Imagine a faster commute with Ride1UP

We’re going to take a look today at San Diego-based Ride1UP and their roster of ebikes. We’ll dig into the company a little to see what their pedigree is and what they bring to the electric bike party. We’ll also cast a weather eye over their range and I’ll give you my thoughts on the good points, the bad, and highlight a couple standout features on each.

“All you need is love…and an ebike”

A great band once sang, “All you need is love” and, whilst I’d hate to disagree with Brit pop icons, The Beatles, I think that in the 21st Century, I’d really like to add, “…and an ebike” to that classic lyric. I get that diehard fans of the Fab Four might be upset about this, but I’d like to think that John, Paul, Ringo and George would back me up.

This controversial point of view all stems from watching a short film that Ride1UP aired recently on its website. Set to Lennon’s “Imagine” the movie shows a world where we got rid of our cars and swapped all our automobile journeys for ebike rides. Watch it and I challenge you not to ditch the car immediately and buy an ebike. It’s powerful stuff. You could almost say that Ride1UP have taken a Sad Song And Made It Better by adding ebikes. Ahem.

But, Life Is Very Short And There’s No Time For Fussing And Fighting, My Friend. So, let’s take a Magical Mystery Tour, see what makes the company Twist And Shout, check out their Sky full of Diamond ebikes…and be grateful that a 60s rock band wrote so many song titles and lyrics that I could Sgt. Pepper this article with today.

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Who are Ride1UP?

It had been A Hard Day’s Night when I sat down to write this and I was initially concerned that the company and its products wouldn’t live up to my high expectations off the back of their short film. I Should Have Known Better.

Based in San Diego, California (backed up with warehousing in Sparks, Nevada) Ride1UP is the brainchild of Kevin Dugger. Kevin began the company in 2018 having been building his own ebikes DIY for a few years and fixing up old bikes for even longer. The aim of the company is to design and sell ebikes that are affordable and feel like riding a normal bike (albeit with a welcoming tailwind!) rather than like a gas scooter with a high ticket price. It’s clear to see that this is borne out by their current range of bikes.

The company launched with an initial range of electric skateboards and ebikes, before saying, “Hello, Goodbye”. Hello to more ebikes and Goodbye to the eskateboards. Since then, they’ve further expanded their range of ebikes, with the latest being the Café Cruiser, which I’ll talk more about in a moment. They’ve also continued to upgrade the existing bikes in their range – listing each generation and all the changes they’ve made on their website. I Dig It, I’m sure you do too, and I’ve Got A Feeling that it’s an openness that more than just the Two Of Us will appreciate.

All of which is probably enough tenuous Beatles references for this Paperback (or blog) Writer. Sorry. I’ve been a Bad Boy and I’ll Let It Be and move on.

Ride1UP/Scott Sporleder

The Ride1UP lineup of ebikes

Look through the range on Ride1UP’s site and you’ll see a suite of affordable ebikes, with a range of different features. They’re mainly hub drive ebikes (which keeps the cost and complexity down), with the exception of the top-of-the-range (mid drive) Prodigy. They’re also all Class 3 ebikes, delivering up to 28mph on pedal assist in most cases, and many are also Class 2, allowing up to 20mph on throttle only. Let’s dive in and have a look at the details.


Roadster V2

Color options: Burgundy, Black, Silver and Gray (the Gravel Edition)
Frame options: 52cm, 58cm (for riders of 5’3”-5’8” and 5’8”-6’3” respectively)

Pros: Sleek lines and hidden power at an incredible price
Cons: No gears and no disc brakes

Do You Want To Know A Secret? The Roadster V2 is my favorite in the Ride1UP collection. Every Little Thing about this bike is a Taste Of Honey.

