Macwheel 26-inch Electric Bike Review
Cons: Display is hard to read in bright light, 15.5 mph top speed
Compare to Similar Products
Macwheel 26-inch Electric Bike
|Price||$599.99 at Amazon||$800 List||$849.99 at Amazon||$629.99 at Amazon||$519.99 at Amazon|
|Pros||Long distance range, removable battery, step-thru design, retro style, comfortable ride||Comfortable, long distance range, good handling, great display and controls, lots of features||Faster, longer distance range, good handling, 5 pedal assist modes, good display and controls||"Mountain bike" style, affordable, headlight, 21-speed drivetrain||Affordable, folding, decent distance range, 3 pedal assist modes|
|Cons||Display is hard to read in bright light, 15.5 mph top speed||More expensive, not the fastest or most powerful||Seatpost too short for taller riders, no instructions for the display||Limited distance range, limited seat height adjustment, mediocre user-interface||Funky handling, doesn't fold as easily/small as competition, limited rider height range|
|Bottom Line||A reasonably priced Class 2 electric bike with a great distance range and retro styling||It may not be the most powerful, but we feel this Class 2 model is the best electric bike we tested||A fast, powerful mountain style Class 2 electric bike with an impressive distance range||An affordable mountain-style Class 2 electric bike with a serviceable performance that gets the job done||This convenient Class 2 folding model has a respectable all-around performance and is an excellent value|
|Rating Categories||26-inch Electric Bike||Macwheel Ranger 500||27.5-inch Blue Spar...||AN-EB001 26-inch El...||Folding 16-inch Ele...|
|Specs||26-inch Electric Bike||Macwheel Ranger 500||27.5-inch Blue Spar...||AN-EB001 26-inch El...||Folding 16-inch Ele...|
|Battery Size (Wh)||360||360||374||288||288|
|E-Bike Class||Class 2||Class 2||Class 2||Class 2||Class 2|
|Motor Power (torque)||250W||250W||350W||250W||250W|
|Number of pedal assist settings||5||5(customizable, 3, 5, 7, or 9)||5||3||3|
|Top speed throttle (tested)||15.5 mph||17.5 mph||20 mph||17 mph||17.5 mph|
|Top speed pedal-assist (tested)||15.5 mph||18 mph||20.5 mph||19.5 mph||18 mph|
|Distance Range (throttle-only test)||21.25 miles||19.55 miles||20.25 miles||14.84 miles||15.42 miles|
|Frame material||Aluminum||Aluminum||Aluminum||Aluminum||High strength carbon steel|
|Maximum rider weight (lbs)||200||265||330||330||220|
|Measured Weight (w/o pedals, Medium)||48 lbs 9 oz||48 lbs 5 oz||49 lbs 5 oz||47 lbs 6 oz||46 lbs 15 oz|
|Drivetrain||Shimano 6-speed||7 speed Shimano Tourney||24 speed Shimano Altus||21 speed Shimano Tourney||Single speed|
|Brakes||V-brakes||Mechanical disc||Mechanical disc||Mechanical disc||Mechanical disc|
|Additional features||Headlight, fenders, rear rack||Headlight, taillight, fenders, rear rack, horn, digital display, tool kit||Bell, headlight, tools, digital display||Headlight, horn||Bell, fenders, headlight, tools, folding pedals|
|Warranty||One Year||One Year Limited on hardware, 24 months on computer||Two Years on frame, One year on battery, motor, and components||One Year Limited||One Year Limited|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Macwheel makes a range of electric bikes and scooters and the 26-inch Electric Bike is one of their newest models. We picked one up to see how it compares to our selection of affordable e-bikes. In the end, it proved to have the longest distance range of all the models tested. Read on to find out more about this reasonably priced model.
The Macwheel has a classic cruiser bike style with a comfortable ride quality to match. It rolls nice and smooth on 26-inch wheels and is stable at speed with predictable, steady handling. It has a large range of seat and handlebar height adjustment that should suit a wide range of user heights. Useful features like fenders, and headlight, and a rear cargo rack also help to enhance the user experience.
The Macwheel has a rigid aluminum frame with a step-thru design that makes it easy to get on and off the bike. The seat height can be adjusted from 32.5" to 39.5", making it suitable for most adult riders between roughly 5' and 6'2" tall. Our six-foot-tall tester with abnormally long legs had no problem adjusting the seat to the appropriate height. Likewise, the handlebar can be raised and lowered a few inches to dial it in to your preferences. The seated position is casual and upright, it feels like a lot like a beach cruiser. It has a moderately large padded seat, which we found to be relatively comfortable, even during our hour and a half long range test.
The Macwheel rolls on 26-inch wheels with larger volume 1.75" wide tires. These wheels roll nice and smooth, and the larger volume of the tires helps to dampen the ride a bit and take the edge off bumps and cracks in the road. This bike handles exactly how you might expect, and while it isn't exactly sporty, it responds well to rider input, feels smooth through corners, and is plenty stable at higher speeds. It has a relatively short wheelbase and turning radius, but it feels good making turns of all sizes and at a range of speeds. We found the V-brakes to be plenty powerful to control speed, and the 6-speed drivetrain worked just fine for us during testing.
It may not be the fastest or most powerful electric bike we tested, but it impressed us with its distance range. In fact, the Macwheel outperformed all of the other bikes in our standardized pure electric/throttle-only range test. The larger 360 Wh battery certainly helped it go the distance.
