A $995 belt-drive e-bike worth every penny Leave a comment


San Diego-based Ride1Up has long impressed me with its value-priced electric bikes. And the company’s Ride1Up Roadster V2 is the ultimate example of a value-packed e-bike, sporting fast speeds and a silent belt-drive setup for just $995!

When it comes to fancier e-bikes, Ride1Up has you covered with the Ride1Up LMT’D.

But when you’re after something that is light, simple, and affordable, the Ride1Up Roadster V2 that I’m reviewing today definitely hits the spot!

It isn’t perfect, and we’ll certainly talk about its few shortcomings below, but this is by and large an awesome e-bike that packs great performance and features into a sleek package.

You’ll of course want to see some fun and action-packed riding shots in my review video below. Then read on for my full thoughts on this awesome belt-drive electric bike.

Ride1Up Roadster V2 video review

Ride1Up Roadster V2 tech specs

  • Motor: 500W peak (350W continuous) rear hub motor
  • Top speed: 24 mph (38 km/h)
  • Range: 20-35 miles (32-56 km)
  • Battery: 36V 7Ah (252Wh) with Samsung 35E cells
  • Weight: 32 lb (14.5 kg)
  • Load Capacity: 275 lb (125 kg)
  • Frame: Aluminum alloy 6061
  • Brakes: Tektro R315 dual-pivot V-brakes
  • Extras: Belt drive, minimalist LCD display speedometer, battery gauge, PAS level indicator, two frame sizes and three colors (silver, black, and maroon) available
  • Price: $995
ride1up roadster v2

Lots to love in a minimalist package

Let’s start with appearances. The Ride1Up Roadster V2 e-bike is so nicely designed that you almost don’t even realize it is an electric bike at first. The battery is elegantly hidden away in the downtube of the frame and the handlebars are largely free of clutter thanks to that minimalist display.

The only tell-tale sign that this urban runabout is sporting electric assist comes from the 500W hub motor tucked away in the rear wheel.

Everything else just looks like a classic, minimalist commuter. I’d call it almost hipster-spec, except that the belt drive screams new age, not vintage hipster vibes.

Of course this isn’t some fancy and expensive Gates carbon belt drive, so I’m not sure it’s got a 50,000 mile lifespan like the leader of the pack. But it still gives you that low-noise, maintenance-free ride that makes belt drives so popular. And it does it a price us average Joes can afford. Not like those hoity-toity, elitist belt drives. This is a belt drive that you could go have a beer with.

ride1up roadster v2

Low weight, high performance

A far as e-bikes go, the Ride1Up Roadster V2 is a featherweight. A mere 32 lb (14.5 kg) is nothing in the electric bicycle world. I’ve ridden several e-bikes that weigh literally three times as much.

The low weight combined with the wide open diamond frame make it easy to toss the e-bike over your shoulder and jog up a flight of stairs.

Despite the minimalist design though, the Roadster V2 still gets up to a sprightly 24 mph (38 km/h) at full bore. You’ll need to be in the highest pedal assist setting to get there (or just give it a good hard pedal in the lower pedal assist levels).

There’s no throttle on this e-bike, as the relatively small 252 Wh battery would be drained fairly quickly. But pedal assist normally squeezes out around twice as much range as throttle operation, so the half-size battery still provides a comparable range to most other e-bikes I’ve tested, at around 20-35 miles.

The motor is rated at 350W continuous and 500W peak. In the lower pedal assist levels, you’re definitely doing the lion’s share of the work. But when you max it out, the 500W of power is palpable. This is definitely still an assist e-bike, not a mini motorbike like many other throttle-powered e-bikes. But assuming you’re already cool with pedaling, the Ride1Up Roadster V2 gives you enough pedal assist variation among the different levels to fit either a workout session on low-power end or a short brisk ride to work without breaking a sweat on the high-power end of the pedal assist range.

The single-speed drivetrain might be a turnoff for some, but I was surprised by how well it fit my riding style. While non-electric single speed e-bikes can feel sluggish to start, the Roadster V2’s motor made the first few pedal revolutions easy and compensated for the downsides of single-speeds on dead starts.

Easy to ride, easy to maintain

The Ride1Up Roadster V2 is an easy bike to ride because there just isn’t much to it. There are no gears to shift since it is a single speed.

There’s no derailleur to tune, there’s no chain to clean (or to dirty up your ankle), there’s just not a lot to this bike.

The V-brakes aren’t fancy but they work well and bring the bike to a quick stop. The cables are also so short that you’re not likely to see much cable stretch, further reducing the amount of maintenance. I imagine you’ll eventually need to tune them over time, but it isn’t likely to be a common struggle.

The bike’s touch points are another nice feature. Not only is the saddle so much more comfortable than I expected a budget e-bike’s saddle to be, but the minimalist display’s buttons are actually easy to reach while riding. That’s not always a given, and some displays make it annoying to stab at the pedal assist buttons while bouncing around on the road. But with the Roadster V2, you can easily shift through pedal assist levels without even looking down. The buttons are right where your thumb can reach them by feel without releasing the handlebar.

Cheap price, but you might need to add a bit

At $995 including shipping, it’s hard to beat this e-bike on value. You get a fast, fun, and lightweight e-bike for a killer price.

But there are still a few things missing.

For one, you’ll likely want to add a kickstand. This is another trend we’re starting to see with low-cost e-bikes: They lack kickstands to save a few more bucks.

If you always park at a bike rack and don’t mind leaning the bike up, then you’ll probably be fine without one (and will enjoy shaving off a few more grams of weight). But for me, the ability to park anywhere without needing a wall or pole to lean on is worth the extra half pound and the $11.

Next, there are no lights on the e-bike. Since this is such a great commuter e-bike, lights are an important piece of kit. You’ll definitely want to add some. Again, $11 for some cheap bike lights makes a big difference over… an invisible bike at night.

Lastly, there are no fenders. The good news though is that there are eyelets so you can add some if you live in rainy areas.

So my only real gripes are on the lack of included accessories. But since those aren’t used by all riders, I can see the logic in offering a low-priced entry-level model and then allowing riders to add only the accessories they need.

ride1up roadster v2

Final thoughts on the Ride1Up Roadster V2

The Roadster V2 is exactly what you want in an urban e-bike: a lightweight, fast, and nimble ride that combines ease of use with easy maintenance.

If you like pedaling and want a fun, minimalist e-bike, this could be the one for you.

If you require a throttle or a 7-speed transmission, you’ll want to keep looking.

For me, the Ride1Up Roadster V2 is a great balance that finally brings affordable belt-drive e-bikes to the masses.

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