Nakto 26-inch 250W Cargo Review
Cons: Only 1 pedal assist level, basic display and controls
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Nakto is one of many small brands producing reasonably priced electric bikes. The 26-inch 250W Cargo caught our attention with its positive user reviews and wealth of included features. We tested the Nakto against a diverse field of similarly priced competitors to see how it compares. While we were a little underwhelmed by its simple pedal-assist system, we were impressed by its distance range, 20 mph top speed, comfort, ride quality, and user-friendliness. We feel the included basket and rear cargo rack also make this bike a great option for commuting and running errands around town.
The Nakto Cargo has a good, predictable, and smooth ride quality. This cruiser style bike has a low step-through frame and a comfortable, casual upright seated position. It also comes equipped with most of the features you'll ever need, enhancing its versatility and user-friendliness.
We found the overall handling of the Nakto to be relatively good. It felt predictable and steady making a variety of turn sizes and shapes, and at a range of speeds. Our only gripe with this bike's handling was that it could feel a little twitchy making very sharp turns at lower speeds. We attribute this twitchy feel to the somewhat compact geometry of the frame and steep head tube angle. Otherwise, this bike felt nice and smooth in the turns and plenty stable at higher speeds. We found the brakes to perform well, but the rear drum brake took a short break-in period before it felt powerful enough. Similarly, the shifting worked well once we made a minor adjustment to the cable tension.
The Nakto is a pretty comfortable bike. While the version we tested with the low step-through frame is technically a women's bike (they make a men's version with a step-over frame too), our male tester found it to be agreeable, with plenty of adjustability to suit his 6' tall frame. The step-through frame is very low, making it easy to get on and off the bike. It has a cruiser bike look and feel, with a comfortable upright body position. The seatpost has approximately 10 inches of height adjustability, and Nakto claims this bike can fit riders between 5'4" and 6'5". The upper end of that height range might be a stretch, but our 6' tall tester with a 32" inseam fit on this bike quite well. The stem and handlebar can also be raised and lowered several inches to dial in the height to your preferences. It also comes with a nice wide, cushioned comfort seat that we had no problems with during our range and handling tests.
One thing we really liked about the Nakto was how many features it came with. Sure it might take a little extra time to assemble this bike because of them, but it's well worth it in our opinion. Front and rear fenders will help to keep you dry and make this bike suitable for riding in wet climates or splashing through puddles. An electric horn and a standard bell mean that you should always have some way of notifying other cyclists or people on foot of your presence. The headlight runs off of the battery, and while it isn't the brightest, it does cast a nice wide beam for riding at night. The covered basket was also a nice touch and a perfect place to carry items on your way to work or while running errands. A sturdy rear cargo rack rounds out the extensive list of features and adds to this bike's carrying capacity. If cargo space is high on your list, the Nakto has you covered.
We came away from our distance range testing somewhat impressed by the Nakto. Thanks to its 360Wh battery capacity, it went the distance and proved to be one of the top performers in this metric, only narrowly bested for the best range in the test.
The Nakto comes with a 360Wh battery, on the larger side of the spectrum for the models in this review. The company claims a 20-25 mile range when using pedal assist, but we found that you can travel nearly 20 miles using full electric/throttle mode. We performed our range test using the throttle-only, with no pedaling input from the rider, and we traveled 19.6 miles with 1,032 feet of elevation gain/loss. With an impressive average speed of 15.4 mph, the test took an hour and 17 minutes to complete. Our rolling test course is far from perfectly flat, but we feel one could likely travel a bit further on less hilly terrain. Likewise, we feel that a little pedaling effort from the rider could also help to increase this bike's range significantly.
With a very simple pedal-assist system and average acceleration, the Nakto didn't impress us too much with its power output. This bike does get up to 20 mph under throttle or while using pedal-assist, but with only one pedal assist support level, it just seems a little basic. This is not to say that it doesn't get the job done, its just a bit less advanced than models with more pedal assist levels.
