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Vvolt Slice Lite e-bike review: practical urban e-mobility

Vvolt Slice Lite right side profile parked on hillside with trees, pond, and a house in the background.
Vvolt Slice Lite e-bike review: practical urban e-mobility
MSRP $2,049.00
“Every Slice Lite design favors practicality, from the carbon drive belt to the unequal-size wheels.”
Pros
  • Lightweight: easy to carry or move
  • Carbon drive belt: maintenance free
  • No gears: easy to operate
  • 360-degree lights: high visibility
  • Versatility: adjustable cargo box option
  • Hydraulic brakes: good stopping power
Cons
  • Higher cost than many others
  • Speed limited to 20 mph
  • No standard mirror
  • No brake lights

Vvolt Slice Lite right side profile parked on hillside with trees, pond, and a house in the background.
Vvolt’s Slice Lite epitomizes the urban mobility company’s vision of an all-purpose utility e-bike for running errands and getting around town. The Slice Lite is a relatively lightweight e-bike that blends ease of use, simple maintenance, and versatility. Every design decision for this compact ride favors practicality, including its Gates carbon belt drive and different-size wheels.

Vvolt Slice Lite: purpose and best use

Vvolt Slice Lite left side profile with basket, parked on a hillside with trees in the background.
Vvolt / Vvolt

The Slice Lite is cleverly designed for optimal use as a utility e-bike for running errand. The photo above shows that the front and rear wheels and tires are different sizes. The larger 24-inch by 3-inch rear tire can help smooth the e-bike’s ride, while the 20- inch by 3-inch front tire can lower the center of gravity when you use the optional, but highly recommended Cargo Box.

Without the Cargo Box, which adds 4.7 pounds, the Slice Lite weighs only 52 pounds. Even with the combined weight of nearly 57 pounds, it is still significantly lighter than most e-bikes.

The Slice Lite isn’t the best choice for an exercise bike, long-distance touring, or exploring off-road areas. With its relatively low-power motor and low-capacity battery, the Slice Lite isn’t a powerhouse — but it doesn’t have to be. The weight, speed, and range mix may be the right solution for many urban dwellers.

Vvolt Slice Lite: power, speed, range, and charging

Vvolt Slice Lite Gates carbon belt drive with single gear simplifies operation and maintenance.
Vvolt / Vvolt

As mentioned above, the Slice Lite doesn’t rely on impressive power numbers to do its job. The 36-voltrear hub motor puts out 350 watts of continuous power and 550 watts of peak power. You can configure the Slice Lite as a Class 1 bike with powered pedaling assistance only for greater range or leave it in Class 2 mode to use the thumb throttle and pedaling to call on battery assistance. In either case, the top speed is 20 mph.

The Gates carbon drive belt connects to a single gear at the rear hub, so there’s no shifting needed. The single-gear setup and the Gates belt mean lower weight, less maintenance, and much longer durability.

The Slice Lite’s 56.7-pound weight will be extremely welcome if you need to carry it up or down stairs or lift it in tight spaces.

The e-bike has five levels of powered pedal assistance that can be selected on the color display using a handlebar-mounted control pad. Vvolt uses a combination of torque and cadence sensors, plus a speed sensor, to respond to rider pedaling force and speed.

According to Vvolt, the semi-integrated battery mounted on the top of the lower frame tube bar uses LG cells and is UL-listed. The 36V, 14Ah battery stores up to 496 watt-hours of power, which is about average for e-bikes. Because of the Slice Lite’s low weight, the 55-mile maximum range rating is still quite respectable and not unreasonable if you stick to pedal assist level 1 or 2. Recharging the battery with the included 2A output charger should take about seven hours from empty to full, or about two-thirds as long if you charge to 80%, which is a good idea for longer overall battery life.

Vvolt Slice Lite: comfort, handling, and braking

Vvolt Slice Lite headlight reinstalled in front of the optional cargo basket.
Vvolt / Vvolt

As mentioned above, the Gates carbon drive belt has several advantages, including cleaner and quieter operation, no need for cleaning or adjusting, and much longer life than steel chains. The Slice Lite also has Tektro hydraulic brakes with 180mm disc rotors, which have excellent stopping power and don’t require a lot of pressure on the levers.

The e-bike has no front, rear, or seat post suspension, and the 3-inch-wide tires have little sidewall flex. While riding, you’ll feel significant bumps, rocks, and holes, but paved surfaces aren’t a challenge.

