55.6 lbs (25.21 kg)
5.2 lbs (2.35 kg)
6.5 lbs (2.94 kg)
6061 Aluminum Alloy
Frame Sizes:16 in (40.64 cm)
16" Seat Tube, Reach, 20.25" Standover Height, 32.5" Minimum Saddle Height, 28" Width 73" Length, Folded Dimensions: 37" Length, 39" Height, 28" Width
Torch, Pearl, Black
Frame Fork Details:
Generic Coil Suspension Fork, 80mm Travel, 29.5mm Steel Stanchions, 100mm Hub Spacing, 9mm Axle with Nuts
Frame Rear Details:
135mm Hub Spacing, 12mm Threaded Axle with Nuts
Rear Rack Bosses, Fender Bosses
Speed 1x7 Shimano Tourney Derailleur, Shimano MF-TZ500-7 14-28 Tooth Cassette
Shimano RevoShift 7 Grip Shifter on Right
Prowheel Forged Aluminum Alloy, 170mm Crank Arms, 52 Tooth Steel Chainring
Wellgo Folding Platform, Plastic
Integrated, 1-1/8”, Sealed Cartridge Bearings, Three 5mm Spacers
Aluminum Alloy, 80mm Length, 30 Degree Rise, 31.8mm Clamp Diameter
Aluminum Alloy, Mid-Rise, 28” Width
Tektro Aries Mechanical Disc with 160mm Rotors, Three-Finger Levers, Motor Inhibitors
Ergonomic, Rubber, Locking, Dark Grey
Selle Royal Gel
Aluminum Alloy, Quick-Release Skewer
Seat Post Length:
Seat Post Diameter:
Aluminum Alloy, Double Wall, 36 Hole, Black
Stainless Steel, 14 Gauge Front, 13 Gauge Rear, White with Silver Spoke Screws
CST, 27.5" x 3.0" (76-584)
Wheel Sizes:27.5 in (69.85cm)
15 to 30 PSI, 1.0 to 2.0 BAR
Center-Mount Adjustable Kickstand
Locking Removable Downtube-Integrated Battery Pack, 1.4lb 3 Amp Charger, Folding Frame, Internal Cable Routing, 36 Volt 15 Amp Controller, Rust Resistant Stainless Steel Chain
R. Pullus3 years ago
Thank you for reviewing Sondors bikes. I am a Sondors Step (1st generation) and a Sondors MXS owner.
NO MORE CENTER MOUNTED KICKSTANDS, PLEASE!
I enjoyed reading your review and watching the video. Well done. That said, I have my own two cents to add. I’m not sure that the bike pictured (or reviewed) is a “Smart” Step. The bike pictured seems to be a first generation ($975 delivered) Step that originally shipped in August 2019. Though, first generation Steps did arrive with only a 2 amp fanless charger. Since then, the second and third generation (Smart) Steps have arrived. As you commented, the center mounted kickstand is (was) an annoyance, however the second and third generations of the Step do have rear mounted kickstands. Good call on your part. The third generation of Smart Step also has an upgraded frame from the seat post back. The rear stays are now triangulated and are similar, if not identical to the rear stays on the Sondors MXS. It seems improvements are made to the Step with every shipment. It is low powered, but will cruise along at 15 mph (on the flat) for 20+ miles, if you don’t forget to pedal. It is the perfect bike for leisurely rides on a bike path or paved street. If you are looking for something to ride using throttle only or you have hills to climb, this is probably not the bike for you. With the internal 36 volt battery and 15 amp controller it is not a bike than can be easily or cheaply upgraded. For more spirited riding buy a Sondors MXS. No upgrades needed.Reply
Tyson Roehrkasse3 years ago
Hey R. Pullus, thanks for commenting!
Very interesting what you have to say about my review bike possibly being an older version of the Step. I got this bike directly from SONDORS reps when I was in Malibu in early March, so I assumed they gave me the latest and greatest… but they did mention that they’ve been making a lot of updates to it! I heard from another rider that he just purchased one in Torch and that it had a rear-mounted kickstand. I get the sense that SONDORS is constantly improving their products and their may be a lot of minor updates that happen without any fanfare or changing of model names.
