Ridel Snugger Review

by
Ridel Snugger electric bike

Ridel describes its Snugger model as an electric bike for urban travel. With Kenda fat tires and front suspension, the Snugger is definitely capable of traveling through multiple terrains. With that being said, the Snugger does come with some low quality mechanical components, and is drastically overweight compared to similar ebikes on the market. The Ridel Snugger scored a 49 on our Tower eBike score ranking it as a mediocre ebike. Read our full analysis and review below from our Tower electric bike repair mechanics.

DISCLAIMER - Ridel and Snugger are trademarks of Ridel Group LLC, and use of that trademark in this review does not indicate that the reviewer is claiming any interest in the mark or any affiliation with or sponsorship or endorsement by Ridel Group LLC.

Electric Bike Review Score eBike Review Score Electric Bike Weight Electric Bike Parts Rating
Best Electric Bike Quality Rating Electric Bike Components Quality Rating Electric Bike Repair Concerns Rating Electric Bike Torque Rating Long Range Electric Bike Rating Electric Bike Comfort Rating Bike Sizing Rating

Ridel Snugger eBike Review

Today we are reviewing and rating the Ridel Snugger eBike from the Ridel Company. Ridel is a relatively new company in the ebike industry. They manufacture various ebike models and the Snugger model is their fat tire mini electric bike. It has a step-through frame with nice fat tires that gives an adventurous look on the bike.

The Ridel Snugger scored a 49 out of 100 on the Tower eBike 100-Point of Scale, rating it as a mediocre bike. But before we get into the scores, I want to introduce myself first. My Name is Stephan Aarstol. I’m the CEO and founder of the Tower eBike Repair Shop in San Diego. We see hundreds of different bikes daily that come through our shop, and we repair a ton of e-bikes every month. Therefore, our team has been working at an expert level in the ebike industry for years.

We are fortunate enough to get a hands-on looks at different electric bike brands and models that come through our shop. Our e-bike mechanics have worked on nearly every electric bike out there at one point or another. So, they get an in-depth look at each of the bikes. Our repair shop has become a valuable resource to eBike riders here in San Diego as it’s an excellent spot to ride electric bikes.

In our bike reviews, we have a Tower eBike 100-point of scale to make it easier for customers to compare and contrast the different e-bikes in the market. The Tower eBike Score is very useful as it informs customers about the true specs of each e-bike. There are so many electric bike companies that sell directly to consumers that it’s tough to know which bikes offer excellent quality and describe their products’ features honestly. Investing in an e-bike is no joke – many ebikes cost thousands of dollars. Fortunately, at the Tower, we get an in-depth look of each bike that comes through our shop. So, we have the Tower eBike Score to help consumers get a grasp between each ebike brand's different qualities.

The Tower Score and Specialty Score

The Tower eBike Score is obtained by normalizing seven key attributes. Each key attribute is scored from 1 to 10. One is the lowest score, and ten is the highest. Then, we sum up all those scores and normalize them to a 100-point scale to get a single number Tower eBike Score. Having one singular score can significantly help consumers to get relative quality and performance look between different brands.

The seven attributes that we look into are the following:

  • Electric bicycle materials quality
  • Electric bicycle mechanical quality
  • Low maintenance electric bicycle
  • Electric bicycle hill climbing ability
  • Electric bicycle range
  • Electric bicycle comfort
  • Electric bicycle universality

All these attributes make up the Tower Score. This is similar to the Wine Spectator Score. If you’re fond of wine, you may be familiar with it. Since there are so many bike companies out there, it’s challenging to figure out which bike is the best for you. It can also be difficult to determine if the specs and claims of the various eBike brands are true. The plethora of choices in the ebike market is overwhelming, making it hard to know which bike to purchase. The Tower Score aims to make it easier for electric bike consumers and shoppers to become well-informed in their next purchasing decision without the need to buy and test the bike they’re eyeing. It also helps them compare different types of bikes to one another.

