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Ride1Up Cafe Cruiser Review

A well-appointed Class 3 electric cruiser ready for trips to the beach or your daily commute
ride1up cafe cruiser electric commuter bike review
Credit: Ride1Up
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Price:  $1,595 List
Manufacturer:   Ride1Up
By Jeremy Benson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 13, 2022
84
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 16
  • Ride - 25% 8.0
  • Range - 25% 8.0
  • Power - 25% 10.0
  • Interface - 15% 8.0
  • Assembly - 10% 7.0

Our Verdict

The Ride1Up Cafe Cruiser is a slick-looking electric cruiser bike that is at home on regular trips to the beach or commuting across town. With a 750W motor, this Class 3 bike boasts a top pedal-assisted speed of 28 mph or 20 mph with the throttle, and the downtube integrated 720 Wh battery gives it a solid range and clean appearance. The 80mm suspension fork provides some cushion, and it rolls on 26-inch wheels with 3-inch wide tires for a super smooth and damp feel. Its handling is predictable but relaxed, as is its rider position with a big swept-back handlebar. The build is well sorted, plus it comes with features like fenders, integrated lights, and a welded rear rack that can support up to 130 pounds. It's also reasonably priced, making it a great value for the right rider.
REASONS TO BUY
Smooth and relaxed ride
Moderately priced
Great build for the price
Great distance range
Capable of Class 3 speeds up to 28 mph
Included features
REASONS TO AVOID
Doesn't have the sharpest handling
Heavy

Compare to Similar Products

 
ride1up cafe cruiser electric commuter bike review
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $1,595 List$1,695 List$1,095 List$999 List
$899.00 at Lectric eBikes
$1,399 List
$1,199 at Aventon Bikes
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Smooth and relaxed ride, moderately priced, great build for the price, great distance range, capable of Class 3 speeds up to 28 mph, included featuresExcellent price-to-performance ratio, lots of included features, comfortable-smooth ride, comes in step-thru and step-over frames and 2 sizes, massive distance rangeReasonable price, high price to performance ratio, 28 mph top speed, comfortable ride for a rigid frame, in-frame battery integrationAffordable, convenient space-saving folding design, powerful motor, included featuresAffordable price, in-frame battery integration, responsive handling, comparatively lighter weight, sold in 2 frame styles and 2 drivetrain configurations
Cons Doesn't have the sharpest handling, heavyHeavier weight, more involved assemblyLimited included features, motor is a little noisy, additional steps in assembly processModerate size battery and range, fairly heavyRigid frame and narrower tires - less forgiving ride, Not the most powerful, smaller battery equates to shorter range
Bottom Line A well-appointed Class 3 electric cruiser ready for trips to the beach or your daily commuteThis bike checks all of our boxes and handily bested the competition in this testAffordable and high performing, we think you'd be hard pressed to find a better bike at this priceA reasonably priced folding model that performs alongside the more expensive competitionA sporty Class 2 city-style model with responsive handling, sleek battery integration, and a reasonable price
Rating Categories Ride1Up Cafe Cruiser Ride1Up 700-Series Ride1Up Core-5 Lectric XP Step-Thr... Aventon Soltera
Ride (25%)
8.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
8.0
Range (25%)
8.0
10.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Power (25%)
10.0
10.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
Interface (15%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
9.0
9.0
Assembly (10%)
7.0
5.0
7.0
10.0
8.0
Specs Ride1Up Cafe Cruiser Ride1Up 700-Series Ride1Up Core-5 Lectric XP Step-Thr... Aventon Soltera
Wheel size 26-inch 27.5-inch 27.5-inch 20-inch 700c
Battery Size (Wh) 720 720 500 460.8 346
E-Bike Class Class 3 Class 3 Class 3 Class 3 Class 2
Motor Power (torque) 750W 750W 750W 500W 350W
Number of pedal assist settings 5 5 5 5 5
Top speed throttle 20 mph 20 mph 20 mph 20 mph 20 mph
Top speed pedal-assist 28 mph 28 mph 28 mph 28 mph 20 mph
Measured Distance Range 27.9 miles 32.4 miles 23.0 miles 20.7 miles 18.8 miles
Frame material Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum
Weight Limit 350 lbs (up to 130 lbs on rear rack) 275 lbs 275 lbs 330 lbs 300 lbs
Measured Weight 65 lbs 63 lbs 11 oz 51 lbs 15 oz 61 lbs 10 oz 44 lbs 5 oz
Folding? No No No Yes No
Drivetrain Shimano Acera 8-speed Shimano Acera 8-speed Shimano Altus 7-speed Shimano Tourney 7-speed Shimano 7-speed or single speed
Brakes Zoom Hydraulic Disc Brakes Tektro Hydraulic Disc Tektro Mechanical Disc Tektro Mechanical Disc Brakes Tektro Mechanical Disc
Additional features Fenders, front and rear lights, rear rack, Mozo 80mm suspension fork Fenders, rear rack, front and rear lights, ..? 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 Integrated lights, Aventon app compatibility, ?
Warranty 1 year 1 year One Year One Year One Year

