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Ride1Up Portola Review

A practical and comfortable folding e-bike that is Class 1,2 or 3 capable with a high level of versatility at an excellent price
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Ride1Up Portola Review (There is a lot of utility built into this foldable model.)
There is a lot of utility built into this foldable model.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens
Price:  $1,095 List
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Manufacturer:   Ride1Up
By Joshua Hutchens ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 22, 2024
78
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 7
  • Ride - 25% 8.0
  • Range - 25% 8.0
  • Power - 20% 8.0
  • Portability - 15% 6.0
  • Interface - 10% 8.0
  • Assembly - 5% 9.0

Our Verdict

The Ride1Up Portola is a value-priced folding bike that is utilitarian and comfortable. The bike arrives mostly assembled in Class 2 mode. A 750W rear hub motor propels the bike, and its juice comes from a 642Wh battery tucked into the bike's downtube. A suspension fork and higher volume 3-inch tires provide a dampened ride while lights and fenders ready the bike for urban duty. There are 5 levels of pedal assist and a thumb-actuated throttle. The frame has a low step-through, but its limited adjustability makes this bike a tough fit for larger riders. Petite riders rejoice; the lowest saddle height on this bike is incredibly low. The user interface isn't exciting, but it's easy to use and provides useful information. Overall, this is an incredibly convenient bike with a reasonable range that isn't overloaded with heavy batteries.
REASONS TO BUY
Value priced
Comfortable ride
Versatile passenger option
Rack holds 130 pounds
REASONS TO AVOID
Limited adjustability
Cadence sensor
Folded size

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Ride1Up Portola
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Price $1,095 List
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Bottom Line Value, convenience and utility come together in this foldable model with enough power for two peopleShowing off exceptional ride quality and range in style, this bike looks and feels greatAn incredibly useful and versatile little bike that won't cost you an arm and a legThis folding electric bike has a great distance range and comes at a middle-of-the-road priceIt may be comparatively basic, but this folding Class 2 electric bike tops the charts for convenient portability
Rating Categories Ride1Up Portola Aventon Sinch Step-... Lectric XP 3.0 Step... Rattan Folding Elec... Swagcycle EB5 Plus...
Ride (25%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
4.0
Range (25%)
8.0
10.0
7.0
9.0
3.0
Power (20%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
4.0
Portability (15%)
6.0
5.0
6.0
7.0
10.0
Interface (10%)
8.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
4.0
Assembly (5%)
9.0
10.0
10.0
8.0
10.0
Specs Ride1Up Portola Aventon Sinch Step-... Lectric XP 3.0 Step... Rattan Folding Elec... Swagcycle EB5 Plus...
Battery Size (Wh) 642 672 500 624 270
Measured Weight 62 lbs 9 oz 67 lbs 13 oz 62 lbs 8 oz 58 lbs 36 lbs 10 oz
Folded Dimensions 42 x 18 x 37 in 46 x 28 x 30 in 37 x 18 x 28 in 38.6 x 18 x 28 in 26 x 15.6 x 23.6 in
E-Bike Class Class 2 (Can be configured Class 1 or 3) Class 2 (Can be configured Class 3) Class 3 (Can be configured Class 2) Class 3 (Can be configured Class 2) Class 2
Motor Size 750W 500W 500W 500W 250W
Number of pedal assist settings 5 5 5 5 1
Top speed throttle 20 mph 20 mph 20 mph 20 mph 15.5 mph
Top speed pedal-assist up to 28 mph up to 24 mph up to 28 mph up to 25 mph 13 mph
Measured Distance Range 26.7 miles 30.1 miles 24.5 miles 29.7 miles 12.1 miles
Frame material Aluminum 6061 Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum and Steel
Wheel size 20-inch 20-inch 20-inch 20-inch 14-inch
Weight Limit 300 lbs 300 lbs 330 lbs 300 lbs total, 55 lbs on rear seat 264 lbs
Drivetrain Shimano Altus 8-speed Shimano Acera 7-speed Shimano Tourney 7-speed Shimano TX50 7-speed Single speed ProWheel
Brakes Hydraulic disc Mechanical disc Hydraulic disc Tektro Mechanical disc V-brakes
Additional features Fenders, rear rack, front and rear lights, folding design, 80mm front suspension, mounting points for front rack, kickstand, IP-65 rated for water resistance 45mm suspension fork, folding pedals, Aventon app Fenders, rear rack, front and rear lights, folding design, front suspension, mounting points for front rack, kickstand, IP-65 rated for water resistance Fenders, rear seat and foot rests, folding, head and tail light, Bell, folding pedals

