Raleigh Retroglide iE Review

Raleigh Retroglide Ie Electric Bike Review
Raleigh Retroglide Ie
Raleigh Retroglide Ie Currie Electro Drive Tranzx Motor
Raleigh Retroglide Ie Rack Mounted 48 Volt Battery
Raleigh Retroglide Ie Ergonomic Grips Minimalist Display Panel
Raleigh Retroglide Ie Linear Pull Brakes Cruiser Tire
Raleigh Retroglide Ie 7 Speed Shimano Altus Drivetrain
Raleigh Retroglide Ie Velo Comfort Saddle With Springs
Raleigh Retroglide Ie Cantilever Frame Blue
Raleigh Retroglide Ie Mens Frame Cruiser Ebike Mid Drive
Raleigh Retroglide Ie 2 Amp Portable Charger
Raleigh Retroglide Ie Cantilever High Step
Raleigh Retroglide Ie Electric Bike Review
Raleigh Retroglide Ie
Raleigh Retroglide Ie Currie Electro Drive Tranzx Motor
Raleigh Retroglide Ie Rack Mounted 48 Volt Battery
Raleigh Retroglide Ie Ergonomic Grips Minimalist Display Panel
Raleigh Retroglide Ie Linear Pull Brakes Cruiser Tire
Raleigh Retroglide Ie 7 Speed Shimano Altus Drivetrain
Raleigh Retroglide Ie Velo Comfort Saddle With Springs
Raleigh Retroglide Ie Cantilever Frame Blue
Raleigh Retroglide Ie Mens Frame Cruiser Ebike Mid Drive
Raleigh Retroglide Ie 2 Amp Portable Charger
Raleigh Retroglide Ie Cantilever High Step

Summary

  • A classically styled electric cruiser with efficient and powerful mid-drive motor system, available in cantilever high-step and step-thru frame designs (two sizes), metallic blue or pink
  • Sturdy rear rack protects the battery and offers standard gauge rails for clip-on panniers, paint-matched steel fenders and alloy chain cover keep your pants clean and snag-free
  • Comfortable swept-back handlebar compliments the oversized sprung saddle and balloon tires to reduce vibration and smooth out the bumps, reinforced frame and mid-motor reduce flex
  • Simplified display panel doesn't show as many readouts but keeps the cockpit clean, basic linear-pull brakes get the job done but aren't as refined as disc brakes, no lights or reflective paint on the tires

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Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Raleigh

Model:

Retroglide iE

Price:

$1,999

Body Position:

Upright Relaxed

Suggested Use:

Neighborhood, Cruising

Electric Bike Class:

Pedal Assist (Class 1), Throttle on Demand (Class 2)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

2 Year Comprehensive, Lifetime Frame

Availability:

United States

Model Year:

2017

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

57.5 lbs (26.08 kg)

Battery Weight:

7.4 lbs (3.35 kg)

Motor Weight:

9.5 lbs (4.3 kg)

Frame Material:

6061 Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

16 in (40.64 cm)18 in (45.72 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

Mid-Step: 23" Stand Over Height, High-Step: 30.5" Stand Over Height

Frame Types:

High-Step, Mid-Step

Frame Colors:

Gloss Metallic Pink, Gloss Metallic Blue

Frame Fork Details:

Rigid Alloy, 9 mm Quick Release Skewer

Frame Rear Details:

10 mm Quick Release Skewer

Attachment Points:

Rear Rack Bosses, Fender Bosses, Bottle Cage Bosses

Gearing Details:

7 Speed 1x7 Shimano Altus, 12-32T Cassette

Shifter Details:

Shimano SIS Index Thumb Shifter on Right

Cranks:

Lasco EB05 Crank Arms, 170 mm Length, Alloy Chainring with Alloy Guide, 42T

Pedals:

Plastic Platform with Rubber Tread

Headset:

FSA 1-1/8"

Stem:

Quill Alloy, 60 mm

Handlebar:

Promax Steel, 25.4 mm Diameter, 630 mm Length, 55 mm Rise, Mid-Rise

Brake Details:

Tektro Mechanical Linear Pull Brakes, Generic Levers

Grips:

