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Aventon Level 2 E-Bike Review, 2023
Jan 01, 2023
If you’ve followed Aventon over the years you’ve likely noticed how its evolved in the e-bike space. Its e-bike lineup has held some crowd-pleasing favorites, and they’ve added even more diverse offerings to it, but over the last 18 months or so we’ve really seen refinement from Aventon’s e-bikes. That focus on refinement is what was most apparent during our Aventon Level 2 review; there was sense of purpose in offering a better looking bike with a more natural riding experience with the latest iteration of the Level.
The Aventon Level 2 rolls out new looks highlighted by the slightly more angled edges on the frame and four striking color options. The integrated rear tailights (including one in the fender) adds to the bike’s aesthetic while also enhancing safety. The center display gets a well-received upgrade from it’s old black and white LCD display to a full color display with enhanced ride data.
While those may be the most readily apparent new elements to the Aventon Level, the largest change comes from under the hood, so to speak. Aventon spec’d the Level 2 with a torque sensor – a first for the e-bike company. It’s not often that affordable e-bike brands opt for a torque sensor, so this marks a welcome foray into seeing what can be achieved on e-bikes on a budget that doesn’t break the bank.
While there is plenty new on the Level 2 there was also quite a bit of familiar tried-and-true componentry present as well from the 500W motor, 672Wh battery, 180mm hydraulic disc brakes and a suspension fork as well.
As we always do, we put all of this bike’s features through EBR’s standard tests to better see what the Aventon Level 2 could do on our review. Head to the sections below to get our full thoughts.
Bike Category: Commuter
Bike Class: Class 2: PAS/Throttle assist, up to 20 mph (adjustable to class 3 through the Aventon app)
Aventon Level 2 Video Review
The new torque sensor is a fundamentally different experience: the Level 2 has a much more natural bike riding feel compared to its predecessor
The torque sensor also helped improve battery life while keeping the same 500W motor / 672 Wh battery combo as the previous level
While we liked the Zoom brakes we tested on past Level models, we’re happy to see Tektro hydraulic brakes as they are reliable performers that are easier to get serviced
We loved the look of the blue Aventon Level 2 we reviewed, but we think all 4 color options (white, pink, blue, clay) hold a lot of visual appeal compared to the previous gray color
The 8-speed Shimano Acera drivetrain is as responsive as ever and provides adequate gearing for going up or down hills
The color display is easy to read, and the downloadable Aventon app pairs with it nicely to enhance your overall experience
All the contact points are performance-oriented enough for a serious commuter, while comfortable enough to warrant spending over an hour in the saddle
We’re fans of the torque-sensor, especially at lower PAS levels, but it does mean that higher PAS levels feel a tad tame for the high speed loving crowds.
Aventon prioritized battery life on the Level 2 which resulted in the bike riding not quite as hard on throttle to help preserve the battery.
Tires: Chaoyang Arisun Hybrid Tires, 27.5”X 2.1” with reflective stripe
Aventon Level 2 Review: Bike Overview
To achieve a better total experience, or to “Level” up, Aventon added an entirely new feature not previously found on any of their models – a torque sensor. Torque sensors are often found on mid-tier and high-end bikes so their inclusion on something in the affordable tier (sub $2000) is note-worthy.
Here at Electric Bike Report we review e-bikes that have been spec’d in any number of combinations. While there are several fairly common choices and pairings, it’s still a bit of a rarity to see hub motors come equipped with a torque sensor. Shooting from the hip, I’d say maybe nine out of ten hub motor e-bikes that we test come with cadence sensors, while the Level 2 is the only one in my recollection to do so under the $2000 line.
Aventon’s choice to go the torque sensor route means they are attempting to deliver a bike that has a better feeling pedal experience and uses battery more efficiently by delivering power as needed (based on how hard it senses you’re pedaling). It was largely achieved on both fronts as we saw improved battery life (more on that below) and the consensus amongst the EBR staff was the Level 2 felt like a better pedaling ride compared to the previous Level.
