When buying a commuter e-bike, there are a couple of different strategies for how to narrow the field. Of course, someone could choose to look for the kind of the hill, the best-made and equipped commuter on the market. Most of us don’t have money to burn, so we tend to either focus on the single least-expensive e-bike that covers our needs, or we try to find that sweet spot in value where our dollar gets as much mileage as a 1000Wh battery. In our Aventon Level.2 review, we’ll take a look at how Aventon chose to pursue this latter approach, creating an e-bike that makes good use of the buyer’s dollar.
For most styles of e-bike, the sweet spot of value falls somewhere between $1500 and $2000. The Aventon Level.2 falls in this range (we don’t quote prices because sales and closeouts happen, which can make a significant impact on the purchaser’s price, so our advice is always to click that button, like the one below, that says, “Check latest price.”). Even a quick glance will show the Level.2 ticks all the major boxes on motor power, quality components, battery capacity and commuter accessories.
A 750W brushless, geared hub motor drives the Aventon Level.2. While the Level.2 ships as a Class 2 e-bike (20 mph max, plus a throttle), it can be unlocked to achieve Class 3 speeds. Powering that motor is a 672Wh battery, which Aventon estimates is good for up to 60 mi. of range. Most e-bikes in this price range are equipped with a 7-speed drivetrain, but Aventon opts for an 8-speed drivetrain, which not only adds one more gear, it gives riders a broader range of gears for riding both up and down hills. Hydraulic disc brakes stop this e-bike. And for anyone who doesn’t want to spend even more money after purchasing their e-bike to ready it for commuting, Aventon equips the Level.2 with front and rear lights, full fenders, a rear rack and a kickstand—everything a commuter needs save panniers.
Also worth mentioning is the suspension fork to smooth rough roads; a large, color LCD display, and Aventon’s smartphone app which grants users the ability to adjust some of the motor’s performance parameters, security functions, the ability to track their rides by GPS and more.
Let’s take a deeper look at the details that make the Aventon Level.2 such a terrific value.
E-Bike Category: commuter
Who the Aventon Level.2 ST Electric Bike Is for: This e-bike is for the shopper who wants an affordable e-bike that’s ready for commuting right out of the box; just add a pannier or two.
Aventon Level Electric Bike Review Ratings:
***All ratings are relative to e-bikes of a similar style and price point***
Aventon Level.2 ST E-Bike Specs
- Battery: 672Wh
- Expected Range: 60 mi. estimated
- Charger: 3A
- Motor: 750W brushless, geared hub motor
- UL Certification: Certified to UL 2849
- Pedal Assist: 5 PAS Levels
- Throttle: Included
- Display: Color LCD
- Headlight: Included
- Taillight: Included
- Frame: 6061 Aluminum
- Fork: 65mm-travel coil-spring suspension fork
- Fenders: Included
- Kickstand: Included
- Handlebars: Alloy, 680mm wide
- Grips: Ergonomic comfort
- Drivetrain: 8-speed Shimano
- Brakes: Hydraulic disc brakes, 180mm rotors
- Pedals: Alloy, with reflectors
- Saddle: Aventon
- Tires: 27.5 x 2.1-in.
In-Depth Aventon Level.2 ST Review
Aventon Level.2 ST: Comfort, Handling, and Ride Qualities
Everything in life has a sweet spot. As it happens, with e-bike, the more comfortable the e-bike is—such as a suspension fork and big, fat tires—the less efficient it is, meaning either the rider will have to pedal harder or the battery will cover less range, or both. Narrow tires pumped to a high pressure and a stiff fork will improve an e-bike’s efficiency, giving it better range, but reducing the rider’s comfort.
How an e-bike manages this balance goes to the heart of its personality. There’s no right or wrong answer, but what a company chooses results in the broad array of e-bikes marketed as commuters. With the Level.2, Aventon strikes a balance between comfort and efficiency. The low-profile 27.5 x 2.1-in. tires roll more quickly than a fat tire with knobs, making for a less comfortable ride than with fat tires, but it pays dividends and battery life and the 65mm-travel suspension fork adds some comfort back in for the rider.
The Level.2 is sold in two different frames, a traditional style and one with a step-thru design. Both frame styles are made in two different sizes, giving riders four choices when ordering. This will be particularly helpful for riders who aren’t especially tall or who are very tall.
Compared to most commuters, the Level.2 is spec’d with a bar that doesn’t include much sweep or rise, putting the rider in a more forward-leaning position than some riders might enjoy. While many components on an e-bike aren’t easy to change, swapping this bar for another one more to the rider’s liking isn’t hard.
While the 2.1-in.-wide tires may not have the girth of the fat tires we see on some e-bikes, there’s no reason to think these will be uncomfortable. The key is not to pump them to too high a pressure. Anything higher than 60 psi will cause the rider to feel every pebble in the asphalt. At 40-50 psi, these tires should still roll plenty well while offering the rider adequate cushioning for their backside and hands.
A commuter like the Aventon Level.2 strikes a balance in handling between more aggressive flat-bar e-bikes and cruiser e-bikes that allow the rider to sit perfectly upright. The handling is just quick enough to give a rider a thrill as they carve through turns.
Aventon Level.2 ST: Motor, Battery, and Drivetrain Performance
Arguably, the most competitive segment of the commuter e-bike market are those models that are equipped with a 750W brushless, geared hub motor. A 750W hub motor has the sort of power to sustain Class 3 speeds and climb hills as if they are flat. This is a remarkably powerful hub motor and it’s ideal for the rider with a longer commute or has longer distances between traffic signals.
