2016 Vilano ION Review


Technical Specs & Ratings





Class 1




Mechanical Rim



316.8 Wh

316.8 Wh

42.5 lbs / 19.30 kgs



Low-Rise Aluminum, 22.5" Length

Ergonomic Rubber

Aluminum Alloy


Vader Comfort

Generic FP-909, Plastic Platform

Mechanical Rim

Sparkle Brand Mechanical Linear Pull, Wuxing Levers with Motor Inhibitors

More Details


United States


Unfolded Dimensions: 15" Seat Tube, 21" Reach, 24" Stand Over Height, 61" Length, Folded Dimensions: 36" Long, 17" Wide, 28" Tall

Metallic Grey with Neon Green Accent

Rear Rack Bosses, Fender Bosses

Sparkle Brand Mechanical Linear Pull, Wuxing Levers with Motor Inhibitors

Video Reviews

Written Reviews

The Valano ION is built around a somewhat dated design where the battery pack fits into a rear rack vs. being integrated into the downtube like the e-Joe Epik, EG Vienna, VoltBike Urban or a whole slew of other models. This makes it rear heavy and more prone to tipping but provides easy access to the pack which makes taking the battery off quicker. I love that the battery locks to the rack and that the key does not have to be left in while operating it! You can charge it on or off the bike and weighing in at just ~5 lbs the pack offers average power and capacity with 36 volts and 8.8 amp hours…

I was impressed by how easy the bike was to assemble when it arrived. The packing was great but somehow the back end of the rack was bent (something I read from other owners in Amazon comments as well). I ended up breaking the back portion of the rack clean off when trying to bend it straight then filed it down to reduce sharp edges. Okay, so once the pack was charged and I got to ride it I found the display panel easy to understand and use but very limited in terms of readouts. There’s no speed or range menu and the battery indicator is just four LED’s so you’ve got 25% increments that don’t feel as useful as a 10 tick info-graphic. This is a pedal assist only electric bike, Class 1, and the 12 magnet sensor is very responsive. The motor kicks from off to on quickly with just half a pedal stroke in most cases but the motor is very zippy and almost startling at times. A smoother ramp up would be nice… I also found that the 6 speed drivetrain (which uses basic parts) paired with a smaller chainring left me spinning rapidly in the higher speeds (likely approaching 20 mph). Vilano might have opted for a larger chainring to offset the smaller wheelset to make for a more comfortable high-speed experience :)

All things considered, for just ~$700 this thing isn’t half bad… except that it’s not for sale anymore. There’s always a risk involved with buying online from a smaller company. I’m sure I would have received a discount if this were being sold at an actual bike shop just because of the bent rack. You’re guaranteed extra work assembling but it wasn’t too bad here (most folding electric bicycles are easy to setup). I just wonder if it will be possible to find a replacement battery for this someday when it starts to lose capacity? I also feel that the ride was rough as there’s no suspension seat post, suspension fork or other dampening features besides the average-sized tires and comfort seat (which did not feel comfortable to me). I’m not trying to hate here, just calling out the different considerations beyond price, power and weight. Speaking of weight, the Amazon listing was misleading here stating that the shipping weight was just 24 lbs when in actuality it was 53 lbs and the bike (once unpacked and setup) was 42.5 lbs… that’s not too bad, but it’s a far cry from 24 and one other Amazon buyer wrote the same thing. I feel that Vilano should check their website and post the instructions at the URL which is listed on the box (currently the page just says “coming soon” and that they should be more detail oriented in how they list products… The Amazon listing is from their official company, they posted it and it contains very few details and some misleading information. If you found one of these at a garage sale or if Vilano began selling them again in the future I’d say it could work well for someone on a budget but the design is outdated and the components and drive systems are very generic.


  • Longer than average seat post offers 330 mm so you can position it higher for tall riders or drop all the way down for petite riders, standard 27.2″ diameter works with many seat post suspension units for improved comfort
  • The bike arrives almost completely assembled, I had to remove a bunch of foam and zip ties, adjust the rack and fenders, straighten the handle bar, pump up the tires then pedal through the gears a bit but otherwise it was ready to go… way easier than most full sized ebikes where the front wheel and handlebars are not attached
  • When it was folded up, I was able to pull the bike forward and have it wheel along easily… it’s not specifically designed for this with extra handles or anything fancy but it did work and was much easier than lifting
  • This is a purpose-built electric bike with power cables run through the frame for improved aesthetic and reduced snag potential, I like that there are torque arms on the front wheel and the rack is reinforced and sturdy
  • Nice little extras here like the plastic fenders and chain cover, these will keep you dry and clean but didn’t rattle around much during my ride tests, it’s a good looking bike and very functional at the price
  • The linear pull brakes work well and I love that the levers incorporate motor cutoff switches for safety, the display panel is simple and easy to operate without much of a learning curve
  • Pedal assist worked very well thanks to a 12 magnet cadence sensor! It started and stopped quickly and I found that three levels were good for varying speeds of operation… it was a bit jerky on starts and produced a louder zip sound than some other hubs I’ve tried, a smoother ramp up in power would be nice
  • Even though the motor is on the small side at ~240 watts, you get a nice mechanical advantage by using 20″ wheels so it actually feels pretty zippy and is super efficient given the pedal-assist only operation
  • The battery locks to the frame with a key but the key doesn’t have to be left in while using it, this is huge for me because keys can be forgotten and often jingle or snag when left on the bike during rides
  • The battery charger is light weight at ~1.3 lbs, compact and portable so you can take it with to top off at work or a friend’s house, plugs into any standard US wall outlet
  • The display panel is compact, easy to understand and reach while riding. You don’t get a lot of options (and can’t see your speed or precise battery level) but it gets the job done and seems well sealed against water… note that a warning on the battery pack says you should not ride in rain or any kind of water which might be erring on the ultra-safe side


  • Geared too easy, it’s difficult to reach the top speed without feeling like you’re pedaling super fast, the front chainring should have been larger to compensate for the smaller wheelset
  • Stiff headset, you can feel the bearings rolling around when you turn to steer the bike, I’m not sure if it was just overtightened at the factory or very cheap
  • Despite what I would consider good packaging (sturdy box with plastic shields on the axles, lots of styrofoam and zip ties) the rear rack was bent when the bike arrived and subsequently broke off, at least the battery was not harmed :)
  • The bike rests in the folded position pretty well if you put one pedal down but otherwise there is no protective bar as I see on a lot of other folding ebikes… there’s also no magnetic clasp or bungee system to keep it from coming unfolded, consider using your own adjustable bungee cords
  • This is a rear-heavy electric bike with both the hub motor and battery towards the back, the rack is useful and can accommodate ~50 lbs with the battery in it but does keep weight higher than if it were a mid-frame design like a lot of other folding electric bikes
  • The plastic pedals aren’t super stiff, when I stood up and pedaled I felt them bending a bit, would be worth considering a swap for aluminum folding pedals if you’re a heavier rider
  • Generic parts including Sparkle brand mechanical brakes, Wuxing brake levers and a 6 speed Shimano Tourney drivetrain (the lowest level of groupset from Shimano)
  • Originally the bike was being sold on Amazon (that’s where I bought it) but within a month it was no longer listed there and the official site isn’t clear about whether it’s for sale anymore, the bike may be discontinued and I wasn’t clear on warranty whether it had one or not
  • No bottle cage bosses on the top tube which means you’ll need a hydration pack or maybe a trunk bag with a bottle holster like this one

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