I’ve been searching for the perfect electric bike to make my daily commute through the city faster and easier. With so many models and brands available today, it can be tricky to identify the best option for your needs and budget. That’s why I wanted to share my experience testing out the Ecotric Vortex – one of the most popular electric city bikes on the market right now.
In this detailed review, I’ll provide an in-depth look at the Vortex’s performance, design, convenience, cost-efficiency, and pros and cons. Whether you’re completely new to e-bikes or you’re looking to upgrade your current ride, read on to see if the Ecotric Vortex has everything you need in an urban electric bicycle.
Check the latest price here: Ecotric Vortex Electric Bike
An Overview of the Ecotric Vortex Electric City Bike
Ecotric produces a wide range of electric bicycles, but the Vortex model stands out as their specific offering for city and commuter use. I was initially drawn to its step-through frame design and 7-speed Shimano gear system – two features that prioritized accessibility and ease of handling in an urban environment.
Here’s an at-a-glance summary of the Vortex’s key features and specs:
- Motor: 350W rear hub motor
- Battery: 36V 9Ah Li-Ion (charges in 5-8 hours)
- Range: Up to 35 miles per charge
- Top speed: 20 mph throttle mode
- Gears: 7-speed Shimano Tourney
- Brakes: Tektro front and rear mechanical disc brakes
- Tires: 26″ x 1.95″
- Weight: 57 lbs (with battery)
- Load capacity: 220 lbs
- Extras: LCD display, LED headlight, adjustable stem and seat, fenders
With its 350W rear hub motor and 36V battery, the Vortex offers more than enough power and speed for daily commuting and getting around the urban landscape.
But how does that translate to real-world performance? Let’s take a closer look.
Check the latest price here: Ecotric Vortex Electric Bike
Performance of the Ecotric Vortex Electric Bike
Powerful and Responsive Motor
The Vortex’s 350W brushless rear hub motor provides all the power I need to tackle hills, accelerate quickly at stoplights, and maintain a consistent speed on flat roads. There are two primary modes to utilize the motor:
Pedal Assist – Allows you to pedal normally but enjoy different levels of power assistance from the motor based on your effort. This really takes the strain out of climbing inclines.
Throttle Mode – Power on demand at the press of a trigger on the handlebars. In this mode you don’t have to pedal at all while still getting up to 20 mph speeds. I don’t use throttle all the time, but it’s great to get an extra boost when needed.
Whether I’m pedaling hard or relying more on the motor, the Vortex delivers smooth, responsive power. The torque sensor effectively matches the motor output to my pedaling intensity. This creates a very natural and seamless cycling experience.
Efficient Gear Shifting
Having multiple gears to optimize pedaling cadence and effort is a must on an electric city bike in my opinion. The Vortex comes equipped with a 7-speed Shimano Tourney derailleur that makes it easy to find the right gear for both flat roads and hills.
Shifting between cogs feels quick and crisp. The gear range provides plenty of options from steep climbing gears to faster cadences when you want to go full throttle. I never feel stuck in one gear that’s too hard or too easy to pedal. Being able to downshift when stopping makes it easy to pull away from intersections too.
Overall, the Shimano transmission performs reliably and improves efficiency compared to a single speed e-bike.
Powerful Disc Brakes
Quick acceleration and higher speeds means your brakes better be up to the task of controlled stopping! The Vortex comes with Tektro Novela mechanical disc brakes on 160mm rotors in the front and rear. These provide strong and consistent braking power in all conditions.
The discs have plenty of bite even from high speeds. And the cut-out design sheds water well, so I’ve never had issues with reduced braking power when riding in the rain. The levers allow easy modulation of braking force with a single finger.
Having discs instead of rim brakes is also great since they stay cleaner and require less maintenance over time. For a commuter e-bike, I think the disc brake system on the Vortex is superb.
Up to 35 Miles of Battery Range
The Vortex is powered by a 36V 9Ah Li-Ion battery that charges to full in around 5-8 hours. With moderate pedal assist and occasional throttle use, I can reliably achieve 30-35 miles per charge. For commuting distances of 5-15 miles at a time, I can easily go several days between charges.
Of course, running higher speeds in throttle mode more often will reduce range faster. But even at full throttle I could get around 20 miles per charge, which is pretty impressive! Having a battery range of 30+ miles means I don’t have to be overly conservative to avoid running out of juice before getting to my destination.
According to Ecotric, the battery should last for around 1000 charge cycles while maintaining 80% capacity. That gives me confidence I won’t have to replace it for several years at least. Overall the Vortex delivers excellent electric range and endurance for an urban e-bike.
Design of the Ecotric Vortex Electric City Bike
In addition to performance, the design elements and components of an electric bike for city use need to be well-suited for comfort, safety, and convenience. Here’s how the Vortex stacks up:
Step-Through Aluminum Frame
The Vortex has an aluminum alloy step-through frame rather than a standard diamond frame. This design makes it super easy to mount and dismount the bike since you don’t have to swing your leg over a high crossbar. Step-through frames are much more accessible for those with limited mobility.
