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FLX Babymaker 2 E-Bike Review 2023
Jan 10, 2023
Fixies—single-speed road bikes—have been quite the rage for some years now. The FLX Babymaker 2 takes the flat-bar road bike and gives it the e-bike upgrade. Put another way, it takes a good time and makes it better. We will look at the how and why in our FLX Babymaker 2 review.
The FLX Babymaker 2 uses an Aikema brushless, geared hub motor rated at 350W and paired with a 360Wh Samsung battery. And yes, that’s a relatively small motor and battery in absolute numbers, but. The but is that while the power of a motor is absolute, the amount of work it can do is relative to how much mass it is moving. Cut an e-bike’s weight in half—say 35 lbs. instead of 70 lbs.—and suddenly a 350W motor can offer terrific acceleration and sustained speed – which we’re happy to report the Babymaker 2 has in spades.
The attraction with the FLX Babymaker 2 is its ride experience. This fixie-styled e-bike trades on sporty handling, a stealthy appearance that serves to keep the bike light and spirited acceleration.
But how does all of this add up for the cyclist on the roads? Dive into the meat of our FLX Babymaker 2 review down below to find out.
Bike Category: Flat-bar road bike
Bike Class: Class 3 with no throttle
FLX Babymaker 2 Video Review
At just 35 lbs., this is a great option for anyone wanting a lighter e-bike
Thanks to a 360Wh Samsung battery it has a range of between 21 and 45 mi.
It’s very nimble and makes dodging cars and pedestrians easy
The Gates belt drive means no dirty chain and no worn out drivetrain parts, ever
The lack of a brake cutoff switch makes it possible to brake while pedaling at low speeds, which makes it easier to get going after slowing
Very sensitive cadence sensor, starts after one-quarter revolution which means you can get up and go in a hurry
The display fits the minimalist design nicely but it did make the battery readout harder to see
The small/medium size is rather large, which means it is unlikely to be a comfortable fit for shorter riders due to the 31” step-over height
ELECTRICAL SPECS & FEATURES
Battery: Samsung Lithium Ion (36V / 10AH)
Display: Velofox DM-03: 5 Assist Modes, Speed, Battery Life (5 Bars), Average Speed, Max Speed
Motor: 350W Aikema Geared Rear Hub
Peal Assist: 5 levels
Range: 21-45 in EBR’s real-world results
Weight & Dimensions
Claimed weight: 35 lbs.
Maximum rider weight: 275 lbs.
Maximum load on rear rack: N/A
Components & Accessories
Brakes: Magura MT30 Hydraulic Disc
Fork: 6061 Aircraft Grade Aluminum Alloy
Frame: 6061 Aircraft Grade Aluminum Alloy
Drivetrain: Gates USA Belt Drive, 63T-22t
Grips: Black or Brown Ergonomic Faux Leather
Saddle: FLX Branded Black Or Brown Road Style
Handlebar: 620mm Wide Straight Bars
Pedals: Wellgo ME55 Aluminum
Tires: Kenda 700x28c Presta Valve
FLX Babymaker 2 Review: Bike Overview
The flat-bar road bikes like the FLX Babymaker 2 we’re reviewing gives riders a terrific experience. Thanks to its quick-handling demeanor, the FLX Babymaker 2 focuses on the thrilling feel of an e-bike with a racing bike’s pedigree. The updated edition of the Babymaker has a larger battery for improved range.
So who is this bike for? It’s a fixie at its heart so anybody who enjoys using some leg (albeit at more fun speeds thanks to the motor). But the great thing about e-bikes is that they cast a wide net. Anyone who is looking to do more than just get around can make use of the Babymaker 2. This bike is meant to be sporty, hence the quick handling and hidden battery, but it’s not a one-trick pony. It’s great for commuting, the weekend afternoon good time, running errands and more.
One of the real strengths of this e-bike is its simplicity. Its lack of derailleurs shaves weight and in using a Gates belt drive even more weight is saved, and the belt drive requires no lubrication and never wears out. That means money saved on replacement parts and no black marks on hands, legs or pants.
Even though the FLX Babymaker 2 ships without fenders, a rear rack or lights, those accessories can be added, thanks to mounts on the fork, dropouts and seatstays. By leaving them off, FLX is able to shave some cost and keep the Babymaker 2 under the $2000 price point.
