- A tough, near-silent, single speed electric bike that's designed for urban use, clean all-black frame, motor, spokes, wheel set and accessories look cool
- Only available in one "medium" frame size but the angled top tube improves fit for shorter riders, rack and bottle cage bosses add utility, nice upgraded pedals, saddle and grips
- Throttle-only electric drive system, no fancy LCD displays or battery level indicator just a simple on/off switch on the downtube
- Unique financing option includes a folding lock and year of bicycle insurance, stiffer frame, battery is not removable for separate charging
At first glance, the 2016 Riide V1.1 resembles the crowd-funded prototype I reviewed in 2014. Since that time aesthetics have been improved with a black casing on the hub motor, black spokes and black wheelset. I love the locking grips and Riide branded saddle and appreciate the fun multi-color design. This is a single speed city-tuff electric bike with one drive option… twist and go throttle mode. The bars are free and clear of LCD displays and shifters and there wasn’t even a front or rear reflector on the unit I tried so definitely consider lights if you cycle at dawn or dusk. The ride quality can be jarring at higher speeds but the aluminum frame is responsive and keeps weight down. There are bottle cage bosses for a drink or the folding lock they provide free if you lease the bike. At $2k this bike is an alright deal for someone who doesn’t mind slower acceleration (due to the smaller controller and average motor and battery size) but it really shines with the leasing plan that goes fro $299 up front and $79 per month for two years after. At the two year mark you can get their “latest and greatest” for free and continue paying $79/mo for another two years etc. It’s a neat idea and one that can help people who need transportation immediately get onto a solid electric bike.
My favorite part of the bike is just how simple it is while still looking cool. It’s not as convenient to charge since the battery is semi-permanently screwed into the frame and I did miss a multi-speed cassette when starting because it’s geared kind of high but the throttle helps and I’m sure you don’t need to get tuneups as frequently. The tires are upgraded with puncture protection and reflective sidewalls for utility and safety respectively and I liked the quick release option on the front wheel and quality connectors on the electronic cables (making rear-wheel service easier). Riide has been around now since 2014 and is expanding from the East Coast to the West (I met up with the founders Jeff and Amber in San Francisco) so support and demo rides are now easier to come by. The Riide V1.1 is an improvement over the prototype and V1 models but stays true to the niche concept of city commuting. I’d feel very comfortable locking this up outside at a rough rack and that could lead to more frequent use vs. a more precision ebike with fancy displays, derailleurs and multi-color gloss paint job. This is a one size, all black utility bike that’s more enjoyable than a city share bike and similar weight but actually powered vs. pedal only.
- The motor and spokes are now black to match the frame, grips, bash guard, wheelset, cranks, pedals and seat post… I also like the custom branded Riide saddle and grip lockers
- I love the bottle cage bosses under the top tube, this bar is angled enough that bottles won’t bounce out (though there may be some dribble), by not putting the holes on the seat tube they ensure that the post can slide way down to accommodate shorter riders
- Unique pricing model, $2k is decent for an electric bike but the $299 up front plus $79 per month leasing model is much easier for people who need transportation now but might not have money saved up, I also love the continual upgrade option they offer (after two years get the latest version free)
- This ebike is pretty rugged, considering the direct drive motor has no moving gears inside and the pedal drivetrain is a single speed with no derailleur to go out of tune it should hold up well in rough environments
- I appreciate the fun colors on the saddle, upgraded oversized platform pedals, puncture resistant tires with reflective sidewall stripes but I would love to see front and rear reflectors and integrated LED lights at some point (which would further simplify the bike vs. clip-on independently powered lights)
- The integrated battery and controller are well protected and keep weight low and centered on the bike for improved handling, the ride feels solid but a bit jarring at times given the stiff aluminum frame with no suspension
- I like the quick release front wheel for easier transport of the bike and relatively light overall weight (especially since you can’t take the battery out easily) and it’s nice that they include a folding lock and year and a year of bicycle insurance if you lease, consider a seat leash for the saddle since the seat tube is also quick release or get locking hardware for the wheels etc.
- While it’s still technically a high-step frame the angled top tube brings the standover height down making it more accessible to short riders, only one frame size here ~18″ medium
- The cockpit handlebar area is extremely clean, I like the grips and the half-grip style twist throttle seems like an upgrade with rubberized pattern vs. the usual flat smooth plastic
- The Riide electric bike is extremely quiet, the gearless motor hardly makes a sound even at full power and the chain and sprockets don’t go out of tune as easily or click like multi-speed bikes
- Thicker and wider tires than the older version (for improved comfort and durability), updated frame geometry for improved strength
- There is no display so you can’t tell how fast you’re going, how far you’ve gone or how much battery capacity remains… this minimal design keeps the bike tough and cheap and you could add a cycle computer or use Strava
- The battery pack is not easily removable (it’s designed to be hidden and theft resistant) which means you have to bring the entire bicycle near a charging outlet to fill it and this may be difficult in some work environments
- There’s no key to power the bike on and since it uses a throttle only power system people could mess with it when parked or ride it away more easily
- No pedal assist or power options to conserve energy, it’s your choice to twist more gently and pedal along, I felt that the single speed drive train was a bit high and I wasn’t spinning as comfortably until getting to the ~20 mph speed
- Slower acceleration from start due to a smaller controller sending 10 to 15 Amps of current vs. 20+ on some other e-bikes I’ve tested
- The motor is larger and heavier than a geared hub but doesn’t offer the benefits of power regeneration, acceleration from zero was smooth and quiet