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Ride1Up Prodigy XC Electric Mountain Bike – Test and Review

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Updated April 9th, 2024

Ride1Up Prodigy XC Review

Manufacturer and Model: Ride1Up Prodigy
List Price: $2295


Summary

The Ride1Up Prodigy XC is a Class 3 e-bike that is well equipped for trail riding or paved riding. There are 3 versions of the Prodigy with different personalities. There are 2 versions that are set up as commuter bikes for paved riding and the XC that is set up for mountain biking. Our review bike is the mountain bike version and it is ton of fun to ride on trails or cruise around on the pavement. It is a little light on range but everything else about the bike is good and up to the task of mountain biking or commuting.

It is the best $2000 electric mountain bike out there. I would pick it over any cheaper or similar priced bike with a hub motor for offroad use.

What we liked:

  • A lot of fun riding on trails
  • Lots of power for steep climbs when riding on “boost” setting
  • Setup well for offroad and trail use
  • Comes with Maxxis trail tires
  • Advent Microshift pedal driveline is durable and smooth
  • Air sprung front suspension fork
  • Chameleon paint that looks green or purple or both

What we didn’t like:

  • Gearing needs more range for riding at speeds above 23mph
  • Range is a little short for the price
  • Headlight can’t be turned off

Ride1Up Prodigy XC Product Image

Specifications

  • Max Speed – 28 mph
  • Range – 30-50 miles
  • Max Rider Weight – 300 lbs
  • Bike Weight – 50 lbs
  • Motor Power – BROSE 90nm torque mid-drive
  • Battery – 36 volt 15 ah Samsung Cells
  • Speeds – 9 Speed Advent Microshift
  • Brakes – Hydraulic disc – 180mm rotors
  • Wheel Size – 27.5 inch x 2.4inch tires

Ride1Up Prodigy XC Review and Test

The Ride1Up Prodigy is available with 3 different configurations. There is 2 commuter bike versions that have a regular or step-thru frame. These are set up with road tires, a rigid fork, rear rack, and fenders. There is the Prodigy XC which is set up for mountain biking with an air sprung front shock and mountain bike tires. There are no fenders or racks on the XC. The XC and step over commuter bike use the same frame. The step-thru has its own frame.

All 3 bikes use the excellent Brose mid-drive motor and are delivered as Class 3 e-bikes with a top speed of 28mph using pedal assist only. There is no throttle on any version of the Prodigy. They have the classification written on the bike logo on the steering tube at the front of the bike. It’s small but it’s there.

The XC comes well equipped for trail riding with a 120mm travel air spring fork, Maxxis trail tires, Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, and an Advent Microshift driveline. There is nothing on the bike that isn’t up to off-road use.

Our review bike is an XC mountain bike with the Chameleon Gloss paint. The Chameleon paint is one of the best paint colors I have seen on a bike. It really needs to be seen in person to appreciate the color changing ability. We have ridden the XC on both paved rides and have taken it out on some mountain bike trails for this review.

Prodigy XC purple by lake
Prodigy XC Green on dock

1 – Brose 90 nm torque mid-drive motor

The Prodidgy uses the Brose TF Sprinter mid-drive motor. It is rated for 90nm torque. It is quiet and power comes on smoothly without any jerk or clunk. Just the feeling of a lot of extra power when you push on the pedal.

Prodigy motor

2 – Samsung 36 volt 15 ah removable battery

All 3 versions of the Prodigy use a Samsung 36 volt 15 amp hour battery. This gives it 540 watts. This is a little light on the capacity side for batteries with bikes like the Aventon Level.2 coming with a 672 watt battery. This is probably the biggest short coming of the Prodigy. It has enough battery for a typical 10-15 mile mountain bike trail ride. It’s got enough juice for a 30 mile ride on pavement with hills.

3 – 27.5 inch mountain bike wheels and tires

The Prodigy comes setup with Maxxis Forecaster 27.5 x 2.35 tires. These are good trail tires with excellent grip. I personally ride Maxxis tires on my regular mountain bike. My only complaint about the wheels is that they have Shrader valves and aren’t tubeless ready rims or tires. Any mountain bike that costs over about $700 should have tubeless ready wheel components.

Prodigy Fork and tire

4 – 120 mm travel air spring fork

The front suspension fork has 120mm travel and uses an air-spring. There is a table on the fork for setting the air-pressure. You’ll need to get a pump to set the spring pressure correctly. The fork is generic but is holding up so far to use on the trail. I would choose a cheap air-spring fork over any SR-Suntour or generic spring shock any day. The only thing the fork doesn’t have is adjustable damping. It does have a lockout.

The fork uses a 15mm thru-axle which provides much better stiffness and control than a standard quick release front axle. You do have to use a tool to remove the front wheel for this thru-axle design.