Acceleration on the Babymaker 2 was swift
The Gates Belt Drive makes for a clean and maintenance-free drivetrain
We were impressed with the performance of the BabyMaker 2’s 350W hub motor
FLX Babymaker 2 Review: Motor Performance, Speed and Acceleration
The FLX Babymaker 2 uses a 350W Aikema brushless, geared hub motor. Again, that may seem modest compared to some other e-bikes we’ve reviewed, but because this bike is so light—just 35 lbs.—a smaller motor doesn’t penalize the bike. Similarly, a 360Wh battery, whether Samsung or not, would condemn many bikes to staying in their neighborhood and not galavanting around town, but not so with the Babymaker 2.
The combination of a gear big enough to take a bike up beyond 20 mph and a hub motor would make many bikes difficult to get up to speed, but the FLX Babymaker 2 is equipped with one of the better cadence sensors we have encountered; the cadence sensor activates the motor after only a quarter turn of the pedals.
Our circuit test revealed that the motor typically only helps off the starting line and on hills in PAS 1 and 2. However, PAS 3, 4 and 5 we saw well-spaced increases in assistance allowing for more assist and greater speeds. Practically speaking, even though this is billed as a Class 3 e-bike, assistance ends around 22 mph; some riders may notice a bit more muscle if they are headed downhill.
Also worth noting is that the brake levers don’t have a motor cutoff switch. That omission is something we often criticize, but in this e-bike, it’s handy. That’s because the easiest way to ride this e-bike at low speeds—say below 10 mph—is to brake while continuing to pedal; with the brakes applied a rider can hold their speed low for as long as necessary and as long as they continue to pedal, the motor will remain powered up. Release the brakes and the rider can easily accelerate back up to top speed.
While there are e-bikes with firmer acceleration, the way the FLX Babymaker 2 balances motor and battery size along with fairly quick-rolling tires, the ride experience is thrilling, but not scary.
Thanks to its nimble handing, the Babymaker 2 is great in tight quarters
The 28mm-wide tires are very efficient and rolled quickly, but gave up some comfort
The small display fits with the e-bike’s minimalist ethos, but can be difficult to read
FLX Babymaker 2 Review: Range Test & Battery Performance
Before we say anything about this e-bike’s range, we need to point out that part of this bike’s appeal is how the battery is hidden and the rear hub is small enough that it doesn’t scream e-bike. Is there a need to hide the battery? Of course not, but it does make for a stealthy appearance.
In Electric Bike Report’s testing, our test rider covered 45.2 mi. in PAS 2 in 3:32, for an average speed of 12.8 mph. And in PAS 5 the FLX Babymaker 2 covered 21.5 mi. in 1:23 for an average of 15.5. We were pleased overall, but the combination of a very small display and ongoing use of the fun speed (PAS 5) did result in a half-hour ride home on PAS 0 after I ran the battery down.
The natural question is what this bike would be had FLX not decided to keep the battery hidden. Would the bike benefit from the increased range that comes with a larger battery that is only integrated? In all likelihood one of the bike’s best features—its agile demeanor—would be compromised.
FLX Babymaker 2 Review: Hill Test
Because the FLX Babymaker 2 is a throttle-free Class 3 e-bike, we did not perform a throttle test on our infamous .3–mi. hill that is called Hell Hole. It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking that just because an e-bike has “only” a 350W motor that it won’t show much power This e-bike shows how wrong such an assumption can be.
In its PAS 5 ascent of Hell Hole, the FLX Babymaker 2 flew up it in just more than a minute—67 seconds—for an average speed of 16.2 mph. Our tester who performed the hill evaluation did attack the hill as if he was riding a fixie—out of the saddle.
When I went up hell hole to answer the question of ‘what would this be like if i didn’t feel like standing?’ the motor helped me as much as possible, but the bike did struggle a bit to reach the top.
More than anything, that illustrates a truism of single-speed bikes: They are best-suited to places where the hills are modest rather than full San Francisco. If you’re riding it true to the bike’s style you’ll find that comparatively, it’s a great hill-climber.
The Babymaker 2 was most fun in corners
Bikes with a Gates Belt are exceptionally quiet in operation, and the 63T-22t gear ratio was great for pedling on flats and hills alike
The handlebar has a slight rise, offering riders a bit more comfort than would be found in a traditional fixie’s flat bar
FLX Babymaker 2 Review: Brakes and the Brake Test
Even though the FLX Babymaker 2 is a Class 3 e-bike with a maximum speed of 28 mph, that’s not to say riders won’t feel a need for powerful brakes. The Magura hydraulic disc brakes are paired with 180mm rotors and do a fine job of keeping the Babymaker 2 under control. That sense of control can be useful when someone gets a first taste of this thing’s acceleration.
In our brake test we brought the FLX Babymaker 2 to a stop in 18-feet-1, a very respectable distance. We appreciate brakes that allow for a light touch and offer broad modulation and these Magura brakes performed admirably.