In any event, I’ll reach out to them and see what I can find :)
I also noticed that photos on the current SONDORS site show it with some different CST BFT tiresReply
R. Pullus3 years ago
Yes, one would think Sondors would send you their latest and greatest Step for your review. So far there are at least three different versions of the Step out there. Four if you count the version pictured on their website. Your review was fair and very well done. Thank you again. Please review the MXS.
IMHO: No Sondors Step (or MXS) has ever been delivered to a retail customer that matches their advertised photos. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, it’s just how it is. I own both bikes and I love them.
The photos on the Sondors site are PROTOTYPES ONLY. No one has received a Step with those CST BFT tires (Labeled 29 X 3.0) which have been pictured on the Sondors Step since April 2019, four months before the first Step was ever delivered to any customer in the US in August 2019. If you look closely at the Step photos on the Sondors site you should notice the flat handlebars. No Step, that I know of, has those handlebars. Not deal breaking differences, just not photos of the bike(s) you will receive. Sondors does not update their advertising photos to reflect any changes or improvements. I will continue to recommend Sondors bikes to my friends and I would have no problem buying another for myself.
Greeny3 years ago
I have a newer model bike as well (delivered Dec 2019). I bought this as I want one that stores inside my van RV (randomly, I wish they made 1 side of the handle bars – literally 1 bar – to fold down, then the compact design would be A+ for my size needs). There are some but few full size folders. Per the previous poster, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many issues have been corrected with the latest shipment. The only real complaint I have with this bike is the complete lack of power (I prefer to choose my own lights, phone charger, kickstand, etc.). This bike won’t even make it up my driveway, it’s a reall pain after a long ride. I plan to retrofit the motor with a 750 (although battery capacity will then be a MAJOR issue) or buy a new one when they release an upgraded model. FYI, I have 2 of these – white and fire red whiich is really just an attractive orange, a Sonders MXS, a Qualisport Dolphin, and a Vintage Electric Cafe (the price is stupid vs. the level of tech but I have yet to find a bike with better fiit, form, and function… if they made a folder, I’d buy it immediately!). I have acreage that friends and family come play on, that’s why I have so many bikes. I’m looking at a trike as my last one, to pull double duty as a way for my older/impaired/less confident riders to get in on the fun and to be able to add an attachment to drag downed tree limbs to my wood burning pile (wanted the BMP Imports but they don’t stock the yellow). Thanks for all the information you share on this platform Court and Co.!Reply
Tyson Roehrkasse3 years ago
You’ve got quite the collection there, right on! Thanks for sharing your experience with the Smart Step :)
If you like the Vintage Electric bikes, you might also like the bikes from Michael Blast – We haven’t reviewed them yet but I did get to ride a Greaser and it was a blast. I’m hoping to check out their 2020 version before too long!Reply
Greeny2 years ago
Just wanted to follow, having had this bike for some time. We really enjoy this bike! It definitely could use more power (I’m thinking about upgrading the motor but there are tradeoffs) but it’s faults are not nearly as bad as I originally thought (the power drop off is significant with a low battery but with a fresh charge it’s fine). I hope Sondors offers an upgraded 750 watt version, same as other bikes have evolved.Reply
Avi Black1 year ago
Well, I guess a couple of years makes a difference. This bike is certainly pretty — but it’s now $1699 (!) and just not competitive in the current market. Any idea why it would go up this much in price? OUCH!!Reply
Court1 year ago
Hi Avi! The US released CPI numbers today (consumer price index) which is a measure of inflation that many people believe is understated. That being said, it was the highest number since 2009. That means, there is more money that has been injected into the economy competing for the same or less goods (due to shipping delays and chip shortages). Prices rise naturally as people are willing to compete and pay more for the products they need or enjoy. Have you noticed that the stock market S&P500 has risen by 30%+ since the COVID decline? Housing and Bitcoin are also at an all time high right now. In my opinion, these “increases” actually reflect a currency that is being debased more than value appreciation. Check this out if you haven’t already seen it. In the ebike space, some foreign manufacturers are selling direct to maintain the $1k price point, but there quality, branding, and service are all reduced… so even in that case, I would argue that the real cost of an ebike has increased across the board.Reply
Avi Black1 year ago
Hi Court, thanks for the economics lesson. Sorry, but doesn’t explain a 70% or even a 40% increase over such a short period. No other company has come close. I hope they can use their “cachet” to survive, but as far as being competitive? Just doesn’t look that way to me.
