Propella 7S 4.0 Review

Propella’s simple e-bike is easy on your wallet and your back

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3.5

Propella 7S 4.0

Propella 7S 4.0 ebike in blue and parked next to a bench.

Lifewire / Matthew S. Smith

What We Like
  • Nimble handling

  • Light and easy to carry

  • Attractive, yet subtle

What We Don't Like
  • Modest power

  • Small battery

  • Lacks fenders, lights, and a rack

The Propella 7S 4.0 is an affordable e-bike that’s fun and easy to ride, though it lacks the power some might desire.

3.5

Propella 7S 4.0

Propella 7S 4.0 ebike in blue and parked next to a bench.

Lifewire / Matthew S. Smith

Propella provided our writer with a review unit to test. Read on for their full take.

Many electric bikes focus on big batteries and powerful hub motors. That’s great for long commutes, but it can become a problem in tight streets or when you need to haul a bike to your apartment. Propella’s affordable 7S 4.0, starting at $1,299 (or $1,099 for the single-speed model) offers an alternative. 

Design: Stylish and streamlined

The Propella 7S 4.0 is an attractive bike. The conventional aluminum frame is coated in trendy matte black paint and adorned with blue metallic rims. It’s an eye-catching combination unique to the Propella brand. 

Most people won’t know the Propella is an electric bike at a glance. In profile, the basic frame and straight handlebars are similar to conventional commuter bikes. The battery pack, usually an e-bike’s tell, is disguised as a water bottle.

Propella 7S 4.0 bike with a water bottle-styled battery pack

Lifewire / Matthew S. Smith

Propella doesn't include lights, fenders, or a rack as standard equipment, which is acceptable for an affordable e-bike but worth noting. These extras cost a couple of hundred dollars if you need to add them.

There's a benefit to the lack of adornment, though: the Propella 7S 4.0 is just 37 pounds. A more powerful e-bike like the RadCity RadPower 5 can tip the scale at 60 pounds (or more). The Propella is easy to handle when hauling it upstairs, through doors, or over a curb.

Performance: More agile than powerful

A 250-watt hub motor provides power with a maximum peak output of 400 watts. That’s not a lot of grunt; alternatives like the RadPower Readmission have a 500-watt hub motor. Propella’s maximum pedal-assist speed is 18.5 miles per hour.

I found the bike capable of a kick in the pants on flat or modestly inclined roads. Point it at a truly steep hill, however, and the bike’s limits become clear. It doesn’t have a throttle, either, so you always need to pedal.

Propella 7S 4.0 pedals and bike chain.

Lifewire / Matthew S. Smith

What the Propella lacks in power, it makes up for with agility. It’s among the most nimble e-bikes I’ve tested. The conventional frame, upright seating position, and long straight handlebars make it easy to control and fun to ride.

It can stop on a dime, too. Its mechanical disc brakes are technically simple but never felt overtasked. Yet another perk of the bike’s low weight.

Battery Life: Good for short commutes

The Propella’s battery packs 250 watt-hours of power that the company says is good for 20 to 40 miles of range.

Propella 7S 4.0's battery pack.

Lifewire / Matthew S. Smith

As is always true of e-bikes, your mileage varies. Low power settings hardly seem to drain the battery but often require substantial effort from your legs. However, crank the power to maximum, and I think even 20 miles is a bit optimistic.

You should expect to charge the battery daily if you use it for a commute longer than a few miles each way. 

Price: Lower than the competition

The Propella 7S is $1,299. No options are available. Propella sells accessories, but they’re not exclusive to the bike. The Propella SS 4.0, a single-speed model, is sold for $1,099. Propella’s pricing is good value. It’s possible to find a less expensive e-bike on Amazon or from companies that focus on budget electric bikes, such as Swagtron, but you’ll likely end up with a less attractive product and a smaller battery.

The Propella 7S 4.0 is the latest in the bike’s long production run, which began in 2016. New models have increased in weight, price, and power, but the basic design is similar.

Propella 7S 4.0's distance, time, and speed tracker

Lifewire / Matthew S. Smith

The Propella 7S 4.0 vs. the RadPower RadMission

The RadPower RadMission is a popular alternative that sells for $1,199. It offers a more powerful motor and a twist throttle that can move the bike while you’re not pedaling. It’s much heavier at 48 pounds, however, and its design is yawn-inducing.

The Propella is a better pick for traveling through tight streets or if you have to carry your bike upstairs, while the RadMission makes more sense if your route includes significant hills or you want to carry cargo.

Final Verdict

It’s an ideal e-bike for urban commuters.

The Propella 7S 4.0 is a unique entry in the e-bike market due to its low price and weight. Its agility is ideal for riders who need to navigate tight streets, and its low weight is easy on your back.

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Specs

  • Product Name 7S 4.0
  • Product Brand Propella
  • Price $1,299.00
  • Weight 37 lbs.
  • Product Dimensions 69 x 28 in.
  • Color Black
  • Product brand Propella
  • Product name 7S 4.0
  • Release date Fall 2021
  • Warranty One-year limited warranty
  • Motor 250 watt sustained (400 watt maximum) hub motor
  • Battery 250 watt-hour lithium-ion
  • Brakes Mechanical disc front and rear
  • Drivetrain 7-speed Shimano Altus
  • Display Included, backlit LCD
  • Range 20 to 40 miles
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