Are you ready to channel your inner hipster? Well, I sure am — or at least that’s how I felt when I tested out the Propella V3.2 electric bike. At just $999, this bike is a steal of a deal that fools the eye into thinking it’s a much pricier electric bike.
The Propella V3.2 e-bike is actually available in two different models.
The model I tested is the single speed version, though they also offer a 7-speed version. They’re nearly identical except for the gears. And the extra $200 for the 7-speed.
But if you live in a flat area or don’t mind giving a little more “oomph” on hills, the Propella V3.2 single-speed has all the romance of a classic hipster bike, yet adds in the fun boost of a modern electric bike.
Check out my review video below, then read on for all of the details from my test ride.
Propella V3.2 single-speed e-bike video review
Propella V3.2 single-speed tech specs
- Motor: 250 W (350 W peak) rear geared hub motor
- Top speed: 29 km/h (18 mph)
- Range: 32-72 km (20-45 mi) depending on pedal assist level
- Battery: 36V 7Ah (252 Wh)
- Charge time: 2.5 hours
- Weight: 15.6 kg (34.5 lb)
- Frame: Aluminum alloy
- Brakes: Mechanical disc brakes
- Extras: LCD display with speedometer, battery gauge, PAS level indicator, odometer, tripmeter, 5 speed settings, mounting points for racks/fenders, alloy bar ends, metal pedals
Riding in style!
Look at this bike. Just look at it. It’s beautiful.
Any e-bike under $1,000 is a series of compromises, and aesthetics are almost always the first thing to go. But somehow Propella has kept the price low without sacrificing the style.
And they’ve even included some decent parts as well. We’re talking full metal pedals instead of cheap plastic. Alloy bar ends. A blingin’ chainring. Those deep 700c rims in eye-catching blue. An LCD display. A genuine Bafang hub motor. Tektro disc brakes.
These are all pretty decent parts. Not amazing, but pretty darn decent considering the price. Propella didn’t cheap out with dinky plastic parts like many budget e-bike manufacturers.
That being said, there are still some glaring omissions. There are no lights, no racks, no fenders, no chain guard, no suspension, no extra features. You do get mounting points for racks and fenders, but you’re on your own to add them yourself. And while I would have loved to see these parts come standard like the rack does in some other $999 hipster-spec e-bikes, I have to keep reminding myself that this is a sub-$1k electric bike. I can buy a $10 light or a $30 fender set if it means I’m mounting them on a decent, affordable e-bike.
How does the Propella e-bike ride?
For a non-suspension bike, I’m actually impressed. It rides nicely and it’s a perfect bike for pedaling. Which is good, because mine came without a throttle, meaning it was pedal assist only for me.
At 34.5 lb (15.6 kg), the bike is so lightweight that you barely feel it under you. I can literally lift it with one finger. See the video above if you don’t believe me!
The bike is smooth and nimble and feels like the type of urban road bike that I’d want to be slicing through traffic on. I just wouldn’t want to hit a pothole — not with those narrow tires and rigid fork.
In terms of power, the Propella V3.2 actually has it. That rear 250W hub motor puts out a peak of 350W. On flat ground, that’s plenty. It’s not going to be a strong hill climber on its own, but don’t forget that you’re also adding pedal power.
In the highest pedal assist modes, level 5, the bike gets up to its top speed of 18 mph (30 km/h) faster than I would have expected. But again, you’re still pedaling to help it.
In the lower pedal assist modes, you definitely do the lion’s share of the work. But even in pedal assist level 1, there’s still perceptible boost that gives you the confidence for which e-bikes are known.
If I had to choose one area that I find a bit lacking, it’s the battery capacity. A 250Wh battery isn’t much. That’s around half the battery found in larger e-bikes. But between the efficient pedaling and lightweight design, I found that I was actually getting quite good range in the 25-ish mile range (40 km), even with a lot of level 3 and 4 riding. The company rates the bike up to 40 miles (64 km) of range, but that’s only if you’re dilligently keeping the pedal assist setting down in level 1 or 2.
All in all, I have to say I’m actually really happy with the Propella V3.2 single-speed e-bike. To be fair, it IS lacking in some areas like suspension and accessories. But the important factors like the motor power, lightweight design, comfortable geometry, and stylish aesthetics are all on point.
It exceeds what I’d expect out of a $999 e-bike, which is perhaps the most important measure of its success.
What do you think of the Propella V3.2 e-bike? Let us know in the comments below!
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