The Aventon Level.2 is equipped with a torque sensor, a component we are seeing more and more on Aventon’s e-bikes. Torque sensors control how the motor operates in a manner that is very different to what e-bikes with cadence sensors do. Torque sensors take the input from how hard the rider is pedaling and then respond proportionally to that. The changes are immediate so that if a rider wants more output from the motor, all they need do is pedal a bit harder. It’s a more seamless experience and also eliminates the delay between when the rider starts pedaling and when the motor kicks in that comes with a cadence sensor.
Powered by a 672Wh battery, the Aveton Level.2 is estimated to give riders 60 mi. of range per charge. Our colleagues at Electric Bike Report tested the Level.2 and got excellent results, though possibly not what the folks at Aventon expected. In PAS 1 they got a range of 51 mi. before needing to recharge the battery. In PAS 5 they covered a more impressive 38 mi.
There are several factors that play into an e-bike’s range including rider weight, the surface being ridden on and the terrain. Another item that can affect range is the presence of a torque sensor. They tend to dispense power more efficiently, but if a rider pedals hard, they can dole out more power than might occur had the e-bike included a cadence sensor. The torque sensor could explain both how the Level.2 covered less than 60 mi. in PAS 1 and more than 30 mi. in PAS 5.
The 8-speed Shimano drivetrain is a notable step up from the 7-speed drivetrains on many competing e-bikes. The gear range is 266 percent (12-32t cassette), a good deal more than the 200 percent (14-28t cassette) we often see. That gives the Level.2 both more high-end and low-end gearing than many competing e-bikes.
Aventon Level.2 ST: Braking, Safety & Warranty
When it comes to brakes and e-bikes we prefer hydraulic disc brakes such as those found on the Aventon Level.2. This isn’t a good brake/bad brake situation. Rim brakes can do a fine job as can mechanical disc brakes, but hydraulic disc brakes give riders a few different advantages that make them worth spending a bit more.
First among these is improved power. That is, the brake can deliver more stopping force with a lighter touch, which results in shorter stopping distances for most riders. Also, modulation is better, meaning that varying the braking force for scrubbing speed as someone prepares to turn is easier. The brakes also have a nicer, smoother feel at the lever, which makes the e-bike seem nicer overall.
When we talk about safety and e-bikes, we encounter several recurring themes. One of those is visibility, which having front and rear lights and reflectors helps with. Another theme is control. Control is defined by a rider’s ability to start, stop and turn exactly when they choose. A number of factors affect control, such as tire traction, the presence (or not) of suspension, the geometry that defines the e-bike’s handling and the rider’s weight distribution and even the frame material and how it was constructed.
As a reviewer, it’s a relief to analyze an e-bike and come to the conclusion, as we did with the Aventon Level.2, that there’s nothing that concerns us for the rider’s safety.
Aventon offers their owners a better-than-usual warranty. They cover the frame for the life of the owner and cover Aventon-branded components and the electronics—including battery and motor—for two years. Some parts, from OE manufacturers, they don’t cover, but they say those manufacturers do offer a warranty.
There’s been a big push to make sure that e-bikes carry UL certification on their electronics and the Aventon Level.2 runs a system that has been certified to UL 2849; this is the standard that covers not just the battery, but the entire system.
Aventon Level.2 ST: Recommendation/Final Verdict
Part of what we like about the Aventon Level.2 is that it’s made by Aventon. E-bikes can be judged by the company they keep. The manufacturers that make quality e-bikes extend their concept of quality throughout their lineup. The manufacturers pushing sketchy products into the market don’t have a couple of pretty good e-bikes and one lemon. If they make one e-bike that can’t be trusted, it’s best to walk away from the brand entirely.
With Aventon, we have found each of their e-bikes we’ve reviewed to strike an impressive balance of value and function. They are made with quality motors, batteries and electronics. As of this writing, the majority of their e-bikes have been certified to UL 2849—the standard for the entire system, not just the battery. Also, most feature hydraulic disc brakes an 8-speed drivetrains, just as the Level.2 does.
While some companies may offer several e-bikes that seem very similar in features and function. Aventon’s lineup draws clear distinctions between their models. The Level.2 is their best answer to a value-driven e-bike. As Aventon has grown, they’ve been able to upgrade features on their e-bikes, thereby increasing value for the buyer. Finding an e-bike with hydraulic disc brakes, an 8-speed drivetrain, torque sensor and full complement of commuter accessories used to mean spending more than $2000. Not so anymore, thanks to models like the Level.2.
This is the point in the review where we typically point out the details that we would like to see changed. There’s really nothing on this e-bike we dislike. We think some buyers might want a more spirited response from the throttle, but it’s not sluggish by any means. Also, some riders might prefer a handlebar with a bit more back sweep, and maybe rise. That’s not to say we dislike this handlebar, but we are aware that it puts the rider in a more forward-leaning position than some riders might like for their daily commute. It’s a position that makes this e-bike handle well and increases the e-bike’s efficiency a bit, both of which are pluses.
This is an e-bike that not only functions well, it looks good. The hydroformed tubing has nice lines and they offer it in multiple colors. Aventon has really maximized what a rider can hope to purchase for this much money; to ask them to upgrade anything is to ask them to make a more expensive e-bike.
For the person looking to purchase an e-bike for commuting, the Aventon Level.2 is ready-to-go out of the box and it provides such an enjoyable ride, owners are likely to take it out on the weekends, too.
Thank you for reading through our review of the Aventon Level.2. Still have further questions? Wondering how it compares to a similar e-bike we’ve reviewed? Let us know in the comments below!