A new lightweight and lightly-powered e-bike from Aventon, the all new Soltera is the California-based company’s entry into the budget-priced electric city bike category.
In this Aventon Soltera review we dive into the nitty gritty details of this brand new e-bike and put it to the test to see how it performs in the real world. We test its climbing ability, stopping ability and even how far it can go on a single charge so that you can have a better idea if this is the right e-bike for you.
Powered by a 350W rear hub motor and a 36V, 10 Ah (360Wh) integrated battery, the Soltera is designed to be a wallet-friendly option for those who want a little motorized assist for their commute. It’s also designed with aesthetics in mind, with a frame shape and overall finish meant to look like the ultra-popular fixed gear track bikes found in urban areas and college campuses.
The model we reviewed is a single speed, though you can get it in a geared option to, which makes this bike a direct competitor to some other lightweight and lightly-priced electric city bikes we’ve reviewed such as the Ride1UP Roadster, Propella V4.0 and Rad Power Bikes RadMission.
Let’s see how it stacks up.
Bike Category: City & Urban
Bike Class: Class 2: PAS/Throttle assist, up to 20 mph
Aventon Soltera Video Review
We love the Soltera’s fixie-like looks. It’s sleek, hip and very stealthy. IF you don’t know to look for the hub motor or outline of the battery, it’s hard to even tell it’s an e-bike.
The 41 lb weight is refreshingly light, keeping the bike feeling snappy and surprisingly quick uphill.
The 36V, 10 Ah battery is larger than many in its class, giving the bike one of the longer ranges of any single speed budget city bikes we’ve reviewed.
The option to get the bike with a 7-speed drivetrain is going to make this bike appealing to a far broader audience than if it was sold exclusively as a single speed.
There are several features that have trickled down from the more expensive Aventon Aventure, such as the inset rear taillights and the full color LCD display.
Keep in mind this bike’s motor size. It’s not necessarily a con, but some riders are going to want an e-bike with a little more oomph. Others will like the Soltera’s traditional bicycle-like feel.
Like the fixies it emulates, there are no racks or fenders that come stock with the Soltera.
ELECTRICAL SPECS & FEATURES
Battery: 36v, 10Ah (360Wh)
Display: Full color LCD display
Motor: 350W brushless rear hub motor
Peal Assist: 5 PAS levels
Range: 41 miles average
Throttle: thumb throttle
Weight & Dimensions
Claimed weight: 41 lbs
Maximum rider weight: 300 lbs payload capacity
Maximum load on rear rack: N/A
Components & Accessories
Brakes: Tektro caliper brakes
Fork: Aluminum rigid
Frame: 6061 Aluminum
Drivetrain: Single speed
Grips: Ergonomic comfort
Saddle: Selle Royal
Handlebar: Aluminum riser bar
Tires: Kenda 700 x 35c
Aventon Soltera Review: Bike Overview
Though the Soltera is Aventon’s newest e-bike, it joins a diverse list of bike models from Aventon that we’ve reviewed and gotten to know well. The Solterra is actually paying homage to the traditional bicycles the California-based company built well before e-bikes had entered the vocabulary of your average American.
That’s right, Aventon has not always made e-bikes. In fact, when I first began hearing the name Aventon tossed around back in about 2012 it was from friends who were neck deep in the burgeoning fixie scene in L.A and Phoenix. Aventon back then made some of the coolest and most affordable fixed geared bicycles around. Bikes designed for college-aged kids who wanted something that looked and rode like the lux (and expensive) track bikes raced in events like the Red Hook Crit and the Wolfpack Hustle Marathon Crash Race, but at a fraction of the cost.
Though Aventon has stopped selling the fixed gears that made their name, they’ve kept the same ethos of affordable, stylish and quality bikes. But the Soltera doesn’t just have that spirit of those old fixed gears, it’s made in their image.
Like those first fixies, the Soltera is a simple but striking bike. The frame is lightweight, with an aero-looking downtube that conceals the battery, a bladed fork and narrow riser handlebars. The model we reviewed is a single speed — though you can get the Soltera with a 7-speed drivetrain — and the bike is powered by a surprisingly peppy 350W rear hub motor.
It’s a Class 2 e-bike with a thumb throttle — something we don’t see all that often on affordable single speed city bikes — and a top motor assisted speed of 20 mph.
There’s also touches we see on this bike that have trickled down from Aventon’s flagship e-bike, the Aventure. Features such as rear taillights that are inset into the rear seat stays for a seamless integrated look as well as the full-color LCD display we saw debuted on the Aventure.
