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Most of the time, the hefty price tags on electric bikes are understandable, as they’re often tricked out with the finest gear and top-notch electronics, but this excludes a lot of people from the market, until, that is, the Natko e-bike came along.
This budget-friendly beast makes the e-bike market more accessible to those who don’t have a small fortune to throw at an electrified ride, but is it actually any good? Well, that’s exactly what I intended to find out.
Nakto Electric Bike Reviews
- Reasonably priced.
- Smooth Shimano 6-speed shifter.
- Easy to assemble (use YouTube rather than the instructions).
- 3 modes: throttle, pedal assist, and normal.
- Rugged tires.
- Not bad range for such a basic battery.
- Front suspension.
- Handles pretty well.
- The seat is surprisingly comfortable.
- Comes with a rack and basket.
- Step-through frame is easy to mount and dismount.
- Basket is cheap and plasticky.
- Only 1 pedal assist mode.
- Limited to street use.
- Brakes are nothing special.
Where Can You Purchase The Nakto Electric Bike?
Shop the Nakto Electric Bike here.
According to Natko, this bike arrives at your doorstep 95% preassembled. Now, I’m no math whiz, but I think 95% is a bit of a stretch; it’s actually more like 85%, if that, but, depending on where you purchase it from, you may get a free assembly option, saving you the headache of piecing it together yourself.
Perhaps “headache” is a strong word, as it’s really not that difficult to assemble, although the instructions aren’t great. With the help of a handy YouTube video, I had this thing up and running in about 40 minutes.
Motor & Top Speed
The 250-watt, hub drive motor is as basic as you’d expect for the price tag, and during my tests, it didn’t quite reach the advertised top speed of 25 mph on a flat, smooth surface. I was clocking in speeds around the 23 mph mark. Still, for a super-budget e-bike, that’s not too bad.
Plus, it’s actually a pretty good hill climber, which took me completely by surprise. I mean, you still have to give it some elbow juice as you ascend, and steep inclines can be problematic, but the motor is a great gravity-defying energy supplement for its size.
Tires & Terrain
I really like the tires on this thing. The grip patterns seem well-designed, and I haven’t fallen off yet, so they must be doing a pretty good job. If I was being picky, I’d prefer a slightly wider tire, as they’d facilitate a smoother ride and give the bike a broader application in terms of terrain, but I’m perfectly happy with what I got.
Based on the shape of this bike alone, it’s obvious that it’s not designed for adventurous off-roading. This kind of model is for cruising across town to meet friends and riding alongside the sea wall to take in the view.
Battery & Range
The lithium-ion battery has a 36 V, 10 Ah output, which equates to 360 watt hours… not the most impressive specs, I know, but you have to keep that amazing price tag in mind when reviewing specs and performance.
As I’m sure you’re aware, how far you’ll get on a single charge depends on a lot of factors, including terrain, weather, rider weight, and the level of assist you use.
Using pure throttle, I managed to eke out 20 miles, but I suspect on a consistently flat route, this bike would push into the 25–30 miles zone.
Nakto claims you can ride up to 40 miles using pedal assist, but as far as I can tell, you’d have to put in some serious work yourself and stick to smooth flat ground to get anywhere near that distance. I think 35 miles is more of a realistic figure.
I’ve seen a few people dealing with blown fuses in the battery, something that I haven’t experienced yet myself, but I’d recommend buying a couple of spares just in case.
Unlike the pricier e-bikes on the market that arrive with 3 to 5 levels of power assistance, the Nakto cargo-style electric bike has only one — it’s either on or it’s off. While this simple design does have its benefits, especially if you’re new to e-bikes or haven’t ridden in a while, it’s extremely limiting.
You can’t tailor the power assistance to suit a particular route, your schedule, or your fitness; you have to make do with just the one type of motorized help.
As you only have the one level of pedal assistance, controls on this bike are super basic. The power assist button is situated to the left of the right handle. It’s easy to reach with your thumb without compromising your grip, and once pushed, you can feel the assistance kick in within about half a pedal turn.
