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Ride1UP Prodigy V2 LX Review, 2023
Sep 25, 2023
Serious trekking potential! Thanks to new and meaningful improvements, the Prodigy V2 LX may be Ride1UP’s best Prodigy yet.
Ride1UP has made a number of terrific e-bikes that each stake out different territory relative to a rider’s needs. They have impressed us with the value proposition they offer buyers. Their e-bikes typically feature some more premium touches than we usually see in the e-bikes’ respective price ranges, and our Ride1UP Prodigy V2 LX review saw that bike carry that torch to new levels of value.
This e-bike is something of a paradox. At every turn, this is a premium e-bike, and yet, it is affordable. At first glance, it appears to be a commuter, but a deeper look reveals that it is equipped for trekking, that is, long-distance touring, and thanks to knobby tires, it can handle leaving the paved road and exploring remote locales. And boy, does it have the range to make that happen.
The Prodigy V2 LX is Ride1UP’s most expensive bike to date, but when surveying the landscape for what to compare it to, you’re looking at a bike that’s at least $1000 cheaper than most comps – sometimes even $3000 less.
What makes the Ride1UP Prodigy V2 LX worth considering dropping cash on is the fact that there is an unrelenting focus on the rider’s experience. They started with a 250W Brose mid-drive motor and a 504Wh battery for excellent range. They paired that with an Enviolo Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) hub that grants the rider the perfect gear whether going up, down or dead ahead. Thanks to the Enviolo hub, Ride1UP was able to spec a Gates belt, rather than a chain, which offers a few different benefits, but for starters, it’s quieter and makes the process of operating it somewhat more instinctual.
The proverbial goodie bag goes deeper too. Stopping duties are handled by 4-piston Tektro hydraulic disc brakes. Also, they even throw in a complete commuter package including front and rear lights, fenders, a rear rack and kickstand. Another unusual feature on this e-bike is the air-spring fork. The difference between air forks and a coil-spring fork is like the difference between lemons and lemonade.
I’ve reviewed three variations on the Prodigy and this latest one is the best one yet; Ride1UP has created a special e-bike here. This may be the best-value e-bike they’ve ever made. Note: I said best value, not least expensive. Someone on a snug budget can find more affordable e-bikes we’ve reviewed from Ride1UP’s lineup, but it would be difficult to create an e-bike that could give the buyer more — of anything — for this price.
That’s a pretty good overview. But it’s time to dig into the data of our testing.
Bike Category: Commuter
Class 3 E-Bike:Maximum pedal-assist speed of 28 mph
Ride1UP Prodigy V2 LX Video Review
The 250W Brose mid-drive motor is is terrific. It adds a little, or a lot, of speed, and has the torque you need to go over and down most any hill.
The Enviolo CVT hub makes the ride incredibly smooth. The CVT and Brose motor feel like an exceptional match, allowing for a great feeling on the road, up hills, down hills, and on straightaways
With its 504Wh battery, this e-bike is a long-range champ. You can expect at least 60 miles (and upwards of 90 if sticking to Eco).
Comes ready to commute straight out of the box thanks to the inclusion of fenders, front and rear lights, a rear rack and kickstand.
Provides a more comfortable ride than most commuters with 20-in. wheels, thanks to 27.5 wheels, 2.25-in.-wide tires and a 100mm-travel fork
The bike handles very nicely. It’ll hold speed nicely on paved roads, with just enough chunk on the tires to keep you in control when riding on areas that’ll get you a little dusty and dirty.
Limited sizing. Only one option for sizing, while smaller riders will may have to look to the LS model.
The Prodigy V2 LX is great darting around the city or on the open road.
The Brose Sprinter 250W motor does a good job of adding a little, or a lot, to your own pedal power…
…and it’s never felt better thanks to the Enviolo Trekking CVT and Gates belt drive.
Ride1UP Prodigy V2 LX Review: Speed Test
We found the Ride1UP Prodigy V2 LX to be a powerful and able e-bike. One problem we sometimes encounter with mid-drive motors is that when the motor is off, we experience some drag that limits our non-motorized speed. That was not the case here.
With the motor off, I pedaled easily at 12.6 mph, which is in line with what we see with most e-bikes we review. In Eco mode we received a nice little boost up to 14.7 mph. In Tour mode I saw my speed jump to 17.8 mph—fast enough to make for satisfying riding. In Sport we broke the Class 3 threshold with a speed of 22.2 mph, fast enough to feel a real sense of speed. Finally, in Boost mode I clocked 24.6 mph. Maxing out the class 3 speed of 28 mph was doable, but not without an increased effort level – and I was trying to keep it to a level playing field.
As the Ride1UP Prodigy V2 LX features a mid-drive motor with a torque sensor, my level of effort had a direct effect on my speed. When I was going better than 24 mph, I was making an effort, but I wasn’t sprinting. With more effort I could have sailed along at 28 mph. What we don’t want is for potential buyers to think that this Class 3 e-bike won’t do a full 28 mph. It will.