Braking is handled by a set of Tektro rim brakes, which are plenty powerful to handle the Soltera’s notably light 41 lb weight, and the bike rolls on some efficiently narrow 700x35c semi-slick tires.
It’s a simple but well appointed e-bike, where every component was seemingly chosen to balance cost and performance. Considering the bike’s MSRP of $1,199.00 and how much I enjoyed riding it, I’d say Aventon struck that balance well.
It’s hard to tell, but there’s a 36V, 10Ah battery in this photo. Aventon did a great job of blending it into the frame.
Our review model was a single speed, but if you fancy a derailleur you can get the Soltera in a 7-speed option.
The Soltera’s 48t chainring balances high speed and hill climbing ability.
Aventon Soltera Review: Motor Performance, Speed and Acceleration
The Soltera’s 350W motor is solid for a bike designed for city commuting and urban riding. It’s certainly not as large as a 500W or 750W hub motor, but it really doesn’t need to be. The Soltera only weighs 41 lbs and is designed to be very pedal efficient, so this relatively small motor packs plenty of punch.
It’s a Class 2 e-bike with a thumb throttle, five PAS settings and a max motor assisted speed of 20 mph. To get an idea of the motor’s performance, we put it to the test on our Electric Bike Report tests circuit where we did one lap per PAS level, plus one lap with the motor off.
The results were solid, but we found the Soltera’s motor didn’t give much measurable assistance until PAS 3. This is a theme we see in many affordable e-bikes with this many levels of assist, so it isn’t something that should be held against the bike. It’s likely that with this small of a motor the Soltera would do well from only having 3 PAS levels versus the stock five.
We did log a hot lap around our circuit in PAS 5 and the Soltera clocked an 18.5 mph average speed.
It’s affordable, simple and quick: There’s many reasons I grew to like the Soltera.
The 350W rear hub motor does this 41 lb e-bike well. Only the steepest of hills seemed to give it a challenge.
The Soltera’s cockpit is centered around the color LCD display and a set of narrow(ish) riser bars.
Aventon Soltera Review: Range Test & Battery Performance
The Soltera’s 36V, 10Ah (360Wh) battery is certainly on the smaller end of the spectrum when it comes to e-bike batteries, but it suits the lightweight and lightly-powered commuter very nicely.
In our range testing the Soltera logged 23.95 miles with an average speed of 16.9 mph in PAS 5 and 49.49 miles with an average speed of 12.62 mph in PAS 1. Those are awesome results from a budget electric city bikes.
Compared to other e-bikes in its class, such as the Propella V4.0 and the Ride1UP Roadster V2, the Soltera far outperformed both bikes in both tests. Which shouldn’t be surprising considering the Soltera comes stock with a larger battery than most in its category. Both the Propella and the Ride1UP come with a 250Wh battery to power a similarly sized motor.
I also really like how Aventon hid the battery neatly inside the frame but still kept it removable. Again, compared to the two other bikes, this is another improvement: The Ride1UP’s battery is integrated into the frame but isn’t removable and the Propella’s battery is removable but not integrated.
Aventon Soltera Review: Hill Test
Uphill, the Soltera is a good climber for an e-bike with one gear and a small(ish) rear hub motor.
With a little athleticism from the rider (likely standing and pedaling), the Soltera is going to clear most reasonably sized hills. On smaller hills, the Soltera’s throttle alone will likely have enough oomph to make it to the top. But on unreasonably sized hills, such as our test hill Hell Hole, you may find a challenge.
We did two hill climbing tests on the Soltera on our test hill Hell Hole, which is a one-third of a mile long section of bike path with an average gradient of 12 percent. In the first test using PAS 5 and my own leg strength, I was able to clear the hill in 1:32.00 with an average speed of 11.8 mph. That’s a good time for an e-bike like this, but I’ll add one caveat: I had to stand and pedal for almost the entire hill and I definitely was breathing a little heavy by the top. That’s not at all uncommon for single speed city bikes like this one, but it is something to keep in mind if hills are a concern for you.
While the Soltera cleared Hell Hole on PAS 5, it did not make it to the top using just the throttle. It cleared about a third of the hill before Hell Hole got the best of it and the 350W rear hub motor had enough. This, quite frankly, was an expected result. While I do think the Soltera is a solid hill climber, there’s only so much you can ask of a 350W motor. Luckily hills like Hell Hole are few and far between, especially in places we’d most likely expect to find the Soltera such as urban areas.
