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Ride1Up CF Racer1 Review

ride1up CF Racer1 side shot
By
Will Roberson,
Electric Bike Enthusiast
ride1up CF Racer1 side shot
By
Ashley Reid,
Managing Editor

24 mi

RANGE

28 mph

TOP SPEED

3.5 hrs

CHARGE TIME

28.6 lbs

WEIGHT

Rear Hub

MOTOR TYPE

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Ideal for...

  • Performance Riding: The carbon-fiber frame and pro-level components boost the CF Racer1’s performance and put it on par with competition bikes.
  • Fitness: The bike’s low weight, analog-type riding experience, and highly adjustable pedal assist let riders work as hard as they want.
  • Commuting: Adding available fenders and racks can transform the CF Racer1 into a 28 mph traffic scalpel.
  • Pleasure Riding: This surprisingly affordable, high-spec e-bike is ideal for simple joy riding.

Ride1Up CF Racer1 Review Overview

Similar to Aventon’s surprise move with its ‘24 sport-specific Ramblas eMTB, popular e-bike maker Ride1Up has decided to explore new markets and reach more customers with its ultra-lightweight CF Racer1.

The CF Racer1 — also from 2024 — is a performance bike fitted with a carbon-fiber frame and top-tier components from brands like SRAM. At USD 2,295, it ranks as the second most expensive model the company offers, following the Revv1 DRT at USD 2,495. But considering the value, that price is quite a steal.

Ride1Up has positioned the CF Racer1 as a sleek performance bike with two build options: gravel and road. Making a high-spec carbon gravel bike was an intelligent move from Ride1Up. Gravel bike racing (a close cousin to cyclocross) is very popular, and the versatile bikes allow riders access to both street and unpaved routes for fun and fitness.

Add some fenders and panniers, and the CF Racer1 becomes a practical commuting bike. In fact, the road model might be the ideal pick for urban commuters. It offers slightly different handlebars, wheels, and tires — all designed for roadsters.

Both build options, though, have the same overall dimensions, performance, components, and list price. They also both look and act deceptively like analog bikes.

In fact, I expect them to garner more attention from traditional and competitive cyclists. The CF Racer1 delivers a riding experience closer to an analog bike than an e-bike. It mixes in just enough power to add some serious speed over long distances or a welcome push up a hill for tired legs.

I’d say it’s mission accomplished for the CF Racer1 — all delivered with an unexpected splash of style.

Note: I got my hands on the gravel version, so this review focuses on that particular model. The specs include both models.

What We Like

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Abnormally low price for the performance, capabilities, and ride quality
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Ultra-lightweight model under 29 pounds
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Brakes, gears, display tech, and quality are a cut (or two) above the typical e-bike kit
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Color-changing rainbow black paint option (no extra charge)
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Class 3 speed (28 mph) from a tiny rear hub motor

What We Don't Like

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No included lights or fenders
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Assembly not for amateurs — better to have a bike shop handle it (at an extra cost)
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Proprietary handlebar doesn’t allow for much comfort customization
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Motor didn’t assist when shifted to 11th (top) gear
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Shifter and assist controls take a bit of finesse to work cleanly

Specs: Weight & Dimensions

Weight
28.6 lbs
Rider height range
50 cm: 5'3"-5'8"; 56 cm: 5'8"-6'3"
Max. rider weight
225 lbs
Max. cargo weight
225 lbs

Specs: Electrical

Battery
36 V 7 Ah Internally Housed; Samsung Cells
Charge time
3.5 hrs
Motor
250W
Rear Hub
Motor sensor
Cadence Sensor
Torque
42 Nm
Safety certifications
UL certified charger  More Info

Shipping and Assembly

Ride1Up is a direct-to-consumer (DTC) company. Typically, its bikes arrive 90% assembled, needing only the front wheel, handlebars, seat, and pedals attached. The CF Racer1, however, is quite a bit more involved.

The tool kit even includes a torque wrench, so we strongly encourage having a bike shop build it for you if you have any doubts. Cracking a carbon fiber frame can really ruin your day.