I reviewed the Ride1UP Prodigy V1 recently and it was helpful to have that experience inform my sense of speed with the Ride1UP Prodigy V2 LX. The Prodigy V1 is equipped with low-profile tread tires, a road-specific tire, while the Prodigy V2 LX is shod with a knobby, all-terrain tire. The Maxxis Rekon Race is a tire found on mountain bikes and eMTBs.
That’s why when I compared my speeds on the Prodigy V1 with my speeds on the Prodigy V2 LX, the V2 LX was a bit slower. The difference wasn’t huge, but it did reflect the additional rolling resistance that comes with a knobby tire. Someone could replace these tires and see the same speeds I rolled on the Prodigy V1.
In a general sense though, I liked how it moved at speed, and appreciate the added grip of the tires on the LX model.
Handling is pretty crisp. The Prodigy V2 dives into turns nicely, with good straightline speed too.
A 504Wh battery gives great range to the motor.
The 100mm air fork adds some nice cushion, and the included fenders will keep you dry.
Ride1UP Prodigy V2 LX Review: Range Test
Our rule of thumb for solid range is a 1:1 ratio of motor wattage to battery capacity in watt/hours. So with a 500W motor, we’d want to see a 504Wh (a typical size) battery. With the Ride1UP Prodigy V2 LX, the Brose mid-drive motor produces just 250W, which is in keeping with the majority of other mid-drive motors. So matching a 250W motor with a 504Wh motor means that range anxiety can go take a nap.
We’ve tested this exact setup on multiple Prodigy e-bikes and have covered upwards of 90 miles. Pack the charger with a couple of changes of clothes in some panniers and someone could do an inn-to-inn tour on this setup.
Rather than do the same old maximum range test in Eco mode, we decided to do a range test in Tour mode, which gives riders a more satisfying pace. In Tour, the Ride1UP Prodigy V2 LX still turned an impressive result, covering 65.3 miles. That’s better than many e-bikes in Eco or PAS 1.
When we ran the test in Boost mode, we zoomed along for 31 mi., a respectable result. That’s enough for most of us to commute for a couple of days before needing to charge the battery.
Ride1UP estimates the Prodigy V2 LX’s range as between 30 and 50 mi. They are pretty on-the-mark with Boost mode, but we don’t often see e-bikes beat a manufacturer’s range estimates so distinctly as we did with covering 65 miles in Tour mode; that number would be even bigger had we performed the test in Eco. It always pays to under-promise and over-deliver.
Ride1UP Prodigy V2 LX Review: Hill Test
Before I get to our result in the hill test—which was impressive—I want to note that the Ride1UP Prodigy V2 LX performed well everywhere I rode it. Long hills, steep hills, fast flats—this is an e-bike that didn’t exhibit any obvious weaknesses.
Still, there’s no result like taking an e-bike up Hell Hole. At ⅓ of a mile and climbing at a pitch of 12 percent, we see e-bikes not finish this climb from time to time. Justin did our test and he climbed the hill in 1:44 for a pace of 10.4 seconds. That’s a pretty mid-pack finish for a 250W mid-drive motor.
E-bikes with mid-drive motors don’t tend to show all they have in this test because of their torque sensor. We want our results to reflect what the e-bike will deliver under an average person’s effort. When we climb Hell Hole, we’re working, but we’re not killing ourselves. In this setting, the e-bikes with cadence sensors tend to perform better than e-bikes with torque sensors.
The point here is that the Ride1UP Prodigy V2 LX performed well, but for the rider in a full sprint, this e-bike has the capability to deliver much more.
Hill testing is one area we felt the Enviolo Trekking CVT shine too. The diagram on the shifter is neat – just match it to the terrain in front of you for the best results. But a lot of the micro annoyances that exist with a traditional drivetrain are eliminated with this system: shift whenever you want (under a load, or while at a complete stop), get a larger than usual amount of customization in the feeling, etc. It’s a nice system that really proves itself when you’re making adjustments on a long hill climb, and it has the range necessary (380%) to even let you pedal down the other side of the hill.
Even on a step descent, the Prodigy V2 can pedal downhill with the 380% range of the Enviolo CVT.
Tektro Orion 4-piston hydraulics worked really well controlling speed and stopping quickly when needed.
The rubber grips felt nice, and the brake levers functioned well with even a gentle squeeze.
Ride1UP Prodigy V2 LX Review: Brake Test
Where the Ride1UP Prodigy V2 LX is clearly trying to take on some heavy-hitters in the e-bike world, I’m glad to see they went with a nicer brake set. Not only did Ride1UP choose hydraulic disc brakes, they chose Tektro’s Orion calipers, which feature a very powerful 4-piston design.
We typically find 4-piston disc brakes on eMTBs and cargo e-bikes. Their inclusion here is a pleasant surprise, but its the sort of touch that burnishes this e-bike’s off-road abilities.
With the Ride1UP Prodigy V2 LX we arrived at a stopping distance of 21 feet 9 inches in our brake test. That puts it smack-dab on our average results of e-bikes we’ve tested over the last 12 months. Certainly, this is an e-bike that will perform well in a panic stop, but stopping distance isn’t the only criteria by which brakes should be judged. I found that the Tektro Orion brakes perform well when modulating speed for turns.
