With summer right around the corner, getting outside and enjoying the sunshine while you can should be at the top of your to-do list. As an avid bike enthusiast for years, my favorite thing to do when the weather starts to warm up is dust off the old bicycle and hit the trails. But this year, I wanted to do something different.
I’ve always been fascinated by electric bicycles, or “e-bikes,” but the thought of maneuvering around a clunky and heavy bike with a huge battery and short range just wasn’t appealing to me. Luckily for me, e-bike technology has improved drastically since the early days, and modern e-bikes are sleek, fast, and capable of some truly impressive distances.
After researching for months, and testing out several different models (I’m lucky enough to have an awesome e-bike shop near me), I finally decided on the Aventon Soltera 7. Today’s article will be a full breakdown of the bike, including what I love about it, what I hate about it, and whether you should consider getting one for yourself. Let’s get to it!
Aventon Soltera: Overview
While e-bikes have been around for a while, Aventon is a relatively new company. Founded by JW Zhang in 2017, Aventon changed the game in regard to budget e-bikes, and the company now has over a dozen different models, including commuter, cruiser, off-road, and even cargo bikes.
Release Date and Price
The Aventon Soltera is one of the latest models from the company, released a little over a year ago, as of this writing. What makes this bike truly impressive is the low price. Starting at just $1199, it is one of the cheapest e-bikes you can get. But that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in style, performance, or build quality. We’ll talk more about those in a second.
Of course, the price could fluctuate depending on where you get it from. I actually paid a little bit more for mine, since I had it professionally assembled for me. But I’ve been told that this model is super simple to put together yourself if you have a little time on your hands and don’t mind reading some instructions.
Aventon offers the Soltera in a few different formats to suit your tastes:
The difference between single-speed and seven-speed will depend on the sort of terrain and elevation you’ll be tackling. I opted for the seven-speed model since I live in a hilly area, but the single-speed model will work fine if you use your bike in more urban or flat terrain.
As for the step-over or step-through version, you just have to ask yourself if you are comfortable lifting your leg all the way over to mount the bike, or if you want a little easier time with it.
I also can’t forget to mention that the Soltera comes in two sizes: large and small. Both of them are suitable for an adult, but your height will determine which one is best for you. The smaller one is ideal if you are between 5’3” and 5’10,” and the larger model is better if you are taller.
Additionally, you can pick from three different colors for your bike: black, azure blue, or citrine. I chose citrine, which, as you can see from the pictures, is a high-visibility, flashy color. It’s not for everyone, but it gives the bike a more high-end “racing bike” style and helps to ensure you are easy to see on the road.
The Aventon Soltera comes with plenty of standard features that are commonplace on much more expensive bikes. At first glance, nothing really jumps out at you, since everything is neatly integrated into the frame, and you can hardly tell it is an e-bike, thanks to the battery’s cozy center compartment.
Looking a little closer, you’ll notice that it is packed with features. You have a removable 9.6ah 36v lithium-ion battery, integrated headlights and tail lights, an onboard computer, a speedometer, throttle control, ergonomic pedals, and handlebar grips.
Everything is adjustable to suit your comfort preferences, and for even more customization, you can add accessories like baskets, fenders, mirrors, and water bottle holders. Before we dive into the specifics of each component and what it’s like to use it on the road, let’s take a closer look at the tech specs.
|Electric range||Up to 41 miles|
|Top speed||20 mph electric|
|Maximum weight limit||300 pounds|
|Lights||Front and rear integrated LEDs|
|Tires||700c*35c Kenda K193|
|Brakes||160mm mechanical disc brakes|
|Rear Derailleur||Shimano RD-TY300D|
Aventon Soltera: Review
The Aventon Soltera is designed as a city commuter bike, and it excels at that. You have enough speed to accelerate rapidly from a standstill and enough braking power to bring you to a stop at the drop of a hat, too. Now that I have owned this e-bike for a few months, I’ve had a chance to put it through its paces and really give it a beating.
With the pedal assistance turned on, you can easily conquer steep hills and windy days far better than a conventional bike. The full-size step-over model doesn’t give away the fact that it is an e-bike, and other riders will only know that you have an electric motor because of how fast you go speeding past them.
As someone who’s not out of shape, but also not an Olympic champion, the Soltera is pretty heavy to move under your own power. If you run out of battery while far from home, it will definitely be a slog to get back.
Unless you’re going down a hill, you’re going to feel the extra weight of the battery and electronics. Even still, it makes up for the extra weight in plenty of ways.
Design and Build Quality
If you’re accustomed to the clunky old e-bikes of the last decade, the Aventon Soltera will really blow you away. The design is one of its strongest areas, and its sleek aluminum frame gives off a high-end style that looks a lot more expensive than it is.
No matter what color you get, the Soltera will definitely turn heads and, at first glance, it doesn’t immediately give away the fact that it is an electric bike. The battery is integrated cleanly into the frame — barely thicker than your standard commuter bike. The wheels and tires are slim and aerodynamic, and the mechanical disc brakes are a nice added touch.
If you like riding at night, the integrated headlights and tail lights are a nice touch. While I was personally a little disappointed that they can’t go into strobe mode or blink, they do get extremely bright. The headlight is enough to illuminate the street in front of you for at least a hundred feet, and the brake lights come on extra bright when you tap your brakes.
Additionally, the IPX4 water resistance means getting caught in the rain is not a problem. You shouldn’t submerge your bike (who’s riding underwater, anyway?), but you can ride in the rain and leave your bike outside if you really want to.
