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iGo Core Elite 3HD Review, 2023
Aug 17, 2023
A well-equipped urban cruiser with dual cargo racks and a zippy, comfortable ride!
Riders who enjoy taking casual cruises will love the step-thru iGo Core Elite 3HD; this e-bike is simplicity done right! The testers and reviewers here at Electric Bike Report rode the bike for well over 100 miles and evaluated its ride feel, motor power, braking performance, and more; read all about the bike in this iGo Core Elite 3HD review!
The brand advertises the Core Elite 3HD as an urban/leisure bike, and we completely agree with this designation. Its upright positioning, dutch-style geometry, and cruiser-style handlebars provide comfort and great visibility. Additionally, the mid-weight frame and 700x47c tires grant it a high degree of agility.
We found that the bike had a strong weight-to-power ratio; its 500W rear hub motor packed plenty of punch for a Class 2 with a throttle and pedal-assisted limit of 20 miles per hour. The Core Elite 3HD’s gearing worked well in that range as well – its 8-speed cassette offered a wide cog range for easy pedaling both uphill and on the flat.
E-bikes like the Core Elite 3HD are common, but some of its urban/commuter-friendly features raised the bar! We were thrilled to see both a front and rear cargo rack included on the bike, along with full-length fenders with mud flaps, lights, and a chain guard.
For more information about this comfortable city cruiser, continue to our full iGo Core Elite 3HD review below!
Bike Category:Commuter / Cruiser
Class 2 E-Bike:Throttle and pedal assist up to 20 mph.
iGo Core Elite 3HD Video Review
A casual, comfy ride experience. Fans of Dutch-style bikes will appreciate the Core Elite 3HD’s upright riding position.
Includes a full commuter package with both front and rear cargo racks! We liked the added bungee, the full-length fenders with mud flaps, and the chain guard as well; these are uncommon additions that make a difference.
A good power-to-weight ratio with a 500W rear hub motor and a Class 2 throttle & pedal assist limit of 20 mph.
Great maneuverability thanks to the 700x47c tires and the narrow cruiser-style handlebars.
Near-immediate motor engagement due to the 32-pulse cadence sensor.
Accessibility for riders with limited range of motion or who often ride in business attire; the bike’s step-thru-frame is easy to mount and dismount.
A multitude of name-brand components including Tektro brakes, a Shimano Altus drivetrain, a KMC chain, a Suntour suspension fork, etc.
The bike meets CAN/UL 2849 certification standards measuring the safety of electrical systems for e-bikes!
Fits riders from 5’-0” to over 6’-2” with a highly adjustable stem with a large range of motion, a long seatpost, and an adjustable saddle.
Pedals effectively as a traditional bicycle without motor assistance!
We appreciate options, but the 9 PAS settings on the Core Elite 3HD felt like too many. We’d prefer to see a reduction to 4 or 5 settings with greater variation between them.
We appreciated all the uncommon extra features (see Pro #2), but we’d also like to see at least brake lights included with the taillight.
A relaxing and comfortable ride gives users the ability to take in the scenery.
It’s rare to see a bike that includes both a front and a rear cargo rack on the base model!
The Core Elite 3HD uses a 500W rear hub motor with up to 48 Nm of torque.
iGo Core Elite 3HD Review: Speed Test
We tested the Core Elite 3HD to gauge the power of its 500W rear hub motor and to determine the speeds it is capable of in each of its pedal assist system (PAS) settings. Where most e-bikes we’ve tested use between 3 and 5 settings, this one features 9; we measured it only in its odd-numbered settings to paint the broad picture. The maximum speeds we reached with casual pedaling are shown in the graphic above.
With no motor assistance, we found that the bike pedaled surprisingly well with no motor assistance. This was likely due to the bike’s middle-of-the-road weight, but also its gearing; a relatively small 42T chainring allows the bike to start moving and pedal uphill easier than it would otherwise.
We found that the Core Elite 3HD’s lowest settings, PAS 1 and 2, lacked impactful power, but we began to feel more of a difference in PAS 3. The power output and speeds increased evenly from there up to PAS 8, but tapered off somewhat at the top end of its speed limitation in PAS 9.
