades seen here on the 3.0 are the battery housing and mounting. But there is also an upgraded wider fork (used to be more narrow) that has rack mounts as well as an upgraded headtube with sealed cartridge bearings. As hinted earlier, the cost is low ($1,299) and you can get it for even cheaper if you go for the single speed variant. When looking at the bike, you will probably notice the color matched accents and the lightweight frame (38.2lbs with battery). The wheels match here too with an anodized deep section rim. Surrounding the rims are a set of 700c x 32 tires. This is on the wider side for a road tire, but I found it did well and I love that they also have reflective sidewall stripping. I should also make note of the quick release in the front, something I appreciate a lot. Other features include bottle cage bosses, flat locking grips, and a kickstand in the rear. It is nice to have it back there since having it near the crank arm can produce ‘pedal lock’; an annoying occurrence that locks the pedals when you reverse a bike with the kickstand down. Luckily, this bike eliminates that by having it positioned further back.

Driving the bike is a 250 watt Bafang rear hub-motor. The motor is engaged via the 12 magnet cadence sensor mounted near the crank arm of the bike. This uses magnets to sense pedal rotation and the motor kicks in accordingly. I love the the cadence sensor is sealed, this keeps gunk and debris from getting in, something that you’re starting to see some bike companies like Propella do and I appreciate it. Mechanically, the bike is operated by a 7 speed Shimano Altus system with 14-28 tooth cassette, 46 tooth chain ring up front, and a set of trigger shifters on the handlebar. For stopping power, the bike features a set of Shimano Tourney TX mechanical disc brakes with 160mm rotor in both the front and the rear. Mechanical disc brakes are easy to maintain as well as adjust, however, they lack the immediate stopping power that hydraulic brakes offer. Mechanical brakes are still quite capable, but they take a little bit more hand actuation compared to hydraulic brakes.

Powering the bike is a 36v 7ah lithium ion battery with Samsung cells. The battery is another point of upgrade this year. The casing is much better and even has this little touch screen type setup that will show you the battery level in an LED readout when you touch it. Pretty neat little feature if you get a chance to check it out in the video. The mounting system is also upgraded, now you snug it into the top of the rail first, then sink it and click it into the bottom part of the mount. Charging is done with the 2amp portable charger, but the charging port is near the crank arm, so do be careful when charging on the bike so you don’t snag that cord with rotating pedals. To really care for this and other lithium-ion packs, I have heard that storing in a cool dry location vs. extreme heat or cold will extend the life and try to keep it about 50% full when not using for long periods so you won’t stress the cells. Try not to let it run down to zero, because that’s really hard on the cell chemistry.

The control center on the Propella 3.0 is basic but efficient. It’s a fixed, backlit LCD display with a four-bar battery indicator, pedal assist level (0-5), clock, speedometer and the ability to toggle between a tripometer and odometer with the quick press of the M power button. There’s also a walk mode that can be accessed by holding the down arrow for a second or so. The walk mode felt a little fast for me, around 4 mph, but when going uphill the speed slowed to a reasonable 1 or 2 mph. As far as I know, there’s no way to adjust the walk speed in the settings menu. Since this display is fixed, leaving the Propella 3.0 at a public bike rack might result in the display getting scratched up by another bike, or getting worn down by the sun and rain over time. Although the display itself isn’t particularly unique, I think this bike would likely attract a lot of attention, especially with the anodized blue wheels. And, much like the battery pack not having a USB charging port, the display lacks this also, so you cannot charge your phone, lights, or other portable electronics while riding. It’s not such a big deal here however, given the lower capacity battery pack. I really appreciate that the display panel is separate from the control pad, which is positioned super close to the left grip. This allows for easier interactions while riding, without having to take your hand off or even look down to change levels of assist.

So my thoughts on the Propella 3.0 are as follows… I found it to be a lot of fun to ride. After riding so many heavy ebikes, it was nice to be on a lightweight purpose built machine. It felt agile and nimble right from the get go, and I love how quick it seemed to pick up when I engaged the pedal assist. But the bike may not be for everyone. One of the big tradeoffs I think some might notice are the lack of comfort. With a rigid fork, flat grips, and active saddle, you can tell this isn’t a cruiser bike and may not be comfortable for long distances. I also noticed that coating on the chain was flaking off like paint, so it is likely not a real rust resistant coating. The battery capacity is on the smaller side too, but given the bikes active purpose, I don’t think it is that big of a deal. Propella has been at it for a while now, and it is always nice to see them perfect this bike. I think the 3.0’s $1,299 price-point is great too and I want to tank Propella for letting me check it out.

