Sondors started out with a couple of stumbles a few years ago. Their first product was a simple rear hub fatbike, and once they got on their feet, everyone who ordered one got their product.
Sondors was an early adopter of shipping ebikes directly to the customers house, to avoid the cost of a brick-and-mortar store, and they were aggressive at passing the savings on to the customers. Their first ebike was under $1,000 which is pretty nuts, since thats the price of many ebike kits, not including the bike, plus the kit assembly.
It was no hot rod, but an entire industry has sprung up around upgrading them. Sondors provided a huge service to the ebike community, because many people who were interested in ebikes were also uncomfortable risking $2,000 for something that they might not even like. Once hundreds of people bought a less-expensive Sondors, they soon bought a more powerful ebike for a higher price from someone else.
Which brings us to today. Their business model is to wait and see what types of ebikes are on a steady sales curve, and then jump in with a high volume commitment. He now has credibility with customers and manufacturers, so he has a certain amount of “brand credit” when he says he is going to do something.
The Sondors Cruiser
I’m going to start with the $2,000 step-through “Cruiser” model (The website says its $1,999…LOL) It uses 3.0 inch wide street tires, which are in fact my favorite street-tire size for a commuter.
Here’s what Sondors got right.
All three of these mid-drives have an aluminum frame.
All three use 48V and a 21-Ah battery pack.
All three use a well developed Bafang mid drive.
They are clearly going for the USA street-legal market with these 750W motors, but they do admit that these can be set to run as high as 1150W @ 25 amps (I assume for offroad use only). All three of these can run at the recent US rules of 28-MPH.
It can be handy to have all of your ebikes using the same voltage (all three of these are 48V), so if one charger goes out, you can use the other charger while you wait for the warranty claim on the bad unit. I also have a long history of encouraging the use of 48V / 52V packs because in an emergency, you can use these to run a 120V AC inverter.
Since the frame is aluminum, these integrated mid-drives can actually use the frame as a heat-sink, so using a modest 750W means they should never overheat. Since the motor has 7-speeds to choose from, even with a top-speed of 28-MPH it also means it will still have great hill-climbing when it’s in the lowest gear…
Available in Black and gray with white-wall tires, Platinum white and black with white-wall tires, and the two-tone red shown with black-wall tires.
The bike above is what I have been riding the most for the past five years. Its a $700 aluminum Electra Lux fat frame, and the 7D means it has a common derailler with 7-speed freewheel. I put a smaller 36T chainring from Luna on it and the 1500W BBSHD can climb any hill I have ever tried it on, without overheating…It is a climbing beast.
Other than the smaller chainring, my favorite additions have been a Suntour NCX suspension seat-post, which really smooths-out any potholes in my local streets. If you get one of these Sondors hardtails (like the Cruiser or LX hardtails listed here), I highly recommend a suspension seat-post.
I also added a leather handlebar bag and a left-side bar-end mirror to be able to see the cars that are trying to kill me from behind. Speaking of zombie-texting drivers, these three-inch tires I use are firmer on curves than a common 4-inch fat tire, but still cushy enough that twice (so far), I was forced to bonzai onto the street curb to get onto the sidewalk away from a car, and…even at full speed, it did not damage my rims.
I’m showing you what I have been riding for five years, so you can have confidence in my assessment of these particular Sondors models.
The Sondors Rockstar
I haven’t ridden the $2600 Rockstar, but…I have ridden several bikes that have similar components and specs when I was at the last Interbike (RIP, Interbike…).
The wheels are the popular 27.5-inch, and it has 3.0-inch tires, which are the current hotness for off-roaders.
I’m going to make some suggestions, which have absolutely no basis in a hands-on review, because my filthy hands have not touched this model even once. Sondors in the past has spec’d solid mid-range components. None of them have been accused of being “great” components, but they also haven’t hurt their brand by using crap components.
That being said, the most likely upgrade you can swap-in is…a more expensive rear shock. Every offroader I’ve talked to has said that’s the best bang-for-your-buck. Most riders should be happy with the stock forks, but that is another area where “some” riders choose an upgrade (then sell the stock ones).
Colors are Supernova yellow, Slate gray, and Matte Black.
The Sondors LX
The LX is the one that I think will sell the best for Sondors, out of these three. It’s the same $2,000 price as the near-identical Cruiser, but it has an elevated stay above the chain. You may never need to do any work on the chain yourself (I never hate on ebikers that use a bike shop mechanic). However, if you ever need to swap-in a new chain (as we all do eventually), the elevated stay makes it super easy.
Another important feature of an elevated stay is that it allows the option of switching to a belt-drive, which Sondors has done in the past, so…look for that to be an upgrade option in the future if you choose the LX.
The tires are the massive 4.9-inch (26-inch fat rim). These are ideal for snow, sand, and potholes, but…if you want to run them on the street, I would keep speeds below 16-MPH. When the stock tires wear out, you might try seeing if the 3.0-inch tires would seat on these rims. I am certain they will, and 3.0-inch is more appropriate when taking a fast turn at 25-MPH on pavement.
Another reason I really like the LX, is that it comes with a front suspension fork. It may be a basic mid-range model, but…I have hit unexpected potholes many times, and any suspension fork would have been welcome.
If you keep speeds modest, the stock brakes should be safe and adequate, but I occasionally ride faster to stay away from car traffic, so I am very happy with the larger 205mm front brake disks I upgraded to. The common brake upgrade kit I found uses a simple adapter to move the caliper farther away from the axle, so the stock caliper fits onto the bigger-diameter front disc.
As I mentioned before, a hardtail frame like this benefits greatly from a suspension seat-post. I loved my Thudbuster, but the Suntour NCX can sit slightly lower, and I like a low seat when I am at a stop in traffic. The low seat-tube on the LX here looks like either of the seat-posts I mentioned should work fine.
I also ended up getting handlebars that sit up higher so I didn’t have to lean forward when riding, and…be aware that doing that also means you have to get longer brake cables. Even so, that was easy and affordable.
Colors are Arctic white, Black, and the Aventador Blue shown…
Written by Ron/spinningmagnets, February 2021