Our Analysis and Test Results

Ride1Up makes a wide range of reasonably priced electric bikes of all styles, including the Cafe Cruiser reviewed here. Similar to other bikes in their line, this bike comes with a sleek design that includes a frame-integrated 720 Wh battery for a clean look, a nice build, and a 750W motor that uts out some serious power and is capable of pushing Class 3 speeds up to 28 mph using pedal assist. It has a decidedly laid-back cruiser bike style and the comfortable, smooth ride quality to match. It comes loaded with all the features most people will look for, and it is offered in three colors and two frame styles ST (step-through) and XR (step-over) to suit varying needs and preferences. All of that comes at a price that we feel makes it an excellent value.

Performance Comparison


ride1up cafe cruiser electric commuter bike review - the cafe cruiser is a stylish and comfortable way to cruise to the...
The Cafe Cruiser Is a stylish and comfortable way to cruise to the cafe, the beach, or across town for work.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


Ride


Given its design and style, it doesn't come as too much of a surprise that the Cafe Cruiser has a laid-back ride feel reminiscent of a traditional beach cruiser. The seated position is upright and comfortable, and the bike has relaxed handling and a super smooth feel thanks to its front suspension and plump tires. The overall package is well executed, with a host of features that make this bike ready for riding in a wide range of conditions.

ride1up cafe cruiser electric commuter bike review - the suspension fork and plump tires do wonders to enhance rider...
The suspension fork and plump tires do wonders to enhance rider comfort on what is already a comfortable and smooth riding bike.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Just a quick look at the Cafe Cruiser and it's clear to see that it's styled after a typical beach cruiser. It's long and low with a big swept-back handlebar and girthy, balloon-ish tires. These design elements come together to create a ride that is very smooth, stable at speed, and comfortable when making medium to large-radius turns. The 80mm suspension fork and 3-inch wide tires also do wonders to dampen vibration and take the edge off bumps and cracks in the road, adding to the comfortable ride. While we thoroughly enjoyed the ride quality of the Cafe Cruiser, its laid-back nature means that it doesn't have the sharpest handling, and it can feel a bit sluggish at lower speeds and a bit unwieldy in shorter turns. These handling characteristics are typical of this style of bike, and you get used to it pretty quickly.

ride1up cafe cruiser electric commuter bike review - it has a very upright and relaxed seated position that we found to...
It has a very upright and relaxed seated position that we found to be quite comfortable.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Like most beach cruisers, the Cafe Cruiser has a relaxed, upright seated position that is very comfortable and easy to get along with. The big swept-back handlebar brings the grips closer to the body, so you're not reaching forward as you might on other bikes. We found the Plush Comfort Cruiser Saddle to be just that, and the faux leather grips also have an ergonomic shape that's easy on the hands. The ST (step-through) version we tested has a low step-over height of just 22.5 inches which makes it easy to get on and off the bike. It has a claimed user height range of 5'0" to 6'4", so it should work for the vast majority of adult rider heights. It also comes in the XR (step-over) frame style with a higher top tube. This bike has a standover height of 28.5 inches and is claimed to work for riders between 5'5" to 6'4" in height.

The rear rack is welded to the frame and, according to Ride1Up, can...
The rear rack is welded to the frame and, according to Ride1Up, can support a load of up to 130 pounds.
Integrated lights are a great feature that helps you see and be seen...
Integrated lights are a great feature that helps you see and be seen out on the road.
Features like fenders, lights, and a stout rear rack that can support up to 130 pounds round out the package and enhance its value even further.

