Tom's Guide Verdict
Just like the original, the Aventon Soltera.2 is a simple, but fun and inexpensive electric bike. However, if you live in a hilly area, you may want something with a bit more power, like the Ride1Up Turris.
Motor feels slightly underpowered
Why you can trust Tom's Guide
Weight: 41 pounds
Motor: 36V, 350W brushless rear hub motor with torque sensor
Battery: Removable Lithium-Ion 36V, 9.6Ah (360Wh) with LG cells
Display: LCD color with backlight
Drivetrain: 7-speed Shimano
Throttle included: Yes
Max assist speed: 20 mph
Maximum range: 46 miles
Charging time: 4-5 hours
Assist levels: 5
Simplicity often leads to the best ride. Such is the case with Aventon’s Soltera.2, an update to the original Soltera I reviewed for Tom’s Guide. Like its predecessor, there’s nothing too fancy about the Soltera.2, not even the price tag. It’s all meant to be utilitarian, simple, easy to use, and as grab-and-go as possible.
If you’re a commuter looking for a simple, inexpensive bike to get you to and from work, the Soltera.2 is an admirable choice, and is our new top pick among the best budget electric bikes. While the motor could use a bit more kick, it’s good enough for most riders except those who need a significant amount of assist on steep or sustained hills.
Aventon Soltera.2 review: Price and availability
The Soltera.2 was available for sale starting August 8, 2023, which is when we initially reviewed the bike. It originally cost $1,399, though at the time of this update in 2024, could be found for as little as $999 on Aventon’s website, as well as other online retailers such as Best Buy. You can also add on plenty of accessories directly through the checkout process on the Aventon website.
Aventon offers financing through Affirm should you want to break up the bike’s cost into smaller payments.
The Soltera.2 comes with a 2-year warranty, free shipping, and a 14-day return period should you not be satisfied with your purchase.
Aventon Soltera.2 review: Design
The Soltera.2’s build maintains the traditional bicycle silhouette, save for the thicker down tube where the battery is integrated. It rolls on 700c wheels with 38mm tires, which is a good combination of speed and traction for city riders.
My test bike arrived in a box with lots of environmentally conscious packaging. Almost all of it was recyclable, which is notable since many bikes still arrive with plastic packaging wrapped in zip ties.
Once out of the box, the bike was easy to assemble. The trickiest part is adjusting the mechanical disc brakes and tweaking the Shimano drivetrain. If you’re not familiar with basic bicycle maintenance procedures, you may want to leave this up to the local bike shop.
Aventon says the bike is water-resistant with an IPX4 rating. That means you can leave this outside in a light rain, though you probably wouldn’t want to expose it to constant moisture.
It’s a Cass II ebike, which means it has a max assist speed of 20 MPH and has both a throttle assist and a pedal assist feature. However, using the Aventon app, you can unlock it to convert it to a Class III e-bike, where it will reach speeds of up to 25 MPH.
The hub motor is integrated into the rear wheel of the bike. A torque sensor detects how much effort you’re putting into pedaling, and then amplifies that source. If you need more than that, just hit the throttle. If you live in an area where throttles are prohibited, you can simply unplug the throttle.
The frame is available with both a high top tube and a step-through design. It comes in four different colors.
Notably, Aventon includes integrated rear lights with turn signals and a braking flash. The brake lights activate automatically when you hit the brake levers. The turn signals are operated using the buttons mounted on the handlebars. (Just remember to hit the button again after you’ve turned, to deactivate the signal).
Aventon Soltera.2 review: Performance
The Soltera.2’s simplicity is striking. It would be fair to call it a plain bike, which may seem insulting. But honestly, if you’re looking for a low-key bike that will get the job done without too many bells and whistles, the Soltera.2 fits the bill nicely.
In other words, it does everything a solo commuter needs it to do, without hiding any drawbacks behind unnecessary bells and whistles. It’s inexpensive, simple, and a rather nimble ride.
The frame and fork feel solidly built but are noticeably stiff, which can lead to a jarring ride in certain situations. I lowered my tire pressure to around 35-40 psi (I weigh about 190 pounds) to take the edge off some road chatter. That worked well, though overall the ride quality errs toward stiffness.
The bike’s handling is nimble and quick. This actually took a bit of adjustment; I was expecting a commuter bike like this to have a slacker head tube angle that would lead to a more stable steering feel. But once I got used to it, it became fun to zip quickly around potholes. Just keep in mind that if you’re looking for a languid steering experience, you may want to look elsewhere.
The Shimano shifting worked wonderfully after a few adjustments out of the box and provided enough gearing to get up and over short and steep hills, even with the motor turned off.
The motor itself feels slightly underpowered. On flat roads, this wasn’t a problem and I was able to max out the throttle and power-assist up to 20 MPH very quickly. But once I encountered hills, the motor started to lag. On one sustained but mild pitch, the motor faded quickly from the maximum 20 MPH down to 11 MPH.