For me, this makes a fantastic commuter bike. Simple, fun, stylish. Single-speed (no fuss no maintenance, having no gears isn’t a problem when you’ve got an electric motor, and it means you don’t have to mess about with troublesome derailleurs and gear shifters), belt-drive (never heard of a belt drive? Well the headlines are that it doesn’t need oil – so nothing to smear over your pants leg – and it lasts longer and is quieter than a standard bike chain. What’s the catch? Well, there isn’t one).

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Because the battery and motor are hidden away on the Roadster it’s less desirable to opportunistic thieves and you’ll feel more confident about locking this bike up in the city center.

There’s also a useful additional external battery available for the Roadster, which doubles the range, allowing for longer trips or longer periods between charge-ups.

The best part? Well, your Ticket To Ride on the Roadster only costs around a thousand bucks. It’s a lot of very stylish bike for not a lot of money.

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Core-5

Color options: Azure Blue and Midnight Gray
Frame options: ST (Step-thru) or XR (Cross Over)

Pros: Versatile, entry-level ebike with hidden power at a great price
Cons: No suspension on the forks

The Roadster is a sleek and stylish city ride, but it does have some limitations: no gears, no disc brakes (it has caliper rim brakes instead), and a high crossbar. The Core-5 gives you all of these, along with all the ‘standard’ Ride1UP goodness, for a mere hundred bucks more. Whilst the Roadster lives for city pavement, the Core-5 will also take you from paved surfaces onto some rougher stuff, such as gravel trails and light-duty singletrack. The gears help the battery to keep its juice levels up by allowing you to select a lower gear for starting off and cycling uphills. The disc brakes give much more confident stopping on wet and muddy surfaces.

There’s a choice of frame styles on the Core-5: the XR has a sloped crossbar and the ST does away with the crossbar altogether. These can be handy if, like me, your ballerining days are behind you and you find that it’s becoming more of a struggle to swing one leg up high enough to get over a horizontal bike crossbar.

It’s worth being aware that, whilst uber comfortable, the Core-5 doesn’t have suspension forks on either front or rear. On pavement, this isn’t an issue. However on bumpier surfaces you can feel as if you’re getting shaken up. Is this a problem? Not if you’re rides are all going to be on smooth roads or trails. However, if you’re planning on doing some gnarlier off-road stuff too, then it would be worth taking a look at the next level up 500 Series.

Ah! I’m on a roll now! It’s like the Words Are Flowing Out, Like Endless Rain Into A Paper Cup, They Slither While They Pass, They Slip Across The Universe. Let’s carry on and take a look at the gorgeous 500 Series!


500 Series

Color options: Black and Gold
Frame options: ST (Step-thru) or XR (Cross Over)

Pros: Rugged good looks with fenders, a rear rack and front suspension fork
Cons: not a light bike

The 500 Series ebike is Ride1UP’s best-selling model and it’s not hard to see why. It’s got suspension on the front forks to smooth out the bumps in the road. It comes in two different frame options – there’s the ST step-through and the XR with a sloped top tube. There are also a couple features which make the 500 Series so good and IMHO such an easy choice for commuting, these being the rear rack and fenders. True, these come at an additional cost over the base price ($100 more) but I feel add a lot more than that in value for the bike commuter. Why? Well let’s look at the rear rack first. When you’re commuting you tend to be dragging a fair amount of gear with you (laptop, lunch and the rest). Sure you could put this in a backpack, but this can give you a sweaty back and affect balance and a better option is to stash everything on the bike, ideally on a rack like this. As for the fenders, well inevitably, when you’ve got your best office slacks on it’s going to rain and you’ll be splashing through puddles on your commute. A brown wet stripe up the rear of your pants is never a good look and that’s where fenders like these come in by deflecting all that mucky water and keeping your clothing clean and office-friendly.


Café Cruiser

Color options: Indigo, Latte, and Gunmetal Gray
Frame options: ST (Step-thru) or XR (Cross Over)

Pros: awesome looks with a spec that complements, passenger-carrying capability
Cons: not a light bike

When you’re planning on cruising down somewhere stylish and iconic (like Abbey Road, say), you want to be doing it on a bike that is itself both stylish and iconic. Ride1UP’s newest bike, the Café Cruiser is all of that, and more.

