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Gear Review: iDeaPlay Electric Mountain Bike
I’ve been looking at e-bikes with envy for a while. My last bike was a hundred-dollar single-speed that traveled well on road trips but couldn’t handle the mountainous terrain my pet Husky likes to explore.
Honestly, the price point of electric mountain bikes gives me pause, you might even call it fear of buyer’s remorse. That’s why I was so interested in the iDeaPlay electric mountain bike – it’s one of the more affordable e-bikes out there.
Beyond the price, the important questions are: how does it perform, and who is this e-bike for? Let’s find out in a comprehensive review of the iDeaPlay electric mountain bike.
The iDeaPlay Electric Mountain Bike Unboxing and SetupPhoto by Tucker Ballister
The bike arrived in several pieces, so the first challenge was assembly. Assembly required a little over an hour but didn’t involve any electrical work. The frame arrived with the brushless motor and electric wiring installed, with no need for adjustments.
The first time I rode it, I nearly went over the handlebars because I hadn’t tightened them enough – they turned 90° sideways while the wheel was still straight. The instructions for putting the bike together were clear, but I’d highly recommend going over the entire bike and bolt and screw before taking it for your first test ride.
It won’t hurt to take it to your local bike shop for a quick tune-up once you’ve put it together, either. When I brought it in, the mechanic quickly adjusted the rear brakes, something I had been messing with for weeks.
The iDeaPlay E-bike Riding Experience
The bike’s range will depend on your chosen settings and the terrain you’re riding on. A higher setting (i.e., more assistance) uses more power and decreases your travel time before recharging the battery. Additionally, the bike’s motor works harder to assist on steep terrain, which also impacts range.
On my rides, it wasn’t uncommon for the battery indicator on the bike’s LCD screen to drop from ‘Full’ to a ‘Half’ charge when shifting to a higher assist setting or climbing a steep hill. So the bike’s range decreases on steeper terrain, with more assistance, and when loaded with more weight.
I prefer the lowest assistance setting when I ride because I’m looking for a workout, and most of the trails I frequent have only minor elevation changes. But if you get tired, you can increase assistance or use the throttle to accelerate. If you want a better workout, you can shift into the pedal mode to remove electric assistance altogether.
Charging the iDeaPlay Electric Mountain BikePhoto by Tucker Ballister
The manual makes a big deal about not overcharging the battery, stating that it should be taken off the charger as soon as its indicator light turns green.
That made me nervous about testing the 6-7 hour charge time because I knew I would plug it in and forget to come back in the allotted time. So I typically top the charge off after each ride, which is easier to monitor and usually takes 1-2 hours, depending on ride distance and difficulty.
Storing and Traveling with the iDeaPlay E-BikeGet a bike rack so your dog doesn’t get angry about a bike in the bed! Photo by Tucker Ballister
While it’s not the heaviest electric bike compared to other top brands like Specialized, Aventon, and RadPower, it’s not exactly lightweight at just over 50 pounds. It’s not too difficult to load the bike onto a hitch or bumper-mount bike rack. But it could be harder to lift and secure to a tongue-mount rack if you have a travel trailer.
The battery and front tire are easily removable for storage. That provides extra security if you have to lock it to your bike rack or trailer frame overnight. But don’t be like me and have to strap it to your RV’s bed between destinations.
Explore bike racks for RVs once you decide on the right bikes for you and your family.
The iDeaPlay Electric Bike MaintenancePhoto by Tucker Ballister
The downside of this being one of the more affordable e-bikes is that it was built with cheaper components. That refers to things like brakes and shifters, brackets, pedals, hubs, and more.
This means those components will wear out sooner than on a bike that’s built with higher-quality materials. To maximize the life of any bike, you’ll need to perform regular maintenance, such as keeping the tires properly inflated, testing the front and rear brakes, and cleaning and lubricating the chain.
If you ride regularly, you should also have your e-bike tuned up by a professional mechanic at least twice a year. Your mechanic will inspect more complex systems like derailleurs to help you prepare for bike maintenance before it causes issues out on the trails.
iDeaPlay E-Bike SpecsRange: 22-40 miles when fully charged Maximum Speed: 20 miles per hour Charge Time: 6-7 hours Weight: 50.3 pounds Weight Capacity: 265 pounds Recommended Rider Height: 4’11” to 5’9”
Is the iDeaPlay Electric Mountain Bike Only for Men?
