Populo Lift V2 Electric Bike Review Part 2: Ride & Range Test [VIDEO]
After many miles of testing the Populo Lift V2 it has proven to be very comfortable eBike with an easy get on and go low step thru design.
And it offers a lot of value for the price of $1,399!
Just some of the highlights are 36V 8.7ah lithium battery with Samsung cells, a suspension fork & seat post, Shimano drivetrain, and fully equipped accessory package.
The Lift V2 has a smooth gliding ride feel and the compact 250 watt motor really shines with the overall efficiency of this eBike.
In this second part of the full review you will get an idea of the ride characteristics, range test results, pros, cons, and overall thoughts on this electric bike.
Make sure you check out part 1 of this review with large pictures and specifications to get a detailed look at this e-bike.
What you can expect from the Populo Lift V2:
To get acquainted with the Populo Lift V2, checkout this video:
Riding the Populo Lift V2:
Overall there are some characteristics of the Populo Lift V2 that really stand out when riding this eComfort commuter. To summarize they are:
- Approachable easy get on & off step thru frame
- Upright and comfortable ride position that can be adjusted to your riding style
- An eComfort commuter with all the accessories to make everyday riding & exploring convenient
The Look & Feel of the Populo Lift V2
Populo focused a lot of attention on making the Lift V2 super easy to get on and off with the very low step thru area.
The step thru area is about 16″ off the ground to make stepping over the frame much easier when compared to swinging your leg over a triangle frame high top tube.
Errand running around town is made easier with this quick on & off step thru design. You just step on and step off the bike.
Hydroformed 6061 aluminium tubing creates the swooping main frame tube that runs from the headtube to the bottom bracket.
It is pretty amazing how aluminum tubing can be sculpted to create unique shapes that provides practical and stylish frame designs like the Lift V2.
The hydroform tube shaping also places more material where it is needed at the high stress areas.
For instance, at the headtube there is a large surface area connection from the main frame tube.
The step thru area has the main downtube that is reinforced with an additional square-ish tube that has been curved to provide a very low step thru area.
The step thru design is very convenient for the ease of getting on and off the bike but it does create some additional flex in the frame with the elimination of the top tube found on triangle frame designs.
That flex is most noticeable when cornering quickly from side to side and the rear rack mounted battery adds to that feeling. For many typical riding conditions it is not very noticeable. This is a fairly common trait for step thru frame bikes.
In addition to the stylish swooping tubing design, the frame has smoothed welds that create a sculpted look at the aluminum tube connections.
Furthering the clean overall look of the Populo Lift V2 is internal cable routing that is found in the downtube and behind the seat tube.
The Populo Lift V2 comes in 2 different frame sizes to fit a wide range of riders:
- Small: 17″ (43cm) intended for riders in height from 4′-11″ to 5′-6″
- Medium: 19.7″ (50cm) intended for riders in height from 5′-6″ to 6′-1″
The bike tested in this review is the Medium 19.7″ frame size.
The riding experience of the Populo Lift V2 is highlighted by its comfortable upright position and efficient gliding ride feel.
These characteristics make the Lift V2 a great fit for everyday commuting, errand running, and weekend exploring.
The upright ride position is comfortable and it helps you to see everything around you well.
You also have a lot of options with adjusting the Lift V2 to fit your riding style with it’s adjustable stem.
The angle and reach of the stem can be adjusted so that you can be very upright or slightly hunched over for a more performance ride style.
The swept back handlebar style is very comfortable and that is further highlighted with the ergonomic grips that provide wrist support with their large platform design.
The Suntour Nex suspension fork does a good job of smoothing out rougher roads with its 2.5″ of suspension travel.
The Velo saddle is a comfortable seat with its mid width profile and the suspension seatpost does a nice job of taking the edge off of rough roads.
The combination of the suspension fork and suspension seatpost gives the Lift V2 a smooth ride feel.
The Populo Lift V2 also has an efficient ride feel with its relatively narrow CST tires and large 700c wheels. Those contribute to the gliding feeling of this eComfort commuter.
Now let’s take a closer look at the electric assist drive system.
A compact 250 watt geared rear hub motor adds the assist with either 9 levels of pedal assist and/or the twist grip throttle.
It’s compact size blends well with the overall look of the Lift V2 and it is almost completely hidden from view by the cogset.
In many ways the Lift V2 looks much like a conventional bicycle, especially with the battery built into the rear rack.
A cadence sensor detects when you are pedaling and provides the assist based on the pedal assist level you have selected on the display.
There is a lot of variety in the 9 different levels of assist that are adjusted with the (+) and (-) buttons on the display/control pad.
At the higher levels of assist it is impressive how much power the compact 250 watt geared motor contributes to your pedal power.
Zipping around town and minimizing the sweat on the way to work is a great use for the higher assist levels. Those quick rides will reduce the range a bit though.
