ADO D30C E-Bike Review Rating
The ADO D30C is another excellent electric bike from ADO. It looks good and I prefer the MTB/hybrid design over the foldable allowing me to do long commutes or ride it on trails. The range is excellent and with a higher seating position this would be comfortable to ride long distance unassisted.
Overall - 85%
- Well specced and attractive bike for the price
- Comfortable for long-distance commutes
- Front shocks and MTB tires should work well on easy trails
- Seat post could do with being longer to accommodate taller riders
- Make sure everything is working properly when you assemble it
I previously reviewed the excellent ADO A20 foldable e-bike, and for the past couple of weeks, I have been trying out the new ADO D30C.
The ADO D30C is a mountain bike, or hybrid, with front shocks making it ideal for mixed-use. There are not many mountain bike trails near me, so I have mainly been using this on streets as a commuter.
ADO D30C vs ADO D30 Specification – What is different?
You will notice that there are two ADO D30 bikes and different price points. It appears that the only difference is the Shimano drivetrain.
The more affordable ADO D30C comes with a 9-speed Shimano Altus drivetrain, while the D30 is 11-speed. The 11 speed could be handy if you plan to ride this as a mountain bike on steep trails, the improved gearing range should make things easier. It should also make general riding without the electric assist a bit more enjoyable.
Unpacking & putting the bike together
When you buy from retail, the bike will be shipped from the closest location with warehouses in the UK, Germany, Polan, Spain and Italy. You should get the bike in n 2-5 working days without duty and VAT fees.
I am not sure how I feel about the way this bike is shipped. It is equal parts impressive, but there is a disturbing amount of waste. The bike has foam padding strapped around all the important bits and everything held together with cable ties. Then my best guess is that it is put in a bag then inside the box, and the bag is filled with expanding foam. This gives perfect fit packaging and will ensure it arrives safely from its origin country.
Unpacking it is incredibly messy, and you should do this outside. It is quite a soft expanding foam so easy to remove. It just breaks off easily and gets blown away easy.
As frustrating as all the plastic waste is, I can’t think of a much better solution. I am not sure if there is a water-soluble expanding foam similar to corn-based foam packaging.
Assembling the bike was easy, easier than the ADO A20. The only things you need to do is:
- Attach the handlebars to the front stem
- Attach the wheels (and I also pumped up the tyres)
- Attach the peddles
The rear wheel doesn't have quick-release skewers but the front wheel and the seat does.
The overall look of the bike is impressive. I like that the battery integrates into the frame giving a more natural look than many competing affordable hybrid bikes.
It is worth noting that this bike lacks mudguards and a pannier rack. You should be able to find third party solutions.
Bike Fit – How tall can you be?
The bike only comes in one frame size, but the seat can be adjusted for various heights. Ado advertises this as being adequate for people between n 165cm-190cm in height.
I am 6ft1, so about 185cm, and the bike feels small to me. I come from a road cycling background, so I am used to sitting quite high up, giving me an increased range of motion which is improves my power and is better for my knees.
If this wasn’t electric, it would be hard to recommend for someone my height as the fit is sub-optimal for knee health. It is not awful, but I wouldn’t want to ride a bike long distances and/or high effort with my knees bent that much.
However, I rarely found this to be too much of a problem, if you plan to ride this predominantly with electric assist, there is barely any strain on your knees.
Personally, I may end up replacing the seat post so I can sit a bit higher, just because that’s the seating position I am used to.
Teething problems/build quality issues: Fixing no power and display showing an exclamation mark
Unfortunately, after I had set up the bike, I experienced immediate problems. The electric motor would not kick in at all, and the display had a permanent exclamation mark on it.
I am not going to hold this against ADO for the rest of the review. These things happen, and because I was supplied the bike via a PR direct from the warehouse, the support I received was probably not as good as a retail purchase.
I have covered the problem in more detail, which explains what the exclamation mark error is and potential ways to fix it. This can happen to any e-bike, so I hope it is of some use to someone.
Basically, some of the internal wires had been crossed, making the bike think the brakes were permanently applied.
