OVERALL RATING: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
ADO has proven time and again to be a popular choice. Following on from it 20-inch folder and the fat tyred, off-road ADO Beast, the ADO Air 28 is designed with comfort, functionality and range in mind. (Review by Eilis Barrett)
The ADO 28 is a fantastic take on an electrified Dutch-style ride with all the mod-cons for a relatively low price. I’ve been riding the 28 for a good few months now and it has become my daily to and from work, as well as a great tool at the weekends for cycling to see friends spread all across the capital.
It features a butter-smooth torque sensor combined with a Gates carbon belt drive for those looking for a minimum maintenance bike. As someone who is always on the go and isn’t up for getting my hands mucky, the 28 ticks a big box for me.
From my own experience, though, the drive struggles to get the 28 up gradients bigger than 10%, so if you live in a very hilly area, I would recommend looking at an electric bike that offers gearing - especially sa at 21.5kg, it’s not exactly heavy but not the lightest.
The rear rack and front basket combined offer a wealth of extra cargo space, plus a step through frame means easy access. And the removable battery offers easy charging on the go. Overall this is a stylish, practical e-bike for both urban commuters and weekend adventurers.
Components + build quality: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Safety + security: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Performance + handling: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Comfort + practicality: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Overall rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
|One size: 160cm-210cm
|Max Rider Weight
|700*45C with puncture resistant tyres
|Single speed Gates carbon belt drive (30,000km maintenance free)
|Hydraulic disc brakes front & rear
|Assembled & built
|250W Hall brushless motor (42nm of torque)
|Samsung 36V/9.6aH Removable battery
|4-6 hours. Charger included
|Five power assist modes
|IPS colour display
|Front and rear included
Front fork suspension with lock out
- Automatic Front light
- Pannier rack
- Basket (optional)
- Bell with hidden airtag option
COMPONENTS AND BUILD QUALITY
ADO takes quality control seriously, testing each iteration in their own laboratory. I can safely say having ridden this bike for many months, the quality and performance hasn’t diminished.
The bike feels incredibly solid and well put together, even when carrying a heavier rider and added cargo. Hydraulic brakes, a Gates carbon belt drive and MIVICE motor offer a smooth and responsive overall ride. And the plus side of having a belt drive is that you don’t need to bother with the regular maintenance of a chain. No lubing or cleaning required, meaning you’ve got less to worry about on your daily commutes.
Both the rear rack and basket are easy to install and feel solid once loaded up.
The IPD LCD colour display functions exactly how you need it to. It responds instantly to the button controls and keeps up with your constant changes in speed. It also performs well in bright sunlight, so you can read the screen easily without squinting or covering it.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
It can’t be denied that the 28 is a great looking bike, and ADO has made a concerted effort to install added security features so that you can feel more comfortable locking such a head-turner in public.
The removable battery comes with a lockable seat collar, so whether you prefer to take the battery with you or leave it behind, only you are able to remove the battery with a specific key supplied by ADO.
The 28 also features a ‘street wise bell’ which allows you to install an AirTag/SmartTag inside, adding extra security and peace of mind when leaving your bike behind.
Safety whilst on the road has also been in-built to the 28 with a separate rear light and 1200 Lumens headlight included. The choice of a lighter paint (yellow or blue) also helps make the 28 noticeable whilst riding in lower light.
PERFORMANCE AND HANDLING
As is stipulated by EU law, the ADO 28 comes with a 250w motor that can punch out 42Nm, which by my testing has been great for stop-starts at the traffic. The motor pushes you up to 15.5mph in a few mere seconds at max assist, making you a champion at the traffic lights when the light turns green. The instant assist as I start to turn the pedal means I found I could get into a safe position on the road before the cars catch up with me.
As with any torque sensor, the harder you push on the pedal, the more assist the motor delivers, recreating the feeling of being on a pedal bike. Combined with the single speed Gates carbon belt drive, I found the G-Drive 5.0 offers a smooth delivery of torque.
