While I definitely appreciate the nicities of premium electric bicycles, I also understand that plunking down several thousand dollars on an e-bike isn’t in the cards for many people. So with that frame of mind, I went into this review of the $799 Macwheel Cruiser electric bike looking to see what a budget Amazon e-bike could deliver.
And I came away optimistic for all of the new e-bike riders out there looking to get into the hobby on a shoestring budget.
Macwheel Cruiser tech specs
- Motor: 350W rear hub motor
- Top speed: 32 km/h (20 mph)
- Range: Up to 40 km (25 mi)
- Battery: 36V 10Ah (360 Wh)
- Max load: 120 kg (264 lb)
- Frame: Aluminum, step-through style
- Tires: Kenda 27.5″ x 2.1″
- Suspension: Front only
- Brakes: Tektro mechanical disc brakes
- Extras: LCD display with speedometer, battery gauge, PAS level indicator, both throttle and pedal assist operation, included rear rack with hinged clip, front and rear LED lights, fenders, electrical horn
Macwheel Cruiser e-bike video review
Check out my video review of the Macwheel Cruiser below. Then read on for my full thoughts on this e-bike!
First, the good stuff
The Macwheel Cruiser has a number of positives, but also a few key drawbacks.
I’ll start with the good stuff, since there’s a lot to like here.
First of all, there’s the low entry price. It’s just $799 on Amazon, making it one of the most affordable e-bikes we’ve ever covered. We’ve seen plenty of e-bikes under $1k, but they rarely drop this low.
When they do, they’re usually pretty cheap e-bikes in terms of quality.
But Macwheel managed to drop into ultra-budget e-bike territory without making the usual sacrifices.
You get a fully functional e-bike that gets up to 20 mph (despite the bike’s description claiming a 15.5 mph top speed for some reason).
The bike sports a really nice looking integrated battery and frame instead of the traditional here’s-a-battery-bolted-on-somewhere designs we usually see in this price range.
Heck, even Rad Power Bikes is still doing bolt-on batteries instead of the beautiful integrated batteries found on most $2-3,000 e-bikes.
There are name-brand Tektro disc brakes, Shimano shifter/transmission, a heavy-duty rear rack with spring clip, included fenders, front and rear LED lights that run off the main battery, nicely wrapped cables instead of a rat’s nest of wires, and adjustable stem for more ergonomic handlebar placement, etc.
At just $799, the Machweel Cruiser is sporting a lot of the features that are normally reserved for e-bikes in the four digit price range.
But what about the bad stuff?
Of course a budget e-bike is going to have to make sacrifices, and the Macwheel Cruiser certainly does.
The biggest cost saving measure is probably the battery. At just 360 Wh, it is below average capacity for the industry.
Macwheel claims up to 50 miles (80 km) of range if you keep it in the lowest pedal assist level. And that might technically be true under optimal conditions, but real-world range is likely going to be closer to 25 miles (40 km) with medium pedal assist and closer to 15 miles (25 km) with throttle-only riding.
While you get name bike brand parts, they aren’t high end. The brakes, shifters and other components are all low-tier parts. That doesn’t mean they aren’t good – just that they aren’t each suppliers’ fancier gear. They’re the parts you get when a company wants the bike to say “Shimano” on it but doesn’t want to spend a lot of money either.
The fork says “STRONG” on it, though I’m not going to take it at its word. I didn’t have a problem with it and the bike is obviously designed for normal leisurely riding, not sweet jumps. But the fork is a basic spring suspension fork and doesn’t even offer lockout. Nothing fancy there.
And lastly, the acceleration isn’t super quick. When you turn the throttle, the 36V system and 350W motor take a few seconds longer than most 48V e-bikes to get you up to the 20 mph (32 km/h) top speed. There just isn’t as much torque and power here.
So how does the Macwheel Cruiser shake out in the end?
When I look at the good and bad combined, I come away fairly optimistic. For the price, I’m fine with lower-tier yet still name-brand components and the slightly lower power.
I can trade a bit of battery capacity for an integrated battery that looks slick (and looks like it should cost more than it does).
And I can appreciate that I don’t have to start spending $20 here and $30 there to add accessories like racks, fenders and lights. The bike comes with everything you need included in the $799 price tag.
So all told, this is a great entry-level electric bicycle. It gets you Class 2 e-bike speeds that are fast enough for everyday riding and it does it in a package that actually looks good. This is a budget e-bike that doesn’t look like a budget e-bike. Finally.
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