Kent Electric Cruiser E-bike review: affordable e-cycling

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kent electric bike

When I say mountain bikes, I really mean a 90s Huffy 18-speed I bought from Walmart for $60 without a front suspension. A group of us would carpool out to a lake trail, then ride with reckless abandon, flying over the handlebars multiple times each trip. Without the battery, the Kent Torpedo is easy enough to pedal, though it will definitely feel a bit heavier than a typical kid’s bike.

It held a 155-lb adult flying through the air, even though I was half expecting a pedal to snap off on my repeated landings. But no, the thing is overbuilt for its ratings, just like Kent’s lawyers surely insisted that it should be. The V-brakes similarly aren’t incredibly high quality, but then again, they work just fine. This is a $498 kids e-bike after all – not a $17,000 S-Works for lycra-clad dads. While the Electric Cruiser was lighter than most e-bikes I’ve tested over the years, I would still hate to have to haul it upstairs or lift it onto a car rack.

I have a Truckrun motor on my daily rider city e-bike, and it works wonderfully. Mid-drive motors, unlike hub motors, actually power the bike through the standard gears on a bicycle. Hub motors, on the other hand, are single-speed drivetrains that bypass the gears and chain altogether, allowing them to be controlled quite simply as there are no gears to worry about. This is a gross oversimplification, but you can kind of think about it like automatic versus manual transmission cars, at least in terms of simplicity and ease of learning or use for the driver. Kent’s Electric Cruiser has plenty of limitations, but it’s doubtful the people buying this bike will care too much.

The motor is supplied by an adorable little 24v 5.2Ah battery. In low power mode, the battery is sufficient for 15 miles (25 km) of range. Of course, if the battery ever runs out, the e-bike simply turns back into a standard pedal bike.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive ebike for casual weekend rides, the Kent Electric Cruiser demands consideration. The price means that it lacks some of the advanced features of many electric models, and even more basic ones like quick release, but it looks great and rides well. These are typically 24” or 26” mountain bikes, but kent electric bike the Kent Torpedo is particularly striking because it’s a 20” bike. NABA’s 2019 figures also found e-bikes were used some 1.7 times more than traditional bikes. For our third eMTB trip, I chose a 16-mile gravel forest service road in nearby Helen, Georgia. The first half was mainly uphill and the bikes performed magnificently.

Spec is solid as you would expect from a manufacturer with a reputation for durable and high quality manufacture;  Bosch Performance Line motor, 400Wh or 500 Wh battery, hydraulic disc brakes and a low-maintenance belt drive. Not wanting to give up my precious gym time, I bought two electric pedal-assist bikes. I chose the Kent Electric Mountain Bike 27.5” from Walmart for a couple of reasons. When I sold the CrossFit gym and moved to Gainesville, Georgia, I lost all of my MTB-riding friends, so my bike went into storage.