Hands On with Sondors THIN Electric Bike

Low price, high tech, super fun.

By Dave Johnson

TL; DW (too long, didn't watch)

The bicycle has been around for about 200 years now, so it hardly seems like a piece of high tech gear. But that’s because you haven’t seen this -- the Sondors THIN, an electric bike that I have recently fallen in love with and could be just what your summer ordered.

Sondors hardly has the only electric bike on the market. There are a number of them available in a variety of price ranges, and you can even retrofit an electric motor and battery to your existing bicycle.

What makes Sondors stand out is its size, weight, and relatively low price. Sondors claims that this -- the THIN -- is the lightest and most affordable electric bike you can buy. I don’t know for sure if that’s true, but here’s the deal: it’s just $500, which is a steal. After all, you can spend a lot more than that on a quality traditional bike. And it is indeed light. The frame weighs 4 pounds, and the whole bike is just 38 pounds all together.

Here’s the fun stuff: When you pedal, the THIN gives you a “boost” -- it helps you pedal, so you don’t have to work as hard, sort of like shifting on a traditional bike. You can control the power the motor provides, from 1-5. When I ride it, I tend to leave it around 2 on level ground, and dial it up to 4 or 5 on hills. And if that’s all you do, a single charge gives you about a 30-50 mile range.

But press this throttle down, and you can stop pedaling -- it propels the bike on its own, but the range will be much less, probably less than 20 miles.

This computer display is optional, but I’d say it’s indispensable, and I wouldn’t buy one without it. It makes it easy to see what level of power assist you’ve chosen, the battery level remaining, and other stuff like your speed. Without the display, the battery level is displayed with these lights, which are essentially invisible unless you’re riding at night. It’s basically useless.

It’s a little more pricey than it appears at the first glance. In addition to the base price of $500 -- or $650 for the cool belt drive -- shipping is a heart stopping $200. And the digital display costs $100, so it really costs between $700 and $950, depending on options.

Even so, after putting at least 100 miles on this thing over the last few weeks, I’ll give it a huge thumbs up. Check it out at the Sondors web site.