AVENTON SOLTERA

Simplicity has its rewards

Over the past few years we’ve seen an explosion of popularity for entry-level, bargain e-bikes. Aventon is one brand that has put out a slew of impressive new models that have impressed us. The California-based company has released a new model that is targeted for riders looking for something lighter, simpler and less expensive. 

The Soltera is a single-speed e-bike available in multiple colors and two frame-style options. Considering how awesome we all know e-bikes are, at this point it can still be a challenge to find a quality one with functionality like the Soltera. Students and commuters in busy urban areas now have something that can maneuver through the city a little easier. The nature of a single-speed in general is one of simplicity, but the Soltera adds a couple other features to the mix that make it that much more commuter-friendly.

THE BIKE 

Our aluminum test bike was the step-over version of the Soltera, although Aventon does offer a step-through model. It weighed in at 41 pounds, and the frame has a more aggressive geometry in contrast to their other comfort models. For an added $100, you can get the bike with extra gears and a derailleur. A highlight we think is often overlooked too often is the availability of high-visibility colors. The Soltera offers a Bright Yellow version that can be seen from a mile away. You can also get Bright Blue and/or a fully black option. 

Aventon has upgraded their displays to be much more intuitive and easy to read with a nice backlit color screen.

“The fact that the geometry is more forward-body-position prone lends itself to folks who are coming from the road bike or mountain bike world but want a commuter.”

Adding to the visibility is thoughtfully integrated taillights that can be turned on or off and will always light up when the brakes are engaged. You’ll also have a stock headlight wired into the bike’s battery. We like that the Soltera has front and rear mounts for racks or touring bags.

Integrated taillights are a nice touch and light up bright, making you more visible on the streets.

THE PARTS 

The Soltera is made up of house-brand components, particularly on the fixie version. Starting from the ground up, the Aventon aluminum rims are fitted with 700c x 35c Kenda tires. For the fixie gearing, you’ll get a 48t chainring and 16t rear cog. A sealed bearing headset has 620mm handlebars mounted to a 31.8mm stem with a 7-degree rise. A simple feature, yet one missed on other bikes, is a quick release for the seatpost. The kickstand is conveniently mounted near the rear lower portion of the bike away from the cranks (rolling it backwards in the garage will be much easier). Rare on more expensive bikes, the Tektro rim brakes get the job done for slower-paced city riding. 

The headlight may be fine in a lighted city but not bright enough for darker situations.

THE MOTOR

For pedal-assist needs, a hub-driven, 36-volt, 350-watt brushless motor is paired with a 360Wh integrated battery. The Soltera only has a speed sensor and comes stock with a backlit color display and five different power modes, as well as an app pairing for more data and connectivity. A throttle may seem like an added level of cheating, though we believe it can be great for gaining momentum whether you’re at a cross-walk or need assist to pull you around a tight corner. It can actually be a fail-safe in certain situations, especially for a fixie. The assist doesn’t kick in right away, it’s more like half a rotation of the cranks. Though the lightness of the bike really helps for getting going or, like we said, the throttle is handy for getting momentum started. 

Rim brakes get the job done on this bike; although, if it is a concern, you can always upgrade to the disc brake/derailleur version for an extra $100.

WHO IT’S MADE FOR

This bike would be best for a person who already likes to ride often. The fact that the geometry is more forward-body-position prone lends itself to folks who are coming from the road bike or mountain bike world but want a commuter. It’s not a comfort bike as much as a quick-reacting bike-path regular. 

THE RIDE

Anyone who already rides a bike with 700c tires knows the attention they require while riding. The Soltera isn’t the most forgiving bike out there, and you feel almost everything on the bike path. We ran the tire pressure closer to the minimum 50 psi to help give it a little bit more comfort. 

“The fact that it is so simple will be great for folks on a budget and who don’t want to spend any extra cash on maintenance.”

We had to plan ahead with gaining momentum approaching inclines in comparison to e-bikes with gears to alleviate any climbing duress. The assist was definitely there and made hills easier to climb than a normal bike, but on longer, steeper climbs, having some added gears would be a benefit. The rim brakes seemed to suit this bike and never had us worried about not slowing down quick enough. 

If you’re riding in flatter areas, the fixie is fine, but steep hills will likely be much more of a challenge without any gears.

When we rode behind the Soltera, it was noticeable how effective the taillights were, particularly when the rider hits the brakes. This was not necessarily the case for the stock headlight, as it was fairly bright but not quite enough for our liking at night. Brake cut-offs make it so that you won’t get assistance when accelerating, which can be confusing at first until you know not to apply the brakes when taking off. 

THE VERDICT

There were many positives attached to this bike, but knowing what your style of riding is should be the deciding factor in purchasing one. We don’t recommend this bike to someone who doesn’t already ride, because it is a bit unforgiving. In terms of quality and its functional purpose, we give it a top grade. The fact that it is so simple will be great for folks on a budget and who don’t want to spend any extra cash on maintenance. Maybe the biggest deterrent for a potential customer is whether or not they have steep hills to contend with. Slightly inclined hills aren’t a problem with the lack of extra gears, and for the money, it may be one of the best values out there.

SPECS

AVENTON SOLTERA 

Price: $1199

Frame: Aluminum

Fork: Aventon rigid aluminum 

Motor: Aventon hub drive

Battery: 360 Wh

Display: Backlit color display

Charge time: 4-5 hours

Top speed: 20mph

Range: 41-mile average

Chain: Soltera single-speed

Brakes: Tektro caliper brakes

Saddle: Selle Royal

Rims: Aluminum 36h front & rear

Hubs: 36h nutted front and rear

Tires: 700c*35c Kenda K193

Weight: 41 lb.

Color choices: Blue, Yellow, Black

Sizes: Regular (5’1”– 5”7”), large (5’7”–6’4”)

www.aventon.com

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