Ride1Up has become known as one of the best value ebikes in the market. You can expect higher quality components than many competitors, and a price that is hard to beat. Their 500 Series is their most popular model, but they have several other models that are just as attractive. What they were missing from their line-up was a mid-drive motor. Well, now preorders for their first mid-drive ebike, the Prodigy, are now being accepted.
Advantages of a mid-drive motor over the more typical hub-drive are that they are generally quieter, have better hill climbing ability, and provide a more natural pedaling experience. Mid-drive motors can also better take advantage of the bike’s gears, and there’s no motor in the back wheel, so changing a rear flat tire is much less intimidating.
The specs of the Prodigy are pretty impressive considering the price begins at $2295. The bike features a Brose TF Sprinter mid-drive with 90 nm of torque. Brose is a German brand known for its reliability, torque, and quiet performance. It’s comparable to Bosch and Shimano mid-drives found on many higher-end bikes.
The Prodigy is also equipped with a torque sensor, which further produces a more traditional bike pedaling experience. If you come from a road bike background, or you just enjoy pedaling for exercise, you’ll probably prefer a mid-drive ebike over a hub drive. Most hub drives use cadence sensors, which are more simplistic. Cadence sensors detect when you begin pedaling and then turn on the motor. There’s usually a bit of a delay that is noticeable.
Torque sensors are more precise. They not only detect when you’re pedaling, but also sense the force you’re putting on the pedals. The power is then commensurate with your pedaling cadence and force. A hub-drive with a cadence sensor is much more like an on/off switch, while a mid-drive is more variable and in-tune with you as a rider.
A few cons of mid-drives are that they can be harder on your knees than a hub-drive. If you have knee sensitivity, you might want to go with a hub-drive. Also, they are reliant on the bike’s chain. If the chain breaks then you can’t use the motor. This isn’t the case with a hub-drive.
All-in-all though, it’s safe to say that mid-drive ebikes feel and behave more sophisticated than most hub-drive ebikes. If you love to pedal a bike and put some effort into it, you’ll love a mid-drive motor like I do. Though, when I’m wanting a more casual and relaxing ride, I prefer a hub-drive.
Other specs of the Prodigy include a Shimano Alivio derailleur which is very good quality, Tektro hydraulic brakes, Shimano 9-speed trigger shifter, a hydroformed aluminum fork on the XR and ST versions of the Prodigy, Bushel front and rear integrated lights, and a Brose color display.
The XC version of the Prodigy has a front air suspension fork with 120 mm of travel. The XR and ST versions come with fenders and a rear rack, while the XC doesn’t. The XC has Maxxis tires with a more aggressive tread for off-road riding, while the XR and ST versions are built more as commuter bikes. The ST, of course, stands for step-thru.
The XR and XC versions are available in a cool “chameleon” frame color that appears to be iridescent. The ST features Ride1Up’s more familiar gray or more gray color options.
The battery of the Prodigy is 36V 14Ah, and you might think that this is under powered, but mid-drive motors are more efficient. A 48-volt system isn’t necessary to achieve very good hill climbing abilities or higher speeds. The Prodigy is still capable of 28 mph top speeds and is equipped with a throttle. That’s the one thing I miss on my Liv Amiti mid-drive.
I look forward to testing out the Prodigy when it is available. On paper, it looks to be a very good deal considering the specs. The only bummer is that it won’t begin shipping until January 2022, but on the bright side, that means you’ll have the bike ready to go when the 2022 riding season begins.
You can check out the Prodigy at Ride1Up here.
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