Here at ebike Escape, we’ve come to recognize Ride1Up as a brand that consistently delivers exceptional value to its customers. The Ride1Up Prodigy ST stands as a testament to this commitment, emerging as one of the pioneers in offering a budget-oriented mid-drive electric bike at an attractive price point.
In this comprehensive review, we’ll delve into a detailed examination of the components that make up the Ride1Up Prodigy. Furthermore, I’ll provide insightful commentary during the first-person riding footage, aiming to elucidate why a mid-drive bike might be the ideal choice for certain riders.
Our exploration will extend to scrutinizing the German-engineered mid-drive motor’s performance in our rigorous Hill Climb test. By the end of the review, I’ll distill all these insights into a concise and accessible conclusion, offering a clear recommendation on whether the Ride1Up Prodigy aligns with your needs. Join us as we take an in-depth look at the features and capabilities that define the Prodigy.
|Lightweight Alloy Frame with internal protected & locked electronics
|Brose TF Sprinter German made mid-drive motor with 90nm torque
|Brose Display Allround, 1.5" Color
|Tektro HD-M745 180mm Hydraulic
|microSHIFT Advent SL-M819
|Black Stainless Steel, 13G
|Uno SP-719 350mm x 31.6mm Dual Bolt
|Maxxis Forekaster 27.5"x2.4"
|36V14ah Phylion BN21, Samsung Cells, Smart BMS
|120mm Travel, 32mm Stanchion diameter, Air Suspension, Hydraulic Lockout
Design and Build Quality
The Ride1Up Prodigy ST impresses with its design and build quality, offering a budget-friendly yet feature-packed mid-drive e-bike option. As a frequent viewer of the channel, you may recall that this is not the first encounter with the Prodigy series, having previously examined the XC model, which caters to off-road and mountain biking enthusiasts.
The Prodigy ST is the step-through version, providing a convenient and accessible frame design. It accommodates riders with a height range of 5’1″ to 6’3″, making it suitable for a broad spectrum of users. The high-step XR and XC models cover a height range of 5’6″ to 6’4″. All three frame variations have a robust weight capacity of 300 lbs, while the total weight of the bike, including the battery, is 58 lbs.
In terms of aesthetics, the Prodigy series is available in various color options. The step-through ST model comes in gray and chalk white, while the high-step XR and XC models offer a chameleon paint option with a captivating color shift in purple, green, and blue hues. The chameleon paint option does incur a slight upcharge.
Moving on to the key components, the Prodigy ST boasts a notable upgrade in its braking system. The Tektro Orion four-piston hydraulic brakes deliver enhanced stopping power, clamping onto a substantial 180mm Tektro front rotor. This improvement is particularly noteworthy for riders seeking reliable braking performance.
For commuting convenience, the front of the Prodigy ST features a sturdy metal fender that wraps down low, providing effective protection against road spray and debris. The bike is equipped with Swabian G1 speed tires, featuring a fairly smooth tread pattern ideal for urban commuting and bike paths, ensuring a balance of grip and efficiency.
The Prodigy ST incorporates a rigid front fork, contributing to a more responsive and direct riding experience. The front wheel is easily removable with a quick-release mechanism, facilitating transportation or storage needs. Adding to the commuting-focused features, the bike includes an 80 Lux Bush & Muller always-on front headlight, promoting visibility and safety during low-light conditions.
Navigating the cockpit, the Tektro Orion front brake lever is featured, lacking a motor cutoff due to the mid-drive motor’s ability to quickly cut power when needed. The inclusion of ergonomic locking grips adds to the rider’s comfort during longer rides.
Continuing with the examination of the Ride1Up Prodigy ST, attention turns to the rear rack, a notable addition to the bike’s utility. This rear rack is both robust and well-equipped, featuring integrated LED rear tail lights. While not brake-actuated, the tail light provides additional visibility for riders, a thoughtful inclusion. The rear rack also incorporates practical pannier hangers on the sides, and its impressive total weight capacity of 40 lbs enhances the bike’s versatility for carrying cargo.
Moving to the rear drivetrain, the Prodigy ST is equipped with a Microshift Advent rear derailleur, responsible for smoothly shifting the chain across an 11 to 34 tooth rear cassette. The inclusion of an 11-tooth cog adds a nice touch for riders seeking versatility in their gearing. Additionally, the presence of a cassette allows for easy replacement if necessary. At the front, a single-edged metal chain guard covers a 46-tooth front chain ring, contributing to the bike’s clean and streamlined aesthetic.
Ride1Up doesn’t overlook the small details, evident in features like the Ride1Up rear chain safe protector with an encouraging message to “take your riding to the next level.” Positioned just above is a shift sensor, a thoughtful addition that cuts power to the motor during gear shifts, prolonging the life of the chain and cassette.
