- A sleek, quiet, all-black, speed-pedelec with excellent weight distribution and smooth quiet power transfer, 10-speed drivetrain and powerful hydraulic disc brakes to match
- Stiff thru-axles and a rigid Aluminum alloy fork are balanced out by fatter 2.0" Schwalbe tires and TranzX Antishock stem and seat post for comfort
- Available in three frame sizes for improved fit, durable chain-guide doubles as a bash guard, oversized pedals, locking grips and upgraded kickstand, quality charger with magnetic plug
- Limited reflective surfaces and no integrated lights (though I believe dealers can add them), solid mid-level drivetrain from Shimano with 10 speeds, extensive dealer network and good warranty
The Redux iE has quickly become my favorite electric bike in the Raleigh lineup… but it feels like an abusive relationship because the high speed and rigid all-Aluminum frame take a toll on my wrists, arms, back, neck and backside when the terrain gets rough. This isn’t unique to the Redux, and in fact the fatter tires and anti-shock seat post and stem all aim to address it, but you still feel it at times. Thankfully, there are plenty of suspension seat post options to explore out there that would further reduce jar and the bike is otherwise, awesome! I loved how sleek and stealthy the frame looked before I even hopped on. The motor and battery are integrated into the tubing very well and practically disappear. Its all-black color scheme (all the way down to the spokes and rims) help the cables blend in at the entry points and most of them are internally routed. A lot of manufacturers have tried to imitate and beat Stromer (a brand known for sexy high-speed urban electric bikes) and for me, the Redux iE comes very close. By comparison, it’s lighter weight, offers better balance and is much more affordable despite being a little louder and not offering regenerative braking, fenders, a rack or lights. So perhaps the price difference on the Redux iE and some of the lower-level Stromer ST1 models is to be expected. But you do get the attachment points for fenders, bottle cage and a rack here if you want to add them yourself. And the display interface is very nice looking and removable, it even has a full sized USB port near the base that could power a headlight, music player or other electronic device mounted to the handlebar. In short, I’d probably add that light and consider upgrading the tires to a model with reflective sidewall stripes and even adding some black reflective stickers to the frame because this electric bicycle is so fast and quiet you might surprise automobile drivers.
Driving the bike is a Brose mid-drive motor that is seamlessly integrated at the bottom bracket area of the frame. It’s one of the most compact e-bike motor systems around right now and also one of the smartest. Its controller measures rear wheel speed, pedal cadence and pedal torque to deliver quick power. And it offers up to 90 Newton meters of torque which is the more than the Bosch CX and Yamaha drives despite having a 250 watt nominal output rating. It peaks above 500 watts as the highest assist level is selected and your RPM climbs. I had no problem hitting the 28 mph top assisted speed and yet I didn’t hear the same whining or electronic whirring noises that other systems produce. Brose uses a belt drive to transfer power from a planetary gearing system inside the casing which removes vibration and limits sound. You can see this in the video review above and frankly, I couldn’t believe how quiet it was after watching the footage. Even when the camera was close and I was pedaling hard, the motor sounded soft. Without fenders and a rack, there isn’t much else to rattle around and the battery has rubber interface points to keep it from rattling as well (though I did notice one of the pieces was coming unseated during my test, it was easy enough to squish back in and did not look like it would fall out easily).
The battery pack is equally impressive aside from weight. At roughly 6.8 pounds it’s average and I’m guessing the Aluminum casing is what raises it above some of the 5.7 lb 500 watt hour packs offered by other manufacturers. It seats into the downtube from the top vs. the bottom which seems safer to me. It clicks in easily and locks automatically without using the key. At the base, there’s a pair of ridges that help you pull the pack up and this is also where the circular power button is. towards the very top of the pack, a charging interface with magnetic cap can be found and BE CAREFUL not to lose this little cap. It doesn’t have a string or rubber connection leash like most others and is very easy to misplace. This charging location is excellent because it keeps the sensitive pins far away from water, dust and mud. You use the same port to charge the pack whether it’s on or off the bike and the 2.5 Amp charger is slightly faster than average and reasonably light at just under two pounds. The magnetic Energy Bus charging standard is cool because the plug pops out if you trip on the cord… which could prevent the bike from tipping. And I do like that they included a kickstand here and that it’s mounted far out of the way towards the rear wheel near the disc brake on the left. When you’ve got a fast ebike like this, even though it’s relatively light weight at ~58 lbs, you want good brakes and the Shimano hydraulic 180/160 mm setup here does just fine.
Operating the bike is very intuitive, just charge and mount the battery then press the circular power button at the base. For me, the display turned on instantly without having to press the second rubber power button located on the top edge. Perhaps this is a sleep button because it did turn off the display temporarily during my experimentation… but then it came back on as I started to pedal? In any case, you have a menu button on the side of the display and on the control pad near the left grip. This cycles through trip stats like odometer, trip meter, timer and clock but I did not see a range estimator. Too bad because thosse are fun to experiment with (Bosch and Yamaha usually have them). What you do get is a ten bar battery graphic which is much more precise than the four or five bar readouts on most models. Battery percentage would be even more useful but I’ll take what I can get! The primary interaction with this display is using the up and down arrows on the control pad, cycling through Off, Cruise, Tour and Sport assist levels. Sport will get you up to speed faster but draws down the battery quicker as well. I found myself riding in Tour most of the time when not filming. It felt natural and I was expecting to maximize range this way by hovering in the low 20’s. Any time you ride above ~20 mph the efficiency of the bike drops way down due to air resistance. It’s like an exponential drop… but you should still expect a decent range thanks to the larger battery capacity, rigid fork and efficient tires… especially if you wear a helmet like this!
