Affordable ebikes are hard to find. Put another way, you might have to reset your expectation about what qualifies as affordable when it comes to electric bikes. Yes, there are bikes that clock in under $1,000, but for the most part they make serious compromises that loudly signal that they’re budget models. Want to step up? The median ebike price is closer to four times higher. That’s why you should sit up and take notice when you see a value-priced ebike that actually represents a good value.
Ride1Up has made a name for itself by specializing in making excellent-but-affordable bikes—after all, consider the Roadster, priced at just $945. The Ride1Up LMT’D takes the brand’s low-cost-but-high-quality credo and dials it up to 11. The LMT’D costs less than $2,000, but you get a bike that feels like it should cost a more with a slew of premium features and a great riding experience. It’s powerful, comfortable, handles great and really feels like it was designed by people who love to ride bikes.
The LMT’D is something of a hybrid, designed for city commutes but also adept at some limited off-road action. On the product page, Ride1Up says the bike is engineered for “maximum allowable speed and performance before entering motorcycle territory.” That sounds impressive, but keep in mind that’s just a fancy way of saying it’s a Class 3 electric bike, built to go at the maximum allowable speed of 28mph. Nonetheless, it has beefy upscale components and a rugged design to get you there.
Ride1Up LMT’D Performance
The LMT’D looks good (more on that later) but more importantly, it offers a powerful, authoritative ride. This is a Class 3 bike, able to reach a top speed of 28 mph, and it features a lever-style throttle that can take you to 20 mph without any pedaling at all (that’s the maximum allowable speed for Class 3 throttles). It manages all that thanks to a rear hub-mounted 48 Volt, 750-watt Geared MXUS motor, which is beefier than motors you’ll find in some of this bike’s peers. You also get a smooth 8-speed Shimano shifter for gearing.
The ride is comfortable thanks to two nice little touches: the RST Asteria air suspension system with 80mm of travel—enough of a cushion to take the edge off bumps around town—and the comfy saddle, which has its own modest suspension. I’m not sure it would be a blast off-road (I didn’t have a chance to take it on trails) but I loved riding it around the streets of LA.
The bike also includes premium Schwalbe Super Moto X tires that should give you a long, trouble-free life (good, because I’m concerned the hub-mounted motor will make changing tires a hassle). And you don’t have to worry about the bike’s stopping power. The LMT’D features Tektro Orion HD-M745 4-piston 180mm hydraulic disc brakes in both the front and back, and they had a serious bite, able to bring me to a decisive stop from any speed.
There’s a simple color display, easy to read in bright daylight, mounted to the left of the fork with the up/down level controls built right in. My impression was that the lower power levels were somewhat restrained, but dialing up to level 3 really brought the bike to life, with aggressive acceleration under my seat as I pedaled. Casual riders might be satisfied with the gentle assist the first two levels provide on level ground, but anyone who is looking for the motor to really take a bite out of your pedaling will stay at 3 or higher. Likewise, I found I needed to switch to level 5 to climb steep hills, but even so the bike was more than up to the challenge of tackling the steeper inclines I could find around town.
One thing you should be aware of: I’ve seen a lot online about the fact that the LMT’D features a torque sensor rather than a cadence sensor. This sounds esoteric, but has a big impact on how the pedal assist feels and the bike performs. A torque sensor measures how much force you’re applying to the pedals and supplies relatively more power as you pedal harder. In contrast, a cadence senor is binary—it’s either on or off, telling the motor to supply power to the wheels if you’re pedaling, and not to deliver power when you’re not. As you can imagine, torque sensors offer a more premium riding experience, and help you get off the starting block more easily when you start pedaling. Here’s the bad news: Ride1Up has switched from a torque sensor to the simpler and less expensive cadence sensor in the newest LMT’D models, so you can disregard any older articles you’ve seen extolling the virtues of the torque sensor in this bike.
Ride1Up LMT’D Design
The LMT’D has a beefy, masculine look about it thanks in large part to the thick frame that integrates the battery—a nice touch since bolted-on batteries look, well, bolted on, and usually not in a good way. The bike ships in two configurations; you can opt for the step through (ST) version or more mountain bike-styled step-over (XR) frame. You can also choose between two color options—midnight gray or a two-tone sand/brown.
For testing purposes, I rode the XR version, but the two bikes are quite similar, with the step through version offering a somewhat more upright ride and handlebars angled to face the rider.
Of course, the higher the power level that you tend to ride—and the more you mash down on the throttle—the less runtime you get on the battery. But the LMT’D comes with a 48-volt, 14-ah battery that can deliver about 50 miles of range on a charge under ideal conditions (though expect it to be more like 30 miles in regular use). It’s beautifully integrated into the frame rather than bolted on, and you can charge it in place or unlock it and take it indoors.
A not inconsequential consideration is the bike’s assembly; it was delivered to my doorstep in a big box full of what looked like mix-and-match pinball machine parts. My advice? Don’t put it together yourself. I reviewed the included assembly instructions and found that they are not for the faint of heart—or anyone who doesn’t have a fairly intimate understanding of bike assembly, because you’ll need to assemble and install parts of the bike that many other brands ship preassembled.
Bottom line: The assembly was well beyond my pay grade, despite being fairly mechanically inclined. I took it to a local bike shop and suggest you do the same.
Final Thoughts On The Ride1Up LMT’D
This bike is definitely right in the sweet spot for many, if not most, ebike riders—it’s a speedy 28 mph Class 3 bike with hydraulic brakes and an air-suspension fork that all clocks in under $2,000. Indeed, there’s a ton to love here.
That said, a few things are missing. Most importantly, there is no integrated lighting—you’ll need to add your own lights as an upgrade. That’s a real disappointment because even if you don’t want to carry cargo (there is no front or rear storage, either), you will almost certainly want light. And because you need to add aftermarket lights, they can’t run off the integrated battery. That’s annoying.
That said, the LMT’D delivers so much and rides so nicely. If I was looking for a new city commuter, I would give serious consideration to the Ride1Up LMT’D.