Weight: 41 pounds (advertised)
Range: 20 to 63 miles, depending on assist setting
Motor: 36V, 350W brushless rear hub motor
Top assist speed: 20mph
Battery: Phylion Lithium-Ion 36V, 10Ah with LG cells
Drivetrain: singlespeed (7-speed option available)
Maximum payload capacity: 300 pounds
Throttle: included. Removeable to change to Class 1 ebike if preferred
The Aventon Soltera e-bike is a shining example that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to get a functional, comfortable e-bike that’s appropriate for commuting or just having fun. It may lack some of the bells and whistles of some of the best electric bikes, but the Soltera delivers a pleasant ride quality, easy controls, and no-frills build that keeps the price low.
It also looks pretty darn good. The battery is hidden in the down tube, which means you might not even realize it’s an e-bike at first glance. That trend continues when you pick it up: at 41 pounds, most users will be able to move it around with general ease. This comes in handy for apartment dwellers who don’t live on the ground floor.
If you’re interested in buying your first e-bike and want something that delivers quality at a low price, the Soltera is worth a look as one of the best budget electric bikes. But make sure to read the rest of our Aventon Soltera review first.
Aventon Soltera review: Price and availability
The Soltera costs $1,199 for the single-speed version, which is the model I tested. If you want to bump up to the 7-speed version of the Soltera, that will cost you $1,299.
You can order the Soltera on Aventon’s website. Aventon offers free shipping on some orders, and lots of discount opportunities (military, first responder, gov employee, teacher).
There’s also a dealer locator on the website for dealers in the U.S. and Canada. That way, you can stop into a shop to test ride, find out which bike fits you best, and even buy right through the local store.
Aventon Soltera review: Design
The Soltera comes in two sizes: regular and large. Aventon says the regular is the most appropriate size if you’re between 5’1” and 5’7”. The large is best if you’re between 5’7” and 6’4”. There’s a step-through option as well to make it easier to mount and dismount the bike. I am 5’11” with a 30-inch inseam, and the large frame fit me perfectly.
The aluminum frame features lights integrated into the seat stays. There’s a headlight mounted just below the stem at the front of the bike too. That’s a little fancier than the Swft Volt, another budget ebike, which only has a headlight. You can get the Soltera in three different colors. Aventon advertises the Soltera weight as 41 pounds for the singlespeed version.
The wheels are aluminum as well, and they mate to Tektro rim brakes. The wheels do not feature quick release levers; instead, they are bolted on. This is likely to accommodate beginner cyclists who may not be familiar with how quick release levers work.
The Soltera is a Class II e-bike, which means it has a throttle in addition to the pedal-assist modes. You can remove the throttle to make it a Class 1 e-bike if you prefer. The max assist speed is 20mph.
Phylion’s removable lithium-ion battery is integrated into the downtube of the frame. At first glance, the Soltera barely looks like an e-bike at all, a nice nod to the effectiveness of Aventon’s battery integration. The battery itself is physically smaller than many batteries on similar bikes, which helps it hide more effectively inside the frame.
The rear hub motor is Aventon-branded and features 36V and 350W of power. Aventon says this motor is “white-labeled,” which means Aventon sourced the motor from another company. (They did not say what company made the motor.)
The BC280 LCD Easy Read Color Display has an integrated backlight for easy viewing in dark conditions. It can sync with an app that allows you to configure your lights, track your mileage, view battery life percentage, record rides, and even set goals for yourself.
Aventon says you can tote up to 300 pounds max on the Soltera. If that sounds daunting with just a single-speed drivetrain, Aventon does offer a 7-speed version of the Soltera that comes with disc brakes. It will cost you an extra $100.
The Soltera comes with a kickstand that mounts to the chainstay near the rear of the bike. It feels stout and stable, which should come in handy should you end up loading any weight onto the bike. But the Soltera does not come with racks out of the box, so you’ll need to purchase those separately if you intend to carry cargo.
Aventon Soltera review: Performance
The Soltera immediately impressed me with its comfortable riding position. A cushy saddle combined with an upright riding position make the Soltera pleasant to ride, particularly for those with less flexibility to accommodate aggressive riding positions.