Performance and Handling
Compared to other e-bikes on the market, the Aventon Soltera is a steal. It feels like a racing bike once you get it up to speed. But, if you’re hoping to enjoy true “racing heritage,” it might be a little slow for you. The 350-watt electric motor propels the bike up to a solid 20 miles per hour, and getting there only takes a few seconds.
If you’re a speed demon in search of something faster, it will probably disappoint. That being said, you’ll still want to wear a helmet at all times, and don’t underestimate its power, especially if you’ve never had an e-bike.
Thanks to the throttle control, you can get up to 20 mph without pedaling at all. However, if you really want to accelerate faster, then pedal assist mode will help you out a lot. With five different levels of pedal assist, you can dial in precisely how much help you want from the electric motor.
Level 1 will give you a slight boost, but you won’t feel much more power than a standard bicycle. Next up is Level 2, which will boost your speed a bit more. However, you will struggle to get over 10 miles per hour.
Level 3 is the sweet spot, in my opinion, with the perfect balance of assistance that doesn’t hog your battery. Turning up the assistance to Level 4 or 5 will get you to top speed with minimal effort, but will drain your battery quicker.
Range and Charging
Aventon says the Soltera can get up to 41 miles on a single charge, and while this isn’t exactly false, I would say it is difficult to achieve most of the time.
Realistically, you can expect at least 30 miles, especially if you’re using the bike at between Level 3 and 4 pedal assistance. If you’re using nothing but the throttle, you can expect even less, with around 20 to 25 miles maximum range.
The interesting thing is that your battery percentage shown by the onboard computer will fluctuate up and down as you ride. This led to a little confusion when it first happened to me. I noticed the battery dip below 1 percent and thought it was about to die, but upon turning the pedal assistance down, the percentage came right back up to a reasonable level.
That being said, you can charge the Soltera battery back up to 100% pretty quickly. In fact, if you don’t let the battery dip below 20%, then you can easily get back to a full charge within a couple of hours. Even if you let it reach 0% (which you shouldn’t do if you want to keep the battery healthy), it still only takes three hours to charge all the way.
If you fancy yourself a long-distance rider, you might want to consider a second battery. As someone who lives in a rural area, a single battery will get me to the nearest city, but I will be out of luck if I need to turn around and go back.
Thanks to the swappable battery, I can simply carry an extra one on me if I happen to run out. The only problem with this is that batteries are not cheap: expect to pay at least $300 for a battery replacement.
Aventon Soltera: Pros and Cons
If you’re wondering if the Aventon Soltera is for you, consider these pros and cons before you buy.
- Highly affordable
- Very sleek, stylish design
- Multiple assistance levels
- Plenty of features
- Not the fastest e-bike out there
- Not the best range under full throttle
Aventon Soltera: Is It a Buy?
With so much going for it, should you consider buying the Aventon Soltera?
Buy it if…
…This is your first e-bike, and you want something decent without breaking the bank.
Fellow e-bike enthusiasts have told me the Soltera is an impressive e-bike even compared to other high-end models of just a few years ago. So, you’re really getting a good bang for your buck.
For the price, you get a decent range and a zippy top speed. Sure, it’s not as fast as more expensive bikes, but it definitely beats pedaling the old-fashioned way.
If you’re looking for a city commuter, you can’t go wrong with the Aventon Soltera. With around 30 miles of range under average usage, you can easily get back and forth to work no matter what city you’re in. And the fact that you can take the battery out and charge it up so you have some juice for the ride home makes it a no-brainer.
Don’t buy it if…
…You want a really long-range e-bike.
I will admit, there are plenty of bikes out there with more range. Models from other companies like Optibike, Delfast, and DŌST Kope claim upwards of 100 miles on a single charge. However, those bikes also come with significantly higher price tags. Be prepared to drop at least double or triple the price of the Soltera if you want access to a much higher range.
If you want a really fast e-bike, the Aventon Soltera might not satisfy your need for speed. Models from Delfast and Ristretto claim upwards of 50 mph top speeds. But those models are in a league of their own and are substantially more expensive. For a city commuter, the Soltera is decidedly average in terms of speed.
Additionally, if you’re hoping to do some offroading or hit the trails on your e-bike, the Soltera is not the best choice. Low-profile tires mean that you won’t get the best handling on rough or uneven terrain, and you even risk damaging the wheels, depending on where you ride.
The complete lack of any suspension means that you will feel any bumps and potholes in the road. So, it is safe to say the Soltera is a bad choice if you want a mountain bike.
Are There More E-Bike Accidents in Cities That Rent E-Bikes?
In a word, yes. A study by the University of California, Berkley found that the number of e-bike injuries in San Francisco increased by 50% during the first year after the city began allowing e-bike rentals. The study also found that e-bike riders were more likely than traditional bike riders to be injured in collisions with pedestrians. Improper use, such as riding on sidewalks, may be responsible, at least in part, for the increase in accidents.
- 7 Better Options than the Aventon Soltera — If the review above had you ready to buy an Aventon Soltera, this one may make you rethink your decision.
- 4 Reasons to Avoid a New E-Bike Today — E-bikes make commuting without using too much muscle easier. But before you buy, consider the drawbacks.
- 6 Reasons to Buy an e-Bike Today and Which Are Best — If you still want an e-bike, we can help you pick one of the best.