Powering the pedal assist is provided by a Bafang 250 watt (350 watt peak power) geared rear hub motor with assist up to 18mph. The Propella is a Class 1 electric bike.
There are 5 levels of pedal assist and the assist is based off of a cadence sensor located at the cranks.
Pedal assist levels 1 through 3 are good for casual riding around the neighborhood or when maneuvering in crowded areas where you may not want a lot of acceleration.
Levels 4 and 5 provide more of boost and help you up to the 18mph pretty quick for zipping around town.
A walk mode provides assist up to a few mph and it helps when you are walking the bike up a steep hill or stairs. It is activated by holding the down arrow button on the control pad.
With the Propella 3.2 focus on riding efficiency it’s easy to pedal above the 18mph assist limit on flatter terrain.
The Bafang motor is relatively compact in size and it blends in well with the overall look of the bike.
Like many geared hub motors this motor does create a whirring noise that is most noticeable at the lower speeds. The noise dissipates a little at the higher speeds when the wind noise buffers it.
The pedal assist starts after about a 1/4 turn of the cranks and the assist stops a second or two after pedaling stops.
It takes some time to get used to the assist continuing a little after pedaling has stopped. If you pull either brake lever the assist will stop immediately because there are sensors in each brake lever that will stop the assist from the motor.
The gear range on the 3.2 in this testing is the 7 speed system with a 46 tooth front chainring, 14t to 28t Shimano cogset, and Shimano Altus rear derailleur.
This gear range works well for all around riding that includes some steeper hills and its easy to shift through the gears with the light action Shimano shifting system.
Propella also offers the 3.2 in a single speed version that can work well if you are generally riding on flatter terrain.
The single speed version is priced at $999 and the 7 speed version is $1,199.
The Propella V3.2 does a nice job of looking like and weighing similar to a non-electric bike and the relatively small and light battery is part of that characteristic.
The lightweight 3.1 pound lithium battery is 36 Volt 7 ah (252 watt hours) and it uses Samsung cells. It’s relatively small size keeps the weight and the price down.
The central location of the battery on the downtube of the frame is ideal for the balance of the bike which is also beneficial for the handling of the bike.
You can feel the stable balanced weight distribution of the bike when cornering quickly from side to side.
The battery did rattle a little in the frame mount but it quieted down when I placed a little tape on the mount to reduce the small amount of space between the bottom of the battery and the frame mount.
As you will see in the range test below the 3.2 recorded nearly 19 miles of range with 1,600 ft of climbing in the tough range test. The battery can be charged on or off the bike and it takes 2.5 hours to fully charge an empty battery.
Propella does offer an extra battery pack for $249 if you want to add more range to the 3.2. That is an economical way add more range if and when you need it.
Another interesting note is that the 3.2 can be ridden well without assist because of its lightweight and efficient road style design.
Additionally the battery can be removed to create a lighter bike (35.2 pounds) that pedals well as a conventional non-electric bike. So the Propella V3.2 is really 2 bikes in 1.
Let’s take a closer look at the controls of the 3.2.
The LCD display and control pad are located on the left side of the handlebar and they have a minimal appearance that follows the design of the 3.2 looking much like a conventional bike.
Up and down arrows on the control pad adjust the 5 pedal assist levels and the on/off button is just below them.
The display provides the following:
Pedal assist level
It’s easy to see the battery level, pedal assist level, and current speed at a quick glance because they are in larger text on the display.
Slowing the Propella V3.2 down is handled by Shimano TX-805 mechanical disc brakes with 160mm rotors front and rear.
They have good braking power with a wide range of power from just a little bit of braking to full stop.
It would be nice to have brake lever reach adjustments to fit riders with smaller hands.
Okay, let’s see how the Propella 3.2 did out on the open road!
Propella 3.2 Range Test Results:
Here is the real world information on how the Propella 3.2 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 Propella 3.2 in the highest pedal assist level (5) with average pedaling.
Range: As you can see from the GPS info that I recorded, the Propella 3.2 traveled 18.8 miles and did a total elevation gain/loss of around 1,600 ft. Considering that I weigh 190 lbs and I pedaled at an average pace this is pretty good range for a 36 Volt 7 ah battery pack (252 Watt Hours) with a 250 watt motor.
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 Propella 3.2 will assist up to 18 mph. This is a Class 1 electric bike.
Weight: The Propella 3.2 7 speed tips the scales at 38.3 lbs which is very light for an electric bike. Removing the 3.1 pound battery brings it down to around 35.2 pounds which makes it a little easier to load onto a car rack.
The single speed version is about 2 pounds less so that would be around 36 pounds.
The weight distribution of the Propella 3.2 is pretty good because the battery is relatively low and centered on the bike. The rear hub motor with the light front end does make it slightly back heavy.
Lightweight: At 38.3 pounds the Propella 3.2 has a light and lively feel that is really fun for zipping around town. It’s easy to pickup for maneuvering in crowded areas, walking up stairs, and loading onto a car rack. The combination of the efficient and light design makes it a fun eBike in addition to a conventional non-electric bike with the battery removed.
Performance eBike: With its designed focused on a road bike the 3.2 has a fun sporty performance feel. The large wheels and narrow tires glide along with ease and the bike carves into corners with a feeling of stability. The wide flat handlebars feel comfortable and provide stability over the front end.
Price: The economical price of $999 for the single speed and $1,199 for the 7 speed version offers a lot of value! And Propella offers upgrades if you want to fine tune the 3.2 to your riding needs.
Noise: The Bafang motor does make a whirring noise that is typical of many geared hub motors. It is on the lower end of the noise scale when compared to other eBikes and it dissipates a bit at the higher speeds.
Pedal Assist: The pedal assist continues for a second or two after pedaling stops and it would be nice for the assist to stop as soon as pedaling has stopped for a more intuitive ride feel.
Brake Lever Reach: It would be nice to have brake lever reach adjustments to fit riders with smaller hands.
Overall the Propella 3.2 is a fun and lively eBike with the performance ride style and lightweight design.
The combination of the 3.2’s performance design, fast tires, and flat bars creates a very agile ride feel that makes it a fun bike for zipping around town.
Highlights like 38.3 pound weight and a quality components spec from Bafang, Samsung, Shimano, and Kenda make the 3.2 and very good value priced at $1,199 for the 7 speed and $999 for the single speed version.
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.
Do you have any questions about the Propella 3.2? Do you own a Propella 3.2? 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 or not.