Though price is usually a pretty safe indicator of quality, a high(er) price tag is not always a foolproof bellwether of a high-performing electric bike. Sometimes, it’s the cheap ones that steal your heart.
The Gen3 The Stride electric commuter bike is one such exception to the cost/quality rule. Powered by a 500W Bafang rear hub motor, a fully integrated 500Wh battery and a full Shimano Drivetrain, The Stride is a serious contender in the commuter category. The best part, however, is the price — just $1,499 MSRP. In this Gen3 The Stride Review, we’ll dive into the details of the bike and parse out just what makes this such a solid affordable e-bike.
In addition to taking a hard look at the specs, Electric Bike Report also put The Stride through a series of real-world tests designed to demonstrate how the bike will perform in the real world. Giving you an idea of how well the bike rides, brakes, climbs and even how long the battery will last.
Bike Category: Commuter/ City & Urban E-Bike
Bike Class: Class 2: PAS/Throttle assist, up to 20 mph
Gen3 The Stride Video Review
Big kudos to Gen3 for building a step through frame that fits taller people. I’m 6’ 1” and was very comfortable on this bike.
The 500W motor has lots of pep and accelerates quickly.
Speaking of pep from the motor, it climbs remarkably well. There was some vibration during our hill test, but it climbed like a much higher powered e-bike.
The handling is very sporty and feels like a proper commuter. It corners nicely and has a more athletic body position that straddles the line between comfort and performance.
The bike looks very nice in person. Simple with clean lines and a nicely integrated battery.
At less than $1,500, the price is very right.
The numerals on the LCD display — particularly the battery readout — are small and tough to read.
Though they worked well, the Gen3 mechanical disk brakes squealed.
The Stride would benefit from a larger front chainring. I found myself spinning quicker than I wanted at higher speeds.
ELECTRICAL SPECS & FEATURES
Battery: 48V, 10.4Ah (500Wh) fully integrated
Display: LCD display
Motor: 500W rear hub motor
Peal Assist: 5 PAS levels plus a thumb throttle
Range: 40 miles (claimed)
Throttle: Thumb throttle, left side
Weight & Dimensions
Claimed weight: 56.4 lbs
Maximum rider weight: 275 lbs
Maximum load on rear rack: 55 lbs
Components & Accessories
Brakes: Gen3-branded mechanical disk brakes, 180mm front and 160mm rear
Fenders: Plastic front and rear
Fork: 50mm suspension fork
Frame: 6061 aluminum, step-thru design
Drivetrain: Shimano Tourney 7-speed
Grips: Ergonomic rubber
Saddle: Comfort saddle
Handlebar: 660mm flat bar
Pedals: Aluminum flat pedals
Tires: 26” x 1.75” CST Traveler Classic
Gen3 The Stride Review — Bike Overview
Endearingly peppy and remarkably affordable, the Gen3 The Stride is a powerful feeling step through electric commuter that’s relatively cheap at less than $1,500 MSRP.
Our review model of The Stride came stock with a full Shimano Tourney 7-speed drivetrain, Gen3 mechanical disk brakes and a 500W Bafang rear hub motor powered by a 48V, 10.4Ah (500Wh) battery that’s very cleanly integrated into the frame.
It’s a step-through-style frame with a relatively low stepover height, so those with mobility issues or who just prefer to not swing their leg way over a top tube will likely find the bike easy to get on and off of. There’s also a 50mm fork, though the length of the stanchions make the fork look far larger than that, and there’s a rear pannier rack with a 55 lb weight rating.
All of this rolls on a set of 26-inch wheels mounted with fairly narrow 1.75-inch CST tires. Those smaller wheels accelerate and handle quicker than their larger diameter counterparts, which helps give the bike it’s peppy nature.
That spec sheet is fairly standard for a budget electric commuter bike, but there’s something about The Stride that makes it stand out from the bunch of sub-$2,000, 500W e-bikes I’ve tested recently. I spent years as a nearly full-time bike commuter, and The Stride’s snappy yet balanced handling appeals to the part of me that misses the days of darting in and out of traffic and avoiding pedestrians. I also love the 500W Bafang motor’s torquey feel — it accelerates hard from a stop and I was hard pressed to find a hill that strained it.