Despite the open design, the frame still feels impressively rigid and responsive when pedaling and steering. The step-through shape didn’t compromise stability or power transfer at all.
And while the step-through improves convenience, you still get good standover clearance when stopped. At 5′ 10″, I can stand over the frame comfortably.
The aluminum alloy keeps weight reasonable while still providing corrosion resistance and durability. Overall, the frame design of the Vortex is optimized for easy everyday use.
Wide 26″ Wheels
Wheels make a big difference when riding on varied city terrain. The Vortex comes equipped with 26″ double walled alloy rims paired with Kenda 1.95″ tires.
I found these wheels struck the perfect balance of stability and maneuverability:
- The wide tires and large diameter provide plenty of stability and shock absorption when riding over cracks or potholes.
- But the bike still handles nimbly, allowing tight turns and easy navigation through traffic.
- The tread on the Kenda tires is surprisingly grippy on wet surfaces while still maintaining low rolling resistance.
I never feel like I’m being rattled around on uneven city streets. And the wheels are more than responsive enough for swerving around obstacles and making quick turns when needed.
Front Suspension Fork
To further improve comfort, the Vortex comes equipped with a front suspension fork. While not as cushy as a high-end mtb fork, it still smooths out vibrations and jolts from the ground.
The 50mm of travel from the suspension fork makes a noticeable difference in damping bumps, reducing fatigue on longer rides. It also enhances traction and control when dealing with cracks or broken pavement.
For a city electric bike that will encounter less extreme terrain, I found the Vortex’s front suspension to be a welcome addition for improved handling and comfort without excessive added weight.
Adjustable Stem and Seat
Having the right fit is essential for both efficient pedaling and comfort on longer rides. The Vortex makes tuning the fit for your body easy with an adjustable stem and adjustable seat post.
The quick release seat post has a rating for riders from 5′ 3″ up to 6′. So I was easily able to dial in the right leg extension for effective pedaling by raising and lowering the saddle.
And the adjustable angle stem allowed me to tailor the reach to the handlebars so I don’t have to strain my arms or back.
Having simple fit adjustments is really convenient both for getting the initial setup right as well as tweaking things over time. It allows the Vortex to accommodate a wide range of riders.
Convenience and Usability
Along with performance and comfort, convenience features also improve the overall user experience and practicality of a city e-bike. The Vortex includes a number of well-designed touches that enhance day-to-day usability:
LCD Display and Control Pad
An easy-to-read display and controls are essential interfaces for using your e-bike effectively. The Vortex keeps things straightforward with a small handlebar-mounted LCD display and control pad.
The display provides clear readouts of:
- Current speed
- Pedal assist level
- Distance travelled
- Battery level
And the compact control pad allows easy toggling between different pedal assist modes as well as controlling headlights and other accessories.
I really appreciated the simple, no-frills display and controls – everything I need without unnecessary bells and whistles.
Integrated Rear Rack
Having space to carry items is super handy for city riding. The Vortex comes equipped with an integrated rear rack.
It easily holds 15+ lbs of cargo whether that’s work supplies, groceries, or other everyday carry items. The wide rack deck has a patterned surface for grip. And it feels very stable and secure even when loaded up and riding over bumps.
I also love that it comes pre-installed. Having a cargo rack ready to go makes the Vortex even more functional right out of the box. No need to purchase and install an aftermarket rack.
No one wants a stripe of dirty water up their back when riding in the rain! That’s why the included fenders are another great convenience feature on the Vortex.
Having full coverage fenders pre-installed front and rear keeps splashing to a minimum. And they have enough clearance to avoid rubbing the tires even when loaded down.
One less thing to worry about when the weather turns wet.
E-bikes require a bit more setup than traditional bikes, but the Vortex goes together quickly and intuitively right out of the box. Everything is nearly assembled already.
With the included tools, it only took me 30-45 minutes to:
- Install the front wheel
- Attach the handlebars
- Mount the pedals
- Inflate the tires
- Adjust the seat and stem
The rear motor, brakes, drivetrain, and electronics come pre-installed and tuned. Just a few bolts and connections and it’s ready to ride. The streamlined process makes it easy to start riding fast.
2 Year Warranty
It’s reassuring to know your investment is protected as you put the miles on your e-bike. Ecotric provides a 2 year warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. This covers the major components including the frame, motor, battery, electronics, and mechanical parts.
I fortunately haven’t had to use the warranty yet, but it’s nice peace of mind and indicative of the quality and durability built into the Vortex.
