Napier Lopez is a writer based in New York City. He's interested in all things tech, science, and photography related, and likes to yo-yo in Napier Lopez is a writer based in New York City. He's interested in all things tech, science, and photography related, and likes to yo-yo in his free time. Follow him on Twitter.
The Lectric XP 2.0 ebike was one of the best bargains we’ve tested, with a powerful motor, folding frame, and decent components for a thousand bucks. But while the XP 2.0 is a well-rounded ebike for people who just want to get from point A to B, Lectric’s newest ebike, the XPremium, seeks to bring value to a higher performance bracket.
I haven’t had the chance to test ride the XPremium myself yet, but I did a double-take when I saw the specs and components on offer for $1,999 ($1,799 for the first few days).
The bike packs three features that are rare for the price bracket and are nearly unheard of on a folding bike: a mid-drive motor, a torque sensor, and nearly 1,000 Wh of battery capacity.
This isn’t a case of crowdfunding shenanigans either. The bike is available for pre-order on Lectric’s site right now and is set to ship in June. The rest of the specs look solid too:
- 500W (800W peak) mid-drive motor
- Torque Sensor
- Dual 48V 10.4 Ah batteries for a total of 998.4 Wh
- A shift sensor detects when you change gears to minimize strain on the drivetrain
- 45 km/h (28mph) top speed (can be configured with lower speeds)
- A throttle (very rare on mid-drive bikes)
- Hydraulic disk brakes
- 20 x 4” Chaoyang tires filled with Slime sealant to prevent flats
- Front oil suspension with 80mm of travel
- Integrated headlight (it’s the same premium upgrade I tested on the XP 2.0, and it’s better than average)
- Rear rack included
- Front rack mounted to the frame for extra sturdiness
- Arrives fully assembled
Getting back to the motor, mid-drive units are normally only found on ebikes closer to $3,000 because they’re more expensive and complex than traditional hub drives. We go over their various benefits in this article, but the gist is that they tend to create a cycling experience that feels more like pedaling a regular bike.
Unlike hub motors, mid-drive motors are able to leverage your bike’s gears for optimal efficiency, making them superior for climbing hills and maximizing range. They also help distribute weight toward the center of the bike for better handling.
The caveat is that the hub motor places more strain on your drivetrain, but the shift sensor on the XPremium should mitigate that problem.
The other reason mid-drive ebikes are usually much smoother than hub-drive motors is that the majority of them have built-in torque sensors. A traditional cadence sensor will turn on and off like a switch when you start pedaling, but a torque sensor actually detects how hard you are pedaling in order to provide proportional assistance. It knows you need more help when you’re struggling up a steep hill than when you’re cruising along a flat road, for instance.
Granted, not all mid-drive motors are made the same, and the implementation matters too. But although Lectric doesn’t specify the make of the motor on its website, close inspection shows it bears the Wuxi TruckRun label. The only other bike I’ve tested with a TruckRun motor is the Priority Current, and that’s one of the very best ebikes I’ve ridden thanks to its smooth power delivery and oodles of torque. Unfortunately, that one costs $3,300.
Lectric could be using a different TruckRun variant, and it might not have the same fine power curve tuning as Priority’s ebike. But if the experience is anything like the Current, riders are in for a treat. At the very least, it should be an improvement over the somewhat jerky ride of the XP 2.0.
I also have to applaud the massive battery setup; 1,000 Wh is huge. Typical ebikes have half that, and I’ve only seen a handful of folding ebikes with this kind of range. The few that do have similarly large batteries didn’t have a mid-drive motor or a torque sensor. The XPremium is pretty much a unicorn in the ebike world.
Lectric claims you’ll be able to get over 161 km (100 mi) of range on lower assist levels, or 80 km (50 mi) without pedaling at all. Considering I’ve reached over 40 miles on the Current with a 500 Wh battery, that estimate seems realistic. But for most people who aren’t going on regular century rides, the real benefit will be using higher assist without getting range anxiety — or simply not having to charge the bike every day.
I do have some qualms with the design, although they’re mostly personal. I’m not a huge fan of fat tires, which I find to be more trouble than they’re worth, especially in an urban environment. You might have trouble finding a bike shop that’ll service your bike, it’s harder to find good replacement tires, and they add unnecessary weight.
Mostly, I just wish Lectric offered some design variants. I would’ve liked the bike even more if there were the option to purchase it with normal tires and a fixed fork, like the company’s also-new XP Lite, for the weight savings. The 34 kg (75 lb) weight almost defeats the purpose of having a folding bike.
It’s also not exactly the prettiest ebike I’ve seen.
Still, those are just my own pet peeves. Americans clearly love fat tires given their prevalence here in the states, and the inclusion of tire sealant provides some peace of mind against flats.
The Lectric XPremium is shaping up to be an excellent deal. We’ll have to see how the bike performs in the real world to know if it lives up to its claims; I’m particularly curious about how effective the motor and torque sensor implementation is. But from what I can tell so far, other ebike companies competing in the price range will have to step their game up.
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