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Ride1UP Prodigy Review, 2023 | XC Variant with an Appetite for Dirt Roads
Sep 01, 2023
Style, Looks, and Quality for Riding in the City and Off-road
In this review for the Ride 1Up Prodigy e-bike, we cover all the important parts that make this a great lightweight, long range, quality built, all-terrain e-bike, at an affordable price. The highlight features of our XC variant include an energy efficient motor that delivers the right power when you need it, good off-road tires, front fork suspension, and an overall design that will appeal to a large number of riders. Combined with its sturdy build, practical design and rider-friendly components, the Prodigy also looks sharply stylish wherever you ride to.
As you go through this Ride1UP Prodigy review it’s worth pointing out that our XC model comes standard with a few different specs than what you’d find on the XR or ST models, and this one will largely be better suited for lighter dirt trail riding where the others are more paved path-friendly. At any rate, keep reading and find out how this e-bike delivers on many fronts.
Fork: 120mm travel, air suspension, w/ hydraulic lockout
Handlebar: 20mm rise, 0° sweep 31.8mm bars
Derailleur: Shimano Alivio RD M4000
Shifters: Shimano 9-speed trigger shifter, with electric shift assist sensor
Cassette: Shimano 11-34T
Chainring: 42T narrow-wide alloy
Chain: KMC e9 EPT
Spokes: Black Stainless Steel, 13G
Saddle: Selle Royal SRX
Seat Post: Uno SP-719 350mm x 31.6mm dual bolt
Stem: Alloy 0° 80mm 31.8mm Bar Clamp
Grips: Velo Locking rubber ergonomic grip
Warranty: 1 Year
Ride 1Up Prodigy Review: Overview
As we see the e-bike craze take-off, the more we hear people say they want an e-bike they can ride in a variety of situations, provides power to assist pedaling, good distance range, good looks, and…oh yeah, it needs to be affordable, too.
The Prodigy, from the Ride 1Up electric bike company, is an all-terrain e-bike that can meet those needs. With its Brose TF Sprinter mid-drive motor, lightweight frame, meaty Maxxis tires and good looks, this Class 3 e-bike has a stated range of up to 50 miles on a single charge. We had fun riding this e-bike on city streets and light off-roading and think you can, too.
Some all-terrain e-bikes are annoyingly heavy. The team at Ride 1Up addressed that with the Prodigy, combining good power, handling, and range features on an e-bike that weighs only 50 lbs. We were impressed with the performance of the Prodigy’s Brose 250-watt mid-drive motor. Paired with the Phylion BN21 battery, the engineers put great consideration into quality performance, while also keeping the weight down and the range up. Using a 250-watt motor and 36-volt battery means both units will be noticeably lighter than if they put a 750-watt motor with a 52-volt battery, like what you find on other all-terrain e-bikes.
Ride 1Up understands that if they went with a higher watt motor and higher voltage battery, they would produce a heavier e-bike with a shorter range, and it would likely encourage the rider to pedal less and use the motor more. The Prodigy is all about sticking to the roots of creating an e-bike experience based on pedaling, where the motor helps you, rather than take you to your destination.
The Ride1UP Prodigy XC model feels like a commuter bike, but with enough equipment to handle any dirt roads that may be part of your commute (or are just really fun detours).
Integrated into the bottom tube is the 36V 14ah Phylion BN21 battery, with Samsung Cells, and a smart BMS.
Mixing it up on the stock Maxxis ForeForekaster 27.5″x2.4″ tires, the Prodigy can take you almost anywhere.
When I first hopped on to review the Ride1UP Prodigy I wondered if the smaller motor would make me work harder, and sweat more. I was mostly happy with this bike’s power output at each of the four pedal assistance (PAS) levels. I was equally comfortable riding this bike aggressively, using the lower PAS levels and relying more on my pedaling, as I did riding casually on the bike paths, and using the higher PAS for getting me to my destination without sweating.
We labeled the Prodigy as an “all-terrain” e-bike because it can be ridden on city streets and dirt roads, but its lightweight and good handling also make it feel like a commuter bike – with knobby tires. Given its versatile design, the Prodigy wears many hats. It can make it your commuter bike, your off-road bike and your cruiser, all in one.
During our 200-mile series of test rides, we took this bike to its limit to see how well it stacks up in overall power, range, braking, handling, safety and ergonomics. As we’ve grown to expect from any Ride1UP e-bike we’ve reviewed, the quality of the assembled package seems more than fair for the dollar you spend, but of course only through logging serious mileage can we tell if the e-bike is worth recommending. As you read these results, you will have a better idea of how this e-bike fits your appetite for riding.