But The Stride does not have to be a dedicated commuter. Simply the fact that it’s built around a step-through frame is going to make this bike appeal to a much broader demographic of e-bike rider. It’s more approachable than your average commuter and is going to fit more people of more shapes and sizes.
One of the few step-through e-bikes I’ve ridden that properly fit my 6’ 1” frame.
The 48V, 10.4Ah battery is nicely hidden inside the frame.
The 50mm front suspension fork takes the edge off without being overly flexy.
Gen3 The Stride Review: Motor Performance, Speed and Acceleration
Bafang is an e-bike motor manufacturer that’s earned a reputation for building fast and reliable hub motors, so finding one on a bike as cheap as the Gen3 The Stride feels like a bit of a steal.
The 500W rear hub motor on The Stride lives up to what we’ve grown to expect of Bafang — it accelerates very quickly, easily cruises near its maximum motor-assisted speed of 20 mph and, best of all, sports 65 Nm of torque for grunting up hills.
It’s a Class 2 e-bike with a throttle and five pedal assist settings, all of which are limited to a maximum motor-assisted speed of 20 mph. To get a sampling of the motor’s tuning in each PAS level, we put the Gen3 to the test on the Electric Bike Report circuit, where we logged a lap for each PAS level plus one more with the motor turned entirely off.
Aside from a leap in average speed on PAS 4 (which very well could be rider error), The Stride’s PAS levels feel well apportioned. Our highest average speed in PAS 5 was 18.7 mph, just 1.3 mph off the motor’s max speed, and we found the bike to pedal remarkably easily with the motor turned off — a good sign that the bike is very energy efficient.
The hill climbing ability of this motor was probably the biggest thing that stood out to me during my test rides. It punches above its weight class on climbs, but more on that in the hill test section of this review.
The Gen3 The Stride rolls on 26-inch wheels, helping give it the snappy handling we’ve really enjoyed.
The 500W Bafang rear hub motor was impressively powerful and had little trouble on hills.
The CST Traveler Classic is a semi-slick and relatively narrow (1.75-inch) tire that grips pavement well and rolls very easily.
Gen3 The Stride Review: Range Test & Battery Performance
Battery range wise, The Stride’s 48V, 10.4Ah (500Wh) battery performed almost exactly as advertised.
To test the bike’s range on a single charge, we did two range tests on the Gen3 The Stride. The first on PAS 5 and the second on PAS 2. Together, the two results give us a real-world example of the minimum and maximum range you can expect from the bike.
On PAS 5, the Stride’s max assist level, the bike went for 21.19 miles before running out of juice — right in line with our estimated max assist range of about 22 miles. In the PAS 2 test, the Stride lasted for 40.79 miles before finally dying. That’s just a hair further than Gen3’s claimed range of 40 miles.
That’s a solid performance from the 500Wh battery that’s about right in line with our expectations and the manufacturer’s claimed range. Aside from a battery that’s large enough to balance with the demands of the motor, the Gen3 has a few characteristics that likely make it more energy efficient than some other e-bikes we see at this price point.
The first of these is the narrow 26” x 1.75” semi-slick CST tires that roll very efficiently, yet still grip well and ride comfortably. Second is the Gen3 The Stride’s pedal-forward geometry that’s comfortable but still athletic enough that it places your body in a very good pedal position. A bike that rolls easily and maximizes energy from your legs is going to tax the motor less — a balance I think The Stride achieves.
Gen3 The Stride Review: Hill Test and Drivetrain Performance
To get a picture of how well the Gen3 The Stride climbs, we put it to the test on Electric Bike Report’s test hill — a local steep lovingly known as Hell Hole.
Hell Hole is a third of a mile long with an average gradient of 12 percent with several sections even steeper than that. It’s a hill steep enough and long enough you’d be hard pressed to find an equal, at least one that’s paved.
We did two climbing tests on Hell Hole with the Stride, the first using just the throttle and the second on PAS 5. In both, The Stride outperformed my expectations.
In the throttle only test, the Stride cleared the top of Hell Hole in 1:50.00 with an average speed of 9.9 mph. In the PAS 5 test, it made it up in 1:13.00 with an average speed of 14.9 mph. Those are both great results from an affordable e-bike powered by a modest 500W motor.
The sub-2 minute throttle test is pretty typical among other 500W e-bikes we’ve reviewed, but the 1:13.00 result in the PAS 5 test is very impressive and approaches the time of some of the more powerful 750W e-bikes we’ve tested on Hell Hole.
