REI Co-op Cycles CTY e2.1 Review

Robb Dorr
Written by Robb Dorr
Co-founder, Cycling Enthusiast

40 mi


20 mph


6.5 hrs


50.5 lbs




REI Co-op Cycles CTY e2.1 Review: Takeaway

A pedal-assist-only, well-equipped commuter and utility electric bike, the CTY e2.1 should be high on the list thanks to REI Co-op’s gold standard aftercare. This will ensure you keep the bike on the road in excellent condition for many years to come.

Ideal for...

Cycling to work
Replacing the family second car
Utility runs
Family rides
Shorter blasts in the countryside around your city

E-Bike Overview

As mid-drive, pedal-assist-only e-bikes go, the CTY e2.1 is an extremely competitive city and commuter model. It has a 250W Shimano Steps E5000 motor that can give as much as 40 Newton meters of torque when you pull away or need to climb a pesky hill. This is powered by a 418 Wh frame-mounted battery that’ll give a realistic 40 miles of riding range. 

A high-quality 9-speed pedal drivetrain has a great range of ratios from 11-34t that’ll enable you to handle quite big hills. If you live in a very hilly city, you may want a bigger rear cog and a more powerful motor, but in most locales, this should be ample. Stopping power is all you need with the Shimano Alvio hydraulic disc brakes. 

Riding comforts come from the memory foam saddle and a Suntour front fork that has 75mm of travel. The mid-sized, 27.5” wheels have 1.95” Schwalbe road tires that’ll absorb many of the bumps in the road, too.

Reasons to Buy

The Co-op Cycles CTY e2.1 is packed with tried and tested components such as the motor, gearing, and brake systems, all in a very affordable package. You’ll be able to zoom around the city up to 20 mph — fast enough that you won’t feel like cars are flying by next to you.

Another feature we like is the integrated rear rack that makes carrying groceries or your laptop bag a cinch. The pannier can handle up to 59 lbs, so you might even be able to take along your small child.

The low stand-over height is another high point of the design. It makes it easy to get on and off, as well as stabilize yourself when you’re stopped in traffic.

We also can’t forget to mention REI’s Coast to Coast Support, which offers one year of free adjustments, in-store bike assembly, and free flat tire repairs.

Things to Consider

The CTY e2.2 lacks a throttle, so you’ll only be able to ride on pedal assist. This could be off-putting to some e-bike buyers that want to cruise along.

One other issue is the lack of fenders on the bike. These would be ideal for riders in the Pacific Northwest and New England where there is a lot of precipitation and you don’t want a line of road dirt on your back after a ride. However, they’re simple to outfit after your purchase if you think you’ll need them.


Shimano Steps E5000 mid drive
Shimano, frame-mounted, 418 Wh
Shimano 9-speed, 11-34t cassette
Shimano hydraulic disc
27.5”x1.95 road tires
Suntour MOBIE A32 75mm travel
Lights, rack, center kickstand

The specs above come from the manufacturer and may vary from what you’ve experienced. Notice something that needs correcting? Let us know.



The road tires will aid quick acceleration, and the e-bike will top out at 20 mph. However, the Shimano Steps E5000 mid-drive motor offers a fairly gentle amount of torque at just 40 Nm. This shouldn’t be a problem unless you’re in a very hilly city. Remember, this is a Class 1 e-bike and lacks a throttle.


Given that the majority of rides are no more than six miles, the 40-mile range is more than enough for a typical user commuting to work. If you are planning a regular extra-long journey, it may be worth looking for a longer-range e-bike like the Specialized Turbo Vado. However, that e-bike could cost you double what you’d pay for this.


Sat in an upright, city bike position thanks to the riser handlebars, you’ll be quite comfortable on this electric bike. The memory foam saddle will protect your rear from road bumps, and the 75mm travel Suntour suspension fork will give your arms an easier time. This is all helped with the 27.5” wheels and 1.95” tires that’ll absorb all but the worst potholes on the road.


The brand-name components of this bike all suggest great durability that will allow you to get in many seasons of riding. Overall, REI Co-op offers great customer service. As part of the package, you’ll get adjustments for up to two years after you have bought the e-bike (for REI members) and one year for non-members. This will road-tune the bike for many years of riding to come.


As electric bikes go, the CTY e2.1 is quite ordinary to look at with its frame-mounted battery and fairly standard looks. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s quite plain — especially with its drab gray color scheme. Given the quality of its components, from the battery to the motor and drivetrain, this shouldn’t put you off buying it.

Our Research Methodology

We personally research and test every e-bike featured in our reviews and guides to provide accurate, data-driven recommendations. Learn how we review.

About Our Editorial Team

Robb Dorr
Written by Robb Dorr
Co-founder, Cycling Enthusiast
Robb is a massive cycling enthusiast who has more than 20 years of non-motorized cycling experience. He started to lower the barrier of entry to cycling and reduce the intimidation people can experience when getting into the cycling world.

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