The Ride – A perfect eBike, for a specific customer
New York is not at all like California. Generally, this doesn’t matter much, but when testing high-end eBikes like The Ride, I must admit I missed out on one of the reasons this bike exists.
Unlike ebikes used for commuting, The Ride is designed to be taken out on bike paths in the sunny climate of somewhere like San Diego, rather than ridden to work in the cold Northeast.
Once our test unit arrived, it went from fall to winter practically overnight. The Ride is part of a fitness experience that combines eBikes with in-person fitness classes. Some of the benefits of the bike were lost on me as I rode it through piles of fallen leaves.
Still, The Ride has a clear mission and customer, and it’s easy to see how nice this bike would be if I lived somewhere flat and warm.
History Of The Ride
Legendary mountain bike builder Tony Ellsworth designed the Ride—Ellsworth has been making bikes since the late 90s. In 2006 he began making a line of cruisers branded with the moniker The Ride.
It isn’t easy to talk to someone about this bike due to its name. Several times I was asked about the bike, and conversations quickly turned into a “Who’s on first “routine.
The current iterations of The Ride have taken Ellsworth’s mountain bike aesthetic and applied it to an e-bike. The result isn’t like any other ebike on the market.
Today’s The Ride (see what I mean about the name) is a celebration of design. The bike is made of carbon with slick and smooth lines, the paint glows like a gem, and the step-over frame makes it perfect for any rider.
There’s an asymmetrical front fork that looks like Cannondale’s Lefty fork. A Gates belt drive eliminates chain grease on one’s leg or clothes, and the shifting system is…unique.
It is a beautiful bike. While many ebikes look like a standard bicycle with a battery bolted on (because, in essence, they are), The Ride is slick and clean and looks shiny and attractive. If you’re familiar with New York City’s CitiBike, this offers the utility of that bike and combines it with the design style of a Porsche..
The Ride – A perfect eBike, Mostly
The Ride went with a “stepless” motor, which uses a continuous range of gearing, making for a super-smooth ride with easy transitions. The Shimano E6100 mid-drive combines with a Nuvinci Enviolo SP CVT (Continuous Variable Transmission).
It is not, literally, stepless in use, as I could feel the bike moving between large adjustments while changing the assistance. Still, the bike was smooth when boosting a pedal stroke.
I have a lot more time on a non-CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) ebike setup, so the ride on The Ride (see, it happened again) was a bit confusing. With the Shimano and Nuvinci setup on The Ride, the rider dials in a preferred cadence, and the bike boosts if the cadence drops.
The first time I rode up a moderate hill, I had set the cadence assistance for around 80 RPM, as this is the fastest I usually turn my pedals on a small hill. Sounds good, right? Nope, I needed to set it for a higher cadence and have it boost my pedaling to assist me up the incline.
My control unit didn’t have an up or down arrow, so I found at first I would often switch the wrong way and then have to switch back, but some riding cured that mistake. Sometimes my control unit and the shifters wouldn’t communicate, but that’s an issue with the early-production gear we were testing, not the bike.
Build And Servicing
As I’ve said, The Ride is a beautiful and head-turning bike. It’s like nothing else on the market. But it’s not just built to be pretty on the outside, and it’s built to be durable and low-maintenance.
The internal hub prevents damage from salt water, mud, or rain and has a Gates belt drive for grease-free use. No more streaks of grease on your commuting gear.
The carbon construction significantly reduces road chatter, making for a very smooth ride; there is little chatter or shake even over potholes.
Integrated lights in the front and rear mean a rider never goes out without visibility. The brakes are strong enough to stop the bike even when moving very quickly. Some ebikes have difficulty stopping at high speed.
That stopping power is essential as the bike weighs quite a lot. Customers will park next to your Audi in their detached garage, not carry it up the stairs to your four-story walkup.
There’s only one frame, which the company says can accommodate riders from 5′ to 6’4″. (I’m only able to vouch for 5’7″ riders, and it was very comfy.
There currently is a concierge service for assembling the bike and an online chat for people with more questions. Since my review unit was hand-delivered, I didn’t get a chance to experience the white-glove service, but it’s a smart move for this customer group.
New York Is Not California
Turning back to the opening statement-of-the-obvious, New York and California have some very different conditions. The Ride was designed to be enjoyed by the affluent residents of somewhere like a seaside villa in California or a planned community in Florida with a winding network of bike paths. It would also fit perfectly in New York City and other metropolitan regions with relatively flat terrain and moderate hills.
Where I live, the small rises are 3-8%, and the big hills avoiding big hills is advised. I live at the bottom of a steep hill (about 15% grade), and The Ride didn’t get me to the top, but it did perform better than a fifty-ish-pound bicycle should.
The Ride is part of a concept of multi-stage exercise. The idea is that people will bike to a designated spot for outdoor exercise on The Ride and then bike home. Taking this bike to a park to do some yoga, followed by a trip to get some single-origin coffee sounds great.
The multi-fitness aspect isn’t highlighted on their website. It won’t be a core component until we get out of the never-ending global pandemic.
The idea of having a bike that’s part of a fitness regimen is excellent, though obviously, it won’t have a lot of application until those classes are rolled out more universally.
The Ride has a claimed 100+ mile range, and while the weather in the area kept me from trying that out, I have no reason to doubt that claim. I would not be uncomfortable taking this bike on a multi-hour ride on a rail-to-trail or even on a crushed gravel adventure.
Should You Get The Ride?
So, the question begged by its design and price is, “should I get it?” Like most highly technological things, the answer is “that depends.”
If you’re planning to do long rides up hills, this isn’t the bike for you. This bike isn’t for you if you’re planning to ride “gravel” routes that encounter rocks and single-track.
There’s a specific market segment The Ride is for, someone who wants to take a bike out to the beach from their summer home, who doesn’t want a drop-bar bike with limited range. The Ride’s typical customer wants a bike that’ll do hours of boardwalk riding and many trips to the local craft brewery or coffee shop.
More Testing of The Ride – A perfect eBike, for its ideal customer
As the temperatures in New York continue to hover in the low-teens to the 30s, The Ride sits forlornly in my garage.
Yes, I could take it out for rides (and I’ve taken it on a few quick errands to town, even in the cold). Still, it wants to cruise along on beautiful spring and summer days and be part of an active lifestyle.
If you’re searching for an e-bike that looks and feels different than any other ebike on the market, The Ride is for you.
We are hoping to do more riding in the spring, as we have a sixty-mile bike trail nearby that is the perfect test lab for this bike.
As this goes to press, there is currently a discount on The Ride Limited Edition, with a price of $5295.00, down from $6995.00.…