Kudos to Raleigh for designing one of the more attractive and capable urban speed pedelecs I’ve seen on the market this year. Hovering around the $3k mark, this feels like a more affordable option but doesn’t cut corners. For me, it’s important to have a removable display panel and so many ebikes don’t offer that. I don’t want the sun, rain or fellow cyclists damaging my stuff at the rack and I don’t want to damage it myself by tripping over a cable etc. Comfort and road control at higher speeds are the two areas where you compromise with the lack of suspension. The tires, suspension post and stem make a difference but it’s not enough for me… so I’d definitely explore some options. Had it come with a suspension fork, weight would have gone up, power transfer down and the price wouldn’t be so tempting. A younger version of me would have been floored by this bike, and even now, I see how awesome it would be on smooth pavement… it’s worth noting that I don’t ride on road bikes as much now either, for the same reasons. The Redux delivers on a range of ride experiences and is one of a limited mid-drive Class 3 ebikes available right now. It’s also easier to find because Raleigh dealers are widespread and their two year warranty is solid. Big thanks to Raleigh for partnering with me on this review and the Accell Group for hosting me at their headquarters so I could test ride it and other models back to back.
- The Redux is a great starter platform for sporty urban commuting, it has bottle cage bosses and mounting points for a rear rack, you could also add fenders
- As a Class 3 electric bike, you get motor assist up to 28 mph which is perfect for people who enjoy faster rides or have a tight schedule
- Relatively light weight at ~48 lbs considering it has a 500 watt hour battery pack, the triangle on the frame is very wide and open making it easier to lift and carry
- I was amazed at how quiet it rides, the motor, the battery mount, the chain etc. don’t produce a lot of humming or rattling
- Thru-axles keep the wheels stiff and support larger tires, this allows you and the motor to transfer energy more efficiently into the bike but also get some comfort on bumpy terrain
- You get an anti-shock stem and seat post which are designed to reduce vibration and discomfort because of the all-Aluminum frame and rigid fork
- Minor detail, but I like the kickstand they chose because it stays out of the way and looks nice,
it’s slightly fatter than other stands and holds the bike well
- The battery, display panel and both wheels are easy to remove which is great for transporting the bike, fixing flats on the go or charging / protecting sensitive parts away from the bike rack
- Some electric bicycles are notorious for dropping the chain while riding on rough terrain (my Uncle owns the Stromer ST1 Limited and it falls off all the time for him) but Raleigh has used a chain guide (two plates sandwiching the chainring to keep the chain on track)
- The pedals are large, stiff and have metal nubs on top to improve traction, as a guy with medium-sized feet I appreciate these over cheaper cage style platform pedals
- Three frame sizes to choose from to improve fit and ride comfort, I was on the small frame for this review, there is only one frame style (high-step) so consider stand-over height, Raleigh has a large dealer network in the US so you can probably find and test ride this bike easier than some other brands
- Excellent weight distribution and a sweet appearance thanks to mid-drive motor and downtube-integrated battery, they blend in perfectly with the black color scheme
- Hydraulic disc brakes offer good stopping power and the adjustable reach levers are good for large and small riders with different length fingers (or if you wear gloves)
- The Brose motor is relatively quiet and smooth thanks to a transfer belt inside, it’s not just plastic and metal gears next to each other
- The battery can be charged on or off the bike, the port is magnetic so the plug will pop out without tipping the frame and won’t damage the interface and it’s located in a spot that isn’t in the way of the crank arms like a lot of other electric bicycles I test and review
- Full sized USB port the base of the display mount would allow you to charge a mobile phone, music player or headlight while riding
- I like that the battery pack seats in from the top vs. the bottom because it’s less likely to drop and generally easier to work with here
- The display panel is large, easy to read and comfortable to use because of the remote button pad located near the left grip, you can adjust assist without looking down as you get some practice
- While the antishock stem and seat post reduce vibration a little bit, I’d consider getting a longer-travel 31.6 mm seat post suspension like those offered by BodyFloat to improve comfort further
- I like that the bash guard / chain guide plates are punched out to reduce weight but my shoe lace got caught in there at one point and nearly tripped me up, perhaps a different pattern with larger holes would prevent this sort of thing?
- Be careful with ebike in dark riding conditions because it’s all black, the tires don’t have reflective sidewall stripes and it doesn’t come with lights (you do get standard plastic reflectors in the pedals and wheel spokes)
- Considering that you don’t get any of the accessories that this bike could use (fenders, lights,
rear rack) I was a little surprised at the price point, it seems slightly high
- Keep an eye on the little rubber cap used to cover the magnetic charging interface at the top of the battery, this rubber protector doesn’t have a leash and can easily be set down and lost if you don’t keep an eye on it
- The battery pack weighs more than some competing 500 watt hour packs, 6.8 lbs vs. 5.7 lbs on the Bosch Powerpack 500, this may be due to the metal casing and unique in-frame design
- I did not see a range estimator menu like some of the other ebikes are offering but do appreciate the 10-bar battery infographic, it’s more precise than the 4 or 5-bar menus that are common
- Brose mid-drive motors do not offer shift sensing at this time so it’s best to reduce pedal pressure when changing gears, this reduces mashing and wear on the chain, sprockets and derailleur
- The larger pedals are great for power transfer and traction but if you turn while pedaling or leave your inside crank arm down you can make contact with the ground so be careful