Tenways Ago X review: your new all-terrain, hill-climbing friend

Distance up, effort down

Tenways Ago X review
(Image credit: Mark Knapp/T3)
T3 Verdict

You may not be able to rip around at 28mph on the Tenways Ago X, but you can definitely go the distance with ease. It’s a solid ride, well-equipped, and not terribly overpriced for all it's packing. The Tenways Ago X isn't the perfect bike, but it doesn’t get a lot wrong.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Makes all-terrain riding easy

  • +

    Long range thanks to powerful battery

  • +

    Quality components and build quality

  • +

    Elegant design

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Heavy and wide chassis

  • -

    Limited to 20mph (might not be an issue in all countries)

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Tenways Ago X review in a nutshell: a decent mid-range e-bike that flattens the hills well when commuting around town. It's slightly rough around the edges, and there are a few cheaper alternatives offering a similar riding experience, but the Tenways Ago X isn't a bad choice for those seeking a no-nonsense e-bike for commuting.

The typical electric bike relies on a simple rear hub motor that operates in partnership with the rider's own efforts through the standard drivetrain of the bike. More advanced models opt for mid-drive motors that harmonize the efforts of the cyclist and the motor. This makes for a more natural feel and improved versatility since the motor power can apply to a multi-speed transmission.

The Tenways Ago X is one of these advanced models and offers decent performance for a reasonable price. Even though it's a bit of a middle-of-the-road electric bike, it should still be considered one of the best electric bikes for those who have some disposable income and like a smooth ride.

Tenways Ago X review: price and availability

Costing $2,499/ £2,399 and available now at Tenways, the Tenways Ago X is keenly priced compared to how well-specced this electric bike is. It comes with a helpful front suspension, a classy 10-speed Shimano Deore setup in the rear, and powerful hydraulic brakes; you’ve got a compelling ebike for those trying to get the most for their money.

Tenways Ago X review

(Image credit: Mark Knapp/T3)

Tenways Ago X review: specifications

  • Size range: Large (Rider Height Range 5'5"-6'3"), Large (Rider Height Range 6'3"-6’6”)
  • Motor: 250W Bafang M410 mid-drive
  • Top speed (motorized): 20mph
  • Power: 36V 14ah (504Wh) LG lithium-ion battery
  • Control: Torque-sensor pedal assist
  • E-bike classification: Class 1
  • Speeds: 10-speed, Shimano Deore
  • Brakes: Tektro hydraulic dual-piston disc brakes 
  • Frame material: Aluminum 
  • Fork material: Mixed (Suntour XCM32 ATB suspension fork)
  • Wheel size: 29-inch 
  • Weight: 64 pounds (rated); 62.3 lbs pounds (measured Large model)
  • Range: 62 miles (rated); 41.3 miles (tested)

Tenways Ago X review: assembly

While the Tenways Ago X has a lot going on, assembly remained fairly simple. It was not trouble to fully assemble in less than a half hour. This was largely thanks to the rear rack and fenders coming pre-attached. Getting the handlebars, front wheel, seat, and reflectors all attached is a breeze. The trickiest item was the front fender, which mostly comes down to fussing around to get it straight. Once assembled, the battle isn’t necessarily over.

While direct-to-consumer bikes come pre-tuned, it doesn’t always hold up to the perils of the shipping process. In my case, this meant aligning the brakes and the tedious process of indexing the gears. Both processes can be a huge time sink for those new to them. Or, they can be an added expense for anyone who just takes them to a bike shop.

Tenways Ago X review

(Image credit: Mark Knapp/T3)

Tenways Ago X review: design and build quality

Tenways put together an elegant and distinct pack package. Smooth welding on the aluminum frame is just a start. There’s an interesting angle in the seat stays that sets the bike apart, and while it might raise structural concerns, the frame is beefy enough to assuage them. The downtube battery locks into place, hiding away neatly, and detaches simply for charging separately from the bike. The front of the frame sees a little protrusion that houses a pair of LED headlights that run right off the bike’s battery.