An often underappreciated component, the Selle Royale Viento seat, takes center stage. Known for its comfort, the seat features a design that promotes airflow and a plush top for added comfort. While personal preferences vary, the general consensus is that the seat provides a satisfactory riding experience.
With this comprehensive overview of the components, the Prodigy ST stands out as a well-designed and feature-rich e-bike. The attention to detail, from the integrated rear light to the small touches like the chain protector and shift sensor, reflects Ride1Up’s commitment to providing a quality riding experience. As the component review concludes, the focus shifts to the riding experience and whether a mid-drive e-bike is the right choice for potential riders. The transition is seamlessly made to first-person riding footage, where the bike’s performance and handling are showcased, offering valuable insights for prospective buyers.
Display and Controls
The Ride1Up Prodigy ST continues to impress as we explore the details of its cockpit and frame design. On the left-hand side, a prominent feature is the Brower display, providing riders with a wealth of information about their e-bike experience. The handlebars, with a gentle swept-back angle, contribute to a comfortable and upright riding position.
A standout element on the right side is the Microshift Advent 9-speed trigger shifter, neatly tucked under the handlebars. Microshift is gaining recognition as a reliable brand, and its presence on the Prodigy ST adds to the bike’s overall dependability.
Moving to the display, the Brower unit offers a user-friendly interface. To power on the bike, a press-and-hold action on the power button is required. The display features two buttons on the bottom for navigation, and an additional set on the right for adjusting pedal assist levels. The display presents essential information such as headlight status, pedal assist level, current speed, trip details, and battery level through LED bars.
One notable feature is the headlight that automatically turns on when the bike is powered up, enhancing safety during rides. The pedal assist level is displayed in the upper right corner, allowing riders to easily monitor and adjust their assistance level on the go.
The Brower display offers a comprehensive menu with various options, from total trip information to settings customization. Users can select different screen layouts, toggle between light and dark modes, and even activate an automatic brightness adjustment based on ambient light conditions. The display also supports Bluetooth connectivity for integration with the Brower app.
As the review delves deeper into the display’s functionality, it becomes evident that while not as customizable as some other displays, the Brower unit offers a good balance of features and user-friendly options. The ability to toggle between screens, adjust brightness, and customize settings provides riders with a tailored e-biking experience.
Transitioning from the cockpit to the frame, the Prodigy ST features a well-designed step-through frame, facilitating easy mounting and dismounting. The frame design is accommodating, with ample space for riders to comfortably swing their leg over. Bottle cage bosses on the frame’s left side offer the convenience of hydration or additional accessories.
A thoughtful note is provided regarding the potential loss of step-through height if accessories like locks or bottle cages are attached. The solution, an “Anywhere Cage” available on the ebik Escape store, allows riders to mount accessories without compromising the step-through height.
Ride1Up Prodigy ST: Motor
Beneath the battery of the Ride1Up Prodigy ST, a key component steals the spotlight—the Brose TF Sprinter motor. This powerful motor boasts a torque output of approximately 80 Newton-meters, promising a robust and responsive riding experience. The real-world performance of this motor is eagerly anticipated and will be thoroughly tested to validate its claimed torque capacity.
Complementing the motor is a reliable and efficient Welgo pedal, ensuring a secure and comfortable connection between the rider and the e-bike. The choice of quality pedals is often an overlooked but crucial aspect of the overall riding experience.
Delving into the rear of the bike, attention is drawn to the Brose speed sensor thoughtfully located on the rear chainstay. This sensor, coupled with a matching magnet, plays a vital role in ensuring precise and accurate speed measurement. The integration of the sensor into the chainstay contributes to the bike’s clean aesthetic and reduces vulnerability to external elements.
As the first-person riding footage unfolds, the Ride1Up Prodigy ST showcases its capabilities on flat terrain. With the Brose TF Sprinter motor delivering a claimed torque of around 80 Newton-meters, the bike provides a responsive and powerful ride. The rider demonstrates the various pedal assist levels, from Eco to Boost, showcasing the motor’s ability to seamlessly integrate with the rider’s effort and deliver an enjoyable pedaling experience.
The bike effortlessly cruises along gravel paths, responding to changes in terrain and maintaining a consistent cadence. The absence of a throttle emphasizes the reliance on pedaling, making it a class one e-bike in certain regions. The mid-drive motor’s contribution to a natural pedaling experience is highlighted, offering assistance without overpowering the rider.
Transitioning to a paved path, the Prodigy ST effortlessly reaches higher speeds, showcasing its versatility. The rider emphasizes the smooth transition between pedal assist levels, demonstrating the bike’s adaptability to different riding conditions. The Brose TF Sprinter motor proves its worth as the bike effortlessly reaches and maintains speeds of 28 mph, showcasing its capabilities beyond the standard e-bike speed limits.