Raleigh Branded, Rubber, Ergonomic

Saddle:

Velo Comfort, Sprung

Seat Post:

Tranz-X Alloy with Quick Release Collar

Seat Post Length:

350 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

27.2 mm

Rims:

Paint Matched, Doublewall, Aluminum Alloy, 36 Hole

Spokes:

Stainless Steel, 13 Gauge, Silver with Nipples

Tire Brand:

Kenda Cruiser, 26" x 2.25"

Wheel Sizes:

26 in (66.04cm)

Tire Details:

40 to 65 PSI

Tube Details:

Schrader Valve

Accessories:

Integrated Alloy Rack with Pannier Hangers, Paint Matched Steel Fenders, Paint-Matched Alloy Chain Cover, Single Side Adjustable Length Kickstand

Other:

Locking Removable Battery Pack, 1.8 Pound 2 Amp Charger, Hold + for Walk Mode Then - to Walk

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Currie Electro-Drive® (TranzX, Model M16)

Motor Type:

Mid-Mounted Geared Motor
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

350 watts

Motor Peak Output:

500 watts

Motor Torque:

68 Newton meters

Battery Brand:

Panasonic

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:

20 miles (32 km)

Estimated Max Range:

40 miles (64 km)

Display Type:

Currie Electro Drive DP27, Fixed, LED, Adjustable Angle

Readouts:

Speed, Battery Capacity (Green, Yellow, Red), Assist Level (0-4), Range

Display Accessories:

Independent Button Pad on Left (+, -, On/Off), Mini 5 Volt USB Port

Drive Mode:

Cadence Sensing Pedal Assist (Optional Boost Button Throttle)

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph)

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Written Review

The Regroglide iE is one of my favorite electric bicycles from Raleigh. It strikes a perfect balance of quality, comfort, and value. In a world with so many hub motor powered cruisers, Raleigh has introduced a mid-drive concept that feels more balanced, offers better climbing ability and keeps the drivetrain clean and simple. You even get quick release wheels, which is useful for reducing weight and changing flats. I’m usually complimenting frame size choices and unisex color options but Raleigh has gone straight to a his-and-hers setup with metallic blue or pink paint and a larger high-step cantilever and smaller step-thru. It makes sense, it acknowledges that girls usually prefer bright fun colors while guys go for handsome dark tones… but it does require that guys either step high to mount the frame or carefully swing their leg over the rear rack and possible bag attachments. From a mechanical perspective, both versions operate identically but the step-thru isn’t quite as stiff or strong as the high-step. For $2,000 you get a lot of neat upgrades in utility and quality including a seven-speed Shimano Altus drivetrain, ergonomic grips, a very comfortable sprung saddle, and color-matched fenders, chain cover, rear rack, and fork. The rear rack is quite good, many times these battery-mount racks have oversized tubing for strength but lack the narrower gauge hangars for adding clip-on panniers and bags. You get both a top and side set of rails here that are easy to work with and actually useful. Bravo Raleigh…

Driving the Retroglide iE electric bike is a TranzX M16 mid-drive motor that offers plenty of power but doesn’t feel jerky or surprising when it starts. Raleigh did a great job with the motor controller here because it starts and stops the motor very quickly. That’s important given the lack of brake lever motor inhibitors that I usually see on cadence sensing ebikes. I guess their cadence sensor was responsive enough that they decided this was a fine trade off. Just remember, if you’re pedaling in one of the four assist modes and braking simultaneously… you’ll be fighting the motor. And with its peak power output of 68 Nm, this is one of the more capable mid-drive systems on the market. By comparison, the standard Bosch Performance Line motor (which usually costs much more) offers a peak output of 63 Nm and the Active line (which is used for relaxed neighborhood cruisers and some folding bikes) puts out just 48 Nm. As mentioned earlier, mid-drive motors keep weight low and center, they can be very efficient if you shift gears (so they don’t struggle when climbing or spin at high RPM when riding fast) and allow for quick release wheels and easier service.