Check out the technical details and you’ll see that it’s a Class 3 ebike that’s capable of 28mph. It’s got everything you need under the hood from a 750W rear hub motor delivering 60nm of torque, to powerful hydraulic brakes, 3” wide grippy fat tires, and a front suspension fork.

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The thing is though, that’s not what this ebike is about. It’s NOT a bike for going fast on (even though you can). This is a bike for cruising around slowly on, so that you can be SEEN. Because you want to show off the sleek good looks of the Café Cruiser, the eye-catching paintwork (my favorite is the Gunmetal Gray), and the sweptback handlebars tipped with faux-leather grips. Install the optional passenger kit on the rear rack and you can take a friend with you as you cruise the strip from café to café. Whether that’s Lady Madonna, Lovely Rita, Sexy Sadie, or even Mean Mr Mustard. The choice is yours on the Café Cruiser.

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700 Series

Color options: Gunmetal Gray and Steel
Frame options: ST (Step-thru) or XR (Cross Over)

Pros: the best-selling 500 Series made even better
Cons: under-powered front light

The 700 Series takes all the good stuff about Ride1UP’s best-selling 500 Series and then adds a whole bunch more good stuff (without a whole bunch more price) to make this one of the best-value bikes in the lineup.

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Check out the specs and you’ll see that many of the core components have been given an upgrade vs the 500 Series: there’s a better battery (14ah vs 13ah), better brakes (hydraulic disc vs mechanical), and a better front suspension fork (100mm hydraulic lockout vs 100m coil spring). You might also spot that the rear rack and fenders come as standard on the 700 vs being an optional extra on the 500. True, there’s the odd minor gripe (like a fairly weak integrated front light), but this is a bargain and excellent for weekday commuting or being a Day Tripper on the weekend.


LMT’D

Color options: Midnight Gray and Sand/Brown
Frame options: ST (Step-thru) or XR (Cross Over)

Pros: higher torque for faster acceleration
Cons: higher price, no rear rack as standard

If you want to feel as Free As A Bird, then the LMT’D is worth a close look as an option for your daily commute. There are lots of reasons for this (from upgraded hydraulic disc brakes, smooth front suspension forks, and 2.4” Schwalbe Super-Moto X tires), but it’s the rear MXUS hub motor where the magic really happens. The 750W motor delivers a whopping 100nm of torque (vs only 60nm on the Café Cruiser, for example) and this will accelerate you FAST down The Long And Winding Road to the office with a huge grin on your face.


Prodigy

Color options: Chalk (ST frame), Chameleon (XC or XR frames) and Matte Gray (all frames)
Frame options: ST (Step-thru), XC (Cross Country) or XR (Cross Over)

Pros: mid-drive motor, 3 frame styles
Cons: high price

Prodigy by name and prodigy by nature. This is an ebike that sets itself apart from the pack. It’s the highest priced electric bike in the Ride1UP range (though still more affordable than many other similar spec ebikes) and, in my view, easily justifies that premium price tag. Why is it different? Well, there are a number of aspects. First you’ll see that it comes in three different frame configurations. There’s the ST Step-through, the XR with sloped crossbar, and a third, the XC. The XC takes Ride1UP in a new direction, with a trailworthy (and trail-happy) front-suspension mountain bike that has a beautiful relaxed geometry. The ST and XR are the refined and sensible siblings that will get you to the office in style and comfort. The XC is the rebellious  sibling that will take you to the office via the muddiest and most technical, badass backcountry trails as you scream “I AM A WALRUS!” at the top of your lungs.


“And any time you feel the pain (of cycling), hey Jude, refrain / Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders / For well, you know that it’s a fool who plays it cool / By riding the world on a non-electric bike”

Ride1UP, You Really Got A Hold On Me

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