Raleigh Sprite iE Review

2017 Raleigh Sprite Ie Step Thru
2017 Raleigh Sprite Ie
2017 Raleigh Sprite Ie Alloy Chain Cover And Guide
2017 Raleigh Sprite Ie Rack Slide 48 Volt Ebike Battery
2017 Raleigh Sprite Ie Minimalist Button Pad Led Console
2017 Raleigh Sprite Ie Tektro Linear Pull Mechanical Brakes
2017 Raleigh Sprite Ie Rear Kickstand Cargo Rack Battery
2017 Raleigh Sprite Ie Shimano Altus 7 Speed
2017 Raleigh Sprite Ie Blue Ebike
2017 Raleigh Sprite Ie Mens High Step Diamond Frame
2017 Raleigh Sprite Ie 2 Amp Electric Bike Battery Charger
2017 Raleigh Sprite Ie Electric Bike Review
2017 Raleigh Sprite Ie Step Thru
2017 Raleigh Sprite Ie
2017 Raleigh Sprite Ie Alloy Chain Cover And Guide
2017 Raleigh Sprite Ie Rack Slide 48 Volt Ebike Battery
2017 Raleigh Sprite Ie Minimalist Button Pad Led Console
2017 Raleigh Sprite Ie Tektro Linear Pull Mechanical Brakes
2017 Raleigh Sprite Ie Rear Kickstand Cargo Rack Battery
2017 Raleigh Sprite Ie Shimano Altus 7 Speed
2017 Raleigh Sprite Ie Blue Ebike
2017 Raleigh Sprite Ie Mens High Step Diamond Frame
2017 Raleigh Sprite Ie 2 Amp Electric Bike Battery Charger
2017 Raleigh Sprite Ie Electric Bike Review

Summary

  • A comfortable neighborhood style electric bike with smaller wheels to lower the frame and slightly wider tires to improve comfort and stability
  • Available in four frame sizes and two styles (high-step and step-thru), the paint jobs are classy and the rear rack, front fork, and chain cover match
  • Simple compact display panel is easy to understand and use at first blush but offers some fancy readouts like range, has walk mode, offers Mini-USB charging, and works with an optional boost button
  • The motor is powerful and well placed but not as responsive or efficient because it just measures cadence, this is good for people who don't want to push hard to keep the bike moving

Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Raleigh

Model:

Sprite iE

Price:

$1,899

Body Position:

Upright Relaxed

Suggested Use:

Neighborhood, Urban

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:

54.2 lbs (24.58 kg)

Battery Weight:

7.4 lbs (3.35 kg)

Motor Weight:

9.5 lbs (4.3 kg)

Frame Material:

6061 Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

13 in (33.02 cm)15 in (38.1 cm)17 in (43.18 cm)19 in (48.26 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

Step-Thru: 16" Stand Over Height, High-Step: 28" Stand Over Height

Frame Types:

High-Step, Step-Thru

Frame Colors:

White with Blue Accents, Blue with White Accents

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, 175 mm Length, Alloy Chain Cover with Alloy Guide, 42T

Pedals:

Plastic Platform with Rubber Tread

Headset:

FSA 1-1/8"

Stem:

Promax Alloy Adjustable Angle, 105 mm Length, Four 5 mm Stacks

Handlebar:

Promax Alloy, 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

Seat Post:

Tranz-X Alloy with Quick Release Collar

Seat Post Length:

350 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

29.8 mm

Rims:

Weinnann XTB26 Doublewall, Aluminum Alloy, 36 Hole

Spokes:

Stainless Steel, 13 Gauge, Black with Nipples

Tire Brand:

Kenda Kwest, 26" x 1.95"

