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This article was published on December 4, 2021

Review: The Lectric XP 2.0 fat-tire folding ebike is a huge bargain

Oodles of power in a beefy folding frame

Review: The Lectric XP 2.0 fat-tire folding ebike is a huge bargain

While I personally tend to gravitate toward lighter ebikes with stealthy motor systems, these tend to have weaker motors and drive up the price. Sometimes you just want a powerful electric bike that won’t break the bank — but that also doesn’t make huge sacrifices on quality. For that, the Lectric XP 2.0 has you covered.

Lectric has taken the American ebike market by storm since its launch in 2019. The company only really sells one ebike, the folding Lectric XP, but it comes in standard and step-through frames for those who’d prefer a lower standover height (I tested the latter). Now in its 2.0 iteration — which adds a suspension fork and slightly narrower tires — the ebike delivers a seriously compelling combination of power and features at a price of $949 (on sale from an MSRP of $1,099), with shipping included.

Some basic specs and key features first:

  • 500W (850W peak) geared rear hub motor
  • 460 Wh removable integrated battery with a claimed range of 45+ miles with pedal assist
  • 5 levels of pedal assist and twist throttle
  • Tektro 160mm mechanical disc brakes
  • 20″ x 3″ puncture-resistant, knobby CST fat tires
  • 7-gear Shimano tourney drivetrain
  • Class 3 designation allows a max pedaling speed of 28mph and a max throttle of 20mph (speed limit can be adjusted to fit local regulations)
  • 12-magnet cadence sensor
  • Integrated headlight and tail light
  • Large handlebar display
  • Adjustable hydraulic oil suspension fork
  • 330 lbs payload capacity
  • Beefy 75lb-rated rear rack included
  • 64 lbs overall weight
  • Folded dimensions: 37 x 18 x 28 inches
  • Arrives fully assembled
  • 1-year warranty
  • Available in white or black
  • Ships only to the contiguous 48 US states and Canada (the latter is an extra $200)
  • Optional accessories include a brighter headlight ($50), a suspension seatpost ($89), front racks and baskets, and more

Lectric XP 2.0 Step-Thru ebike frame and fork

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The first thing that struck me about the Lectric XP upon unboxing — it arrives fully assembled — is just how nicely put together it feels.  The build quality feels a notch above its price point, and the cables are also neatly managed while still being accessible for repairs.

Though I could do without the conspicuous branding, the paint job has a really nice glossy finish that feels much classier than many cheap ebikes. Notably, Lectric even paints the suspension fork to match the rest of the bike; most other ebikes this price don’t even bother.

While I sometimes worry about how some cheaper bikes will hold up over time, the Lectric XP 2.0 gives the impression of a bike that isn’t meant for the junkyard in two years. The proof is in the pudding, of course — the company has only been around a few years, after all — but it’s a positive first impression.

It should go without saying by now that this isn’t the type of ebike you get if you want something that mostly rides like a regular bike with a bit of assist. While it can be pedaled comfortably, you’ll want to have the motor engaged for anything other than leisurely strolls through flat terrain — and I expect many will use this bike more like a moped.

It’s a good thing, then, that this motor has plenty of power. The beefy 500W motor could readily power my heavy self up hills, even when just using the throttle. Of course, you’ll get the most benefit when you put in some work of your own, but you don’t need to.

Lectric XP 2.0 Step-Thru ebike motor

The bike only offers a basic cadence sensor (as opposed to a torque sensor), so the pedaling experience isn’t anything to write home about. This isn’t a knock against Lectric, mind you — I’ve never tested an ebike below $1,000 that does have a torque sensor, and they usually don’t show up until you cross the $2,000 threshold.

But in any case, the Lectric is clearly tuned to be on the zippier side of the spectrum, with the assist kicking in rather rapidly, as opposed to the more gradual assist of some cadence-based ebikes. It takes about half to a full pedal rotation before you really feel the motor kick in, which would be an issue at a red light or at the bottom of a hill if not for the throttle.