If you decide you’re up for the challenge of building this (or any) e-bike, good for you! I still must say, though, that it’s a good idea to have a bike mechanic check your torque values and confirm that everything is within specification.

I reviewed a press model of CF Racer1, so I didn’t build it myself. It first passed through the hands of a professional Portland-area rider/mechanic who built it to spec before arriving at my doorstep ready to ride.

Platform pedals are included with the bike when purchased, but for this review, I used my personal SPD-type clipless pedals and cycling shoes.

Apps and Connectivity

CF Racer1 Display default view

Ride1Up does not offer a dedicated app. However, the CF Racer1’s VeloFox DM02 display connects to smartphones via Bluetooth to work with fitness apps and diagnostic tools.

How the CF Racer1 Performed

Going 28 mph with nominal pedal effort on a sleek, minimalist electrified bicycle is a fantastic experience, especially for those not in peloton-level shape or who have been off high-performance bicycles for a while. And the CF Racer1 makes it all a reality.

Frame Components

Close-up of CF Racer1's frame and paint

Neither CF Racer1 model has suspension, front or rear. It’s a pure hardtail. The entire frame, from the fork to the seat post, is carbon, making this Rid1Up’s first all-carbon e-bike.

Basing the CF Racer1 around a carbon-fiber frame brings numerous benefits, primarily an extraordinarily low weight. This ultra-lightweight frame means other components can be smaller and lighter since there’s less weight to move.

A great example of this is the battery. The CF Racer1 has a small 252 Wh battery (36 V 7 Ah) sealed in the frame. While you can’t regularly remove and charge it, a dealer or shop mechanic can still service it. The motor (which we get into below) is also small but effective, helping boost the overall efficiency and maintain a low weight.

The overall sum of all parts comes in under 30 pounds. Impressive, if you ask me.

Motor

The vanishingly small rear Bafang hub motor is a fantastic feat of engineering. It can almost pass for a sizeable analog hub since it’s about the same size as some analog MTB rear hubs I used in the past.

It produces 250 W and 42 Nm of torque, which might seem a bit low. However, that’s plenty for this more pedal-focused drivetrain.

Note: One issue I encountered was that the motor did not want to engage when the CF Racer1’s derailleur was in 11th gear. I reached out to Ride1Up, and they told me this resulted from a misaligned adjustment screw blocking a small sensor.

Once rectified, the pedal assist worked as normal in 11th gear. This is a good reminder to have a professional inspect your e-bike after it is assembled to ensure everything is in spec.

Handlebars

The carbon aero-style bars are proprietary to the CF Racer1. Not only do they work well, but they’re also comfortable. Even though the two power level and display change buttons are a bit of a reach, you learn quickly to operate them. The only downside is that if the bars get damaged years from now, replacement may be difficult.

Extending from the handlebar’s center sits the VeloFox DM02 display. It’s small but concise, showing speed, assist level, and motor output by default. Tapping either button on the handlebars changes the assist level while tapping both simultaneously brings up a data screen showing distance, time, and performance metrics.

Wheels

CF Racer1's Tire

The CF Racer1 uses double-walled aluminum rims with Sapim 14G spokes. On the gravel model, the wheels are 16.5 mm deep with a 17.5 mm internal width. The road wheels measure 40 mm deep with a 17 mm internal width.

Saddle

CF Racer1 saddle

The CF Racer1 comes stock with a Selle Royale Asphalt GF saddle. I found the saddle a bit too firm, and it became uncomfortable after several hours of riding, even with padded cycling shorts.

However, the seat uses a standard post, so swapping in something different is easy.

Accessories and Cargo

I didn’t use any racks, bags, or other cargo systems with the CF Racer1. However, they are available from Ride1Up and the aftermarket if you want to commute or go long distances on the bike. I used a small backpack to carry tools and other items.