The head unit display also impressed. It’s very bright, even in direct sunlight, and it’s easy to read at a quick glance. Navigating the menus is simple using the handlebar control buttons, and adjusting the assist level is just as easy using those same control buttons.
Getting the bike going can be a challenge if you’re counting on the pedal-assist or throttle to do most of the work. It takes about a second or slightly more for the assist power to kick in regardless of whether you’re using the pedal-assist mode or the throttle.
That means you’ll start pedaling under your own power from a dead stop. That’s not a huge problem for most riders, but if the bike is loaded down with weight or you’ll be relying primarily on the motor assist to get you going, that lag can be long enough to become problematic.
Once you’re up and pedaling, the motor kicks in and offers smooth acceleration. But just as it takes a second or more for the assist to kick in, it also takes a second or so for the assist to disengage, regardless of whether you’re using the throttle or the pedal-assist feature.
The assist itself is a bit underpowered and bogs down particularly on hills in both the throttle mode and the pedal-assist mode. You will end up doing more pedaling under your own power if you live in a hilly area.
Aventon Soltera review: Battery life and range
According to Aventon’s website, you can get up to 20 miles of range while using the throttle exclusively, no pedaling. If you use the pedal-assist modes instead, you can get up to 63 miles on a single charge.
Using the throttle drained the battery very quickly during my testing. At 100% charge, I used the throttle for less than five minutes and was down to 97%. That got me about 0.6 miles. The throttle is best used on short trips, or if you need to get started from a dead stop, particularly with the bike loaded heavy. Otherwise, you’ll probably want to use it judiciously to preserve battery life.
The 63-mile range figure that Aventon provides as its outside best is what you’ll get if you only use the lowest assist setting. In the middle settings where you’ll likely spend most of your time, you can reasonably expect a 25-40 mile range on a single battery charge.
Aventon Soltera review: Accessories
There are pages and pages of accessories available on Aventon’s website. Some are branded Aventon, some are third-party bits. Prices can range significantly depending on how you want to configure your Soltera. You can get basic racks for around $40 to $50, for example, or you can set your Soltera up to haul the kids with a Burley rack mount or frame mount child seat for around $150.
You can purchase helmets, phone mounts, lights, bike locks, water bottles and cages, and even vehicle bike racks right on the Aventon website.
Aventon Soltera review: The competition
Other inexpensive e-bike options are vast. Many of them feature sourced motors without branding, and batteries that may or may not come from reputable sources. Aventon’s Soltera is no different; the motor is branded Aventon but was sourced somewhere else.
I reached out to Aventon for clarification on where they got the motor and battery; the company told me the motor was “white-labeled”, and the battery features either Samsung or LG cells packed by a third-party supplier. The battery in my test bike is labeled Phylion.
Samsung and LG are both reputable names, which is important when you’re considering battery life, repairability, and recyclability. But keep in mind that third-party assemblers may also glue the casings closed, which makes it difficult or impossible to repair batteries, since the casing will need to be pried apart to access the contents within. I couldn’t tell just by looking at the battery how it is enclosed or whether it is repairable.
Other bikes in the category of inexpensive e-bikes include the $999 Swft Volt, and Ride1Up’s Core5 and Roadster V2, among many others.
Aventon Soltera review: Verdict
The pedal-assist isn’t the quickest, and the parts package isn’t the nicest out there. But the Soltera still delivers a comfortable and fun ride in an attractive package. For an extra $100, you can upgrade to a 7-speed drivetrain and disc brakes. That seems like smart money, particularly if you’ll be carrying heavy loads with the Soltera.
If you’re looking to save a bit, the single-speed $999 Swft Volt also has a 350-Watt motor and an estimated range of up to 32 miles, though its battery is non-removable and its design and display are both less sophisticated.
While the Aventon Soltera could do with some more modern touches like disc brakes and quick release levers, beginner e-bike riders or budget-conscious commuters will be plenty pleased with the no-frills package the Soltera offers.