With a 48-volt motor and battery system, the bike was able to draw power and accelerate quickly. We felt that its 500W motor worked well for the bike’s size and weight; it was easily able to reach its maximum motor-assisted speed of 20 miles per hour using both its throttle and pedal assist.
Overall, we felt that the Core Elite 3HD’s PAS settings would benefit from some adjustments. Nine settings felt like too many with not enough variation between them (this would be challenging even on a Class 3 e-bike capable of traveling up to 28 miles per hour), so we’d prefer to see a reduction in quantity to just four or five. This would make the bike more user-friendly in terms of operation, and it would also allow for greater differentiation between each setting to make them more meaningful.
That said, we appreciated how good the bike felt in terms of power and gearing; it worked well and pedaled both comfortably and efficiently.
With plenty of commuter features including dual cargo racks, the Core Elite 3HD is capable of getting riders to and from work on a daily basis.
The 576 watt-hour battery is integrated into the down tube and easily removed for charging.
An 8-speed Shimano drivetrain gives the bike both speed and uphill capability with an uncommonly wide gearing range.
iGo Core Elite 3HD Review: Range Test
To evaluate the Core Elite 3HD’s range potential, we tested the bike through the process described above. The bike performed well in this test, where we compared its results to the distance claims advertised by iGo.
The brand advertises a range of up to 56 miles using the bike’s 500W rear hub motor and its 48V, 576 watt-hour (Wh) battery. We were able to exceed that claim slightly and measured between 31 and 60 miles by testing the bike in PAS 2 and PAS 9.
The bike paths we use for these tests cover a fair number of hills – which require more power from the battery to surmount – so it’s likely that in a more flat setting, the bike would have performed even better.
Regardless, we were impressed with this amount of distance in comparison to the size of the bike’s battery; 576 Wh is firmly on the smaller end of the spectrum, although it does meet and exceed the 1:1 battery-watt-hour-to-motor-watt ratio we prefer to see. Compared to similar e-bikes we tested previously, the Core Elite 3HD excelled in its low-PAS/max distance test even when pitted against other models with larger batteries.
This makes sense in terms of motor efficiency, as explained in our guide to e-bike batteries. Based on its motor and battery specs, we expected the Core Elite 3HD to travel roughly an hour and ten minutes in PAS 9, but we were able to get over 50% (37 minutes) more time out of the battery than expected!
31 to 60 miles is a fantastic amount of range that should meet and exceed the needs of most riders even when using the bike as a daily commuter. Those using it for shorter, leisure rides should be able to go many days (and potentially longer) without needing to recharge the battery!
iGo Core Elite 3HD Review: Hill Test
We tested the Core Elite 3HD’s hill-climbing capability using both its throttle and PAS as described in the graphic above. The bike displayed mixed results; it did not have enough power to summit the slope using its throttle, but it was successful in its PAS 9 trial.
The throttle performance of e-bikes usually falls short of their max PAS tests (due to the addition of human power in those latter trials) and it is also not uncommon for e-bikes to fail to reach the top. I used the throttle on less-demanding hills during my personal testing of the bike, and found that it lacked the amount of power I had hoped for, though it was able to handle small-to-moderate hills albeit with significant speed reduction.
This was not surprising when considering the motor’s max torque output of 48 Newton-meters (Nm); it’s relatively uncommon for an e-bike to produce less than 50 Nm of torque, and many greatly exceed that figure.
The Core Elite 3HD’s speed and time in our PAS 9 test were below that of many of the similar e-bikes we have tested, but we can’t complain – the bike was able to climb the hill effectively with our pedaling effort added to the motor’s power.
In terms of feel, the bike handled Hell Hole Trail (and many other steep hills in our test environments) well. Overall, we learned that the bike does not have the power to set new speed records or blast up hills, but it is certainly capable enough to handle even extreme inclines with relative ease as long as the rider is able to contribute.
Fans of Dutch-style cruisers will appreciate the Core Elite 3HDs upright positioning and swept-back handlebars.
Tektro hydraulic disc brakes come standard with 180 mm rotors.
The Maxxis Overdrive 700x47c tires maneuver well and help the bike feel nimble.
iGo Core Elite 3HD Review: Brake Test
In our Brake Test (described above), the Core Elite 3HD performed relatively poorly, which was surprising considering the typically excellent brake system that is included on the bike. In our testing, we measured an average – and very consistent – stopping distance of 26’-6”.
