Aventon’s sleek new Pace e-bikes won’t break the bank

Aventon is one of the most popular e-bike companies in the US, and its Pace Cruiser bikes have long been the company’s best-selling vehicles. Now the company is updating its Pace 350 and 500, both of which received major updates this week to make the bikes more comfortable and user-friendly.

I was able to spend a few days with the latest version of the Pace 500 Step-Through, and it does a whole lot right for not a lot of money.

First some basic specifications. Here are the numbers for the Pace 350:

  • Price: $1,399
  • Motor: 36V 350W
  • Battery: 417 Wh with LG cells
  • Range: 39 km (24 mi) on throttle only, 39-64 km (24-40 mi) with pedal assist. Measured with a 75 kg rider on level ground.
  • Top speed: 32 km/h (20 mph)
  • Weight: 22.2kg
  • Tires: Kenda 27.5″ X 2.2″ (650b)
  • Brakes: Mechanical disc brakes with engine shutdown

Now for the pace 500:

  • Price: $1,699
  • Motor: 48V 500W
  • Battery: 614 Wh with LG cells
  • Range: 48 km (30 mi) throttle only, 39-76 km (24-47 mi) pedal assist. Measured with a 75 kg (165 lb) rider on level ground
  • Top speed: 45 km/h (28 mph) with pedal assistance, 32 km/h (20 mph) with accelerator pedal
  • Weight: 23.6 kg
  • Tires: Kenda 27.5″ X 2.2″ (650b)
  • Brakes: Hydraulic disc brakes with engine shutdown

Aventon was known for affordable and attractive fixed gear bikes before it veered into the electric bike market, and its latest models bring back some of that elegant DNA.

Like the recently announced one Solterra, the new Pace models offer a streamlined design that looks much more polished than the old models. While previous models had a battery bump that protruded from the bikes frame, the new models neatly stow the battery in the down tube. It’s not quite “stealth e-bike” territory, but it’s a nice compromise.

By far the coolest design detail of the new bikes are the rear lights integrated into the rear triangles, which also light up when braking. While I personally gravitate towards off-the-shelf components for repairability, I can’t deny that they look fantastic:

Aventon Pace 500 step-through e-bike rear wheel

It’s a small detail, but one that sets these bikes apart from a multitude of affordable e-bikes with similar frames and electronics.

Up to this point, Aventon also uses a high-resolution color display that looks a lot nicer than almost anything else in this price range, as well as a headlight that’s bright enough for you to see the road ahead, not just be seen. The bike’s brain also allows you to connect to a surprisingly well-equipped Bluetooth app for tracking your stats and the like.

Likewise, the bike frame itself just looks and feels good, with smooth welds and a very glossy finish that belies its price. I also appreciate that the bikes are relatively light by e-bike standards; It’s not uncommon for 500 WE bikes to weigh well over 27kg. However, if you’re looking for something that’s almost as light as a regular bike, check out the Solterra instead.

Ride quality is similarly excellent, thanks in large part to balanced weight distribution, an ergonomic cruiser riding position, a luxury saddle, and plush 650b tires. I prefer this type of “balloon” tire over the cheap suspension forks found on many e-bikes in this price range. I also prefer them to fat tires. 650b tires offer similar comfort and more agility than fat tires, but you’re also much more likely to find a replacement for a punctured tire, tube or rim at your local bike shop.

Aventon Pace 500 step-through electric bike

Now for my annoyance: the Pace family uses a standard cadence sensor instead of a fancier torque sensor. I wrote a whole items about the benefits of torque sensors, but the gist is that cadence sensors act like an on-off switch activated by your pedaling, while torque sensors detect exactly how hard you’re pedaling to deliver a proportional amount of power to you . The latter intervene faster and more responsively – and they simply pedal much more comfortably.

In Aventon’s defense, it’s very rare to find a torque sensor under $2,000. But it’s become more common on bikes like this lately Tenway’s CGO600 and the Fiido X. However, these bikes are still more expensive and don’t offer a throttle that at least compensates for the lag of the cadence sensor when going uphill or starting from a standstill in a high gear.

Aventon’s cadence sensor is also smoother than most, but it still takes about half a crank turn to engage. It would be nice if one of the most popular ebike manufacturers could differentiate themselves by offering a torque sensor – I would even happily pay for an upgrade kit as many ebike controllers support a torque sensor even if the bike itself doesn’t has one – but maybe we’ll be lucky with the next redesign.

There’s a lot to like here, and the one variable I really miss in my hands-on time is an extended range test. Luckily, Aventon offers more extensive range specs than most manufacturers, including the range you should get at different assist levels and speeds. So check out the Pace 350 and 500 official pages for more details on the subject. They appear to be realistic based on my real world testing of similarly spec’d e-bikes.

Aventon Pace 500 step-through electric bike

It’s hard to fault Aventon’s Pace 500 step-through; It’s one of the finest e-bikes I’ve tested in every price range. The fact that it costs $1,700 makes it an easy recommendation in my book. Assuming the other models in the range hold up similarly, it should be at the top of your list when shopping for a new e-bike.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.