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Costco is selling the Jetson Bolt Pro Folding Electric bike and, after a strong recommendation from a friend, I knew I had to buy one! Actually, I had to buy two of them because my wife wanted one as well 🙂
I have put a little over a hundred miles (we are at two hundred now!) on my bike and wanted to share the pros and cons of the bike so you can figure out if this bike is right for you!
UPDATE: Costco is now selling the Jetson Haze instead of the Bolt Pro in most locations. Here is the review of the Jetson Haze Electric Bike at Costco.
Jetson Bolt Pro Specifications
Before we jump into the pros and cons of this bike let’s go ahead and detail the specifications.
The Bolt Pro utilizes a 36V lithium ion battery that powers the bike’s 350 watt motor. The bike is advertised as being capable of reaching speeds of 15.5 miles per hour but the top speed will depend upon the surface as well as the weight of the rider.
The bike is small with the height at the handles only reaching 38 inches. The handle bar can fold down to make it easier to fit in the back of your car. Between the small size, foldable handle bar and low weight (41 pounds) this bike is easy to transport.
The bike has a range of about 30 miles if you are pedaling and about 15 miles if you are using electric power only.
The weight limit for the Bolt Pro is 265 pounds.
Assembly of the Bike
Putting the bike together is incredibly simple. I believe it took me 15-20 minutes to put the first one together and 10 minutes for the second.
You only need two tools to complete the assembly and they are provided in the packaging.
The Left and Right pedals are have different threading and are NOT interchangeable.
The most confusing part of the assembly process is getting the handle bar mounted front reflector properly oriented.
The front reflector on both of our bikes was extremely loose and was sliding all over the place. I tried tightening the clamp but that did not help at all.
I eventually figured that the handle bar is tapered and all you need to do is push the reflector towards the fat end of the bar and then it fits nice and snug.
One last detail about getting this bike setup is how to turn on the headlight. To get the headlight to turn on you need to press and hold the Cruise Control button for 4-5 seconds.
Things I Love About the Jetson Electric Bike
These bikes are FUN!
The bikes are not high speed dragsters or off road trail bike beasts but they are perfect for puttering around the neighborhood.
There are plenty of electric bikes out there that are way faster than this one but I typically cruise around at about 10 mph which is just fast enough for me.
I appreciate that the speed of the bike is controlled by the manually adjustable throttle which puts me in complete control of how fast I go. I tried another brand of electric bike which had set power levels that just “kicked in” when you started to pedal and it felt like the bike was in control of me instead of the other way around.
What I really love is that even when you are not using the throttle the motor is providing power in the form of Pedal Assist. When the bike is powered on it is incredibly easy and fun to pedal as the motor is always helping you out.
The Pedal Assist feature is so nice that I routinely go on four to five mile rides and pedal the entire way without even bothering to use the throttle.
Of course, if you do want the bike to do all the work than you can throttle up and enjoy the cruise. Speaking of cruising, the bike even has Cruise Control which is activated by pressing the button on the right side of the handle bar!
I know that this is going to sound stupid but….
One of the things I love the most about this bike is the goofy horn that you ding by flicking a thumb lever. I think it is hysterical to have a “high tech electric bike” with a silly little manual bell that goes “DING!”.
Easy to Transport
It is extremely easy to load these bikes into a vehicle.
You lift a lever to collapse the handle bars and can use the loop at the top as the frame as a carrying handle.
The bike is relatively well balanced and, at about 40 pounds, is easy to lift and load into the back of an SUV.
Where the Bike Could Be Better
This bike is far from perfect. Here are a few things to be aware of before you make the purchase.
The biggest issue is that the bike has small tires (14 inch) and as a result is very sensitive to road conditions. You really have to watch out for any small potholes, uneven surfaces, etc as the small tires do not allow much room for error.
I am not crazy about the positioning of the hand brakes. The grip for the brakes are mounted in a downward position which makes them very awkward to reach and activate. The brakes themselves work fine but the controls could be positioned better.
The seat placement has all of your weight fully supported by the back tire. If you are over 200 lbs this will make it look like the back tire is going flat while you are riding.
Reviews from Other Customers
I grabbed the customer reviews for the Bolt Pro from the Jetson website to see what other folks thought about their bikes.
In general folks really like these bikes.
The biggest complaints had to do with the availability and cost of replacement parts combined with horrible customer service.
What We Learned After 200 Miles of Riding
After 200 miles of use we have found some more flaws in these bikes but still love them.
My wife wanted to be more comfortable on the bike so she added a different seat. She went with a Schwinn seat that was both wider and had more padding than the original seat. When the bike had the original seat her butt would get sore after about three miles. With the new seat she cruises for six to seven miles with no issues.
We also added a small bag to the handle bars so she has someplace to put her keys, phone and a bottle of water.
The more we use these bikes the more little problems we have discovered and some of the more notable ones are:
- Charging Issues
- Build Quality
- Overall Power
The bikes charge much slower than we expected. I haven’t measured the exact charging time but I am going to guess that it takes at least five hours to fully charge the bike.
The reason this is an issue is that we had plans to go on a long “Out and Back” trip. We were going to ride 15 miles down a “Rails to Trails” bike path to a brewpub. We planned on plugging the bikes in while we ate and drank and then ride 15 miles back to our car.
These bikes charge so slowly that we would have had to spend 2-3 hours at our midway charging stop to make sure we had enough juice to get back to the car.
The other charging issue we discovered is that if the charger is plugged into the wall it continuously draws 3 watts regardless of whether it is charging anything or not. This isn’t a big deal but it is a mindless waste of electricity.
We are seeing signs of poor build quality in some components.
The most notable example is when the rear wheel fender fell off of one of the bikes. At first I thought it had just come unscrewed but closer inspection showed that what broke was the receptive sleeve inside the tube that accepted the screw. I can probably fix this with some SuperGlue.
I enjoy cruising the neighborhood streets at around 10 mph but there are times when I wish I could pick up the pace.
One time I was looking at a storm front blowing in and a few times I was in a hurry and running late. It was frustrating to not be able to kick the bike into high gear and do some zooming.
Another situation that brings out the power limitation of these bikes is going up inclines. If you get these bikes onto about a 15% incline they are not able to manage on their own and you have to do some significant pedaling.
These bikes have some obvious limitations but given the price point I absolutely cannot complain.
I am absolutely delighted that we bought a pair of Jetsons!