In addition to the Tower Score, we also have a secondary score which we call the Specialty Score. For this score, we omit the last two key attributes: comfort and universality. The reason why we do this is because there are some bikes designed for specific purposes. It will be unfair to judge some bikes based on its comfort and universality features if they are not designed for that purpose. Some bikes like mountain or road bikes, for instance, come in various sizes with different frame sizes and dimensions. So, scoring bikes like these, where universality is not the priority, that have a specific size for a specific user is unfair. The Specialty Score is the score to look for when we review special purpose bikes, or if you want to get an insight of the bike’s overall performance quality outside of sizing and comfort concerns.

The Ridel Snugger is not a special purpose bike. Hence, it’s not necessary to think too much about its Specialty Score as that's made more for special purpose bikes. But it’s the score you may want to check out when you’re interested about its total Tower Score without the last two attributes. For the Specialty Score, the Ridel Snugger scored a 40 out of 100, giving it a not-recommended ebike rating. Alas, it may be a comfortable, universally fitting piece of junk ;) But we're not jumping to any conclusions here, so read on to get the specifics on all the relevant attributes. 

Now, let’s get into discussing each of the Ridel Snugger’s seven key attributes.

Materials Quality: 5/10

The first attribute we looked at on the Ridel Snugger is materials quality. Materials quality is very important. Here, we look at the ebike’s exterior including the frame, LCD screen, and the quality of the pedals and handlebars. If a bike company uses cheap materials for its products then it’s a big telltale. The Ridel Sungger scored a 5 out of 10 for materials quality – a mediocre score.

The wheels on these bikes are high-quality. They are mags. Many electric bike companies will only use different types of spokes on their bikes. For heavy duty riding, mags are a nice upgrade, which is great. However, mags are kind of rare. So , if you need to replace this part, it can be hard to look for replacement components. But in terms of quality, they are going to last longer than traditional bike spokes.

In addition, the Ridel Snugger has a roomy dual seat. If you want to lay back a little further, be seated in the front, or have a back passenger with you, then it’s possible. The seat is also very comfortable. However, it can’t take much weight and there aren't side pegs for someone to rest their feet when riding at the back.

We like the display screen in this bike. It’s user-friendly even though it’s not colored. It has lots of good information about the ebike and it’s quite large. Additionally, the Ridel Snugger comes with front and rear fenders which are subtle in design, but unfortunately low-quality in materials. For the grips, they are made of good quality materials. So overall, the Ridel Snugger sports a 5 out of 10 for materials quality.

Mechanical Quality: 3/10

The second attribute that we looked at is mechanical quality. For this attribute, we consider the longevity of the bike’s components. Most people only check the bike’s range, speed, and power – mostly focusing on the bike’s electrical specifications. But for mechanical quality, we consider the bike’s overall components, including the traditional ones. At the end of the day, an electric bike still functions as a traditional bike. You want to check that the bike has excellent components such as the derailleur and brakes.

For mechanical quality, the Ridel Snugger scored a 3 out of 10. Its score is in large part due to its mechanical brakes. It has a somewhat silly design bike-wise (if you're just looking at that in isolation) because ebikes like this are used for riding at faster speeds and farther distances. This is more of a motorcycle with pedals, that riders don't use much but it gets them into a "bike" classification. It does have mechanical brakes, which  wear out unevenly more easily. Additionally, you will also find yourself doing brake caliper adjustments after every few rides with this bike. The brakes might also squeak over time. So, the brakes that go with this ebike are something to consider less than ideal.

We don’t recommend ebikes with mechanical brakes. Instead, we prefer bikes with hydraulic brakes, which have a self-adjusting system. As a high speed cafe racer style eBike, we really didn’t like seeing the Ridel Snugger eBike with mechanical brakes. It also has a cheap derailleur. As a result, switching gears may be challenging and may be a factor that can affect the bike’s longevity.

We like that the Ridel Snugger has a front suspension, so it has cushion and shocks on the front tire, allowing a smoother ride. There is also a threadless headset, which we like to see come with electric bikes as well. That’s all the things we found appealing in terms of mechanical quality for the Ridel Snugger, Hence, a score of three out of ten. Not great. 

