Tom's Guide

2022-08-20 00:45:16 By : Mr. Felix Liu

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By John R. Quain published 17 August 22

Juiced Bikes has created a truly fun BMX-style ebike for hitting trails and tough urban streets. The RipRacer also delivers enough power to keep you rolling uphill and put a smile on your face. Best of all, the RipRacer is hundreds less than comparable off-road ebikes.

Powerful pedal assist with a full-throttle mode

Battery: 800 Wh Max estimated range: 55 miles Max assisted speed: 28 mph Motor: 1300W (Peak) 750W (Sustained), Rear Hub Motor Gearing: Single speed Wheel diameter: 20 x 4 inches, all-terrain Weight: 66 lbs. Price as tested: $1,599

With all the talk about micromobility and concerns about sustainability, an important fact about ebikes is often overlooked: they're fun. Fortunately, Juiced Bikes hasn't forgotten, producing a new ebike, the RipRacer, that is all about fun, fun, fun.

The Juiced RipRacer is a small-frame fat-tire ebike with a 40.3-inch wheelbase and 20-inch wheels designed for trails and urban BMX joy rides. Traditionally, BMX bikes don't have any suspension or shock absorbers, which would tend to interfere with tight turns and tricks. So the RipRacer's lack of shocks should appeal to such purists. On the other hand, BMX bikes don't typically include an electric assist, making this Juiced ebike a somewhat unorthodox design among the best electric bikes. Is its unique styling for you? Read the rest of our Juiced RipRacer review to find out. 

Juiced is known for producing powerful ebikes that tend to be more of a cross between a dirt bike and a moped. Models like the $1,999 Scorpion X and the $2,699 Hyperscrambler 2 are typical Juiced models, built to withstand the daily punishment of pockmarked city streets. The RipRacer is cut from the same cloth, albeit with more of an eye toward fun rather than function.

The RipRacer, which is sold directly online, comes in two models: the $1,299 base model is a Class 2 ebike with a top assist speed of 20 mph, a 52V/10Ah battery, and an estimated range of 35 miles. Our test model, however, was the $1,499 Class 3 version of the RipRacer with a top assist speed of 28 mph, a 52V/15.6Ah battery, and an estimated range of 55 miles.

The RipRacer takes a minimalist approach to accessories. Fenders and cargo racks are not included, for example, but are available for $89 and $79, respectively. And the bike only includes a mechanical bell (which offers less volume than an electric model which is a $59 option).

The hardtail BMX-style ebike is built on an aluminum frame. Hydraulic disc brakes are standard, as is a twist throttle for times when full electric boost is necessary.

The RipRacer features a single speed transmission, with a 12T-52T ratio. That translates into about 4.5 wheel rotations for every pedal rotation. With the electric assist kicking in, it means you won't find yourself pedaling like mad at high speeds, although we tended to coast more often than not going down steep grades.

Cadence sensors account for that pedal speed, adjusting the amount of electronic assistance as you pedal. The 750-watt, rear-hub motor can be adjusted using the monochrome LCD controller with 5 mode settings: electric assist levels 1 through 3, a Sport mode, and a Race mode, which will give you a kick in the pants at up to 28 mph. The handlebar-mounted controller also conveys standard information, such as battery level, speed, and distance traveled.

As standard equipment, Juiced includes a bright 1,050-lumen headlight and a taillight that brightens whenever you touch the brakes, so you won’t need to invest in one of the best bike lights. And there's a secret compartment for stashing an Apple AirTag to track your bike.

You'll flip over this powerful little ebike. I certainly did. Literally. On one of my initial excursions, an overly enthusiastic steep uphill run kicked the bike out from under me and landed me right on my keister, a reminder of the RipRacer's power. (It’s also a reminder to wear one of the best bike helmets before going out for a ride.)

With nothing wounded but my pride, I came to appreciate that the RipRacer has as much if not more power and torque (a peak of 1300 watts) than big, bad boys like the Aventon Aventure or Biktrix Stunner X. With a more compact BMX body, that translates into peppy performance and a fun ride-- as long as you don't get overconfident. 

Out on dirt and gravel roads, the RipRacer had so much pep, in fact, that I found myself throttling it back from level 3 to 2 or even down to 1 on the flats. The more conservative setting minimized sudden surges of power on straightaways and back country trails. 

From a standing start, the cadence sensors take a moment to kick in, so there's a power lag when you first push off — common to this kind of design and rear hub motors — but once engaged the RipRacer is very responsive, delivering a satisfying boost to match your pedal input. (A gentle twist on the throttle will also get you rolling if you don't want to exert yourself.)

Using the controller, owners can set the RipRacer to recognize R (for race) mode. This is necessary to get the 28-mph maximum out of the bike's powertrain. Indeed, the race mode delivers considerably more power and propelled me up one hill with assistance at over 18 mph — a good 7 MPH faster than the beasts like the Aventon Aventure. Out on the dirt road flats, it was easy to exceed the 25 MPH speed limit with the power assist. Could it have used a lower gear to make it even easier to pedal at high speeds? Yes, but how fast do you really want to careen down a gravel road?

If you're out for a long country jaunt, the RipRacer's lack of shocks will wear on you. On dirt road washboards, your arms will take considerable punishment and some riders will weary of handling all the bumps on downhills — bumps that are usually mitigated on mountain bikes with front shocks. Furthermore, after a couple of 20-mile trail rides, we felt the padded seat could use some additional cushioning.

On the other hand, the RipRacer is tight and maneuverable. And while riding it means being more keenly aware of protruding tree roots and rocks on paths, the RipRacer's more compact stature means it's also more at home on trails, ducking under branches and dodging boulders. Juiced specs the RipRacer as being suitable for riders from 5’ to 6’ 3”. At 6 feet, I felt very comfortable with the bike.

The RipRacer model I tested came with a 52-volt, 15.6 hw battery. It's larger than most and consequently I found it came closer to its rated range than most ebikes I have tested. 

Juiced estimates that the RipRacer has a maximum range of 55 miles, and I found I usually got about 40 miles of riding out of the battery. That's quite impressive, given that I was testing it on steep Vermont mountain roads and trails. And I made no attempt to extend the battery range, liberally applying the full-throttle mode when the going got tough uphill — or I just wanted to see how fast I could go on an empty trail.

There are plenty of off-road ebikes on the market, but the vast majority are designed as full-sized, heavy metal electric versions of mountain bikes. Examples include Rad Power's RadRover 6 ($1,599) and Aventon's Aventure ($1,999). But none of these models offer the maneuverability and quick handling of the BMX sized Juice RipRacer.

If you want more power than what the RipRacer offers, generally that means moving up into the electric motorbike category. Here you'll find what essentially amounts to electric motorcycles, like Cake's Makka, which costs $4,200. 

The Juiced RipRacer is a seriously fun fat-tire ebike that will have you grinning from ear to ear as you tear up whatever road or trail you’re on. The bike’s low starting price of $1,299 — it’s one of the best budget electric bikes for offroading — will also have you smiling. The RipRacer is definitely more balanced and maneuverable than full-sized, fat-tire bikes. Just remember that iIts lack of suspension means your arms will get a bit of a workout over rougher terrain, while its powerful motor, large battery, and full-throttle mode will keep you out on the trails for hours on end.

John R. Quain has been reviewing and testing video and audio equipment for more than 20 years. For Tom's Guide, he has reviewed televisions, HDTV antennas, electric bikes, electric cars, as well as other outdoor equipment. He is currently a contributor to The New York Times and the CBS News television program.

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