Weight: 41 pounds
Motor: Vinka 350-watt (500-watt peak) hub motor
Battery: 360Wh removable, Samsung
Charge time: 2.5 hours
Max range: 45 miles
Max assist speed: 20mph
Assist levels: 5
Drivetrain: Shimano Altus, 9-Speed
The Propella 9S Pro is the newest offering in the Propella lineup. It sits just atop the Propella 7S, a bike we reviewed positively for its low price, light weight, fun ride, and strong pedal assist.
The 9S Pro ups the ante on power with the company’s Pro battery (rather than the Standard on the 7S). The 9S Pro also offers assist up to 20 MPH, rather than the 7S’s 18.5 MPH max assist level. And, as the name suggests, the 9S Pro has nine speeds on its Shimano drivetrain, rather than the 7 speeds available on the 7S.
All told, the bikes look and feel quite similar, which is a good thing. But the 9S features a more capable overall build that will feel more powerful and versatile as the terrain changes. Read the rest of our Propella 9S Pro review to see if it’s the right fit, or if you should go for another model on our list of the best electric bikes.
Propella 9S Pro review: Price and availability
The 9S Pro costs $1,699 and is available for purchase on Propella’s website. It ships within one business day of your order. Shipping within the United States is free; it costs $50 plus an import tax to ship to Canada.
The 9S Pro arrives partially assembled. You will need only basic tools to complete the build. The front wheel attaches using a thru-axle, but it’s a quick-release style thru-axle, which means no tools are required. Alternatively, you can have the 9S Pro shipped directly to a bike shop to have it assembled.
Propella offers a 7-day risk-free return, and there’s a 1-year warranty on the bike as well.
Propella 9S Pro review: Design
Like the less expensive 7S, the 9S Pro features an aluminum frame and fork. The battery, too, is externally mounted, which means you can easily remote it to recharge it. But it also means the battery is more exposed to the elements.
The 27.5-inch wheels are wrapped in 2-inch tires, which offers more stability on gravel roads or when the bike is loaded down with weight. (The 7S from Propella features bigger 700c wheels, but the tires are much narrower.) On top of that, the 9S Pro gets hydraulic disc brakes for consistent and powerful braking.
To accommodate the disc brakes, the front wheel gets a 12mm thru-axle rather than a quick-release system. This helps stiffen up the front end, creating a more stable feel, especially when braking and cornering. It’s still quick and easy to remove the wheel without tools.
Propella has opted for a 9-speed Shimano drivetrain to work in conjunction with the motor’s assist. This gives you a wider range of gears than the 7-speed Propella 7S. The 9S Pro does not have a throttle, so those gears should come in handy.
The 9S Pro features a Vinka 350-watt hub motor paired with a 360-Watt removable Samsung battery. It’s controlled at the handlebars using a color LCD screen and the buttons mounted on it. There are five pedal-assist levels to choose from, with a maximum assist speed of 20 MPH.
Notably, the 9S Pro does not include integrated lights. Propella does sell lights that can be added to the bike, but they are sold separately. Otherwise, check out our list of the best bike lights for our favorite options.
Propella 9S Pro review: Performance
I spent a fair bit of time riding my local roads on the 9S Pro, which tend to be rolling; the hills I climb aren’t particularly steep or long, but I go up quite a few of them in any given ride.
Throughout the course of my rides, I found the 9S Pro to be quite comfortable and generally fun to ride. The steering feels responsive without taking up too much of my attention. And the riding position kept me upright without making me feel I was on a beach cruiser.
The motor kicks in a touch late when you start pedaling, but not nearly as late as some other rear hub motors I’ve tested. On flat roads, it’s less than a second before the motor kicks in, but when you start from a dead stop on a hill, this can be problematic. You’ll need to shift into an easier gear to get off the line quickly. A throttle could be helpful here.
Similarly, the motor assist disconnects a touch late, but again, not as much as other rear hub motors I’ve tested. You’ll need to be aware of it but it probably won’t affect your ride too much.
