- The Propella Mini is lightweight, at 35 lbs
- Only $849
- 250Wh battery with around a 20-mile range
- Fast charge time (2.5 hours)
Propella’s Mini e-bike is one of the lightest, least expensive, and simplest e-bikes on the market today. It ticks a lot of boxes that makes it a very good choice for certain people. It looks a bit like a BMX bike with its 20” wheels, yet the interesting design of the frame allows for a more upright, comfortable position.
It has a single-speed drivetrain with a 52T front sprocket and a 16T rear freewheel. That front sprocket is a much taller gear than the average 44T BMX sprocket from back in the day (These days, BMXers run smaller drivetrains with similar gear ratios but less teeth on both ends, e.g. a 25T front sprocket and a 9T rear). You can’t change gears, but the motor is there to help make that easier.
The bike motor tops out at 18mph, and on flat ground that 52T front sprocket means you’ll be spinning a pretty high cadence, but that ratio is much better overall, including when climbing steeper hills.
With 20” wheels, it’s very nimble and that size also allows for the torque of the motor to have an easier time getting you moving. It’s a class 1 bike, so it has pedal assist only. Shimano Tourney TX mechanical brakes with 160mm rotors are adequate for controlling speed and stopping. Upgrading to hydraulic discs adds expense and complexity. Propella also only put a cadence sensor (which measures your pedaling RPMs) instead of a torque sensor (which measures how much effort you’re putting into pedaling). The latter is nicer, offering a more natural pedal feel, but it would add at least a couple hundred bucks more to the price.
Keeping It Lean
Speaking of expense, there were several ways that Propella kept the price so low. The mechanical brakes, the single-speed drivetrain, the 250Wh battery (most bikes have 500+Wh today), and the 250W motor (many have 500-750W). The motor does offer a max peak of 400W. But there’s nothing wrong with what they’ve done here. The Mini is a nimble bike that’s fun to ride, it’s affordable, and it’s light, a big advantage for those who have to carry the bike up stairs or lift it onto a bike rack.
The range is low compared to many other e-bikes, but this isn’t aimed at touring riders or those with long commutes. If you have a commute under 10 miles each way, this will get you there while you have fun. Or you can carry a charger with you if your commute is longer. It’s a great way to go out for an hour or two at a time, and the recharging time is a very short 2.5 hours, less if you haven’t fully discharged your battery. The battery can be charged on or off the bike, so you can easily keep an eye on the battery while charging.
The Propella Mini has a 220 lb weight limit of rider + cargo. Despite the BMX-style design with the 20” wheels, the tires are made specifically for the street. Though you can take it off-road, the CST street tires won’t give you really good grip on soft dirt.
Propella Mini Specs
|Motor||Bafang 36V, 250W geared rear hub drive|
|Battery||Lithium-ion 36V, 250Wh|
|Charge Time||2.5 hours|
|Top Speed||18 mph|
|Rear sprocket||16T single-speed freewheel|
|Brakes||Shimano Tourney mechanical disc brakes with 160mm rotors|
|Rims||Anodized blue alloy 20” rims|
|Sizes||One size, fits 5’0” to 6’1”|
The Propella Mini is a fun, light, nimble e-bike that won’t break the bank. The riding stance and overall ride comfort are really good. If you want something simple and inexpensive, and you don’t ride over 20 miles at a time, it’s well worth a look. You can order it directly from Propella and they’ll ship it to you mostly assembled, in a box.
They even have a helpful video on how to assemble your Mini:
US official website: www.propella.bike
SOURCE | IMAGES: PROPELLA
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