The lower assist levels are nice for casually cruising and conserving the battery for longer rides.
The pedal assist transition in the lower levels is pretty smooth in the way it blends the assist with your pedal power.
At the higher assist levels it gives you more of a kick and that can be advantageous for getting through an intersection quickly.
This is a Class 2 electric bike because it has pedal assist and a throttle option with a max assist speed of 20 mph.
The twist grip throttle is located on the left side of the handlebar and it has a wide amount of variability so that you can adjust it to provide exactly the extra assist that you want.
The twist grip throttle is available for use after you start pedaling. Populo created this ride characteristic for:
“Accidental Throttle Prevention – To prevent riders from accidentally engaging the electric motor with the throttle while walking the bike, the throttle will only activate when it has sensed one full rotation of the pedals.”
Once the throttle is working you can stop pedaling if you want.
Like almost all geared hub motors there is some noise. It is a generally humming noise and at the higher speeds it is muted a bit by the wind noise.
Populo also built in a few other safety features to their electric assist system.
“Panic Stop – When riding at max speed and the controller senses a sudden stop, the electric motor will disengage. To re-engage the motor, the bike needs to be stopped and assist-levels need to be at the lowest setting.”
There are also the brake sensors that will stop the electric assist as soon as the brake levers are engaged.
A 36V 8.7ah (313 Wh) lithium battery that uses Samsung cells is housed in the rear rack and provides energy to the motor and the front light.
The battery weighs 4.5 pounds and it is removed by unlocking it with the supplied key (2 keys are supplied with the bike) and pulling it off of the back of the rack.
The battery can be charged on or off the bike and fully charging it from empty takes 4-6 hours.
The Lift V2 weighs 45.8 pounds without the battery and that makes it a little easier to load onto a car rack.
Like almost all bikes with a rear rack battery you can feel the weight of the battery when cornering fast and moving the bike quickly from side to side. With this relatively light battery it is not as noticeable compared to other bikes with heavier rack mounted batteries.
Your pedal power is transmitted through a 7 speed Shimano drivetrain that provides a good range of gears (14 tooth to 28 tooth) for everyday commuting and errand running.
The Shimano RevoShift grip shifter has a solid feel while shifting through the gears. It does take some effort to shift from the small to larger cogs.
A full coverage transparent chainguard does a nice job of keep your pant legs clean.
Next up is a closer look at the control center on the Populo Lift V2.
The large LCD display on the left side of the handlebar provides information on the battery level, odometer, trip distance, current speed, average speed, max speed, and pedal assist levels.
There is a backlight for riding in low light and it can be turned on by holding the + arrow on the control pad for a few seconds.
This also turns on the front light that is powered by the eBike battery.
The display and control pad combo is easy to read and to use.
Slowing down the Populo Lift V2 is handled by Radius ROM 6.0 mechanical disc brakes with 160 mm rotors front and rear.
The brakes on the Lift V2 that was tested are different because it was a pre-production model.
The Tektro brake levers have a rubber grip surface that provide for a solid feel in wet and dry conditions.
As mentioned earlier, they also have the sensors that will stop the assist when the brake levers are engaged.
The CST 700 x 38c tires have a very smooth tread profile for an efficient ride and they also have channeling for dissipating water.
These tires have a distinct gliding feel and they really add to the efficient ride feel of the Populo Lift V2.
Reflective sidewalls of the CST tires are a nice addition for being seen in low light to dark conditions.
Okay, let’s see how the Populo Lift V2 did out on the open road!
Populo Lift V2 Range Test Results:
Here is the real world information on how the Populo Lift V2 electric bike performed on a riding circuit that includes hills, flats, traffic, wind (when available) etc.
While testing these bikes I like to put them through the toughest conditions to see where their bottom line is in regards to range and speed. I tested the Populo Lift V2 in the highest pedal assist level (Level 9) with average pedaling on paved roads.
Range: As you can see from the GPS info that I recorded, the Populo Lift V2 traveled 22.3 miles and did a total elevation gain of around 1,775 ft. Considering that I weigh 190 lbs and I pedaled an average pace this is pretty good range for a 36 Volt 8.7 ah battery pack (313 Watt Hours) with a 250 watt motor assisting up to 20 mph.
Watt hours are the total energy in a battery pack and it is based on the volts x amp hours of a pack. This is a way to compare the size of the “gas tank” of electric bikes.
Please keep in mind that if you pedal more, weigh less than me, ride slower and/or you use the bike in terrain that is not as hilly you will get more range. These results are from tough testing.
Speed: The Populo Lift V2 will assist up to 20 mph with pedal assist and/or throttle. This is a Class 2 electric bike.
Weight: The Populo Lift V2 tips the scales at 50.3 lbs which is a good weight for an eComfort commuter electric bike with all of the included accessories. Removing the battery brings it down to around 45.8 pounds which makes it a little easier to load onto a car rack.
