Ride1Up Revv 1 electric bike review


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May 26, 2023

Ride1Up Revv 1 electric bike review

The new Ride1Up Revv 1 looks more like a motorcycle or minibike than a

The new Ride1Up Revv 1 looks more like a motorcycle or minibike than a bicycle, but while it offers moto style, it plays by the rules necessary to be classified as a bicycle and ridden without a special license, registration or insurance in many states. With a quality Bafang motor and a large battery, the Revv 1 stands out in the increasingly crowded moto-style e-bike field by offering a parts package competitive with pricier models from Super73 and Juiced at a significantly lower price.

We checked out the full-suspension version of the Revv 1 (a hardtail version, with a smaller battery, is available for $500 less), using it for daily rides and urban adventures to see how it stacked up against standard e-bikes and its motorcycle-inspired direct competitors.

With a powerful motor and solid component package, the Revv 1 gives you a fun, full-featured motorcycle-style e-bike at a lower price than the competition.

Throwing a leg over the Ride1Up Revv 1 feels a lot like hopping onto a compact motorcycle — from bars to saddle, it's much more reminiscent of a small motorbike than any bicycle, electric or otherwise. But the Revv 1 doesn't roar with the volume of a gas engine nor does it spit out any fumes while riding.

The 750-watt rear hub motor puts out gobs of power, and the Revv 1 rolls smoothly and accelerates up to its top speed without fuss or jerkiness. The bike comes running in Class 2 mode and can therefore cruise along at up to 20 mph using just its half-twist throttle. Ride1Up will provide customers with instructions to unlock Class 3 mode that allows speeds up to 28 mph while pedaling, though pedaling is particularly uncomfortable on this design — more on this below. Think of it more along the lines of a mega-scale electric scooter that does most of the work for you rather than a "bicycle" and you’re on the right track. There's also an unlockable "Off-Road" mode that removes the speed limit altogether and lets the bike go a little over 33 mph (based on my testing as a roughly 230-pound rider).

When taking advantage of its Class 3 speeds, the Revv 1 is better able keep up with the flow of traffic on city streets, which can make for a more relaxing journey. Even with more than 300 pounds of weight cruising along at more than 20 mph, the hydraulic disc brakes offer substantial stopping power and make it easy to come to a standstill in a single car length.

The front and rear suspension (120 mm of travel up front, 50 mm in the rear) soaks up a lot of the road's vibrations and even some bigger bumps, though (and more on this below), the riding position is a little unforgiving. Standing up on the pedals and getting up out of the saddle when a big bump comes up is more difficult than on a more traditional bike. On extra-smooth roads, you can lock out the suspension.

Though it's technically a bicycle, the Revv 1 includes some accessories that you’d want (or need) on a motorcycle if you’re cruising around in traffic. It includes front and rear turn signals (unusual for a bicycle), a bright headlight with high and low beams, brake lights that get brighter as the brake levers are pulled and a loud horn that's a lot more likely to turn heads than a bell. Ride1Up integrates these features well, and all the lighting runs off the battery's power, so you don't have to worry about charging up a bunch of separate parts just to enjoy a safe ride.

Ride1Up considered that you won't always get to ride in dry conditions. The bike is IP65 rated, so it can handle rain (though not submersion). The inclusion of sturdy, metal fenders is great for when the roads are wet. I rode around a bit after some rain, and despite the pavement still being wet, I didn't get splattered with dirty water like I have on many other bikes.

Though the Revv 1 doesn't include any storage, it has several braze-ons at the center of the bike that can anchor cycling accessories just as you might in a standard bike's front triangle. Ride1Up also sells a $100 storage cage that fits into that space; it provides about 15 liters of room. There's no simple way to mount a standard rack or panniers, unfortunately. For load hauling, you’ll want to look at something designed with more traditional bike accessories in mind, like the affordable Co-op Cycles Generation e1.1 from REI, or RadPower's RadRunner 2.

Just a year ago, I tested out the Super73-R Brooklyn, a similarly spec’d moto-style e-bike. That model cost $3,495, a full $1,100 more than the Revv 1. That bike didn't include convenience features such as turn signals or fenders, and Ride1Up's components, from the Bafang motor to the 1,040Wh battery to the hydraulic brakes and magnesium wheels, don't feel cheap, nor do the frame or suspension.

The Revv 1 stands up well against its true competition: cheap mopeds. Its price is right, and though it's too big and heavy to carry up to an apartment, its detachable battery is easy to charge at home, and the 4-amp charger Ride1Up includes can manage it in a bit over 5 hours. That battery was able to carry me for just over 26 miles of fast, city riding on a single charge. Now you’re looking at what's effectively an extra-cheap EV for fair-weather commuting and jaunts about town. Ride1Up is also making it easier to increase your range, with extra 1,040Wh batteries for $550 where Super73 charges $995 and Juiced charges $799, though at least Juiced is offering UL-certified batteries.

I’ve assembled loads of e-bikes, and the Revv 1 was among the easier ones. Only the front wheel proved tricky because I did it alone. But a few elements may prove tricky for first-time, at-home assemblers: namely, alignment.