The Gen3 The Stride has a comfortable yet slightly athletic riding position that I really liked. It feels very balanced.
The Shimano Tourney 7-speed shifter and a Gen3-branded brake lever.
The Stride’s comfort saddle.
Gen 3 The Stride Review: Brakes and Handling
Stopping the Gen3 The Stride is a set of Gen3-branded mechanical disk brakes with a 180mm brake rotor in the front and a 160mm rotor in the rear.
In our brake test, where we take the average of five full-power stops from 20 mph, the Gen3’s brakes performed nicely, coming to a stop in an average distance of 15-feet-5-inches. That’s nearly a full foot shorter than our current average 16-feet-4-inches stopping distance of all the e-bikes we’ve tested thus far.
But while the Gen3 brakes performed their duties nicely, they weren’t perfect. No matter how we adjusted them they squealed quite loudly while coming to a stop. They also weren’t the easiest to adjust; in fact, I’d highly recommend having these brakes (and really any brakeset) professionally set up by a bicycle mechanic. Bicycle brakes in general are tough to set up correctly, but mechanical disk brakes in particular are finicky things that require a bit of know-how. But once they’re set up correctly, the Gen3’s mechanical disk brakes are powerful enough to rival their hydraulic counterparts.
I do at least partially credit the Gen3’s solid performance in the brake test with the CST tires and the bike’s overall good handling. Those tires, though semi-slick, have a rubber compound soft enough to grip the road nicely in hard corners and under hard braking. Gen3 also did a good job building a step through bike frame that isn’t overly flexy.
Gen3 The Stride Review: Ride Comfort, Geometry and Extras
The Gen3 has a fairly standard e-bike cockpit with a simple display that, interestingly, has the thumb throttle integrated into the body of the display. The grips are very comfortable and the mountain bike-style handlebars suit the bike well.
My one gripe here is the numbers on the display are very narrow and are a little hard to read, particularly the battery indicator which is very small. But aside from this small gripe, it’s a solid cockpit and good riding experience.
It’s a very comfortable bike with a relatively upright yet athletic riding position. I’m a fairly lanky 6’ 1” and I often struggle to find a commuter style bike with a cockpit that doesn’t feel a little cramped, but not the Gen3. The bike has enough seatpost to accommodate my long legs and the stem is on the longer side among affordable e-bikes, so even my arms had enough space. Step through e-bikes have traditionally been built for smaller riders, so big kudos to Gen3 for designing a bike that accommodates the taller folks, too.
Like most standard commuter e-bikes, The Stride comes stock with a rear rack rated for 55 lbs of cargo, full coverage fenders and integrated front and rear lights.
The display and integrated thumb throttle assembly.
The Gen3-branded mechanical disk brake and 180mm front brake rotor.
Like any good commuter, it has integrated headlights front and rear.
Comfortable 660mm flat handlebars.
Gen3 The Stride Review: Summary / Where to Buy
I have a huge soft spot for affordable electric commuter bikes that are simple and feel well built, and the Gen3 The Stride hits me right in the feels. It’s a well built and well spec’d e-bike that feels like a bargain for its fairly cheap price.
We’ve written many times before that it’s impressive nowadays when e-bike manufacturers spec affordable models with a Shimano drivetrain, and my tune remains unchanged with this bike:
COVID-19 has made these parts difficult to get, yet Gen3 is spacing their most affordable e-bike with a full suite of Shimano Tourney drivetrain components instead of subbing them out for lesser-known alternatives. I also have to give Gen3 a huge shoutout for building a step-thru frame that actually fits my 6’`1” frame very comfortably.
It’s a simple bike; it’s an affordable e-bike; and, frankly, it’s a quite good riding e-bike. If you’re in the market for an affordable and fun form of transportation, the Gen3 The Stride is worth the look.
Do keep in mind that this is an affordable, dare I even say cheap e-bike, so while I’m singing its praises keep in mind it’s not going to be perfect. For example, the display could be better and the brakes had a squeal we couldn’t get rid of no matter how much I messed with them. But those are minor complaints about a bike that otherwise far outperformed my expectations.
Gen3 is a direct to consumer company, so you can buy the Gen3 The Stride through their website at the button below and have it shipped directly 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 Gen3 The Stride E-Bike.