The Aventon Level 2 is a well-equipped commuter: suspension fork, fenders, a rear rack, and mounting point on the frame all come standard
Aventon nails the removable battery look as well as anybody, and the frame comes with bosses for locks or water bottles
One of the knocks we had on the first Aventon Level was the black and white display. The new color LCD is a welcome upgrade
There are certainly more ways in which the Level 2 distinguishes itself from the Level that came before it though. The down tube now sports some edges where a softer, rounded body once was. And the Glacier Blue paint job really leaps out at you. Most DTC manufacturers adopt the Henry Ford model of allowing customers to have their product “in any color they want as long as its black.” The Himalyian Pink, Polor White, and Clay options all look quite nice too from the photos, but I can personally testify that the Glacier Blue looks even better in person than the photos.
Another new addition to the frame include a set of taillight integrated into the seat stays, with an additional one on the rear fender too. It looks sharp, adds safety, and even if you commute with panniers that fender light ensures people behind you will see when you begin to stop.
One of the few complaints we had about the original Level was the display. It was a black and white LCD display that used a battery bar readout that would add and drop bars while riding. That’s a result of the bike attempting to calculate remaining battery life depending on how yard you were riding in a given moment and it just made it always a little confusing to know how much gas was really left in the tank.
The new display is colored and easy to see and uses a percentage display so you have a better sense of how much more juice you actually have remaining.
Aventon also included an app you can pair to the bike to get access to speed settings, more ride data, and to enjoy community features where you can interact with fellow Aventon riders. It makes it all the easier to find your tribe if you are seeking out fellow bike friends to gush over your bikes with.
Aventon Level 2 Review: Motor Performance, Speed and Acceleration
For all the talk I’ve had about the torque sensor up to this point in the review of the Aventon Level 2, this is where the data can help illustrate the point I’m trying to make. While testing the bike out on our circuit test it performed really well when we engaged the motor.
The first lap of our circuit is done without motor assistance to see how well the e-bike rolls on its own. The nearly 14 mph I averaged showcases the bike’s commuter nature for being an agile bike on the roads. But kick on the motor and it amplifies the effort you bring to the table. Usually when I see a sharp jump in mph like the four mph jump seen in the graph above, it’s because a bike has been tuned to let the motor dominate and take over. But on the Level 2 it just felt as though the bike took my effort and gave me another third of the power I was already producing. The end result is greater speed which still feels generated entirely by me (though it isn’t). It’s a really nice sensation especially if you’re moving from riding a traditional bike to an e-bike.
The incremental speed jumps got smaller from there, but the effort level required on my part seemed to diminish. I do think that PAS 3-5 being so close together was indicative of a bike that would happily get me up to class 3 speeds if I would allow it to. At EBR we’ve adopted a “test ’em as they ship ’em,” policy though so official testing was performed in class 2 speeds.
Anecdotally though, I can tell you that I did ride around a bit at higher speeds and it’s a good experience there too. Aventon’s display pairs with an app that allows you to edit settings such as max speed. When adjusted up the bike did a good job getting me to around 24 mph in the highest PAS level and it did feel as though it was a more even distribution of speed across the PAS levels. It’s not quite the speed demon the previous Level was, but it was still achieving higher speeds with a more dialed in feel that I appreciated.
And of course those who are still hoping for a capital “E” e-bike experience still have the throttle if they’d like to let the bike do the work instead and not have to worry about pedaling. The motor engagement at the throttle level feels new too as though the motor eases into it more than before. Still good for punching across streets at a dead stop, but not so fast that you feel like you’re drag racing.
If you’ve ridden the first Level it’s noticeably less punchy, but in a vacuum the throttle is fine on it’s own for speed.
The Aventon Level 2 handles quite well and can move you in and out of traffic with ease
The 500W motor feels more dialed in than previous years. It delivers power in kind to how much power you produce yourself at the cranks
The color options on the Aventon Level 2 is great to see in a market oversaturated with white, black, and grey choices
Aventon Level 2 Review: Range Test & Battery Performance
In the opener of this Aventon Level 2 review I focused on the word refinement, which is generally defined as “minor adjustments to get a better result.” The torque sensor was the refinement adjustment made to the battery performance of the Level 2.