The Core Elite 3HD comes equipped with Tektro E350 hydraulic disc brakes with 2-piston calipers on 180 mm rotors. This system is common, it has performed very well in previous tests with different e-bikes, and it should have been able to provide effective stopping power in this instance as well. For example, on a similar e-bike we tested recently (in terms of weight, style, size, etc.), the same Tektro brake system demonstrated a phenomenal average stopping distance of 19’-11”. The tires on that bike were slightly wider, but that alone cannot explain such a difference.
Since the Core Elite 3HD’s results in this test exceeded the expected range, we plan to bleed the brake lines and perform the test again. Following that re-evaluation, we will update this review to reflect what will hopefully be much better results.
I will save any description of braking feel until after we retest the bike as well; outside of this test, I noticed that the brake system did not have the “bite” that I expected, so while the bike slowed gradually and smoothly, this may change following the aforementioned maintenance.
iGo Core Elite 3HD Review: Ride Quality
The overall ride quality of the bike was great, which is a relief to be able to type following the previous section of this iGo Core Elite 3HD review. I had a few very minor concerns, but overall, I was pleasantly surprised by my experience; this is only the second bike from iGo that I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing, and it’s not typically what I would personally choose in terms of style.
I am confident that riders gravitating towards Dutch-style e-bikes with swept-back handlebars will find the Core Elite 3HD incredibly comfortable. The handlebars were a bit too narrow to fit my tastes, but otherwise, I found the saddle and the grips to be just about perfect! The Suntour NEX-DS suspension fork felt somewhat stiff, but it did have a noticeable effect on improving the ride.
One feature of the grips and handlebars that I appreciated was their effect on the bike’s handling; it is possible to use them as leverage points to weave and corner a bit more tightly than on bikes with a different setup. In my experience, this gave the Core Elite 3HD fantastic handling on par with some of the best e-bikes we’ve tested!
The Core Elite 3HD features cruiser-style handlebars and ergonomic rubber grips.
It’s the little things; extras like the chain guard do not go unnoticed!
The Selle Royal Nuvola saddle felt great even on longer rides!
The rear cargo rack has up to 55 lbs of carrying capacity and an included bungee to hold everything down.
In terms of the bike’s user interface and cockpit, things are kept simple but generally effective. The black-and-white display with an integrated control panel is mounted on the left handlebar along with the thumb-operated throttle lever. Considering the Core Elite 3HD’s price between $1,500 and $2,000, we would have preferred to see a higher-quality LCD (the full-color and color-coded display on the Discovery Rosemont LS and Yorkville LE models we are also currently testing are superb), but as it is, the system works. The Shimano rapid-fire shifter on the right handlebar is always a welcome sight, and it performed as well as I expected.
With so many features that fit a commuter or urban cruiser – both front and rear cargo racks that come standard(!), lights, a chain guard, and more – we would have liked to have seen brake lights (and perhaps even turn signals) for added safety when riding alongside motor vehicles. That said, we do appreciate many of these extras that we don’t often see included on a base model!
iGo Core Elite 3HD Review: Summary / Where to Buy
There’s a lot to enjoy and appreciate about the Core Elite 3HD, and I felt refreshed by its pleasant, easy-going feel. With all of its accessories, it’s certainly capable for commuting to work and carrying a travel bag or a light load of groceries, but I think that its features and ride quality should also lend it a huge appeal to riders who simply enjoy pedaling around and getting some fresh air.
The few points of critique that we have are minor – and in fact, it was difficult to find much to address beyond the overabundance of pedal assist settings. We do feel that a reduction in the number of those settings would improve the overall ride experience, especially considering that the Core Elite 3HD is a Class 2 e-bike.
It may not be incredibly fancy, feature-rich, or powerful, but this bike is simply a well-put-together machine. It’s fun to ride, easy to use, and comfortable to stay on for longer journeys. It pedals well at the speeds it is made for, it has a full scope of high-quality parts, and its motor doles out enough power to get the bike moving quickly and pedal up even the steepest of hills without struggling.
All in all, we’re extremely impressed with the Core Elite 3HD from iGo, and we’re happy to recommend it to riders looking for a fun, casual, and practical ride!
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 iGo Core Elite 3HD.