Updated November 5th, 2023
A classic cruiser ebike with swept back bars and a smooth feeling torque sensor that will make you forget it’s an ebike.
Best Overall – Best Cruiser EBikes
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Manufacturer and Model: Aventon Pave 500.3
List Price: $1599
Available from: Aventon
- Aventon Pace 500 3 Review and Test
- Recommendation – Buy or No Buy?
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The Aventon Pace 500.3 is their latest update to their popular Pace 500 cruiser ebike. It is a simple classic bike design with swept back handlebars and no extras like racks or fenders. It is a clean simple looking bike that is fun to ride. It’s a smooth quiet bike that handles corners like it’s on rails. It’s perfect for cruising around to check out scenery or exploring town.
What we liked:
- Very smooth and comfortable riding feel
- Responsive torque sensor with smooth seamless motor activation
- Comfortable upright riding position
- Retro fun cruiser swept back handlebars
- Easy to read color LCD display
- Light weight bike that is easy to load onto racks or carry if you need to
- Available in 2 sizes and step-over and step-thru frames
What we didn’t like:
- Gearing needs to be higher to be able to easily ride 28mph
- No extras included like rack or fenders
- Adjustable height stem has a little wobble
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- Max Speed – 28 mph
- Range – up to 60 miles
- Max Rider Weight – 300 lbs
- Bike Weight – 52 lbs
- Motor Power – 500 watt rear hub
- Battery – 48 volt 12.8 ah
- Speeds – 8 Speed Shimano Altus
- Brakes – Hydraulic disc
- Wheel Size – 27.5 inch x 2.1inch tires
Aventon Pace 500 3 Review and Test
I have been a fan of Aventon Bikes since getting their Level.2. That continues to be my favorite ebike to ride still. The Pace 500.3 shares many of the features that make the Level.2 great such as a really smooth and responsive torque sensor and easy to use color LCD display. The Pace has a similar 500 watt rear hub motor and 27.5 inch wheels.
The Pace 500.3 differentiates itself from the Level by having swept back cruiser handlebars and a lighter weight frame with no suspension fork. The battery is also smaller (12.5ah vs 14ah) to keep the frame lower profile and keep the weight down.
What you get is a really lightweight relaxed cruiser ebike that is fun to ride with a very upright comfortable seating position.
The Pace 500.3 is available in both a step-over and step-thru frame in regular and large sizes. Each version is available in 2 colors. We got a regular sized step-thru frame in Blue Steel color.
1 – 500 watt rear hub motor
The Pace 500 3 has a 500 watt rear hub motor. It’s a very quiet motor and you don’t get a lot of sound or vibration when it turns on. It doesn’t give you a constant reminder that you’re riding an ebike except that pedalling is a lot easier.
2 – 48 volt 12.5 ah removable battery
The Pace 500.3 is a lightweight simple bike. They stayed with that idea in choosing a smaller battery for the bike. It has a 12.8 ah battery which is smaller than the 14 ah that the Aventon Level 2 comes with. The Pace 500 frame has a smaller profile thanks to the smaller battery size going into it.
3 – Power (8.0/10)
The Pace 500.3 is a more relaxed ebike. It’s not a speed demon and it’s not super fast off the line. It’s got enough power for a relaxed cruise around town and going up hills. It’s not going to win any races hill climbing or sprinting.
I measured the top speed the bike would go using a GPS on a long, flat, smooth section of bike path. I checked with both throttle only and pedal assist. I got the following top speeds.
- Throttle Only – 20.3 mph measured by GPS. 20.6 mph on the display
- Pedal Assist – 19.4 mph measured by GPS. 20.4 mph on the display
The Pace 500.3 pedal assist top speed can be adjusted in the Aventon app up to 28mph making it a Class 3 ebike. We set the speed to max and measured the speed again.
- Pedal Assist – 27.2 mph measured by GPS. 28.0 mph on the display
The gearing of the bike really does not make it easy to go much above about 23mph. Your pedal cadence gets too fast and it’s hard to put enough force into the pedals to get a lot of motor help. You have to pedal like a mad man to get the bike up to 28mph. This is similar to the Aventon Level 2 and Aventure 2 which we reviewed.
This is the biggest downside to the Aventon torque sensor bikes. It would be nice if Aventon gave them 1 cadence sensor like PAS level that just gives full motor power up to full speed if the pedals are spinning like the Gotrax Tundra we tested does. If you want to ride at 28mph all the time, then the cadence sensor Pace 500.2 is also an option to consider.
I took the bike to our standard hill climb hill. This is a 1/2 mile hill with some 10% grades. I use a 250 lb rider for the test. I do the test once with throttle only and once with maximum pedal assist. We got the following times for the hill climb.
- Throttle Only – 2 minutes and 18 seconds with an average speed of 13.76 mph
- Pedal Assist – 2 minute and 0 seconds with an average speed of 15.83 mph
This puts it 14 seconds slower than the Level 2 on hills. Both bikes have similar motors and wheel sizes. I expected the Pace to be a bit quicker up the hill. It also has a smaller capacity battery. Smaller battery cells have more voltage sag under load which could explain some loss in hill climbing speed.
The Pave 500.3 moves out as soon as you put a little force into the pedals. It doesn’t jerk or jump ahead as a lot of cadence sensor bikes do. It gives you enough to get moving quickly even on lower PAS levels. It keeps with the overall flavor of the Pave 500 which is a very smooth ebike.
4 – Range (8.0/10)
I took the bike out on my standard range test ride. This involves a cruise around on some bike paths and roads. There is a decent amount of climbing along the way with a few steep hills. I do the ride as close to 15mph as possible. I use a 250 lb rider. I do the ride 2 times. Once with pedal assist and once with throttle only.
