Vanpowers UrbanGlide-Pro Review – A Highly Effective Commuter E-bike
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The pandemic saw an explosion in bike demand. It didn’t matter what kind of bike, folks searched high and low for 2 wheeled transport to get outside. In conjunction, the electric bike category is also seeing a meteoric rise in popularity. Basically, e-bikes provide a way for people to get exercise as well as substitute car rides. Simultaneously, the natural and uplifting experience as the wind whips through one’s hair is a happy by-product.
As things have settled down a little in the past year, folks may be required to go back to their place of employment in person. This is where the Vanpowers UrbanGlide-Pro comes in to save the day. The roads are still slammed with cars, but it is clear that alternative modes of transportation are being explored. In many cases, the commute by bike is actually shorter then by car, and the parking solutions are way easier. The savings can be a few bucks a day, but if you factor in fuel, insurance, and wear and tear, it could be hundreds of dollars per week. That’s aside from the joy one gets cruising one of these Vanpowers UrbanGlide-Pro e-bikes around town.
First Thoughts On the Vanpowers UrbanGlide-Pro
I’ll throw a few of those first thoughts at you; solid, efficient, easy-to-use, economical, and plain looking. I know that last one is a rather subtle way of saying that the look is kind of boring. However, my second and third thoughts on that have come around once I started riding. More on that later. And I totally get it, not everyone drives a Ferrari or a Pinarello road bike. The Toyotas of the world are awesome, while not always being the most flashy mode of transportation. The other elements are what’s really driving this review. What I quickly realized is that its namesake, the UrbanGlide, is its all-encompassing driving force. Safe, quick, smooth, and great maneuverability is what I am looking at for this review. The branding and name brain-storming team got that right.
Out Of The Box
The box came in, and was packed tightly to protect the bike from the rigors of transport. There was a visible and significant ding on the side of the box, but that did not effect the parts and pieces on the inside. Lots of wrap, foam, and zip ties to get through, but after 10 minutes of cutting, I had it all laid out ready for assembly.
As you can see, the bike is put together for the most part. The handlebars, front wheel, display unit, front fender, and pedals have to still be connected. They provide you with a nice tool kit to get it all assembled. That’s really all you need to get ready to go. I bet I spent less than 45 minutes from start to finish. If you need help, I’m sure your local bike shop could assist as well.
I connected the charger, and by morning she was good to go. Total charging time is in the 4-5 hour range.
As far as the frame is concerned, bomb proof is the term that comes to mind. Time will tell with use, and what kind of abuse I (and the urban streets) can throw at it. The seamlessly welded aluminum frame looks like it can hold up well under duress. I never did find a total carrying weight capacity for the bike, but I’d say it is probably upwards of 300-400 plus pounds.
LCD Display And Cockpit Of The Vanpowers UrbanGlide-Pro
The 3.5 inch full color LCD display is actually one of the more user-friendly screens I’ve come across on any of the e-bikes I’ve tried and tested. It’s easy to read, but more so, it’s simple to use when switching between different functions. Push the power button to scroll between three screen options. Vanpowers has an interactive APP that allows you to track your rides and monitor any bike maintenance issues. I am a strava diehard, so I did not go that route. Plus, I would have way too many e-bike apps to keep track of. That said, if this is your main mode of cycling transportation, I’d download the app to take advantage of all of its benefits.
The “cockpit” is what i consider the handle bar and design functionality. Right off the bat, I like the simplicity and ease of use of the rubber grips, and how there are only the necessary options to ride safely and effectively. However, I still can’t get used to the fact that the throttle is on the left side. That’s quite common, but I really think it should be incorporated on the right hand side in the similar vein as that of a motorcycle.
Battery And Motor
First of all, the battery charges quite fast with a total charge in the 4-5 hr range. Secondly, the extended range of the Vanpowers UrbanGlide with its 690Wh battery pack allows for a ride lasting up to 70 miles. Keep in mind, that is likely without using the throttle or pedal assist too much, but you get the point. As a daily commuter, I can probably go most of a week before having to recharge. I mix it up with the pedal assist, so I’ve been able to get 40 or so miles before I would plug it back in.
Here is the charge after one 12 mile roundtrip work commute at level 5 PAS. I started at 98%, and ended at 64%. I demonstrate that, so you can see that full throttle all the time drains that battery much quicker. In my case, 2 full commutes at this setting is what I’d be comfortable with. I will likely not be on PAS 4 or 5 all the time anyway, so I bet I can push that limit by quite a bit more.
The robust 500W motor packs quite a punch coupled with the sensitive torque sensor. In essence, you provide power (however slight that may be), and the pedal assist kicks in gear to provide that power. Moreover, the responsiveness is exceptional and the power output is next level.
