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Magnum Premium 3 Low-Step Review, 2023
Jun 15, 2023
A fun, fast, and functional folding e-bike for road trips, camping adventures, or daily rides!
Folding e-bikes like the Magnum Premium 3 Low Step offer flexibility to riders who might lack plentiful storage space or a large vehicle with a bike rack. In this case, a centrally-hinged frame and collapsible stem allow the bike to become compact enough to fit in smaller areas with limited space. Does a smaller bike mean that you’re getting less? The reviewers at Electric Bike Report answer this question – and more – in our Magnum Premium 3 Low Step review!
This e-bike ships as a Class 2 and 3 that allows you to travel up to 25 miles per hour when pedaling (and a throttle to bring you to 20 mph). Not all of the other folding e-bikes we have tested are capable of speeds above 20, but in our experience, the Premium 3 Low Step handled it confidently.
Magnum’s advertisements state that the Premium 3 Low Step has a range of 30-50 miles, thanks to its 720-watt-hour (Wh) battery. This is one of many things we tested on the bike, but you’ll have to read on to our Range Test section to see how the bike performed for us.
The Premium 3 Low Step provides its riders with a smooth and comfortable ride thanks to its front suspension fork, saddle, and fat-ish tires. In our testing, these absorbed some serious bumps that would have been painful on some other folding e-bikes!
This is just scratching the surface, though; continue reading for a much deeper dive into the Magnum Premium 3 Low Step in our review!
Class 2 / 3 E-Bike:Pedal-Assist up to 25 mph Throttle up to 20 mph
Magnum Premium 3 Low Step Video Review
Great motor power and speed! The Premium 3 Low Step’s 48V, 500W rear-hub motor feels more powerful than initially expected, and confidently carries the bike to its exciting Class 3 max speed of 25 mph.
A super comfortable ride! The Premium 3 Low Step includes a front suspension fork and a cushy saddle with an integrated suspension, which all do a fantastic job of soaking up bumps.
Solid range! With a 48V, 720Wh battery, Magnum advertises (and delivers) 30-50 miles on a single charge.
It folds to save on space! The stem and frame are hinged to make storage or transport in a larger vehicle easier.
Great stopping power thanks to its hydraulic disc brakes on a 160mm rear rotor and 180mm front rotor. Its results in our Brake Test were surprising!
Super maneuverable! The Premium 3’s wheelbase and 20” wheels allow it to make tight turns and weave quickly around obstacles.
Reliability and ease of maintenance. Magnum’s nationwide (USA) network of brick-and-mortar locations makes it easy to find a mechanic familiar with your e-bike.
While not uncommon on a folding e-bike, the Premium 3 Low Step does not include a strap or other method of keeping the folded bike together. We’d love to see this feature added to make packing the bike up easier!
We don’t mind it when class 1 or 2 e-bikes require passwords from the brand to enable them to go faster. A class 3 that is password protected to go to slower speeds was a first for us though, and we’d like to see that option be easier to access.
ELECTRICAL SPECS & FEATURES
Battery : 48V, 15Ah (720 Wh)
Display: Magnum Branded VeloFox, 3.5″ Diagonal, Fixed, Monochrome, Backlit LCD
Brakes: Hydraulic Disc Brakes w/ 160 mm rear rotor and 180 mm front rotor
Fenders: Front and Rear Included
Fork: Coil Spring Suspension w/ Lockout
Frame: Aluminum Alloy, 16.75” (42.5 cm)
Drivetrain: Shimano 7-Speed (14-28T Freewheel)
Grips: Ergonomic Faux Leather
Saddle: Padded Saddle w/ Suspension
Stem: Folding Telescopic
Pedals: Folding Platform
Magnum Premium 3 Low Step Review: E-Bike Overview
I will admit that I was unfamiliar with Magnum before testing the Premium 3 Low Step, but I was pleased to learn of the company’s well-established presence across the US. Based out of Salt Lake City, Utah, the company takes a serious and hands-on approach to its e-bikes. Instead of using pre-fabricated and mass-produced 3rd party frames, the brand uses custom designs for each of its 14 models, just one of which is the Low Step model of the Premium 3. A High Step version of the bike is also available, so I think it’s fair to say that Magnum’s design team stays busy!
