At $1,195, The Ride1Up Core-5 Commuter E-Bike Is An Insane Value (CleanTechnica Review)
Ride1Up disrupted the value e-bike scene with a range of intelligently engineered, beautifully designed e-bikes packing surprisingly premium features. After reviewing the Ride1Up 700 Series Step Through earlier this year, we were excited to take the more affordable Core-5 for a spin.
The Ride1Up Core-5 pairs a slick step-through or high-step frame design with an integrated battery to the table at markedly lower price points than the competition. At just $1,195 (currently on sale for $1,145), the Core-5 offers unparalleled value with an impressive array of features.
Disclaimer: Ride1Up sent the Core-5 free of charge for the purposes of this review.
Right off the bat, the Core-5 is a stunner, with its beautiful matte slate blue paint standing out from the rows of white and black bikes at the rack. The blue really make the frame pop, giving it a high end feel before you even know what’s actually going on inside. It’s also available in a midnight grey.
Hopping onto the bike, the Core-5’s upright riding posture and low step frame carries forward the classic 20th century bicycle into the 21st century with a refined modern design paired with a healthy injection of technology. The Shengyi rear hub motor puts out 500 watts of continuous power with peak power output of an impressive 880 watts. Paired with the fully integrated 10.4Ah Reention battery, the Core-5 can provide support for 20 to 40 miles per charge.
About that battery, the 10.4Ah battery is smaller than on some higher priced value e-bikes. To squeeze out more miles per charge, Ride1Up intelligently paired it with a more efficient motor rated at 500 watts of continuous power. Personally, these are the sweet spot between power and efficiency as this one has a peak power output of 880 watts that rivals that of many larger motors. That enables the combined package to achieve an impressive amount of range that’s well suited to powering the bike across a wide range of commutes, recreational rides, and more.
We were excited to review the step through as it supports a wide range of rider heights, all the way from 5′ 0″ to 6′ 1″. Regardless, I’m 6′ 2″ and I have comfortably put many miles on the bike doing everything from fast downhill bursts to long stretches of beachfront bike paths to steep uphill climbs. I love that my less vertically enhanced wife and I can both ride the same bike with just a quick tweak of the seat height. If I were to make this my daily driver, I would probably upgrade to an adjustable stem to make it that much more comfortable and versatile.
The black and white KD21C display on the bike isn’t anything fancy, but it puts all the relevant information right at your fingertips. Pedal assist level, current speed, and a user-defined section that can display the odometer, max speed, trip distance, or average speed are all easy to read at a glance while under way. Notably, the Core-5 does not include any integrated lights, though this is a fair concession for the lower price point. Not every owner will need lights, so offering a base bike at a lower price point gives everyone the benefit of the lower price point. A set of front and rear LED lights can easily be added for owners looking for more visibility.
The swept back handlebars are a nice balance between full blown cruiser handlebars like you’d see on a beach cruiser and the straight line bars of a mountain or crossover bike. Wrapped in a pair of rubber ergo grips, the bars make it easy to ride in an upright seating position without the bulk of the massive cruiser bars.
Speaking of comfort, let’s talk about the seat for a moment. Not many parts of a bike are more user-specific and as such, this seat is sure to be received with mixed reviews. We found it to be a healthy blend of comfort and lightweight, with a rear seat pad section that’s admittedly narrower than most comfort saddles. It’s fine for ride segments of less than ten miles. For folks looking to put more miles on the bike in a single stretch, a saddle upgrade may be in your future.
On our 20 mile test route, we found it easy to put miles on the Core-5. We kept the pedal assist on zero for the downhill sections of the ride and loved how the Kenda Kwick Seven.5 27.5” x 2.2″ tires just flowed with the road. Their surface has a smooth profile, allowing for fantastic efficiency while commuting, while row of horizontal cuts in the tire provide a surprising amount of traction for occasional off road stints. At 2.2″ in diameter, they boast a tad more volume than traditional 2″ tires, adding just a hint of cushion to the ride. Compared to the narrow tires on most crossover bikes, it’s a night and day improvement.
Part of the reason Ride1Up can offer their bikes at such a low price compared to the competition is their approach to shipping and assembly. The Core-5 showed up in a box that’s around 30% smaller than most ebikes of a similar size. That saves money on shipping but requires more assembly by the owner. Typical e-bikes take us around 20-30 minutes to unbox and assemble whereas Ride1Up estimates the Core-5 will take 1-2 hours to assemble. For those uncomfortable with tasks like installing the fork or cranks on a bike, it’s worth considering seeking professional assistance from a local bike shop or mobile bike service like Velofix.
Overall, the Ride1Up Core-5 offers an impressive set of features at a ridiculously low price point. The components aren’t premium, but they are a very nice set of name brand components that will serve the needs of students and weekend warriors. The design of the bike and upright riding position make it a solid option for those looking for a commuter workhorse, with optional fenders and a rack to further extend its utility.
Ride1Up Core-5 Commuter E-Bike Specs
- Motor: Shengyi rear hub motor with 500 watts of continuous power output, 880 watts of peak power output
- Battery: 10.4 amp-hour, 48 volt, 500 watt-hour Reention Eel battery built with LG cells
- Range: 20-40 miles per charge, depending on rider weight, assist level, terrain, etc
- Pedal Assist Sensor: Cadence sensor
- Brakes: Tektro mechanical disc brakes with 160mm calipers
- Tires: Kenda Kwick Seven.5 27.5” x 2.2″
- Weight Capacity: 275 pounds
- Weight: 49 pounds
- Colors: Slate blue or midnight grey
- Frame Options: ST or XR
- Price: $1,195 (currently on sale for $1,145)
All images credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica