The Lectric XP 2.0 e-bike was one of the best bargains we tested, with a powerful motor, folding frame, and decent components for a thousand bucks. But while the XP 2.0 is a complete e-bike for people who just want to get from point A to point B, Lectric’s newest e-bike, the XPremium, seeks to bring value to a higher performance bracket.
I haven’t had a chance to test the XPremium myself yet, but I did a double take when I saw the specs and components offered for $1,999 ($1,799 for the first few days) .
The bike packs three features that are rare for the price bracket and almost unheard of on a folding bike: a mid-drive motor, a torque sensor, and nearly 1,000Wh of battery capacity.
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This is also not a case of crowdfunding. The bike is available for pre-order on Lectric’s site right now and is expected to ship in June. The rest of the specs also seem solid:
- 500W mid-drive motor (800W peak)
- torque sensor
- Two 48 V 10.4 Ah batteries for a total of 998.4 Wh
- A shift sensor detects when you shift gears to minimize transmission strain
- Maximum speed of 45 km/h (28 mph) (can be configured with lower speeds)
- A throttle (very rare on mid-drive bikes)
- Hydraulic disc brakes
- 20 x 4 inch Chaoyang tires filled with slime sealant to prevent punctures
- Oil-filled front suspension with 80mm travel
- Built-in headlight (this is the same premium upgrade I tested on the XP 2.0, and it’s better than average)
- Rear rack included
- Frame-mounted front rack for added strength
- Arrives fully assembled
Going back to the motor, mid-drive units are normally only found on e-bikes closer to $3,000, as they are more expensive and complex than traditional hub drives. We go over their various benefits in this article, but the bottom line is that they tend to create a cycling experience that’s more like riding a regular bike.
Unlike hub motors, mid-drive motors are able to take advantage of your bike’s gears for optimum efficiency, making them superior for climbing hills and maximizing range. They also help distribute the weight towards the center of the bike for better handling.
The caveat is that the hub motor puts more stress on your transmission, but the shift sensor on the XPremium should alleviate this problem.
The other reason why mid-drive e-bikes are generally much smoother than hub-drive motors is that the majority of them have built-in torque sensors. A traditional cadence sensor turns on and off like a switch when you start pedaling, but a torque sensor actually senses how hard you pedal to provide proportional assistance. It knows you need more help when struggling on a steep incline than when riding on a flat road, for example.
Granted, not all mid-drive motors are made equal, and implementation is also important. But while Lectric doesn’t specify the engine brand on its website, close inspection shows it bears the Wuxi TruckRun label. The only other bike I’ve tested with a TruckRun motor is the Priority Current, and it’s one of the best e-bikes I’ve ridden thanks to its smooth power delivery and tons of torque. Unfortunately, this one costs $3,300.
Lectric might use a different TruckRun variant, and it might not have the same power curve fine-tuning as Priority’s e-bike. But if the experience resembles that of the Current, runners are in for a treat. At the very least, it should be an improvement over the somewhat jerky ride of the XP 2.0.
I also have to applaud the massive battery setup; 1000 Wh is huge. Typical e-bikes have half that, and I’ve only seen a handful of folding e-bikes with this kind of range. The few that have similar sized batteries didn’t have a mid-drive motor or torque sensor. The XPremium is pretty much a unicorn in the e-bike world.
Lectric claims you’ll be able to do over 100 miles (161 km) of range with lower assist levels, or 50 miles (80 km) without pedaling at all. Considering I got over 40 miles on current with a 500 Wh battery, that estimate seems realistic. But for most people who don’t do regular century rides, the real benefit will be using higher assist without worrying about range – or just not having to recharge the bike every day.
I have some qualms with the design, though they’re mostly personal. I’m not a big fan of fat tires, which I find more problematic than they’re worth, especially in urban settings. You might struggle to find a bike shop that will service your bike, it’s harder to find good replacement tires, and they add unnecessary weight.
Mostly, I just wish Lectric had design variations. I would have liked the bike even more if there was the option of buying it with normal tires and a fixed fork, like the company’s new XP Lite, for the weight savings. The 34 kg (75 lb) weight almost defeats the purpose of having a folding bike.
It’s also not exactly the prettiest e-bike I’ve seen.
Yet these are just my own pet peeves. Americans clearly like big tires given their prevalence here in the United States, and the inclusion of tire sealant provides some peace of mind against flat tires.
The Lectric XPremium is shaping up to be an excellent deal. We’ll have to see how the bike performs in the real world to find out if it lives up to its claims; I’m particularly curious how efficient the implementation of the motor and torque sensor is. But from what I can tell so far, other competing e-bike companies in the price range will need to step up their game.