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The Charge Comfort 2 e-bike is a smooth ride that fits in tight spaces


Pros

  • Rotating handlebars for slim stowage
  • Rack and fenders included
  • High-quality build and clean aesthetic
  • Throttle for boost and cruise
  • Big tires for comfort

Cons

  • Monochrome display is too small
  • 55 pound weight is light for some, but not all

For the past few weeks, I’ve been cruising around on the Charge Comfort 2 step-through bike. It has big tires for comfort on and off the road, plenty of power to get off the stop line, a rear rack and fenders for commuters, and handlebars that are comfortable for resting your hands on.

The Charge Comfort 2 is priced at $1,899 and is available in three colors: Candy Red, White, and Midnight Blue. Compared to the Comfort 1, the Comfort 2 fits a wider range of rider heights, has increased rear rack payload capacity, cleans things up with internal cable routing, and has a slightly larger display. It’s a very comfortable bike to ride for hours and I especially love that I can use it to get around in work clothes without getting drenched in sweat.

Specifications

Frame 6061 aluminum alloy
Motor size 250 watt bafang rear hub
Pedal Assist Five levels
Range 50 miles
Top speed 20 mph
Battery capacity 36V 418Wh
Display Backlit LCD
Lights Front and rear
Payload capacity 300 pounds
Seat Charge Comfort Plus ergonomic
Rear rack capacity 55 pounds
Brakes Mechanical disc
Fenders Front and rear provided
Drivetrain 7-speed Shimano
Tires 27.5″x2.5″ puncture resistant Goodyear Transit Tour
Bike weight 55 pounds

One of the easiest bikes to assemble

Other than a fully-assembled folding e-bike, the Charge Comfort 2 was one of the easiest bikes to assemble out of all of those I have tested and I am confident anyone can get it put together and in riding condition within 10-20 minutes. Comfort Bikes cleverly designed the cardboard packaging so that it can double as a rack to hold the bike in position as you install the different parts.

The setup process goes like this: You keep the frame positioned in the cardboard packaging, mount the handlebars, install the front wheel, flip down the pedals, and adjust the seat height. That’s all there is to assembly and I couldn’t have been more impressed, given the large figure of the bike. The battery charged up easily and I was able to enjoy riding the bike within an hour of delivery.

I also liked that Charge bundled tire pressure indicator valve caps so that you can quickly and easily confirm that the tires are pumped and good to go. While the quick start guide should be all you need to get set up the first time, the owner’s manual provides all of the details on your bike for future maintenance and troubleshooting.

See also: The $800 Lectric XP Lite e-bike is a sheer joy to ride

How can a large bike be so compact?

The Charge Comfort 2 has a similar design to the Velotric Discover 1 with front and rear lights and fenders, a rear cargo rack, and a seven-speed Shimano drive train. Its battery is located under the rear cargo rack and above the rear tire, making the bike very light up front, with all of the weight near the back. At 55 pounds, the Comfort 2 is fairly light for a full-size bike, yet it still has an impressive rider capacity of 300 pounds.

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Unique rotating front handlebar for slim stowage

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

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The rotating handlebars and flip-down pedals let you store the bike in tight spots.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

A standout feature on the Comfort 2 that I have yet to see on any other bike is the rotating front handlebars for stowage. At the top of the bike is a release lever that allows you to rotate the handlebars 90 degrees so that they’re in line with the rest of the frame. Folding the handlebars like this saves you at least two feet in width and makes storing the bike between bins and nooks very easy. This is one of my favorite features of the Comfort 2.

For the handlebars, there are comfortable, rubberized, ergonomic grips that let you ride with ease while resting on the palm of your hands. A left thumb throttle lever is located beside the grip with an electronic horn button below the throttle. This is the only bike I have ever tested with an electronic horn, differentiating itself from traditional, vibration-based chimes.

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Throttle, horn, and display.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

Beside the throttle is a small monochrome display that shows you your speed, trip odometer, and remaining battery capacity, with three buttons. There is the central power button and increase and decrease buttons for toggling between five assist modes, flashlights, and walk-assist. The small Bafang display shows you your speed, trip odometer, and remaining battery capacity.