Powering the motor, LED display console, the Mini-USB port on the display and potentially lights (since the bike is pre-wired for them) is an efficient 48 volt 8.8 Amp hour battery pack. It’s well protected in the rear rack frame and has a folding handle to reduce any potential of drops when transporting to and from the bike. I usually remove battery packs when lifting ebikes and storing them outside. The pack adds a lot of weight and is sensitive to extremely hot and cold conditions. You’re best off to store it in a cool, dry location… and I usually leave it at ~80% if I know I’m not going to be using it for a while. You can quickly and easily gauge how full the pack is by pressing the power button which activates a five-LED readout. Four out of five lights means it’s at ~80%. I was told that the actual battery cells inside the pack are Lithium-ion manufactured by Panasonic. This is one of the leading battery makers, known for reliability and longevity. And the standard 2 Amp charger is compact and light enough to take with you on rides to extend range. I like the metal end piece, which will hold up better to being dropped and stepped on than a lot of the other plastic designs. The battery locks into the frame but does not require the key to be left in. My only complaint with all of this is that there are moments when I’ll excitedly jump onto the bike and hope to activate it by using the display panel… only to remember that I need to first press the battery power button. This might require an awkward reach backward or complete dismount and is not required on a lot of other electric bikes I test.

Once the battery is on and the display has come to life, you’ll see a window with a number (your speed or range, if you click power again in any of the assist levels). This is a neat feature because the battery capacity indicator is a very simple three-led voltage gauge going from green to yellow to red. Range is much more useful and it dynamically updates as you ride, as the battery drains and as you navigate through the four assist levels using the plus and minus keys. These buttons are easy to reach while still holding the left grip and that’s important for safety. If you wanted to buy the optional $50 boost button throttle ring, you could mount it in front of the control pad but that would make reaching more difficult. Alternatively, mounting it between the shifter and right grip would make shifting more difficult. I don’t really love the boost button because it requires you to reach and push down on either a 6 mph or 20 mph button constantly. This becomes uncomfortable in a hurry, and given that you need to get the bike rolling at ~2 mph before the throttle will even engage, one of the main benefits is lost. I usually rely on throttles to help me get going from standstill, and buttons would be way less sensitive than large triggers and twist throttles so I was disappointed that Raleigh did not enable it at zero. It’s a big missed opportunity given the weight of the bike and type of rider who might really want help getting moving.

A few other highlights I wanted to call out explicitly before closing this review include the large plastic pedals (grippy but less likely to cut you than alloy with pins), the integrated Mini-USB port on the control pad, and the rear-mounted kickstand (which stays out of the way when the cranks are turned). I’m so torn on this electric bike because it offers great value for the price, looks beautiful, and gets so many details right… but the boost button 2 mph thing upsets me, the brakes leave a lot to be desired, the big thumb shifter is annoying, and the lack of brake lever motor inhibitors is understandable but a bit surprising given past designs. Mid-drive cruisers are wonderful and one of my favorites is the Electra Townie Go! which uses Bosch vs. TranzX (with shift sensing and torque + cadence operation)… but it costs $700+ more. Raleigh has done a fine job with this product and it would make for an excellent fun or utility cycle. Big thanks to Raleigh and Currie Technologies for partnering with me on this review and inviting me to their North American headquarters in Southern California. This is one of my favorite Raleigh ebike products to date, they offer an excellent warranty and have a history of reliable customer support via phone. I hope this review helps you weigh the trade-offs on what I consider to be a value priced mid-level product.

Pros:

