Ariel Rider burst onto the electric bike scene with a range of extremely capable electric mopeds, including the X-Class, Grizzly, and D-Class. Now, Ariel Rider is leveraging its experience to bring an affordable, lightweight commuter in the new $999 Rideal.
Disclaimer: Ariel Rider provided the Rideal to the author free of charge for the purposes of this review.
The Ariel Rider Rideal starts with an angular 6061 aluminum frame that looks and feels a lot like a traditional hardtail mountain bike. The geometry puts the rider up high in an aggressive stance with great visibility and control. Because it’s aluminum, it keeps the weight down, with the Rideal coming in at an impressive 52 pounds. That’s doubly impressive considering the absolute bargain price of just $999.
Our review bike arrived in the striking blue color and the Rideal can also be ordered in a sharp red or a more muted black paint job. We also opted for the more traditional high step frame for our review as it’s better suited to taller riders. To accommodate riders of different sizes, Ariel Rider also offers the Rideal in a versatile mid-step frame for folks looking for a setup that’s easier to get onto.
Assembly was quick and painless, and after 20 minutes, we had the bike up on the charger to gulp down some solar-powered electrons. After a few hours, we were ready to hit the road and eagerly charged out towards the beach on our review route.
The 180mm mechanical disc brakes were more than up to the task of slowing the bike along the steeper sections at the start of the route. Safety is rarely sexy, but I’ll tell you something, not having a bike that can safely stop is a far less exciting prospect. Up front, I love that the left brake lever has an integrated bell-dinger built right into it. These are becoming more common and are by far the most ergonomic bell we’ve found.
The left side grip is also home to the control pad for the bike, sporting easy buttons to turn the bike on, off, increase or decrease power and, of course, turn the lights on and off. The Rideal sports a front and rear LED light package that’s not going to light up the neighborhood at night, but it’s more than sufficient to increase visibility of the street and of the bike when the sun goes down.
The controller is of the more basic variety, but that’s one of the very few obvious trade offs that must be made on a bike as value-oriented as this. Just the same, it does a fine job of making it easy to tweak the settings on the fly. The 5 levels of pedal assist adjust just how much of the 750 watt motor will be called on to get the bike moving.
The programming that goes into tuning the levels of pedal assist is a high art, and the system on the Rideal absolutely nails the incremental steps of assist from levels 1 to maximum power at level 5. It would be nice to have a level zero for times when no assist is needed, like on downhill sections, though the same effect can be achieved by simply powering the system off.
On the mechanical side of things, the Rideal sports a 6-speed cassette and derailleur system out back with a versatile 16-48 gearing that’s well-suited to a range of riding conditions. We found the gearing and powerful 750 watt motor to be well paired for riding anything from fast downhill to flat beachfront bike trails and even to steep ascents.
The squishy grips on the Rideal provide a comfortable grip and give the bike a playful feel to it. They’re perfect for casual riding, though folks putting more miles on their bike may want to upgrade these to a set of more robust rubber or ergonomic grips for more comfort.
Overall, the Rideal is an impressive package with the overarching spec being its price, at just $999. Even at that low price point, it stands out, with an overall build that’s lighter than many bikes that come in at hundreds of dollars more. For that price, you still get a fully capable 750 watt motor that can power the bike up some of the steepest hills without requiring massive effort on the part of the rider.
Its familiar frame designs and approachable build are sure to put it in contention for riders looking for a robust commuter bike that won’t break the bank. In fact, it may even leave a bit of extra cash to let riders add some of Ariel Riders’ accessories to the build. They offer a full complement of racks, baskets, and fenders to build out the Rideal to take advantage of its 285-pound weight capacity.
For more info about the Rideal and to see it in action, head over to Ariel Rider’s site.
Ariel Rider Rideal Electric Bike Specs
- Motor: 750W geared hub motor with 5:1 Planetary Reduction – Japanese Dapu
- Range: 25-45 miles per charge
- Battery: 48V, 14Ah li-ion battery
- Weight: 52 lb
- Payload Capacity: 285 lb
- Sensor: Crank-mounted cadence sensor
- Assist Modes: Right mounted twist throttle and five levels of pedal assist
- Lights: 40 lux headlight providing 230 ft (70m) of visibility. Integrated taillight with brake light indicator functionality
- Gearing: 6-speed, 16-48
- Brakes: Tektro Aries mechanical disc brakes w/180mm calipers
- Frame Type: High Step or Mid Step
- Colors: Red, Blue, Black
- Recommended Rider Height: Mid-Step: 5’2″ – 6’2″, High-Step: 5’10” – 6’7″
- Price: $999
All image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica