by Lars Hundley
Avadar C3 City Ebike, $2,180
- High quality components! Shimano derailleurs and shifters
- 250 watt mid drive motor that assists up to 28 mph, with 5 levels of assist at varying max speeds
- Mid drive motor offers smoother assist, better efficiency, better center of gravity for improved handling compared to cheaper hub drive motors
- Up to 60 miles range in a best case scenario, depending on assist levels
- Only takes 4 hours to fully charge
- Front and back fenders and a front shock keep you clean and comfortable riding around town.
- A very good deal for a mid drive ebike — most mid drive bikes are very expensive
- I needed to slightly adjust the rear derailleur when I received it, by twisting the adjustment barrel.
- Comes in two sizes M and L that fits most, but my 5’2″ wife found the M too big for her. (Recommended for 5’4″ to 6’4″)
How obtained: Manufacturer provided the ebike at their cost for review.
A few weeks ago, someone from Avadar contacted me about looking at their C3 City model ebike. When I looked over the features of the bike and saw that it came with Shimano parts and a higher end mid drive motor (compared to the cheaper hub drive motor in many competing ebikes) that cost $2,180, I agreed to take delivery and review it for our readers.
You might be familiar with Avadar from their successful Indiegogo campaign that launched their brand. The goal was to create a light, fast and still affordable mid drive motor ebike, and I’d say that they nailed it.
The ebike itself arrives in a large box, and the bike is mostly assembled, with only the last few steps required when you get it. It comes with a large multi-tool, so that you don’t need any tools of your own, and a nice printed color instruction manual that takes you through the final steps to put it together and get it ready for your first ride. If you don’t like reading instruction manuals, they also offer a very well done YouTube video so you can follow along and see exactly how each step of the assembly works.
Basically, all you really have to do is attach the front fender and front headlight, put on the front wheel, put the seat in place and then attach the handlebars to the stem and tighten down the four bolts of the stem that hold the handlebars in place. Probably the most time consuming part of the assembly for me was getting everything out of the box and preparing it. The bike was completely covered in very nice protective soft foam attached with zip ties, which keep the bike safe in transit.
In the photo above, I had already connected the handlebars, but had not yet attached the fenders, headlight and front wheel.
I was able to build the bike without really following the instructions at all, because it was very straightforward. I’m a mediocre bike mechanic at best, so I think it’s something that anyone with the most basic mechanical skills should also be able to put together.
What I liked best about riding the Avadar C3 ebike is how much better balanced and smoother a mid motor ebike is compared to a cheaper hub motor ebike.
With the motor down low and in the center of the bike, where the cranks are located, and the battery on the bottom half of the down tube, the ebike feels stable and was easy to maneuver at low speeds, with no wobbling. So in situations where you’re riding it in a tight area, the acceleration isn’t going to suddenly jerk you forward as the motor kicks in as with very low end ebikes.
Although the Avadar ebike has a top assisted speed of 28 mph, the mid drive motor only generates 250 watts and the bike weighs around 59 pounds. That means that although the motor will keep assisting you up to that speed, it isn’t going to easily propel you with no effort on your part. I was able to ride it at 25 mph in the biggest gear on the flats without a huge effort, but I think I would have really had to dig in and ride pretty hard to get it up to 28 mph on the flats, and even harder uphill.
But this is actually a very good thing. I am an experienced cyclist, so I am very comfortable on a bicycle going this fast. For an inexperienced rider, it is very scary to go 28 mph on a bicycle. When my wife tested some other ebike models, she did not feel comfortable going faster than around 15 mph before it felt too fast to her.
Also, if you’ve ever ridden a European ebike that has a 20 kph limit, it is a very jarring experience when you hit the limit and the motor just cuts off and the bike suddenly feels like a very heavy dead weight that you are pedaling by yourself. The way that the Avadar motor keeps giving you the assist makes the bike feel much more natural even as you hit higher speeds.
A 250 watt motor is really the correct amount of power for a bicycle like this to still be very safe on trails and riding around the neighborhood. At the highest rate of assist, you can cruise along around 17 miles an hour with very limited effort pedaling, so you won’t have to get sweaty if you are running errands and wearing your regular clothes.