Low Maintenance: 1/10

The third attribute that we looked into is the low maintenance score. As eBike fanatics who run an eBike Repair Shop in San Diego, we have an eye for finding what is wrong with the bike and determining its potential maintenance issues, which most people gloss over during the purchase consideration process. We can also dig in to find out if the bike is built for maintenance proofing. If it’s going to visit the ebike repair shop often or not. So for low maintenance, the Ridel Snugger scored a 1 out of 10, which is one of the lowest scores it can get here. Its low score is in part due to its mechanical brakes as it will be in the repair shop often for brake issues.

Because of its brakes, you will find yourself swapping out the brake pads or often readjusting the caliper to line it with the rotor. It’s a not-recommended system for an electric bike. I would say maybe 25 to 30% of the reason why ebikes come through our electric bike repair shop is because of mechanical brakes. And if the bike has low quality components, it will not last long and add more to its maintenance. Since the Ridel Snugger has low-quality materials, it won’t last long. It doesn't have much rust-proofing, so it’s not recommended to use it near the beach. Also, its parts may also need replacement over time because of its poor quality materials.

Additionally, its multiple gears can be an advantage or disadvantage. While it’s great for an ebike to come with multiple gears, it also means that there are more areas on the bike that could go wrong. Since the bike has a cheap derailleur, the chain tension will need more tweaking. It will also lead to more chains coming off. If the ebike isn’t able to switch to a gear smoothly, then it will add to the overall maintenance level on this bike. So, again, the Ridel Snugger scored a low 1 out of 10 for low maintenance.

Hill Climbing Ability: 9/10

The next attribute we looked at is the hill climbing ability. We took the Ridel Snugger and tested it on a steep hill here in San Diego where it did pretty well. We were surprised with its motor capacity and the Newton Meters of torque of this bike’s motor can release when climbing uphill. So, for hill climbing ability, the Ridel Snugger scored a 9 out of 10, which is a great score. It has a good score thanks to its granny gear where you can switch your ebike to a lower gear setting to help climb up a hill easily. We really like seeing the ability of an ebike to switch to a really low gear. It has a Shimano tourney seven speed system, which is a lower-quality shifting system, but it's gears so you got that! You can also pair the gearing with a pedal assist and a throttle that allows you to get up the hill quickly.

The Ridel Snugger has a 750-watt rear hub and 48-volt system motor – and it performs like it has one. We were very surprised with its hill climbing ability. So, a good score of 9 for this attribute. They did well on this front! 

Electric Bicycle Range: 2/10

The next attribute that we looked at is range. Here, we look at how far this ebike can go before the battery runs out. It scored a 2 out of 10 on range. The company’s website says that this ebike can get 30+ miles range for the battery, which is somewhat true. If you’re just using the throttle without the pedal assist, you can get a range of lower than 30 miles, and touting the bike at 30 miles is low already. It lowers expectations as most well-conceived ebikes can achieve anywhere between 40 to 50 miles pf range, while a higher-end bike may take you 50 to 60 miles or more for its battery capacity. The issue for the Ridel Snugger is with its battery – it has low quality battery cells. Its battery cells are unbranded, which translates to Chinese cheap low-quality battery cells that will deteriorate performance and endurance wise fast. It’s also unable to hold a large battery capacity for longer periods. The thing with eBikes is that the battery cells are somewhat hidden from the end consumer, so companies that aren't too focused on providing a good customer experience and repeat buying pattern, can save a ton of production cost by opting for cheap non-branded battery cells. 

We like to see ebikes with branded batteries such as Panasonic, LG, or Samsung as they are reliable names when it comes to batteries. Brand matters on batteries as it means a battery meets expectations that those brands will stand behind. They also have high-quality build, and their products meet the standards of quality control. On the other hand, unbranded battery cells aren’t reliable, and their quality doesn’t meet the standards. This is the case for the Ridel Snugger. We tested this bike with pedal assist, and it got us close to a 30 miles of range with pedal assist. With throttle only, it was below 30. So, the Ridel Snugger got a low score for the range. A two out of ten. We would have liked to see this ebike have a better range.