For a bike with a lot of fancy tech, it does a good job of keeping the cockpit clean and uncomplicated.
The white text of the Brose display is clear in any condition, but it is pretty small.
No counting 1-9 here. The Shifter uses a diagram that shows you how to adjust based on how steep the hill or flat the terrain is.
Maxxis Recon Race 27.5 x 2.25” tires have enough chunkiness from the tread for enhanced grip in some dirt, but aren’t so knobby that you lose speed on paved areas.
Ride1UP Prodigy V2 LX Review: Ride Quality
The Ride1UP Prodigy V2 LX has a nice ride. It corners easily and feels stable when leaned over. A common feature of e-bikes with 27.5-in. wheels is that they feel more stable at speed and in turns than e-bikes equipped with smaller diameter wheels.
I want to take a moment to discuss the Ride1UP Prodigy V2 LX’s drivetrain. The Enviolo Continuously-Variable Transmission isn’t like other drivetrains. This is an internally geared hub and rather than a shift lever, it features a twist shifter in the grip. The tiniest turn of the grip results in a small change in the gearing. It’s never fun to be riding along and feel like one gear is too hard, but the next gear down is too easy. This is Goldilocks in a machine. And the gear range is 380 percent, almost double that of most e-bikes in this price range. This is a decidedly premium feature that we don’t ordinarily see on e-bikes retailing for less than $3000.
The decision to go with a Gates belt, something the Enviolo CVT hub makes possible, offers a few benefits. First, no more chain lube. Second, no stains on pants or car interiors. Third, as I mentioned, it’s quiet, surprisingly so. Fourth, on the occasions the Ride1UP Prodigy V2 LX does need to be washed, the job will go quickly.
Ride1UP did a nice job with outfitting the Prodigy V2 LX. They included front and rear lights, full fenders, a rear rack and a kickstand. All it needs is a pannier or two to be ready for a daily commute.
One word of caution for riders planning to go off-road. The clearance between the knobby tires and the fenders is adequate to keep the tires from rubbing the fenders, as you’d expect, but should someone go for a ride on a muddy road or trail, if the tire picks up any mud, the clearance is tight enough that mud could rub the fenders.
Ride1UP makes the Prodigy V2 in both a traditional frame (the LX we tested) and a step-thru (LS), but in terms of reach, the two bikes are the same. That means anyone who would prefer the step-thru version doesn’t have to worry that they’ll feel confined compared to the traditional frame. I’d have liked a longer reach to the bar, but I’m on the taller side, at 6 feet 1. Riders with an inseam greater than 32 in. may have trouble reaching adequate saddle height though, which could leave some riders feeling a bit cramped.
A custom 40lbs capacity rack helps make this a bike you can ride daily while hauling gear.
The Selle Royal Viento split saddle was firm yet squishy enough for good support and comfort (according to this reviewer’s backside, anyway).
While the bike itself looks phenomenal, we wish that Ride1UP could have concealed these cables for an even cleaner aesthetic.
The integrated rear light looks stylish and enhances your safety.
Ride1UP Prodigy V2 LX Review: Summary / Where to Buy
We’ve reviewed a number of Ride1UP e-bikes, and we keep reviewing them because they never fail to impress us with the value inherent to their e-bikes. I’m inclined to say the Prodigy V2 LX is my favorite of their bikes … so far. I should be smart and leave room for them to keep topping themselves.
The appeal for the Ride1UP Prodigy V2 LX comes in the ride experience. Everything about this e-bike is a cut above. The mid-drive motor, the air-spring fork, the Enviolo drivetrain, the premium brakes, the battery that will outlast most sets of legs, the name-brand tires—they all add up to an e-bike that begins to approach the level of quality we see from the big legacy bike brands like Specialized. The one thing those e-bike brands offer is a choice of sizes (and maybe more color choice). If you’re sized between the bike’s recommendations, and you’re happy with the colors offered, you’re looking at saving a lot more going this route though.
What stands out most in the Ride1UP Prodigy V2 LX is the combination of the Brose motor and Enviolo CVT. It makes the e-bike’s overall operation smoother, more seamless. It’s nice enough to make a seasoned cyclist happy, and will impress a newcomer who might be surprised that an e-bike can be this nice.
Ride1UP deserves credit for going with name brand parts—from the motor and battery to the drivetrain and brakes, heck, even the tires and saddle are name brand; the only exception is the air-spring fork, which gives a premium ride, even if it lacks a fancy sticker.
This is an e-bike for a rider who will relish an e-bike with better ride quality. The reality is, our testing didn’t really capture some of what makes this e-bike so great. However, anyone who takes this e-bike for a ride would immediately feel the difference between this and a less-expensive ride.
We’re still not sure how Ride1UP was able to create an e-bike of such exceptional value, but this is one of those e-bikes that ticks all the quality boxes that could hope to be ticked without costing a thousand—or thousands—more. The Ride1UP Prodigy V2 LX is so enjoyable we expect its owners will ride more than they planned to.
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 V2 LX.