Jeannie1 year ago
I am going to purchase this bike from a friend for $1,000. She is afraid to ride it, there is only 12 miles on it. I rode it and it is so comfortable. I want to take to Idaho and want to ride flat roads with some hills involved. I was wondering if you think this bike would meet my needs. I want to ride bikes with ladies in my neighborhood. I am 70 and weigh 135lb. I am 5’4”.Reply
Court1 year ago
Hi Jeannie! I do think that this ebike would be a good choice given your height and weight. It’s a versatile ebike with the suspension, mid-rise handlebar, and wide knobby tires… but still very approachable with the step-thru frame. I think $1,000 is a good price because ebikes have been in short supply recently and it sounds like the one you’re looking at is nearly brand new! I would recommend keeping the battery charged at least 50% when not using it, to keep the cells from getting fully depleted and stressed. Avoid extreme heat and cold with the battery, and maybe have a local shop give the bike a tune-up if you hear any clicking or if it has any rust or gunk on the chain starting to build up. Have fun out there :DReply
Justin12 months ago
The price today is ~$1,500 at Costco and ~$1,700 online. At these prices, the main thrust of the review is dashed, and I can’t really say that it compares to other foldable e-bikes in terms of value. For the same price, you can get bikes with integrated lights, rack, puncture-resistant tires, fold locks, full suspension, and/or well-placed handholds. Of course, the main distinguishing feature is the full-sized wheels which most foldable bikes don’t have for practical reasons, and you won’t find many foldable bikes with that at any price point.
We haven’t had foldable bikes before so our expectations might be a bit odd. However, we weren’t impressed with the design. The individual parts are generally decent, as has been pointed out in this review, but they weren’t put together quite well. The crankset was a bit crooked, the magnets were as well, so they were scraping against the body. The chain was also catching as it was spun causing some issues. The disk brakes were misaligned. Some fairly typical out-of-the-box issues but not something you want to handle at home after spending $1,500 plus tax and dragging it home from Costco. What’s not quite excusable is the state of the instructions which were, to put it lightly, terrible. They didn’t include all instructions needed to assemble the bike. They didn’t include instructions on the proper way to fold the bike and to handle the bike when folded (see below for ways to destroy your bike accidentally when it is folded). You can figure these things out through trial and error, but doing that with a $1,500 bike that you need to trust with your life at 20mph+ among car traffic seems unwise. I’m planning to take the bike to a professional bike mechanic for a re-build but that’ll add $200+ to the price, meaning that this is actually a $1,700/$1,900 bike depending on if you bought it from Costco or Sondors. At this price point, the bike is completely uncompetitive and is going up against actually well designed and built e-bikes built by reliable manufacturers with lots of experience with regular and folding bikes. A bare-bones DIY bike is only a good value when it is cheaper than the all-included luxury competition.
The folding aspect of it has been distinctly below expectations. It doesn’t come with a lock when you’ve folded it so you need to figure something out to keep it useful. The hinge lock gets in the way of the pedal if the connected wheel is spun backwards which you will most likely do to wheel the folded bike into its proper spot. The steering wheel also gets in the way of a pedal and the pedal may get stuck in the spokes potentially leading to damage if you press too hard. The wheels do not line up horizontally when folded so it has a heavy lean to the point where it cannot stand vertically — even on the center stand which is quite useless as a stand or a handhold — and constantly wants to fall horizontal. The pedals also can be positioned below all of the other contact points which may cause the bike to rest on the pedal and the crankset which risks damaging the bike in another way in addition to the potential damage to spokes.