UK & EU Legality
This comes with a 250W motor, and the electric motor works in assist mode only with the maximum speed set to 25km/h. This, therefore, makes it fully compliant with UK and EU law.
I assume this has an unlockable speed similar to the ADO A20 and this is done through the menu options on the controller. I haven’t tried this.
In use compared to the ADO A20
I actually prefer this bike to the foldable ADO A20 I previously used, and it suits my style of use more.
The ADO A20 is ideal if you are short on storage space or plan to load it into your car or take on public transport.
For the ADO D30C, I prefer this for longer distance commuting or leisure cycling. It has two additional gears, but they also seem to be spread wider apart, giving you a better range for when you want to cycle without the assist. The bigger wheels and different seating position also feel better for faster bike rides.
Electronic Assist & Gears
You can ride the bike like a normal bike with no assist, or the three levels of assist are:
- Assist speed up to 15km/h
- Assist speed up to 20km/h
- Assist speed up to 25km/h
The assist kicks in based on your speed (rather than torque). So you have to put a bit of effort in at the start, and then you will feel the motor kick. If you go from a standstill using assist level 3, when the motor activates, the acceleration feels quite fast.
The ADO A20+ had a torque sensor (I think), and the experience was quite different.
With a speed sensor, when the motor kicks in, it goes to the desired speed regardless of how hard you are cycling. So in assist level 3, I can spin my legs with zero effort and still maintain 25km/h. With the ADO A20 I had to apply a bit of effort all the time.
The speed sensor design of this made it easier to do long, fast bike rides with minimal physical effort, which is ideal for anyone wanting to commute.
The only downside to this was that when you apply the breaks, the motor cuts out, so you then need to apply effort again before the motor kicks back in. If you are in a congested environment where you need to break a lot, this could get mildly annoying.
The majority of my riding was done on the road and some gravel riding. Due to the recent storms, attempting MTB trails was off the cards. For road cycling, you can lock the front shocks, which will remove the squishiness of the ride and make manual cycling easier. It also doesn’t have a seat shock like the A20; this may be less comfortable for some, but I prefer it.
With the shocks unlocked, you get a decent amount of travel, they don’t fully compress down, but it provides enough absorption for light MTB trails.
Battery lock & key
One difference, which could be a negative, is the way the keys work. The ADO A20 key physically powered the bike up like turning the ignition on your car. The D30C can be switched on without the key. The key just locks the battery in place. So if you ever plan to leave the bike locked up, I’d recommend taking the battery with you.
With the battery being easy to remove, this is great for commuting. You can lock up your bike and take the battery indoors for a charge.
Price and Alternative Products
The ADO D30C I reviewed is available from BangGood for $14999
The ADO D30, which has better 11-speed gears, is $2149
All orders placed before the 23rd of March will get a free lock and helmet. Then the first order of each day will get an Ado&Insta360 GO2 XE action camera (30 pieces total).
Alternatively, both bikes are available from the Ado website with EU pricing of 1499 Euros and 1899.00 Euros.
Pricing is similar to competing products. The HIMO C30R is a hybrid with no shocks but has a 2×9 Shinano Sora drivetrain and costs just shy of $2k
There is the more affordable ADO A26+ which isn’t quite as attractive and only has 7 gears, but it is more affordable at under £1k (1069 Euros).
The ICE MT10 MTB is around £1400 has front shocks and a 12 speed Shimono Deore drivetrain
The HIMO C26 is similar to the ADO A26 with a bit more of a chunky look and 7-speed drivetrain but an affordable price of under £1k.
The cheapest option I can find is the Basis Hunter, which costs between £700-£1000 with just 7 gears, rim brakes, and a 25 mile assist range.
If you want a big brand name, then the Specialized Turbo Tero 3.0 will set you back over £3k. Or for a more hybrid style bike, there is the Cube Nuride Hybrid for around £2.6k.
Even though I had some teething problems with the bike, I really like it, and it suits my needs well. The ADO A20 had already converted me to electric bikes, and with rising petrol costs, I would imagine a lot more people will be looking at alternatives to driving.
Pricing is attractive based on the specification, and the bike is excellent for mixed-use. I can take it out on light trails or use it during the week for a long commute.