The hill climb test reveals the Prodigy ST’s prowess on inclines. The rider, weighing 225 lbs, engages various pedal assist levels to ascend a challenging hill. Despite the rider’s size, the mid-drive motor efficiently powers the bike up the incline, maintaining a steady cadence. The bike’s ability to handle hills, even in the lowest pedal assist mode, speaks to the motor’s torque and the overall design of the e-bike.
As the descent begins, the upgraded four-piston Tektro Orion hydraulic disc brakes demonstrate their effectiveness in slowing down the bike from higher speeds. The rider experiences smooth deceleration without excessive hand effort, showcasing the reliability of the braking system.
So, the first-person riding footage provides a comprehensive look at the Ride1Up Prodigy ST’s performance on various terrains and under different riding conditions. The Brose TF Sprinter motor, combined with thoughtful design features, results in an e-bike that excels in providing a natural, responsive, and enjoyable riding experience.
Battery and Range
Located conveniently in the lower tube of the Ride1Up Prodigy ST is the heart of its power – the battery. Positioned on the left-hand side, a notable feature is the battery charge port, allowing users to charge the battery on or off the bike. The Prodigy ST comes equipped with a 2-amp charger, providing a practical charging solution.
To access the battery, one must engage the lock tumbler on the driver’s side of the bike. Turning the keys towards the front of the bike causes the battery to flip down, revealing a metal prong that needs to be pushed up for the battery to be released. While a slight upward push may be required, the removal process is straightforward.
The battery itself is a 36-volt, 14-amp hour unit, equating to a 504-watt hour battery. Despite the lower voltage, mid-drive bikes like the Prodigy ST, equipped with a torque sensor, can maximize range and deliver power more efficiently. The design and functionality of mid-drive motors play a significant role in how power is delivered, contributing to a different riding experience compared to hub drive motors.
The battery features a Samsung cell, known for its reliability and longevity. A convenient five-LED bar on the side provides a quick visual indication of the battery’s remaining charge.
The battery plug, positioned on the top, simplifies the charging process when the battery is removed from the bike.
A unique aspect of the Prodigy ST’s design is the IP65 rating, signifying water resistance. While not recommended, the e-bike can withstand exposure to water, making it more resilient in challenging weather conditions.
To reinsert the battery, the front is tucked in first, followed by securing the back. A gentle tug ensures a secure fit. Notably, the keys are only required for the removal of the battery and are not necessary for turning the bike on or off.
Ride1Up Prodigy ST: Conclusions
Overall, revisiting the Ride1Up Prodigy ST, especially the step-through version, after over 18 months since its initial release has reaffirmed its greatness. The Prodigy series, including the XE version we initially tested, challenged the conventional belief that a high-quality mid-drive e-bike must come from a well-established or big-box brand. Offering an impressive spec list and a sub-$2,000 price tag, the Prodigy has continued to impress.
The Prodigy ST, designed with a more commuting and leisure riding focus, comes with notable upgrades. It features the German-made Brose TF motor, a 9-speed Microshift drivetrain, and now boasts four-piston Tektro hydraulic disc brakes. Unlike the XC version, the ST comes equipped with street-treaded Schwalbe tires, metal fenders, a rear rack with an integrated brake light, and an always-on 80-lux front headlight. The Prodigy is essentially ready to hit the road straight out of the box.
Assembly, which used to be a consideration for potential buyers, has been streamlined in the latest version. With minimal assembly requirements, including handlebar, front wheel, fender, and pedal installation, the Prodigy is now more user-friendly than ever.
When evaluating the crucial components of any e-bike – the motor and battery – the Prodigy’s 36-volt Brose motor system and 14-amp hour battery prove to be more than capable in practice. The motor’s 90 Nm of torque effortlessly handles hill climbs, and the battery, despite its seemingly lower capacity on paper, aligns well with the efficiency of mid-drive motors, offering a substantial range.
Some considerations include the absence of a suspension front fork in the step-through version, opting for a rigid front fork, and the lack of a throttle. These characteristics position the Prodigy as a more on-road-focused e-bike, suitable for riders who appreciate a traditional pedal experience and are comfortable with a direct-to-consumer brand.
In the sub-$2,000 price range, the Prodigy ST stands out, providing excellent value for money. While there may be slightly more expensive options from well-known brands, the Prodigy competes favorably, offering a compelling choice for riders seeking a versatile, mid-drive e-bike. The Prodigy is especially well-suited for those who enjoy cycling and prioritize exercise while benefiting from the assistance of an e-bike. Overall, the Prodigy series continues to be a great option, and Ride1Up’s commitment to subtle upgrades demonstrates their dedication to delivering quality and value.