When using the throttle, the 250W rear hub motor has average feeling acceleration. It isn't particularly quick off the line, but it has no problem getting up to its top speed of 20 mph on flat ground, and we were relatively impressed by the Nakto's average speed of 15.4 mph during our range testing. We also liked the fact that when we hit the bike's top speed it didn't have an abrupt power cutoff feel.
We found it interesting that the Nakto has only one pedal assist level. You can basically ride this bike with the pedal assist on or off. It has a cadence sensor to regulate its power output, and we found that it lagged a little bit compared to other models we tested. It typically took about 2-3 full rotations of the cranks before we could feel the assistance come on. Once the assistance was on, it ramped up to full output and never felt jumpy, and lingered for about a full second after the pedals stopped turning. The assistance level felt reasonably strong and if we had to guess we'd say it provided around 80-90% support. We found it to be relatively easy to get up to its top speed of 20 mph while pedaling, though it was challenging to go much faster due to the weight of the bike. We found that this system was quite simple and it worked just fine, but we prefer having a couple more assist levels to choose from.
The Nakto lost a little ground to the competition in this metric for its relatively simple user interface. While it isn't particularly impressive, it is still perfectly functional and gets the job done. The seatpost mounted battery is also easily removable for charging or security.
The power of the Nakto is turned on by putting the key into the battery and turning it to the on position. Unlike some bikes that allow you to remove the key once the battery is locked and on, this system requires that the key stays in the battery for the power to be on. Once turned on, the display mounted by the right grip on the handlebar lights up with three colored LEDs on a small screen to display your battery charge as full, half, or empty. All three lights illuminate with a full charge, and they turn off progressively as the charge is depleted. A twist throttle is integrated into the right grip which controls the bike in full electric/throttle mode. Below the battery charge indicator is a small red button that turns the pedal-assist on or off. Push the button in to turn it on, push it again to turn it off. Since this bike only has one pedal assist setting, that's all you really need. On the left side of the handlebar, there is a switch to turn on the headlight, as well as a green button that controls the electric horn. This bike also comes with a bell, so you get to choose which way to alert fellow riders.
The battery slides into a slot behind the seat tube of the bike and locks into place securely. The battery has a handle at the top, and the seat folds up and out of the way, making it very easy to remove for charging or security. The charging port is hidden under the handle of the battery, and charging time is claimed at 4-6 hours.
The assembly of the Nakto was a little more time consuming than most with a few extra steps in the process. It wasn't particularly difficult and was easily completed at home with the instructions and tools provided, but the additional steps add a little bit of time. In all, it took about a full hour to get the bike from the box to ready to ride.
Our test bike arrived in a standard size bike box that was in good shape and didn't show any signs of damage from shipping. The bike itself was packaged well with loads of padding to keep everything protected. Once we removed the bike from the box we removed all the padding and zip ties and located the included instructions and tool kit. Despite being printed on both sides of a single sheet of paper, the instructions were thorough, detailed, and easy to follow. The bike comes about 80% assembled, with standard steps like attaching the front wheel, handlebar, seatpost, and pedals remaining. The additional steps of installing the front fender, headlight, and basket added about 20 minutes to the process. Again, none of these steps are that difficult, it just takes a little extra time. The assembly can be mostly finished using the included tools, although you will also need and adjustable wrench for some of the steps.
The Nakto Cargo strikes us a pretty good value. It falls right about average in terms of price in our test selection, as does its overall performance. Not only does this bike have one of the best distance ranges in our test, but it comes fully equipped with loads of user-friendly features to make running errands or cruising around town a no brainer. We feel this bike will represent the best value to the rider who seeks comfort, simplicity, and the ability to carry some cargo.
If you're looking for a reasonably priced electric bike and comfort, distance range, and carrying capacity are high on your list of performance attributes, then we feel the Nakto is a good option to consider. While it doesn't have the most advanced user interface or pedal assist system, this simple, comfortable, cruiser style bike can easily do 20 mph using the throttle or pedal assist, and it was one of the top performers in our range testing. Add to that a laundry list of useful features, and it was easy to give this bike our Top Pick for Running Errands Award.
— Jeremy Benson