Our Analysis and Test Results

Ride1UP makes a whole lineup of value-priced, consumer-direct e-bikes. The Portola is their recently released folding model that is available with two different battery sizes. The Portola we purchased for testing had a 13.4ah battery (643.2Wh), giving it an extended range and a bit more heft. Rolling on 20-inch wheels, the wide, 3-inch tires and suspension fork provide much-appreciated dampening for a comfortable ride. The bike ships in Class 2 mode, allowing for throttle use and a top speed of 20 mph. Switching to Class 3 just requires pushing a few buttons and increasing the top pedal-assisted speed to 28 mph. This budget model is not bare bones, with features like alloy fenders, a welded cargo rack, front and rear lights, and a kickstand.

Performance Comparison


ride1up portola - there's much to like with foldable bike's ease of entry and built in...
There's much to like with foldable bike's ease of entry and built in rack.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

Ride


The Ride1Up Portola has an enjoyable ride quality that makes it a joy to zip around town on. The seated position is fairly neutral for our 5" 10" tester with hands just above the saddle with the seatpost at full height. Ride1Up claims a rider height range of 4" 10" to 6' 4", and we're not convinced that's accurate. Our 5' 10" tester has admittedly short legs (30" inseam) and needs the saddle at full height to use this bike. Anyone taller or with longer legs is going to feel cramped and not in an ideal pedaling position. As with other folding bikes, the 20-inch wheel size is ideal for compact storage. The downside to the smaller wheels is that they generally ride rougher and react more to surface irregularities. The suspension fork and 3" wide tires do wonders to quell the disruptions passed through the aluminum frame. The bike has adequate power and is quite maneuverable at lower speeds. The Portola's short wheelbase and narrow handlebars can make it feel a bit sketchy at higher (above 20 mph) speeds where the bike isn't as stable and doesn't react as predictably.


Making a compact, foldable bike that fits a wide range of riders isn't easy and sometimes requires specialized parts. Many models have adjustable-height handlebars or telescoping seat posts to accommodate taller riders; the Portola does not have these features. As such, this bike is a better fit for smaller riders than it is for taller riders.

Foldable, versatile, and practical - the Portola also makes a great commuter.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

The Portola is incredibly easy to mount thanks to a step-thru frame that is only 14" high. There is a handle at the base of the downtube that allows you to carry the bike when folded but effectively makes your step-over height closer to 16" but it's still simple to mount and dismount. The bike has a 300-pound carrying capacity, allowing for up to 130 pounds on the rear rack. Ride1Up even makes a passenger kit that allows you to bring a friend along. The seated position feels relaxed and comfortable but still upright enough to enjoy the view. The DDK comfort saddle is a great fit for this bike; it has an ergonomic channel down the center and ample gel padding under your sit bones. The dual-piston hydraulic disc brakes provide excellent stopping power and modulation, which is a very nice feature on this value-priced bike.

ride1up portola - the available passenger kit includes this seat and foot pegs...
The available Passenger Kit includes this seat and foot pegs, allowing you to transport a rider up to 130 lbs.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

The Portola includes some nice convenience features that expand the bike's utility. Alloy fenders help keep you dry, a 40 lux headlight shines the way, and a tail light helps you to be seen. The lights run off of the bike's large battery, so you never have to worry about recharging them or swapping out small batteries. Ergonomic grips on the handlebar are contoured to give your palm a wider resting spot and prevent numbness in the hands. This bike's kickstand extends from the chainstay and has a flared bottom, allowing you to park on soft surfaces.

