Why you can trust ZDNET
:ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.Our process
'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?
ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.
When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.
ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.
A few months ago I tested the Lectric XP Lite and experienced sheer joy riding it all over town. That's why I was very excited when I got the chance to test the company's newest XP Step-Thru 3.0, along with Lectric's holiday bundle and passenger package.
The Lectric XP 3.0 is a significant upgrade over the XP 2.0 with an integrated rear rack for a passenger, increased peak wattage (1000W) in the rear hub motor, improved pedaling efficiency, upgraded brake rotors, and increased travel on the suspension.
While I don't rate the bike quite as high as customers' 4.9/5 stars on Lectric's product page, the bike was a blast to ride and one of my test passengers enjoyed it enough to want to stay seated even after I was done testing.
6061 aluminum alloy
500W rear hub (1000W peak)
Five levels with throttle
Pedal assist: 45 miles. Throttle:20 miles
Front forks with 50mm of travel
48V with 4-6 hour charge time
Backlit LCD with IP65 dust/water resistant rating
Front and rear connected to the battery
Rear rack capacity
150 pounds w/ passenger package option
180mm mechanical disc
64 pounds with battery. Battery is 7 pounds
37 x 18 x 28 inches
Assembly and build quality
Just like the Lectric XP Lite, the XP 3.0 arrives fully assembled so you simply remove it from the box, unfold the frame and stem, inflate the tires to the correct pressure, fold down the pedals, charge up the battery, and get going. You'll need to have one of the two provided keys inserted into the bike in order to turn on the power and use it, which is a great safety feature that more e-bikes should have.
The only problem is that the keyhole is on the bottom of the frame -- just in front of the frame hinge -- and it's a bit challenging to insert it. At first, I also worried that the key would fall out while riding, but so far it has remained in place for the miles of testing I have completed.
Lectric offers two colors for the XP Step-Thru 3.0: black and white, along with a black version of the 3.0 with a higher center frame. I tested the white Step-Thru model that also included the Holiday Bundle and Passenger Package, shown in the image above.
The Holiday Bundle, which is included for free if you order the XP 3.0 for a limited time, features a larger seat, a suspension seat post, a bike lock, and an elite headlight. From my testing, the bundled seat is a bit too padded, and if you want to pedal the bike for extended periods, it is not the best option.
The bike lock attaches to the back of the frame under the seat and helps to secure the vehicle to a post or stand. It's a folding lock, and has limited security, but it is better than nothing. The same sentiment goes for the headlight, which is big and bright enough for a safe riding experience.
If you're buying the Lectric XP 3.0 and want the ability to carry a second rider, you should consider the $99 Passenger bundle, which includes the extra passenger seat, passenger handlebar, and foot pegs. The seat is a thick padded cushion that secures to the rear rack with a couple of clips and my test passengers said it was very comfortable.
A T-bar handlebar secures to the seat post so the passenger can grab onto it while riding. It also helps that there's a rubber casing on the handle for a better grip. And lastly, pegs stick out about three inches from the back wheel, providing a nice platform for the passenger to rest their feet while on the back of the bike.
The XP 3.0 has the same 20-inch diameter tires, but they are three inches wide and much thicker than the standard size. As for the mechanical disc brakes, they provide for quick and steady braking, even when my passenger and I exceeded the 330 pound-rated capacity. And for power, the 500W motor, with a peak of 1000W, got me up and going in no time with fairly steady speed -- even with the full capacity.
There is a passenger mode that you can select by navigating through the main display menu. With passenger mode, the e-bike limits its speed to 10 mph, which may help your passenger feel less afraid of your riding ability and offers a bit of safety in the case that you throttle a little too far.
Still, the 7-speed Shimano drivetrain will help you get up hills with the passenger. Having a throttle and seven-speed transmission is great as it allows you to enjoy the bike at a level of exercise that you are comfortable with. Given that I live on the top of a hill, having that drivetrain made it possible for me to get all the way from the bottom to the top without having to walk up the bike. There are very few e-bikes that are as capable as this.
The Lectric XP 3.0 also has suspension on the front forks for added riding comfort, so you and your passenger can enjoy riding on trails, too. The bike can be folded up for better storage in a garage or even your car's trunk when you're driving out to a trail. But at 64 pounds, I wouldn't overestimate the portability too much.
The $999 Lectric XP 3.0 is outfitted with front and rear lights, metal fenders, integrated rear rack, and tires built for roads and trails. The passenger package is the distinguishing feature and allows for fun joyrides with your loved ones. I look forward to more rides on gravel trails with my daughter as we go fishing and hiking.
If you want a bike to get around town with a friend, shop at local stores, or get to work, then the Lectric XP 3.0 is a good option. The fat tires with solid tread also make it a good choice for campers and gravel trail riders.
Alternatives to consider
If you want an e-bike that lets you carry passengers with you as you ride, there aren't many options available. However, there are plenty of other folding e-bikes to consider too.