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 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 Raleigh Sprite iE is a perfect electric bike for someone who is willing to pay a little extra for reliability, a great warranty, and easier maintenance… but still, wants good value. The bike comes in two flavors (high-step and step-thru), four frame size options, and offers paint matched fanders, rear rack, and rigid alloy fork. Its slightly fatter tires, medium-wider saddle, swept-back bars, and adjustable stem, really let you dial in a comfortable or active body position. I was impressed with the display panel because of how simple it was to use at first but then later, how many options it offered for advanced users… like a 5-volt Mini-USB port to charge your phone or other portable electronic device, and the range menu readout. Considering how compact the LED display unit is, it worked very well and had the benefit of not being distracting or feeling delicate. You usually want the weight of a bicycle to be low and center if possible, but I can see why Raleigh opted for a rear-rack battery because it allows for a really nice step-thru frame… and this way, both battery packs are interchangeable and thus, less expensive. This is an electric bicycle that I could see older adults and seniors enjoying. It’s not especially fast, keeps you lower to the ground because of its 26″ wheels vs. 28″ on many other city bikes, and it’s just simple and beautiful. The kickstand is well placed, the ergonomic grips feel good, the linear-pull brakes are reminiscent of classic bicycles, the likes of which Raleigh has been manufacturing since 1885. This is one of the oldest bicycle companies in the world after all.

Driving the 2017 Sprite iE is a 350 watt nominally rated TranzX M16 mid-motor. It’s compact, efficient, and impressively powerful if you click up to the highest levels of assist. The peak power output is 500 watts and your peak torque rating is 68 Newton meters. This thing will have no problem powering you up hills as long as you switch down to a lower gear and just keep on pedaling. Unlike some other e-bikes, this motor only cares that you’re moving the cranks, not that you’re pushing especially hard. It relies on a cadence sensor, so you do have to get the bike rolling a little bit before it knows to kick in. And this is one of the drawbacks about the ride experience. Raleigh offers a boost button that can be used as a throttle, but you still have to get the bike rolling before that button will activate. It’s a $50 add-on accessory and in my opinion, misses the point of a throttle which is to help you get moving after a stop sign or when preparing to climb a hill from a standstill. The optional throttle may be tricky to mount close enough to one of the grips to actually use comfortably while holding on and steering (compared to a twist-throttle) and could push your shifter our the display panel or brake levers out further if you prioritize its positioning. I was impressed with ow well the old-fashioned brakes on this bike worked but they aren’t as comfortable to use as the new hydraulic disc brakes. They’re just less expensive, much like the low-level Shimano Altus 7-speed drivetrain. It gets the job done but the shifter mechanism is bulky and the parts might not shift as quickly or work for extended months of riding without a tune-up the way that higher end kit would. Again, this is neighborhood level hardware.

Powering the motor and any lights that you have wired-in, is a 48 volt 8.8 amp hour battery pack that I’d call slightly above average in terms of capacity. The real highlight is that it runs at a more efficient 48 volts and can send higher amps to the drive system for that 500-watt peak output. The pack is a big plastic rectangle that slides into the rear rack, where it is protected and can be charged on or off the bike. I almost always take battery packs off of my e-bikes when lifting them onto racks, carrying them up stairs, or storing the bike in a hot or cold environment. To really care for your battery, it’s best to store it in a cool, dry location and check on it every couple of months if you haven’t used it. Most electric bike batteries come charged at ~50% to avoid stressing the cells at the high or low ends. This battery weighs ~7.4 lbs which puts it on the heavy side for its capacity, so perhaps the cell type is more basic (lower energy density) and that keeps the price down. The chemistry is Lithium-ion which is appreciated for its durability properties. They don’t tend to develop a memory if you forget to charge them up and they usually last 1,000+ cycles before dropping off in power storage. So this is part of why Raleigh can offer such a good warranty. I like that the battery pack has a swivel handle at the back so you can pull it off and carry it more securely… but I dislike that the battery has its own power button in addition to a power button on the display. It requires extra foresight and time to press two power buttons and if you forget, you might have to get off the bike or twist and stretch backward.

Once you switch the bike on, all you really have to worry about is pressing a plus or minus button for more or less powerful motor support. The control pad is within reach of your left hand and can be clicked without removing your hand while steering. It’s small, black, and rubberized for comfort and protection against the elements. At the top, there’s a three-color LED readout that communicates charge level. This isn’t very precise and I’d gripe about it more if it weren’t for the cool range estimator feature. To use this, just arrow up into any one of the four levels of assist (shown as green bars) and then tap the power button on the control pad. This will momentarily change the speed readout to a range estimate. Another little secret is walk mode, which can be activated by holding the plus button until a green light appears at the top of the disply, and then holding the minus button down. Walk-mode comes in handy when walking with friends in crowded areas, up hills, or if the rear rack has a bag loaded up with gear. Remember, this e-bike weighs 54.2 lbs with the battery on.

