VanPowers UrbanGlide Pro Ebike review
REVIEW – A lot of electric modes of transportation get reviewed at the Gadgeteer and while I’ll ride the occasional scooter, the electric bike is by far my favorite gadget to review. I think they could be game changers for a lot of people because they are so quick and convenient for short trips, particularly in areas like Los Angeles where the weather makes them a year round option. I’ve been using the VanPowers UrbanGlide-Pro electric bike for about the last month and I have to say, it’s probably the smoothest electric bike I’ve ever ridden.
What is it?
The VanPowers UrbanGlide Pro is an electric bike that is tricked out and built for the city.
What’s in the box?
- The VanPowers UrbanGlide Pro, mostly assembled
- The front tire
- The pedals
- A set of fenders
- A bell
- A front light
- A bunch of tools
- A screen
- Keys to the battery
- A charging cord
- Some reflectors
- Colors: remy green, lava red, zircon gray (I reviewed remy green)
- Frame size S/L (I reviewed the large)
- Weight: 70.55lbs
- Motor: 500W brushless hub
- Sensor: torque sensor
- Range: 65-70 miles
- Mode: pedal assist/throttle
- Rear Derailleur: Microshift RD-M26L 8 Speed
- Brake: hydraulic disc brake/180mm rotors
- Stem: Zoom adjustable stem, 90mm, 0-90 degree
Setup and features
The Vanpowers UrbanGlide-Pro electric bike comes mostly assembled and half the work is removing the packaging. My son and I worked together on this project, with him putting the front wheel on and fenders and I attached the seat, handlebars and accessories (the light, reflectors and bell). It really came together in a snap but we ran into a snag with the cables. This was a pre-launch product, so if you buy this bike I’m sure they will have made it clearer but there are a bunch of color coded cables and all you need to do is hook them together. You are supposed to have the brake cables attached to the cables coming out of the handlebar stem, but (maybe because we were working together) we somehow got the light cable attached to a brake cable causing an error code. We didn’t notice because once the cables are hooked up, you can’t see what color they are and there are quite a few cables. Customer support was great and we had it fixed in fairly short order. I am still working with customer support to get the front light working, though. Perhaps I damaged the connectors when I hooked it up to the brake cable.
Once the error code disappeared I rode it around a bit and I have to say the Vanpowers UrbanGlide-Pro is a really smooth bike. On some other e-bikes I’ve tried, you pedal and the power assist comes on as you’ve stepped on an accelerator…you sort of take off like a rocket. Not on this bike. The power assist is there, but it’s a far more gradual and natural feeling. I poked around through the literature and apparently, there are sensors that measure the speed and force of your pedaling to determine the amount of assist you get from the motor and I guess whatever ratio or algorithm they used to program that makes the difference. Even when you use the throttle by itself on the UrbanGlide-Pro, it’s very sensitive and you can manage the acceleration much more easily than I’ve experienced with other bikes. I can’t really explain it, but it gave the bike a luxury feel. It also felt a lot safer than some of the other e-bikes I’ve reviewed. This bike goes up to 20mph and I went that fast several times during my outings, but I didn’t feel like was out of control or like I might be going “too fast.” It was a solid ride.
I like a bike that comes with accessories, and the UrbanGlide-Pro came loaded with front and rear lights, a rack that will hold up to 55 lbs, a bell and fenders. It’s really ready to go if you are using this as a commuter. The tires are fairly big and the adjustable suspension gives a smooth ride, which is good because the seat is a bit punishing. If you buy this bike, be sure and set aside a little of your budget for a seat replacement. The Vanpowers UrbanGlide-Pro seat is good sized but just plain hard.
I found the aesthetics of this bike to be really pleasing. The battery is nicely integrated into the frame and it makes the VanPowers UrbanGlide Pro electric bike look very sleek. I love a step-thru because hauling my leg up and over a loaded rack is not always the easiest – I’m no Rockette. I made several grocery runs with the bike and had no problem hooking my grocery bags to the rack.
The VanPowers UrbanGlide Pro comes in three models: the UrbanGlide-Standard, which weighs a smidge less and has a range of 60-65 miles. The company sent me a Pro model, which has a bigger battery (with a whopping 65-70 miles of range) and hydraulic disc brakes and a little different derailleur. Mine is in remy green which is so flashy and cheerful. It also comes in lava red and zircon gray and in two sizes. I reviewed the large, which is appropriate for riders 5’6” to 6’3”. The fanciest model is the UrbanGlide-Ultra, which has a similar range but different brakes and a different motor. There is a comparison chart on the product website that outlines the differences between the three models in greater detail if you’re curious. I’m thrilled with my Pro model – it’s a happy medium between the two other models and it’s a pleasure to ride.
I rode the UrbanGlide-Pro in my Los Angeles neighborhood taking care of various errands over the time that I was reviewing. I found it easy to remove the battery for charging but at first, I thought there was something wrong with it because I’d go to ride the bike and sometimes it wouldn’t turn on. It turns out that the battery goes to sleep if you haven’t ridden it in a while. It’s easy enough to punch a button to wake it up, but I had to read the user manual to figure it out. I hope VanPowers makes that feature a bit more obvious or their customer support will be swamped with people who, like me, treat the user manual as a “last resort” option. I don’t think I’m alone in that club.
I found the gear shifter on the UrbanGlide-Pro difficult to get used to. It has a speed shifter that I am having trouble getting the hang of and I just found the whole thing a bit complicated. I am used to bikes with plainer handlebar shifters, so maybe avid “bike people” wouldn’t find it as awkward as I did. I’m hoping I adjust to it over time.
The screen on the UrbanGlide-Pro gives you your speed and distance traveled along with the battery status and if you access the settings you can fine-tune the display and put a password on the bike. The VanPowers app allows you to access all the data about the bike, such as tire size, maintenance information and access to customer support if you need it. It also allows you to add, remove and keep track of different riders and even has a navigation option. There are also rankings if you want to get competitive with friends and strangers. There will also be software updates via the app so I look forward to seeing what they add.
What I like
- The smooth ride
- The whopping range
- Accessories included
What I’d change
- The seat could give me a medical condition
- Better labeling on the cables
Overall I thought the VanPowers UrbanGlide-Pro electric bike is an awesome commuter bike. There were some picky things that bugged me but I expect I’ll either get used to them over time or fix them (like the seat). This is a really nice quality bike that feels solid and smooth.