Starrun R20 review: Is this sub-$1,000 full-suspension fat tire e-bike worth it?


Starrun R20 review: Is this sub-,000 full-suspension fat tire e-bike worth it?

I’ve always found the sub-$1k e-bike segment fascinating. The bikes aren’t always the best, but the good ones are usually good enough for most casual and/or recreational riders. And this is the group of e-bikes with the biggest potential for winning over new riders who haven’t fully committed to the idea of a pricier e-bike replacing a good chunk of car miles. The $899 Starrun R20 is the latest folding fat tire e-bike that seems ready to compete in this quickly crowding market. So does it have what it takes?

Starrun R20 video review

To see this e-bike in action, check out my review video below. Then keep scrolling for even more details!

Starrun R20 tech specs

  • Motor: 750W geared hub motor in the rear wheel
  • Top speed: 45 km/h (28 mph)
  • Range: Up to 88 km (55 mi) depending on user input
  • Battery: 48V 20Ah (960 Wh)
  • Weight: 36.7 kg (81 lb)
  • Max load: 181 kg (400 lb)
  • Brakes: Mechanical disc brakes
  • Extras: Sturdy rear rack with seat pad, color LED display, integrated head/tail/brake LED lights, fender set, left-side thumb throttle, folding design

What does the bike have going for it?

On paper, there’s a lot to like here. For just $899 (or apparently $799 from Walmart), you’re getting a full-suspension fat tire e-bike with a pretty darn big battery and some good performance.

The biggest claims to fame are the 28 mph top speed, the big ol’ 960Wh battery (48V 20 Ah), and the full suspension. Those are all great features for a super low-cost bike! I love being able to go fast on an e-bike, and of course any fast e-bike is going to need a bigger battery to avoid burning through all of your range with the higher power needed for high speed.

But the third part of that trifecta, the full suspension, unfortunately isn’t all that much to write home about. The front suspension fork is decent but nothing special. It absorbs bumps but it’s not a high-quality piece of kit, that’s for sure. And the rear suspension, well it’s not much either. Again, it does the job, but it’s not quality suspension. In fact, I’m pretty sure those orange piggyback reservoirs are just for show. I’m not convinced that they aren’t just plastic Yahtzee shakers bolted onto the top of the shock. These are basically just springs, not true hydraulic damping as it would appear.

But hey, it’s a low-cost bike and so I get it.

For the price, you’re getting fast speeds, pretty good range (though probably not the true 55 miles they advertise), and some decent suspension to smooth out rougher roads and trails. The fat tires of course help add to that suspended feeling.

But then there are some downsides here too.

For one, the mechanical disc brakes aren’t terribly punchy and will of course need more tuning than nicer hydraulic disc brakes. The rear bench is a nice idea, but is largely unusable for a rear passenger unless they are also wearing roller skates. Add some foot pegs and then we can call it a true passenger bench.

And lastly, though perhaps most importantly for anyone who actually wants to pedal this bike, I find that the rear frame flares out so wide for the shock mounts that it actually gives me a weird heel strike situation when I pedal. I’ve learned to move my feet further up the pedals to account for it, but that’s not great pedaling form. You can see what I mean in the video above, where the frame just doesn’t seem to account for your foot arc, and instead cuts into your personal space on each pedal stroke.

But as I said, a lot of these shortcomings are hard to fault too hard when considering the ultra-affordable price. I’m far from a bike snob, and I know some people just want a full-suspension e-bike for a low price.

I can’t guarantee you the R20 is going to last for years. But I can tell you it works pretty darn well out of the box, is fairly comfortable to ride (if not to pedal), and has the big battery most folks are going to want when riding faster.

There are other nicer folding e-bikes at the price, but they don’t have the suspension offerings or the massive battery of the Starrun R20, which definitely gives it an edge. Nice additions like the fender set and color display are also nice to see, as are the three different colorway options.

But ultimately, I’d have to call this just a decent e-bike. If you really want full-suspension, it’s worth considering. But if you’re looking for higher quality, I’d probably pass over the R20. It’s definitely a budget bike for budget shoppers, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Like most e-bikes, it has a place in the market.

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