The world of electric gravel bikes is a fun and interesting overlap between street and off-road e-bikes. But that specialty means that this is often a pricey category. Now Fiido is hoping to help bring costs down with the launch of the Fiido C21 and C22 electric gravel bikes at a budget price.
I won’t keep you waiting; the price is $1,599 for both models (though there appears to be a $200 discount for pre-ordering the just-launched e-bike). That’s not the lowest cost electric gravel e-bike we’ve seen, but it’s close.
It is several thousand dollars below the typical gravel e-bike price range we see, though it surely can’t compete on quality or performance with the nicer mid-drive bike shop gravel e-bikes.
The main difference between the Fiido C21 and C22 models is the frame design. The C22 is a step-over with a traditional diamond frame that comes in sizes M and L.
The C22 is a smaller frame that only comes in size S and is referred to as a step-through, but it’s really more of a mid-step due to the fairly high top tube compared to most step-through e-bikes.
The C21 also comes with flat handlebars while the C22 has slightly sweptback bars.
The C21 weighs 18 kg (39.7 lb), while the C22 is slightly more svelte at 17.5 kg (38.6 kg). Other than those differences, the bikes are basically identical.
Both models feature rear hub motors rated for 250 watts of power and 40 Nm of torque. That’s fairly low on the e-bike power spectrum, indicating that these are largely just assist e-bikes, not powerful cruisers. Anyone who is used to gravel biking though is likely not looking for a powerhouse but instead just a bit of an extra tailwind to help flatten steep hills and make long rides a bit less draining.
The small 209 Wh battery that is built into the downtube is said to offer up to 80 km (50 mi) of range. That sounds like it’s right on the edge of impossible, but may be achievable if the bike is kept in its lowest power mode and ridden on flat, smooth terrain by an underweight 12 year old. Real world range is likely to be significantly less, especially when used in higher power levels. Fortunately for that little battery, there’s no throttle to quickly drain the pack.
The non-removable battery also means that riders will have to carry the bike inside for charging. For servicing and replacement, the battery can be accessed for removal via the bottom of the downtube, but it’s not designed for everyday removal.
Fiido claims a recharge time of three hours, which is likely helped by the smaller battery capacity that allows it to charge in less time than many e-bikes.
The Fiido C21 and C22 only top out at 25 km/h (15 mph) on electric assist, so these certainly aren’t speedy e-bikes. Riders can of course travel faster, but they’ll be doing it on their own muscle power without the assistance of the motor.
To handle both paved and off-road surfaces, the bikes come with 700 x 40C gravel tires. A 9-speed derailleur lets riders shift through a wider range of gears than most budget e-bikes, and an included torque sensor makes that pedaling experience even more natural feeling.
Both the C21 and C22 feature mounting points for front and rear racks, allowing riders to turn them into a commuter style bike that has extra utility in the city. The racks are available as add-ons, and there’s also a Fiido-specific smart watch available that can monitor your vitals while riding and allow proximity unlocking of the e-bike as the rider approaches.
Gravel biking is an increasingly popular form of cycling that combines aspects of road and off-road biking. It involves riding specially designed gravel bikes on a mix of terrain, including dirt roads, gravel paths, and singletrack trails, as well as paved surfaces. Many riders enjoy gravel bikes for their versatility and ability to handle a variety of conditions with ease.
The sturdy frame, wider tires, and relaxed geometry of most gravel bikes provide increased stability and comfort, making it ideal for both long-distance and recreational riders.
One of the biggest draws of gravel biking is that it offers the thrill of adventure and exploration, allowing riders to escape the city and embrace the scenic beauty of nature while challenging their endurance and technical skills.
With the advent of electric gravel bikes, which generally have smaller batteries and lower power motors, riders are able to conquer similar paths without the same pain or extreme exertion that come with tough hill climbs.
Fiido’s C21 and C22 electric gravel bike will likely compete head to head with the one of the most popular budget gravel bikes on the market: the Ride1Up Roadster V2 Gravel Edition. That $1,249 e-bike has become the go-to budget electric gravel bike, and it stands as the stiffest competition to Fiido’s new offering.
The C21 and C22 come in at a few hundred bucks more expensive than Ride1Up’s belt-drive Roadster V2 Gravel Edition e-bike, but they also offer some extra features like the torque sensor, hydraulic brakes, LED headlight and 9-speed transmission.
Then again, Fiido’s low-cost electric bikes haven’t come without controversy. The company has recalled two separate models for the not insignificant reason of a tendency for the bikes to break in half. Fortunately the company has had a strong and rapid response to the issues, promising a reworking of the company’s testing procedures.
With gravel e-bikes generally undergoing harsher riding than the street-oriented bikes Fiido is known for, hopefully the brand has doubled down on its design and testing this time.