On/Off the Trail Performance

Front Wheel on CF Racer1

Since I had the gravel version with Continental Terra Trail 700 x 40c tires, I took the CF Racer1 off the pavement several times. With no suspension, the ride is rough and best done using the legs and arms as shock absorbers.

The frame has little flex, and any flex it might have is undetectable while riding — including off-road. That said, the tires had good grip in dirt and gravel, and it was fun to ride off-road. Just don’t expect it to perform like a mountain bike.

Comfort and Transportability

The CF Racer1 was reasonably comfortable for fairly long rides, but it was still a tiny bit small for this tester, who typically rides a 58 cm frame instead of the Racer’s 56 cm maximum size frame. Riders shorter than myself (6’1”) will likely fare better.

The CF Racer1’s extremely light weight makes it easy to portage up steps or onto a commuter train. I also popped it into the rear of my car with the seats folded down.

Hill Climb Test

My hill test is a 0.9 mi climb that gains about 700 feet in elevation on paved but bumpy two-lane public roads. I used SPD clipless pedals and cycling shoes while riding and added some basic lighting from Thousand for safety.

My first climb was with the power systems turned on but set to no pedal assist (Level Zero). The CF Racer1’s ultra-low weight and wide rear gear ratios made climbing the hill in analog mode an easy affair. Speeds usually stayed at about 10 mph, only sinking to 8 mph on steeper sections where I stood on my clipless pedals.

Using assist Level 1, the pace picked up a max of 13mph. With the motor set to assist Level 5 and some concerted pedaling, the speed peaked at 17 mph.

The CF Racer1 doesn’t have a throttle or boost function, although the motor will jump to 450 W of peak output power for short stretches.

Attempt NumberPAS LevelAverage Speed
Attempt 109 mph
Attempt 2113 mph
Attempt 3517 mph
Tester: William Roberson; 6’1″; 225 lbs

Brake Test

The 160 mm SRAM Rival 1 hydraulic disc brakes front and rear have great feel and power; locking either wheel is fairly easy. The power is progressive, however, and offers excellent control on fast downhills and strong response when needed for hard stops.

They were also essentially silent when in use, with no squeaks or howling. The brake mount bosses are comfortable to the hand, and the lever action is smooth and precise. The right lever houses the Rival 1 11-Speed Doubletap gear shifter.

Range Test

The CF Racer1’s stated range is 16-40 mi. A range test on a long, flat bikeway with only gentle inclines yielded 32 miles with assist set at level 4 (20 mph maximum assist).

A more mixed outing with steeper hills, urban riding, and some Level 5 maximum speed tests had the battery flat at 24 miles, which I found impressive. But again, since the bike is so light, riding it with no assist is not a hardship.

Things to Consider

With its primary goal of creating a super lightweight bike, Ride1Up had to leave out a few expected e-bike items. Lighting, racks, and fenders aren’t included — but easily remedied by the accessory catalog and aftermarket. After all, you’re generally expected to supply the pedals of your choice at this performance level.

I found the stock Selle Royal seat a bit too firm, even with padded bike shorts. It is also slightly oddly shaped (to me), which brought on discomfort after a couple of hours of riding. Again, this is a simple fix.

Not so simple is the proprietary aero-style handlebar, which doesn’t allow you to swap out for a different setup. Fortunately, it’s well-designed and comfortable, enclosing any wiring for an immaculate overall appearance.

It also took me a bit to get a feel for the single SRAM Rival 1 shifter on the right bar, which shifts up and down. Once I got the hang of it, though, operating became second nature. The lever also moves back and forth and side to side, which took a while to get used to as well.

The two small buttons that operate the assist level and data screen require a purposeful reach with my thumbs — so much so that I first thought they were not installed correctly. However, there’s no better spot for them on the handlebars; my thumbs (and wrist) eventually figured out the reach.

Water Bottle Cage Mount on CF Racer1

Finally, the small, in-frame battery limits range to just 40 miles at most. But the beauty of the CF Racer1’s very low weight is that pedaling sans assist is essentially the same as riding an analog performance bicycle, so it’s no hardship to run the battery flat. Plus, Ride1Up offers a second battery that fits the water bottle cage mount, but I was unable to test that option.

