Not long ago it used to be unthinkable to find a decent electric bike for less than $1k. Well, times are changing. Macwheel has brought several ebike models to the market that have a lot to offer for an affordable price. Today, we’re going to look at the Macwheel Ranger, a step-thru city ebike going for about $800 as I type this.
Model : Ranger 500
Available in 1 Color:
Ebike Style: Commuter
Ebike Class: Class 1 or 2
Motor: 350 watt rear hub
Battery: 36 V 10 Ah (672 watt hours)
Weight of Bike: 65.7 lbs
Weight Capacity: 250 lbs
Frame Material: Aluminum
Brakes: Tektro Mechanical disc (front and rear)
Tire Size: 26″
Max Speed: 15.5 mph
Range: 37-50 miles with pedal assist; 19-25 miles throttle only
Riding Style: Upright
Where to Ride: Pavement, Light Off-Roading
Where to Buy: Amazon.com
The Macwheel Ranger 500 is a deep step-thru which is ideal for city riding. There’s a misperception by some that step-thru’s ebikes are for women. They’re not!
Step-thru frames make a lot of sense for ebikes because they’re heavier and well, they’re motorized. It’s important that the rider have good control over the bike. They’re not your lightweight standard non-motorized bike that can be tilted easily for mounting and tossing a leg over. And as we get older, step-thru’s help us keep riding for much longer. Bad knees, bad hip, you get the picture. The older I get, the more appreciate my step-thru bikes.
Another nice thing about step-thru frames is that they accommodate a wider range of rider heights, so multiple frame sizes aren’t necessary. This helps keep manufacturing prices down.
But enough with that. What makes this $800 bike special compared to other bikes at the same price point. Well, it’s actually a good bike!
Most full-size electric bikes below $1000 don’t have in-tube mounted batteries. They’re usually mounted onto the frame in a much more conspicuous manner. The Macwheel Ranger has a nice, sleek look with its concealed battery. This is usually only found on more expensive bikes.
The components are also all name brand, including Tektro disc brakes and Shimano gears and shifters. Of course, they’re not the top of the line but there still good and should be reliable.
The Ranger also comes with front and rear fenders, front and rear lights, and a rear rack. So, it’s ready to be used as a commuter straight out of the box. There’s no need to spend more on such necessary accessories.
It’s also equipped with front suspension with preload and lockout capabilities. You can preload the suspension specifically for your weight or riding preference or lockout the suspension for a more efficient stiffer ride.
I’m impressed that it comes with adjustable handlebars. A lot of bikes costing twice as much usually don’t come with this.
So where is the money being saved? Many of the pricier models today come with a minimum 500 watt motor and 48 volt battery. The Ranger comes with a 350 watt motor and 36V 10 Ah battery. Honestly, that’s enough for most average weight people.
It’s enough to zip you around town and help you scale those dreaded hills. If you live in an area that’s mostly flat, unless you want higher speeds than 15.5 mph, there’s not much reason to spend more if you’re okay with entry level components.
The Ranger 500 isn’t exactly a lightweight bike at 65.7 lbs with the battery, but it’s on par with many other ebikes in that regard. If you’re shorter than 5’4″ it might be too large for you, though I know of shorter riders who do fine on the bike.
If you’re looking for a bike that is faster and can accommodate shorter riders, I’d recommend the 700 ST from Ride1Up. It’s become my favorite ebike. It costs more, but it has a more powerful motor and battery plus hydraulic brakes. There’s many other great options in ebikes out there too.
In terms of value, Macwheel’s offerings reminds me a lot of the Lectric XP which is an affordable and widely popular step-thru electric bike. If their bikes prove to be reliable, they’re going to do well in the United States.
It’s great to see electric bikes, and good ones, coming to the market for less than $1000. It’ll help bring more people on board and for the price of two bikes you’d only get one bike in many other brands. That’s nice!
Check out the Macwheel Ranger on Amazon, to see current pricing, and read customer reviews.