At the end of the day, I feel like the Sprite iE offers a good experience in terms of balance, frame size options, beauty, durability, and value. I can pick on the cheaper drivetrain but seven gears is plenty for the max assisted speed of 20 mph and the larger shifter pad might be less intimidating for new riders or those with limited vision. It certainly works well if you’re wearing gloves because it’s so large. The brakes work just as well as any of the brakes you might have used since the 90’s and even though they don’t have motor inhibitors built in, I feel like the motor is quick enough and the top speed is low enough that this isn’t a deal killer. I love that Raleigh pre-wired the bike for lights so that you could work with your local ebike shop to enhance the safety in a more permanent way than just clipping on aftermarket lights (which can accidentally be left on or stolen) but I do not understand or really appreciate the optional boost button. It’s just not that useful or comfortable to use, I feel like they nerfed it in the name of safety but ironically took out the motor inhibitor brake levers. As a Class 1 pedal assist only electric bike (without the boost button) the Sprite iE will be allowed on more trails and perform more like a traditional human-powered bicycle. You can even turn the pedal assist system off and ride it the old fashioned way. I really appreciate the chain guide to reduce chain drops and drivetrain issues and felt comfortable with the large plastic pedals. I want to thank Raleigh Electric for inviting me out to their headquarters for a test ride on this bike and partnering with me on this review because I got to see both models side by side. They look great and could be a great option for a wide range of riders looking for value.

Pros:

  • Relatively affordable for a mid-drive electric bike with CAN bus electronics systems, it’s a purpose-built product bike with hidden wires and reinforced frame structures
  • Available in two frame styles that optimize stiffness (the high-step) or approachability (the step-thru) with two color schemes, they strike me as a “his and hers” pair, I was impressed with how stiff the step-thru model was after riding for a bit and purposefully trying to flex it by shaking and turning hard
  • Not only are there two frame styles but there are a total of four frame sizes, so you can really dial in the fit and be comfortable pedaling
  • I love that the step-thru frame has bottle cage bosses on the downtube, these come in very handy for bringing fluids, a mini-pump, or a folding lock without having to buy a bag or panniers for the rack (maybe the high-step also has them but the demo model I was shown did not?)
  • Adjustable angle stem and swept-back handlebar allow you to fit the bike to your ride style (forward active or upright relaxed) and the ergonomic grips are comfortable
  • I love that the chain cover matches the frame and fork paint, the bikes look stylish and offer decent protection for rides in pants or skirts
  • The tires are wider than normal to help absorb bumps and create stability, note the smaller 26″ wheel diameter which lowers the frame a bit
  • The mid-drive motor is very efficient because it leverages the gear that you pedal with… so if you shift gears to a lower easier level to climb a hill, both you and the motor benefit
  • The rear rack design is pretty great, the base is welded onto the frame and paint matched but the top is a narrower gauge tubing that should work with clip-on panniers like this one which doubles as a women’s shoulder bag purse sort of thing
  • Raleigh has a long history of making bicycles and they really stand behind their product with a solid two-year comprehensive warranty, lifetime on the frame
  • I really like the compact display panel, it seems well sealed against water and dust but has a little readout for speed, battery level, and even range! This display also has a Mini-USB port so you can charge your phone or light accessory
  • The saddle is a bit larger and offers good support for that upright body position, I like that it has a plastic handle groove in the underside for lifting and maneuvering the bike
  • You shouldn’t have any issues with the chain coming off track because there’s a chain guide on the chainring that completely protects it on both sides
  • Raleigh offers an add-on boost button for people who want a throttle-like experience, it’s ~$50 and dealer shops can order and install this for you, you have to hold the button to go and already be moving ~2 mph for it to work so some of the value is lost in my opinion, I tend to like instant power from throttles to help me get moving from standstill
  • The saddle can go very low on these bikes, the rear rack is far back enough that they won’t collide, this is great for people who want to be able to touch the ground while sitting on the bike
  • You can charge the battery pack on or off the Raleigh Sprite iE and I love how the pack slides out with a handle for comfortable and safe handling, the handle snaps into place with magnets which is also cool
  • Even though this e-bike doesn’t come with a fender set, there do seem to be bosses on the fork to add a front fender and the rear rack almost acts like a fender so that’s cool
  • The range estimate menu is very cool and useful, way more meaningful than the green/yellow/red, battery indicator, just press the power button while the bike is in one of the four assist levels and the speed readout momentarily switches to range
  • The motor assist setup here is good for people who don’t want to push hard, the cadence sensor only measures crank arm movement but not how hard you’re pushing, it’s not as efficient or fluid as an advanced sensor that might incorporate torque, but for people with sensitive knees or limited energy it can be desireable
  • If you hold the plus button for a few seconds a green light will appear on the display and then you can hold minus to activate walk mode which is useful if you’re pushing the bike up a hill or it’s loaded with cargo, not all ebikes have this feature… and if you install the throttle boost button accessory, you have to hold the power button on that boost button ring for a few seconds to get the green light to show and then press and hold the 6 mph or 20 mph button constantly to keep the motor running