This led me to believe that it would be difficult to get the Soltera.2 started from a dead stop on a hill, but this wasn’t the case. I got it going fairly easily, though I did need to shift to the easier gears on the Shimano drivetrain to make that happen.
While the motor is slightly underpowered, it did well in enough flat to rolling situations that it felt appropriate for most riders. But if you need a lot of assist to get up sustained hills, the Soltera.2 might not be quite enough power for you.
Aventon Soltera.2 review: Battery life and performance
The Soltera.2 features a removable Lithium-Ion 36V, 9.6Ah (360Wh) battery with LG cells. I wanted to get a sense of the battery life on my first ride with the Soltera.2. So I rode for just over 10 miles, primarily using the throttle with a few instances of PAS use in the first 5 miles.
After those initial 5 miles, I was able to burn through about ten percent of the battery life. That’s not surprising, given the rolling terrain and the nearly-full-throttle use.
On the way back, I used a mix of throttle and PAS but erred toward throttle use. After ten miles I was down to 67% battery life.
That may sound like a big drain. But it’s in keeping with Aventon’s advertised 46-mile range, which cites a 160-pound rider. I weigh around 190, so that factors into the advanced draw. I also rode in 95-degree heat, which can have an effect on battery life. All told, the 46-mile advertised range seems accurate.
Before I rode the bike, I charged it from about a 30% charge. It took just over two hours. Aventon says a full charge takes about 4-5 hours from 0%.
Aventon Soltera.2 review: Accessories
As with its other ebikes, Aventon makes a variety of accessories for the Soltera.2, including a front rack ($54.99), a rear rack ($67.99), and a fender set ($40.99). Aventon's store is quite extensive and easy to navigate.
Aventon Soltera.2 review: The competition
Among the other ebikes we've tested, the Ride1Up Turris matches many of the features of the Soltera.2. It features a more powerful assist and is a bit more comfortable to ride. But it’s also 14 pounds heavier and features a front suspension fork that seems largely unnecessary.
The Propella 9S Pro V2 also falls into a similar category and matches many of the Soltera’s features. It costs $1,399 and weighs 43.5 pounds, just like the Soltera. It has nine gears in the Shimano drivetrain compared to the Soltera’s 7 gears, and it has an integrated battery, an improvement over the original — and now discontinued — Propella 9S Pro, which we largely liked.
These are just two examples of bikes in this very crowded area. Be sure to check out our guide for choosing the best budget e-bike to see more options, and also swing by our list of the best electric bikes for a wider range.
Aventon Soltera.2 review: Verdict
Riders in search of a simple, easy to use ebike that will get them to work and back through flat or rolling terrain will like the Soltera.2. It’s nimble and fun to ride after a brief learning curve.
While the motor could stand to be a bit more powerful, most riders will still benefit from the PAS and throttle. But if you need a lot of help getting up steep or sustained hills, you may want to look elsewhere.
Given the quality and brand reputation at this price point, the Soltera.2 is an easy recommendation for riders looking for an inexpensive and simple ebike for commuting solo.
Dan Cavallari is the former technical editor for VeloNews Magazine, who currently reviews electric bikes, bike lights, and other bike accessories for Tom's Guide. In addition to VeloNews, his work has appeared in Triathlete Magazine, Rouleur Magazine, CyclingTips.com, Road Bike Action, Mountain Bike Action, CycleVolta.com, Tomsguide.com, and much more. Dan also hosts two podcasts on his site, Slow Guy on the Fast Ride: One is about cycling and other outdoor activities, while the other looks at mental health issues. Most recently, Dan also covered the 2022 Tour de France. Dan lives outside of Denver, Colorado with his family.
Much as I appreciate any e-bike that doesn't have a fork designed for off road control (not comfort), this is a rolling mistake, front to rear. I even like the more aero riding position and could live with the racing geometry. Straight gauge aluminum is heavy, buzzy and dull handling. Square tubing rides rough as a cob and magnifies buzz. Like all e-bikes, the marketed range is under ideal circumstances and rider weight. Forget to charge just one night after work and you will have severe range anxiety.Reply
Those are not DOT approved turn signals. A great idea and a super addition to hand signals, but may be a lawsuit waiting to happen. If used instead of hand signals, a motorist could be let off scott free for their reckless driving.
I certainly do not recommend doing so, but you can buy a kit to duplicate this performance for under $500. Obviously, you would not pay even $500 for the remaining bike, if you were in the market for a traditional bike.
I wish mfg's would stop adding gadgets and just build a better e-bike. We haven't used straight gsuge aluminum on quality traditional bikes since the early 90's. Never ha e we used Square tubing. Spring forks went out at about the same time (if you need a front suspension for comfort, you need a rear). Anything that makes a traditional bike less efficient or capable makes an e-bike the same.