When folded, you can’t wheel it on the rear wheel because when you spin it backwards the pedals will eventually catch on something and prevent further movement. You also can’t use the front wheel unless you pre-position the pedal outside of the wheel area. It is very awkward to wheel it around on the front wheel since the handlebars will want to turn making it much more difficult to balance and control.
The lack of a foldable handlebar makes it extremely difficult to maneuver into your car or around the apartment since it can’t lay flat horizontally despite constantly wanting to and the handlebar will catch on everything. I found it easier to push in my old, non-foldable bike simply because it was much lighter, and I only needed to worry about the handlebar catching on everything. With this Sondors bike the extra weight was too much to handle easily what with a lack of good hand holds, even when folded, and the added difficulty to dislodge the pedals and wheel spokes from anything they caught on since they constantly caught on other parts of the bike.
I want to return the bike because of the unusable folding making it a disaster at home, but the wife wants to give it more chances for reasons unknown despite being unable to use it as a commuter since she can’t fold/unfold it herself or park/retrieve it from its spot in the living room.
In terms of riding the bike did well on the smooth, flat gravel trails we went on and the urban city roads of our commutes. It’s unwieldy on public transit due to the weight and the above-mentioned folding design flaws, but if you can avoid those the rides are quite enjoyable. The minor squawks in assembly can be overcome through sheer brute electronic motor force and the weight of the bike lets it cut through wind quite well. The low center of gravity from the step-through design lets it corner quite well and lets my wife handle it despite being too short to touch the ground while seated. She simply hops off the seat and stands, then re-mounts when it’s time to go. There’s a fairly convenient handhold at the center of the bike above the crankset although it has some sharpish corners on the bottom which make it difficult and eventually painful to hold which is just poor design. But it’s still a decent handhold that’s essential for picking the thing up. Just use some gloves.
The brakes need a bit of force to use so my wife has some problems with it. I notice the difference in strength needed, but I can still two-finger them with a bit of effort. The included ergonomic hand grips were a good inclusion and, IMO, should be added to every bike until something better comes out. The high handlebars and upright position are great for the back and make things much more comfortable, although it does amplify just how uncomfortable the seat is. Both my wife and I had noticeably sore bums from this seat on a typical ~30m ride when we normally don’t really feel anything on our previous bikes.
The pedal assist is quite useful but the disabling of the electric throttle when the pedal assist is set to level 0 is extremely annoying. We almost never use a pedal assist above level 1 which lets us fairly effortlessly maintain a 10-13mph speed which is around our usual city biking speed anyways. Levels 2-5 offer too much power for our tastes and the higher ones take some getting used to because the gearing makes it difficult to naturally get that sort of acceleration. You aren’t in danger of doing a wheelie and getting thrown, but an unprepared person might fall off or lose control of the steering. When we need more power we typically use the thumb throttle for the difficult uphill climb and then go back to regular level 1 pedal assisted pedaling. This is very useful if, for instance, you accidentally get on the wrong train home and need to bike an extra couple of miles home at the end of the day.
In conclusion, this is an overpriced e-bike, and a pretty bad folding bike. While my opinion would’ve been better if this were still priced similarly to the Lectric XP 2.0 (~$1,000), at its current $1,500 there are much better folding bikes out there. Unless, of course, you absolutely must have full size wheels.Reply
Court12 months ago
Thanks for the thorough analysis and comparison Justin! I’ve noticed prices rising, some availability limitation, and more competition with feature complete models coming to market. I enjoyed the Lectric XP when I covered the first generation and got to meet the team! They are focused, and it shows :)Reply
Ed Rabun4 months ago
Just to put this out there. A couple months ago, I lucked up and caught a RadRover 6 plus on sale for $1,299 with free shipping. I am new to ebikes, so my knowledge is limited. This bike is awesome, 700 watt motor, Shimano components, hydraulic brakes, front and rear lights, and very well built. Just wish I had bought two while they were on sale.Reply
Court4 months ago
Nice! That’s a great deal… I saw some good sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday recently too. Hope the RadRover 6 Plus holds up well for you, appreciate the comment :)Reply