2023 Update: The 500 Series has been discontinued by Ride1Up and replaced with new models. The closest to what the 500 Series had to offer is the new Turris. The 700 Series is still available.
Ride1Up offers several ebike models ranging in price from about $1000 and up to $2200. Two of their most popular models are the 500 Series and 700 Series. It can be difficult to choose between the two models, especially since you likely won’t have a chance to ride either bike before ordering online. In this article we’ll be comparing the 500 Series and 700 Series against each other, so you can make the right decision, if deciding between the two.
First off, the 500 Series is Ride1Up’s most popular ebike, and for good reason. It offers a great value for its price. All the components are name brand such as Shimano and Tektro. The 48 Volt 13 Ah battery uses LG cells. It’s also a Reention battery which is not proprietary. In fact, you’ll find it on many other ebikes from other brands which means it won’t cost a fortune to replace, and you’ll be able to find replacements and upgrades well into the future.
The frame style is similar to other brands, such as the KBO Breeze which I reviewed a little while ago. It’s a tried and true frame geometry that holds up, tracks well, and can carry a heavier load. There’s also a step-thru version of the 500 Series which uses the same exact components, but has the added convenience of a frame that’s much easier to mount and dismount, especially for shorter riders.
Ride1Up is very good at selecting components that all work good together. They’ve also made some changes and improvements to the 500 Series, so if you’ve read or watched a review of the 500 Series from a year ago (2020) it will be outdated.
2021 500 Series Upgrades and Changes
Instead of a rear 500 watt Bafang motor, the 2021 500 Series uses a 500 watt (750 watt peak) Shengyi. It might not be a brand many are familiar with, but it’s the same as the motor on my 700 Series that I’ve been enjoying for about a year. I haven’t heard anything bad about the brand.
The battery has been upgraded for better range. Last year the 500 Series shipped with a 48 V 11 Ah battery and in 2021 it comes with a 48 V 13 Ah battery. Another significant improvement is the bike’s transmission. It’s now an 8-speed bike with an 11-30 tooth rear cassette, upgraded from the previous 7-speed 14-28 tooth freewheel. The tires now have a reflective sidewall for increased safety. Even the front light and pedals have been upgraded.
Fenders and a rear rack are available at the time of bike purchase for an extra $100, and I would highly recommend spending that extra money when ordering the bike. Ride1Up doesn’t sell those parts separately, at least right now.
There’s a $400 price difference between the 500 Series and 700 Series, so why does the 700 Series cost more? The main differences between the 500 Series and the 700 Series are that the 700 Series has hydraulic brakes, a better front suspension fork, wider tires, a color display, a larger diameter seat post, both front and rear integrated lights (500 Series just has an integrated front light), and an integrated battery for a more sleek appearance. The battery on the 700 Series also has slightly higher capacity with 48 volts 14 amp hours. It also uses Samsung cells instead of LG. Both are good brands.
The 700 Series just has a more modern look with the battery hidden inside the frame. The battery is removable and can be charged on or off the bike like the 500 Series.
The 700 Series XR has a slightly larger frame with a 29.5″ stand over height compared to 28.5″ on the 500 Series. Of course, there’s the step-thru version with a low 17″ stand over height.
The 700 Series ST (ST stands for step-thru) has become my main go-to bike due to its comfortable ride, convenient step-thru frame, enjoyable pedaling experience, excellent hydraulic brakes, and a display that allows for a lot of customization for both the number of pedal assist levels and how much power I want from each. The display on the 500 Series also offers this customization.
|500 Series||700 Series|
|Motor||48 V Geared Hub Shengyi Motor; 500 watts nominal; 750 watts peak||48 V Geared Hub Shengyi Motor; 500 watts nominal; 750 watts peak|
|Controller||48 V 22 Amp Lishui Sine-Wave; 1000 watt potential output||48 V 22 Amp Lishui Sine-Wave; 1000 watt potential output|
|Battery||48 V 13 Ah Reention, LG Cells, Smart BMS||48 V 14 Ah Reention Rhino, Samsung Cells, Smart BMS|
|Brakes||160 mm Tektro Aries Mechanical Disc, with electric motor shutoff||180 mm Tektro Dual Piston Hydraulic Disc Brakes, with electric motor shutoff|
|Tires||Kenda Kwick Seven.5; 27.5″ x 2.2; Puncture Resistant||Schwalbe SUPER MOTO 27.5 ” x 2.4″; Puncture Resistant|
|Display||KD2C Adjustable Speed LCD||KD218 Adjustable Speed Display, Full Color|
|Lights||Front Integrated Light||Front and Rear Integrated Lights|
|Gears||Shimano Acera 8-Speed Cassette, 11-30 T||Shimano Acera 8-Speed Cassette, 11-30 T|
|Front Suspension||Suntour XCT Coil Spring; 100mm Travel||Mozo Hydraulic Lockout; 100 mm Travel|
|Pedal Assist Levels||5, 7, or 9 Levels; Customizable Motor Assistance at Each Level||5, 7, or 9 Levels; Customizable Motor Assistance at Each Level|
|Shifters||Shimano Acera Rapid-Fire||Shimano Acera Rapid-Fire|
|Derailleur||Shimano Acera RD-M3000||Shimano Acera RD-M3000|
|Throttle||Left-side Thumb Throttle||Left-side Thumb Throttle|
|Sensors||Cadence Sensor, 12-Magnet Sealed||Cadence Sensor, 12-Magnet Sealed|
|Stem||Promax Adjustable 0-60 Degrees, 60mm, 31.8mm||Promax Adjustable 0-60 Degrees, 60mm, 31.8mm|
|Seat Post||Promax 27.2 mm x 350 mm||Promax 31.6 mm x 350 mm|
|Kickstand||Adjustable Arm Chainstay Mounted||Adjustable Arm Chainstay Mounted|
|Seat||Selle Royal Freeway Plush||Selle Royal Freeway Plush|
|Pedals||Wellgo Alloy||Wellgo Alloy|
|Bike Weight||55 lbs (Without Fenders and Rear Rack)||62 lbs (With Fenders and Rear Rack)|
|Learn more at Ride1Up||Ride1Up.com|
Pedaling Experience of Both Bikes
Probably the hardest thing to convey in an ebike review is the pedaling experience, but it’s important to discuss. The 500 and 700 Series bikes are both good pedaling ebikes.