Comfort: 7/10

The next attribute we looked at is comfort, which is arguably the most important aspect to look at in this bike. Most people overlook comfort when looking for an electric bike. They are always more interested in the ebike’s power, speed, and range. Hence, they forget to look into comfort, which is also an important factor in an ebike, as you tend to ride them further than regular bikes.

Buying an ebike can cost thousands of dollars, and if you’re not comfortable riding it, then you won’t be riding the bike often. It’s not going to be a smart investment if the bike you bought is uncomfortable to ride. You need to be confident and cozy while riding the bike, especially when you ride it farther distances. The Ridel Snugger scores a 7 out of 10 for comfort. It has a front suspension, so it provides a good cushion for off-road use. Additionally, it has fat Kenda tires, which will add some cushion as well, especially when you go over bumps or poorly maintained roads with this bike.

The riding position of this bike is flexible as it comes with a long seat. You can position yourself in an upright position by sliding upfront, which we recommend as it’s a natural position that won’t put too much strain on your back. The pedal forward design of this bike is low, which is only 4 inches. We like seeing pedal forward design with a crank set that’s a little bit pushed forward. This bike has an almost unicycle feel as the design of the crank and the pedals are directly under the seat. Hence, it feels unnatural and awkward. With eBike in this form factor, this is common as the pedals are there just for show so you can say it's an ebike and it qualifies as an eBike to get the ability to ride this motorcycle looking thing on bike trails, sidewalks, and boardwalks. It's a cheat of sorts. Most riders don't really use the pedals on these types of eBikes. 

If there was a pedal forward push, it would have felt more natural like a cruiser-style bike. So, the placement of the pedals is something we didn’t really like in this bike. We would’ve liked to see more of a pedal forward design, and 4 inches isn’t enough. For its seat, it's comfortable. The handlebars are also easy to reach. So, you’re going to feel comfortable with the position while riding this bike. The front suspension and the fat tires are a nice touch to give cushion while on the road, but it isn't also much. Hence, a seven out of ten.

Universality: 7/10

The last attribute we look at is universality. Here we look into the versatility of the bike. If it has a universal design that can fit riders of different heights, weights, and sizes, it gets extra points. The Ridel Snugger scored a 7 out of 10. It has a significant amount of adjustability like the handlebars can go forward, backward, up, and down. So, if you’re tall or short, you can customize this bike for an excellent fit. You can also customize the handlebars to put yourself in a comfortable position. However, there is not much adjustability on the seat. Most electric bike seats have adjustable seat posts to adjust the seat heights up and down. But the seat is long so you can slide your seating position forward and back as you like, which gives you a fair amount of adjustability. 

For bikes like this, a mini ebike with a moto style, there is no up and down adjustability for the seat. It limits the users that can ride this bike as you can’t set the seat to your fit. Its seat is 33 inches high, so it may be hard to get on the bike for shorter riders. Thirty three inches is pretty high so many shorter riders will be a little high centered when the come to stops. However, with a step-through frame, it may allow people to easily sweep their leg to get on the bike, and hop off the seat at stops to balance. So, a seven out of ten for universality.

The Ridel Snugger scored a 49 out of 100, giving it a mediocre e-bike rating on the Tower EBike Score. On the specialty score, the Ridel Snugger scored a 40 out of 100, which is a relatively low score when omitting the comfort and universality attributes. That rates it as a not-recommended eBike. 

Electric Bicycle Weight: 81 pounds

We also touch on the weight of the bike, which is not factored into either the Tower or Specialty Scores. The Ridel Snugger weighs 81 pounds, which is very heavy. Most people overlook the weight when looking for an e-bike. You have to make sure that you can pick up the bike when needed, especially when storing it in the car or rack. 81 pounds is heavy as most electric bikes are usually around 40 to 50 pounds. The frame is heavy, which shouldn’t be that heavy. The battery is super heavy even though it does not have much range. We would’ve liked to see the Ridel Snugger paired with a light battery and light frame.

eBike Aesthetics

We also like to give our comments on the ebike’s looks. The Ridel Snugger looks like another electric bike, which is the popular Super 73 style of eBike, except it's a step thru, so maybe even more like the lesser known Zugo eBike. It has a similar design with a nice step-through frame with a fat tire. It’s a nice cool bike. However, the battery position is strange as it’s underneath the seat. We see this design often and it’s a strange one. We would like to see the batteries positioned in another spot, at behind the front of the back wheel Overall, it’s a relatively cool-looking electric bike for those looking for a fat tire bike.