The Macwheel comes with a 360 Wh (36V 10Ah) lithium battery which is among the largest of all the models we tested. In theory, the more battery storage capacity you have, the longer it should last and the farther you can ride your bike. We found this to be the case, and we rode this bike for 21.25 miles with just over 1,000 vertical feet of elevation gain/loss at an average speed of 13.8 mph using just the throttle. This is just shy of Macwheel's claimed throttle-only range of 22-25 miles, and we feel that could easily be achieved on flatter terrain without the rolling hills of our test course. This bike's range could likely be doubled while using pedal assist and putting some effort into pedaling. Other bikes were able to hold a higher average speed, but we feel the 13.8 mph average of the Macwheel is pretty good considering its top measured throttle speed of 15.5 mph. So, it may not be the fastest, but it is capable of going the farthest on a single charge. It is worth mentioning that when the battery got very low, the bike entered a battery save mode of sorts and was moving quite slowly for the last 3/4 of a mile or so.
The Macwheel is a Class 2 electric bike that has both a throttle and 5 levels of pedal assistance. It has a 250W rear hub motor, and we measured its top speed right around 15.5 mph using either the throttle or pedal assist. It can't quite match the torque, acceleration, or top speed of our top-rated models in this metric, but it delivers power smoothly and consistently with only moderate levels of motor noise. Like all of the other bikes we tested, it has brake sensors that shut off the power delivery when the brakes are applied.
While riding on flat terrain, the throttle of the Macwheel had no difficulty getting up to its top measured speed of 15.5 mph. Unlike all of the other bikes we tested, this bike's throttle power corresponded to the pedal-assist setting and was incrementally stronger the higher the setting. This is a unique feature that we think could be useful for riders who may want to adjust how powerful their throttle feels. That said, even in its highest setting, it doesn't have the torque or acceleration of some of the more powerful competition. This was also noticeable during our range testing, as it seemed to bog down and not hold speed quite as well while going uphill. The throttle isn't necessarily intended to whisk you up hills, but some other bikes we tested do a better job of it. The throttle can also be turned off completely by pressing the button underneath the twist grip. This bike also has a walk mode that propels the bike forward while walking which is engaged by pressing and holding the - button.
The Macwheel has 5 pedal assist output settings that provide a broad range of support for your pedaling efforts and it has no problem getting up to its top speed of 15.5 mph. You can go faster than that of course, but that's up to you as the motor stops delivering power once it reaches its top speed. Zero is off and the bike provides no assistance, and shifting up through the settings from 1 to 5 provides increasing support from the rear hub motor. This bike has a magnetic cadence sensor, and it provides the same amount of output as long as the cranks are turning, regardless of how much effort, or torque, the rider puts into the pedals. Power is delivered after about a quarter-turn of the cranks, and it feels smooth and consistent, even when shifting between output levels. The bike can feel a little jumpy when pedaling in an easy gear in the strongest output setting, but that is common among all of the bikes we tested.
We were a little underwhelmed by the display and controls of the Macwheel. While they have decent ergonomics and are perfectly functional, they are quite basic, and the LED display is difficult to read in bright light conditions. Charging is relatively standard, and the removable battery can be charged on or off the bike.
The battery sits behind the seat tube of the bike and it has a switch that needs to be turned to the on position for it to function. The handlebar-mounted controls/display is a single unit located next to the left grip. There are three buttons on the left side of the unit closest to the grip. The center button is marked with an M, and it turns the bike's power on and off. The + and - buttons are used to shift up or down through the bike's output settings. These buttons have relatively good ergonomics and are easy to reach with the thumb. On the right side of the handlebar is a twist throttle integrated into the right grip. A simple twist engages the throttle and propels you forward. The throttle can also be turned on or off by pressing the button underneath it.
The display is quite rudimentary, but it shows output setting and remaining battery life with simple blue LEDs. The output setting is displayed as a number, 0-5, in the upper right corner. The battery charge is represented by 5 bars on the bottom of the display that turn off progressively as the battery is depleted. While this system works, it only shows you the bare minimum of information, and the blue lights can be quite challenging to see in bright sunlight.
The battery has a small charging port on one side that has a small rubber cover to keep dust and moisture out. The battery can be charged on the bike, and it can also be removed by unlocking it and sliding up and out of its cradle. This is a nice feature for security purposes and those who can't charge their battery where their bike is stored. Macwheel claims a charging time of five hours for a fully depleted battery.
While it is generally straightforward, the assembly of the Macwheel is a little more involved than most of the other bikes we tested. Like most bikes, it arrived mostly assembled, with only a few steps remaining to complete the process. It comes with detailed written instructions with photographs and all of the necessary tools.
The Macwheel arrives in a large bike box that weighs roughly 60 lbs. This box is relatively large and we think it's a good idea to have someone help you if you need to move it. Removing the bike from the box can also be a bit awkward, and it is nice to have an extra person for this step too. Our test bike arrived in good condition, and it was well packaged and protected from shipping damage. After removing the protective packing materials, the remaining assembly took approximately 45 minutes. The majority of the steps are quite simple and don't require bike mechanic skills to complete, but if you are unsure, we would suggest having it assembled by a professional bike mechanic. The remaining steps include installing the handlebar, seat and seatpost, front fender and headlight, rear rack, and pedals. We also found that we needed to adjust the cable tension of the front and rear V-brakes. Otherwise, all we needed to do was plug it in and charge it for it to be ride-ready.
We feel the Macwheel is a relatively good value. It falls around the middle of the pack in terms of price and boasts an impressive distance range, comfortable ride quality, and classic good looks. If you're looking for a commuter or around town e-bike to save money on gas or simply to get out and have fun, we feel this is a reasonably priced option to consider.
The Macwheel 26-inch is a cruiser-style e-bike with a retro style. It's not the fastest or most powerful, but it impressed us with its best-in-test distance range. This comfortable bike promotes a laid-back riding style as it supports your pedaling efforts up to its top speed of 15.5 mph with pedal assist or the throttle. Additional features like fenders, a cargo rack, and a headlight add to its user-friendliness and versatility for commuting or running errands around town.
— Jeremy Benson