The Aventon Level is a Fast, Fun, and Well Balanced Ebike for Commuting or Riding City Streets

·10 min read
Photo credit: Trevor Raab
Photo credit: Trevor Raab


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Takeaway: The commuter focussed Aventon Level is well suited for city streets and bike lanes. The Level provides a fast, spirited ride to work or when running errands. Its rear hub motor puts out a healthy 750 Watts (peak)/500w (sustained) of power, which quickly gets the 61-pound bike up to speed. Additionally, the Level's upright ride position, full fenders, rear rack, and comfy saddle all help make for a balanced, livable, commuter e-bike.

  • Rear hub motor provides plenty of power for commuting use.

  • Throttle assist is great for getting the bike moving.

  • Full fenders and rear rack come stock.

  • 8-speed Shimano Acera derailleur & Bengal hydraulic disc brakes.

  • SR Suntour 75mm travel suspension fork, with lockout.

Price: $1,700
Weight: 61.1lbs (Medium)

Aventon Level Build Details

Style: Commuter e-bike
Material: 6061-T6 Aluminium
Wheel Size: 27.5"
Fork: SR Suntour Mobie A32, 75mm travel, thru-axle, with lockout
Motor:
750W (peak)/500W (sustained), brushless rear hub motor, 28mph max speed
Battery:
Removable internal lithium-ion, 672Wh
Drivetrain: Shimano Acera, 8-speed
Crank: Alloy, 170mm length w/ 46T chainring
Pedals: Alloy platform
Rear Cassette: 12-32T, 8-speed
Brakes: Bengal hydraulic disc, 180mm rotors (front & rear)
Wheels: Double wall aluminum rims, 36H (front & rear)
Tires: Kenda Kwick Drumlin, 27.5"x2.2", e-bike rated w/ reflective sidewall
Saddle: Aventon by Velo
Seatpost: Forged alloy, 27.2mm diameter, 2-bolt head
Handlebar: Aluminum 31.8mm clamp, 680mm width
Stem: Threadless, 31.8mm clamp, 7° rise.
Other:
Full metal fenders (front & rear), rear rack, quick release seat clamp, kickstand


The Aventon Level is the sleeper car of city and commuter e-bikes. Similar to a Volvo V70 R wagon, the Level is practical, understated, but also packs a punch. From across the workshop of our Easton, Pennsylvania office, the Level cuts the same profile as many other commuter-styled bikes on the market: upright geometry, full fenders, rear cargo rack, kickstand, and subdued graphics. It is not until you jump onto the bike, and give the throttle a blip, that you realize the Aventon Level has some serious muscle behind that subdued exterior.

Photo credit: Trevor Raab
Photo credit: Trevor Raab

Los Angeles based Aventon is a young brand, first starting out in the fixed gear riding and track racing scene a few years ago, and recently switching their focus to manufacturing and selling only electric bikes. Selling both direct-to-consumer and through bicycle shops, Aventon e-bikes have quickly grown a following with commuters and e-bike enthusiasts across the country.

Within the Aventon line, the Level (and Level Step-Through) are the second most expensive—but still very competitively priced—bikes in the brand's eight model assortment. The Level comes stock with most features that you will want for commuting by bike or using the bike around town. If you don't need fenders or a rack for your commute, check out the similarly spec'd Pace 500 model for $1,500. If you need to haul some extra stuff, or if your rides might take you on some dirt or gravel roads, check out the new Aventon Aventure at $1,900.

As a class-3 e-bike, the Level comes out of the box with a max pedal-assisted speed of 28mph. Additionally, the bike also has a throttle control which allows you to cruise up to 20mph without the need for pedaling. This feature comes in handy for getting the Level up to speed after stopping at an intersection, or for an unexpected hill if you find yourself in too large a gear.

Photo credit: Trevor Raab
Photo credit: Trevor Raab

Providing the Level's muscle is a rear hub motor, which Aventon claims puts out 500 Watts of sustained, and 750 Watts at peak power. Feeding the motor is a 672 Watt hour lithium-ion rechargeable battery, housed cleanly inside the bike's downtube. There are five power control settings from which to choose, that dictate the amount of power assist served up by the motor.

Photo credit: Trevor Raab
Photo credit: Trevor Raab

As with any e-bike, the more assist you use, the faster you will drain the battery, thus decreasing the bike's range. For my quick rides, I usually tapped the up-arrow on the controller directly to five and enjoyed quickly zipping around town. On longer rides (where I wanted to conserve battery) or on the local bike path (where I wanted to play nicely with other cyclists and joggers) I kept the control at setting three. I only found the lowest setting useful for group rides with friends; though, even with the maximum 13mph speed assist, the Level easily outpaces riders on non-assisted bikes.

Photo credit: Courtesy
Photo credit: Courtesy

The first question a lot of folks seem to ask of any motorized vehicle is, "How can I make this thing go faster?"; and e-bikes are no different. While right from the box the Level is electronically limited to 28mph (as a class 3 e-bike), Aventon makes it relatively easy to untap some hidden power in your bike. So, if you ride on private property, somewhere without ebike speed restrictions, or just like to live dangerously, you can bump your speed limit up to 31.7 mph (51 kph) with a few presses of buttons on the controller.