The Ride1Up Revv 1 comes mostly assembled, and doesn't take many steps to get set up for riding. By virtue of its weight alone, it's worth having a second set of hands to help with assembly, but I was able to get it all pieced together in a little over a half hour without help. Most of the work is just screwing and unscrewing little bolts to attach the handlebars, headlight, front turn signals, and front fender. The hardest part was getting the front wheel on, but it's a cinch if one person can hold the bike up while the other slots the axle onto the front fork. A standard bike stand won't be of much help if you’re assembling alone, though, given that the bike's extra weight and unusual frame make it difficult to mount using one.

While Ride1Up includes the tools necessary for assembly, it doesn't come with all the know-how needed for a perfect setup. The back wheel came pre-mounted, but having to attach the front wheel myself meant I also had to ensure the brake rotor was in alignment with the brake pads. In all my experience setting up review units, they never are in alignment right off the bat. Getting the front brake to stop scraping takes precision, a sharp eye and a delicate touch.

Harder even than brake alignment is getting a fender to sit straight. I spent a good 10 minutes of assembly trying to get the front fender to line up with the wheel without rubbing.

All of this setup is something bike shops can do with ease, but they won't do for free on a bike they haven't sold you. If you’re not up to the task or not interested in the fuss, getting help at a bike shop can be an additional expense on top of the bike's price tag, and not all bike shops want to work on e-bikes or direct-to-consumer bikes.

The Revv 1 is made to look and ride like a motorcycle. This puts the pedals in an awkward position that makes it hard to stand up like you might on a normal bicycle's pedals or a motorcycle's pegs to go over bumps. Even with the suspension, some bigger jolts get through, and it's hard to compensate for them by quickly lifting out of the saddle. The frame design of the bike also doesn't allow for the fitting of a standard alternative saddle, so if you want something different, you’re out of luck.

That's a minor grievance, but the low riding position means you can't put much muscle into pedaling, compounded by the fact that the Revv 1's saddle is wider than your typical bike seat. In Class 3 mode I pedaled a bit during a 5-mile ride just to get the motor running at max speeds, and at the end of the ride, pain in the joint between my right leg and hip had me hobbling — an issue that didn't crop up when I just used the throttle. Since the Revv 1 is a single speed, pedaling would also prove a daunting task should the battery die short of your destination. It takes considerable effort just to pedal the heavyweight bike along at 5 to 6 mph without motor power.

E-bikes are not generally lightweight, but moto-style bikes like the Revv 1 tend to be on the heavier side. The Revv 1 measures 89.6 pounds, so it's not the kind of bike you want to haul inside everyday, and getting it up a flight of stairs would be a challenge. For everyday urban commuters who need to deal with stairs, a lightweight ride like the Velotric Thunder 1 can make a lot more sense.

The weight combined with the fact this style of e-bike is often running on throttle alone doesn't make it the most efficient ride around. The Revv 1's 26-mile range (as tested) is respectable, and it doesn't hurt that Ride1Up includes a 4-amp charger for faster recharging, but it makes for an efficiency of only about 25 miles/kWh. That may be dramatically better than an electric car, but it's on the low end for an e-bike. The Priority Current can go just as far on half the battery, and the Juiced CrossCurrentX can go almost 20 miles further with a similar battery, both by virtue of being lighter and easier to pedal (so you can produce more of the required wattage on your own).

In Class 2 mode, the Revv 1 is pedal-first, meaning that when it gets input from both the throttle and pedals at the same time it will override the throttle with whatever input it's getting from the pedals. There's not much reason to pedal and throttle at the same time, but given that you’ll be relying on the throttle quite a bit, we found ourselves wishing it reacted the other way around.

Throttle-only operation lacks nuance, particularly at higher speeds, with it seeming to only want to be fully open or closed. The bike might have been even more efficient if it were easier to maintain lower speeds at times, like approaching a stoplight, by holding the throttle half-open.

The bike's computer makes it easy to control the speed modes and shows a clear and reliable picture of the current speed, but it's not so useful for battery or range. It's a good idea to start thinking about heading home when the battery gauge hits two bars because it can go from one bar to dead pretty quickly. Once the last battery bar starts blinking to warn you it's running low, the bike will only go about a quarter-mile before the motor cuts out. You can't rely on the odometer to keep track of your range either. In my testing, the odometer consistently underreported distance by almost half, and it only displays whole miles, not tenths. After a 5.9-mile ride (according to Google Maps measurements and GPS tracking on my watch), the bike's Trip meter showed just 2 miles — oops.

If you’re looking at mopeds or small-engined motorcycles for tooling around town and minor commuting, the Ride1Up Revv 1 is absolutely worth considering. It's got the range, power and quality-of-life design for the job. It's all the better that it's coming at an almost unbeatable price for what you’re getting. It's also perfect for anyone who's been eyeing Super73's options and just wishing they’d come down in price.

The Revv 1 will make the most sense for riders who can lock it up somewhere on ground level or in a garage and take the battery inside to charge. I also would only advise this type of e-bike in states that allow Class 2 or Class 3 e-bikes. It may not even be legal in states that only allow Class 1 e-bikes.

Anyone who likes to get a little bit of a workout on their way from A to B will still be better served by a more traditional e-bike that's better equipped for pedaling. Don't worry — many of them can go just as fast. But when you want to sit back, roll on the throttle and just zip along like a motorcycle, the Revv 1 is where it's at.