A 40 Lux headlight is a handy feature but night time users would...
A 40 Lux headlight is a handy feature but night time users would benefit from a bit more light.
Sand and soft ground compatible kick-stand is a nice touch.
Sand and soft ground compatible kick-stand is a nice touch.
The folding stem has multiple safety catches to ensure safety.
The folding stem has multiple safety catches to ensure safety.
Included features enhance this little foldable bike's utility in many ways

Range


The Portola can be purchased with two different 48 Volt batteries; our test bike came with the 13.4ah (642Wh) battery, giving it a reasonably good range. The smaller 10.4ah (500Wh) battery will provide less range but also weighs almost two pounds less. There is always a trade-off between range and weight/cost. If you understand your needs well, choosing the right-sized battery is easier. Should you make the wrong purchasing decision, you can always purchase an additional battery, as there is no difference in the bike or the battery holder. Users who will ride in cold temperatures, encounter lots of hills, or want maximum versatility should choose the larger pack. Our test bike with the larger battery weighed 62 lbs, 9 oz.


We range-tested the Portola as we do with all of our other throttle-equipped e-bikes. This test uses a fully charged battery, tires at maximum recommended pressure, and a weight-corrected rider. In this case, we had the 20" x 3" Chao Yang tires to 35psi, and our tester was wearing a 12-pound backpack to weigh in at 180 pounds. We use only the throttle for acceleration and cruising, using the pedals solely as a place to rest our feet. We rode 26.7 miles while picking over 900 feet of elevation before completely depleting the battery. When the battery reaches the end of its range, the last bar flashes, but we found remaining range even when the battery indicator had completely disappeared. Considering our lack of pedaling input, this is a pretty respectable distance to travel on battery power alone. The Portola has a claimed range of 25-45 miles with this battery, which doesn't seem optimistic, given that we contributed no pedaling input. The claimed range with the smaller battery is 20-40 miles, and that also seems like an accurate estimate of the bike's ability.

ride1up portola - the welded rear rack can support up to 130 pounds, giving the...
The welded rear rack can support up to 130 pounds, giving the Portola an extra bit of utility.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

Power


This little foldable bike packs a hub motor with a nominal power rating of 750 watts. We tested the bike's power using a dynamometer and found a peak output of 812.29 watts with a peak torque of 31.01 Nm. Keen-eyed readers will notice a discrepancy between the manufacturer's stated torque of 65Nm and what we measured; neither measurement is incorrect. Ride1Up gives us the torque rating of the motor, and we measure the torque where the tire meets the ground; a loss of power from drivetrain efficiency is expected.

ride1up portola - we can better understand drivetrain efficiency by graphing the power...
We can better understand drivetrain efficiency by graphing the power and torque figures generated from the dynamometer.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

This bike uses a cadence sensor, which is common on less expensive electric models. The combination of its powerful motor and this cadence sensor can make the bike feel like it's sometimes accelerating wildly with only minimal input. As you pedal, the cadence sensor picks up your input but not the power (or intention) of your input, so the bike sometimes accelerates more than you intend, and it can feel surprising. This is far more common in the higher pedal assist settings.


Five levels of pedal assist can propel you up to 28 mph. Riding the bike in the first three settings gives it a predictable bit of oomph from the hub motor and easily takes the strain out of your legs. The upper two settings feel like it's running on higher octane fuel, and the hub's power can overrun your pedaling input, leaving you shifting gears to catch up to the motor. This isn't bad, especially for heavier riders and times when you might want to carry a passenger or a heavy load. The peppy acceleration can, however, catch you off guard, especially riders unaccustomed to e-bikes. The bike arrives in a Class 2 setting, which means it has a throttle capable of propelling you to 20 mph. You can easily switch between Class 1, 2, and 3 using the bike's display, but for the bike to legitimately be a Class 1 e-bike, the throttle must be removed from the bike. Ride1Up has made that easy to do with a single bolt and an accessible electrical connection. The thumb paddle throttle is located on the left side of the handlebar between the grip and the display; it's very easy to get used to and can easily be repositioned for ergonomics.

ride1up portola - no complaints about the simple, easy to use controls.
No complaints about the simple, easy to use controls.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

Interface


Almost all of the Ride1Up bikes we've tested use the same integrated KD21C control/display unit that is found on the Portola. We have no complaints about its simplicity or functionality, but there are others that we like more. The simple 2.2" rectangular LED screen features three control buttons on its left side, closest to the rider's thumb. The display numbers are large enough for most people to view, but there isn't much contrast on this screen. In comparison, the Lectric XP 3.0 uses a much larger, high-contrast display mounted in the center of the handlebar, where it's better aligned with the rider's field of view.