I was able to ride the bike 35.3 miles with 705 feet of climbing before the battery said no more. The bike provided good amounts of assist down to about 5% left on the battery. At that point it was giving little to no help on even a slight uphill. This was about 9 miles less than the Level 2 went for us. This is from the smaller battery. The Pace 500 has a much more relaxed riding position so you’re not putting quite as much effort into pedalling.
I was able to ride the bike for 26.4 with 538 feet of climbing miles before the motor stopped. This was only about 3 miles less than the Aventon Level 2 went. This was about where I expected the Pace 500.3 to be with a similar motor and smaller battery. The bike also is lighter and has less drag without the fender and racks on it.
5 – Ride and Handling (9.5/10)
The Pace 500.3 is a lightweight nimble bike. Once I got used to the swept back handlebars, it was very groovy feeling going around corners at speed. It’s a very different ride than the fat tire bikes we’ve been riding a lot lately. This bike is easy to turn around by picking up the bike. It stops and turns quick. It goes around corners like it’s on rails. It’s just a lot of run to ride around on pavement. The swept back bars make you remember being a kid with a bike with handlebar streamers
The seat is bigger with more cushiness than what the rest of the Aventon bikes come with. It feels good sitting on it for shorter rides. The bike frame is on the flexible side and did a good job of absorbing cracks and gaps in the pavement. The bike doesn’t have a suspension fork but I didn’t find it really needed it for street riding.
6 – Braking (9.5/10)
The bike has hydraulic brakes and they do a good job of stopping it quickly. This bike is very light compared to most ebikes and the smaller road tires don’t have a lot of spinning mass. This bike can stop in a hurry if you need it to. The brakes did start squealing a bit by the end of our test rides which is normal for Tektro disc brakes. We have ridden a lot of bikes with this brake set now and every one of them has been noisy after breaking in.
7 – Controls (9.0/10)
The Pace 500.3 has a similar control setup to other Aventon ebikes with torque sensors. It has a 5 button controller and color LCD display. This has their newer button config that has turn signals and shared buttons for the lights and walk mode.
The color LCD display is easy to read in bright light. My only complaint is the blue bar used to show how much assist power you are getting. The dark blue color is hard to see in daylight. A different color would have been better here. The battery meter also uses the same dark blue. When you get down to 20% left the bar turns red making it very easy to see.
The controller has 5 buttons. There is an up and down button for changing PAS level. There is a power button in the middle that also changes the bottom row of the display. The left and right buttons act as turn signals. The older Aventon bikes had the headlights and an info button instead of the left and right button. I preferred that button setup over the current setup with turn signals.
Pedal Assist and Throttle
The bike has 5 levels of pedal assist including off. Eco, Tour, Sport and Boost. I find that most of the time I ride in Eco or Tour and get enough help climbing hills in those modes. I don’t find there is that much difference between the different assist modes. If you push the pedals hard in Eco you still get a lot of motor assistance.
8 speed pedal driveline
The bike uses a Shimano 8 speed derailleur and Altus shifter. The shifter is a 2 button shifter that still has a gear number indicator on it. I prefer this shifter a lot more than the over the handlebar Tourney shifter that way too many ebikes come with. The bike could use more gear range or a larger crank to make it easier to pedal at higher speeds. I almost never use less than the 3rd gear when starting or going up hills.
8 – Assembly Ease (9.5/10)
Assembly Time – 1.0 hours
The Pace 500.3 is a simple bike without a lot of extras to assemble. It has no rack or fenders to put on. The only thing you really have to do is mount the front wheel and bolt on the handlbars.
Aventon ships bikes with 100% recyclable packaging materials. I like seeing this. We throw away a small mountain of foam and plastic here from all the items we get to review. Anytime a vendor uses recyclable packaging they get a mention from us.
Extra tools required
No additional tools are needed. They still include a multi-tool to use with the bike along with a pedal wrench.
No adjustment was needed to the rear derailleur or steering tube. The bike smoothly shifted through all 8 gears out of the box. The adjustable height handlebar stem on my bike wobbles a small amount after tightening it as tight as I was able to tighten it.
Parktool has a really good guide for adjusting a rear derailleur. Go there before you start messing with yours.
9 – Accessories
The Pace 500.3 has lights but does not come with any fenders or rack. Fenders and racks are available from Aventon if you want them for it.
The bike has a front light mounted to the handlebar. It has rear lights built into the rear frame. The rear lights also act as brake lights when the brake handles are pushed. They act like turn signals using the left and right arrows in the control buttons.
10 – Size and Fit
Aventon publishes a size range of 4’11” to 5’7″ for the step-thru Pace 500 and 5’7″ to 6’1″ for the large frame. My review Pave 500.3 is a regular sized step-thru frame. I am just shy of 6′ and thought the Pace felt pretty good to ride. I didn’t feel the bike was too small. My wife who is 5’6″ enjoys riding it a lot. We let our friend who is 4’10” try riding it. She was able to ride it but it was just barely small enough for her.
Recommendation – Buy or No Buy?
The Aventon Pace 500.3 is a great relaxed cruising bike for just riding around. It’s a simple bike without many extras. It focuses on what makes a bike enjoyable and fun to ride.
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Co-Founder & Chief Editor
I grew up back east in Pennsylvania and learned to ski on a family trip to Killington, Vermont when I was 6. I immediately fell in love with the mountains and outdoors and have been skiing across the US and Canada ever since. I went to school for Mechanical Engineering, and have a Master’s Degree in Material Science and Reliability.
I am a total gear nerd and love learning how things work and thinking about how they could be improved. Nothing excites me more than trying out new gear. I’d rather spend 3 hours taking my bike apart and learning how to change something than go to a bike shop. These days I reside in Michigan by the Great Lakes and go skiing, biking, and boating as much as possible.