Best Belt Drive E Bikes That Are Lightweight mightygadget

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In the past couple of years, I have reviewed quite a few electric bikes. I have found them all to be good and will work well if the bike suits your needs.

However, most of the bikes I review don’t suit my specific preferences. I have always cycled for fitness, and I am a keen road cyclist for fitness. I also use a hybrid for general commuting.

There is certainly nothing stopping me from using one of the foldable e-bikes for commuting to the gym, and I have done this from time to time, but I have always wanted an e-bike with a normal fitness focussed riding position.

I also want my bike to look like a normal bike without it being obviously electric. I lock it up outside the gym and feel like an e-bike is going to be a more attractive target for any would-be thieves, and I don’t live in the nicest of towns.

Vanpowers City Vanture – A lightweight (15.5kg) belt-driven discrete e-bike

I reviewed the Vanpowers City Vanture towards the end of last year, and it was the first bike that met my requirements. From a distance, there is no way you can tell this is an e-bike; even up close, a passing glance, you wouldn’t necessarily tell. It’s just the hub on the rear while and the small display that are a giveaway. 

It also only weighs 15.5 kg (34.17 lbs) which is only 2-3kg heavier than many normal alloy hybrid bikes. If you pick up a cheap steel bike like the Carrera Subway, that’s 14.3kg.

Vanpowers keep the weight down by keeping it as simple as possible. It is belt driven with a  single gear, and there is no suspension. That may not sound appealing to some buyers, but the weight advantage is significant, and a belt drive means significantly reduced maintenance.

Therefore the overall ride experience is similar to my hybrid. I do find it a bit sluggish cycling without power, and you can tell all there is a lot of weight in the rear, but this is an unavoidable problem with e-bikes.

A reader recently asked me if I still like this bike and do I have any experience with other similar belt-driven lightweight bikes.

Vanpowers City Vanture Long-Term Use – Minor niggles, but overall, I am happy.

There have been a couple of minor niggles with the Vanpowers. The seat post seems to work its way down from the high setting I have it. The right crank can sometimes sound clunky, and the bolt needs retightening. I think these are both easy fixes and likely due to my shoddy bike-building skills.

A couple of times, I have noticed the bike doesn’t seem to be applying any power, even though I have it set to 5. This requires me to switch it off and back on again. This seems to only happen when the battery drops down to two or below bars.

They are niggles I would prefer not to happen, but they are not significant in the grand scheme of things, and I am still happily riding the bike every day.

Best discrete lightweight belt-driven e-bikes – Under 16.5kg / 36lbs

Thinking about the reader question, I wondered if there were any good alternatives to the Vanpowers City Vanture.

The lightweight nature is important to me. I looked for bikes under 16.5kg / 36.4 lbs. I picked this number randomly, it gives a bit of wiggle room for a heavier bike than the Vanpowers, and it stays within a reasonable range of a normal bike.

For reference, the Vanpowers is 15.5kg or 34.2lbs.

Some of these were suggested by the reader.

Vanpowers City Vanture

  • Country availability: US, UK, EU
  • Weight: 34.17 lbs./15.5 kg
  • Frame: Aluminum Alloy. Self-build mortar and tenon design
  • Motor: US 36V/350W, EU 36V/250W
  • Battery: 36V 7Ah/252Wh LG Cell Lithium-Ion Downtube Battery (additional battery option available)
  • Range: 50-80 Miles
  • Drivetrain: Gates CDN Carbon Drive Belt
  • Sensor: Cadence
  • Brakes: Tektro Hydraulic Disc Brakes
  • Tyres: 700C × 28C Kenda Tires
  • Price: $1,447.00 / £1,447 – Free shipping but 35 business day delivery to the UK (at the moment) + regular discounts available

You can read my Vanpowers City Vanture review here.

It is a unique bike for this list, and for bikes in general, because the frame is not welded, it uses a mortar and tenon design. They claim this is stronger, but I think the main advantage is that it simplifies shipping and storage logistics.

UK and EU buyers will have to build it themselves. It was intimidating at first, but I did it without a problem in a couple of hours. US buyers can pay $90 to have it pre-built.

I would say it is easily one of the best options on this list. If you keep an eye out for discounts ($300 for St Patrick’s Day) it can easily be the best option for price/specification.

Ride1up Roadster v2 Gravel

Roadster v2 Gravel Grey scaled 1
  • Country availability: US. No EU options. $100 shipping to Canada
  • Weight: 33lbs / 15kg
  • Frame: Aluminum Alloy
  • Motor: 500w (peak) 350w (nominal) Geared Hub Shengyi
  • Battery: 36V 7.0ah Samsung 35e Cells
  • Range: 20-30 miles
  • Sensor: Cadence
  • Drivetrain: 64/20T Single Speed Toptrans Belt Drive
  • Brakes: Tektro Aries Mechanical 160mm Disc
  • Tyres: Kenda Kwest 700Cx28 wheels with Continental Terra or WTB Resolute 700Cx42
  • Price: $1,245

Sadly, this is US/Canada only. It is the cheapest on the list and 2nd lightest, which makes it appealing, but the range is poor. You can extend the range with an additional battery which costs $375. This doubles the capacity, so I assume it doubles the range, making it comparable to other bikes.

And, I assume the lower price and slight weight advantage are because it used a smaller 250wh 36V 7.0ah battery in the first place.

FLX Babymaker II

BM2 WHite Shadows Right
  • Country availability: US – they state rest of the world shipping, but I can’t ship to the UK
  • Weight: 35 lbs (15.84 kg)
  • Frame: Aluminum Alloy
  • Motor: 350W Aikema Geared Rear Hub
  • Battery: Samsung Lithium Ion (36V / 10AH)
  • Range: 20-70 Miles
  • Sensor: Cadence
  • Drivetrain: Gates USA Belt Drive, 63T-22t
  • Brakes: Magura MT30 Hydraulic Disc
  • Tyres: Kenda 700x28c Presta Valve
  • Price: $1,499 + Tax

This has a dreadful name, but it seems to compare well against the Vanpowers, and you don’t have to worry about assembling it yourself. The display is not integrated and therefore not quite as attractive as the Vanpowers, but presumably, this makes maintenance easier, should anything go wrong with the computer.

Under shipping, they state the rest of the world, but there were no shipping options to the UK. I assume it is US and Canada only.

Page 2 for remaining recommendations and conclusion

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