Aventon didn’t change up the motor or battery as it’s still the 500W hub motor and 672Wh battery combo found on the previous model. So what difference does the torque sensor make here in the battery test? It allows the bike to give power as needed instead of just delivering a certain percentage passed on PAS level. This trick when applied to all PAS levels will respond with power only if you’re effort level is there. In other words, it’ll conserve power and battery for when your pedal effort is actually saying it needs it.
This data backs up that this did increase battery life on the Level 2. We recorded 34.69 miles on our PAS 5 range test and 66.78 miles on our PAS 1 test. The last Aventon Level we reviewed had between 23 and 42 miles. That’s a pretty big jump on both the max PAS end and a min PAS side too. That the Level 2 actually moves a bit faster on low PAS to boot makes the result look even better to us.
I like seeing a little creativity like this to get better battery life. Range anxiety is a top concern when people are looking for what e-bike to buy. It’s easy to suggest they up the battery size, but that’ll come with significant cost. Getting that much more range off of the same battery is killer.
Aventon Level 2 Review: Hill Test
Battery range and hill climbing prowess are typically the main two questions we field about e-bikes we review. The Aventon Level 2 shined with new battery life compared to its predecessor, while the hill test results were a little off expectations from prior experiences.
To be clear, “off” doesn’t mean bad per se, but this is where you see a tradeoff of the torque sensor and commitment to battery life on the Aventon Level 2. We reached the top of our test hill Hell Hole in a respectable 83 seconds on max PAS while getting to the top on throttle in
a slower time of 161 seconds. These were slower results than the Level ST we tested last year which got 76 and 106 seconds respectively.
When we touched base with Aventon as to why we were seeing such different times they informed us that the bike’s commitment to more measured power delivery and better battery life leads to slightly slower PAS results (largely dependent on rider effort now), and the throttle doesn’t push as hard as it once used to. Having tested the old Level quite a bit alongside reviewing the Aventon Level 2 I can attest to how throttle used to try to deliver you 20 mph speeds no matter the hill beforehand. This time around it keeps plugging along but doesn’t want to burn out.
It’s a tradeoff that I personally don’t mind. The PAS effort is still respectable and gets you to extreme summits without breaking a sweat on your part. You can still commute most anywhere with confidence knowing it’ll make the hills easy if you don’t mind a little pedaling. I can sympathize with those wishing the same throttle results as before were there though. Some may wish the option to throttle hard still existed. The Aventon Aventure has plenty of throttle juice and maybe that’s the direction Aventon is going here to have some more dialed-in on speed offerings, with others like the Aventure less-reserved.
The lever throttle takes over when your legs need a break from pedaling
The Shimano Acera drivetrain provides eight gears which is more than plenty to navigate up or down slopes
Rapid fire trigger shifters do a great job at changing gears on the fly, and the handles are sporty but comfortable
Aventon Level 2 Review: Brakes and the Brake Test
The Aventon e-bikes we reviewed during the pandemic helped introduce us to Zoom and Bengal hydraulic brakes. In truth, they were pretty good performers in most of our brake tests. The previous edition of the Level we reviewed came spec’d with Zoom brakes that stopped pretty well. We only had one quasi-gripe with them: they weren’t commonly found in bike shops. Dealing with brake bleeds isn’t something most consumers know how to do and would rather not undertake on their own. It was hard to say if everybody’s local bike shop would have the kits on hand to service them.
Consider our one concern definitively assuaged. This time around Aventon has put Tektro Tektro HD-350E hydraulic brakes on the the Level 2. Tektro brkaes are commonly found in most any shop making servicing them a sinch.
The upkeep is easier, but the performance isn’t bad either. In our brake test where we brought the Level 2 up to 20 mph before coming to a full stop. We do this a total of three times to get a stopping average. The Level 2 came to a stop in 20′ 1″, a result I’m pretty happy with. For long-time EBR readers it’s important to note that we also modified the way we brake on our test to be a little more realistic (we used to throw all our weight back out of the saddle in a performance stop). Now we stop while remaining seated.