The Premium 3 Low Step is equipped with a 48V motor and battery for rapid and efficient power delivery. The bike’s Bafang 500W rear-hub motor is what allows it to reach Class 3 speeds of up to 25 miles per hour. In our experience, this motor felt more powerful (and fun) than it looked on paper, and the bike’s 5-stage pedal-assist system (PAS) offered a wide range of flexibility in speed and power.
Sturdiness is hugely important on a folding bike, especially when traveling at those higher speeds. The Premium 3 Low Step felt comfortable and rock solid to us thanks to its frame’s central two-stage folding mechanism. The main hinge clamps together with a metal latch secured by a plastic locking lever, which isn’t the fastest setup we’ve seen, but also never seemed like it was likely to vibrate open on the road. As is common with this style of e-bike, the Premium 3’s stem also folds, giving the fully-collapsed bike rough dimensions of 20” W x 35” L x 27” H.
In our experience, it’s not uncommon for folding e-bikes to feel relatively stiff; some have no suspension whatsoever, and those that do commonly include only a front suspension fork. The Premium 3 Low Step adds in a well-cushioned saddle with an integrated suspension on top of its suspension fork, making its ride much more comfortable than it would be with a rigid frame. This, combined with the bike’s 3” diameter fat-ish tires, allows it to handle light off-road exploring for more fun and freedom to roam.
It’s pretty easy to wear a grin when riding the Premium 3 Low Step!
The bike folds down to a manageable size of 20W”x35L”x27H”.
The 48V, 720 Wh battery’s capacity is on the large side for a folding e-bike.
In terms of range, the advertised 30-50 miles is near the top of the list when it comes to the folding e-bikes we have tested, at least for a single-battery setup. Again, I’ll dive into more detail later in this Magnum Premium 3 Low Step review – but the bike’s 48V, 720 Wh battery is pretty impressive on a folding bike. It looks even better when paired with a modest 500W motor!
In truth, we don’t have much to critique on this bike aside from a few minor elements. Most notably, we’d love to see some method of securing the hinged halves of the bike together when it is folded open, but this is something that applies to the vast majority of the folding e-bikes we have tested. Otherwise, I was pleasantly surprised by my experiences on the Premium 3 Low Step and found no glaring flaws.
We do have to acknowledge that the Premium 3 Low Step (as well as its High Step sibling) is priced a few hundred dollars higher than we have seen on other similarly-specced folding e-bikes. Price is certainly a major factor for many consumers, but there is a tradeoff with brands like Magnum who have a large network of brick-and-mortar locations. First, in reliability; companies can only grow that much if they produce quality products. Second, when it is time for maintenance, it is likely you’ll receive better service at a bike shop with employees that are thoroughly experienced with your specific bike.
To read more about the Magnum Premium 3 Low Step’s measured performance in our series of standardized tests, see the breakdown of those tests below.
Magnum Premium 3 Low Step Review: Circuit Speed Test
The Magnum Premium 3 Low Step was relatively standard fare when it came to our Circuit Test, which is explained in the graphic above. With its Bafang 500W rear-hub motor, five pedal-assist levels, and 7-speed Shimano Altus drivetrain, the only major unique feature that jumped out initially was the fact that the rear motor was housed within the bike’s cast alloy wheels.
Aside from just looking cool, cast wheels have some inherent benefits over standard hub-and-spoke wheels, but also a weakness as a tradeoff. Since they are solid, single units, cast wheels are more rigid than spoked wheels, which makes them more energy efficient and more stable when traveling (and turning) at higher speeds. On the other hand, they can crack upon receiving hard impacts. The Premium 3’s suspension fork should compensate largely for that, but it’s a good reminder to be mindful of where you’re riding. This isn’t a mountain bike!
Instead of using numbers, the Premium 3 Low Step’s five PAS levels are labeled Eco, Tour, Sport, Turbo, and Boost. Before making use of these settings, we performed one lap of our test circuit without assistance from the motor to establish a baseline.
In this lap, we were pleased to note that the bike pedaled extremely easily! It’s common for e-bikes to be difficult to move without motor assistance due to their weight. Folding bikes tend to suffer less from this problem due to their design; they need to be light enough to fold, lift, and transport. The Premium 3 Low Step weighs just over 62 lbs with its 11-lb battery, which is on the heavier side for a folding bike, but isn’t bad in the grand scheme. This helps the bike pedal with less effort – and its battery can be quickly removed for easier loading up of the folded frame.