  • To me, this electric bicycle offers a great balance of accessories, aesthetics, sizing, and low price
  • Even though there is only one frame size for each frame style… it’s great that they are slightly different (16″ and 18″), clearly aimed to be a his-and-hers setup
  • Despite being so compact, the display console is actually very comprehensive with speed, range (in any level of pedal assist, press the power button once and the speed readout will switch to range), assist level and battery level represented… the only drawback is that the battery level readout is so basic (red, yellow, green) vs. a percentage readout or 5+ ticks on an info-graphic like LCD displays often show
  • As someone with a sensitive back and neck, I appreciate upright bicycles and often pay extra for suspension… but that adds weight and cost, the swept-back bars, ergonomic grips, large tires and sprung saddle strike an excellent balance on the Retroglide, consider swapping the rigid seat post with a 27.2 mm suspension design like this but note that it will raise the minimum seat height by about three inches
  • The bikes look beautiful… I love the matching fork, fenders, chain cover, rims and sturdy welded-on rack, note also that the shifter cables and wires are internally routed vs. tacked on
  • In addition to a chain cover, this bike also has a sturdy Aluminum chain guide to protect the chainring and keep the chain from bouncing off (a common occurrence on some ebikes)
  • Solid seven-speed drivetrain gives you plenty of range to climb or reach and maintain 20 mph pedaling, the Shimano Altus component group is one step up from the base model Shimano Tourney and might stay in tune and shift easier
  • The TranzX M16 centerdrive motor offers a lot of torque, 68 Newton meters is plenty for moderate climbs and is more efficient than hub motors if you shift appropriately
  • The control pad / display panel has a Mini-USB port integrated along the right edge which can be used to charge portable electronic devices like cell phones, or fun extras like speakers and lights, consider using an adapter like this
  • Incredibly, both frames have bottle cage bosses on the tubing! this allows you to add a water bottle, folding lock, mini-pump or other accessory without having to buy a bag or panniers for the back
  • The electronics on this e-bike are linked together through a CAN bus system which allows dealers to diagnose issues more easily, this saves time and allows for modular replacement vs. an entire overhaul if problems arise… dealers can also help you lower the top speed of the bike if 20 mph is too fast
  • Raleigh electric is now selling online but they also work through a widespread network of dealers who offer test rides, proper assembly, and fitting
  • You can use the display to walk the bike with “walk mode” which is really handy considering how heavy it is, especially if you have cargo bags full of gear or groceries on the back (in any level of pedal assist, hold the plus button until a green LED appears and then hold minus to activate walk mode)
  • For those who want an electric bike that doesn’t require a lot of physical exertion,
    the cadence sensor and optional boost button for this bike would be a good fit, though the throttle costs extra and does not work at standstill, cadence sensing requires you to pedal the first half-rotation before it kicks in and often this is the hardest stroke or two
  • The battery pack has an integrated handle with magnetic clasp (so the handle doesn’t bounce around) and I like that the end plug on the charger is metal so it won’t crack as easily if stepped on or dropped
  • Both wheels offer quick release! this is pretty uncommon for electric cruisers and is one of the benefits of a mid-drive motor vs. hub motor, taking the wheels off reduces weight for transport and is also useful when performing maintenance
  • If you wanted to add some lights, the Retroglide iE comes pre-wired so it’s easier for your shop to plug them in to run off of the main battery, it’s more convenient than using independent lights that can get stolen off of the frame and have to be turned on/off separately each time you ride
  • Sometimes, cadence sensing pedal assist can feel jerky like on/off but the Retroglide motor controller starts very smooth… and you get more power as you get going a little faster,
    it’s a great setup for a relaxed neighborhood cruiser model like this

Cons:

  • Limited color options, if you’re a man who isn’t as tall or appreciates a step-thru frame, your only option is to get the pink color which is a bit more femanine
  • Rear-rack batteries are less stable than mid-frame but are often used on cruisers to achieve a beautiful cantilever tube style, since this ebike uses a mid-motor, it’s not as rear-heavy as competing models which put the motor and battery at the back
  • Rim brakes do an alright job, they actually produce a lot of leverage, but the rubber can age and harden and they can scratch rims in wet or dirty conditions so this is a cost savings choice with some consequences
  • At ~57 lbs, this is not a lightweight electric bike… but it’s not unreasonable for cruiser style bikes with metal fenders, the removable ~7.4 lb battery makes it easier to move
  • I think the large Shimano SIS Index shifters are difficult to reach and shift compared to smaller triggers but they are pretty easy to understand (with a little window readout) and can be used with gloves since they are so large
  • As much as I like the mid-motor concept, it does exert strain on the chain, sprockets, and derailleur and the TranzX M16 does not have shift sensing so be sure to ease off a little before shifting gears to reduce wear
  • It really surprised me that the brake levers did not have motor inhibitors… cadence sensing is less responsive than torque or combined sensors and even though the motor is pretty fast, it’s one area that
  • In order to activate the electronic systems, you first have to press a power button on the battery pack (near the rear left corner) and then press power on the display vs. just one step at the display which is easy to reach once you’ve been seated

Resources:

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Mark23
4 days ago

Thanks for your reply and suggestions, I'll definitely check them out, Mark.