****Silver Button: If the bike hasn’t been used in a while, or you haven’t turned it on, this button will need to be pushed. It is there to reconnect the battery to the internal mechanisms. After a certain period, it disconnects it all to preserve everything inside. It took me a minute to figure out, because the power button wasn’t working. I quickly realized that the silver button needed to be pushed, and all is well.
The drivetrain components are not super high level as far as quality goes. It’s totally fine, but the price of bikes and e-bikes with higher grade components will also run you more. That’s the trade-off, but this is a totally fine groupset and drivetrain for this bike and its urban commuting options. Do keep an eye on wear and tear, and a simple chain replacement once a year may save you from having to get an entire new drivetrain.
Hydraulic Disc Brakes
Braking for bikes in general is pretty much going the hydraulic way. Mountain, gravel, and many road bikes have disc brakes now. Especially for e-bikes, disc brakes are a no-brainer. The amount of force needed for this UrbanGlide to be stopped on a dime is critical. I think I went from top speed to a complete stop in about 20 feet. They are 180mm rotor hydraulic disc brakes which are more than enough for a responsive stop. I’d practice this to get comfortable applying both front and back brakes hard to see how responsive a stop can be on the UrbanGlide. Chances are you won’t need to ever do that, but its good to know.
Keep a good eye out for how pressure much is needed. Over time, the fluid required for braking may have leaked slightly for a little bit of a slacker response. The braking should be easy with the touch of a few fingers, and will “bite” pretty quickly as you come to a stop. All that said, when to brake should be way more rider intuitive to your surroundings. Anticipating what could happen is your best defense along with braking style. With that, one should never have to fully come to a hard stop. My two cents there, and that takes experience to avoid sticky situations.
Rims and Tires On The Vanpowers UrbanGlide-Pro
How do you make or break a ride? The parts that actually touch the road perform a service way more critical than you think. That tiny patch of rubber that is always touching the asphalt or concrete, and is key to success for any trip you take.
These 27.5 x 2.20 Kenda tires are a perfect match, and are quite suitable for the varied urban terrain I encounter. Kenda makes a really good tire, as I’ve had years of experience on them on my mountain bikes. The pressure limits for these is in the 30-50 psi range. I’d say, I was probably in the mid 40’s throughout my testing time, and that seemed to be fine. I don’t like it when my tires have low pressure, but it’s a delicate balance to also provide road surface comfort from the tires. They have some grooves to channel away any water during wet riding conditions. These tires can surely go off-road as long as it’s a simple dirt path or gravel road. Nothing too technical.
Front Hydraulic Suspension Fork
The front fork has an 80mm travel suspension. Now, in theory, a city cruiser could probably get a away with not having any suspension. That said, the weight of the e-bike can kind of support that extra bit of cushioning. Plus, the city road and pathways are constantly at war with mother nature, and wear and tear due to our heavier road transporters. The 80mm of travel is enough to absorb the usual bumps and debris that we’re used to coming across these days.
The seat is actually pretty nice. It’s meant to reach a wide variety of behinds, so this accomplishes that goal. It’s got a more suede like feel to it versus the shiny faux leather style. I personally prefer something a little more sleek and less padded, but I suppose, I will see with time, how my comfort level dictates me swapping it out for another seat. Keep in mind, personal preference plays a big role here. The Zoom 30mm travel suspension seat post does well to eliminate the slight little road vibrations. Big bumps will always be felt, so navigate accordingly to avoid any major pitfalls.
Rear Rack Of The Vanpowers UrbanGlide-Pro
The rear rack is pretty solid. It can hold up to 25kg / 55 lbs. of cargo. Adding a basket, cargo box, or panniers are perfect for this. Placing a passenger on here is something I would avoid. The supports aren’t designed to go over that weight. Plus, there’s no proper padding or feet placement. Therefore, stick to the groceries or commuting necessities. I’ve got a sweet pannier/backpack that works superb.
Most e-bikes have a kickstand these days. The heavier cargo style bikes have a below the axle double leg kickstand. The Vanpowers UrbanGlide-Pro has the tripod style stand towards the rear of the frame. That works fine for the most part. I’d say, keep an eye on it when parking on a somewhat irregular surface.
The front light is fairly basic. I wish it was a bit more integrated into the frame or handle bar cockpit system. As it is right now, the front light is attached with one point of contact, and is bound to get knocked around a little. I may look to attach it to the handlebar somewhere. That said, the light itself is plenty powerful to illuminate the roads and paths ahead of you. More so, it is an integral component to keep visibility to other motorists at a high level.
