2015 Raleigh Venture iE Review

Raleigh Venture Ie Electric Bike Review 1
Raleigh Venture Ie
Raleigh Venture Ie Gearless Hub Motor
Raleigh Venture Ie Removable Battery Pack
Raleigh Venture Ie Lcd Throttle Grips
Raleigh Venture Ie 650b Tires
Raleigh Venture Ie Chain Guide Bash Guard
Raleigh Venture Ie Saddle Seat Post Suspension
Raleigh Venture Ie Sealed Button Pad
Raleigh Venture Ie Shimano Altus Derailleur
Raleigh Venture Ie Suntour Suspension Fork
Raleigh Venture Ie Electric Bike Review 1
Raleigh Venture Ie
Raleigh Venture Ie Gearless Hub Motor
Raleigh Venture Ie Removable Battery Pack
Raleigh Venture Ie Lcd Throttle Grips
Raleigh Venture Ie 650b Tires
Raleigh Venture Ie Chain Guide Bash Guard
Raleigh Venture Ie Saddle Seat Post Suspension
Raleigh Venture Ie Sealed Button Pad
Raleigh Venture Ie Shimano Altus Derailleur
Raleigh Venture Ie Suntour Suspension Fork

Summary

  • A comfortable, quiet city cruiser available in high-step and low-step frame configurations as well as multiple sizes for improved fit
  • Swept back handlebars, ergonomic grips and pedals, suspension fork and suspension seat post with oversized saddle for comfortable ride
  • Powerful but heavy motor, rear heavy battery position but pack is removable for convenient charging, no fenders or lights included

Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Raleigh

Model:

2015 Venture-iE

Price:

$2,400 USD

Body Position:

Upright Relaxed

Suggested Use:

Neighborhood, Urban

Electric Bike Class:

Throttle on Demand (Class 2)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

Lifetime Frame, One Year Components

Availability:

United States

Model Year:

20142015

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

55 lbs (24.94 kg) (Varies by Frame Type and Size)

Frame Material:

6061 Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

17 in (43.18 cm)19 in (48.26 cm)21 in (53.34 cm)

Frame Types:

Step-Thru, High-Step

Frame Colors:

Silver, Steel Blue

Frame Fork Details:

SR Suntour M3030 Suspension with 75 mm Travel

Attachment Points:

Rear Rack Bosses, Fender Bosses, Bottle Cage Bosses

Gearing Details:

8 Speed 1x8 Shimano Altus

Shifter Details:

Shimano SL-M310 Rapidfire Plus Triggers on Right Bar

Cranks:

42T

Pedals:

Nylon Platform, Ergonomic

Headset:

Threaded 1-1/8"

Stem:

Alloy Quill, Adjustable Angle

Handlebar:

Alloy Sweep, 640 mm x 50 mm Rise

Brake Details:

Promax Alloy V-Brake, Levers with Motor Cutoff

Grips:

Raleigh Comfort, Ergonomic

Saddle:

Oversized Raleigh Sprung Comfort

Seat Post:

Alloy Suspension with 40 mm Travel

Seat Post Length:

350 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

27.2 mm

Rims:

Weinmann XTB-26 Double Wall

Spokes:

14g Stainless Steel

Tire Brand:

Kenda K841A, 27.5" x 1.95"

Wheel Sizes:

27.5 in (69.85cm)

Tube Details:

Schrader Valve

Accessories:

Rear Carry Rack with Standard Gauge Tubing and Triple Bungee Cord, Aluminum Alloy Chain Guide / Bash Guard, Scissoring Two-Leg Kickstand, Bell on Right Grip

Other:

Quick-Connect Motor Cable with Quick Release Front and Rear Wheels, 12 Magnet Pedelec Sensor

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Currie Electro-Drive

Motor Type:

Rear-Mounted Gearless Direct Drive Hub
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

500 watts

Battery Voltage:

48 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

8.8 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

422.4 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

5 hours

Estimated Min Range:

25 miles (40 km)

Estimated Max Range:

45 miles (72 km)

Display Type:

Backlit Monochrome LCD, Fixed with Swivel Adjust

Readouts:

Speed, Odometer, Battery Capacity, Assist Level (1-4 and Throttle Mode)

Display Accessories:

Independent Button Pad on Left Bar

Drive Mode:

Cadence Sensing Pedal Assist, Twist Throttle (Cruise Control)

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph)

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Written Review

The Venture iE is a comfort hybrid from Raleigh that offers a powerful (but quiet) motor system designed by Currie Technologies, produced by TranzX. What you get here is a proven frame that comes in either high-step or step-thru configuration as well as multiple sizes for a perfect fit. This is probably my favorite ebike in Raleigh’s lineup for the late 2014/2015 season because the suspension fork, suspension seat post and fatter tires really smooth out the ride. the wheels themselves are 650B or 27.5″ which is slightly smaller than a road bike but larger than a traditional mountain bike. That makes them efficient but slightly more maneuverable and comfortable. Both the front and rear wheel offer quick release (and the motor has an easy disconnect point) which makes the bike easier to service or change flats on. While this electric bike doesn’t project a lot of excitement with flashy colors, disc brakes or integrated batteries and higher top speeds… that’s actually one of its strengths in my opinion. It blends in, it’s well priced, the motor is super quiet and it operates a lot like a regular bicycle only it helps you go further and climb hills more easily.

