As electric bikes become more popular and more ebike companies compete for business, some are taking their bikes to the next level by offering dual motors, dual batteries, sleeker frames, and upgraded components. There’s few ebike companies out there differentiating themselves from the others. Aventon is one of the rare budget friendly ebike companies with multiple frame sizes, Juiced Bikes was bold with their high-speed HyperScorpion, a Super73 frame is instantly recognizable, and Rize Bikes went all out with a totally revamped lineup including some brand-new models.
Almost every model in Rize Bikes’ lineup are now dual battery capable. This means nearly double the range for most of their bikes. Several also come with torque sensors. Mid-drive motors are available for many of their most popular models including the City, Leisure, Rize RX and RX Pro. The RX and RX Pro now have 52 volt systems for more power. All of their bikes have hydraulic brakes, which personally I think nearly all ebikes should have.
Every single model has been redesigned with a fresh new look with attractive paint schemes and fully integrated batteries. Lights have also been upgraded with a new brake light feature.
Their brand-new model is their stealthy Fixie, a roadbike inspired ebike that doesn’t look like an ebike, but the new Blade 2 is the real head turner. This is a moped/scrambler style ebike that definitely has that Super 73 vibe going, but rocks a unique look too.
The Blade 2 features dual suspension and a fully integrated battery. The rear suspension immediately caught my eye because it’s sorely needed on these types of frames, and enhances the look of the bike so well. It also has knobby tires for good traction on a variety of surfaces. I’ve never been a fan of slick tires. Yeah, you go faster, but they’re also more treacherous to ride on wet pavement and/or gravel.
Rize refers to the Blade 2 as a retro-inspired bike, and they claim the same of their Liberty. The Liberty was released in 2020 as an obvious challenger to the Juiced Scorpion. In fact, Juiced Bikes’ CEO, Tora Harris wasn’t impressed when the Liberty was unveiled. As a backer of the HyperScorpion on Indiegogo I followed along with the development of the HyperScorpion. While imitations can be flattering, it’s not so welcome in the business world.
To be fair, the HyperScorpion was also heavily inspired by 1970s mopeds, so it just goes to show how hard it is to come up with a totally original design. Usually, the best a company can do is improve on previous and competing designs.
The Specs Are In
Okay, now I have most of the specs! Rize is now offering a Blade and Blade 2. The Blade has front suspension and a 500 watt motor that can be upgraded to a 1000 watt motor. You can also add a second battery that attached to the frame. The Blade 2 has dual suspension, a 1000 watt motor, and dual battery capabilities like the regular Blade.
The Liberty now has its battery integrated into the frame. A second battery can be added as well. The original Liberty shipped with a 48 V 19.2 Ah battery and 750 watt motor. The new version ships with a 48 V 15 Ah battery, but you can add a second battery for an advertised range of 60-100 miles. A 52-volt option is also available if you choose to upgrade the motor to 1000 watts from the base 500 watts.
All of Rize’s dual battery capable bikes are set up for a second battery, so you don’t have to buy a second battery at the time you purchase the bike. A second battery can be purchased and added to the bike later.
For many people, today’s ebike prices are hard to stomach. Prices have increased dramatically since last year due to a variety of factors. Most of them stem from the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s difficult for ebike companies to source all the parts and components needed to build their bikes. There can be a 200+ day wait just to get something as simple as a seat or pedals.
The price of raw materials and shipping is also dramatically higher. There are tariffs in the US increasing the price of ebikes shipping out of China too. It all adds up to bikes being more expensive for you and me to buy. It’s now even more important to do our homework before spending considerable sums of money on a bike. Speaking of prices…
The price of the Blade is $1999 for the single battery option and $2499 for dual batteries. If you want to upgrade the motor to 1000 watts you’ll have to hand over another $300 on top of the single or dual battery options.
The Blade 2 is going for $2599 for a single battery and a very pricey $3199 for two batteries.
The 2021 Liberty lists for $2199 for a single battery and $2699 for dual 48 volt batteries. You can also upgrade its 750 watt motor to a 52 volt 1000 watt motor for an additional $300. If you choose this option, the battery(s) will also be 52 volts.
Blade or Blade 2?
If you’re trying to decide between the Blade and Blade 2 there are some important things to consider. One, you’ll want to know your state or local laws regarding ebikes. Some places define an ebike of no more than 1000 watts, some no more than 750 watts. Bikes with motors over these limits might fall into the moped category which may require a license and insurance.
Having said that, unless you live in an area, or plan to visit an area with your bike that is very stringent with these laws, you probably don’t have to worry about it. If you ride responsibly, it’s likely nobody will care or know how many watts the motor is. It also helps to look like a grandmother like me. Nobody ever stops me! Knock on wood.
Still, there are cost savings if opting for the 500 watt motor, and it will likely be powerful enough to zip you around just fine. I’ve ridden many bikes with 500 watt motors and didn’t feel like the bike was underpowered. Rize’s 500 watt motor is still capable of speeds of up to 28 mph. The 48 volt system is still quite powerful. Unless you live in a very hilly area or are heavier, you’d probably be happy with the performance of the 500 watt motor. A 500 watt motor will also draw less power from the battery for increased range. It will also likely be quieter than a 1000 watt motor. Some things to think about.
If you’re deciding between the Blade and Blade 2, the most important difference might be the dual suspension of the Blade 2. The Blade only has front suspension. The Blade 2 will offer the more comfortable ride, especially if you plan to go on longer trips and/or ride over bumpy terrain. If you have back or joint issues, you’ll definitely want the dual suspension.
If you’re looking for an ebike that is great to pedal, the Liberty and Blade options will probably be a letdown. I’d encourage you to look at Rize’s other ebikes. They’ll offer a much more enjoyable pedaling experience due to frame geometry and the fact that you can adjust seat height.
The Liberty and Blade can be pedaled, but these are more like motorbikes. You’ll probably be using the throttle much more than pedaling. That’s where a second battery comes in very handy! You won’t have to worry so much about range, even if you lay heavy on the throttle.
As for me, I went for Rize’s City ebike with dual batteries. I’m the type who loves to pedal along and get exercise, but boy is that Blade 2 in yellow tempting. It’s calling my name. Check back in a couple of months to see if I caved into that temptation!
As of right now, Rize’s 2021 bikes are available for preorder and expected to ship in July. A $200 deposit is required when ordering with the remaining balance due when the bike ships. That’s something that I greatly appreciate about Rize, and wish more ebike companies would offer.