Low Proprietary Risk: 4/10

The last thing we like to touch on is the low proprietary risk, which is arguably the most important thing to touch on. We don't have factor it into the Tower E-Bike Score. Still it's important for you to know. We look at the proprietary parts of the bike, and the reliability of the company’s customer service. We encounter problems with the proprietary risk often here at the Tower Electric Bike Repair Shop in San Diego. Many ebike brands go out of business, and if their models have proprietary parts, it will be difficult to fix the ebike, especially its electrical issues. Bikes with proprietary parts that are hard to find end up in landfills quickly. Also, if the company has poor customer service, or if the business has stopped operating, then your bike is no longer serviceable. That's a big problem. 

Always consider the reliability of the brand of the ebike, and remember that the eBike brand graveyard is littered with well funded big names like Lee Iacocca, the former CEO of Chrysler backed by $100M for eBikes.com that went bankrupt. Many businesses in the bike industry have the potential to run out of business. They spend money running ads and the customer acquisition costs of their business model isn't sustainable. There are many electric bike companies in the market right now, so the competition is tough. We hope for the best for eBike companies, but for consumers, you need to know the reality that the business you are buying from will likely not be in business in 5-10 years, even the biggest brands (and especially them) in the industry. Thus, we always recommend going with a brand that uses more off-the-shelf parts so you can service them if and really when they go under. 

The Ridel Snugger scored a 4 out of 10 for low proprietary risk, which is pretty low. Ridel isn’t diversified, which means that it only makes electric bikes and scooters, which is a market that is hard to compete with. The tires are standard crusade sport 20x4 tires, but they are low quality tires. Although the Kenda tires are low quality, you can easily replace the tires without going directly to Ridel. The LCD screen is also standard,s o you can swap it out easily if needed. You can source replacement parts from other suppliers. But other than that, the rest of the components of the Ridel Snugger ebike are proprietary – especially the electronic bikes. The battery is so large, and it has a specific shape and dimension. So, if you have a battery problem on this bike, you need to go directly to Ridel to get a replacement. If they’re out of stock or out of business, it will be very difficult to get replacement parts, especially for the controller and electrical system.

We don't mean to scare electric bike shoppers, but we want to inform you firsthand about the bike industry. We want to make it evident that the parts on this ebike are very proprietary. You cannot find them easily. You need to go directly to Ridel or find their factory to get replacement parts. We have to source parts for all kinds of brands so we see this first hand, and if the parts aren’t available anywhere, then the replacement and repair just can't be done. Hence, you’re left with a bike that is useless because you can't fix it. It's something you want to consider when looking for an ebike, and that's precisely why we give you a "Low Proprietary Risk" score. The Ridel Snugger gets a 4 out of 10 on this attribute. 

Conclusion

That’s it for our review of a Ridel branded eBike. As much as we found the Snugger name endearing, we set that aside and tried to give you and unbiased review. I hope this article has informed you with the overall quality of this electric bike. Check out our website for other Tower eBike Scores on our growing list of ebike brands with reviews and ratings as they come through our Repair Shop here in San Diego.

DISCLAIMER - Ridel and Snugger are trademarks of Ridel Group LLC, and use of that trademark in this review does not indicate that the reviewer is claiming any interest in the mark or any affiliation with or sponsorship or endorsement by Ridel Group LLC.


Stephan Aarstol is an American internet entrepreneur and author of the book The Five Hour Workday, which is based on Towers' invention of the 5-hour workday in 2015 that would eventually spread the idea to over 10 million people worldwide. Since founding Tower in 2010, it has gone on to become one of America's fastest growing companies and Mark Cuban's best investment in the history of Shark Tank. Tower has diversified into a direct to consumer electric bike company called Tower Electric Bikes, a beachfront event venue called Tower Beach Club, and NoMiddleman.com, where consumers can shop all the world's finest direct to consumer brands from one easy place.