The Lectric XP 2.0 electric bike was one of the best deals we’ve tested, with a powerful motor, folding frame, and decent components for a thousand dollars. But while the XP 2.0 is a complete e-bike for people who just want to get from point A to B, Lectric’s newest e-bike, the XPremium, looks to add value to a higher performance segment.
I haven’t had a chance to test the XPremium yet, but I thought twice when I saw the specs and components on sale for $1,999 ($1,799 for the first few days).
The bike packs three features that are rare for the price range and almost unheard of on a folding bike: a mid-drive motor, a torque sensor, and nearly 1,000 Wh of battery capacity.
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This is also not a case of crowdfunding shenanigans. The bike is available for pre-order on Lectric’s site right now and will ship in June. The rest of the specs look solid too:
- 500 W (800 W peak) mid-drive motor
- torque sensing
- Dual 48V 10.4Ah batteries for a total of 998.4Wh
- A shift sensor detects when you change gear to minimize stress on the transmission
- 45 km/h (28 mph) top speed (can be set to lower speeds)
- A throttle (very rare on mid drive bikes)
- hydraulic disc brakes
- Chaoyang 20 x 4” tires filled with Slime sealant to prevent punctures
- Oil front suspension with 80mm travel
- Integrated headlight (it’s the same premium upgrade I tried on XP 2.0 and it’s better than average)
- Rear rack included
- Frame-mounted front rack for added strength
- Arrives fully assembled
Getting back to the motor, mid-drive units are typically only found on electric bikes costing close to $3,000 because they are more expensive and complex than traditional hub units. We go over their various benefits in this article, but the gist is that they tend to create a cycling experience that is more like pedaling a regular bike.
Unlike hub motors, mid-drive motors can take advantage of 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 puts more pressure on your transmission, but the shift sensor on the XPremium should mitigate that issue.
The other reason mid-drive e-bikes are usually so much smoother than mid-drive motors is that most of them have built-in torque sensors. A traditional cadence sensor will turn on and off like a switch when you start to pedal, but a torque sensor actually senses how hard you are pedaling to provide proportional assistance. It knows you need more help when you’re struggling up a steep hill than when you’re navigating a flat road, for example.
Of course, not all mid-drive motors are created equal, and implementation matters, too. But while Lectric doesn’t specify the make of the engine on its website, close inspection shows it bears the Wuxi TruckRun label. The only other bike I’ve tried with a TruckRun motor is the Priority Current, and it’s one of the best electric bikes I’ve ever ridden thanks to its smooth power delivery and oodles of torque. Unfortunately, that one costs $3,300.
Lectric could be using a different variant of TruckRun, and it may not have the same power curve fine-tuning as Priority’s e-bike. But if the experience is anything like the current, cyclists will be in luck. At the very least, it should be an improvement over XP 2.0’s somewhat choppy ride.
I also have to applaud the huge battery setup; 1,000Wh is huge. Typical electric bikes have half that, and I’ve only seen a handful of folding electric bikes with this kind of range. The few that have similarly sized batteries didn’t have a mid-drive motor or torque sensor. The XPremium is pretty much a unicorn in the world of electric bikes.
Lectric claims you’ll be able to get more than 100 miles (161 km) of range at lower assist levels, or 50 miles (80 km) without pedaling at all. Considering I’ve done over 40 miles on current with a 500Wh battery, that estimate seems realistic. But for most people who don’t take regular rides on the Century, the real benefit will be using increased assist without feeling range anxiety, or simply not having to carry the bike every day.
I have some qualms with the design, although they are mostly personal. I’m not a big fan of fat tires, which I find more trouble than they’re worth, especially in an urban setting. You may have trouble finding a bike shop to service your bike, good replacement tires are harder to find and they add unnecessary weight.
Mostly I just wish Lectric offered some design variants. I would have liked the bike even more if there was the option to buy it with normal tires and a fixed fork, like the company’s also new XP Lite, because of the weight savings. The 75lb (34kg) weight almost defeats the purpose of having a folding bike.
It’s also not exactly the prettiest electric bike 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 a great deal. We’ll have to see how the bike performs in the real world to find out if it lives up to its claims; I am particularly curious about the effectiveness of the motor and torque sensor implementation. But from what I can tell so far, other e-bike companies competing in the price range will have to step up their game.