For the remaining five laps of this test, we stepped up through the Premium 3’s PAS settings and measured our average speed for each. In Eco mode, the motor’s assistance felt expectedly subtle when pedaling, but it made a noticeable difference when starting up. The bike’s power became more pronounced in each setting, until in Boost mode, it was able to reach top speed with low effort from the rider. Regardless of PAS setting, the motor engaged predictably; its power was noticeable but was neither surprising nor delayed.
The Premium 3 Low Step is a capable e-bike in just about any environment!
A 7-speed Shimano drivetrain offers flexibility for various speeds and types of terrain.
The Premium 3’s 20”x3” tires handled dirt surprisingly well.
Looking at our data, there is a noticeable dip in average speed between our first lap without assistance and in Eco mode. Our tester modified this test slightly from how we usually perform it to better illustrate the relationship between its motor and sensor.
The Premium 3 Low Step uses a cadence sensor to trigger its motor, which engages nicely after a quick quarter-turn of the cranks and requires only that the pedals keep moving to continue putting out power. The bike’s motor output and speed are limited within each of its pedal-assist settings, but it is possible to pedal the bike faster. As long as the pedals are moving, however, it is possible to relax into a low gear and let the motor do most of the work.
In my experience, the bike’s maximum motor-assisted speed is limited to roughly 8 miles per hour in Eco mode, and increases by roughly 3-4 mph in each setting above that. Results may vary, though, depending on terrain, rider weight, etc. The average speeds we measured in this test differ slightly but follow a similar pattern, which is a generally linear and intuitive progression in power between assistance levels. We appreciate seeing this pattern because it means that those power increases are more likely to match your expectations as you move up through assistance levels. Additionally, it means that the bike distributes its power (mostly) evenly across its five settings.
It’s worth mentioning that, while the Magnum Premium 3 Low Step ships as a Class 2 and 3 e-bike, it can be converted solely to a Class 1 or Class 2 e-bike through its settings menu. As far as we understand, users looking to take advantage of this feature will need to contact Magnum, who can provide instructions and an access code that allows the bike’s throttle to be deactivated and its maximum pedal-assisted speed limited, so it can be changed to meet differing legal requirements in environments where you plan to ride.
We appreciate this feature, but its current setup is uncommon; most e-bikes that we’ve seen with Class adjustability ship with 20 mph limitations on both throttle and pedal-assisted speeds. Considering that these Class 2 limitations are more widely accepted – and that slower speeds are typically safer for newer riders – we’d prefer to see the Premium 3 unlock to higher speeds with the code, instead of the other way around. Alternatively, if Magnum kept the current setup, we think it would be enough to include the access code in the user manual for the bike to cut out that extra step of contacting the company.
Magnum Premium 3 Low Step Review: Range Test & Battery Performance
When predicting how an e-bike will perform before we test its range, we compare its motor and battery specs – particularly its motor’s nominal Watt output and its battery’s Watt-hour rating. We have a full guide to e-bike batteries that goes more in-depth on the subject, but we typically like to see a one-to-one ratio between the aforementioned numbers. A bike with such a ratio should be able to travel for at least an hour in its maximum PAS setting on relatively flat ground.
In the case of the Magnum Premium 3 Low Step, the 48V, 720Wh battery’s capacity (and 500W motor) exceeds our desired ratio by roughly half. Because of this, we expected the bike to travel for roughly an hour and thirty minutes before its battery expired. Considering the bike’s top speed in Boost mode (about 24-25 mph), we expected to cover around 35 miles when drawing maximum power in this setting.
Magnum advertises a range of between 30 and 50 miles, which they calculate using similar but slightly different math. We performed a real-world test to evaluate their estimate; see the graphic above for an explanation of our process. Due to the limited amount of assistance in Eco mode, we decided to test the bike in Tour and Boost modes.
In Tour mode, we achieved a distance of 55.1 miles, which is even better than Magnum’s estimate. Our result in Boost mode had a similar result when compared to the bike’s advertised range of 30 miles; we traveled 33.2 before the battery gave out.
We are extremely satisfied with our results for a few reasons. First, it’s great to see that Magnum’s calculations and advertisements were accurate (and maybe a bit conservative). Second, it means our estimate was also close. Third, since we tested the bike in Tour mode instead of Eco mode, its maximum range is potentially even greater. Finally – and most importantly – it means that when you’re using the bike, you can be confident in knowing that you can adventure all day without worrying about running out of juice.
