Not everyone has a few thousand bucks to drop on an electric bike so today I wanted to take a look at two of the least expensive, full-sized ebikes from Ancheer in both mountain bike and foldable formats. At around $600+ at Amazon, what compromises were needed to get to this price, and are they still a good fit?
Ancheer has been around for at least a few years, we’ve reviewed both of these bikes‘ predecessors around 2+ years ago, so I think they’ve escaped fly-by-night status.
We enjoyed both of the previous bikes calling them fun and surprising. The updated versions of those bike are more of the same. The fixed frame bike gets a more powerful 350W motor and bigger battery which brings it up to speed with the Rattan we reviewed last year. The foldable gets an updated geometry and spoked wheels as well as a lower price point.
But they are still Chinese bargain bikes sold thru Amazon so the expectations have to be tempered on component quality.
Since these are somewhat similar bikes, I’ll start with what’s the same.
- Both of these bikes are 26-inch “urban” mountain bike style with hybrid tires and base level, but quality 21-speed Shimano gear sets. Three sprockets in the front are rare in electric bikes so this will be a standout feature for some people. It also lets you ride without the motor pretty easily because of the granny gears.
- These are both “Class 2” ebikes that will go up to 20mph on throttle or pedal assist.
- These are both 6061 alloy Aluminum frame bikes which makes them relatively light and manageable. 52lbs for regular and a heavier 62lbs for the folding bike.
- Both were also easy to put together and came 85% assembled. The foldable bike was roughed up slightly on the way over from a warehouse in New Jersey so it took a little bit of extra time to sort thru everything (why not send it folded Ancheer?!). If you have little to moderate bike building skills, these bikes can be assembled in 15-30 minutes. All the tools you need are provided (though you’ll probably want to use your own if you have some). If you don’t want to do this, Amazon’s buying process will send it to a local bike shop for a small premium.
- Rider sizing. Ancheer says you can be up over 6-feet tall and still enjoy these bikes. I’m just under 6 feet however and they felt a little small. I think the 5′ – 5′ 10″ (150-180cm) range is the sweet spot.
- Both of these bikes have 180mm front and rear disc brakes which are generic but served me well. I did have an incident where the cable screw loosened on my front brake out of the box but after tightening, it worked fine.
- Both have very basic hard seats with the foldable’s seat post being short. Both have front suspension which is slightly better than no suspension but feels slightly less solid than a solid fork.
- Motors: The Sunshine bike has a 350W motor while the foldable bike has a 250W motor. More power highlights the fixed bike and I liked it a lot more for shooting up hills and quickness in getting to 20mph from a stop.
- Battery: Both batteries are 36V but the fixed Sunshine bike has a 10.4Ah supply yielding 375Wh of power. The foldable has just 8Ah of power or just 288Wh. My measured high output/high pedaling range was about 20 miles for fixed and 15 for the foldable. Both could be extended with less power and more pedaling as can every ebike ever made.
- Price: Both bikes cost $650 with $20 shipping but we’ve got a $65 coupon Electric5LPX which makes the foldable 10% cheaper. Obviously this is the reason we’re even talking about these bikes, so every penny counts.
- The foldable has a rear suspension that barely moves. Resources would be better spent here on a softer seat. It also has mud flaps that I just skipped installing because I don’t feel like I’m going to ride this in the rain or offroad IRL. Also, I continue to question the design decision of putting the battery on the handlebars.
- The foldable mechanism seemed to work well and locked in pretty tightly. The bike felt solid riding while unfolded. Since the handlebars don’t fold, it was still a bit bulky for a foldable but definitely fit in the back of my car whereas the fixed bike would require removing the front wheel and putting down the back seats.
- I like the look of the fixed Sunshine bike a lot better than its predecessor. It looks sleeker with the flashy rims and red accents. The foldable, on the other hand, looks more like Rube Goldberg’s bike which I guess it would need to be as a full sized, full suspension, foldable ebike.
- Both of these bikes have lighting but the foldable’s is a higher quality built-in and includes a horn while the fixed came with a cheap strap-on light that probably retails for about $7.
Ancheer does offer some service and repairs but reviews of these have been mixed so you are rolling the dice a bit here. For what it is worth, in my experience Ancheer bikes have worked well out of the box and have aged as expected.
So, I’m not going to blanket recommend these bikes for everyone. Because of the compromises to get them down to the $600 price range, they are a more niche product. Should you go mountain biking with these? No. I’d stick to the roads, bike paths, and maybe a small gravel path or short expanses of dirt roads.
I would also avoid going up or down big hills extraordinarily fast. The brakes are adequate but I just wouldn’t trust these bombing down a hill at high speeds. Likewise, I was doing a lot more work than I wanted to, especially on the foldable, going up big hills. The Sunshine bike “shined” here with its 350W of power. But if steep hills are a big part of your life, you might want to opt for more torque/power…and name brand brakes.
So who are these Ancheer bikes for?
If you don’t go hard on your bike and can do a little maintenance like tightening some bolts, these make great bikes for around town. A quick shopping run, a stop at a friend’s house, or even a sunny day commute are all in the Ancheer wheelhouse. If your aging knees or small hills are getting in the way of biking, this is also a great solution. However, if you plan on using your bike a lot, and/or rely on it for hardcore situations, you might want to opt for a more expensive bike or a used/kit ebike.
Alternatives. If you can spend $400+ more, I think you will get a lot more peace of mind and a better experience from a Juiced or Rad Power ebike. They will likely last longer, require less maintenance, and be more pleasurable to ride.
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