The rear light is nicely designed to fit into the rear rack. That should protect it from any dings that may come its way. Furthermore, the best part is the blinking brake light. All bikes should have this as it corresponds to when you are braking. Even if you slightly squeeze the brakes throughout your ride, the light creates another instance of being visible to the car population.
The look of the Vanpowers UrbanGlide-Pro is somewhat economical. And by that I mean that it’s not super flashy nor utilitarian like the cargo carrier e-bikes out there. Indeed, it’s a solidly built e-bike that functions to get you from point A to B. Having said that, once I am riding this bike around town, I feel really secure. It might be the sturdy frame construction, the larger 700c tires, their 40 mm width, or the comfortable positioning for me on the bike. Henceforth, I make a concerted effort to push the handling of this bike, by dipping and leaning into corners at higher speeds, making sudden turns and stops, and taking it on a variety of riding surfaces. Ultimately, I feel like I can move swiftly, confidently, and securely through traffic with its lower center of gravity.
Taking The Vanpowers Urban-Glide Pro Out For A City Spin
Straightaway, I set out for a few neighborhood test rides. After a good month of riding and testing, the design and/or naming team really hit the mark with the name: UrbanGlide. It’s an e-bike made for the city streets, and has a presence worth noting.
Take a look at my leg powered Urban Assault vehicle above. This is my old school Dutch Bike by Gazelle that made its way across the pond with me some 40 years ago. Ironically, they both almost weigh about the same. I’m slightly kidding there, but my Gazelle is certainly heavy at 40 plus pounds. In reality, it doesn’t quite make it up to the 70lb weight of the UrbanGlide. Now, mine is not the step-through (ladies) version, but the Urban Glide Pro is constructed to provide the least interference when getting on to go for a ride.
I ended up getting the small, because I figured the entire family might be able to ride it. That said, I do feel that the small is still rather large with its formidable front cockpit. Yes, the seat can go down quite far, but the handle bars are still up high. In addition, it feels a bit out of proportion when the seat is all the way down. Hence, the small will work for taller folks as well. They advertise it for up to 5’-9”, but I’m 6’-1”, and she feels ok for me. Hence, I’d say the size range is anywhere from 5′ to 6′. That’s my opinion, of course, but a reason why I like the small is to be able to serve my entire family. Correspondingly, my 3 ladies range from 5′ to 5′-9″, so this size and adjustability works for my crew.
The ride comfort and maneuverability is absolutely next level. Overall, I feel super confident managing my way through traffic, alongside cars, into turns, and up and over bumps, and even through some unfortunate pot holes. Subsequently, the front suspension also plays a role to absorb some of the usual road vibrations. All that said, the overall ride quality is second to none. I’ve reviewed about half a dozen e-bikes thus far. Generally, they all have their pros and cons, and some are intended for different purposes. I must say, that this bike is by far the most comfortable of the bunch.
With that said, the handle bars can be adjusted a full 90 degrees to give you even more comfort. I left them down and forward as I felt I had to reach up too high with them up. The low step through of the Vanpowers UrbanGlide-Pro is phenomenal. Anyone can step through and get on. Age, mobility, and/or flexibility should not limit you from getting on this bike. With that said, I suppose this low to the ground stature is also why the UrbanGlide-Pro handles so well in traffic.
Lastly, the seat stem quick release is easy, and allows for the multitude of riders that I’ve had riding the Urban Glide.
- Color Options: Remy Green/Lava Red/Zircon Gray
- Frame Size: Small/Large
- Weight: 70.55 lbs/ 32 kg
- Motor: 500W High-Speed Brushless Hub Motor
- Sensor: Torque Sensor
- Range: 65-70 Miles
- Mode: Pedal-Assist/Throttle
- Rear Derailleur: Microshift RD-M26L 8 Speed
- Brake: Hydraulic Disc Brake, 1800mm Rotor
- Stem: Zoom Adjustable stem, 90mm, 0-90 degrees
- Seat Post: Zoom Suspension Seat. 30mm Travel, with Quick release clamp
Final Thoughts On The Vanpowers UrbanGlide-Pro
To summarize my experience on the Vanpowers UrbanGlide-Pro is to say that the economical value, dependability, and performance score a 10 in my book. The convenience, adaptability, and overall ride comfort can reach a wide assortment of riders and urban ride settings. Furthermore, the ease of charging, the clear and straightforward LCD screen, and ability to carry along whatever you want on the sturdy rack is a bonus. If you are thinking about an electric bike, there are certainly plenty of options out there. Ultimately, hitting that sweet spot with quality and budget is always the goal, and I think we have a solid choice here with the UrbanGlide-Pro. For more information and purchase, please visit www.vanpowers.com.