The weight distribution of the Populo Lift V2 is a bit back heavy because of the battery mounted in the rear rack and a relatively light front end.
Good Value: $1,399 is an amazing price for everything you get with the Populo Lift V2. It has a nice low step thru frame with swooping aluminum tubes, a 36V 8.7ah lithium battery with Samsung cells, a suspension fork & seat post, Shimano drivetrain, and fully equipped accessory package. This is all a very solid assortment of quality features at a very impressive price point.
Comfortable Step Thru: The Populo Lift V2 is a very easy bike to get on and ride thanks to its very slow step thru design. The Lift V2 is also comfortable with its suspension fork and seatpost along with its upright and swept back handlebar position.
Gliding feel: The Lift V2 has a smooth and gliding feel thanks to its efficient tires and the larger 700c wheels. The overall efficiency of the bike allows the 250 watt geared rear hub motor to shine and provides a surprising amount of boost at the higher pedal assist levels.
Frame Flex: The step thru design is very convenient for the ease of getting on and off the bike but it does create some additional flex in the frame with the elimination of the top tube found on triangle frame designs. That flex is most noticeable when cornering quickly from side to side and the rear rack mounted battery adds to that feeling. For many typical riding conditions it is not very noticeable. This is a fairly common trait for step thru frame bikes.
Motor Noise: Like almost all geared hub motors there is some noise. It is a generally humming noise and at the higher speeds it is muted a bit by the wind noise.
Overall the Populo Lift V2 is a very impressive eBike for the price of $1,399. It is a very easy and comfortable bike to ride and it has a lot of quality features for an affordable price.
The Lift V2 is ready for the daily commute and for running errands with its fully equipped accessory package. It is also a good bike for exploring the open road on the weekend.
It has a nice ride feel that can go from mellow and easy going in the lower pedal assist levels to zippy in the higher assist levels.
The Populo Lift V2 is a versatile eBike that works well for all sorts of everyday riding and exploring.
Please keep in mind that this is a relatively short term test. This testing can’t really give you the long term review of durability and reliability. My thoughts on the quality of this bike are from previous experiences with similar bikes. If you own this bike and have some input on the long term durability, please share your comments with the Electric Bike Report community below.
Where to buy a Populo Lift V2? Here is a link to the Populo dealer locator and you can also buy the Lift V2 online. Populo currently has more than 90 dealers and they are in the process of adding more.
Do you have any questions about the Populo Lift V2? Do you own a Populo Lift V2? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Review Note: Each company pays a fee for a review on Electric Bike Report because of the considerable amount of time that it takes to provide an in-depth review of each eBike. A lot of time is spent on the full range test with distance & elevation profile, the wide variety of detailed pictures, in-depth video, and the write up with the specifications, ride characteristics, pros, cons, and overall thoughts. The reviews on Electric Bike Report are focused on providing you with a detailed “virtual” look at each eBike to help you determine if it is the eBike for you.
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[…] Part 2 of the Populo Lift V2 review will give you info on the ride characteristics, results from the range test, pros, cons, and overall thoughts on this eBike. […]
[…] very keenly priced commuter bike with a very easy to ride step-thru frame check out part 2 of our Populo Lift V2 review, with video and summary. […]
This seems like an absurdly inexpensive price for an ebike! Sounds like a great bike with great components and I am now thinking, why wouldn’t I just buy one of these (or one of their other models) instead of converting my regular commuter? This would be a far cheaper option!
Thanks for the great, informative review! We are very happy to be a Populo (online) dealer. They’re a top-notch company with great bikes.
Unfortunately, Populo just announced last week that they will no longer be producing electric bikes. Their website will remain up and the warranty will still be good, as their parent company will remain in business.
John Cheng says
That’s a shame. It’s a great bike.
I guess way too many competitors?
Yes, apparently. In an email to dealers, they said something about not being able to get the volume and market penetration needed to mass-produce Populo E-Bikes at a sustainable cost. We do like their bikes, and it’s sad to see them exit the market.
John Cheng says
Just got it 3 days ago. Loving it!
Great price, great looks, nice and easy ride.
I couldn’t be happier with it.
MIleage of 20-25 seems about right. I have put 11 miles on it, with decent hills, and it just hit half power. So, I should be able to go another 10-11 miles.
This is my first e-bike. But, power seems to be more than adequate. I haven’t found myself looking for more boost, even up a hill.
Electric Bike Zone says
Populo’s parent company, Avant Sports, owns Aventon Bikes, which has been making bikes since 2013, and they just came out with their first electric bike (in 2018), the Pace 500. It’s a very stylish e-bike, available in both step-over and step-through models. It has been reviewed here on Electric Bike Report, as well, and is available via our site.