There are five assist levels, and at the highest assist setting, you’ll want to be mindful of the motor’s power. It will get you ripping up to 20 MPH very quickly, so be judicious with your power settings if you’ve never ridden an ebike before.
The handlebar-mounted display is bright and colorful, and easy to navigate. It shows you all the relevant information you’ll need on your ride. The screen does catch quite a bit of glare in some conditions, but you should be able to position it in such a way that this is mitigated in most situations.
Propella includes hydraulic disc brakes, an upgrade over the 7S. This is a nice touch; the brakes feel powerful and positive. You’ll get more consistent and powerful braking in a wide variety of conditions, even when it’s wet and rainy.
There’s a slight rattle around the battery mount on the down tube. I got that same rattling sound when I test rode the 7S, but it’s not nearly as loud or consistent on the 9S Pro.
Propella says the 9S Pro should fit riders ranging from 5’3” all the way up to 6’4”. But the website also lists the extremes of this range as ‘marginal.’ As a 5’11” rider, I feel that the bike’s size is likely ideal for riders in the 5’8” to 6’ range. Outside of that, you may struggle to find the right fit. Very tall riders could play with a longer stem, and shorter riders could lower the seat and try a short stem. Tinkering could get you relatively close to a good fit.
Propella 9S Pro review: Battery life and range
Propella advertises a maximum range of 25-45 miles per charge. This of course depends on which assist level you use most, what type of terrain you ride on, and in what conditions you ride.
The Pro battery has several advantages over Propella’s Standard battery. For starters, it has 42% more capacity and a higher output. On top of that, the Pro battery takes just 2.5 hours to complete a full charge.
I rode 6.1 miles on my first ride. The battery drained from 100% down to 62% in that time. Mind you, it read 100% right out of the box and I did not top it off.
I kept it in the highest assist setting and tried to pedal as much as possible. Given the conditions, I’d say Propella’s battery life claims are probably slightly overstated, but not worryingly so. With more judicious use of the assist levels, it certainly seems possible to get 40 miles out of a single charge.
Propella 9S Pro review: Accessories
The Propella website offers a host of accessories for the 9S Pro. You can pick and choose a la carte, or you can opt for the pro adventure bundle, which costs $698 (currently on sale for $500). The bundle includes a suspension seatpost, front and rear lights, a rear rack, fenders, saddle bag, folding bike lock, phone mount, water bottle, chain lube, and inner tube.
If you prefer to pick and choose your accessories, Propella has them laid out logically on the website. An Extra Pro Battery Pack, for example, costs $350 on its own. You can even buy a Smith Helmet and other third-party accessories, right on the Propella site.
Propella 9S Pro review: The competition
The 9S Pro hits a price that places it in a crowded field. But there are few bikes in that category that match the 9S Pro’s quality and performance.
The Aventon Soltera, one of the best budget electric bikes, checks in at $1,400 and also features a rear hub motor. It’s comfortable too, and it features a throttle to help you get going from stoplights — one area the 9S Pro can improve. But the Soltera’s motor does not feel as powerful as the 9S Pro, especially on hills.
The Ride1Up Roadster V2 comes in just under $1,100 and is quite a bit lighter than the 9S Pro. But it also features rim brakes rather than disc brakes, and it’s a singlespeed; no additional gears to bail you out when you need it. The Roadster advertises a 24 MPH max assist speed, which bests the 9S Pro. But the maximum advertised range is also much lower than the 9S Pro’s, at up to 30 miles.
Propella 9S Pro review: Verdict
The 9S Pro is a good investment for city commuting, with an easily-removable battery you can take with you when the bike is parked and 2-inch wide tires to counter potholes and neglected surfaces. It offers a host of features that get it going up to speed quickly and quietly, and the motor feels appropriately powerful for most city commuting conditions and rolling terrain.
The hydraulic disc brakes are a nice touch for all-weather stopping power. Propella offers plenty of accessories to make this a useful commuter bike, even if you want to haul some groceries — just add the rear rack for added cargo capacity. It feels solidly built, yet it keeps weight generally low at 41 pounds (without added accessories). Overall, the Propella 9S Pro is a good choice for those who want something a little more powerful than the company’s starting model.