Electric dirt riders are a niche within a niche of the larger e-bike market. But while the ONYX LZR Pro e-bike doesn’t have much competition from either side as one of the models in its class, the bike still manages to stand out with its impressive build quality and capable to take her to the streets and paths.
Now, I’m not really a jumper myself. I saw the ONYX marketing images and videos who show their team of pro racers flying through the sky on this e-bike and thought, “Well, there’s something I could never do.”
And I was right. This will not be a review where I learn to defy gravity with the best of them. I’m not preparing you here for a path to discovery type story, where the real dirt rider was inside of me the whole time.
But what I’ve discovered is how much fun I can have on trails and small jumps with a high-quality e-bike like the ONYX LZR Pro. I didn’t jump it off a loading dock or six-foot ramp, but I still had it nearly sideways on berms and throwing dirt in all directions. And if you’re a better rider than me, you could get some serious airtime all day and all night on this type of bike without worrying that it won’t hold up to abuse.
You can take a look at my own extensive testing with my video review below. And if you want to dive even deeper, keep reading for the rest of my written review afterwards.
ONYX LZR Pro Video Review
Technical specifications ONYX LZR Pro
- Engine: 900W Bafang M600 mid-drive motor
- Top speed: 28 mph (45 km/h)
- Range: 30-70 miles (51-112 km)
- Battery: 36V 14Ah (504Wh)
- lester: 47 lbs (21.3 kg)
- Frame: 6061 aluminum alloy
- Suspension: Front suspension fork with 100mm travel
- Brakes: Tektro hydraulic disc brakes
- Supplements: Wood inlay LED stitch counter for battery gauge and PAS level indicator, thru axles, torque sensor, three color options (one for LZR Pro and two for LZR)
- Price: $1,999
Two bikes, two rides
First, you should know that there are two different e-bikes in the LZR series. I tested the LZR Pro, which is the most powerful 900W version with the M600 Bafang mid-drive.
There’s also a slightly tamer 500W mid-drive version with slightly less torque (95Nm versus 120Nm). Otherwise they’re both pretty similar, but y’all know me – I’ll go for more power whenever possible.
Neither has a throttle, making these Class 3 e-bikes in the purest form. This means that while there is good power here, you won’t be able to access it without some good old-fashioned pedaling.
The first thing you’ll notice about the LZR is the build quality. ONYX didn’t skimp on parts and it starts right from the frame. They use something called Smooth Weld Additive Technology (SWAT), which somehow results in soft, smooth welds at the joints of the frame tubes. I saw beautiful front framesand this puts others to shame.
Even by the dropouts at the rear, where many well-made frames tend to still have a less-than-desirable weld finish, the LZR Pro’s frame is flawless. Whoever welded this thing took pride in their work and it shows.
The quality components continue around the bike. The bike uses BMX dirt jump hubs with true thru-axles instead of quick-release skewers. The front end is still quick-release for easy wheel removal if needed, but the thick thru-axles are designed to take the forces of repeated jumps and hard braking.
All cable and hose routing is internal, including the Tektro HD-M285 hydraulic disc brakes.
This front suspension fork offers 100mm of adjustable suspension with lockout when you return to the tarmac.
And there’s even a nice wooden inlay for the battery meter and pedal assist power level display. It reminds me of the wood on ONYX electric mopedsand it helps create continuity across the company’s model lines, despite the very different designs and use cases.
Now, while I love how ONYX uses real wood in its products, the ONYX LZR Pro’s display is a bit simplistic because of it. You don’t get any speed readings with those five basic LEDs. Instead, you just get an approximate battery percentage with 20% increments and a pedal assist level indicator from 1 to 5. Does it work? Absolutely. Do I sometimes want more data? Also absolutely. I’m used to very detailed e-bike displays, and so switching to this simplistic display came with an adjustment period for me.
But I also understand. This is a dirt jumper. This is a bike that will inevitably fly through the air and crash back to earth. The fewer pieces bolted to it, the better. There is less to break this way.