Juiced OceanCurrent has beach cruiser styling, very wide sweeping back handlebars, both high and mid-step frames, 26" wheels with wide 2.35" tires for a lower riding height and comfort, a 48v rear hub motor, mechanical disk brakes, weighing 51lb, for $1300. It has pedal assist with a torque sensor that modulates power depending on how hard you pedal, and a thumb throttle. The battery is mounted in the center of the bike on the down tube that distributes the weight.

Raleigh Superbe iE has classic bicycle styling, standard width swept back handlebars, both diamond and step-through frames, larger 700c/28" wheels with 1 5/8" regular bicycle tires, a 48v rear hub motor, rim brakes, fenders chainguard and rack, weighing 50.2lb, for $1500. It has pedal assist with a cadence sensing motor on/off switch, no throttle. The battery is mounted on top of the rack and with the motor in the rear wheel hub the handling may feel a little rear heavy. Another model, the Raleigh Retroglide has cruiser styling, 26" wheels with wider 2 1/4" tires for lower riding height and comfort, a 48v Currie mid-drive motor so weight is distributed, an optional boost button throttle, but is slightly heavier at 57.5lb, for $1900.

If you are interested in a crank forward ebike the Luna Smoothie is a conversion of the KHS Smoothie cruiser frame, with 26" wheels and a 3-speed IGH with the step-through frame for $1780. The low adjustable seatpost, 26" wheels, and low step over height of the step-through frame provide an upright riding position, and the powerful BBSHD mid-drive motor is a $100 option that would get you up any hill, but you don't get a warranty unless you spend more, also the photos on the Luna website don't show a chainguard so if desired you would need to contact Luna to ask if the stock KHS chainguard can be made to work with their conversion or try to make one fit using frame clamps as the typical bottom bracket mounts won't work with a BBS motor, also there's no Luna Cycle shop network unlike with Juiced or Raleigh so you would need to find a KHS dealer to test ride the frame, and an independent ebike shop that services bafang mid-drive motors.

Dewey
5 days ago

Juiced OceanCurrent has beach cruiser styling, very wide sweeping back handlebars, both high and mid-step frames, 26" wheels with wide 2.35" tires for a lower riding height and comfort, a 48v rear hub motor, mechanical disk brakes, weighing 51lb, for $1300. It has pedal assist with a torque sensor that modulates power depending on how hard you pedal, and a thumb throttle. The battery is mounted in the center of the bike on the down tube that distributes the weight.

Raleigh Superbe iE has classic bicycle styling, standard width swept back handlebars, both diamond and step-through frames, larger 700c/28" wheels with 1 5/8" regular bicycle tires, a 48v rear hub motor, rim brakes, fenders chainguard and rack, weighing 50.2lb, for $1500. It has pedal assist with a cadence sensing motor on/off switch, no throttle. The battery is mounted on top of the rack and with the motor in the rear wheel hub the handling may feel a little rear heavy. Another model, the Raleigh Retroglide has cruiser styling, 26" wheels with wider 2 1/4" tires for lower riding height and comfort, a 48v Currie mid-drive motor so weight is distributed, an optional boost button throttle, but is slightly heavier at 57.5lb, for $1900.

If you are interested in a crank forward ebike the Luna Smoothie is a conversion of the KHS Smoothie cruiser frame, with 26" wheels and a 3-speed IGH with the step-through frame for $1780. The low adjustable seatpost, 26" wheels, and low step over height of the step-through frame provide an upright riding position, and the powerful BBSHD mid-drive motor is a $100 option that would get you up any hill, but you don't get a warranty unless you spend more, also the photos on the Luna website don't show a chainguard so if desired you would need to contact Luna to ask if the stock KHS chainguard can be made to work with their conversion or try to make one fit using frame clamps as the typical bottom bracket mounts won't work with a BBS motor, also there's no Luna Cycle shop network unlike with Juiced or Raleigh so you would need to find a KHS dealer to test ride the frame, and an independent ebike shop that services bafang mid-drive motors.

