EV Bikes

Ride1UP Portola e-bike test report, 2023

We test many e-bikes every year. A few times a year we come across something that seems extraordinary and better than we would normally expect. Every now and then an e-bike surprises us because of its exceptional price-performance ratio. The Ride1UP Portola offers probably the biggest surprise we’ve seen in a few years.

When we see a new e-bike pushing the boundaries of value, we’ll usually see one or two – three at most – upgrades over similar competitors. The Portola is full of surprises like a haunted house. It’s worth going over the many details of this e-bike that we didn’t expect.

Firstly, the portola is unusual among them the folding e-bikes we tested and those in the sub-$1500 range thanks to its 750W, 65Nm brushless hub motor. Secondly, hydraulic disc brakes are unusual, almost unheard of, in this price range; Mechanical disc brakes are the top choice for e-bikes that cost less than $1,500. Third is an 8-speed Shimano Altus drivetrain with an 11-32T cassette. The drivetrain features a trigger shifter, which we found to be much easier to use than the thumb shifter common on 7-speed drivetrains, but the benefits don’t end there. We come across many e-bikes that claim to be unlocked for Class 3 speeds (28 mph maximum pedal assist), but when equipped with a 7-speed drivetrain that usually comes with a 14-28T cassette paired, few riders can pedal fast enough to go more than 20 miles per hour; They just don’t have the equipment big enough to go that fast. Instead of a 200 percent gear range, the Ride1UP Portola features a nearly 300 percent gear range, giving the rider more support on the hills and more power when reaching top speed.

Generally, e-bikes with hub motors are equipped with a cadence sensor; We are seeing more and more e-bikes with hub motors that have a torque sensor, but this is still reserved for slightly higher price ranges. But Ride1UP still found a way to make the Portola something better than average. Most cadence sensors have 12 magnets and a rider must pedal between ½ and ¾ of a pedal stroke before the motor kicks into action. The Portola features a 24-magnet cadence sensor, meaning the delay between the rider pedaling and the motor turning on is halved. The same goes for the speed at which the motor stops after a rider stops pedaling.

The weight of an e-bike is influenced by several factors. Motor size and battery size are an important component of an e-bike’s overall weight, but since they generally weigh less than 20 pounds together, the motor and battery rarely make up more than 25 percent of an e-bike’s total weight. So the other big influence on weight is how expensive the e-bike is. The better the components, the less they weigh. The Ride1UP Portola weighs just 59 pounds. (with the 500Wh battery), making it easier to hold than many competing e-folding bikes. Another pleasant surprise: Given the price, we would expect more weight, not less.

One of the tasks of every review is to identify the weaknesses of a product. What would be better? When criticizing the Ride1UP Portola, there is a risk that the reviewer will look like a prima donna. For its price it is an exceptional e-bike. When you identify something as needing improvement, you simply ignore what you have achieved. However, thanks to its step-through frame, the Portola has a standover height of 18.2 inches – not bad, but there are e-bikes with a lower standover height. We like to see e-bikes that come in multiple frame sizes, but no one currently offers folding frames in multiple sizes. More colors? They offer three good colors anyway. A smartphone app that allows drivers to track their driving behavior and adjust engine performance would be great. A more reasonable request would be to include a larger display mounted near the stem to make it easier to read while riding.

Not everyone has the space limitations that require a folding e-bike. The Ride1UP Portola is so well designed that we would recommend it to anyone looking for value for money, and not just those looking for a foldable e-bike. The Portola presents every buyer with the most fundamental question: Why spend more if you don’t have to?

Have fun riding! Be sure to let us know if you have any questions in our comments section or if you think we left something out in this Ride1UP Portola review.

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