5 – Environmentally Friendly Packaging

This is the first e-bike we have seen that used cardboard and paper packaging materials to pad the bike for shipping. I hate seeing the amount of foam and plastic wrap we end up throwing away with the review items we get here. E-Bikes are big offenders of this with large chunks of non-recyclable foam used to pad most e-bikes. Ride1Up pads the Prodigy with cardboard blocks and cardboard honeycomb spacers. There was no plastic wrap or foam blocks anywhere with our Prodigy. The only throwaway plastic was the plastic wire ties used to hold things together.

I hope more e-bike vendors will follow this lead in the future. e-bikes are supposed to be green transportation. They shouldn’t come with a small mountain of non-recyclable landfill materials.

6 – Power (9.5/10)

Top Speed

The fastest I was able to get the bike to go was 25.82mph as measured by a Garmin GPS. The published top speed is 28mph. You have to pedal really hard and fast to get the bike to go above 22-23mph. It’s not geared to pedal efficiently above that speed.

Acceleration

The bike has very good acceleration when in Sport or Boost mode. The motor has much better torque and efficiency at higher RPMs. Use a lower gear with higher cadence to get the most out of the motor. If you are in a too high gear with a slow cadence the motor will struggle to give you much boost.

Hill climbing

We took the Prodigy XC to our standard hill climb test hill. This is a 0.5 mile long hill with a 100 foot elevation gain with 2 10% grade sections. We use a 250 lb rider for the test. It’s a long hill that is tiring to ride up on a regular bike. I set the pedal assist mode to the highest level which is Boost.

The Prodigy XC took 1 minute and 52 seconds to complete the climb at an average speed of 16.91mph. This is about average for a Class 1-3 e-bike on this hill.

Prodigy XC Hill Climb
Prodigy XC Hill Climb Test Result

I took the bike around a local mountain bike trail. What usually is a 10 mile sweaty tired mess turned into a 10 mile, barely had to work, nice easy bike ride. As long as you shift into a low gear before starting up a hill, the motor will give you lots of help. If you are in too high a gear with a slow pedal cadence the motor will also struggle and you will feel like you’re not getting much help. Down shift at the bottom of hills to a lower gear to get the best boost for climbing.

7 – Range (7/10)

I took the bike on my normal range test ride which is a paved path from our home out to a park 10 miles away and then back. If there is enough battery left we go around the lake for an extra 8 miles. I used Sport setting for pedal assist and rode about 15mph for the ride. The test ride is paved the entire way with a decent amount of hills and stops.

I was able to get the bike to go 32.86 miles on the bike with 767 feet of climbing during the ride. I’m about a 250 lb rider. This is a good test of distance, hills, and rider weight. Other similar priced bikes we’ve tested can go over 40 miles for range on pedal assist. The battery is smaller on the Prodigy at only 540 watts (36 volt * 15 amp hour). Other bikes are coming with 720 watt (48 volt * 15 amp hours) or higher.

I chose the Sport setting because it gave a similar assist feel to other bikes in their middle assist setting. It gives enough assistance on hills to make for a nice relaxing bike ride which is what I typically want from an e-bike.

This bike has no throttle so we only tested the range in pedal assist mode.

Prodigy Max Range
Prodigy Max Range

8 – Ride and Handling (9.5/10)

Trail riding

The Prodigy is almost too much fun to ride on single track trails. If you haven’t tried an e-mountain bike, you don’t know what you’re missing. The Prodigy will make steep rocky climbs feel very easy. The acceleration makes flowy trail sections super fun. You can very quickly accelerate. The only thing I wish for after riding the Prodigy is for it to be a full suspension 29er mountain bike which would be even more fun.

Cornering

The bike feels very solid and smooth. It doesn’t feel twitchy cornering at low or high speeds. The handling of the bike feels really good whether your riding on paved streets, bike paths or taking it off onto mountain bike trails.

Comfort

The geometry of this bike is fairly typical for a hard tail mountain bike. It is slack enough to feel good on trails. The one downside to comfort on the Prodigy is the saddle. The bike comes with a Selle Royal SRX saddle. Selle is a well known and popular saddle brand for bikes. I do not find the seat on this bike comfortable at all. I ride with a WTB Volt on my non-electric mountain bikes so I put one on the Prodigy after the first few rides to fix the seat comfort problem.

Prodigy Seat

9 – Braking (9.5)

The Prodigy has 180mm Tektro hydraulic disc brakes. They have great stopping power and a really good feel. The handles feel soft enough with just enough free travel. It’s one of the better mountain bikes I have ridden for brake feel.

Prodigy front brake

10 – Controls (9/10)

LCD Display

The BROSE display is mounted on the left handlebar. It is kind of small and basic compared to what you will see on other e-bikes. It gets the job done. It has a few buttons and shows speed along with battery remaining on the screen. It has a few buttons mounted on the display for controlling the electronics.

