- One of the fastest and lightest weight electric road bikes I've reviewed with a powerful Mac motor and fast discharge Lithium polymer battery
- Efficient smooth tires, rigid steel frame and single speed gearing are simple and durability but not as comfortable as ebikes with suspension forks or larger balloon tires, especially at higher speeds
- The battery box is wide and may scrape your leg or snag your pants when stepping off the bike if you're not careful, it looks decent for a custom build but isn't as polished as mass produced electric bikes, upgraded front disc brake improves stopping power
- You get a one year stated warranty but the company is very small and not yet proven in my mind, you may have to rely on your own ability to tinker with this thing long term, the higher top speed and throttle-only mode means this ebike is not legal except on private property
Warning, in some configurations this electric bike is classified as a moped or motorcycle and may not be ridden on cycling trails or paths. It may require licensing, insurance and lights when used on public roads.
The Leider is one of the fastest accelerating, most powerful electric bikes I’ve ever tested. It’s a race car… and you feel the road much as you would with performance vehicles because there’s no suspension and very little in the way of creature comforts. Snelheid means speed in Dutch and the founder, Tony, was born into a family that immigrated to the US from the Netherlands. Leider is also a Dutch word and it means “leader” which makes sense because this model offers “leading” performance. The frame is available in two sizes and made from high tensile steel which helps to dampen vibrations a bit, you also get several fun color choices and an optional pedal-strap upgrade to really lock in.
Compared to the Snelheid Tyro (the entry level, legal offering) this model has a larger chain ring to help you keep pace with the higher top speed of ~27 miles per hour. One of the big drawbacks or question marks about this e-bike in my mind is the higher top speed. Because it’s throttle operated and not pedal sensing this bike is not classified as a speed pedelec. It’s basically an electric motorcycle that lacks the proper signals and safety testing outlined by the US government. It may be used legally on private property or retrofitted with signals and ridden on streets as a motorcycle (which is how I tested it during the video review above as I have a motorcycle license) but that’s a huge limiter and I suspect many owners will simply choose to sidestep the law. Normal pedal-powered bicycles can top 20 mph (which is the stated legal limit) but that argument won’t fly if you damage property or another pedestrian so proceed with caution.
Legal considerations aside, this bike was built for urban environments… city streets with congested traffic where cyclists split lanes and take side streets. The Leider flies off the line beating most cars from standstill and puts you right where they can see you, out in front. It feels empowering and “safe” in that sense because it commands respect. Just be careful because that same unexpected boost could put you in harms way if cross-traffic is trying to run a yellow light and doesn’t see you. So the motor used here is the same as the one built onto the Tyro, just running with more amps. It’s a 500 watt nominal 1,000 peak internally geared MAC hub and there are two custom aluminum torque arms reinforcing the rear dropouts so it doesn’t spin itself off. Please note that in both video reviews for Leider ebikes I said the motors offered 1,000 nominal and 1,500 peak which was misinformation provided by the founder then later corrected when I explained the legal limit of 750 watts nominal in the US. He declined to share the exact motor, battery and controller details to preserve the value of his offering. The rear spokes have been upgraded from 14 Gauge to thicker 13 Gauge using Sapim brand which is often used for racing and known for being high quality.
What you get with this ebike is a stock city bike frame modified for the motor and battery. The battery box is beautifully designed but nowhere close to what I see on mass-produced electric bikes in terms of polish. It’s almost as if you took a rear rack style battery box and just moved it onto the downtube for improved weight distribution. The reality is that the box is built “around” the downtube and not on top of it but the sides still stick out and may snag your pant legs or scrape your thigh when stepping off as they did to me. Don’t get me wrong, you can make this thing work and it’s a huge achievement for Tony, the carbon fiber plates look cool and he’s reduced weight considerably but the controller screwed to the top looks tacky and the holes and exposed metallic connector bits made me feel hesitant about riding anywhere near water. I was reassured that the innards are all sealed separately and was told that there’s a year long comprehensive warranty but this thing is hand built… and a warranty isn’t useful if something happens to Tony or he changes his focus to another venture someday.
I’m being brutally honest with this review because this is a potentially dangerous niche product. And I don’t mean dangerous in terms of falling down at 27 mph, that hurts for sure but I used to be a competitive snowboarder and I’ve nocked myself out twice with a helmet doing road gaps and double backflips… that kind of danger is inherent to walking out your front door and even approaching a street with cars racing through. The type of danger that the Snelheid Leider presents that is unique to it verses other electric bikes is a legal one. If you have the same accident as you did with an officially sanctioned Class 2 electric bicycle, colliding with a pedestrian at even 20 mph, you would be liable for a lot more (operating a motor vehicle without a proper license, illegal motor vehicle lacking proper safety features and signals). If you happen to own a private parcel of land with a long smooth paved surface then this thing could be a blast but I think that’s pretty rare.
- One of the zippiest electric bikes I’ve ever tested, it blasts from zero to ~27 mph in just a few seconds (be careful as an accidental jerk on the twist throttle could become destabilizing, especially on a turn)
- The frame comes in two sizes and a whole range of colors so you end up with something that feels good and is pretty unique
- Weight is distributed pretty well across the frame thanks to the custom battery box, compared to most other high power ebikes it weighs less because the frame is so minimal
- I like the upgraded e-bike specific tires from Schwalbe which use thicker rubber and “GreenGuard” liner technology to reduce the potential for tube puncture and flats, the tires on the Leider are wider (more squishy and stable) than those on the Tyro
- The single speed drivetrain is quiet and durable, you’re less likely to drop the chain or need tuneups and the cadence is set higher so you can actually pedal along at top speed pretty comfortably
- Upgraded mechanical linear pull brake in the rear and a disc brake in the front to help slow you down more effectively
- Very limited display technology, you get a battery voltage readout which could be interpreted as how full the battery is but it will take some practice, the traditional cycle computer helps a bit with speed, odometer, timer etc. there is also an optional system temperature display
- The battery box is wider than most and the edges and corners are sharp angles which could rub on pants or scrape your shin and thigh when standing over the bike, I bumped my knee into it when I stopped and put a foot down during the ride tests
- The frame, seat and wheelset are all pretty rigid so you definitely feel bumps and this can be uncomfortable over longer distances, the aggressive body position got to my arms, back and neck a bit
- In my opinion the price tag on this electric bike is a bit high, you can get higher quality mass-produced electric bikes with more drive modes, purpose built frames and accessories for the same price or less… but to be fair they won’t be as powerful
- No quick release for either wheel or the seat, I like to bottle cage bosses but the rear rack bosses are partially used for the torque arms so you may need custom screws to make it work
- You cannot easily remove the battery box from the bike frame which makes charging more difficult, you have to bring the bike inside or park near an electrical outlet and that might not work for people who want to commute to work
- I admire the spirit behind this ebike but most of the electronic systems are hand built and they probably aren’t UL certified, insured or produced with a level of quality control as a larger manufacturer
- The battery box rattled a bit when riding over bumpy sections on the street, I didn’t notice this as much with the Leider models so perhaps it was just the mounting done on the demo
- Despite there being a stated “one year warranty” on the bike, I have some concerns about the longevity of the company as a whole and feel that this e-bike might be best suited to engineer types who are willing to dive in themselves if need be
- Basic accessories including the generic saddle, plastic pedals and rubberized grips, it’s a single speed and wouldn’t be much fun to pedal (especially up hill) if the battery was expired
- This electric bike is basically illegal everywhere except on private property based on the higher top speed and may put riders in a compromised legal position if used on public roads