The parts package on the Cafe Cruiser is quite nice for the price. We found the Zoom hydraulic disc brakes to work great and provide excellent speed control. The Shimano Acera 8-speed drivetrain also performed flawlessly and we much prefer the ergonomics of the trigger-style shifters to other options. The 80mm Mozo suspension fork is a real treat and it works well to smooth out the ride, especially in combination with the bulbous 26-inch x 3-inch wide tires. Additionally, included features like alloy fenders front and rear, integrated front and rear lights that run off the bike's battery supply, and a sturdy rear rack that's rated to carry up to 130 pounds mean you're ready for just about anything, whether that's hauling gear to the beach or commuting across town. Ride1Up also sells a variety of accessories to customize your cargo carrying, including a front basket, passenger kit (cushion, 2 wheel covers, and 2 foot pegs), panniers, and they even show the bike with a Yepp child's seat attached to the rear rack (although this is not currently available on the Ride1Up site).

ride1up cafe cruiser electric commuter bike review - the range of the cafe cruiser is pretty impressive and should meet...
The range of the Cafe Cruiser is pretty impressive and should meet most people's needs.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Range


While not a class leader in our range testing, the Cafe Cruiser is certainly no slouch either. With a whopping 720 Wh battery housed in the downtube of the frame, not only does this have a clean look, but it can travel quite far on a single battery charge. Its result in our range test put it above average when compared to the other models we tested.

We do our standardized range test on the same course, with the same rider, using only the throttle to eliminate the variable of pedaling input. This course involves some gently rolling hills and a range of surface conditions that also allows us to evaluate certain aspects of ride quality and comfort in the process. Starting with a fully charged battery, we rode the Cafe Cruiser for 27.9 miles with 1,437 feet of elevation gain/loss at an average speed of 17.4 mph using the throttle only. While this falls a bit shy of the top performers in this metric, that's still a very impressive distance to travel without pedaling. We feel it's safe to assume you could ride this bike a bit further on perfectly flat terrain, and possibly even meet Ride1Up's claimed low-end range of 30 miles. We are also confident it could be ridden further using pedal assist, depending on assist level and pedaling input from the rider, of course.

ride1up cafe cruiser electric commuter bike review - the powerful 750w geared hub motor makes this bike feel fast and...
The powerful 750W geared hub motor makes this bike feel fast and responsive, capable of up to 28 mph using pedal assist.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Power


With a 750W geared hub Bafang motor, the Cafe Cruiser is definitely not lacking in the power department. This Class 3 model has no problem reaching its top throttle speed of 20 mph or its top pedal-assisted speed of 28 mph. You certainly don't need to ride it that fast, but it feels pretty eager to do so if you're looking to get places in a hurry.

The throttle is a small paddle situated on the left side the handlebar next to the grip. It is actuated by simply pressing down on the paddle with your thumb, and the bike jumps to life and has no problem getting going from a complete stop. In our timed acceleration tests, the Cafe Cruiser was able to reach its top throttle speed of 20 mph in just under 12 seconds, matching the other top performers. Likewise, on our small test hill, it was able to accelerate up to 18 mph and slowed to only 17 mph on the steepest part of the hill, further demonstrating the motor's power. The 17.4 mph average speed of the Cafe Cruiser during our range test, which included 1,437 feet of elevation gain, is even more evidence of the bike's ability to hold and carry speed under throttle power.

ride1up cafe cruiser electric commuter bike review - shifting through the pedal assist levels is easy when you want more...
Shifting through the pedal assist levels is easy when you want more or less pedaling support.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The five levels of pedal assistance provide the rider with a range of support for their pedaling efforts. The amount of support and the top speed increases incrementally as you shift up through the levels, with level 1 topping out around 12 mph and level five capable of hitting and cruising at the bike's top speed of 28 mph without too much effort on the part of the rider. This bike is plenty fast and powerful. Since the assistance is based on a cadence sensor, it delivers the same amount of power when the cranks are turning, regardless of how hard you are pedaling. That said, the geared hub motor provides a nice consistent ramp-up, but it can feel a little jumpy if you're in an easy gear and high output level (the same goes for most bikes with a rear hub motor). Shifts between levels are smooth and relatively seamless, with a noticeable increase in power delivery as you progress up through them, and vice versa.

ride1up cafe cruiser electric commuter bike review - the cafe cruiser has a relatively simple but effective user...
The Cafe Cruiser has a relatively simple but effective user interface in the form of an all-in-one unit that includes the display and controls and a thumb paddle throttle.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Interface


While not particularly exciting, the Cafe Cruiser has a user interface that works well and avoids complication. Along with the thumb paddle throttle, the all-in-one control/display unit is situated by the left grip and is intuitive to use and easy to read. The frame-integrated battery can easily be removed, and charging is relatively standard.