The ability to select the number of pedal assist levels and power of each level makes a huge difference because as a rider you can dial in your preferred settings. It might take a little trial and error, but once you get it dialed in you’ll be able to cruise along at your preferred cadence and speeds.
Without this ability you might find that the first level is too powerful or too weak for your taste. Many ebikes simply give too much assistance or not enough range in pedal assist levels for my taste. I want assistance that allows me to still feel like I’m doing a good portion of the work without straining my knees or suffering on hills. That’s the beauty of an ebike!
Mid-drive ebikes with a torque sensor are the best at delivering a more traditional pedaling experience, but bikes with cadence sensors, such as the 500 and 700 Series that allow customization will offer a much more satisfying pedaling experience than those that don’t. Couple that with a good gear range, like both bikes offer, and you have a bike that will be a pleasure to pedal.
Both bikes also have throttles that can go up to 20 mph. While I don’t use the throttle much, it is very handy for taking off from a dead stop, crossing roads quickly, or just giving my legs a break when I need it. Having a throttle is a comforting option to have that encourages me to ride much farther than if I knew I had to pedal the entire way.
I find that the display on the 700 Series is easier to navigate and customize pedal assist performance. One thing that I don’t particularly like about the color display on the 700 Series is that in bright sunlight it can be difficult to read, especially the pedal assist level. The display on the 500 Series is very readable in bright sunlight. Both displays are backlit for nighttime riding.
Both bikes have the same exact Shengyi 500 watt nominal, 750 watt peak rear hub motor. Both are also equipped with the same controller. You can expect very similar motor performance from both bikes. With 60 Nm of torque, both have enough power for most hills.
In lower pedal assist levels the motor is fairly quiet, but like all geared hub motors, they are louder at those higher pedal assist levels and when using full throttle. As someone who is super picky about motor noise, I’m fine with the noise level of these motors.
The 48 Volt 14 Amp hour battery of the 700 Series provides excellent range for me. I’m typically riding in the lowest pedal assist levels, and contributing a fair amount with pedaling, so I can easily go 45 miles between charging, probably more, but I generally charge the battery when it goes below 50% or so. You can expect similar range from both bikes, but the 700 Series has the edge with a higher capacity battery.
You can purchase a 48 Volt 17.5 Ah battery for the 500 Series for some serious range! That might sway you into the direction of the 500 Series if you’re using your bike for a commuter and desire less charging. It’s currently going for $569 which might be worth it if you plan on going bike touring. Or you could buy a spare 13 Ah battery for $389 and double the bike’s range. Ride1Up also sells replacement and/or spare batteries for the 700 Series, though there’s no higher capacity battery available.
Both bikes come with 2 Amp chargers. Make sure to read Ride1Up’s recommendations for battery charging and storage. You can greatly extend the lifespan of the battery by following some simple guidelines.
The 500 Series uses 160 mm mechanical disc brakes, while the 700 Series uses 180 mm hydraulic disc brakes. I’m a big fan of hydraulic brakes, and they work superbly on the 700 Series. There’s far less maintenance on hydraulic brakes because there isn’t a cable that gets stretched over time. You also don’t have to pull the brake levers back as far for the same braking power.
There’s no glossing over it. The brakes of the 700 Series are superior to the 500 Series both in stopping power and ease of use. The 160 mm disc brakes of the 500 Series are a little undersized in my experience. They’re good, just not great.
The 500 Series uses 27.5″ x 2.2″ Kenda Kwick tires while the 700 Series uses Schwalbe SUPER MOTO 27.5″ x 2.4″ tires. Both tires have puncture resistance. The wider tires of the 700 Series makes it a little more capable to ride off-road on gravel or looser soils. Neither bike seems to suffer from rolling resistance like a fat tire ebike would. In fact, I often ride the 700 Series without motor assistance on flat terrain.
