News Treehugger Voices Aventon Soltera Is a Cheap and Cheerful E-Bike It's also light enough to carry up the stairs. By Lloyd Alter Lloyd Alter Facebook Twitter Design Editor University of Toronto Lloyd Alter is Design Editor for Treehugger and teaches Sustainable Design at Ryerson University in Toronto. Learn about our editorial process Published January 6, 2022 11:00AM EST Fact checked by Katherine Martinko Fact checked by Katherine Martinko Twitter University of Toronto Katherine Martinko is an expert in sustainable living. She holds a degree in English Literature and History from the University of Toronto. Learn about our fact checking process Aventon Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive We have often said that three things are needed for the e-bike revolution: good affordable bikes, safe places to ride, and secure places to park. It seems that the first piece is falling into place—witness the new Aventon Soltera. E-bikes are often heavy and expensive, and therefore a problem for people who have to deal with stairs. The Soltera clocks in at 41 pounds—not exactly light for a road bike but definitely manageable if you have to carry it for a short distance. But probably of more interest: It is relatively affordable, starting at $1,199 for the single-speed model. According to Aventon: "The Soltera is designed as a lightweight, affordable eBike that seamlessly integrates into urban life. With enough power to replace your car, the Soltera is the perfect bike for commuting, shopping, or recreational rides. In a nod to Aventon’s roots, the Soltera comes standard with a single-speed drivetrain for low-maintenance simplicity. For those in hilly areas, a seven-speed option is available too for pre-order." Aventon I have tried single-speed e-bikes and found it annoying to pedal fast enough to keep up with it at top speed, which may be a reason this bike is Class II with a throttle, so that you don't have to be wildly spinning. But derailleurs can be trouble and add a hundred bucks to the cost. Aventon The Soltera has a 350-watt rear hub motor with a 10 Amp-hours battery integrated into the frame; neither are the biggest but both are more than most people need. It will go about 20 miles with throttle only, and considerably further if you pedal. Most bike manufacturers don't give such detailed range estimates because it varies so much depending on terrain and the weight of the rider, so your results may vary. Aventon Many e-bikes are designed for a comfortable upright sitting position, with full step-through designs to make it easier and safer to get on and off. Aventon is going after a different market: "The Soltera ebike is meant for those who ride for the thrill of it. Its more aggressive geometry places the rider's weight slightly more forward towards the handlebars, giving them greater control and stability as they navigate their commutes." Aventon says, "People will only know you’re riding a cycling-inspired ebike because of how fast you speed past them." I am not sure about that: The down tube is pretty chunky compared to a regular bike and the thieves with the angle grinders will certainly recognize it as an e-bike. It certainly isn't as incognito as the Maxwell Stoic. Aventon Aventon also calls it the perfect bike for commuting or shopping, but it doesn't come with fenders or a carrier, which are musts for both. And while having two taillights integrated into the frame's seat stays is elegant and makes the light visible from the side, anyone shopping with panniers is going to be blocking light to the rear. Aventon Aventon offers a choice of what they call a traditional frame or what they call a step-through frame. Its traditional frame has a bit of a slope in it and its step-through really isn't a true step-through—but hey, this is "aggressive geometry." We have noted before that bikes with horizontal top tubes are more dangerous. A Dutch foundation tried to ban them a few years ago, noting: "As people get older getting on and off the bike isn’t as easy. It’s the moment when most accidents occur, especially on e-bikes, and the consequences of a fall can be very serious for older people." But one only has to look at the models in the Aventon marketing photos to see who it thinks the market is for this bike. It also comes in two sizes: regular and large. Aventon So the Soltera may not be the bike for everyone, but it is well priced, it looks great, and it is light enough that you can get it up the stairs. This is important in an urban environment where there are often not secure places to park. For the e-bike revolution to really take off, we need e-bike designs that are attractive to different markets and price ranges. The Aventon Soltera punches way above its weight. Just be sure to buy some fenders if you are serious about commuting on it. More at Aventon.