I’ll cover more specifics about its contact points and sizing later in this Premium 3 Low Step review, but I have to reiterate that it’s a very comfortable e-bike. In my rides outside of our measured testing, I pushed the Premium 3 to its limits by going off-road on some rocky dirt roads that felt jarring on other less-cushioned folding bikes. Its mostly street-appropriate tires handled the dirt far better than I expected, and its front suspension fork and saddle did a surprisingly excellent job of making the ride comfortable. Of course, I have to note that our test bike came with a suspension seatpost that is not included in the base model. Magnum does not currently have this for sale on its website, but it can – and should be, in my opinion – picked up at one of their physical locations.
Before I wrap up this section, I want to mention one more feature of the Premium 3 Low Step’s battery. Similarly to a few other e-bikes we have tested (we’re looking at you, Lectric) , the battery on the Premium 3 requires that its key remain inserted and turned to the “On” position for the bike to function. This feature comes with a few tradeoffs; it is an added step that takes time, it at least feels like it could get lost easily, and if it’s on a keyring with other keys or a keychain, it can be noisy when riding. But from a certain point of view, it is no different than keeping a car’s key or fob on your keyring, and it is an added layer of security that could help to deter potential thieves from pedaling away with the bike. That said, we’d prefer the ability to remove the key once the battery is turned on – but we know that’s getting pretty nitpicky.
Magnum Premium 3 Low Step Review: Hill Test
The location for our Hill Test (explained above) is uncommonly steep, and is likely not an incline that many riders on a traditional bicycle would attempt to pedal up. Even some of the e-bikes we test lack the ability to power up the trail, but we consider any that do to be successful regardless of how slowly they go. This test isn’t meant to be a gauge of whether an e-bike is good or not, but rather to communicate just one part of its full picture!
We tested the Magnum Premium 3 Low Step on our test hill in its maximum pedal-assist setting (Boost mode) and with just its throttle. On throttle power alone, the bike traveled uphill in 1 minute and 34 seconds, with an average speed of 11.5 miles per hour. In Boost mode, its time dropped to 1 minute and 17 seconds, and its speed increased to 14.1 mph.
The Premium 3’s performance when compared to other folding e-bikes was nothing groundbreaking, but solid; its data on throttle power landed in the middle of the pack, but its max assist numbers fell toward the top of the list.
For the sake of consistency, we have one rider, Justin, who typically performs all of our measured hill tests. At just over 200 lbs, I am about 25 lbs heavier than he is, and on my trip up the hill, the bike’s performance was expectedly slower. Its throttle did seem to struggle at least a little, and I had to pedal somewhat harder than I expected in Boost mode. That said, I’m also more used to riding e-bikes with 750W motors – so with that in mind, I don’t think the Premium 3 Low Step’s performance was out of character for a 500W unit.
Overall, the bike did very well, and shouldn’t have a problem with the hills most riders will encounter – especially if you’re willing to contribute some effort!
As a folding e-bike, the Premium 3 Low Step can serve as a daily ride or go with you on adventures!
Hydraulic disc brakes on 160 mm (R) and 180 mm (F) rotors performed excellently.
The bike’s 500W Bafang rear-hub motor is integrated into its cast alloy wheel.
Magnum Premium 3 Low Step Review: Safety and Brake Test
The Premium 3 Low Step uses hydraulic disc brakes with a 160mm rear rotor and a 180mm front rotor. This brake system does not display a brand name, so we anticipated a middling performance, but the bike blasted way beyond our expectations.
With a spectacular average stopping distance of just 18’-11,” the Premium 3 Low Step is (at the time of writing) our best-performing folding e-bike. Even better, the bike’s test results are better than our current running average across all of the e-bikes we have tested, which is an even 19’.
In addition to great performance, the bike’s brakes have a motor cutoff feature that stops motor output when the brakes are applied. Other included safety features are the Premium 3’s headlight, taillight with brake lights, and standard reflectors – nothing unexpected, but all are appreciated.
Magnum Premium 3 Low Step Review: Ride Comfort & Handling, Cockpit, and More
When it comes to ride comfort, the Magnum Premium 3 Low Step is one of the most comfortable folding e-bikes I have ridden. Let’s dive into all of its contact points: the grips, pedals, and saddle.