As always, I welcome questions and feedback in the comment section below. Whether you own the bike, have taken a test ride, or are brand new to the space, my goal is to provide an objective and honest resource. You can also join the Propella ebike forums and share your own photos, videos, and review updates to help others! Have fun out there, and ride safe :)

Pros:

  • Quite a looker, there as a lot of attention to detail aesthetically and it pays off, I love the blue matching accents and even the anodized coating on the rims and grips uses that same blue to keep it looking sharp
  • I found it to be a lot of fun to ride, it felt agile and nimble right from the get go, and I love how quick it seemed to pick up when I engaged the pedal assist
  • Continually upgraded, for the 3.0 you get a better battery casing with a little touch screen readout, more secure battery mounting system, a wider front fork, and even an upgraded head-tube
  • Very lightweight and affordable, the smaller battery, efficient road tires, and frame keep the weight down to just 38.2lbs, not bad for an ebike at all, and the cost is $1,299

Cons:

  • Since it has a rigid fork, flat grips, and active saddle, you can tell this isn’t a cruiser bike and may not be comfortable for long distances, those looking for a lot of comfort may want to add a suspension seat post or look at other offerings
  • I noticed that coating on the chain was flaking off like paint, so it is likely not a real rust resistant coating but rather painted for looks
  • The overall battery capacity is on the smaller side, but given the bikes active purpose, I don’t think it is that big of a deal, the smaller battery helps keep the overall weight down as well, so it has that going for it as well

Resources:

More Propella Reviews

August 21, 2018

Propella 2.2 7-Speed Review

  • MSRP: $1,299
  • MODEL YEAR: 2018

Lightweight, efficient, affordable urban electric bike, offered in one frame size and one color scheme (matte black with anodized blue accents), deep dish rims and reflective tires look cool and keep you visible at night. Minimalist 250 watt Bafang planetary geared hub motor, 244 watt hour lithium-ion battery pack designed…...

February 8, 2018

Propella V2.0 Single-Speed Review

  • MSRP: $1,199
  • MODEL YEAR: 2018

A lightweight urban ebike weighing just ~34 lbs, simple to use single speed drivetrain, beautiful black and blue color scheme throughout, stylized bottle-battery, efficient 250-watt hub motor. Top pedal-assist speed of 16 mph works exceptionally well the stock gearing ratio and the…...

Comments (10) YouTube Comments

John
5 months ago

I just put together the 3.2 ver and immediately rode it to a friends house to show it off- this thing is a blast! This is an awesome bike for someone who doesn’t want to spend a lot and wants to just have fun riding. Thanks folks for putting in the work and giving us great reviews.

  Reply
Court
5 months ago

Sure thing, John! I spoke to the founder of Propella recently and am hoping to do a 3.2 review sometime soon. What’s your favorite part of the bike so far? Any tips on what to zero in on for the review or questions you’d like answered?

  Reply
John
5 months ago

Hi Court,

It’s such a nice surprise how simple this bike is. It does look simple, and that is part of the point and it’s one of the reasons why I got it. Propella recommends taking this to a bike shop to put together and I was planning on doing so, but I found it to be unnecessary. Not to sound cocky or off-putting, assembly on this bike is very easy, there really isn’t that much to screw up. I did need to watch a youtube video for adjusting the brakes, used a business card and the multi-tool it comes with and now the brakes work great. I got the single speed so that may be why I didn’t have any issues. Also during assembly, I noticed you can rotate the riser bar a bit so the handles are further away or closer depending on your preference.

I found this bike to be spartan and minimalist, therefore by doing so it would sacrifice a bit of comfort, I noticed the opposite. The grips are not bad at all and the bike takes bumps well – haven’t had a reason to get the suspension seat post yet. Also I believe this was brought up in one of your reviews, but I really have had to try and convince my friends this is an electric bike because it looks like a normal bike with a water bottle.

This is my first ebike and right now my only questions are in regards to the fragility of the motor and electric parts. Do you know if jumping some curbs or putting the bike flat down in the back of a truck is going to damage the bike, sensors or motor?