The motor driving this ebike is a gearless direct drive 500 watt hub located in the rear. It’s heavier than some geared equivalents but runs smoother, quieter and will last longer. This is actually one of my favorite electric bike motors from Currie Technologies because it rides so smooth but still feels zippy. One downside is that there is some cogging (drag from the larger magnets inside when the motor is off) but it’s not a deal killer. The silver color really blends in and the metal casing protects from dust and water when riding. The great thing about a hub motor is that it adds a sense of power no matter which gear you’re pedaling with. I was impressed with how much get up and go it has in both throttle and pedal assist mode (which have a top speed limit of 20 mph to comply with US regulation) as you can see in the video review above.

Powering the Venture-iE is an impressive 48 volt 8.8 amp hour Lithium battery pack with high quality Lithium-ion cells. The 48 volt configuration provides more electrical efficiency, power and torque which lets you take advantage of the 500 watt motor. What might otherwise feel mushy (when using the throttle) feels zippy even though the motor isn’t geared. The pack is removable for convenient charging and reducing the overall weight of the bike during transport. The rack is built in such a way that it completely surrounds the battery pack which adds some protection if the bike tips. The tubing on the rack is standard sized which makes adding bags or panniers seamless and it comes stock with a triple-bungee cord for securing basic items. I like that the battery also has a handle built in and that the handle has magnetic clasps that keep it stowed when riding. Also, unlike some older ebike batteries, this one does not require that you leave your keys in when riding and that’s great because they won’t be jingling around or be exposed to contact and snags.

Operating the ebike systems on this bike is very easy and intuitive. Once the battery has been charged up and is secured and locked in the back slot, just press the power button on the control pad and the screen comes to life. The display is backlit with an auto-light sensor for easy use at night and shows your speed, battery level and assist level as well as range. To maximize your distance, I suggest using pedal assist but it’s also nice to have instant power from the throttle mode. You can also use the throttle in conjunction with pedaling at any time to add a bit more power in the lower levels of assist but for this to work you have to be pedaling. In terms of pedal power, you get an eight speed cassette in the rear and a trigger shifter interface on the right bar. The derailleur and sprockets are mid-level in terms of quality and in my opinion eight speeds is enough to get around town and climb hills without adding the complexity of a second front derailleur. I really like the front chain guide they’ve used here which doubles as a bash guard in case you hit a curb but you don’t get fenders or a chain guide on this bike. Lights would also be nice but definitely add to the price.

The Venture-iE appeals to me for its comfort, quiet operation, power and availability. In the past it was much harder to find and test ride an ebike (and get a frame size that would fit right). Raleigh has lots of distribution outlets and is actually one of the oldest bicycle companies in the world, having been founded in Nottingham UK in 1885. Their deep knowledge of frames, wheels and other components combined with economies of scale for manufacturing keeps this bike at a relatively good price. The drive system also comes from a leading company, Currie Technologies, that has been producing ebikes and scooters in the US since 1997 and this drive system is actually a second generation build so there shouldn’t be any kinks or bugs in the system. While I would have liked to see fenders and lights, it’s nice that those can still be added aftermarket and while this is a rear-heavy frame design it’s much less of an issue for just cruising around on roads and I really like the rack setup. For commuting or just cruising around town this could be an excellent choice.

Pros:

  • Available in high-step and low-step designs and multiple frame sizes to suite different rider types, given the rear battery rack setup a low-step frame may be easier to mount vs. swinging your leg over the back end
  • Proven frame design from Raleigh has been used on non-electric bikes for many years, 6061 aluminum is sturdy and relatively light weight
  • Excellent accessories including chain guide and bash guard, rear rack with standard tubing and bungee adapter, built in reflectors and adjustable double leg kickstand
  • Comfortable and safe upright seating position with swept-back handlebars, ergonomic grips and an oversized sprung saddle
  • Suspension fork adds comfort but is pretty basic (no lockout adjust) the seat post suspension is also very nice and the fatter tire design is softer than the narrow tires on the Raleigh Detour-iE
  • Very quiet motor considering the high power 500 watt design, also known for being durable and long lasting as there are no plastic gears inside
  • Battery can be charged on or off the bike, slides on easily and locks to frame, has a magnetic clasp so the handle stays folded in and won’t get bumped and broken as easily
  • Quick release wheels (including the rear wheel) with a special easy disconnect cable for the hub motor, makes tuneups easier for the shop and also easier for you if the tire goes flat and needs a quick fix at home
  • Solid warranty, available at lots of locations throughout the USA for easier test riding, fitting and future service
  • Brake levers have a cutoff switch to the motor for safety, V-brakes provide good stopping power and the pads are inexpensive to replace as they wear over time
  • Good price considering the higher end drive system and frame options available, cables are all tucked away in the frame for a nice aesthetic, two classic colors (silver and metallic light-blue)
  • The 650B wheels are efficient, handle bumps and cracks well, feature larger soft tires and are more maneuverable than larger 700C wheels

Cons:

  • Rear-heavy design makes the bike less stable and less agile than something with a mid-mount pack, frame can flex if whipped back and forth (more-so on the step-thru)
  • Plastic pedals can become more slippery when wet, no fenders or chain guard included to keep you clean however the rear battery and rack do provide some protection in the back
  • Lights are not included, would be nice to have them setup to run off the main battery pack vs. aftermarket that use disposable cells
  • Display panel is not easily removable, may endure more wear over time vs. one that could be taken off when parked

Resources:

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