Ride Review: Juiced Bikes’ Little BMX-Style RipRacer Is Huge Fun

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In case you missed the late 70’s and 80’s, BMX bikes were great – and a really big deal. They were the perfect bike for a speed-obsessed teen like me, as they were essentially indestructible, unlike my sister’s finicky 10-speed, which seemed to be in the shop every other week. I’ve put untold miles on my beloved chromoly Mongoose with black 5-spoke Tuff Wheels; it was the first bike I rode long distances on. Heck, I rode it everywhere.

Earlier this summer, Juiced Bikes asked me to review their latest offering, the BMX homage called the RipRacer, and I scoffed at it at first. Too short, 66-pound BMX-esque thing on four-inch-wide, 20-inch-tall wheels? BMX bikes are a lot of fun, but in my day they were lightweight, sharp-handling shredders. The “RipRacer” seemed to be the exact opposite. But time has taught me to check my assumptions (usually), and with a teenager in the house, I thought, well, could be we could do some sort of generational assessment, so I agreed. A week or so later, a Smurf Blue Class 3 RipRacer arrived in a small bike box and my son and I quickly assembled it and plugged it into the charger. Summer hasn’t been the same since then.

RipRacer Design and Technology

It shouldn’t work on paper. Combine a light frame, 750 Watt hub motor, a big 52V 15.6Ah battery and assign it a single speed, no suspension, short wheelbase, riding those fat donut tires? Point me to the circus.

But props to Juiced for not only making it work, but also making it work brilliantly. And they haven’t forgotten the critical extras either. The RipRacer includes hydraulic disc brakes, a massively bright but tiny LED headlight, and an arc of bright LEDs in the rear that double as a brake light. A standard Juiced backlit monochrome LCD screen sits on the left bar and houses the power button and pedal assist adjustment buttons. The seat has quick adjustment and a small kickstand rides backwards.

It’s simple, but it looks good, and luckily it was bigger than I expected. With the seat and stirrups adjusted, the RipRacer is… roomy. Comfortable, even, thanks to a well-shaped seat that even has a handle at the back. And with a short wheelbase, it’s quite sporty and turns well, despite the fat tires. Whoever designed this bike should get a raise.

Rippin’ Ride

My review bike was a Class III machine that was supposedly capable of sustaining 28 mph, but I had my doubts when looking at the single gear bolted to the somewhat small rear hub motor. But I was wrong again. I tapped the assist level to 3, I started pedaling and the RipRacer hummed softly as the speed climbed quickly to 20 mph while pedaling.

Like most Juiced Bikes models, the RipRacer has a motorcycle-style twist throttle on the right handlebar, and using it for a quick boost on the go easily makes up for the lack of low gears. The assist stopped at 20mph, so I hit it in class 3 “S” mode and kept spinning the big front sprocket and sure enough, 28mph arrived in a hurry. Despite the high gearing, the bike is actually easy to pedal with the assist engaged and a little help from the twist throttle line.

With smaller wheels and those fat tires, you’d expect the RipRacer to be a little twitchy at Class 3 speeds, but it was easy to steer and follow on my street, as the speedometer let out a tick of over 30 mph. seeing as I continued pedaling – and not like a madman either. High gears make it easy to hit the Class III limit and the RipRacer rides like it could do it all day without stress. The disc brakes bring it to a stop quickly, and with no suspension there’s no fork plunge under braking, giving riders a better feel for the front end when slowing down.

We packed up the RipRacer and some other bikes and headed to a mountain lake in Oregon’s high Cascade Range to meet up with friends for late summer camping. There was a bunch of bikes at the campground, but the RipRacer was an early favorite among everyone there from the quintet of phone-obsessed teens to pretty much every parent. The large removable battery that rests in the lower frame rail of the RipRacer is good for 55 miles, according to Juiced. That turned out to be a bit optimistic, but like any good BMX bike, the RipRacer got a lot of use as everyone clearly agreed it was the cutest bike of the bunch, and it also suited anyone who wanted to ride a fast seat height adjustment. The miles piled up quickly.

And while the RipRacer easily circled a 12-mile bike path around the lake where we camped, it often also focused on gravel and dirt roads where the fat tires provided plenty of grip, making everyone feel like a heroic rider. Aired out a little, the tires acted as suspension over the rough stuff, and while on the pedals, some teens (and many older teens) let them grab a little air as they throttled over small berms and down some forest trails. In the end, everyone loved the RipRacer’s combination of size, speed, power and unexpectedly sharp handling. To be fair, the suspension on this bike would probably detract from the fun factor.

conclusions

It’s probably a good thing I don’t design e-bikes and just review them, because I doubt I could ever have come up with such a strange conglomerate of ideas, parts and design – and make it work anywhere near how well the RipRacer performs. My son wholeheartedly agrees (that I should stick to reviews).

Areas for improvement? Not much. If anything, it could shed a bit of weight, and I could see a slightly lower set of bars as an option, and a better bell would help with safety (Juiced does offer an electric horn). Otherwise, I was quite impressed with how well the bike worked for such a wide variety of riders in terms of size and ability.

At $1,799 for the Class 3 model, the RipRacer is a lot of fun on a shoestring ebike budget. It easily fits riders from 5-foot-2 to 6-foot-1 (me) and shrugged off dirt, water, rough terrain, steep hills and general hooliganism. And while it’s clearly a fun machine at heart, Juiced also offers racks, fenders, baskets, and more to make it a workable commuter. But really, you’re out of the cool kid’s club when you show up on a RipRacer with fenders. Just say it.

The RipRacer is available for pre-order with deliveries expected in September.

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