Photo credit: Trevor Raab
Photo credit: Trevor Raab

The Level lives up to the task of getting you from point-A to point-B without much fuss. Aside from the battery, motor, and display, the Level is really not all that much different in component spec from most non-assist commuter bikes on the market—and this is a good thing, as it makes repair and maintenance rather straightforward. The 8-speed Shimano drivetrain clicks through gears effortlessly, the SR Suntour fork soaks up cracks in the pavement well, and the ebike rated 27.5"x2.2" Kenda tires rolled smoothly and without additional noise.

On any e-bike—particularly one weighing over 60-pounds and designed for daily commuting use—having powerful, reliable brakes is important. Stopping duties on the Aventon Level are handled by Bengal Ares 3 hydraulic disc brakes. The brakes feature a two-finger lever design that is comfortable to use. Additionally, the lever position can be brought in close to the bar, via a 2mm hex key, for riders with small sized hands.

Paired with 180mm diameter discs (kudos to Aventon for opting for the bigger rotors), the Bengal brakes performed better than I had anticipated. Over our time with the bike, the brakes remained quiet, lever feel was firm, and pad wear was minimal. I rode the bike in the rain a couple times, with road spray and grit constantly being flung up onto the rotors, so I was impressed they remained trouble free.

Other stock features on the Level are points often overlooked by brands and first-time bike buyers, but which help set the bike apart from others in the category. These include full-metal a rear rack, alloy pedals, a comfortable saddle, kickstand, and lock-on grips with alloy ends. While none of these were name-brand accessories, they performed well overall. It is useful for a commuter bike to come with all of these items right out-of-the-box, as it saves you from spending hundreds of dollars in upgrades.

Riding the Level in the wet, I found the fenders to work well for drizzle and light rain. They are not going to keep you dry in a downpour, or through large puddles, but then again no fender will keep you completely dry. The rear rack's listed 55lb. carrying capacity is an added bonus. This allows you to load-up with plenty of groceries, books, gym gear, or whatever else you can manage to attach or lash down, without much worry.

The only features I wish Aventon included as stock equipment on the Level are lights and a bell. As the Level is designed for commuter use, and given the inclusion of other must-have commuter accessories on the bike, this seems like a miss. Having front and rear lights powered by the bike's battery would be a useful and convenient feature for riders, especially for people who commute in winter months or overnight shifts. Additionally, as bells and lights are required on bikes by many municipalities (and as police in some areas more frequently target ebike riders for enforcement), these two features would be quite useful. Luckily, Aventon offers a selection of lights and bells for purchase on their site.

In my time using the Aventon Level for my daily commute and around town rides, I had very few issues with the bike. Most of my "problems" were nothing more than annoyances, but some are worth noting.

When riding in the smallest gear (ie. the largest rear cog), the chain contacts the inner plate of the crank's chainring guard due to the chain angle. This causes a metal-on-metal grinding sound, but does not overly affect ride quality. This could be something to watch over time with the bike.

Similarly, an issue that doesn't pose a performance problem (but does cause an infernal racket) was the rear derailleur knocking over bumpy pavement. This noise is due to a combination of the dropped-chainstay style and non-clutch type derailleur used on the Level. This results in the rear derailleur pivoting forward and contacting the chainstay over bumps. You can deaden the sound with some thick 3M adhesive rubber if needed.

I also found the SR Suntour suspension fork on the Level topped out harshly on bumps in quick succession. There is not a rebound adjustment on the fork, and the fork is under-sprung for my almost 200lb. weight. This was not a huge issue though, as I generally rode with the fork fully locked out. However, if you weigh closer to the Level's maximum recommended rider weight of 250lb. you might find the fork to ride a bit soft.

Photo credit: Trevor Raab
Photo credit: Trevor Raab

Living with the Aventon Level as my main form of transportation around town for a couple of weeks was an overall great experience. However, there is no getting over the fact that the bike weighs over 60-pounds. If you do need to carry the Level up even a single flight of stairs, it can be a bit daunting and an obstacle to use. If you have access to a garage, first-floor storage, or an elevator, this won't pose much of a problem. Also, the Level's battery can be quickly removed for charging off the bike. It weighs about 8lb., so is much more manageable to carry.

I charged up the Level's battery following a couple of days of use; never fully draining it down as I didn't want to get stuck riding a 61lb. bike without the assist. Aventon lists the claimed battery range between 25 and 57-miles, depending on the settings used, the rider weight, and the terrain ridden. Using the bike quite often in the max speed setting, I did notice the battery would drain down more quickly, so perhaps use that top speed setting judiciously if you have to cover a long distance.

At 6-foot tall, I was at the tall range of the recommended height for the size medium Level. If you are over 5'10", I would recommend checking out the large size frame. If I was keeping the Level in my personal bike fleet, I would choose the Level Step Through variant. The top tube height of the medium double-diamond frame Level is not overly tall, but I find a step-thru frame easier to manage on a bike of this weight, especially when you have the rear rack loaded up.

Photo credit: Trevor Raab
Photo credit: Trevor Raab

Aventon hit a homerun with the Level. It has some great performance, is spec'd smartly, comes out of the box almost 100% ready for commuting use, and is priced well. Unless you need to regularly carry your bike up flights of stairs (or don't have a safe place to store the bike with the battery off for charging), I would most certainly recommend the Level to any commuter or recreationally oriented rider looking for great value, performance, and function in an e-bike. The Aventon Level checks off almost every one of the necessary boxes in what I look for in a purpose-built commuter bike. This bike forces Aventon’s competition to get on their level.

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