When I took the 28 to hillier terrain it did well to assist me on an 8% gradient. As the bike is a single speed (there are no gears if you are cycling without the assistance), I can imagine it will start to struggle on a gradient steeper than 12%, so this is something to keep in mind if your commute includes steeper hills. However, for a city like London which is mainly flat, this bike is fine.
Throughout the months I’ve ridden the 28, i’ve been able to get a good measurement of just how much range you can achieve on one charge. Keeping in mind that my commute is mainly flat London terrain, whilst switching between level 3 for the most part of riding, to level 4 or 5 assist when wanting a particularly strong start at the traffic lights or taking on a steeper incline, in total I managed to get just under 50 miles. Range anxiety is not a thing with the ADO 28, however I would like to mention that when the battery starts to get low, the weight of the bike is evident under the single speed set up, making stop starts and climbs harder. This is a bike made for flatter commutes and is manageable to cycle without assist, but I wouldn’t recommend letting the battery dip any lower than 25% or you’ll have more of a workout than you planned!
The large 28inch wheels give not only added stability, but more surface area for increased contact with the road, so you can ride in confidence despite wetter conditions. Living in the UK I’ve been cycling in the sun one moment and then dealing with a downpour of rain the next and the Air 28 has performed well throughout.
COMFORT AND PRACTICALITY
The first thing I noticed when jumping on the ADO 28 is how comfortable it is. ADO have done a great job in combining comfort, practicality and performance into one very nice looking package.
You may notice the frame is typically taller than the average road bike to get that upright Dutch-style positioning, which is popular for a reason. The rider’s weight is shifted onto the legs and hips, reducing pressure on the neck and back, creating a more comfortable ride.
So if you’re less of a confident rider then this bike is a great choice because your weight is centralised and less so through your arms and hands, making indicating a breeze and less of a balancing act than the more aggressive set up you typically get on a road bike.
This also means visibility is improved for the rider, not only in the immediate vicinity but also in the distance, as the rider's sightline is extended.
ADO has also gone one step further and included front suspension with a lockout and preload adjustment control system, so you can easily tweak the travel by a quick twist as you enter the trails.
The 28 is one of the most practical ebikes i’ve experienced. It has all the features you need to ride in the dark and in wetter weather. Whether you go for a long ride or a quick trip to the shops, it has the range and cargo carrying capabilities even for a food shop. I generally lock the bike up and taken the battery with me to make less appealing for opportunist thieves but overall it’s an ebike I feel very confident with for day to day use.
My one gripe is the weight. At 21.5kg and as a Londoner living in a flat three stories up with no lift, carrying the 28 is the least favourite part of my commute. It’s perfectly manageable and I do do it, however if you live any higher up, don’t have access to a lift or don’t have the strength to lift a plus 20kg bike, then that is something to consider.
ADO has made lifting easier by including a discreet handle in the centre of the frame so that you can pick it up like a suitcase and carry it with the weight balanced evenly on both sides. If the bike didn’t have this handle I would definitely struggle to get it up and down the stairs!
Verdict for woman riders
It goes without saying that women can ride any bike. However, step through designs like this one are popular for those of us who like/need to ride with a skirt or dress.
Given typical physical differences, from experience of women coming in to try ebikes, finding a ride that is 20kg or under is the sweet spot. Any more and it becomes cumbersome.
The ADO Air 28 IS 21kg, however if you live on the ground floor, have a lift or don’t have much need for carrying then the weight won’t be a problem.
The Air 28 also caters to anyone that is 5ft2 plus, so this frame is suitable for less tall riders.
Finally, I personally prefer to add cargo to a bike, rather than carry it in a backpack to avoid arriving with a sweaty back to work. So for any of my gals who like to do the same, this bike has options for both front and rear cargo loading.
Eilis Barrett is Electroheads’ lead presenter. Millions of people have watched her electric bike reviews on our popular YouTube channel, and over the past four years she has ridden and reviewed over 100 electric bikes, making her one of the leading experts on ebikes. As well as talking the talk with her reviews, Eilis walks the walk - she has been commuting to work in London on various electric bikes for four years, giving her an excellent insight into what consumers should be looking out for when they make a purchase.