Although it’s advertised as such, I see no reason this mountain bike should be gender-specific. Manufacturers making bikes specifically for women generally make them lighter, with different style seats and a shorter distance from the saddle to the top of the frame (i.e., measurement H below).
Here are the measurements for the iDeaPlay mountain bike frame:
To size a mountain bike, you’ll want to stand over the frame as if you’re about to begin riding. Your feet should be flat on the ground, and you should have a minimum of two inches of standover clearance – the distance between the frame and your groin area.
If ordering a bike online, you can measure from the ground to a point 2-3 inches below your groin to determine your maximum allowable standover clearance. Remember to wear the shoes you’d typically wear for riding when making this measurement.
iDeaPlay Electric Mountain Bike Stand-Out Features
So, what makes this electric mountain bike stand out? Let’s take a look at the bike’s best features.
Three Use ModesPhoto by Tucker Ballister
Pedal on your own, pedal with help, or don’t pedal at all. The three modes on this bike give you options – it’s great for a casual journey on a paved bike path but can handle dirt roads or wide mountain biking trails too.
The bike’s easy-to-read LCD display shows which of the six speed settings you’re in, as well as battery level, mileage, and the motor’s power ratio.
The pedal assist mode is best if you’re looking for a workout with a little help from the bike’s electric motor. It’s also great for keeping up with more experienced mountain bikers in your family or going for a casual spin without breaking a sweat.
Brushless Motor and Lithium BatteryPhoto by Tucker Ballister
This electric mountain bike features a 350-watt high-speed, brushless, powerful motor, and it’s equipped with a 36v 8.0ah lithium battery.
What I like most about the battery’s design is that it locks in place when riding but can easily be removed to be charged (unlike designs with an integrated battery). It comes with a key (plus a spare) that locks the battery in place and allows you to remove it in seconds when it’s time to recharge.
26” Fat TiresPhoto by Tucker Ballister
What’s the benefit of fat tires? They provide better adaptability to surfaces like sand, snow, ice, and mountain terrain. Ride from a campground near a rail trail, or roll down onto the beach for a sunset cruise without concern about traction.
That said, they’re less efficient if you’re interested in long-distance riding, but exploring the beach on your next Gulf Coast or Southern California camping trip will be impossible without fat tires.
Pros and Cons of the iDeaPlay E-Bike
After riding on hard and soft dirt, mud, snow, and paved paths, here are the advantages and disadvantages of the iDeaPlay e-bike versus a regular bicycle.
Pros of the iDeaPlay Electric BikePhoto by Tucker Ballister Affordability. It’s a great entry-level option if you’re looking for an e-bike on a budget. Range. Up to 40 miles per charge compares favorably to the average range of most e-bikes in its price range. Tire Size: The fat tires are great for riding on sand or soft terrain. Modes. Use more or less assistance depending on terrain and exercise preferences. Bike weight. For an e-bike, 50 pounds really isn’t bad, especially for a fat tire bike.
Cons of the iDeaPlay E-BikePhoto by Tucker Ballister Suspension. If you’re really into mountain biking, you’ll want something with full suspension, and this one only has front fork suspension. For flat riding with a few bumps, front suspension is all you need. Storage. This bike has no rear basket or platform to help you safely transport supplies from town back to your RV. Tire Tread. The tires don’t have the best tread for grip on loose gravel or rocky terrain. Components. The cheaper components on this bike will require more diligent maintenance to maximize their lifespan.
Is the iDeaPlay Electric Bike for RVers?
To be clear, I’m a novice mountain biker, and this is the first e-bike I’ve ever owned or ridden. That said, I’d suggest that this model is best for easy to intermediate terrain such as beaches, bike paths, and dirt roads with some elevation change.
The weight makes it more difficult than lighter mountain bikes to handle on single-track trails, and the lack of tire tread makes it hard to maintain momentum on loose gravel or slick, rocky terrain.
Here’s my take on who will get the best use out of the iDeaPlay e-bike:RVers seeking an affordable e-bike to keep up with their mountain biking friends.Full-time RVersin need of an eco-friendly alternative method of transportation. ‘E-bike curious’ RVers that don’t want to spend big to discover if they’re worth the hype.Snowbird RVersthat want to join their friends for beach rides. Novice mountain bikers seeking an easier way to exercise furry RV companions.
Join the e-bike community with a fun ride that won’t break the bank. The iDeaPlay electric mountain bike is an affordable, lightweight e-bike that’s great for everything from paved bike paths to moderately technical mountain bike terrain.
What questions do you have after reading this iDeaPlay e-bike review? Tell us in the comments below.