Blisandt
2 months ago

Raleigh Retroglide iE 2017

It's Red. I have had this bike for 60 days. I just had it tuned up and it is a gem! I am selling because I want to do MORE biking than I could have imagined, but this is a GREAT commuter bike! Not a thing wrong with it!

Raleigh's Retroglide iE sports classic retro styling with a modern, technological twist. A classically styled aluminum frame is morphed with a pedal-assist motor that helps you go farther, faster, and with less effort.

Whenever you need a boost, the Currie Electro-Drive Centerdrive motor lets you zip along at up to 20 miles per hour, for up to 35 miles! Sturdy wheels, and a smooth-shifting 7-speed drivetrain to help on the hills, the Retroglide iE is ready for endless cruising. Keeping with the throwback theme, there's a springer seat for superb comfort on every adventure, fat balloon tires, cool fenders, and a stamped Raleigh chain guard to add to the classy looks. And a COMFY SEAT!

Pictures available upon request.

Selling with no sales tax... $1500 It's located in BOSTON Area and I will not ship it... but we can meet if you are in N. E. It's in "excellent used" condition because my pannier and basket have made marks on the paint job. Those are the only blemishes!

Additional Information
FRAME Aluminum 6061, Comfort Geometry
FORK High Tensile Steel w/Fender Mounts
MOTOR SPECS Currie Electro-Drive Centerdrive 350W
DRIVE SYSTEM Currie Electro-Drive Centerdrive 350W
BATTERY TYPE/WEIGHT 48V Lithium-ion, 8.7Ah, 417Wh
RANGE ON FULL CHARGE 16-35 miles
MAX. ASSISTED SPEED 20 mph (32 kph)
RIMS/WHEELS Weinmann XTB26 Double Wall 36h
HUBS Modus 36h w/QR
TIRES Kenda 26×2.25", 30TPI
CRANKSET Centerdrive
CHAINRING 42T
REAR DERAILLEUR Shimano Altus
REAR COGS Shimano 7spd (12-32t)
SHIFTERS Shimano SL-TX50 7spd
BRAKES Tektro Linear Pull
HANDLEBARS Alloy 25.4, W:630mm
TAPE/GRIPS Raleigh Grips
STEM Alloy quill, 80mm
SADDLE Velo Raleigh
SEATPOST Alloy 27.2x350mm

Glendale Walter
3 months ago

Sooner or later we are going to b reviewing Pee Wee Herman's version of an electric bike with all the James Bond 007 bells and whistles lol.

Jason Hacker
3 months ago

That battery sure strips the style of an otherwise great looking pair of bikes.

brighton dude
3 months ago

"RetroGlide" is a great name, it makes me think of the famous Harley Davidson Electra Glide. However I think I'd be more inclined towards the Juiced Bikes OceanCurrent you reviewed just before this. The battery position is better on the OceanCurrent I think. The RetroGlide has a centre motor, which I like, but that battery in the rack puts me off rather. Personally I'm just fine with V-type brakes.

Andrew
3 months ago

So CAN bus like vehicles? thats pretty cool. I like the high step, but the SPRITE IE
STEP THRU looks better than the retro step thru... Are they going to offer bigger batteries down the road? 8.8 ah is a bit low for me as I've gotten too used to my 48v 17.5 ah battery range.

Brian Foster
3 months ago

Are you ever going to do an electric ELF review? Your last ELF review was in 2014. Rob Cotter is really trying to mass produce these vehicles, with the hope they can replaces as many cars as possible. Your reviews are watched by a lot of people, and tis could really help Organic Transit.

John Moura
3 months ago

Beautiful blue bike! Good price. I owned a 1972 Raleigh Super Course road bike when I was in High School.

Alex NC
3 months ago

I hear your about the break inhibitors. In reality, all electric bikes should have them as a safely standard. It's an easy, yet very effective safety upgrade.

stevematix
3 months ago

Looks fun but quite expensive 😑

ElectricBikeReview.com
3 months ago

Yeah, I'd call this mid-level... the price is lower than most ebikes at $2k but is still not "cheap". For a mid-drive motor on a purpose built frame, that's about as low as they go right now