Prodigy Brose Display

Control buttons

There is a power button on the front of the display. There is a info and light button on the bottom of the display. Below that is a “+” and “-” button.

Menus and settings

The display can show several different things along the bottom. There is a trip meter showing distance. It can also show you your max speed and max power output. The most useful thing is that it can show you your range left in miles. Most e-bikes just show a battery percent left and don’t try to show you how many miles you can still go.

Pedal Assist

The pedal assist has 5 levers. Off, eco, tour, sport, and boost. Off is no assist. Eco gives very little assist. Tour gives enough assist for going not that fast on flat ground and a little help on hills. Sport gives you a noticeable amount of assist and does a good job of helping with hills. Boost gives a lot of assist and will make pedaling almost effortless on flat ground or hills. I tend to use Tour or Sport for paved riding and Boost for trail riding.

9 speed pedal driveline

Our Prodigy has a Microshift Advent 9 speed pedal driveline. This is different than what is spec’d on the Ride1Up website. The Microshift Advent driveline is roughly the equivalent of a Shimano Deore or SRAM NX driveline. It is an upgrade above the Shimano Alivio that Ride1Up specs on the website. The Advent shifter and derailleur are reliable and smooth. You won’t mistake it for an SRAM Eagle GX driveline. It’s a huge upgrade over all the Shimano Tourney and Altus drivelines common on e-bikes. It’s a true mountain bike driveline that will hold up well to trail abuse.

Prodigy Advent Microshift driveline
Prodigy right handlebar

Dropper Post

The Prodigy XC does not come with a dropper post. The frame does have holes in place for routing an internal dropper post cable. You can easily add a dropper post if you want one. There is plenty of room on the left handlebar to mount the lever by moving the motor controller over a little bit.

11 – Assembly Ease (8/10)

Assembly Time – 1.5 hours

There is very little to do to assemble the Prodigy. You have to put the handlebar into the stem, attach the pedals, and attach the front headlight to the front fork. That is all the steps involved.

Unassembled Prodigy

Extra tools required

The Prodigy comes with a set of hex wrenches and 2 small regular wrenches. You don’t need any other tools for assembling the Prodigy.

Adjustments needed

The rear derailleur was not adjusted on my bike. The high gear limit was set correctly and the cable tension was set correctly. The low gear limit that keeps the bike from shifting the chain into the spokes was not set at all. I was able to shift the chain right off the largest gear into the spokes with ease. If you do this while climbing and putting a lot of load into the driveline you can easily break spokes or other driveline parts.

Check your derailleur and shifting before going for a ride.

You can find a good guide to adjusting rear derailleurs at Park Tool. You can watch the below video from Park Tool too.

12 – Accessories

Lights

The Prodigy XC comes with a small 70 lumen trail light that gets bolted to the front suspension fork. It’s not bright enough to use for trail riding. It’s just barely bright enough for paved path or street riding.

It can’t be turned off when the bike is powered on. We verified this with Ride1Up customer service. There is a light button on the control buttons. Brose in their wisdom decided it was safer for riders to have the light turned on all the time.

Prodigy Front Light

We did what most of you will do and clipped the wires and removed it. Nothing screams e-bike on a mountain bike trail like a headlight turned on in the middle of the day. There is still a lot of stigma against e-bikes on trails so we don’t need anything on the bike to draw extra attention.

We use a Downhill Package from Outbound Lighting for night riding that’s about 2000 lumens and gets the job done well.

13 – Size and Fit

I’m 5’11” and the bike feels just about the right size for me. The riding position feels natural for a mountain bike. The reach feels just about right. The bike is a bit too large for my 5’6″ wife. She can ride it but says the frame feels too big.

Prodigy with 5ft 11inch rider

Recommendation – Buy or No Buy?

The Prodigy XC is a lot of fun to ride on mountain bike trails or just to ride around and explore. It is one of the cheapest mid-drive class 3 e-bikes out there with a powerful motor that gives lots of boost for climbing or riding fast. Everyone we have let ride it on trails loves it. If you are looking for a solid electric mountain bike for trail riding or just an e-bike for riding around, definitely check out the Ride1Up Prodigy

Ride1Up Prodigy XC Product Image

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Ryan Craig
Co-Founder & Chief Editor

I am a total gear nerd and love learning how things work and thinking about how they could be improved. Nothing excites me more than trying out new gear. I’d rather spend 3 hours taking my bike apart and learning how to change something than go to a bike shop. These days, I reside in Michigan by the Great Lakes and go skiing, biking, and boating as much as possible. Visit our About Us page and learn more.

ryan@lowbudgetadventurer.com

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