Ariel Rider burst onto the e-bike scene with a design style that marries the benefits of electrified bicycles with the stability and improved road presence of a motorcycle.
I’ll be honest — when I saw my first Ariel Rider in person, I was skeptical, but the feeling instantly faded the moment I hopped on and twisted the throttle. The company sent us the X-Class 52V, an amped up version of the popular X-Class that boasts 52 volts instead of the usual 48 volts, for a bike that’s even more capable and powerful.
Disclaimer: Ariel Rider sent the X-Class 52V free of charge for the purposes of this review.
The X-Class 52V boasts a 1,000 watt motor with a peak power output of a staggering 2,000 watts that blurs the line between motorcycle and bicycle. This is a noticeable step up from the 750 watt motor found on the slightly more affordable 48 volt X-Class. The battery on the 52V build was also given a boost up to 18Ah compared to the 16Ah on its less-endowed sibling.
The resulting electric moped is so capable that I found myself wishing I could throw someone on the back of the bike for quick errands around town. Ariel Rider was way ahead of me, with an optional long saddle that can be bolted onto the bike that, along with a set of included folding foot pegs, make it easy to carry a passenger.
I personally fell in love with the single seat that’s included with the bike, as you can add an optional rear rack ($69) behind it. I strapped a spare basket I had laying around the garage onto the rack, making it supremely easy to blast down to the store to pick up groceries, take packages to the post office, or to carry my backpack on the bike for a more comfortable ride.
The X-Class boasts a capacity of 300 pounds, enabling two average sized adults to comfortably ride together on the optional extended seat ($89). Alternately, a single driver can comfortably haul an impressive amount of cargo around town. We used it to drop off some packages, meet up with friends for a socially distanced dinner, and run quick errands around town. At the current sale price of just $2,099, the X-Class 52V packs an impressive amount of functionality that makes it easy for anyone to replace a vehicle. It also makes a great starter vehicle for riders just getting started on their mobility journeys.
I found myself making any excuse to get on the X-Class, as it’s just a fun bike to run around town on. It has the unique ability to simultaneously look small, but feel big. That may sound like a contradiction, so let me explain. The bike itself looks like a small motorcycle, with its squat 20″ x 4″ tires and efficient tubular frame. Using an electric hub motor in the back is a significant improvement over the bulky combustion engines that are typically found on motorcycles.
Mounting the bike, it has a solid feel to it, with a robust seat, sturdy handlebars, a motorcycle-grade fork, and the fat tires. Together, these give the X-Class a solid, sturdy feel that’s critical on a bike capable of hitting speeds of 35 miles per hour. At those speeds, it’s critical to have a sturdy frame, tires, suspension, and brakes and the X-Class 52V is more than up to the task. In all of our outings on the bike, it performed flawlessly at any speed, zipping us from place to place in electrified, zero emission style.
Carrying forward the design of petrol-powered mopeds from days gone past, the X-Class makes for a nice comfortable ride when cruising on throttle power. When it comes to pedaling, the fixed seat is naturally going to be a mixed bag. It sports a nice medium height that’s inevitably going to be too high for some and too low for others to make effective pedaling an option. For my larger than average frame, the seat is a bit too low, making pedaling awkward. It’s fine for short distances and to augment the motor for steep uphill sections, but the gearing of the bike and fixed seat relegate the bike to mostly throttle duty.
That’s fine, as the X-Class boasts a massive 18Ah battery to ensure it can power through tons of miles. With the average trip around town likely to be in the 5–10 mile range, it is well-suited to gobble up most trips around town and a few longer trips where charging at the destination is an option or careful planning can be leveraged to eke out maximum range per charge. Cruising on the X-Class under throttle power is a blast, and we found ourselves having to kit up with motorcycle style gear just to protect ourselves from the elements — much more so than is required on a bike traveling under pedal power.
When it comes time to stop, the Tektro Dorado hydraulic disc brakes provide a crisp response with plenty of stopping power as the dual piston calipers lock down on the 160mm rotors. Being slightly heavier than your average e-bike and being capable of higher top speeds, it is worth taking a bit of extra caution as you get familiar with the nuances of the bike. Having said that, it only took a few trips around the neighborhood for us to get comfortable with the stopping power and braking distances.
Overall, the Ariel Rider X-Class 52V is an impressive entry into the world of electric bicycles, with specs that increasingly lap up against those of electric mopeds. The motor is beyond capable of getting drivers, passengers, and cargo around town at speeds that warrant caution. Up front, the massive battery capacity pairs nicely with the powerful motor for a package that feels too good to be true at the sale price of just $2,099 (regular price $2,299).
Ariel Rider X-Class 52V Specs
- Motor: 1000 watt geared hub motor
- Range: Up to 70 miles per charge
- Battery: 52V, 18Ah lithium-ion battery
- Capacity: 300 lb payload capacity
- Brakes: Tektro Dorado HDE350 hydraulic disc brakes with dual piston calipers and 160mm rotors
- Drivetrain: Shimano Altus TZ25007428 derailleur w/14-28 tooth cassette
- Fork: Motorcycle grade adjustable alloy fork
- Frame material: 6061 aluminum
- Saddle: Custom Ariel Rider Ebikes moped-style single seat
- Tires: CST 20″ x 4.0″ fat tires
- Weight: 81 pounds
- Colors: Black, Red, Blue
All images by Kyle Field, CleanTechnica
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