Redmond, Washington-based electric bicycle company Propella has just launched the brand’s most up-market e-bike yet, the Propella 9S Pro. It builds upon the company’s lightweight, messenger-style e-bike design legacy, yet adds in the highest-quality parts we’ve seen yet on the brand’s e-bikes.
We’ve long been Propella fans here at Electrek, having tested both the full-size 700c models and the smaller 20″ mini e-bikes from the brand.
Starting at sub-$999 pricing and offering lightweight, easy-riding electric bikes for the city, Propella has become known for its high value in the urban class of e-bikes.
Such lightweight e-bike offerings have become even more important in the face of trends over the last few years that have seen many e-bikes balloon in size and weight.
Now the brand is stepping out of its budget territory and heading for higher performance with the new Propella 9S Pro.
Don’t expect to be laying down rubber snakes in the bike lane though. The 9S Pro is the highest performance e-bike yet from Propella, but there’s a limit to just how much power you can pack into a lightweight e-bike.
These are still meant to be modestly powerful commuter e-bikes that are designed for cyclists that like to pedal but that want some extra “oomph” added to their ride.
Compared to the company’s existing 7S e-bike, the 9S Pro gains 4 lbs. (1.8 kg), increasing to a still svelte 41 lb. (18.6 kg).
That increased weight largely comes from a bigger capacity battery and a more powerful motor.
The battery increases from 250 Wh to 350 Wh, thanks to the inclusion of larger 21700 format Samsung battery cells. A higher power charger included with the bike will see charge time drop to just 2.5 hours.
21700-format cells have been gaining in popularity for e-bike use over the last several years. Compared to the more common 18650-format, these larger cells cram in more capacity, which can help e-bike battery designers offer longer run times.
The battery should provide between 25-45 miles of range (40-70 km), depending on how powerful of a pedal assist level is selected. There is no throttle on these e-bikes; they’re Class 1 pedal assist e-bikes.
That Class 1 designation also means they max out at 20 mph (32 km/h), which is an improvement from the previous 18.5 mph (30 km/h) top speed.
That faster speed is made possible due to both the larger capacity battery that is able to provide more power, as well as the new higher power Vinka motor (now 500W peak-rated, increasing from 400W peak-rated) found in the rear hub.
It’s not just the electronics and powertrain that got an upgrade on the Propella 9S Pro. There are also a number of interesting new components found on the bike as well.
The mechanical disc brakes have been upgraded to hydraulic disc brakes, which provide stronger stopping power and reduced maintenance. Unlike mechanical disc brakes that are prone to cable stretch and need to be occasionally tuned to maintain the proper braking force and pull stroke, hydraulic disc brakes basically stay perfectly tuned until the brake pads are finally worn out and need to be replaced.
The front quick release skewer has been replaced by a stronger and higher-quality 12mm thru-axle, something rarely seen on e-bikes in this lower price level.
The tire size has also been updated with a slightly smaller diameter yet wider tire. Propella went with CST BROOKLYN PRO 27.5” x 2” tires, which give an urban tread that can still handle light trails. The larger air volume will certainly provide a nicer ride for more comfortable cruising, matched by another comfort feature in the handlebars that have a slight rise to them. That should give just a bit of a more upright ride position to the bike.
The handlebars also come with a new color LCD display instead of the previous monochrome display. Riders can use the display-mounted buttons to navigate through five different levels of pedal assist.
The pedal drivetrain has been upgraded with a 9-speed Shimano Altus transmission, giving riders a bit more range of gears to choose from.
Compared to the current Propella 7S’s price of $1,299, the new Propella 9S Pro gains just $200 to reach $1,499 for the first pre-order customers. Those bikes are estimated to ship in early July, and pre-orders have free cancellation if you end up not wanting to wait that long.
Word to the wise though: The bike’s price will increase to its full $1,699 MSRP after the initial pre-order group. So if you like the bigger motor and battery, higher speed, and nicer parts, you may want to jump on this new model quickly before the price goes up.
Though even at $1,699, a lightweight commuter e-bike with this level of parts is hard to come by at this price these days.
What do you think of Propella’s upgrades in the 9S Pro? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments section below.
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