A new, comfortable city cruiser with plenty of kick. The folks at Aventon were kind enough to send me the newest addition to the Aventon e-bike family—the Level.2, an upgrade to Aventon’s flagship commuter—so I could give it a whirl around the streets of San Francisco.
Collection of Aventon Level.2
The box arrived at my Ocean Beach condo and I happily opened and removed the pieces of the e-bike. Assembling the bike was relentlessly uneventful and straightforward – what you hope for when you’re staring down the barrel of a pile of partially assembled machinery. It took less than an hour to get the bike assembled and riding around.
The most challenging aspect of the assembly, which was quite minor, was tightening the allen key to secure the front shield, as the factory allen key (it’s a “hex key” -Ed.) sent with the bike was too short for the job. The included factory multi-tool made installation easy for all other aspects, it was just the damn fender that caused some problems.
The seat, handlebars and all major components were all easy to fit and adjust. Most of the accessories were pre-installed – easy as a pie. The brakes were tightened and the derailer was ready to go. The battery even had a 40% charge out of the box so I could test drive it as soon as it was put together. What a dream!
Compared to other e-bikes I’ve ridden, the Level.2 is a smooth operator. As with most commuter e-bikes in the sub-$2,000 price range, this one has a cadence sensor, which means the motor activates when the sensor senses you’re pedaling. Although the most exciting thing about the Level.2, the latest bike from Aventon, is that it is engineered with a torque sensor, which is a revolutionary first for the company.
The torque sensor reads the level of force you put into the cranks and then tells the motor to multiply the amount of force the rider is applying by a certain factor, set by the assist level you’ve chosen. The higher the level, the higher the power multiplication factor, the more assist. This gives a more natural, less jerky feel to the bike and its assist, which are great things for e-bikers everywhere.
While this torque sensor smooths out the ride considerably, there’s still a slight jerk when the assist kicks into gear, so it’s not entirely seamless. The Level.2 also has that signature e-bike hum as it boosts you forward, although it’s not very loud, and I stopped noticing as I zipped around fast enough to bring a silly grin to my face. The e-bike offers both pedals and throttles. These features make the Level.2 versatile and capable of handling almost anything an urban or suburban commute can throw at it. Similar to other e-bikes, you can also step on the pedals without the assistance options and continue your old-fashioned bike ride. But if you have this kind of power on your bike, it’s hard to resist really “going for it” on this new Aventon.
I took the bike up some pretty intense SF hills (the ones that typically burn out my quads when I ride my city bike) and the Level.2 blasted right up those suckers without batting an eye. I was quite impressed. The full color display on the handlebar shows everything from battery life to app sync (say what?!) to phone charging.
I also took this shiny beast through some of the off-road trails in Golden Gate Park. This included sand, gravel, some rocky paths and grass. Level.2 crushed it all and I barely felt the bumps and rocks as I sped away. The cushioned suspension fork with the Level.2 features is straightforward luxurious. Ten out of 10 for comfortable rides, for sure. And the hydraulic disc brakes were smooth and (thankfully) effective, no jerk at all.
The Level.2 comes with a rack on the back which is great for putting on bags or a basket so you can let the bike carry your stuff instead of using a backpack. The e-bike is a little on the bulkier side for my taste (although I’m a minimalist when it comes to bike aesthetics). Although the accessory is very useful and has a well thought out purpose, I personally would prefer a bit more streamlined.
During one of my test rides, I stopped at a local market to grab a few things. The frame is bulkier than a regular bike (often the case with e-bikes), though I was still able to get my U-lock around the frame to unlock it, which is absolutely critical in San Francisco. Even with a full (reusable) grocery bag slung over one of the handlebars, the Level.2 was incredibly balanced and easy to ride. It provides stability and a lightness I have not felt with other e-bikes. Not to mention that funny to ride. The pedal assistant really gets you going, turning your commute or errands into a bit of a pleasure ride. A much less physically demanding joy ride.
If you’re looking for a long-range commuter or recreational e-bike that can handle a variety of terrains, trails, even roads slick from San Francisco’s foggy skies, the Aventon Level.2 is an excellent option. It has just enough bells and whistles to make your ride (and your life) easier, without looking too done or extra. The Level.2 is a zip-up e-bike with a lot of kick, although I can’t stress enough how smooth and comfortable this bike is to ride. So it really is the best of both worlds – easy, comfortable, smooth, but with power and versatility.
Aventon level. 2 product specifications:
- Motor: 48v, 500W brushless hub motor with torque sensor
- Screen: BC280 LCD color screen with backlight, w/app connection
- Brakes: Hydraulic disc brakes
- Weight: Traditional 54 LBS. | 52 LBS throughout.
- Size: Traditional Reg/Large | Step-Through S/M or M/L
- Driveline: 8-gears
- Frame type: 6061 Double-butted aluminum alloy with internal battery
- Tires: 27.5″ X 2.1″
- Assistance: Throttle + Pedal Assist Modes
- COLORS Polar White, Himalaya Pink, Glacier Blue and Clay
- MSRP: $1,949.00
This article is supported by Aventon.
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