Cost Efficiency of the Ecotric Vortex
For me, getting value for my hard-earned dollars is always a top priority when making a big purchase like an e-bike. Here’s a look at how the costs of the Vortex measure up:
Pricing Compared to Similar Models
The retail price of the Ecotric Vortex is $999. But it’s frequently available for $600-800 depending on coupons and seasonal sales. Within this price range, the Vortex delivers performance and capabilities on par with e-bikes costing several hundred dollars more from other brands.
For example, the similarly equipped Rad Power Metro electric commuter bike has an MSRP of $1,499. So the Vortex provides the same utility and features for 33-50% less upfront cost. Significant savings!
Cost Savings vs Public Transport
Switching from buses or trains to an ebike for my daily commute has also added up to major ongoing savings:
- My monthly metro pass was $90.
- The Vortex costs just $0.15 in electricity to charge for a day’s commute use.
- That’s over $80/month saved by going electric!
And that’s not even accounting for additional savings on parking costs and car maintenance. The Vortex pays for itself very quickly compared to public transport.
Low Maintenance Costs
Some savings from the Vortex come in the form of reduced maintenance costs too:
- No oil changes or engine repairs like a scooter
- Basic cleaning and lubing every 6 months
- Only consumables are brake pads and tires occasionally
I’ve found maintenance to be quick, easy, and inexpensive even when riding regularly. Far lower than maintaining a car or motorcycle for commuting.
Strong Resale Value
Ebikes tend to maintain their value relatively well if you ever decide to resell. Looking at used Ecotric Vortex listings, they generally sell for 40-60% of the original new price even after 1-2 years of use. Not too shabby!
The impressive value retention reduces the net cost of ownership over the lifespan of the bike.
Adding up the reasonable purchase price, negligible energy costs, minimal maintenance, and strong resale value, the Ecotric Vortex delivers outstanding cost efficiency – a key factor for me.
The Pros and Cons of the Ecotric Vortex Ebike
Based on my experience testing and commuting with the Vortex, here’s a summary of the biggest benefits along with a few downsides to consider:
- Powerful motor provides speed and hill climbing ability
- Mechanical disc brakes with great all-weather stopping power
- Upright riding position for comfort and visibility
- 7-speed Shimano gears for easy shifting
- Battery range up to 35 miles per charge
- Step-through frame for easy mounting
- Integrated rear rack to carry cargo
- Full coverage fenders keep you dry
- 2 year warranty from Ecotric
- More affordable than many competing ebikes
- Display and controls feel a bit cheap and plasticky
- Handlebars aren’t adjustable (but stem is)
- Stock seat is somewhat hard and uncomfortable
- Slow battery charging – takes up to 8 hours
- Aftermarket upgrades can be limited due to hub motor
While very functional for the price, it doesn’t have premium components or the fastest charging found on pricier models. But the pros far outweigh the cons for most city riding needs.
Check the latest price here: Ecotric Vortex Electric Bike
Frequently Asked Questions
How far can the Ecotric Vortex go on a full charge?
Real world range is typically 30-35 miles per charge depending on terrain, assist level, payload, etc. Some riders may achieve up to 40 miles in ideal conditions. But expect 35 miles as a realistic maximum under normal riding.
What is the maximum weight capacity?
The Vortex can support a combined weight of around 220 lbs for the rider and any cargo. The frame, wheels, and components are built to safely handle heavier loads. But range may decrease with more weight.
How long does the Ecotric battery last?
The 36V Li-ion battery should deliver consistent range for 2-3 years or around 1,000 charge cycles before capacity begins dropping. Proper storage and charging extends battery lifespan. Replacement batteries run $200-300.
Does the Ecotric Vortex require maintenance?
Basic maintenance like brake pad replacement, gear adjustments, tire inflation and drivetrain cleaning is recommended every 6 months or so. This keeps things running safely and smoothly. But overall maintenance needs are minimal.
Is the Vortex easy to assemble by yourself?
Yes, single person assembly is straightforward. The rear wheel, drivetrain, brakes, and electronics come pre-installed. You just have to attach the front wheel, handlebars, pedals, and accessories using the included tools. Takes 30-45 minutes.
What accessories are recommended for the Ecotric Vortex?
A good helmet is essential safety gear. I’d also suggest a phone mount, panniers or trunk bag, and bike lock for commuting. Upgrades like suspension seat post or wider saddle could improve comfort over stock seat.
How does the Ecotric Vortex perform on hills?
The 350W motor combined with 7 gears gives enough low-end torque and gear range to tackle moderate city hills without issue. Steep grades may require more human effort in lower gears but overall hill climbing ability is solid.
Is the Ecotric Vortex comfortable for taller or shorter riders?
The adjustable stem and seat provide a good fit range. At 5′ 3″ to 6′ most riders should be able to dial in a comfortable fit. Really short riders under 5′ may find it big and tall riders over 6′ 2″ may feel cramped. But it accommodates most heights well.
Can you ride the Vortex ebike in the rain?
Yes, the weather resistant components like the disc brakes, sealed motor, and fenders allow riding in wet conditions.