As with many throttle-enabled ebikes, I found that instead of changing gears when I came to a stop, I’d simply accelerate using the throttle, before returning to pedaling once I hit a comfortable speed. It’s a much welcome option even if, like me, you do prefer to pedal, as I’m able to easily get the jump on cars from a red light, helping me feel safer on the roads.

The XP 2.0 also offers a much cushier ride than most 20-inch wheels — or many bikes in general — thanks to the beefy tires and a decent adjustable suspension fork. The fact that my review unit included a suspension seatpost makes riding the Lectric XP absurdly cozy.

Lectric XP 2.0 Step-Thru ebike latch and key
The Lectric XP needs its key to be inserted in order to work, kind of like an older car.

That’s all great if your primary goal is comfort while riding your ebikes — for many, that’s an accessibility issue — but I hope Lectric considers expanding its ebikes with lighter options in the future. For my personal tastes, I think all the chunky tires and suspension are a little overkill and add their own inconveniences, especially for city dwellers.

For one, the fat tire rims mean it will be harder to find tire replacement when the eventual flat happens; in my experience, bike shops often don’t even stock these types of fat tires and are more likely to be reluctant to work on fat-tire ebikes. Good old balloon tires on a more traditional narrow rim would still offer a substantial degree of cushioning while providing a more nimble ride and making it easier to find a replacement.

For another, the beefy components also mean the bike ends up among the heavier ebikes I’ve tested at 67lbs, despite the small wheel diameter. Having tested a few dozen ebikes in a small NYC apartment, I’ve come to realize that even with ebikes, it’s useful to shave off pounds here and there.

It’s not a problem if you intend to keep the bike in a garage or can otherwise lock it up in a secure ground-level location, but it becomes less convenient for a city dweller who might have to often lug the bike up the stairs to the apartment, or for multi-modal commuters who might want to bring the bike onto a train. It’s also not the type of folding bike I might throw in a shopping cart to bring inside the grocery story store with me, like I might with the svelte Brompton Electric or Fiido D11.

Lectric XP 2.0 Step-Thru ebike folded
The folding design is useful for storing the bike in your apartment, but it’s not the lightest or most compact in this regard.

To be fair, this is also the case for every fat-tire folding bike I’ve seen, so it’s not just a dig at Lectric. And I recognize that for many customers, the fat tires are a pro, not a con. But given the company only sells the XP at the moment — I hope the company considers lighter options in the future.

I should also note that I much appreciate the ‘handle’ welded in the middle of the frame. It’s positioned right at the bike’s center of gravity and makes a huge difference for lugging the bike around compared to other heavy ebikes that are also awkward to hold.

Given the bike’s weight, it’s a good thing you shouldn’t have to pedal the bike often on an empty battery. Lectric claims 45 miles of range, and based on my experience, that seems realistic on the lower assist levels — which still provide ample power — as long as you don’t use the throttle often.

The big bright display offers plenty of information and is very legible at both day and night.

With a mix of pedaling and throttle in assist level 5 for a 260lb ish rider, I found I could just about reach 20 miles of range in mostly flat NYC terrain. Nearly omitting throttle use and dropping down to assist levels 2 and 3 increases the range dramatically; I found I could complete the same 20 mile trip with half the battery left. A lighter rider should be able to exceed 45 miles on level 1, which still provides a noticeable level of assistance. I also really appreciate that Lectric provides 10 levels to its battery indicator, as opposed to the 4 or 5 on most ebikes.

And because I don’t know where else to stick it in this review, I definitely recommend the headlight upgrade. I don’t know how good the default headlight is, but for $50 more, the premium headlight is brighter and has a better beam pattern than some $2,000+ ebikes I’ve tested.

The Lectric XP isn’t going to blow your mind with its features or the smoothest pedal assist, but it offers tremendous value in a beefy build that belies its price. As long as low weight and the most authentic pedaling experience aren’t high on your priority list, the Lectric XP 2.0 strikes me as one of the best bargains in the ebike market.

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