Raleigh Array e-bike full review
Raleigh is one of the best-known cycling brands in the UK, and the Array is its entry-level range of e-bikes. It's a range because there are three different frame types to choose between: an open frame (step-through), low step (like a traditional women's frame design) and a crossbar (a traditional shape, most often chosen by men).
For each type, there's a choice of three frame sizes: 40cm, 45cm and 50cm. In old money, that's roughly 16, 18 and 20 inches.
The bike is a 'hybrid', so it can be ridden just easily on roads as it can on dirt and gravel paths. It has manual gears and can be ridden like an ordinary bike without any electric assistance – but because of the extra weight of the motor and battery, you will want that electric assistance for any inclines on your route.
Features & design
- Heavy and bulky
- Refined and classy aesthetic
- Uses a handlebar-mounted screen, not an app
The bike arrives mostly assembled in a box. All you have to do is adjust the handlebars, turn the front wheel and attach the pedals with the toolkit provided before you're ready to ride.
If you’re unsure which model to get, then Raleigh has a handy size chart. Some rivals don’t offer any size ranges or different frame designs, so this is a big plus for the Array – especially for shorter riders who are often overlooked.
Many e-bikes on the market opt for a boring black finish, but not the Array. The aluminium frame is painted in some striking silver and blue colours, along with a tan shade for the handlebars, seat and wheels. It's a classy look and stands out from the crowd.
The seat can feel quite hard, though, especially on long rides. However, it is likely that it can be worn in with repeated use, and you'll get used to it, too. Of course, you're free to buy your own replacement saddle if you prefer.
As somebody who lives in a second-story flat (and stands at a height of 5'1"), I found this bike to be highly impractical. The Array weighs 23kg, so lifting it was a chore – and man-handling it up and down flights of stairs was even harder.
If you are a commuter living in the city and do not have access to a garage – or need to use stairs for your journeys – then be warned that this is not the most transportable e-bike out there.
The Array has seven-speed gears thanks to a Shimano cassette on the rear wheel. That means a single shifter mounted on the right side of the handlebars. On the left is a small OLED display that you can use to control the motor and track the distance of your ride. The Suntour Canbus E25 motor is in the rear wheel – standard placement on many e-bikes.
The battery is detachable (you'll need to use the supplied keys) and can be charged either whilst it is attached to the bike, or separately. On average, this takes around five hours to charge from full to flat, with the blue lights indicating the level of charge.
Raleigh advises that if you plan on storing your bike outside that you bring the battery in during extreme weather conditions. It can only withstand temperatures between 1 and 39°C.
It's a bit of a shame that Raleigh hasn't done what many other manufacturers have and integrated the battery into the frame for a sleeker look, as seen on bikes like Eskute's Voyager.
The Array is fitted with mechanical Tektro MD-M280 front and rear disc brakes. Whilst they are not hydraulic, these cable-operated discs are still responsive and work well. The chain is partially covered by a plastic guard which helps to keep your trousers, socks or legs clean.
The bike is also equipped with mudguards, a kickstand, and a rear carrier that can handle loads of 25kg, rear and front lights (powered by the main battery) and a bell.
The Array doesn’t include a built-in lock, nor does it have any GPS or built-in SIM for tracking. Therefore, it’s not quite as advanced in security features as rivals from Cowboy and VanMoof.
Performance & ride quality
- Powerful motor for climbing hills
- Four power modes to choose between
- Screen is temperamental when low on battery
The bike has four power modes to choose from: Eco, Tour, Sport, and Turbo, with up to 400 watts of peak power. You must start pedalling before you can choose your option, but you can also turn on a walk assist mode by holding down the top button on the display, should you need to wheel your bike. You can also ride without any power assistance.
I rode on busy roads and around parks in the city and found that I rarely had to go into the highest power mode – I stuck with Tour the most. If you are an avid cycler who rides a lot in the country or ride with fast-moving traffic on the regular, then you may find otherwise.
The Suntour motor made cycling up hills an absolute breeze, and the gears gave me more control for going up and down hills. Thanks to the Suntour Nex-E25 disc suspension fork, rides were smooth, and I never felt like I was wobbling or unstable on the Array, even when going over potholes.
The Array pulls away from traffic lights with ease and though it's electrically limited to 15.5mph, it's possible to reach between 20-25 mph on the flat when pedalling, so you don’t have to worry about impatient drivers. The motor is also reasonably quiet, so doesn't disrupt concentration.
The choice of motor power is controlled on the OLED display, which also tracks the distance you’ve ridden and your average speed. Whilst this was mostly simple to use, I did find that as the battery started to run low, the display had a habit of randomly switching off, which was annoying.
The screen is also sometimes a little difficult to read under direct sunlight. If it were slightly larger or brighter, this would make it easier to use.
The 400Wh battery lasts up to 60 miles depending on the power mode, temperature, terrain and other factors. This is a bigger range than other rivals we have tested such as the Cowboy 3 and the Ancheer electric mountain bike.
The weight of the bike means that if the battery does run out and you end up having to ride without the motor, it can give you quite a workout. I found this out the hard way on a long trip to Hyde Park, where I got a sweat on getting the bike up a hill on my way home.
Price & availability
The Raleigh Array e-bike currently costs £1,595, and the price is the same no matter what frame size or style you choose. Currently, the brand only sells in the UK, so US and international readers will have to check out other options in our chart of the best e-bikes.
You can purchase the bike directly from Raleigh, or from other retailers such as e-bikes direct. Raleigh offers a five-year warranty on the frame, a two-year cover on electrical parts and one to two years worth of cover on non-wearable parts.
If you buy directly from the Raleigh website, you can claim this online. Otherwise, you should go to the bike shop that you purchased from. Raleigh has some stipulations which aren't covered by the warranty.
Whilst this isn’t the cheapest e-bike on the market, it’s still pretty good value for its range, attractive design and powerful performance.
If you want something that is lighter and easier to transport, then it's worth checking out the Specialized Turbo Vado SL, or even a folding option such as the Gocycle GX. Alternatively, for better security features, you can take a look at the VanMoof S3.
Raleigh does offer other e-bikes, but most of them are significantly pricier than the Array.
There’s a lot to love about the Raleigh Array e-bike. It has a premium design, smooth performance, great battery life and it comes in a range of sizes and frame combinations to suit different heights and types of rider.
That said, this is a heavy bike. Plus, the screen proved annoying when the bike is low on battery, and it lacks some built-in security features that would help give you peace of mind if you’re locking it up out in the open.
If you can look past these flaws, then the Raleigh Array e-bike is still a great electric option whether you’re based in the city or countryside.
Raleigh Array e-bike: Specs
- Frame: Aluminium 6061
- Frame size: 40cm, 45cm and 50cm
- Frame shape: Open frame, crossbar and lowstep
- Fork: Suntour Nex-E25 disc suspension fork, 63mm travel
- Weight: 23kg
- Tyres: 700 x 47c Vee Rubber Zient brown with reflective stripe
- Seat: Velo, VL-6335D2
- Gears - Seven
- Brakes: Tektro MD-M280 Mechanical front and rear disc brakes, 180mm
- Lights: Comus DHL-F15PRO e-bike front light 6V and comus R-99 e-bike rear light 6V
- Motor: Suntour Canbus E25
- Battery: Suntour Canbus 400Wh, max range 60 miles
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