Frame and Contact Points
Power — Vinka mid drive, 350 nominal watts, 720 peak watts, 80 Nm torque
Speed — 20 mph, upgradable to 28 mph ($49 USD)
Battery and Range — 48 volt 10.4 ah, 40 miles, upgradable 14 ah ($99 USD)
Pedal assist sensor — Torque sensor and speed sensor
Display — LCD
Frame and weight — 6061 Aluminum alloy, 62 pounds
Suspension — RST Volant, 60 mm
Gearing — Sram X4, 8 speed, upgradeable Nuvincci CVT ($599 USD)
Brakes — Tektro Auriga, hydraulic disc, 180 mm rotors
Warranty — 12 month comprehensive
Price — Starting at $1,699 USD ($2,899 USD MSRP)
What’s up, everybody and welcome back to another episode of Electrified Reviews! If this is your first time stopping by, then hello and welcome to the channel! If you’ve been here before, well, then it’s great to see you back.
Today we’re reviewing the Ontro G1, or as I’ve come to call it, the Cadillac of city commuters. This electric bike has some seriously nice top-shelf components and is highly functional and versatile. But, with high quality comes a high price tag, and the G1’s MSRP clocks in at a hefty $2,899 USD. Thankfully, the G1 is launching on Indiegogo which of course means there’s going to be quite a bit of savings for the early adopters. The Indiegogo price starts at $1,699 USD. Oh, and there’s plenty of upgrades on the table too.
The G1 comes in three different frame sizes that can comfortably accommodate riders from 5’2” all the way up to 6’5”, and comes in two different colors — Matte Pearl White and Matte Mineral Grey. The raised, slightly swept back handlebars and overall geometry on the G1 make for a comfortable, upright riding posture, and the the low standover height makes it incredibly approachable. This is a jack-of-all trades ebike that can fill quite a few different roles surprisingly well, and with that, let’s go ahead and dive into the specs.
The G1 has a Vinka 350 nominal watt, 720 peak watt mid-drive motor with a very sweet 80 Newton meters of torque. And because this motor is a mid drive, it means it can maximize its torque and power output through the G1’s gearing, just like the rider does when they’re pedaling and shifting gears. And, that’s a trick hub drives just can’t do. The Vinka mid-drive motor feels strong, like really strong, especially for just 350 nominal watts. Put it in low gear and I’m telling you, it just pulls up hills. That said, this is our first time testing a Vinka motor and it is noticeably louder and whinier, especially when it’s under heavy torque in the lowest gearing.
Having a mid-drive also affects handling, in a good way. Because the motor is in the middle of the frame instead of in one of the wheels, it keeps the G1 properly balanced. Mid-drive motors are also suspended, which means they receive far less wear and tear from vibration compared to hub drives.
And just for some extra icing on this cake, the G1 also has a torque sensor, which as I’m sure you know by now we absolutely love torque sensors. Torque sensors measure the pressure placed on the cranks, and essentially use that information to determine how much power to give you. So, the harder you pedal, the more power you get, essentially enhancing your ride and leaving you feeling empowered.
The Vinka mid-drive will bring the G1 to a pedal assist and throttle top speed of 20 mph, or 28 mph if you want to pay an extra $49. Honestly though it feels like this should just be a standard option that’s included with the bike, not a paid upgrade. Now, just a note here, the G1 we received for review is a prototype so it actually doesn’t have a throttle on it, but the final version will.
The G1 comes stock with a Sram X4 derailleur with an 8-speed cassette. This is a solid, high-quality component, which is exactly what you want when dealing with a mid-drive motor because they can put higher strain on the drive system compared to hub drives. Speaking of stressing out the drive system, it’s uncertain if Ontro will offer shift detection on the final version of the G1, but the sample we received did not have it. With a 350-watt mid-drive it’s not really necessary to have shift detection, but we’d still rather see it than not.
Now, again, the Sram X4 is a really good derailleur, but if you want to just go absolutely bananas on upgrades, Ontro is also offering the G1 with a NuVinci continuously variable transmission, or CVT, for an additional $599 USD. Swapping out a derailleur for a CVT is like going from driving a stick shift to an automatic. It’s pretty breezy.
To power the G1 we have a stock 48 volt, 10.4 amp hour battery with a max estimated range of around 40 miles, and, you guessed it, there’s an upgrade option here as well. The upgraded battery costs an additional $99 USD and is a 48 volt, 14 amp hour battery with a max estimated range of around 56 miles. The battery is locking and removable, and actually comes off the G1 in an unique way. Instead of sliding off, like most ebike batteries, this one kind of pivots out. But the coolest things about these batteries is that they are interchangeable with all of the eBikes from Ontro. Big points there.
To bring the G1 to a stop we’ve got Tektro Auriga dual piston hydraulic disc brakes with 180 mm rotors. Stopping power with this system is good, but surprisingly there isn’t an upgrade choice here.
The G1 has a curb weight of nearly 62 pounds, with the Y-shaped frame made from 6061 aluminum alloy. It has a rear rack and front basket and both are bolted directly to the frame, so they’re not going anywhere. Ontro did a great job here by attaching the basket to the head tube, which makes steering easier and helps keeps stuff from spilling out when you make turns.
And since the Y-shaped frame swoops downward, it makes for a pretty nice standover height. It’s almost like a step-thru frame. And I think that’s one of the greatest features of the G1: It’s just so approachable. That low standover height means it’s easy to get on and off, and it also makes it easier to stand over the top tube with your fleet on the ground.
The G1 we’re reviewing has unbranded suspension, but the production version of the G1 will have RST Volant front suspension, probably with 60 mm of travel. There’s also a seat-post suspension, and the Selle Royale gel saddle, which is really comfortable by the way, has a handy saddle bag attachment. Basically, the G1 is a pretty cush ride.
The G1 has an integrated headlight attached to the front of the basket, so the beam won’t be obstructed by anything inside the basket. There’s also an integrated tail light, and together with the reflective sidewalls on the Schwalbe Big Ben tires, the G1 is highly visible.
When it comes to wire management, Ontro did a fine enough job here though it would be nice if they were grouped together and wrapped. Thankfully, they are internally routed, which does keep it looking fresh.
The handlebar angle is adjustable, which is nice, and the handlebar setup overall is just really clean. The display/button pad combo is on the left side of the handlebars and the LCD screen is perfectly visible even in direct sunlight. Big points for that.
The G1 is going to excel in a lot of different areas. It’s a city commuter, a hill crusher, a cargo carrier, a light trail rider. It really is a jack of all trades, and it comes stock with some solid components.