What the Avadar C3 bike feels like is like you’re just a strong rider having a very good day. It’s very natural feeling.
The mid drive motor is also much quieter than most of the hub drive motor ebikes I have ridden, which is a plus. You can ride it around casually and most people won’t even notice that you’re on an ebike at all, even though you still get the free extra watts!
The Avadar comes with Shimano Altus front and rear derailleurs and shifters, with eight gears in the back and two in the front, with plenty of range for riding fast or climbing steep hills in conjunction with the motor.
The Shimano shifters let you shift the rear eight speeds with the right side, and in between the two chainrings on the left shifter. Altus shifts are acceptably crisp and accurate, and 16 gears with an electric motor give you all the gear range you need for even steep hills.
Because of the motor and battery, ebikes weigh more than a regular bike. Since the motor is helping you pedal, you don’t really feel the weight when you’re riding. But when you park it, you don’t want it to fall over and Avadar included a really big and sturdy kickstand that is opposite the rear derailleur, which gives it really good stability holding the bike.
I was not familiar with the tire brand, but the tires are a good quality and plenty wide at 2.1″ to give you a comfortable ride, with knobbies for traction on gravel or bike paths or basic trails.
Avadar chose flat pedals with a big and stable platform that work well with most shoes. My feet felt secure on the pedals and did not slide off because of the raised areas on the pedals that gripped the soles.
The ebike comes with high quality hydraulic disc brakes, so you have plenty of stopping power. Quick releases in the front and rear make it easy to remove the wheels if you ever need to change a flat tire.
Avadar chose Shimano components for the bike, with Altus front and rear derailleurs. You get an eight speed rear derailleur and two chainrings in front for a wide range of gear options.
You can completely remove the integrated battery of the Avadar C3 ebike, which is useful in many different situations. Perhaps you want to take the battery with you for security reasons when you lock up the bike outside, so it is less appealing the thieves. Or maybe you want to park your bike in your garage, or in a bike parking area at work where there is no outlet nearby. Just take the battery inside to charge it there. (It’s also perfectly fine to charge the battery while it is connected to the bike if you wish.) It only takes four hours to completely charge the battery.
The battery for the Avadar C3 is integrated into the frame so that it’s not as noticeable as some ebikes that have an ugly, giant rectangle bolted on separately to the frame. At first glance, you don’t even necessarily notice that the C3 is an ebike at all.
The color control panel shows you how much battery you have left, as well as trip and odometer information, ride time and your speed, distance and assist level while you are riding. There are only three buttons, so it’s very easy to use.
One cool feature is that if you hold down the minus button, it turns on the motor at a slow walking speed so that the bike propels itself as you walk beside it. If you have it loaded up with groceries and you’re trying to cross at a pedestrian stop, or you’re walking it into its parking area, this comes in quite handy and is a nice touch.
The saddle for the Avadar is both high quality and comfortable. They chose a design that’s suitable for longer rides, unlike some ebikes that put on a very large saddle that is comfortable for recreational cyclists on short rides, but not very comfortable on a long trip.
The bike comes with a small headlight in front, which you can turn on by using the control panel of the bike. It’s not super bright, but it does give you added visibility — especially in the dark or at dusk — and it’s probably enough to get you home when the sun goes down.
The mid drive motor of the Avadar C3 ebike is barely noticeable as part of the frame, but still generates a smooth and impressive 250 watts. You can see the Altus front derailleur, which does a good job of switching between the small and big chainring.
This manufacturer photo shows you what the mid drive motor looks like from the non-drivetrain side, and where you would charge the battery if you keep it connected to the bike. As mentioned earlier, you can also easily detach the battery and take it inside to charge, or take it away from the bike for security reasons and make the bike less appealing to steal. (The battery requires a key to remove it, so no one else can take it off the bike without the key.)
The Avadar C3-City is a fun, well designed mid drive motor ebike that’s also very practical because of the fenders, useful rear rack and long range of up to 60 miles between charges.