Ride 1Up Prodigy Review: Circuit Test on Motor Performance, Speed and Acceleration
The Circuit Test helps us see how this e-bike performs in everyday riding conditions. We do this test first so we have a better idea what to expect from this e-bike in the other test rides. Thanks to its lightweight aluminum alloy frame, the 50-pound Prodigy was easier to pedal around the course than most bikes when we did out first lap using no power from the motor. The average pedaling speed for regular bicycles on this course is 12 mph, yet the Prodigy averaged 13.6 mph. Riders who prefer to do more pedaling will find relief in knowing that.
Using the Eco mode (PAS 1), we averaged 15.4 mph which is a suitable speed for relaxed riding. Given the fact that the motor is a mid-drive, pedaling is required from the rider, so that helps explain the higher average speed than what we usually find with rear hub motors. Average speed increased by a welcome amount of 2 mph with each level, reaching 17.2 mph in Tour (PAS 2), and 19.1 mph in Sport mode (PAS 3).
For the maximum pedal assistance test – Boost mode (PAS 4) – we averaged 20.9 mph. Keep in mind that the pedal assistance function is about maintaining a consistent top speed. I often find with new e-bike riders they think the top PAS is supposed to take them to the top speed, which is 28 mph for Class 3. But the maximum PAS is a limiter, not a speed guarantee. You can get it up to that fast with motor help, but you’ll definitely have to do a fair amount of pedaling yourself. How easily you get that fast too depends on the sual factors like: rider weight, road conditions, weather, and remaining battery life will all influence your top speed.
Ride 1Up designed the Prodigy for active riders who prioritize pedaling. Given the bike’s lightweight and PAS calibration, you should expect to do your share of pedaling on this e-bike. And you’ll want to remember that the mid-drive motor works with your pedaling, not in replacement of it.
The Brose motor provides a pedal friendly ride experience, and the 120mm air suspension fork really keeps rides comfortable.
Brose produces excellent mid-drive motors, and with the longevity and reliability comes more efficient use of battery power.
Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, with dual piston caliper and 180mm rotors, stop this Prodigy very well, keeping you in control.
Ride 1Up Prodigy Review: Range Test & Battery Performance
A common question riders ask when considering which e-bike is, “how many miles will the battery take me?” Our range test results helped explain the design the Ride 1Up engineers used for this e-bike. In our short range high PAS test, the bike took us 25.6 miles, at an average speed of 14.6 mph, using the Boost mode – the highest pedal assistance level.
This is close to the average range of heavier e-bikes. So they found a way to go lighter without compromising range, while enabling the rider to use the highest pedal assist level – impressive!
For our long range low PAS test we made two test runs. In our first test the Prodigy carried our test rider 90.4 miles, average speed of 12.3 mph, using the Eco mode (PAS 1). When the motor is in Eco mode it engages with the rider’s pedaling, but depending on your weight and riding conditions, you might want to use the Tour mode (PAS 2) to get a little more power assistance.
Normally, we choose PAS 2 in most of our tests because that is where most e-bike motors engage constantly. But then we thought with the Prodigy, riders are probably choosing this lighter bike because they want to go farther and contribute more when pedaling.
Thanks to the lighter 6.7 lbs Phylion BN21 battery, the Ride 1Up Prodigy is lighter than most other all-terrain e-bikes, and easier to pedal. That means your pedaling contributes more to moving the Prodigy forward than on heavier e-bikes. So, when thinking about the range you’re going to get when riding the Prodigy, it really depends on how much pedaling you’re willing to commit.
Ride 1 Up Prodigy Review: Hill Test
When considering a mid-drive motor’s performance on hill climbing, it is important to remember that mid-drives assist your pedaling, it cannot replace your pedaling (like hub motors can). So, we were curious how the Prodigy’s 250w motor would perform in our hill climb test.
Our hill is extreme, and an e-bike’s overall value is not measured by whether or not it makes it to the top. Since the Prodigy doesn’t have a throttle we couldn’t do the throttle-only test. That left us with doing just the high PAS test.
The high PAS hill climb test lets us know the bike’s capability when the rider is supplying a minimal amount of pedaling, and is relying mostly on the motor. Our test rider, Justin Taylor, used the Boost mode, the highest of the four PAS modes. The Prodigy made it to the top in 1:24, at an average speed of 12.5 mph. A perfectly respectful result in the world of mid-drives up the dreaded Holl Hole trail.
The versatile ride offered on the Ride1up Prodigy makes it good for riding into work on weekdays, and hitting the backroads on weekends.
Shimano Alivio 9-speed gives a broad range of gears, and no ghost pedaling.
The 27.5” x 2.4” Maxxis Forester tires tamed all the terrain we rode over.
E-bike designers are always pondering how to create lighter e-bikes with decent motor power and pedal assistance. The Brose TF motor is only 8.6 lbs, making it 2 – 3 lbs lighter than most other e-bike motors. Weight matters, and when designers add more to a bike the weight increase becomes more noticeable. Not only does this affect the speed and range, but it also changes the bike’s handling and overall feel. You will notice that the more you ride different types of e-bikes.
