Ride1Up Core-5 Review
Cons: Doesn't come with lights, motor is a little noisy
Compare to Similar Products
|Price||$1,095 List||$999 List|
$999.00 at Lectric eBikes
|$700 List||$999 List||$520 List|
$499.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Reasonably priced, very high price-to-performance ratio, smooth ride, powerful 750W motor, 28 mph top pedal assist speed||Reasonable price, no assembly required, Class 2 and 3 capable, convenient folding design, wide range of fit, loads of features||Long distance range, removable battery, step-thru design, retro style, comfortable ride||Affordable, sleek looks, lightweight, compact size||Affordable, folding, decent distance range, 3 pedal assist modes|
|Cons||Doesn't come with lights, motor is a little noisy||Small wheels, somewhat twitchy handling, smaller battery||Display is hard to read in bright light, 15.5 mph top speed||No throttle, small wheels-less stable handling, shorter distance range, no quick-release seat clamp||Funky handling, doesn't fold as easily/small as competition, limited rider height range|
|Bottom Line||With an excellent range and loads of power, this Class 3 model is easily the best we've tested at this price point||Not only is this bike affordable, but it's the best folding model we've tested||A reasonably priced Class 2 electric bike with a solid distance range and retro styling||An affordable, compact, and lightweight Class 1 model best suited to flat terrain and shorter trips||This convenient Class 2 folding model has a serviceable all-around performance and is an excellent value|
|Rating Categories||Ride1Up Core-5||Lectric XP Step-Thr...||Miclon LNE 26||Propella Mini||Ancheer Folding 16-...|
|Specs||Ride1Up Core-5||Lectric XP Step-Thr...||Miclon LNE 26||Propella Mini||Ancheer Folding 16-...|
|Battery Size (Wh)||500||460.8||360||250||288|
|E-Bike Class||Class 3||Class 3||Class 2||Class 1||Class 2|
|Motor Power (torque)||750W||500W||250W||250W||250W|
|Number of pedal assist settings||5||5||5||5||3|
|Top speed throttle (tested)||20 mph||20 mph||15.5 mph||N/A||17.5 mph|
|Top speed pedal-assist (tested)||28 mph||28 mph||15.5 mph||18 mph||18 mph|
|Distance Range (throttle-only test)||23.0 miles||20.7 miles||21.3 miles||13.4 miles||15.4 miles|
|Frame material||Aluminum||Aluminum||Aluminum||Aluminum||High strength carbon steel|
|Weight Limit (lbs)||275||330||200||220||220|
|Measured Weight||51 lbs 15 oz||61 lbs 10 oz||48 lbs 9 oz||35 lbs 5 oz||46 lbs 15 oz|
|Drivetrain||Shimano Altus 7-speed||Shimano Tourney 7-speed||Shimano 6-speed||Single speed||Single speed|
|Brakes||Tektro Mechanical Disc||Tektro Mechanical Disc Brakes||V-brakes||Shimano TX-805 Mechanical Disc||Mechanical disc|
|Additional features||Kickstand, bottle cage mount||Fenders, rear rack, front and rear lights, folding design, front suspension, mounting points for racks, baskets, and a bike lock, IP-65 rated for water resistance||Headlight, fenders, rear rack||Kickstand||Bell, fenders, headlight, tools, folding pedals|
|Warranty||One Year||One Year||One Year||One Year||One Year Limited|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Ride1Up makes a line of modestly priced electric bikes, and the Core-5 caught our attention for its relatively low price combined with impressive performance specs. During testing, this bike blew us away with its comfort, smooth ride, powerful 750W motor, and distance range. It may be somewhat light on included features, but that's the tradeoff for a Class 3 capable e-bike in this price range. We came away very impressed by the Core-5, and feel it is easily the best we've tested in the "budget" category.
From the first test ride, we were very impressed by the smooth rolling and stable Core-5. This comfortable bike has a relaxed and comfortable seated position and the handling to match. For the price, it comes spec'd with quality components that perform well when the rubber meets the road. The XR (step-over) frame we tested has a large user height range, and it is also offered in a ST (step-thru) frame to fit smaller riders or suit your preferences. It is relatively light on included features, but Ride1Up sells a variety of accessories should you wish to customize your ride.
