Aventon Soltera 2 E-Bike Review: Unrivaled Features, Style for Its Price
The Soltera 2 is a perfect blend of good looks and features and solid performance, giving you a great riding experience for daily commutes or tooling around town.
Joseph KaminskiSenior Associate Technology Editor / Reviews
When not juggling the dual demands of parenthood and playing basketball, Joseph is a life-long Manhattanite who can be found testing the latest tech in the CNET Labs and developing new benchmarks and testing methodologies.
The $1,199 Aventon Soltera 2, the latest e-bike in the company's commuter line, delivers on style, features and performance at a more affordable price. As we've seen with its other models this year like the Abound cargo bike and Aventure 2 fat-tire off-roader, Aventon has a knack for building high-quality e-bikes with well-chosen components and making them easy to assemble. Even its eco-friendly approach to its packing materials is a cut above.
The Soltera 2 is available in four colors and two frame designs: a step-thru and a step-over. It has several convenient features, such as integrated self-canceling signal lights and an adjustable headlight. These lights are visible even during daylight hours, contributing to improved safety. The user-friendly display is not only visually appealing but also carefully designed. The matte finish minimizes glare in sunlight, and the multicolored ride modes simplify the identification of the four pedal-assist levels so it's easier to see the mode at a glance. One feature I'd appreciate in a future model is the inclusion of an electric horn. No, it's not a big extra expense to add one after purchase, but that's exactly why we expect to see one included.
Aventon offers a mobile app (iOS and Android), and you can connect to the bike via Bluetooth. The app showcases various data, including battery level, calories burned, total cycling time, max speed and average speed. Additionally, users can control the bike's lights, record trips and engage with an Aventon community for sharing photos.
Within the app's settings menu, users can customize preferences such as switching between miles and kilometers per hour, setting an auto-off feature for the bike, adjusting display brightness and configuring the speed limit. The Soltera 2 also includes a USB-A charge port to charge your phone's battery while you ride.
The Soltera 2 features a classic bicycle silhouette, showcasing a thicker down tube that seamlessly integrates the removable battery. The frame is made from strong but lightweight 6061 single-butted aluminum alloy with an internal removable lithium-ion 36-volt, 9.6-amp-hour LG battery. The bike is equipped with 180mm mechanical brakes. I prefer hydraulics because they require less maintenance, but they also drive up costs. I bring this up because, with almost 600 miles on the bike, the only adjustment needed was for the stretched brake cables.
Designated as a Class II e-bike, it can hit a top speed of 20 mph through pedal assistance (25 mph when unlocked). The bike offers efficient power, propelled by a 350-watt, 36-volt brushless rear hub motor with a torque sensor. The inclusion of a thumb throttle lets you hit the 20mph limit effortlessly. In addition to pedal assistance, a seven-speed cassette adds versatility to the ride.
The Soltera 2's standout feature lies in its lightweight design, tipping the scales at 41 pounds while boasting a maximum payload capacity of 300 pounds. Maneuvering the Soltera 2 through the city and navigating stairs, whether ascending or descending, proved effortless. The trade-off for the lightweight design of the Soltera 2 is a shorter travel range, with the bike rated for 46 miles on a full charge. In real-world test conditions, the travel distance is approximately 30 miles due to a slight motor drag with zero assistance.
While acknowledging the potential increase in weight, it would have been preferable to see the Soltera 2 shipped with both front and rear fenders, especially for those commuting on rainy days.
While the Soltera 2 excels in urban commuting it may not be the most suitable choice for longer travel distances compared to its counterpart, the Aventure 2. The Aventure 2 offers features like fenders and an extended range, but it comes at the cost of being almost twice the weight. Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on which better aligns with your specific needs, of course. That includes whether you'll need to routinely carry a bike up and down stairs.