Aventon Abound Review: First Look at a Brand New Cargo Hauler
*Stay tuned to Electric Bike Report as we’ll soon have our full in-depth review of the Aventon Abound.
Of the many brands operating in the direct-to-consumer e-bike space, one that continues to surprise us with the quality and design of their e-bikes is Aventon. Their lineup is creative and smart, and now they’ve introduced their first cargo e-bike.
So what is the Abound? Well, it’s a long-tail cargo e-bike with 20-in. wheels, a brushless, geared hub motor, a 720Wh battery and a torque sensor. This last little detail is worth more than it seems. Its rear rack has a payload capacity of 143 lbs.—more than enough to carry a kid.
Aventon Abound: an SUV with pedals
Around the office, a few of our co-workers have been talking about how 2023 is going to be the year of the cargo e-bike. More and more of us are agreeing. The point to such a pronouncement is that we see acceptance and availability finally merging. By acceptance, we mean that more and more people are seeing just how useful a cargo e-bike is. And by availability we the fact that the number of manufacturers making them is starting to hit a critical mass that will: A) help to popularize them, reinforcing their acceptable, and B) give riders more options in choosing the cargo e-bike that best fits their needs and lifestyle.
Let’s take a moment to talk about long-tail cargo e-bikes. Until relatively recently, most cargo bikes, e- or otherwise, put the load in front of the rider. The big “bucket” e-bikes, the ones the Dutch call bakfiets, are the most popular of these designs. They are cool, but they handle like a school bus in reverse. Long-tail cargo e-bikes put most of the load behind the rider. From the rider’s saddle to the front wheel, everything is like with a regular e-bike, such as a commuter. The reach the the handlebar, the steering geometry—all that’s the same. However, the distance between the pedals and the rear wheel can grow by a foot or more. The upshot is that while a long-tail cargo e-bike won’t turn as tight as a commuter or even a fat-tire e-bike, on the road it feels like a normal bike.
Some readers are asking, “Why not just put a child seat on the back of a commuter to carry a kid?” A fair question, but one with an easy answer. First, putting a child seat on a commuter or other e-bike with a more traditional design leaves the child very little room. If the child’s helmet has a visor, it will poke mom or dad in the small of the back. The kid’s view is mostly denim. Also, most child seats can’t handle a child older than 6.
Put a child seat on a long-tail and the kiddo feels like they are riding an open-air Popemobile. The experience delights kids. And after a child outgrows a child seat, it can be replaced with a bench seat and running boards, and that little bit of increased freedom—to get on and off the e-bike on their own, rather than be picked up—contributes to their sense that they are growing up. Even when older, kids have a terrific view of the world from the back seat of a long-tail.
Aventon Abound: Spec Review
The Aventon Abound is build with a 48V, 750W brushless, geared hub motor. Aventon chose to spec the Abound with a torque sensor rather than a cadence meter to control the motor’s function. Torque sensors benefit riders in two major ways. First, with a torque sensor, the e-bike springs to life the moment a rider puts pressure on a pedal; there is no lag before the power kicks in, like with a cadence meter. That matters because if there’s a 60-lb. kid on the back, a rider needs power the moment they start pedaling, not a pedal stroke later. Also, a torque meter provides smoother acceleration and feel more in sync with a rider’s effort. We often describe the experience as being like the hand of God at the rider’s back. As a rider increases their effort, the motor will deliver more power and when a rider backs off their effort, say like when approaching a turn, the motor dials back as well. Seamless is a word we like to use to describe the experience.
The battery for the Aventon Abound is fully integrated into the frame for a clean look and excellent protection. Aventon chose a 48V, 720Wh lithium ion battery, which is estimated to give riders up to 50 mi. range when in pedal-assist, and up to 22 mi. on throttle alone.
Aventon chose an Shiman Tourney 7-speed drivetrain for the Abound. It features a twist shifter, rather than the thumb shifter we often see, and our experience is that most folks like this shifter better. They’ve chosen a 7-speed, 14-28 gear cluster, which has a 200 percent range (a 14-tooth cog is 200 percent of a 28t cog). In our experience, unless someone lives in a relatively flat place, or at least one where the hills are gentle, not steep, this isn’t a broad enough range of gears for carrying loads. Hills won’t be easy if the rider is carry a child or groceries—or both.
Aventon included a 50mm-travel suspension fork to give the rider some added comfort. We like the 20 x 2.4-in. tires , but this size wheel can ride a bit harsh due to its small diameter. Adding a suspension fork takes some of the sting out of bumps and pavement seams. The one challenge is that to work well, a suspension fork needs to be adjusted for the amount of weight it will support. There’s no ideal way to set a fork up to ride well when taking a kid to school and then riding to work without the kiddo. Suspension works best when the load is consistent so that it may be adjusted to exactly that weight.
We’re a fan of hydraulic disc brakes on all e-bikes, but because cargo e-bikes are meant to carry a load in addition to the rider—sometimes two riders, hydraulic disc brakes are a necessity. Aventon specs full hydraulic disc brakes with 180mm rotors front and rear. This is a great setup and it’s improved by the fact that these brakes are matched with 20-in. wheels; the smaller the wheel, the more leverage the rotor and brake have on it. In other words, smaller wheels stop more easily.
The tires feature a low-profile tread that rolls well on pavement and will be more efficient (read: longer range) than some of the fatter tires with knobs. It will be a reasonably comfortable tire relative to the wheel size.
The Aventon Abound weighs in at 81 lbs. For a cargo e-bike with a hub motor, that’s a very respectable weight. The e-bike will pick up weight as accessories are added, which could bring the Abound closer to 90 lbs. before riders. It’s rated to carry 440 lbs. total, and of that up to 143 lbs. can be carried on the rear rack.
Cargo e-bikes can be a challenge to move with a vehicle. They are long and a high handlebar and saddle can complicate matters. Like models from Tern and Lectric, the Aventon Abound features a folding handlebar mast to make it easier to load in a vehicle, or even to store. In a novel move, Aventon spec’d a dropper post operated by a lever beneath the seat. Just sit on the saddle, pull the lever up and it will slide down; release the lever and it’s locked in place. Pulling the lever with no weight on the saddle will cause it to rise, thanks to a spring in the seatpost. This means that the saddle goes back in the same place every time.
Aventon equips the Abound with front and rear lights, front and rear fenders, the large rear rack and the running boards as well as a rear wheel skirt to keep sneakers out of the spokes. Aventon offers a number of accessories to kit it out for kids and loads. The Abound includes one other detail that’s really good for cargo e-bikes; it has a dual-leg kickstand, like motorcycles have. It makes loading both kids and stuff a good deal easier and makes starting a breeze.
Aventon Abound Spec Review: Bottom Line
A cargo e-bike has tended to be a significant investment. Most have had mid-drive motors—which drive up cost—and are built with reasonably high-end components. The Aventon Abound is one of the most affordable cargo e-bikes we’ve encountered so far, and it accomplishes this without sacrificing functionality, which is impressive.
Equipped with a seat and hand rail in the rear and a basket up front and someone could get up in the morning, ride a kid or kids to school, head to work, then ride to pick up the kids, stop by the grocery store to get some stuff for dinner and head home, without ever having turned on a car.
Not everyone is looking for an e-bike that can replace their car, and that’s fine. But there are those of us (including yours truly) who want an e-bike that is versatile enough it what it can accomplish that we can run a host of errands, to run all the errands in one loop on our e-bike, rather than riding to work and back, but then having to drive the car to go grocery shopping. Just no. There’s a better way, and the Aventon Abound is just the sort of e-bike to give someone the versatility they need.
Anymore info on the dropper post ?