The Premium 3’s faux leather grips are comfortable, but they can feel slippery when sweaty or with gloves, so we typically prefer ergonomic rubber grips instead. Additionally, the faux leather grips included on the Premium 3 are press-fit on the handlebars, and at least on our test bike, they moved around fairly easily. Personally, I’d prefer to see grips with end caps or clamps that tighten for better security – but replacements are inexpensive and easy to find.
The bike’s pedals are on the small side when compared to those on a full-size, non-folding model, but are pretty standard for a folding e-bike. Like the frame and stem, these also fold to reduce the bike’s overall size by a couple of inches – but that could easily make the difference between fitting in a tight space or not!
I found the Premium 3’s saddle to be well-shaped, nicely padded, and very comfortable. As I mentioned in a previous section, this includes a modest integrated suspension to help absorb bumps. Despite not being included on the base model, the suspension seatpost added to our test bike made a huge difference on rough, unpaved surfaces too – I think it’s a worthwhile upgrade if you want even more freedom and comfort. Magnum advertises that the bike is suitable for light trails, and I agree even on the base model; a suspension seatpost is just the icing on the proverbial cake.
A front suspension fork with 35mm of travel helps to soak up bumps.
The Premium 3’s stem collapses to reduce the bike’s overall size when folded.
We really liked the unique thumb-operated throttle lever.
A Revoshift twist shifter makes for quick, snappy gear changes.
In terms of handling, the bike’s weight and 20”x3” tires made it snappy and highly maneuverable. I found myself able to dip into tight curves and weave around obstacles easily even at higher speeds. I appreciated the Premium 3’s tires, too; while their tread is relatively street-specific, they handled dirt well. Additionally, their size and weight felt well-balanced for a folding bike by offering a good blend of cushion and stability without making the bike more difficult to lift, fold, or move.
The bike’s cockpit is effective, but could be improved; we’ve seen color LCDs frequently on models priced below $2,000, and while the Premium 3’s black-and-white screen does what we expect, it does feel somewhat dated. I appreciated the unique thumb throttle lever, which personally felt more comfortable than what we typically see, although it did slightly impede access to the control panel that shares the bike’s left handlebar at times. With more time on the bike, I’d have probably tried swapping the order of those modules. A Revoshift twist-shifter is mounted on the right bar, so there is only a half-grip on that side. This is a feature that I always appreciate, though the one on our particular bike felt slightly stiffer than usual.
The Premium 3, like most folding e-bikes, uses a plastic folding stem that also telescopes. As is typical with this style, there is some flex due to the extended stem that gets more pronounced the more it is extended, but this feature allows the bike to fit riders in a height range between 5’-0” and 6’-0”. I am 5’-11” and the bike felt very well-suited to my height, so I wouldn’t be surprised if riders above 6’ would be comfortable as well.
Magnum Premium 3 Low Step Review: Summary / Where to Buy
It’s relatively common for a phrase or quote to settle in my mind when testing e-bikes, and for some reason, Han Solo’s words from Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope felt appropriate for the Magnum Premium 3 Low Step: “She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts, kid.” This stuck so much that I began thinking of our test bike as “The Mag-lennium Falcon”.
I was pleasantly surprised by the Premium 3’s overall ride feel and performance. In my experience, folding bikes often do come with a few tradeoffs in either comfort or power, but the “Falcon” had no such issues. To be fair, it’s on the heavier side – which makes it slightly more cumbersome to fold and lift – but in my mind, this is a worthwhile compromise for a bike that felt able to do just about anything.
The bike is fast (and feels more powerful than it actually is), it’s comfortable to ride, it has great range, and it can stop on a dime. These are great features on any e-bike, but on one that can fold down to fit in a trunk or camper, they matter even more.
As with many folding e-bikes, we’d love to see an included method of securing the Premium 3’s halves together when it’s folded, but a strap or bungee is something that can easily be found at a hardware store or purchased through Amazon. Additionally, we think it might be a bit more practical for the bike to ship as a Class 2 e-bike with its motor-assisted speed limited to 20 miles per hour, with the option to unlock it to faster speeds at the discretion of its owner.
Otherwise, we think the Magnum Premium 3 Low Step is a well-equipped, versatile, and comfortable e-bike that would be a great adventuring companion for your next road trip. We guarantee you’ll have fun seeing where it can take you!
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 Magnum Premium 3 Low Step.