The best cheap gravel electric bike

I was a huge fan of the affordable $1,045 Ride1Up Roadster V2 since its launch last year. So when Ride1Up decided to release a modified version designed as a gravel electric bike, I was very happy. The updates, which include gravel-ready features like new disc brakes, a Gates belt drive and premium gravel-friendly tires, pushed the price slightly higher to $1,245. But considering my next favorite gravel e-bike costs 3x as much, I still call it an amazing deal!

Going for a ride on the Ride1Up Roadster V2 Gravel Edition, you have to realize what it is and what it isn’t.

Lycra lovers will probably have to make some compromises. There’s no mid-drive motor, no hydraulic brakes and nothing space-age carbon fiber (except the belt drive – more on that in a moment).

But what you get is a well-made, lightweight and surprisingly peppy electric gravel bike that’s just as much fun on the road as it is off.

To see what I mean for yourself, you can enjoy the riding experience with me by watching my review video below. Then read on to see all my thoughts on this awesome and inexpensive entry into the gravel e-bike world.

Ride1Up Roadster V2 Gravel Edition Video Review

Technical specifications Ride1Up Roadster V2

  • Motor: 500W peak (350W continuous) rear hub motor
  • Top speed: 24 mph (38 km/h)
  • Vary: 20-30 miles (32-48 km)
  • Battery: 36V 7Ah (252Wh) with Samsung 35E cells
  • Weight: 32 lbs (14.5 kg)
  • Load capacity: 275 pounds (125 kg)
  • Framework: 6061 aluminum alloy
  • Brakes: Tektro mechanical disc brakes
  • Supplements: Gates belt drive, minimalist LCD speedometer, battery gauge, PAS level indicator, two frame sizes available
  • Price: $1,245 (you must select the gray/yellow “color” option for the gravel model)

Gravel Roadster, electric bikes for everyone

As much as the bike has to offer in terms of ride quality and utility, the first thing people will likely notice is the price. It is priced at just $1,245, which is just a fraction of what large gravel e-bikes tend to charge. And that means the gravel e-bike is suddenly much more accessible to a wider range of riders.

But let’s get past that incredible price and see what you’re really getting here.

First of all, it is a super light e-bike at only 33 lbs (15 kg).

Lightweight usually means low power, but the 350W motor here is still powerful enough to keep you going up to 38.6 km/h. There is no throttle, so this is a pedal-assist e-bike only. Once you start pedaling, the motor kicks in at five different user-selectable levels depending on how much assistance you need at the moment.

ride1up roadster v2 gravel edition

The Ride1Up Roadster V2 Gravel’s handlebar-mounted display lets you choose your level of assistance on the fly and allows you to check your speed and battery level at a glance while keeping the display small enough and discreet.

Connecting your feet to the rear wheel is a Gates Carbon Drive system which consists of Gates famous carbon reinforced belt drive system. It is quiet and maintenance free. They last for tens of thousands of miles without requiring maintenance, which means most people will never have to replace a belt. Unlike loud, greasy chains, the Gates Belt System is pure joy to use. The list of benefits goes on and on.

One of the major upgrades over the base V2 Roadster is the Gates belt drive. This bike still has a belt drive, but it is not a Gates product. That’s fine, but Gates is awesome. One more reason to choose the Gravel Edition of the Roadster V2.

The other two major upgrades are Tektro disc brakes and WTB Resolute 700c x 42 tires. Those tires alone would set you back $120, or 10% of the cost of the bike. My friend’s multi-thousand dollar non-electric gravel bike actually came with the same tires, which made me laugh because his bike is apart of this one, resting several steps on the quality ladder .

Not that the Ride1Up Roadster V2 Gravel Edition isn’t a quality bike – it definitely is. But it won’t compare to high-end gravel bikes from bike shops. Even compared to high-end gravel e-bikes, its lack of a mid-drive motor and single-speed setup will likely raise eyebrows among mainstream riders. But with the torquey hub motor and enough speed to keep up with just about any other rider, the e-bike is well positioned for slower climbing and faster riding on flat terrain.

The main area where I would like to see an improvement is battery capacity. Hidden inside the downtube, the 36V 7Ah battery is quite small. It’s just 252 Wh of capacity. The pedal-assist nature of the e-bike means you can drag that battery capacity for longer range if you have the physical shape. But if you plan to rely heavily on the higher pedal-assist levels, keep in mind that this is not going to be a long-range e-bike. Another important point to note is that the battery is not removable for daily charging (it can be removed with a few tools to replace it once every few years), so charging must be done on the bike.

Ride1Up lists the 20-30 mile (32-40 km) range depending on the level of assist and terrain. On my first full discharge I scored 17 miles (27 km), but that was also with plenty of Level 5 assist to see what the more powerful end of the spectrum could do. Hey, if you give me a motor, I’ll really test it.

Subsequent riding with a more mixed variety of pedal-assist levels showed me that the 20-30 mile range rating is accurate, but you have to be prepared to do your part.

There was one ride that kinda went over my head because I was having so much fun on the bike that I definitely pushed it past the point of no return. Or at least the point of no return with electric assistance. The last eight miles of this ride were purely lunch fueled. And while I definitely missed having my electric assist, I was also surprised at how well the bike rides without any assist. Riding from a stop at the bottom of a hill was a doozy without assistance, but overall it felt pretty good. And I’m not a particularly accomplished acoustic cyclist, mind you. Electric bikes are kind of my jam.

If you’re the type of rider who only wants an e-bike part of the time, I think you’ll find the Ride1Up Roadster V2 Gravel Edition to be a great e-bike and non-e-bike.

The only two other gripes I have besides the somewhat small battery are the lack of lights or a kickstand. The included LED lights that run on the main battery would have been a really good idea. There are mounting points for a kickstand (you can bookmark one that fits on Amazon for $19.99), but they don’t include one as standard equipment. There’s a reason all my photos of the bike are wedged next to something, and the reason isn’t the aesthetic framing.

sum it all up for me

Ultimately, I’d say the Ride1Up Gravel Roadster is a great all-around e-bike for anyone who likes light, fitness-style riding and wants to be able to steer off-road on the same bike they would use for biking. . the corner store.

It won’t give you the comfort of a mountain bike, but you knew that from the start. It’s a stiff road bike frame that’s been optimized for trail and gravel riding, where it excels. With the right engine, brakes and tires, the bike handles perfectly on dirt, sand and gravel roads.

And it even looks good, to boot. If you’re lucky, you might fool your friends into thinking it’s not electric for the first few miles. Although once they blow and you’ve only broken a light glistening sweat, the jig can be in place.

Of all the e-bikes I ride, I think the Roadster V2 Gravel Edition has now risen to the top of my list of lightweight and affordable e-bikes. Its ability to cover a variety of terrain while maintaining a light and stealthy build is a blessing. And the inclusion of quality parts like the Gates belt drive is the low-maintenance icing on the cake of this gravel-dust-covered sundae.

ride1up roadster v2 gravel edition

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Wiley C. Thompson