You also get a few extras, including an electric horn, a button that controls the frontal LED light, and a power gauge that tells you roughly how much battery power you’ve got left.
Brakes, Suspension, & Handling
On e-bikes, you’ll typically see either mechanical or (if you’re really spending) hydraulic disc brakes, but the Nakto arrives with a rear barrel brake and a front rim brake.
They don’t have quite the same level of stopping power as disc brakes, and being that e-bikes weigh a lot more due to the battery and motor, you have to try and reduce momentum earlier than usual.
Don’t get me wrong, these brakes are perfectly sufficient for the top speed and weight of the bike. I don’t want to make it sound like a death trap, because it absolutely isn’t.
The front forks and head tube are set at the optimal angle for easy steering, allowing you to act fast in emergency situations, and the brakes work just fine, but it’s important to understand how different they’ll feel to disc brakes.
The front fork suspension can feel a little sticky at times, but it does its job quite well, making small work of curbs, and road/sidewalk blemishes.
Frame, Drivetrain, & Weight Capacity
With a step-through frame, the Nacto e-bike is perfect for those with limited mobility in the legs, hips, or back. Seniors in particular will enjoy the comfortable mount/dismount process.
When fully assembled, the bike weighs in at around 50 lbs, which is pretty decent for an e-bike, especially considering the frame is crafted from steel rather than aluminum.
However, despite the steel build, at 250 lbs, the weight capacity isn’t that great, but this should still be fine for most of the population.
Above the rear wheel, you get a classic cargo rack. I’m not sure exactly how much weight it’s rated to hold, but it’s usually around the 50 lbs mark for a bike of this caliber.
Strap a crate to it with some bungee cords, and, combined with the basket on the front, you’ve got some pretty decent haulage.
But one thing to bear in mind is that it doesn’t arrive with that awesome rattan-style basket that you see in the photos of it online, rather, a cheap, plasticky one, but it does have a rubberized cover, so your groceries don’t bounce out all over the street when you hit a pothole or ride off a curb.
Moving on to the drivetrain, it isn’t anything fancy, nor should you expect it to be at this price point, yet the system is elevated somewhat by the 6-speed Shimano shifter. Although I’d prefer at least 7 gears for an e-bike of this speed, shifting between the 6 that you get is an absolute joy!
The saddle on the Nakto e-bike is actually pretty comfortable. You can ride it for a good few miles before you start to feel the burn in your rear.
Of course, it can easily be improved upon with an aftermarket purchase, but if you blow all your money on the bike itself, the factory seat will tide you over just fine until you can save enough for a replacement.
Overall, I’d say it rides pretty smoothly, but the Nakto e-bike isn’t very versatile. As we touched upon earlier, it’s really only designed for street use and perhaps the odd grassy patch. Anything more than that and you won’t be in for such a comfortable ride.
Value For Money
Okay, so I know this bike is pretty underwhelming, especially if you’re a hardened e-bike nut, but I’d argue that a full-sized electric bike at this price point is a pretty good deal no matter how basic it is.
True, you could definitely find a smaller e-bike with more impressive specs for less money, but for those that need that full-fat frame, the Nakto Electric Bike is just what the doctor ordered.
The Final Verdict
The Nakto Electric Bike is not for the serious cyclist, nor the adrenaline junky, nor is it really for the gadget enthusiast, as, with just one level of pedal assist and a fairly rudimentary battery, it doesn’t bring too much to the table in the tech department.
Where this bike shines is day-to-day street use and weekend leisure cruises. It’s a fun, laid-back device that will suit people with the same disposition, and the price tag makes it a very enticing prospect for those who don’t want to mortgage their house just to test the e-bike waters.
Will it last forever? No, it’s not exactly going to end up a family heirloom, but I think it’s a great starter model, one that may well just spark a life-long e-bike obsession.
I give the Nakto Electric Bike 3.9/5