Cons:

  • Ideally, motor and battery weight would be positioned low and centered on the frame, I see the rear rack battery as a compromise to optimize the low-step frame, at least you can use the rear rack for cargo (it’s fairly sturdy and protects the battery well)
  • Some of the parts are entry-level, the linear pull brakes and Shimano Altus 7-speed drivetrain get the job done for neighborhood riding conditions
  • As much as I like the adjustable angle stem, it can become loose over time if you ride a lot of bumpy streets,
    keep an eye on it and tighten when necessary (or replace with a solid stem once you know the angle you like)
  • The solid frame and rigid alloy fork don’t absorb bumps as well as more expensive models that have suspension, consider swapping the seat post for a suspension post and get a shim like this to fit the unique 29.8 mm diameter (note that any suspension post will raise the minimum seat height by ~3 inches)
  • Even though most of the cabling is internally routed, there is a spot at the base of the downtube where they come out of the frame and run below the motor… be careful not to bump a curb or obstacle that could bend or break the cables there because they are a bit more vulnerable at this sport
  • The TranzX M16 motor offers great value and is quite powerful, but it isn’t as responsive as some of the more advanced multi-sense motors, this one just senses your cadence and might put additional stress on the chain, sprockets, and derailleur than something like Bosch
  • If you choose to buy and install the throttle button accessory, it may be difficult to reach because of the larger thumb shifter and display mount position, you have to hold it the whole time to get power and that means either taking your hand off the grip or doing a big uncomfortable reach with your thumb
  • Considering that this bike uses a basic cadence sensor to activate the motor and that you can add a throttle, I was really surprised that the brake levers didn’t have motor inhibitors built in for immediate stops
  • This isn’t a major con given the relatively affordable price, but the bike doesn’t have fenders or integrated lights, you might want to pay in the $2.2k range to get one that does if you plan on commuting or live in a rainy area, the Sprite iE is wired for lights and some dealers will help add them for you if you pay a little extra
  • It seemed like I had to press a power button on the battery pack before pressing the power button on the display, that’s two steps and could require you to twist and reach or dismount the bike if you forget to power the battery on first… which is inconvenient and annoying

Resources:

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Comments (9) YouTube Comments

Jan Ervin
2 years ago

Hi, I just bought the step through model of this bike and I really do love it. One thing I have noticed though. When I was finishing my ride I was going up the hill, one time I was doing this the battery light was red the second time it was yellow. In both occasions the bike had a “dampening” effect or felt like a brake was being applied. Both times I was in full assist mode (4). Curious if you have come across this?

Thanks

  Reply
Court Rye
2 years ago

Hi Jan! That’s really interesting… Sometimes I have noticed that if you work a battery hard, the voltage will sag and the display will show a lower reading. It’s almost like the bike is saying (if you keep riding like this, the battery is going to run out very fast!) but the dampening might be that the battery actually is very low and struggling. Some batteries try to protect themselves as they get low and cutout early. You can force them to keep going, but it can be hard on the cells. I’d suggest pedaling along a bit extra to help on that hill or walking. the bike. If you find this happening even when the battery pack is full, maybe switch gears to a lower, easier gear, so the motor doesn’t have to work so hard. It might work better then. I would love to hear back from you, what you discover so that others might benefit from a solution if they are seeing the same thing happen :)

  Reply
JAN ERVIN
2 years ago

Hey, Took bike out again, hubby and I discussed the problem. He thinking I was pushing the bike too hard. I was going around 18 – 21 mph on the bike, Today rode the bike on trails with people and mixed terrain, bike worked beautifully. Also, when on these trails I did not go above pedal assist 3, just too many folks around and I would be traveling too fast to do corners, etc. It is a great bike and I am really enjoying myself on it.