And that probably explains the lack of other parts like a derailleur, kickstand, LED lights, or other additional components that could violently separate from the bike in a crash. You can add all of these (well, maybe except the derailleur) if you want, but riders who use this bike for more extreme performance will likely accept that these parts are largely unnecessary. You don’t mind being lit for cars when you come across a massive dirt ramp.
Since some riders will likely still use this bike for more commuter-oriented roles, add your own LED lights is probably a good idea.
How does it ride?
I tested the ONYX LZR Pro e-bike in a wide range of use cases. I took it for commuting in the bike paths. I explored nature trails through the woods. I made my way through single track switchbacks. And I even did a small amount of dirt jumping, at least as much as my primitive jumping skills allowed.
As a commuter bike, the quick and responsive pedal assist made it ideal for getting out of the way with cars or getting back into the bike lane when traffic got too heavy.
The bars are a bit wide for navigating some of the tighter areas of a city, especially if you frequently split lanes like me and weave between cars in stuck traffic. But for anyone who mostly sticks to bike lanes, they would be just fine.
The real fun starts when you get off the road. The powerful motor gets you through the trails quickly. Most bikes can handle relaxed wilderness trails, and the LZR Pro is no different. But it really shines when you get it on more technical stuff.
The twisty singletrack I was riding was perfect for showing off just how nimble the bike could be, and the up-and-down rollercoaster nature of the trails really accentuated the powerful mid-drive advantage of climbing hills quickly to arrive to the next downhill section. The responsive pedal assist gave me a nice boost, even when I only had time for a few quick pedal rotations between switchbacks.
Since there is no hand throttle, I always felt like I was in the driver’s seat the whole time providing my own pedaling. And I was still puffing a bit at the end of each track, even though I had a powerful engine under me. I kept the pedal assist around level 2 out of 5 because the twisty trail made it hard to go too fast. But on the straighter sections, I was pushing the pedal assist and really feeling the wind in my face. And once back on the road, hitting Level 5 pedal assist was a quick and easy way to hit 45 km/h (28 mph) in a snap.
I’m sorry to say that I haven’t personally done the six-foot big jumps that I’ve seen other people do with the ONYX LZR Pro. I wish I had those skills, but unfortunately I’ve always been more of an urban cyclist than an Evel Knievel. But a bike like this with such a quality build certainly gave me the confidence to step out of my comfort zone and get more air between my tires and the ground than I would normally feel on the trail. ‘easy.
In case you’re wondering what it looks like when pro riders get into this thing, take a look at this.
what is this bike For?
So here’s the catch. Most people are probably more like me, in that you can have fun off-roading, but you’re more likely to be found on streets and sidewalks than on a ramp.
In this case, the ONYX LZR Pro still works great as an urban bike. And we’ve seen plenty of stunts from ONYX’s pro cycling team as they turn cities into bike parks and playgrounds. So we know it works just as well on asphalt.
But for us average Joes, there are still a few downsides. The lack of fenders or racks limits the bike’s usefulness for true commuter use. The non-removable battery means you have to bring the bike inside your apartment (or garage, if you’re lucky enough to have one) to charge it. And the single-speed setup means you’re stuck with just one gear ratio (44T chainring and 14T rear sprocket). And it all makes sense for a bike primarily designed for launch.
Even despite these drawbacks in the eyes of a more urban rider, the bike is so much fun as a dual-purpose runabout that I can look past these shortcomings. They exist not because the bike has skimped in certain areas, but because it is specifically designed to be able to do more. And with the kind of build quality that makes it tough enough for the tougher ride it’s designed for, it should last for years and years with normal city driving.
At its current selling price only $1,999 (or $1,799 for the 500W version), the ONYX LZR Pro strikes me as a bargain. This price is more than fair when you consider the quality of the parts and the attention to detail in building the bike.
This type of riding and this type of e-bike is not for everyone, that’s for sure. But for those looking for a bike that can handle that kind of use, the ONYX LZR Pro is absolutely built to handle it.
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