  Reply
Court
5 months ago

Great feedback, John! I’m glad you’re enjoying the bike so much. To answer your question about fragility of the components… I’d say that the biggest risk is rattling the battery mount interface and causing lose connections there. Yes, the motor could also have issues with magnets coming unglued inside, but I think they are generally tough. Whether you lay the bike down on its side and the derailleur gets bent or the battery pack plastic mount starts to crack, I’d say it’s best not to jump it around unless you upgrade to one of the electric mountain bikes with softer tires and suspension. This road style ebike isn’t really meant to jump and push like that and the wheels, tires, battery, and electronics could all suffer over time. I’d probably remove the battery when laying it in the back of a truck, just to reduce the damage of the pack shaking around :)

  Reply
emile
4 months ago

I have been looking at this bike for quite awhile to use to commute to my commuter train station. My question is how is this bike on hills. I have one steep hill (1/4 mile long) on my ride and wondering if the hub motor can handle it.
Thanks
Emile

  Reply
Court
4 months ago

Hi Emile! You’ll definitely have to pedal, and I’d recommend the 7-speed version for sure, so you can shift down and pedal more easily. If you try to make it up a steep hill just using the throttle… and especially if you don’t have any speed going into it, the bike will probably struggle and then eventually stop. It could actually damage the motor and controller if they overheat, so it’s best to get off and walk or pedal along with a modest little hub motor like this ;) the good news is that the bike is lightweight, efficient, and affordable.

  Reply
Matt
1 month ago

First, thanks for the great reviews! I have roughly a 10 mile ride into work with some major hills. I’ve been using a cyclocross bike as my ride into work. With that being said, I’d love to have a second option on days where I don’t feel like doing all the work. With that in mind, I cannot justify spending 4k on an ebike. In my minimal research I’ve found two contenders.

  1. FLX Baby Maker
  2. Propella 3.4

Because of the hills, I think the Propella is my best option. With that being said, I am slightly concerned with the flat bar handle bars. Riding a cyclocross bike everyday, I love the ability to adjust my hands to get more comfortable.

In your experience testing the Propella, is the handle bar comfortable something I should be concerned about if I am ride 10 miles both ways every day? Can you add handle bar extenders to this bike? Are there any other bikes your would recommend around this price range that would meet my needs of commuting 20 miles a day?

Thanks!

  Reply
Court
1 month ago

Hi Matt, I also like the Propella product. It looks great and the company has been very proactive and easy to work with. I measured the handlebar bore at 31.8mm, which is very common, so you could either replace the handlebar or get some bar ends (the ends will be a smaller diameter than the center and most bar ends should work alright). I really liked the Propella efficiency, and it is probably fine if you’re used to riding a more aggressive cyclocross bicycle, but I found that ebikes go faster and further than my regular bicycle… I ride more, and I feel it in my back, neck, and arms. That’s why I recommend a suspension seat post, steeper shorter stem, mid-rise or swept back bars, or a suspension fork. My first ebike was a value buy, and I had buyers remorse because I loved it so much and wish I had spent more. I feel like a Haibike Trekking model or one of the Treke Verve+ or Allant+ models could be a great platform for commuting those 20-mile days.

Hopefully I’ve answered your question and provided some things to explore. I commuted to work in Austin for years by bike, even sold my car, and comfort became the big priority… plus reliability and handling. The Propella is great, but if you’re really riding a lot and love cycling… might be worth spending a touch more.

  Reply
Matthew
1 month ago

Hi Court, thanks for the detailed reply! I guess I don’t know exactly what I want in an e-bike yet.

Why I chose a cyclocross for my commuting bike: I enjoy the workout and accomplishment of biking 20 miles round trip. I felt like a cyclocross was the best option to speed into the city every day. If I chose a comfortable commuter, my ride may be more comfortable, but it would also be a longer ride as you cannot build up big speed on the flats on a regular city commuter bike. A road or cyclocross bike is definitely more suited for handling big hill climbs than a city commuter. Yes my butt get’s sore, but I enjoy the workout and the quick ride.

What I want out of an e-Bike: I “think” I still want to feel like I am biking, and I want the ability to get up to high speeds as I normally do on my cyclocross. I am simply just looking for something that will help with the deadly hill climbs and help on days where I am a bit too tired to put in all the effort. I was imagining still having to shower ever morning after my ride into work due to the effort I’ve put in on the ride in. And I want that, I think? Maybe a more comfortable ride and moderate pedaling would be nice. I think it might be nice to get an e-bike light enough were I could use it without the power assist on the flats?

As I am new to the e-bike word, can you tell me a little more about the expectations? If I were to get one of the more comfortable commuters you recommended, is that something where I would wear my work clothes on the 10mile ride in and not even break a sweat? If I am looking to still have that aggressive road bike workout, but with some assistance what bike might you recommend?

Thanks again for your time!

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