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There are quite a few affordable e-bikes out there designed for street use and cruising, but what the market is really missing at the moment is trail-ready e-bikes you can buy on a budget. Thankfully, the folks over at Swagtron saw this market gap as an opportunity, and created the EB 6 Bandit.
With 4” fat tires, a hybrid power system, and a head-turning price tag, the Bandit has settled into its market niche nicely, but does it really deliver on the trail? Having spent a few months with it now, I’m ready to give you the details!
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- Rugged fat tires can handle rough terrain.
- User-friendly controls.
- Low rider position feels safe.
- Lightweight build makes it insanely nimble.
- Easy to assemble.
- Brakes and drivetrain were well-calibrated out the box.
- Small motor makes the most of the 36 V battery.
- Great price
- The seat isn’t great.
- The grips feel horrible.
- Only 1 level of pedal assist.
- Doesn’t have a lot of range.
- No suspension.
Where Can You Purchase The Swagtron Electric Bike?
Shop the Swagtron EB 6 Electric Bike here.
Arriving whole but for the front wheel and handlebars, the EB 6 takes all of 25–30 minutes to piece together.
The brakes were well-calibrated out the box, but I’d always recommend giving them a once over before you take it out for the very first time, just in case anything has gone awry in storage or during shipment.
Motor & Top Speed
With a 36 V, 350-watt motor, don’t expect this bike to fire you up hills at lightning speed. It really struggles at times, and you’ll have to pedal quite hard at times to conquer a steep incline.
Having said that, the beauty of a small motor is efficiency. This thing really ekes out every possible mile from the battery, which is definitely a bonus.
My top speed so far without cheating on a downhill has been just shy of 19 miles per hour, which is precisely what Swagtron advertises, so no half-truths there.
Tires & Terrain
The tires are 20 x 4” monsters, manufactured by Chow Yang, who I’ve never heard of, but, I have to say, I’m pretty impressed with how they’re holding up thus far.
The lugs are mean, and even though I’ve been ragging this thing around some gnarly trails as well as riding on plenty of concrete, they don’t seem to have worn down all that much at all.
However, as ready for anything as the tires are, the suspension situation limits the application of the Bandit, but we’ll discuss this in more detail in just a bit.
You can still navigate some pretty tough terrain on this bike, but I wouldn’t recommend it for hardcore mountain biking.
Battery & Range
Arriving with a 36 V, 7.8 Ah lithium-ion battery, you don’t get a whole lot of range out of the Bandit, but, on the plus side, replacement batteries cost less than $200, so you won’t have to spend a fortune on upkeep moving forward.
It’s also nice and light, reducing stress on the motor and slightly increasing the distance you can travel on a single charge. I managed to get 20 miles with the pedal assist, which matches up with the Swagtron spec online.
That was on flat asphalt rather than a trail, though. On a bumpier route with more inclines, you can expect a slightly decreased range. Using the throttle function will also limit your distance to the 15-mile mark.
The battery is stationed behind the seat tube, which I really like. It’s well out of the way, so you don’t have to worry about knocking it with your feet or legs, but you do have to raise the saddle to remove it for charging — a minor inconvenience.
And speaking of charging, as it’s quite a small battery, it only takes 4 to 5 hours for a full charge, meaning there’s never all that much waiting around before you get to take it for a spin — hooray!
You only get one level of pedal assist on the Bandit, which is both good and bad depending on how you look at it. The benefit of a singular level of pedal assistance is that this bike is incredibly user-friendly. You can hop right on, pick things up intuitively, and get lost in the experience.
The downside of a single assist level is, of course, a very one-trick performance. You can’t adjust the power to suit your mood, your fitness, or your route — it is what it is, and that’s that.
I’d say it’s a pretty low assist level, too, so if you’re looking for something that really takes the edge off a long ride, the Bandit probably isn’t for you, but, as a hybrid design, you do get that awesome throttle feature. Engage it by twisting the right-hand grip, and you’re off — no pedaling required!
With no assistance levels to cycle through, the controls of the Swagtron EB 6 are as minimal as can be. A single red button next to the right grip toggles power assistance on and off, and once activated, the battery indicator will come to life, letting you know how much juice you’ve got to work with.
Brakes, Suspension, & Handling
You get two mechanical disc brakes with the EB 6 Bandit, and while they’re not big brand components, they have more than enough stopping power to get you through to the end of a trail without crashing into any trees or losing control on tight corners.
They can get quite squeaky, but that can be fixed with a bit of maintenance.
I’ve had to tighten the brake cables a couple of times, as they have a habit of coming loose after a while, but that’s easy to do, and as long as you give them a quick check before any major ride, it won’t cause you any problems.
The Bandit doesn’t have any suspension, so you’ll be relying on the fat tires alone to cushion impacts when you’re navigating rough terrain, but it still rides fairly smooth.
Would I prefer a front suspension? You betcha! But the inclusion of quality shocks would no doubt drive the price of this budget bike way up, and then, I might not have bought it.
On the handling front, I couldn’t be happier. The bandit is nimble! Thanks to a comparatively light overall weight, you can really whip this thing around, which is why it’s so great for trails.
Frame, Drivetrain, & Weight Capacity
Reminiscent of the BMXs we all used to tear about on when we were kids, I definitely enjoy a nostalgia factor whenever I see or ride the Swagtron EB 6 Bandit.
I was even tempted to switch out the handlebars with more of a square design to get it even closer to the BMX silhouette, but, ultimately, decided against it.
The frame is crafted from aluminum alloy, can support up to 260 lbs, and although it only comes as a large, you feel pretty low to the ground while riding.
This can be really comforting if you’re new to e-bikes and you’re worried about falling. It just makes the whole design feel a lot more stable and safe.
Moving on to the drivetrain, it’s nothing fancy, but I really don’t have a negative thing to say about it. It arrived calibrated to perfection, and, months later, I still haven’t had to make any adjustments.
It comes with a 7-speed shifter, which I think is just right for a bike of this speed with only one pedal assist mode. Anything more than that would be overkill and increase the price unnecessarily.
You can tell the seat was something of an afterthought for Swagtron, as it’s one of the worst factory saddles I’ve ever encountered. You’re going to want to get it switched out ASAP.
The grips are another huge disappointment. They’re made of plastic, they’re a weird shape, and they feel awful. Comfortable grips are essential to trail riding, so it’s strange Swagtron didn’t try harder in this department, but hey, it’s a pretty easy fix.
Value For Money
I think the Bandit is absolutely great value for money, especially seeing as the worst components (seat/grips) can be switched out for less than $100.
I don’t think there’s a better trial-oriented e-bike out there at this price point, and even if there was, it just wouldn’t have the playful vibe of the Bandit that makes you want to go sling some mud every time you see it.
The Final Verdict
I’m a big fan of the Swagtron EB 6 Bandit. It would be nice if it went just a fraction faster, and another 2 levels of pedal assist would be awesome, but for the price, you can’t go wrong.
It perhaps doesn’t pack enough of a punch for serious riders, but for e-bike beginners and those who’re just looking to have a little fun, the EB 6 is just the ticket.
I can imagine the BMX-style frame being quite polarizing, as a lot of people generally don’t want to ride something that makes them look like a kid, but if you’re unafraid of a bit of nostalgia, you’ll love it!
I give the Swagtron EB 6 Bandit Electric Bike 4.5/5