I was a huge fan of the affordably priced $1,045 Ride1Up Roadster V2 from the moment it launched last year. So when Ride1Up decided to release a modified version designed as a gravel e-bike, I was extra stoked. The updates, which include gravel-ready features like new disc brakes, a Gates belt drive, and higher-end gravel-friendly tires, pushed the price slightly higher to $1,245. But considering that my next favorite gravel e-bike costs 3x as much, I still call that an amazing deal!
Going into a ride on the Ride1Up Roadster V2 Gravel Edition, you have to realize what it is and what it isn’t.
Lycra-enthusiasts likely will have to make a few compromises. There’s no mid-drive motor, no hydraulic brakes, and no space-age carbon fiber anything (except for the belt – more on that in a moment).
But what you do get is a nicely made, lightweight, and surprisingly peppy electric gravel bike that is just as fun on the road as it is off it.
To see what I mean for yourself, you can enjoy the ride experience along with me by checking out my review video below. Then read on to see all of my thoughts on this awesome, low-cost entry into the gravel e-bike world.
Ride1Up Roadster V2 Gravel Edition Video Review
Ride1Up Roadster V2 tech specs
- Motor: 500W peak (350W continuous) rear hub motor
- Top speed: 24 mph (38 km/h)
- Range: 20-30 miles (32-48 km)
- Battery: 36V 7Ah (252Wh) with Samsung 35E cells
- Weight: 32 lb (14.5 kg)
- Load Capacity: 275 lb (125 kg)
- Frame: Aluminum alloy 6061
- Brakes: Tektro mechanical disc brakes
- Extras: Gates belt drive, minimalist LCD display speedometer, battery gauge, PAS level indicator, two frame sizes available
- Price: $1,245 (you have to select the grey/yellow “color” option for the gravel model)
Gravel Roadster, e-bikes for everyone
As much as the bike has to offer across in terms of ride quality and utility, the first thing people will likely notice is the price. It’s price at just $1,245, which is a mere fraction of what the big name gravel e-bikes tend to charge. And that means gravel e-biking is suddenly much more accessible to a wider range of riders.
But let’s get past that awesome price and take a look at what you’re really getting here.
First of all, this is a super lightweight e-bike at just 33 lb (15 kg).
Lightweight usually means low power, but the 350W motor here is still powerful enough to get you up to 24 mph (38.6 km/h). There’s no throttle, so this is purely a pedal assist e-bike. Once you start pedaling, the motor kicks in at five different user-selectable levels depending on how much assist you need at the moment.
The handlebar-mounted display on the Ride1Up Roadster V2 Gravel lets you choose your assist level on the fly and lets you check your speed and battery level at a quick glance while keeping a fairly small and unobtrusive screen.
Connecting your feet to the rear wheel is a Gates Carbon Drive system that consists of that famous Gates carbon-reinforced belt drive system. It’s whisper quiet and maintenance-free. They last for tens of thousands of miles without needing any upkeep, meaning most people will never have to replace a belt. Unlike loud and oily chains, the Gates belt system is a pure pleasure to use. The list of advantages goes on and on.
The Gates belt drive is one of the main upgrades over the base-level Roadster V2. That bike still has a belt drive, but it’s not a Gates product. It’s good, but Gates is great. Just one more reason to choose the Gravel Edition of the Roadster V2.
The other two major upgrades are the Tektro disc brakes and the WTB Resolute 700c x 42 tires. Just those tires alone would run you $120, or 10% of the bike’s cost. My friend’s several-thousand-dollar non-electric gravel bike actually came with the same tires, which gave me a laugh since his bike is world’s apart from this one, resting several steps up the quality ladder.
Not that the Ride1Up Roadster V2 Gravel Edition isn’t a quality bike – it definitely is. But it won’t compare to the high-end bike store gravel bikes. Even compared to high-end gravel e-bikes, its lack of a mid-drive motor and the single-speed setup will likely cause traditional riders to furrow their brows. But with the torquey hub motor and enough speed to keep up with pretty much any other cyclist, the e-bike is well-positioned for both slower hill climbing and faster riding on the flats.
The main area where I wish I could see improvement is the battery capacity. Hidden inside the downtube, the 36V 7Ah battery is quite small. That’s just 252 Wh of capacity. The pedal assist nature of the e-bike means you can drag that battery capacity out for some longer range if you’ve got the fitness. But if you’re planning to rely heavily on the higher pedal assist levels, keep in mind that this won’t be a long-range e-bike. Another important point to note is that the battery isn’t removable for daily charging (it can be removed with a few tools for replacing it once every few years), so charging has to be performed on the bike.
Ride1Up lists the range as 20-30 miles (32-40 km) depending on assist level and terrain. On my first full discharge, I scored 17 miles (27 km), but that was also with a lot of level 5 assist to see what the most powerful end of the spectrum could do. Hey, if you give me a motor, I’m going to really test it.
Subsequent riding with a more mixed variety of pedal-assist levels showed me that the 20- to 30-mile range rating is accurate, but you’ve got to be prepared to do your part.
There was one ride that I got a little over my head on, as I was having so much fun on the bike that I definitely pushed it past the point of no return. Or at least, the point of no return with electric assist. The last eight miles of that ride were purely lunch-powered. And while I definitely missed having my electric assist, I was also surprised at just how well the bike rides with zero assist at all. Getting rolling from a stop at the bottom of a hill was a doozy without assist, but overall it went pretty well. And I’m not a particularly accomplished acoustic cyclist, mind you. Electric bikes are kind of my jam.
If you’re the type of rider that wants an e-bike only part of the time, I think you’ll find that the Ride1Up Roadster V2 Gravel Edition makes a great e-bike and non-e-bike.
The only other two complains I have besides the somewhat small battery are the lack of lights or a kickstand. Included LED lights that run off the main battery would have been a very nice touch. There are mounting points for a kickstand (you can score one that fits on Amazon for $19.99), but they don’t include one as standard equipment. There’s a reason all my photos of the bike are propped up next to something, and the reason isn’t aesthetic framing.
Sum it all up for me
Ultimately, I’d say that the Ride1Up Gravel Roadster makes an excellent all-around electric bike for anyone who enjoys lightweight, fitness-style riding and wants the ability to head off-road on the same bike that they’d use to cycle to the corner store.
It’s not going to give you the comfort of a mountain bike, but you knew that going in. This is a rigid road bike frame that has been optimized for trail and gravel riding, which it excels at. With the right motor, brakes and tires, the bike handles beautifully in the dirt, sandy soil and gravel roads.
And it even looks good, to boot. If you’re lucky, you might just fool your friends into thinking its not electric for the first few miles. Though once they’re huffing and you’ve only broken a light glistening sweat, the jig may be up.
Of all the e-bikes I ride, I think the Roadster V2 Gravel Edition has now risen to the top of my list for affordable lightweight e-bikes. Its ability to cover a variety of terrains while maintaining a lightweight and stealthy build is a blessing. And the inclusion of quality parts like the Gates belt drive are the low-maintenance cherry on top of this gravel dust-covered sundae.
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