Unlike many bikes that have the controls and display separate, Ride1Up has opted for an all-in-one unit that has the button controls and display combined next to the left grip. While we do like having the display centered in the handlebar for easier viewing while riding, there's something to be said about the simplicity of the combo unit. The three buttons are on the left side closest to the thumb and are easy to reach, and the simple layout is easy to use. The power button in the middle turns the bike's power and on and off, while the + and - buttons are used to shift up and down through the bike's pedal assist support levels. It doesn't get much easier. The thumb paddle throttle sits between the button controls and the grip and is very easy to reach and depress with the thumb. The screen shows you all your pertinent ride info at a glance, with the current speed in large numbers in the middle, pedal assist level as a number in the upper right, and remaining battery life as a graphic with 5 bars. It may not be fancy, but it gets the job done with little to complain about.

Using the keys you can remove the battery from the frame for charging.
Using the keys you can remove the battery from the frame for charging.
This large rubber cover protects the charging port from dust and...
This large rubber cover protects the charging port from dust and moisture ingress.
The keys unlock the battery which can be removed from the frame. The large rubber cover keeps dust ad moisture out of the charging port.

The battery fits into a large cutout in the underside of the downtube of the frame for a very streamlined look. Using the included keys, it can be removed for charging, storage, or security purposes. Charging can also be done on the bike, and the charging port is hidden under a large rubber cover on the upper right side of the downtube. It has an IP-65 weather resistance rating. Meaning it is protected from dust and can withstand low-pressure water jets or occasional water spray, but prolonged exposure to rain should be avoided.

ride1up cafe cruiser electric commuter bike review - the remaining assembly of the cafe cruiser is similar to most other...
The remaining assembly of the Cafe Cruiser is similar to most other bikes that get delivered to your door.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Assembly


The assembly of the Cafe Cruiser was pretty standard for consumer-direct electric bikes and was actually a bit easier than other Ride1Up models we have tested. We were able to complete the process with little difficulty in an average amount of time using the instructions and included tools. One of the biggest challenges with this bike, and most similar bikes, is removing it from the box given its weight and size. We feel that most people should be able to finish the remaining assembly at home, but if you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself we recommend taking it to a local bike shop.

ride1up cafe cruiser electric commuter bike review - tools are included and consist of a pretty nice set of allen keys, a...
Tools are included and consist of a pretty nice set of allen keys, a couple wrenches, and a beanie for good measure.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Once you've got the bike out of the box, all the packing materials need to be removed. The bike comes with a nice set of allen keys and printed instructions (plus a Ride1Up beanie), and the instructions are available online as well. All that remains to get the bike ready to ride is to install the handlebar, front wheel, front fender, headlight, and pedals. Once the bike is together, you'll want to make some comfort adjustments to the handlebar angle and seat height, adjust the tire pressure, and top off the battery. None of these tasks are particularly difficult, but it does take a little time to finish the job. Our test bike was ready to go in right around 40 minutes.

ride1up cafe cruiser electric commuter bike review - if you're looking for a cruiser-style electric bike, the cafe...
If you're looking for a cruiser-style electric bike, the Cafe Cruiser is a great option at a reasonable price.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Should You Buy the Ride1Up Cafe Cruiser?


If you're seeking a reasonably priced electric bike for commuting, running errands, or just for fun, and prefer a relaxed, cruiser bike style over other options, then the Cafe Cruiser is an excellent option to consider. With a laid-back ride quality, a smooth, comfortable ride, an excellent range and plenty of power on tap, this bike can get you where you need to go in comfort and style. Given its excellent performance and wealth of useful features, we also feel it's a great value.

What Other Electric Commuter Bikes Should You Consider?


If you're not completely sold on the cruiser bike style of the Cafe Cruiser, the Ride1Up 700-Series is our top recommendation for an all-around electric commuter. It has similar specs and performance, but with a less relaxed seated position and sharper handling that may work better for many users while still being an excellent value. Interested in something with even zippier handling? The Juiced CrossCurrent S2 is our favorite city bike for its agility and speed. This bike is not only quick, but it also has a great range for longer commutes.

ride1up cafe cruiser electric commuter bike review - it's hard not to love a bike like this, especially at this price.
It's hard not to love a bike like this, especially at this price.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Jeremy Benson
 

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