Vvolt Slice Lite rider's view of display screen, handlebars, bell, brakes, control panel, thumb throttle, and cargo basket.
Vvolt / Vvolt

The Slice Lite is nicely equipped with front and rear fenders, which helps keep the bike and rider’s clothing clean when roads are wet or muddy. The handlebars and the seat are adjustable, and the Slice Lite is rated for riders ranging from 4 feet, 9 inches to 6 feet, 4 inches in height.

Changing the seat height is a minor chore because you have to use an Allen wrench to loosen a nut under a rubber cover on the integrated taillight under the seat. Adjusting the handlebar angle and height is much easier thanks to a flip-up clamp that locks and unlocks it.

The Slice Lite was comfortable to ride, even over some of our neighborhood’s broad speed bumps, although I slowed down for them.

The Slice Lite’s headlight and taillight are visible on the sides, front, and back of the e-bike. If you add the optional Cargo Box, as seen in the accompanying photos, you must remove the headlight from the frame’s head tube and reinstall it in a cutout on the lower edge of the front of the box. Both tires have side reflector strips, which adds to the e-bike’s side visibility.

There is no standard or optional brake light with the Slice Lite, which is unfortunate. The bike also lacks a mirror, which is also disappointing in an e-bike intended for street riding. Vvolt sells an accessory bar end mirror that will work with the Slice Lite, and I’d definitely recommend fitting the bike with a pair of mirrors.

Vvolt Slice Lite: riding impressions

Vvolt Slice Lite at the bottom of a fairly steep driveway.
Vvolt / Vvolt

By design, the Slice Lite is an easy choice to grab for a ride or to run an errand. The power delivery with pedal assistance felt natural, and it was easy to reach and hold the 20 mph maximum speed while pedaling on flat roads.

The bike also feels peppy using the thumb throttle, which is mounted on the handlebar to the left of the right brake lever. The Slice Lite wouldn’t hold 20 mph using the throttle only, which is consistent with the specifications sheet, which states that the throttle was limited to 80% of available power. It was close, though, staying at 18 to 19 mph.

I didn’t expect the Slice Lite to make it up our fairly steep driveway, shown above, using the throttle only, but it did, although just barely, and with nothing in the cargo box. I had to touch down with my feet several times to maintain balance, but there was sufficient torque to do the job. In other test runs, using powered pedaling assistance, the bike went up the driveway slowly, but fast enough that I didn’t need to put my feet down.

Overall, the Slice Lite was comfortable to ride, even over some of our neighborhood’s broad speed bumps, although I slowed down for them. While there was no suspension, the ride was less harsh than expected and never surprising.

The Slice Lite isn’t a speedy e-bike, but that’s not its purpose. If you’re looking for a simple-to-ride e-bike to get you from here to there without fuss and much faster than walking speed, the Slice Lite does the job well.

Vvolt Slice Lite: options and upgrades

Vvolt Slice Lite cargo basket adjusts easily to secure different size contents.
Vvolt / Vvolt

Other than bar end mirrors, the other notable accessory for the Slice Lite on the Vvolt site is the Cargo Box, which holds up to 40 pounds of cargo. You can slide locking adjustable rails in the box forward and back to hold contents so they won’t bounce out while riding. I used them to secure a pair of stadium seats in the photo above, but you could also use them with a single bag of groceries or any other partial load. As you can also see above, the inside bottom of the box also has rails, so it’s not a great pet carrier.

Our take

The Vvolt Slice Lite e-bike is a good choice for an everyday transportation alternative, especially if you ride on relatively smooth, flat roads in a town or city area. The $2,049 list price is a bit higher than I expected, especially since the Cargo Box that adds so much to its versatility is a $199 option. The Gates carbon drive belt and hydraulic brakes are big pluses, and the Slice Lite’s 56.7-pound weight will be extremely welcome if you need to carry it up or down stairs or lift it in tight spaces.

The Slice Lite is an interesting contrast to the similarly $2,099 Rad Power Bikes RadRunner 3 Plus, which has a front suspension fork, 120-pound cargo capacity, and more hill-climbing torque. However, the RadRunner 3 Plus weighs 75.5 pounds, nearly 20 pounds more than the Slice Lite with the Cargo Box installed. The Rad e-bike excels in carrying a lot of weight, but the Vvolt Slice Lite is better if you need to carry the bike.

Editors' Recommendations

Bruce Brown
Digital Trends Contributing Editor Bruce Brown is a member of the Smart Homes and Commerce teams. Bruce uses smart devices…
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