Our testers found little to complain about the way the Core-5 rides or handles. This bike is smooth-rolling, stable at speed, and simply felt good in all situations. It may not have the razor-sharp handling of a city bike, but it responds well to rider input and makes a variety of turn shapes well. The 27.5-inch wheels with girthy, high-volume, fast-rolling Kenda Kwik Seven.5 2.2-inch tires smooth over cracks in the road and provide a well-damped ride feel. Sure, it might be a little more comfortable with a suspension fork, but at this price point, we feel it rides as good or better than any other bike we've tested. Additionally, we rode the Core-5 without using the power for several miles, and it performs surprisingly well without any electric assistance.
The Core-5 is also a very comfortable bike. We tested the XR (step-over) frame which has a recommended user height range of 5'6" to 6'4". It also comes in an ST (step-thru) frame with a recommended user height range of 5'0" to 6'1" for shorter riders or anyone who doesn't want to lift their leg as high to mount and dismount the bike. The seatpost has a quick-release clamp making changes to seat height very easy should you need to adjust it. The riser handlebar provides a relatively upright and relaxed seated position, and small changes to its height can be made by moving the spacers above or below the stem. The ergonomic grips and Selle Royale Freeway saddle proved to be plenty comfortable, even during our extended range testing.
The components on the Core-5 all worked just fine during testing. The Shimano Altus 7-speed drivetrain performed well, as did the Tektro mechanical disc brakes. Sure, hydraulic disc brakes are a bit more powerful, but these brakes did a fine job of slowing us down in a controlled and predictable fashion. Our only real gripe with this bike is the relative lack of included features, as it doesn't come with niceties like a cargo rack, fenders, or lights. That said, it's a very reasonably priced and super powerful Class 3 e-bike, so we understand that some compromises needed to be made to keep the price so low. Ride1Up does sell accessories like fenders and a rear rack at reasonable prices should you desire to add them later on. If you're planning to ride at night, we'd highly recommend investing in some quality bike lights for enhanced visibility.
The Core-5 took top honors in the distance range metric, besting all of the other models in the budget category in our standardized range test. This didn't come as too much of a surprise given the fact that it has a 500 Wh (48V 10.4ah) battery, the largest of all the models tested, but it also impressed us with its power and high average speed in the process. This test was performed using the throttle only with no pedaling input from the rider to determine the low-end of each bike's range potential, and it is clear that the Ride1Up can go the distance.
During our throttle-only range test, we rode the Core-5 for 23 miles on gently rolling terrain with a total of 1,282 feet of elevation gain. Holding an impressive average speed of 17.3 mph, this test took us an hour and 20 minutes to complete. Ride1Up claims a range of 20-40 miles for the Core-5, and we were even more impressed that it exceeded the low-end of this claimed range with absolutely no pedaling input from the rider on the rolling, gentle hills of our test course. We attribute this primarily to the Core-5's larger 500 Wh battery capacity, as the longer the battery lasts the farther you can ride. This bike also has a 750W geared hub motor, the most powerful of all the bikes in the budget category, and typically a more powerful motor will use up the battery more quickly. Despite the more powerful motor and higher average speed, the Core-5 still managed to travel the farthest. So not only can you ride longer, but you might get where you're going faster as well.
With a 750W Geared Hub Shengyi motor, the Core-5 is a very powerful electric bike. In fact, it was one of the fastest in our acceleration tests, and we found it to hold speed very well up our hill test and during our range testing. We found it to have no problem reaching its top throttle speed of 20 mph (and quickly too), and this Class 3 model is capable of traveling at up to 28 mph using pedal assist. We were very impressed by the Core-5's power, especially compared to the other models in the budget category.
We performed some acceleration tests in the parking lot behind GearLab HQ, and the Core-5 was able to go from a complete stop to its top throttle speed of 20 mph in just under 10 seconds. We repeated this test several times, and not only did it do this consistently, but it was faster than any of the other models we tested using the throttle. On a short hill nearby, we also tested its ability to accelerate and hold speed uphill, and again, it impressed us by accelerating up to 18 mph and only slowed to 17mph at the steepest part of the hill. This is in contrast to other bikes which struggled to get up to 15 mph and slowed significantly more. On the gently rolling hills of our range test course, the Core-5 held an impressive average speed of 17.3 mph over 23 miles of riding using the throttle only, and it powered up the inclines with ease where other bikes slowed and bogged down. Our only gripe with this powerful bike is that the motor is a little noisier than some of the other models we tested.