Why did Ride 1Up go with a 250-watt motor on the Prodigy? An increase in motor power means an increase in the motor’s weight; and it also increases the amount of energy the motor consumes from the battery. This in turn decreases your e-bike’s distance range.
So, considering the fine balance required here, we think Ride 1Up did a good job keeping this bike light and fast, keeping the bike’s range long, and keeping the riding fun!
Ride 1Up Prodigy Review: Brake Test & Safety
Good braking is another benefit riders get with the Ride 1Up Prodigy. Lighter bikes stop better than heavier bikes using the same braking system. The Prodigy comes with the Tektro HD-M275 hydraulic brake system that’s found on many other e-bikes. With its dual piston calipers and 180mm rotors, this system has performed well on other e-bikes we tested. On the lighter Prodigy, these brakes worked even better, with an average stopping distance of 19’5” (233 inches).
We weren’t too surprised by this. Basic physics – Newton’s Law of Motion – dictates that a heavier object traveling at the same speed will take longer to stop than a lighter object.
Our brake test is very uniform and consistent. We use the same rider, Griffin Hales, to take the bike up to 20 mph, then he hits the brakes at a specific point. We measure the distance from where he activated the brakes to where the bike came to a complete stop. After the third time, we calculate an average and use that as our result.
Knowing how well the brakes performed in our brake test, I had to see for myself when I took this bike out. I’ve tested a lot of e-bikes, and the Prodigy’s stopping ability is impressive. When you consider how e-bikes go faster than regular bikes, it’s crucial to have brakes you can trust. The Tektro brakes gained my trust, and that makes the ride all the better.
Ride 1Up Prodigy Review: Ride Comfort, Handling and Cockpit
The Maxxis Forester tires, 680mm handlebar and all-season rubber grips really give a hardtail mountain bike feel to this bike. Since the display is small and there’s no throttle it’s easy to forget you’re riding an e-bike. The levers and Shimano Alivio RD M4000 9-speed shifter are easy to operate and are what you’d find on an entry-level mountain bike.
Seated rides on the Prodigy were more comfortable for me on longer rides than most bikes, thanks to the Selle Royal Viento saddle. It’s a little wider than standard sport seats, but padding has a better mix of soft comfort while also being weather resistant. I tend to spend more time actively pedaling and standing on the pedals, instead of sitting, so if you plan to mostly sit, you might want to consider adding a pullover silica gel seat cover.
One point of concern we have with this e-bike, like all other e-bikes featuring a mid-drive motor and derailleur system, is how the high torque wears on the chain and cassette. Replacing the chain and cassette system with a band and internal gear hub would make this bike more expensive, but we would pay more to have this as an option. Also, we would like to see Ride 1Up offer a larger display unit. The current one is small, making it hard to read and hard to adjust settings when riding.
Aside from those two items, Ride 1Up offers a great set of features on the Prodigy, making this a bike you ride for a wide range of purposes, like commuting to work, running errands, riding with a little one and, when you want a little more adventure, riding on the easy mountain bike trails. The real benefit is the Brose motor powering this e-bike. This German manufacturer has over 100 years of experience building electric motors, and they take pride in their work. After riding close to 200 miles on this bike, we found the motor performed really well consistently, making this the best part of the bike.
Besides listing your speed, miles and battery life, the display also details power output.
The Selle Royal Viento saddle is actually more comfortable than it looks.
The XC model features a more MTB-styled handlebar with 20mm rise.
Soft rubber grips keep your hands happy across all different terrain.
Ride 1Up Prodigy Review: Summary / Where to Buy
The design and engineering team at Ride 1Up had a challenging project on their hands when trying to make a 50 lb e-bike feel and ride light, and to make it perform well on and off road. But they pulled it off with the Prodigy. Certainly, there were some gives-and-takes that they had to weigh when deciding what to add and what to leave off on this bike. But their out-of-the-box thinking paid off when you look at this e-bike as a whole.
Finding a happy medium to satisfy a variety of tastes – and riding goals – the Prodigy is also priced very competitively, upping the chances of more riders feeling they got a lot of value for their money with this e-bike.
Ride 1Up’s Prodigy e-bike is ideal for the rider who wants an e-bike that’s very similar to a city/commuter e-bike, but can also be ridden on the dirt trails outside town. You can expect to ride 30 – 50 miles before you need to recharge the battery. This bike comes with a 1-year warranty, but you probably won’t need it with the motor because of the fine German engineering involved.
If you buy one of these e-bikes, remember to pay special attention to how you shift, and avoid wearing out your chain and cassette by always starting out in a low gear. With that all said, you should find this to be an easy e-bike to ride, and a fun one. For more information on availability and latest prices, please click the “Check Best Price” button aboce.
‘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 Ride1Up Prodigy.