Both bikes use the same gear setup. You’ll find a Shimano Acera 8-speed cassette with a range of 11-30 teeth gears. The 700 Series has a 45-tooth chain ring compared to 44-tooth on the 500 Series which isn’t really enough to affect performance noticeable. Shimano Rapid-Fire shifters have two levers, one for going up a gear and one for going down.
The gearing of a bike is very important, even on an ebike. It’s not an area that you want to skip over. Yes, the motor and battery are important, but equally important is the gear ratio of the bike. You want enough gears to handle hills, but also to more likely find that sweet spot of your preferred cadence.
Between the gears and the pedal assist levels of both bikes, you’ll be able to find your preferred cruising speed and cadence.
Choosing the bike that will fit your height and weight is the most important consideration. After all, no matter how great a bike is, if it’s too small or too big for you, it won’t be a great experience. Generally shorter riders (under 5’5″) will probably prefer a step-thru frame, however at 5’1″ I’m able to ride the 500 XR fairly comfortably though the reach is a little long and I quickly miss the convenience of a step-thru frame when mounting and dismounting the bike.
The 700 ST fits me well and if you are short like me, I’d recommend getting the step-thru version in either bike.
|500 Series||700 Series|
|Recommended Rider Height||ST 5’1″ – 6’2″; XR 5’5″ – 6’4″||ST 5′ – 6’2″; XR 5’5″ – 6’4″|
|Handlebar Reach||ST 18″; XR 24″||ST 18″; XR 22″|
|Minimum Seat Height||ST 32″; XR 32″||ST 31″; XR 33″|
|Maximum Seat Height||ST 40″; 40″||ST 38″; XR 40″|
|Standover Height||ST 15″; XR 28.5″||ST 17″; XR 29.5″|
|Payload Capacity (Rider + Cargo)||275 lbs||275 lbs|
The standard frame of the 500 Series XR and 700 Series XR will provide a stiffer and more confident ride, especially at higher speeds. There’s no speed wobble, and they track exceptionally well. The trade-off is a more jarring ride on bumpy terrain. The front suspension helps your wrists and shoulders but as a hard-tail bike you won’t want to do much off-roading. Gravel and compacted soils are fine, just not going over tree roots and uneven ground.
Both of the step-thru version have swept back handlebars for a more upright and cruiser style ride. The flat bars of the XR frames of both the 700 Series and 500 Series places more weight on your wrists since you must lean forward more to reach them. That’s something to consider if you have wrist, back, elbow, or shoulder sensitivity.
Both models ship with Selle Royal seats which I think are quite comfortable. After, a few hundred miles of riding my 700 Series, I haven’t felt the need to change the seat or add suspension. Of course, we’re all built a little differently, so you may feel differently.
I find the grips are also comfortable, even on long rides. They’re a faux leather but of good quality.
I haven’t noticed a tremendous difference in the performance of the suspension forks. The 500 Series uses a spring suspension fork, while the 700 Series uses a hydraulic fork. Maybe I would notice the difference more if I were riding the XR frame of the 700 Series since more of my weight would be on the grips.
The Bottom Line
So which bike do I like better? I can’t lie, I still love my 700 Series ST, but I’m impressed with the 500 Series as well. The 700 ST is still the bike that I gravitate back to, even after reviewing more expensive or fancier ebikes. The geometry of the bike is ideal for me due to the reach and swept back handle bars. I’m assuming the same would be true of the 500 Series ST. I can’t stress enough how convenient a step-thru frame is, whether you’re short or tall.
As far as motor performance goes, both bikes are very similar as one would expect since they use the same motor and voltage. These are peppy bikes that have good torque. The hydraulic brakes on the 700 Series are better than the mechanical disc brakes of the 500 Series, much better in fact. If stopping power is your main concern, the 700 Series should be your choice.
That’s not to say the brakes on the 500 Series are bad. They’re not. They’re just not as good as the 700 Series brakes.
If you want to save $400, which is a good chunk of change, that’s a compelling reason to go with the 500 Series. You’ll still be getting a very good bike. There’s nothing cheap or generic about it.
I have to say I love the looks of both bikes. I wasn’t expecting to like the 500 Series so much, but it’s a very classy looking bike in person, especially with the brown seat and grips. The integrated battery of the 700 Series provides a very clean look, though I think the battery of the 500 Series matches well with the frame. It doesn’t stand out in a bad way. It would be nice to have more color options in both bikes, but the bikes are still quite attractive in person.
Regardless of which bike you choose, you’ll be getting name brand components, a good quality frame, and an electrical system that provides plenty of power and range. Ride1Up is also a very responsive company with a growing use base that is very helpful and enthusiast about their bikes. Ride1Up will be making their first mid-drive ebike available for pre-order later this year. It’s a growing company that looks to be around for a long time to come.
Check out all the models Ride1Up carries, including new ones for 2023, here.
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