Ariel Rider X-Class Review: The Best Value Moped-Style Ebike?
It seems as though moped-style electric bikes are all the rage as of late. These ebikes ignore traditional bike frame design and riding geometry, trotting their own path. This has resulted in some really unique designs which makes it all the more difficult to decide which moped-style electric bike is best for you. I had to see what all the fuss was about and was really excited to do an Ariel Rider X-Class review. The X-Class was a new model for Ariel Rider in 2020. They also offer the D-Class which is worth considering if you want an even more powerful, dual-motor electric bike.
The Ariel Rider X-Class is no ordinary moped-style electric bike. At just $1,500 it might just be the best value when it comes to this type of ebike. In fact, it packs features you don’t often see in a $1,500 ebike period. Plus, it is a head-turner, coming in a metallic blue or red (touch-up paint included!).
My full video review, complete with riding footage is shared at the end of this post.
Moped-Style Ebikes and Comfort
Before I get into the specs of the X-Class I want to discuss the fit of these types of ebikes generally. Most moped-style electric bikes have no seat-height adjustability with the exception of the RadRunner from Rad Power Bikes and the Juiced Scorpian, which offers a seat riser as an accessory. For the most part, I recommend these types of ebikes to people who are going to use it more as an electric moped and less so as a bike that you would pedal. The reality is that a majority of people will not be able to achieve proper leg extension to make a moped-style electric bike easy to pedal for long periods of time. With anything, there are of course exceptions. It is just important to be aware that this will not feel like a standard bike.
How Fast is the Ariel Rider X-Class?
Thus, if you’re considering a moped-style electric bike you should pay close attention to the motor and battery size. Motor, for the amount of power to get you going with no pedaling and a large battery for a longer range on throttle only. According to Ariel Rider, they have custom made motors for 2020 which have higher torque and higher RPM. The motor is rated at 750 watts nominal/1500 watts peak and comes shipped as a class 2 ebike. They are made by a company called Hengtai. Hengtai is a new name to me, but I have to say the motor performance is impressive. I have not seen any other ebike at $1,500 that compares to the motor which comes with the X-Class.
Using pedal assist in the seventh gear (biggest gear on the X-Class) I was able to to ‘help’ the bike along with my own power in pedal-assist levels 1 and 2. This means that in pedal-assist level 3 you are able to spin the pedals but the motor is too powerful for you to provide any of your own power. Some X-Class owners in the Ariel Rider Facebook group have opted to swap up the front chainring with a 52 tooth chainring. If you plan to pedal the X-Class a lot, you may want to consider this upgrade.
On throttle alone, I was able to achieve a max speed of 28 mph. In order to do the same, you will need to override the max speed in settings within the display. Note that overriding speed limiters should only be done for off-road or private property riding since at this point it is no longer a Class 2 ebike.
Ariel Rider X-Class Range
It’s important to be aware that you will not achieve near the 45-65+ miles per charge that Ariel Rider estimates on their website when riding at high speeds and accelerating quickly. This is true of any moped style electric bike, so make sure you are comparing battery sizes across models. Conservatively I think the range is around 20 miles (throttle only) to about 40 miles if you’re using a low pedal assist. For us and I imagine for many others, this provides plenty of range for getting around the city.
The Ariel Rider X-Class sports a 15.6 Ah battery as listed on the battery case (the Ariel Rider website rounds up to 16). This is larger than you’ll see on many ebikes at this price point as many will have 14 Ah batteries. Ariel Rider informed me that these batteries are using LG cells. Regardless of the ebike you decide is best for you, it is important to make sure that they are using name brand cells. Oftentimes you will see LG or Samsung cells. Note that Ariel Rider does sell extra batteries on their website for $500.
X-Class Brakes, Lights and Suspension
Besides the motor and battery, the next most impressive feature was the Tektro hydraulic disc brakes. I am only aware of a few different companies which offer hydraulic disc brakes at the $1,500 price point. One is the popular 700 Series from Ride1Up. In my experience, hydraulic disc brakes are superior to mechanical disc brakes. Not only do they feel better, since they aren’t cable-actuated but I also find them easier to adjust since both pads are clamping on to the disc. Mechanical disc brakes wouldn’t be a deal-breaker for an ebike at this price point, but it is definitely a deal sweetener. For safety, motor inhibitors are built-in, meaning as soon as you press either brake, power is cut to the motor.
The X-Class comes with a large integrated 80 lux headlight which compliments the rest of the design of this ebike. In my opinion, the X-Class is one of the most attractive moped-style electric bikes. The styling resembles more of a motorcycle than a scooter. This is in part due to the placement of the handlebars which are more forward-leaning and aggressive.
There is an adjustable stem so you can angle the handlebars up to your liking. I did adjust the stem slightly upwards and found it to be more comfortable. On the rear of the bike is an integrated Spanninga rear light which provides an impressive amount of visibility in daylight conditions. It is also activated by braking, which is a nice touch.
On top of all of the features I have already discussed, the X-Class offers both front and rear suspension. I found the front suspension, which is an inverted suspension fork to be a little sticky when it first arrived but it has loosened up over time. The rear suspension is a nice touch and adds some comfort though it is sometimes hard to tell how much cushion it is providing. Both are adequate when you consider the price, but there is good news for new X-Class owners.
Improvements coming to the X-Class
The X-Class I received is the first generation. Many ebike companies continuously make tweaks to their bikes based on customer feedback. Recently Ariel Rider shared the updates that are in store for those that are making purchases today. This includes black swing arms, an improved front suspension fork, better rear suspension, and improved front light. The kickstand was also moved to avoid hitting the pedals against it.
Other Thoughts on the X-Class
Another feature that sets this bike apart from some of the competition is the ability to put a passenger on the back. The included metal footpegs are great and my wife and I who are admittedly on the smaller side had a blast riding together. The stated weight limit of the Ariel Rider X-Class according to the manual is 320 lbs.
The seat serves its purpose but it isn’t the most comfortable bike seat I’ve been on. It feels firm so perhaps it will soften up over time. The seat is also wider than a standard bike seat and you may find that your thighs rub against the seat while pedaling depending on your position. The bike is pretty heavy at around 79 lbs which is in the range of similar style ebikes if not slightly heavier. But the street tread fat tires make the X-Class feel very stable and it comes with a solid kickstand.
While this ebike looks a bit small on the website you should take note of the standover height. My wife is 5′ 5″ and can hop on the bike comfortably with her tippy-toes. The standover height is about 34 1/4″, measured from the ground to the top of the seat.
If you decide to purchase the Ariel Rider X-Class you may want to replace the bell with a proper bike horn. In addition, grippier pedals are a nice upgrade to keep your feet locked into place. Check out our full Ariel Rider X-Class accessories list.
The included display is a small and simple black and white display. My only complaint is that it does not display current watt usage, a metric that I like to keep an eye on to ensure I’m not running the motor too hard. The X-Class is equipped with a left-side thumb throttle. Ariel Rider completes the package with plastic fenders. The rear fender comes pre-installed but you will need to install the front fender, front light, handlebars, and front wheel.
Overall, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly moped-style electric bike the X-Class should be on your list. I was a bit skeptical given the $1,500 price-point but Ariel Rider certainly delivered on this bike. And the good news is, it is only going to get better if you’re considering this bike today. I am excited to hear what new owners have to say about the improvements and hope to test out other bikes in the Ariel Rider lineup.
I hope you enjoyed this Ariel Rider X-Class review. If you plan to purchase any of the models from Ariel Rider please consider using my affiliate link which helps support Ebike Escape.