The Portola's integrated control unit has three buttons that control power and adjust the pedal assist settings up or down. The screen shows your current speed, the battery's state of charge, and your pedal assist mode. Toggling through the screens, you can view the average speed, maximum speed, and wattage output. Activating the headlight requires holding the + button, which also backlights the display for enhanced visibility in low-light conditions. Pressing the - button engages Walk Mode, which makes the bike propel its weight at a gentle walking speed. This can be a handy option when you decide to push or walk next to the bike instead of ride it, as one might do with an exceptionally steep hill.

The display measures approximately 2.2 inches from corner to corner.
The display measures approximately 2.2 inches from corner to corner.
The lockable battery integrates neatly into the bike's top tube.
The lockable battery integrates neatly into the bike's top tube.

Regardless of which battery you choose, it fits into the same-sized recess in the top of the bike's downtube. The battery locks into place and can be removed from the bike to ease lifting, transporting, or charging off the bike. Removing the battery is quick and convenient; it also makes the bike significantly less attractive to thieves should you lock it up somewhere.

ride1up portola - the portola is easy to operate and fairly lguithweight given its...
The Portola is easy to operate and fairly lguithweight given its performance.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

Assembly


The Lectric XP tops the charts for its ease of assembly. This folding model comes fully assembled, so all you need to do to finish the job is remove it from the box, remove the protective packing materials, unfold it, and lock it into its riding position. Of course, you'll need to adjust the seat and handlebar height to your preferences, check the tires' air pressure, and turn it on, but otherwise, it's pretty much ready to go. The entire process took approximately ten minutes to complete.


While the Portola arrives almost fully assembled, a few steps remain to get it ready to ride. Removing it from the box and removing the packaging is the majority of your work. The bike can feel unruly before unfolding it, but it becomes quite easy to manage once the frame is buckled together. The handlebar and stem must be attached, and you adjust the saddle to the desired position. Expand the folding pedals, air up the tires, and you'll be ready to ride. When folding the bike for travel or storage, you put the saddle all the way down, fold the pedals in, collapse the handlebar, and fold the frame in half. The collapsed size isn't large, but we weren't able to match its advertised 19 x 29.5 x 33 inches dimensions. When we folded the bike completely, we measured it at 18 x 42 x 37 inches, which is considerably larger although still convenient.

There isn't much involved in assembling the Portola, but the instructions and included tools are nice.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

Value


The Portola is an excellent value for the price. Ride1Up has built a bike that doesn't feel like it was built to be a budget bike. We don't see any cut corners; it feels like the bike's primary objective is to be an outstanding foldable bike, and it just happens to be budget-friendly. If we had designed it ourselves, we might have given it an adjustable height stem and a telescoping seat post, but the bike has a pretty respectable size range, and those parts would likely be unused by a majority of riders. We're honestly impressed with the value of this bike.

Conclusion


The Portola is a great little bike with some cool features that are sure to impress. Even if the folding aspect of the bike wasn't important to you, it doesn't create too many compromises. The bike is small and can be stored conveniently; its robust rack gives it impressive versatility, and it isn't shy on power or range. We can't conclude without a bit of comparison to the Lectric XP 3.0, which is also a great value and quite similar. The Lectric has a nicer display, its rack can hold a bit more weight, and it's a touch more powerful. All said, we don't think you can go wrong with either model. If you're 5' 2" or under, the Portola would be our choice. If you want to pretend you have a cargo bike on occasion, the XP 3.0 would be our recommendation.

ride1up portola - who needs a bike rack, the portola is compact and convenient.
Who needs a bike rack, the Portola is compact and convenient.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

Joshua Hutchens