In taking the old Level out I would stop right around 17′ 11″. The distance was shorter, control was the same, but again, happy to see a more name brand brake in place here to make it easy on the average consumer.
Aventon Level 2 Review: Ride Comfort, Handling and Cockpit
When it comes to comfort I like the balance Aventon strikes on the Level 2. It’s not too performance riding oriented or too lax either. It’s happily in the middle of the two in terms of geometry which is the sweet spot on commuters for me. My back doesn’t fatigue too quickly but I’m still angled enough to really get into riding when I’m pumping my legs in a hurry.
The same can be said for the contact points as well. The seat’s plush enough, the grips keep hands on the bar well while being just soft enough for minimal fatigue on 10 mile commutes or so. The Zoom spring fork is on the budget side, but it performs its task of making life easier for you as bumps come across your way.
The drivetrain is controlled from an 8-speed trigger shifter which connects to the Shimano Acera derailleur in the rear. Shifting was always crisp and the range is wide enough to help up and even down some hills.
The Level comes in either a traditional high-step or step-through frame in multiple sizes throughout. Depending the the model you choose Aventon claims it can accommodate riders 4’11” – 6’4″, and payloads up to 300 lbs..
All 6’1″, 230 lbs. of me was happy and comfortable in the miles I logged on the Level 2.
Where cornering and handling in general are concerned the Level 2 is a fine performer. The Chaoyang Arison tires cling to the pavement well and while 61 lbs of e-bike beneath you isn’t light, you don’t feel the weight in any bad ways. It sports a pretty balanced feel from the ground up that anybody can pick up and ride right away and enjoy a fairly classic bike feel.
That you get a rear rack and fenders standard fits the expectation of a reliable commuter. Fenders helped me out through the puddles I came across, and I really like the integrated brake light as well – it’s a nice touch in terms of looks and safety. Those who like a back unencumbered from anything will love being able to attach pannier bags to their ride too.
The addition of a torque sensor on the Level 2 really makes this a pedal-friendly bike. You’ll feel like you’re riding a traditional bike without working up such a sweat that you couldn’t take this ride to work
The saddle is firmly in the “comfy for a commuter” category. Sportier or more plush ones exist, but this is a good medium
The big features grab your attention while the little details help endear you to the bike. The rear tailight in the fender is a nice touch
55 lbs. Of cargo capacity comes standard on the rear rack
Aventon Level 2 Review: Summary / Where to Buy
One perk of reviewing e-bikes is that I have access to a ton of them. I usually keep three or four at home at any given moment for long term testing. One I held onto longer than most was the Aventon Level. It was always a crowd-pleaser and I knew whatever friend or family member came to visit would have a blast trying out the Level.
The only people I hesitated to put on the Level were the ones who didn’t like the thought of an e-bike doing the work. “I’m not ready to give up just yet, I still want to pedal,” is a sentence I’ve heard said dozens of times.
After reviewing the Aventon Level 2, I know I can confidently put such riders on this bike assured they’ll like the experience. The new torque sensor is a noticeable change that provides a greater ride feel; the Level 2 feels much more like an enhanced version of a classic bike experience. You’ll get your heart rate up a bit, but you know your achieving speeds you couldn’t actually produce by yourself, and hills stike less fear into you.
The extended range on the same battery is awesome, riders always want more battery life and the Level 2 was able to deliver.
The more modern looks of the frame and color options are welcome sights, and I like the upgraded display as well. The included lights, fenders, and rack keep the value high on the Level 2 and offer commuters a better, more versatile ride.
I’ll miss some of the punchier speed the old throttle provided, but I don’t mind the commitment to all day battery. It still has enough giddy up on flats, and can help you manage your typical hill.
It feels like Aventon set out to refine the Level, and I’d say it was largely achieved.
‘Happy Riding, make sure to let us know if you have any questions down in our comments section or if you think we left anything out in this review of the Aventon Level 2.