Les Awrach
1 year ago

Hi Court, your reviews of the Raleigh Sprite IE bike are excellent and the reviews answered several questions I had about the bike.

This Raleigh Sprite IE bike is the first Ebike for me (purchaced a couple of weeks ago) and I am having a lot of fun with it riding around the neighborhood of Peabody in Massachusetts… It’s getting cold here now and I envy the California weather that I see in your videos. Perfect for bikes. I am semi-retired, but not from biking!

One question I have… I was charging the battery and after a couple of hours, the charger was hot (not super hot) but enough to tell me to take off the charger… The battery was just slightly warm… I know that charging generates heat, but is this expected (more than warm)?

Also, I lowered the pressure in the tires to 40 PSI, for a better ride, will this harm the tires?

Thanks for your nice reviews,
Les

  Reply
Court
1 year ago

Hi Les! Glad to hear that my reviews were useful for you ;) I have experienced warm/hot chargers in the past and generally felt comfortable when the product was from a big established company like Raleigh. I’m not in a position to offer advice, and don’t want to be liable in the event of a failure or other incident. It’s interesting that you mention how it’s cold where you live, that should help with a hot charger. My guess is that it’s a byproduct of converting from AC to DC current and that it’s alright, but you could always ask your dealer or call/email Raleigh to get more info :)

  Reply
Les Awrach
7 months ago

Hi Court, thanks for the help regarding the battery question I had recently about (Aug/Sept ) Raleigh Sprite IE bike. As you know, I like this great bike… But, since there is no suspension on the bike, the ride is rough when hitting small bumps… I took the bike out after winter garage storage and of course the tires were low, but I rode anyway-not realizing how low they really were.

The ride was much more smoother, the tires looked low, seemed still rideable. But, there was “18” psi air in each tire. What tire pressure do you recommend for this bike? I had it down to 40 psi in Aug. I did not hit the curb with the 18psi, so would the 18psi hurt the rims by warping them… Controlling the bike was no problem at the 18 psi pressure. When I first rode, I had 50 psi… It was smooth on smooth roads, but wow-bouncy on the every bump. Is there a spring type suspension seat post that you know will fit.

The other question. I have trouble removing the battery, it’s presently stuck, but connected. A third question, After not using the bike for a day or so, The display lights up, but a little hard to get the bike to go, Maybe a wire???

Thanks,
Les Awrach
Peabody, Ma

  Reply
Court
7 months ago

Hi Les! I’ve got some answers for you… The recommended tire pressure range is always listed here on the reviews in the bicycle details section. In this case, it’s 40 to 65 PSI. You definitely risk getting a pinch flat and bending the rim if you go below 40 PSI, so 18 PSI is a big risk… There are other tires out there with lower PSI ranges that you could switch to using :)

The second question was about suspension seat posts. This bike has a weird diameter of 29.8mm, so you might need to look for a shim that would convert from 27.2mm to 29.8mm to get it working. That shouldn’t be too expensive and Amazon should have something. Also, consider the SR Suntour NCX suspensions seat post as an upgrade from the really cheap generic ones.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure about the stuck battery. Maybe go to a shop and have them look at it. Perhaps they could apply electronics cleaner grease to make the fit easier. I’m not an expert on this. Same thing for the wire and dim display, that’s something they might be able to help with in person. Hope you get things tuned up and can enjoy the bike more this summer!!

  Reply
Les Awrach
7 months ago

Thanks for the nice help with the psi question about the 18 psi, I’ll inflate to at least 40 psi. The smooth ride on the wrong 18 psi I mentioned, would have been not worth the rim damage and tire damage. Also, I’ll check into lower pressure tires if necessary. I’ll check into those seat post suspension suggestions you mentioned as well :)

Best wishes,
Les

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