The brake handle and gear shifter/indicator are found on the right side of the handlebar. There are seven speeds available that have proven useful for climbing hills. There is also a RevoShift indicator (see image below) with a number showing your current gear. Simply rotate the rubber piece outboard of the shift indicator to switch through the available gears.

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The handlebar grips are very comfortable.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

Wires for the brakes and motor lead forward and then down into the frame of the bike so little to no wiring is visible. These wires are also bundled together and secured to make for a cleaner aesthetic. This is one area where you see a huge difference between expensive and less expensive bikes, as intelligent wire control gives you a cleaner look to the vehicle.

A front fender is included to help keep down the flow of water and debris as you ride the bike on your commute or off-road adventure. The front fender is a two-piece design with a short fender in front of the forks and a longer piece behind them. The front headlight is battery-powered and mounted just above the front fender piece for visibility.

Mechanical disk brakes are present on the spoked front wheel and large puncture-resistant Goodyear tires are mounted on the bike to provide comfort on the road and decent traction when off. Given the speeds I travel and the daily need for a reliable commuter, it’s been difficult for me to go back to normal tires once after using these puncture-resistant ones.

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Several inches are saved in the width for storage when you flip down the pedals.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

Another stowage element of the Comfort 2 is the foldable pedal design where you can simply retract the pedals and rotate them into a vertical position. This reduces the width of the full bike by about five to six inches.

The seat is wide (205mm), comfortable enough for my 6-foot stature, as well as adjustable for my preferred angle. The bike is also rated for a rider capacity of 300 pounds, so my 250 pounds has been acceptable. Heavier riders obviously will not see the distance and speed limits advertised for the bike since those are typically for riders in the 180-pound range.

Behind the seat, we find a rear fender that is attached in the box. There are four securing bolts so you can check them for tightness too. The rear rack is rated to carry up to 55 pounds, so it is perfect for securing groceries and other gear you may be hauling around the city.

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The unique battery placement takes advantage of the available space between the rack and the rear tire.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

Another unique design feature of the Comfort 2 is the placement of the battery pack. It is found under the rear rack and above the full rear fender. A key and lock secure the battery into the stowage slot with a set of charging indicators on the top of the battery. I think this is an interesting stowage location for the battery and found it to give me plenty of room to swing my legs through the step-through design, while also distributing most of the bike weight around the back tire area.

The Charge Comfort 2 is powered by a 250W rear hub motor that provides electric assist of up to 20 mph. I primarily used throttle assist to help me get started from a stopped position at a light or stop sign and generally enjoyed the handicap in speed. With my weight and riding surface, I was able to get up to about 16-17 mph with the throttle alone. The seven gears were nice for attacking steep hills where the battery power was not enough to move me upward.

A long kickstand is located on the left side of the back wheel and a rear red taillight is present to keep trailing cars and traffic aware of your presence.

See also: The best electric bikes: Top e-bikes for commuting

Price and availability

The Comfort 2 has an MSRP of $1,899. If you purchase a second bike (you need a riding partner, right?), then you can save $200 with the code ‘BUYTWO’. Charge Bikes also provides free shipping in the US with a 30-day return policy. Note that Charge Bikes does not ship to Alaska, Hawaii, or to other locations around the world. The company also offers a one-year warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.

Bottom line

The slim storage profile is what really sets the Charge Comfort 2 apart for me, and if you have an apartment or garage with limited room, you will greatly appreciate the folding handlebars and flip-down pedals. It’s now a feature I would like to see on every bike I own.

The Comfort 2 is designed with decent cable management, with all cables leading to and from the battery and brakes being run through the internal frame so that the only really apparent cables are on the front of the bike. The lights are bright, the fenders keep out the debris, and the large tires help provide a stabilized riding experience.

The small display is decently functional and does the job of indicating the status of the bike, but I would’ve loved to have seen a larger central display. I like having the throttle on one side and the gear shifter on the other so I was happy to see this layout on the handlebars. The handlebar grips are very comfortable, as is the seat, so those looking for a smooth ride will be pleased to know the Comfort 2 lives up to its name.

Alternatives to consider

I haven’t seen other electric bikes with these slim storage features, but there are other bikes priced at less than $2,000. Check out a few other options that might meet your riding needs.



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