Propella has been building streamlined fixie style electric bikes for years and we got our hands on the latest version of their 7 speed electric bike for review.
The design style of the bike is clean and minimalist, with tasteful blue accents that add a nice touch of personality to the otherwise matte black bike. I mean just look at those gorgeous blue rims!
Propella currently offers its e-bike either as a single speed or in a 7-speed configuration for those who are looking for a little more flexibility on the mechanical side of the structure. For our tests in hilly Southern California, we opted for the 7-speed version so that we could do a little more work on the unwieldy foothills that frame our beaches.
Disclaimer: Propella sent this bike to the author free of charge for the purpose of this review.
Assembling the bike was a breeze as the bike arrived with almost everything already assembled. Propella gets additional points here for the installation of a real Park Tools folding Allen key set. This is in stark contrast to the essentially disposable tools that most manufacturers use to ship bicycles. Park Tools is the leading name in the game when it comes to bicycle tools. With the small folding kit, owners get a real tool that will easily last the life of the bike.
Right off the bat, the blue rims stand out wildly against the matt black frame and give the bike a subtle yet sophisticated look that is sure to attract a lot of attention. Every single test ride we took, the onlookers stared at the bike and said how they liked the rims and the water bottle-like battery. The white chain adds a nice accent to the entire look and integrates the white graphics of the frame and battery.
For added flexibility, the 1.6kg battery can be unlocked and removed from the bike for easy charging in the office or at home.
The design of the bike is all the rage with the popular fixie or fixed gear bike, but with Propella’s special injection of electrified grade, the function of the entire bike is raised a few levels. The narrow rims and 700c x 35 road tires minimize friction and we found that we regularly turned the pedal assistance to zero so we could just ride around town like a traditional bike.
In this mode, which can be selected using the control pad on the left, the e-bike rolls like a conventional bicycle, with the rear hub motor offering little or no additional resistance. Of course, you carry a bit of extra weight with you as the overall package weighs in at just 37 pounds (35 pounds for the singlespeed). This is very easy in the world of e-bikes, but of course a lot heavier than your ordinary manual bike.
This bike was made to ride, so that’s exactly what we did. When setting the pedal assistance, we found the 250 watt Bafang motor responsive and playful. It increased our pedaling activity and injected the e-bike with a balanced power boost based on one of 5 pedal support settings. At level 1, the engine hums and gives the ride a tailwind.
From level 3, the engine is actively involved in the process and provides noticeable support. We increased the assist to 3 to help us over some of the smaller hills and inclines along our route. At the height of the test ride, we kicked the pedal assistance to level 5 to support our tired legs and really put the engine to the test. In level 5, the engine can jump in with the full 400 watts of peak power.
That is about half the output of the 750-watt motors commonly used in the area, but the difference in peak output is only really apparent in a small section of our test drive. The same goes for most riders on most routes, which is why smaller engines can be a great option for most riders out there. Why pay and carry the weight of a larger battery and motor when the extra power gained is only needed in a few cases? Your mileage may vary.
The single-speed and 7-speed e-bikes from Propella are well positioned in the affordable e-bike range and offer buyers a classic and sophisticated e-bike at an affordable price. It will appeal to buyers looking for fixie bikes, commuters, and hybrid riders looking for a motor that will add some pep to their proverbial stride.
At just 37 pounds (35 pounds for the singlespeed), the light weight makes it a fantastic option for riders looking for an e-bike that is easier to use in the garage, on a bike rack, steps, or in the office. This weight is made possible by the smaller battery and motor, which are perfect for cycling enthusiasts looking for a bike that encourages pedaling, shorter commutes and stretches in flatter terrain.
Finally, at $ 1,299 ($ 1,099 for the singlespeed), Propella e-bikes offer solid value propositions for buyers. The components used on both bikes are the de facto standard across the e-bike spectrum and at these lower prices, Propella is sure to pique the interest of many buyers.
Propella e-bike specifications
- engine: 250 watt average, 400 watt peak Bafang rear hub motor
- battery: Removable 36 volts, 250 Wh, built with Panasonic / Sanyo cells.
- Charging time: 2.5 hours
- Top speed: 30 km / h
- Frame material: Aluminum alloy
- Brakes: Shimano TX-805 mechanical disc brakes
- tires: CST Xpedium puncture proof 700C x 35 tires
Propella 7S (V4.0) 7-speed variant (as tested)
- Range: 20-40 miles (32-64 km)
- drive: 7-speed Shimano drive
- Weight: 37 lbs (16.8 kg)
- price: $ 1,299
Propella SS (V4.0) single speed variant
- Range: 32-56 km
- drive: 16T single speed freewheel
- Weight: 15.9 kg
- price: $ 1,099