March 12, 2024

The ONE from Lectric Ebikes: Premium Tech on a Budget

The ONE is Lectric's newest electric bike, packed with premium technology from names like Pinion and Gates, with a shockingly low price tag of just $1,999 USD. It's purpose-built for commuting, loaded with accessories and easily capable of Class 3 speeds thanks to its small weight and beefy 750 watt motor.

The crew over at Lectric Ebikes have a reputation for delivering surprisingly good products at even more surprisingly low prices. They struggled with quality in their early years --mostly because the team had no prior experience with bicycles, electric or otherwise-- but they've learned quickly, and as a result have risen to the #1 spot for e-bike sales in the United States. Not too shabby!

Now Lectric has managed to one-up itself in rather dramatic fashion, unveiling a new commuting electric bike called the One that's packed with some of the most premium components available on the market, but still priced at a budget-friendly price of $1,999. That might not sound super cheap --after all, Lectric sells the XP Lite for just $799-- but when you consider the hardware on the One, it's honestly mind-boggling that Lectric managed to keep the price under two Gs.

While the One has solid components across the board, it's headlined by a Pinion gearbox combined with a Gates Carbon belt. Never heard of Pinion before? Most people haven't, because it's typically found on premium bikes costing north of $10,000, and mostly seen in Europe. Instead of using a traditional derailleur or an internally geared rear hub to change gears, the Pinion drive system has the gearbox mounted in the bottom bracket (between the pedals). These lightweight systems are fully internal, requiring virtually no maintenance compared to derailleur setups, and allow you to instantly shift gears at any time - even when you're not pedaling! Sweetening the deal is Pinion's Smart Shift system, which provides automatic electronic shifting.

I spent a day in Tempe, AZ with the Lectric team and other media members, learning all about the One and riding it around the city. You can watch the video below for the full experience; keep reading for more of my thoughts!

The One is purpose-built for commuters

Lectric focused exclusively on the folding market with the XP and its successive generations. Since then they've expanded into the cargo, trikes, and fat-tire adventure segments; now, with the One, they're preparing to take over commuting. There are lots of thoughtful design touches that make it ideal for commuters, let's run through some of the highlights:

  • Resilient full coverage fenders, plus bright integrated lighting

  • Sturdy rear rack with a standard 20 kg (55 lb) payload capacity, mounting bosses to add a front rack

  • Non-folding frame which provides more stability at speed (the stem does fold down for easier storage)

  • Mid-sized tires provide a perfect balance of agility and comfort, they're also puncture-resistant and equipped with Slime sealant

  • Powerful 750-watt motor, which feels especially powerful due to the One's relatively low weight

  • Excellent pedaling experience with a high-resolution cadence sensor and Lectric's PWR system

  • Hydraulic disc brakes with large 180mm rotors, dual-piston calipers, and motor inhibitors

I want to talk a bit more about that last point. Torque sensors are all the rage these days, and for good reason; they're more responsive and engaging, and feel more natural... at least, to people who are used to riding regular bikes. If you're not a regular cyclist then much of the difference will be lost on you. There's also a lot to be said about how cadence sensors are configured; with proper tuning they're actually quite satisfying to ride, and Lectric has some seriously well-tuned sensors on the One. This is the latest evolution of their signature PWR system, which stands for "Power Wattage Regulation". In a nutshell, it uses PAS levels to control the maximum wattage of the motor without reducing maximum speed, providing a much better pedaling experience (read more about this system here).

The One is also equipped with a 96-magnet cadence sensor, meaning it's incredibly sensitive and kicks on (and off) with very little delay. For comparison, most cadence sensors only have 12 magnets! Lectric co-founder Levi Conlow made another great point about why cadence sensors are ideal for a commuting e-bike (I'm paraphrasing here): "torque sensors require more effort to go faster, and when I'm commuting to work the last thing I want is to show up sweaty and out of breath." Cadence sensors provide the option of getting somewhere fast without having to exhaust yourself, while of course you can still opt to lower your PAS level down to get more exercise at any time.

How the heck did they manage to get the price so low?

That's a question many people are asking, because you would usually pay at least $3,000 for just the Pinion & Gates hardware found on the One. There's the entire rest of the bike to consider: frame, hydraulic brakes, lighting and fenders, premium quality UL certified battery... for anyone experienced with bike components, it seems impossible for this math to work out.

The secret is Lectric's popularity; each of their existing models are the #1 sellers in their respective market segments, which means they're moving an impressively large volume of bikes. That volume translates to a lot of purchasing power! When Lectric wanted to place the largest order in Pinion's history, buying up all of their available Smart Shift systems, Pinion was willing to make a deal for significant discounts. The same strategy works for all the manufacturers making parts for the One.

My First Impressions: The One is extremely well built and fun to ride

The adrenaline junkie in me loves how fast the One is; it's fairly small and lightweight, with 20" tires (which gives a mechanical advantage to the motor)... and yet the motor itself is a hefty 750 watt monster, something you usually only find on large heavy bikes. The One absolutely flies whether you're pedaling or just using the throttle, and cruising at 28 mph is effortless in Level 5 assist. With 85 newton-meters of torque it's a competent hill climber too; I rode it up an insanely steep trail and barely broke a sweat.

It's also very sturdy. Even though the One is designed for commuting, we couldn't resist taking it up (and down) some extremely rough trails in Papagos Park. It was a pretty bumpy ride due to the lack of suspension, but the One still performed admirably, having no problems with the steep ascents. There were no flat tires between the three of us either, despite the abundance of sharp rocks and sticks littering the trail.

The Smart Shift system is truly a treat to ride on. Shifting is electronic, triggering instantly and reducing cable clutter. You can shift at any time, including when you're not pedaling; but the beauty of this system is the automatic mode, which will shift up and down the gears appropriately for your current speed. The default settings for this are pretty good, but you can further dial it in with Pinion's companion smartphone app. You can set a starting gear (if you prefer to start in something higher than first gear when stopped), and you can also set a preferred pedal cadence, say 90 rpm, and then the system will shift accordingly to keep you in that range.

Ultimately, the One is an incredible bargain, delivering tremendous value and a stellar riding experience. I honestly don't have anything negative to say about it yet; but of course, I only got to spend one day with it so far. Stay tuned for a more in-depth review in the near future!

Article by Tyson Roehrkasse
Photo of the author, Tyson Roehrkasse

Tyson Roehrkasse is a technical specialist who has worn just about every hat there is in the IT and software development fields. He began working with PEVs in 2018 as a developer for Electric Bike Review, and immediately became obsessed with learning about e-bike technology. He soon began creating his own reviews on the EBR platform and to date is the second largest contributor of review content there. After a five-year tenure with EBR Tyson moved on to work with other companies in the industry, building websites for other reviewing companies and e-commerce platforms for EV manufacturers. He also continued working as a freelance reviewer, eventually partnering with the Micromobility Industries to produce reviews and other content for their partner site, Ride Review.

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