Ariel Rider N-Class Premium 500—Old Meets New,
Some might be looking for a basic cruiser E-bike, yet want a cool twist to add some flavor. That is just what Ariel Rider offers in this new electric-assist bike. It has all the modern E-bike features along with some pieces that take it back 70 years. In fact when I changed just a few items, it went all the back to the roaring 20’s when fearless motorcycle racers showed their stuff on the board tracks of old. Whether you desire this Ariel just the way it comes, or want your own special version, I think fun will be the result.
I was lucky to have Chris from Street Fair Electric Bikes lend me his demo bike for a couple days. It was a touch beat-up and didn’t have the back fender installed, yet that part ended-up working in my favor. As I hit the sack the first night I had it, I found myself envisioning the 500 with no fenders and the handlebars reversed for that old time racer look. When the sun rose the next morning, I put maybe 20 minutes into radically changing the look and riding feel of this custom looking E-bike. Check out the photos and videos for that blast of excitement.
Ariel Rider has 5 different E-bike models on their site, with this bike, their flagship, having 2 motor / battery option and 3 colors to choose from. The colors are in the battery cover (tank), fenders and chain guard, with all the bikes having black frames. They can supply you with the pieces to change your color scheme quick and easy for a mix-up of pace when you ride. Or, of course, if you want to get real wild, you can get the most awesome custom paint job and modify the bike even further. Although it is fantastic the way it comes, it can be the canvas for something even more outrageous.
All housed in an aluminum frame, the front end is an old-school springer fork (yet it didn’t really ‘spring’ much). Most of your suspension comes from those oversized 26 X 2.35 CST tires and the 3 (shiny beyond belief) chrome springs on the custom saddle. It was a bit stiff, but these kind of saddles normally take a bit of riding until they form-fit to your bottom side, and then become very comfortable. The upright cockpit is quite nice, and even when I swapped the handlebars way down, I liked the ride. The fancy grips felt very good too.
For power you have a quality 500 watt geared brushless rear hub motor connected to a 48 volt 11 Ah lithium battery. That all hooks up to an LCD display where you can choose from 6 levels of pedelec assist. That display gives you the normal info and is right at hand for quick changes. A right hand half throttle works in any of the modes, allowing you instant access to all the power the motor can give (which is plenty).
Part of the interesting look of this E-bike comes from the way the battery and control unit are enclosed the faux gas tank. This adds to the styling and helps give it a stealthy appearance, although don’t think people aren’t going to notice you when you ride. The stealth factor is the fact that it isn’t easily recognized as an E-bike, not the stand-out overall feel. It may or not be your personal idea of perfect, yet I think we can all agree that this is one cool E-bike.
As for most all hub-motored E-bikes, 7 speeds are plenty, and the lowest gear that can really help on those super steep climbs. The Ariel N-Class Premium 500 has plenty of power for the hills, but remember as with any E-bike you do need to pedal when pushing the assist hard, to keep from heating the motor and draining the battery range too quickly. That 528 watt-hour battery should give some long rides, yet with a 500 watt motor you can use it up quickly when riding fast and hard. That is one nice part about having the 48 volt system, you get plenty of pull at the lower throttle settings.
I am a big fan of the cable operated disc brakes used on this E-bike. They have plenty of power for fast stops, skidding easily if you want. Yet they aren’t so sensitive (like some hydraulic disc brakes), where you can get into quick trouble without even pulling too hard on the levers. They are easy to maintain and service, making for the best way to go in the disc brake world. The levers have motor safety cut-off switches in each one like all good E-bikes should.
The reason I mention this is to point out the only real failing I experienced on this bike. This particular bike was part of their first U.S. shipment so they may have reprogrammed the control system by now, yet there was a part about this one I didn’t like. On a pedelec there is a slight delay for the motor turning on when you start pedaling and stopping when you stop pedaling. The start delay is fine, yet the stop was too long (up to 2 seconds on occasion). Generally most are set to about a ½ second. If it is ever an issue, those safety switches shut down the motor immediately when you use the brakes.
Also, the chain guard was a bit broken from previous abuse (demo bike). It and the fenders are some kind of plastic (which is normal). Like I said, the rear fender wasn’t installed as Chris said he hadn’t had the chance to do some minor mods to get it to fit without rubbing the tire. That was a shame as he told me the taillight was also a brake light, and I would have loved to see how that worked. I did enjoy the built-in lighting though, and it is controlled by a button on the display unit.
Riding the bike was like a dream on those big tires and with the smooth power delivery. Every time you look down at the bike, a world of old is at your fingertips. I had been wanting to try out this Ariel Rider since the first time I saw it online. Now I am satisfied that it was worth the wait. The bike is headed back to Chris tomorrow, yet he will be bringing it to my E-bike event on the 24th, so you can climb aboard and get the same thrills I did. Hope to see you there.
Wanna Race? Turbo Bob.
“She who succeeds in gaining the mastery of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life.”—Susan B. Anthony.
Look for Ariel Rider on their website and Facebook page.
Chris with Street Fair Electric Bikes can be reached at
I found this website for him online.
I posted 3 videos with this bike