The Magura brakes don’t come with a cutoff switch which allows a rider to slow the Babymaker 2 while pedaling and ride at a controlled pace below 10 mph. That’s a handy thing for anyone negotiating bike paths with kids, strollers, skateboards and dogs. The motor’s tendency to take the rider right up to 14 mph on low PAS makes being in tight quarters with other users not especially fun. I prefer dragging the brakes and holding a steady pace to the on-off-on again of the motor’s surge followed by hitting the brakes.
FLX Babymaker 2 Review: Ride Comfort, Handling and Cockpit
The snappy handling and demeanor of the FLX Babymaker 2 isn’t just due to its frame geometry. The ultra-stiff aluminum fork and the relatively narrow 28mm-wide tires contribute to the bike’s zippy feel.
Added up, these features along with the aluminum frame mean that the FLX Babymaker 2 isn’t the most comfortable bike to ride. Think of it as the stiff suspension of a sports car. It’s hard to make a bike that has the lightning-fast behavior of a racing bike and give it the comfort of a cruiser. Those qualities are essentially opposites. For anyone wondering what to expect in comfort, the key is to look at tire width—the wider the tire, the more comfortable the rider will be because bigger tires can be run at lower pressure and these are narrow tires.
With a short stem and a 620mm-wide handlebar the steering is as precise as it is immediate. The ergonomic grips sport a faux leather covering.
Now, a word on the saddle: Most saddles we encounter on e-bikes are on the large side, full of padding and reasonably comfortable. The saddle on the FLX Babymaker 2 typifies what we find on fixies—a racing saddle with less padding than a startup’s budget. For long-term comfort on the Babymaker 2 the trick here is to buy actual bike shorts—not just stretchy Lycra shorts, but ones with the pad sewn into the shorts. The idea is to put the padding right where it needs to be—under the rider’s caboose.
The FLX Babymaker 2 is offered in two different sizes and normally that excites us, but in this case, even more, sizes would have been nice. The issue is that in this style of bike, the two tubes that determine a bike’s size (the top tube and seat tube) are rather long. While the Large/XL is likely to fit many taller men, the Small/Medium is unlikely to be comfortable for anyone shorter than say 5-feet-7 or so. That’s largely attributed to the 31″ step-over height of the top tube even on the smaller frame.
One of our few criticisms of the FLX Babymaker 2 is the tiny display. It’s mounted out near the grip and the farther from the stem the display is, the harder it is to read. Compounding that is that other than current speed almost nothing else can be read while riding (despite the presence of battery, odometer, and PAS level).
Provided the buyer is well-suited to the size, the FLX Babymaker 2 is comfortable enough for the style of bike that it is, and a very exciting ride.
We loved the performance of the Magura hydraulic brakes
The aluminum frame possessed terrific stiffness and handled predictably
The Magura brake levers feature a touch light enough for two-finger braking
The racing saddle spec’d didn’t have much padding; we suggest padded cycling shorts
FLX Babymaker 2 Review: Summary / Where to Buy
So what’s the takeaway at the end of this FLX Babymaker 2 review? The hub motor and the hidden battery do a great job of allowing FLX to produce an e-bike that pays respect to the fixie ethos. We loved how nimble and quick accelerating this bike is. And because it’s an e-bike and not an actual fixie we appreciated the choice of hydraulic disc brakes instead of rim calipers. You want to be prepared for anything with e-bikes and the superior braking power of hydraulic brakes is a plus.
The Gates Belt Drive means a drivetrain that virtually needs no maintenance and won’t ever get anything dirty. That they managed all this and kept the bike to just 35 lbs. and well under $2000 is a real achievement.
For anyone wanting to mix thrilling handling with the practicality of commuting, FLX offers a “touring” package that includes fenders, lights, a rear rack, a bottle cage and even a mini-tool. This helps cast a wider net of appeal for different users.
With its 28mm-wide tires, this bike is meant for the road. This is an urban bike for urban riding.
The marketing for this e-bike is pointed towards younger adult crowds, and at a glance may not appeal to everyone who might otherwise dig this design. But once someone looks past the bike’s name and really looks at its substance, this e-bike can do little other than impress for anybody at any stage of life looking for a snappy handling bike that’s great for pedaling and navigating a city. This is a triumph of technology and creativity; an e-bike like this wasn’t even possible ten years ago and is good enough to make our staff ask, “With e-bikes this good, why wouldn’t you think of buying one?”
This FLX Babymaker 2 review model was immensely popular with our testers because it has the ability to make every ride exciting. Interested in buying one? Click on the button above and you can have one shipped right to your door.
‘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 FLX Babymaker 2.