Ride1Up CF Racer1 Review: Takeaway

The Ride1Up CF Racer1 lands on a very sweet but hard-to-hit spot on the cycling spectrum. It’s an e-bike that attracts more serious, analog cyclists since it rides, looks, and works like a traditional pedal-powered bicycle — but with all the benefits and higher speeds of an electrified mount.

Even up close, it’s almost impossible to tell if the CF Racer1 is an e-bike at all. It fooled most people I showed it to, and some still doubted me since there were none of the ‘typical’ e-bike components. There’s no throttle, no obvious battery in a large frame spar, and just a tiny rear hub motor that can almost pass for a regular hub. It’s that discreet.

The riding experience is a near-perfect mix of old-school leg work coupled with just enough boost on the hills for us… mature ex-racers. Plus, the motor is highly tunable through the small but easy-to-operate data screen (even though a dedicated app would be better). The amazing rainbow black paint is a stylistic high point and an instant conversation starter. Plus, the price makes it an attainable dream machine.

Specs & Components

Display
VeloFox DM02 Color Display
Controller
36 V 15 Amp DMHC Sine-wave
Charger
36 V 2 amp charger (U.S. 120-Volt wall plug)
Number of pedal assist levels
5
Wheel size
Road: 700cx32c; Gravel: 700cx40c
Tire brand and model
Gravel: Continental Terra Trail; Road: Schwalbe
Brake brand
SRAM Rival 1
Brake type
Hydraulic disc
Rotor size
160 mm
Shifter brand and model
Rival 1; 11-speed doubletap shifter
Derailleur brand and model
11-speed SRAM Rival 1
Cassette size
Gravel: SRAM PG1130 11-42 t; Road: SRAM PG1130 11-36 t
Chain ring size
42 t
Frame
Painted carbon fiber (two color choices)

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

Ratings

Power
4/5
4

Ride1Up had a conundrum with the CF Racer1: Add a bigger motor and battery, which would ruin its look, or make it svelte and sacrifice peak power. In the end, the company made the correct choice. While it won’t shock you with its output, the tiny motor has just enough power to help conquer hills and maintain 28 mph over distance. You really can’t ask for more in this kind of form factor.

Range
4/5
4

Again, Ride1Up had a tough choice here: range or form. For the majority of those who buy this e-bike, 40 miles of assist will be plenty. Even 30 will work fine. Need more? Just add that second bottle battery for another 20 or so miles and still maintain the sleek look.

Comfort
4/5
4

For this 6’1” rider with a 34” inseam, the 56 cm frame is just a tiny bit cramped. I typically ride a 58 cm road bike, so even with some seat adjustments, the CF Racer1 was a tick small. The saddle padding was also a bit too thin. I still rode it for hours at a time, but a bit more room would have been ideal for me.

Durability
4/5
4

I felt the CF Racer1 was well built, with excellent quality and finish. Carbon frames don’t rust, so they should last a long time with proper care. The battery is serviceable by a shop and can be replaced if need be. However, the proprietary handlebar could be tough to replace if broken.

Style
5/5
5

The CF Racer1 is easily one of the best-looking e-bikes I’ve ever ridden, mostly due to the clever rainbow black metal flake paint that comes to life in the sunlight. Plus, it looks like a fairly normal and fast analog bike. Overall, this is a great magic trick of design and excellent execution by Ride1Up.

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

Will Roberson
Written by Will Roberson
Electric Bike Enthusiast
Will Roberson is a transportation technologies writer in Portland, Oregon, and writes for many publications about e-bikes, motorcycles, cars, and new transportation technologies. He got his first e-bike in 2016 and never looked back.
ashley reid headshot
Edited by Ashley Reid
Managing Editor
Ashley is a professional writer, editor, and teacher with over ten years of experience. Her real passion is traveling — and biking — around the world.
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