The Core-5 has 5 levels of pedal assistance providing a range of power output and top speeds. In level 5, it is capable of reaching Class 3 speeds of up to 28 mph, and we found doing so to be fairly easy, but it required a little effort on the part of the rider. As you shift down through the levels, the amount of power output and the top assisted speed decreases incrementally. Due to the fact that it has a cadence sensor, the motor delivers power as long as the cranks are turning regardless of how much effort you are putting into pedaling. We found the assistance to feel quite smooth as long as the pedals were turning at a consistent rate, and it only felt jumpy when pedaling inconsistently (this is common among all the bikes we tested). We even rode the Core-5 with no assistance for over 10 miles, and other than it being a bit heavy, it performed quite well and didn't feel like there was much, if any, drag coming from the motor system.
The Core-5 comes equipped with intuitive controls and a quality display that make it easy to use whether you're cruising with the throttle or pedal assistance. The battery is very cleanly integrated into the frame, is easily removable, and charging is straightforward.
This Class 3 model has a paddle throttle located next to the left grip that is very easy to reach and press with the thumb. Next to the throttle is the Key-Disp KD21C display unit. On the left side of the display are three buttons that are fairly easy to reach with the thumb. The power/mode button is in the middle with + and - buttons above and below. The + button shifts up and the - button shifts down through the pedal-assist levels, and the - button also doubles as the walk mode button if you press and hold it. These buttons are also used to make adjustments to the display setting or when customizing pedal assistance. The display screen measures 1-1/4 inches tall x 2-inches wide and has a light background with dark numbers/letters. We found it fairly easy to read, even in bright light conditions. The display shows important ride data with battery charge shown as a graphic with 5 bars representing your remaining battery charge at the top, along with the pedal-assist level shown as a number, 0-5, in the upper right-hand corner. Your current speed is shown in the middle of the screen in large numbers, and the data field at the bottom of the screen can be switched between odometer, trip distance, time, and power output in watts by pressing the mode button.
We think it's refreshing to see such streamlined battery integration on a bike in this price range, and it really makes the Core-5 look more expensive than it is. It also helps to hide the fact that it is an e-bike, and one could easily mistake it for a regular, non-electric cruiser bike. The battery can easily be removed from the frame by unlocking it using the included keys, so it can be charged on or off the bike. A small rubber flap covers the charging port which is located on the upper right side of the battery.
We found the Core-5 to be relatively easy to assemble, but there are a few more steps involved in the process than some of the other models we tested. Our testers are experienced with bike assembly and were able to complete the process in right around 30 minutes with little difficulty. That said, those who are less familiar with bikes or are not mechanically inclined may want to consider taking it to a local bike shop for assistance.
With a measured weight of 51 lbs and 15 oz, removing the bike from the box is easiest with the help of another person. Once out of the box, the first step is removing the protective packing materials, which takes a few minutes. While the remaining assembly of the Core-5 can easily be completed at home by following the printed instructions or the assembly video on the Ride1Up website, there are a few steps involved that may seem a little daunting to those who are not very familiar with bikes. It comes with a full set of allen wrenches (a nice touch), but you will also need an adjustable wrench to attach the pedals and tighten the front axle. Yes, the Core-5 is mostly assembled already, but unlike most of the other bikes we tested, you will need to install the fork and the drive side crankarm yourself. This is in addition to attaching the front wheel, pedals, and handlebar/stem. You will also need to make comfort adjustments to the handlebar and seat height, inflate the tires, and potentially adjust the brake caliper alignment (if necessary).
Should You Buy the Ride1Up Core-5?
The Core-5 is hands down the best bike we've ridden in the budget category, and we feel it is the best option for anyone seeking a powerful Class 3 model that won't break the bank. This bike easily outperforms many more expensive models and blows the doors off the other bikes in this price range. Not only is it powerful with a 750W motor, but its 500 Wh battery gives it a great range, and it's a looker with clean lines and excellent battery integration. It's light on included features, but regardless, we feel its performance is head and shoulders above the rest of the field.
What Other E-Bikes Should You Consider?
If you're on a budget, we think the Core-5 is the best of the bunch, but there are a few other models that may better suit your needs or preferences. If you're short on storage space, then the Lectric XP 2.0 and its compact folding design may be a better option. This powerful bike supports Class 3 speed up to 28 mph, but it folds down to a small size for storage or transport. Its handling isn't quite as composed as the Core-5, a tradeoff for its folding convenience. If an electric city bike is more your style, then the Aventon Soltera might be the perfect fit. With sporty handling, 700c wheels/tires, and a sleek design with in-frame battery integration, the Soltera is ready to tackle your commute or the concrete jungle in style. This Class 2 model isn't quite as powerful and it has a slightly shorter range, but it's a bit lighter weight as a result and easier to carry up or down stairs from your office or apartment.
— Jeremy Benson
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