Standing on steep climbs is mandatory on the single speed Soltera, though with a little effort it made it up most hills fine.
Aside from brake levers and a touchpad, there’s little clutter on the handlebars.
Rim brakes aren’t something we see often on e-bikes, but on a bike this light they do very well.
Aventon Soltera Review: Brakes and the Brake Test
Disk brakes have fast become the norm in the e-bike world, and for good reason: your typical e-bike is heavy, fast and need a braking system with a little extra oomph to slow it down.
But the Soltera is not your typical e-bike.
While it is fast, it’s not heavy. At just 41 lbs, the Soltera is closer in weight to a non-motorized commuter bike than many e-bikes that can run 60 lbs or more. The Soltera’s featherweight design allowed Aventon to spec the bike with a set of old-school Tektro caliper rim brakes
The e-bike crowd is likely going to look at these with some doubt, which, if this were a typical heavy e-bike, I’d be right there with you. But on a bike as light as this one these brakes are plenty powerful.
That’s evidenced by the Soltera’s result in our brake test of 15-feet-2-inches, which is almost a full foot better than the average stopping distance of all the bikes we’ve reviewed. You can get Tektro mechanical disk brakes if you order the 7-speed version of this bike, but the caliper brakes on the single speed Soltera are evidence of Aventon balancing performance and cost. They knew these brakes would perform fine and help keep costs down, so it’s what they went with.
Still have doubts? Consider that in the world of road bike racing, where pro riders can approach 80 mph on descents, there’s still plenty of debate over whether rim brakes or disk brakes are the best option. If they can fly down the Alps at 60 mph trusting these brakes, you should trust them at 20 mph.
Aventon Soltera Review: Ride Comfort, Handling and Cockpit
The Aventon Soltera handles quite a bit like the fixies it was built to look like. It’s snappy, nimble and feels refreshingly light compared to some e-bikes I’ve ridden recently.
Its fully rigid frame and narrow 700 x 35c tires make the bike feel very connected to the road. The handling is quick, stable and almost dares you to take corners fast. Though we tested it on the relatively uncrowded bike paths in southwest Utah, I could absolutely see this bike whipping in and out of traffic and avoiding pedestrians in a city center or on a college campus.
It’s a comfortable but athletic e-bike that places the rider in a slightly more forward position. The slightly narrow but still nicely padded Selle Royal seat matches this more athletic vibe, as does the alloy riser bars and rubber ergonomic grips.
One thing that we’re really excited about on the Soltera is it’s display. Aventon debuted a new display when they launched the Aventon Aventure electric fat bike in mid-2020 that was full color and chock-full of cool features we hadn’t seen on any other affordable e-bikes. That same display has made it onto the Soltera. It gives you the same riding metrics you’d expect, including speed, distance traveled, time, etc., but also some neat additional information including how many kilograms of CO2 and trees you’ve saved by riding your e-bike instead of using a car.
The Soltera’s full color LCD display is very nice and user friendly.
The seat is athletic and on the narrower side, but still very comfortable.
Controlling the rim brakes is a Tektro ergonomic brake lever.
One of my favorite features on the new generation of Aventon e-bikes is the inset rear tail lights.
Aventon Soltera Review: Summary / Where to Buy
I was tipped off a while ago that Aventon was working on an e-bike that would pay homage to the non-motorized fixies that made the brand’s name, and I’ve been excited since to see what they came up with.
It’s hard to say how Aventon’s first fans that fell in love with their cheap, cool and functional track bikes would feel about the Soltera, as the fixie crowd has been a bit hesitant to embrace the idea of e-bikes, but I’d say Aventon’s done a bang-up job. It looks like those first bikes, rides like them and I think they did a nice job of balancing e-bike assist with a bike that pedals exceedingly well.
Like most of Aventon’s other e-bikes, the Soltera’s looks, performance and spec sheet are bar-none for the price. Compared to other e-bikes in the lightweight city bike category, the Soltera is a lot of e-bike for just under $1,200 MSRP. Add $100 on top of that, and you can get this same bike with a 7-speed drivetrain and mechanical disk brakes — a steal.
I admittedly have a huge soft spot for single speed e-bikes with small(ish) motors, but I think there are many others out there like me. My bet is this bike starts popping up on college campuses and in city centers around the U.S., as an affordable alternative to public transportation or driving a car.
If you like the Aventon Soltera it can be bought online at the Aventon website and shipped to your door. Or, if you prefer to buy in person, there are a number of Aventon dealerships scattered across the U.S.
‘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 Soltera.