The headlight is stylish, but you can’t adjust its angle and it has limited side visibility, so augmenting it with an additional bike light is a good idea. There’s also a tail light integrated into the rear rack, though the cable is clumsily routed through the rear fender. The shifter and brakes have internal cable routing that keeps the bike looking less busy than a lot of ebikes, which are often plagued with a rat’s nest of cables out front. 

The electronic controls and display are also subtle. There’s a basic control unit with three buttons near the left handgrip and a small but clear, color display offering many useful riding metrics at a glance. 

All of the power is channelled into a Bafang M410 mid-drive motor that fills in for a traditional bottom bracket. Despite having this strong motor with 80Nm of torque, the Tenways Ago X is a Class 1 ebike with a top motorized speed of 20mph. Its highest gear may be suited to going faster, but the motor will stop assisting once the bike has reached 20mph. That’s a little disappointing to see, especially as the step up to 25mph can make a big difference when riding with traffic, but it’s a common concession and at least comes with a tangible benefit to battery life. 

Size and weight are one concern for the Tenways Ago X. You won’t readily find a small bike riding on 29-inch wheels, let alone a kitted-out ebike. So it’s no surprise that the Tenways Ago X is hefty at 62.3 pounds (though it’ll shave 0.75 pounds by omitting the kickstand). It’s all the more tricky to move around given its extra-wide handlebar, which is wider than the typical doorway. 

Tenways Ago X review

(Image credit: Mark Knapp/T3)

Tenways Ago X review: features and accessories

The Tenways Ago X is an all-terrain bike. Its large, 29-inch wheels are beefy and grippy enough for some loose gravel and dirt while still riding quickly on pavement. Wide, alloy pedals provide a firm foothold for aggressive riding. A Suntour suspension fork with preload adjustment takes some of the roughness out of rough terrain, and it can lock out for more efficient paved riding.

The 10-speed drivetrain (a Shimano Deore derailleur and cassette on our test sample, but Tenways doesn’t specify that it will always use this system. Tenways also didn’t find a way to fit a Shimano Deore crankset) offers enough gear range for hill climbing and high speeds on the flats. While it might not be built for serious mountain biking, the included fenders and rack make it suited for all-weather transit. 

The rack is a beefy unit that bolts directly into the seat stays and hasn’t made a peep when I’ve loaded it up. By contrast, the fenders are a fairly standard sort I’ve come across elsewhere, and they have a tendency to get bent out of shape easily. Tenways lists the fender and rack combo, which also includes a run-of-the-mill kickstand that couldn’t actually bolt into the frame (another issue that may stem from a supplier switch, as I’ve seen the same thing from a separate ebike manufacturer), as being a $485 value, but I’d call that a stretch.

Most of the value comes from the rear rack, which I can’t see being worth more than $200 and is a gracious inclusion given the unique geometry of the rear triangle (or quadrilateral, rather) would pose some considerable trouble finding a fitting rack.

Tenways Ago X review

(Image credit: Mark Knapp/T3)

Tenways Ago X review: performance

Going up a hill, pushing through a headwind, and getting up to top speed are all made a lot easier on the Tenways Ago X. Its ability to channel its motor power combined with my own muscle into the drivetrain effectively lets it optimize for acceleration or sustained speed as needs shift. 

That’s fairly common among ebikes, but the Tenways Ago X has the mid-drive benefit of making it feel extra smooth and extra easy. There’s none of the jerking of a rear hub drive kicking in. A lot of the time, it doesn’t even feel quite like there is a motor. It just feels easier to pedal as the motor whirs gently away, sounding like a faint whistle, multiplying the power I put into the pedals. 

The large tires and effective front suspension help soak up bumps and divots in the road, letting me keep up my speed rather than slowing down every time there’s an imperfection in the road to manoeuvre over. The bike comfortably drops down curbs at speed, and even casually hopping back up them doesn’t come with a huge jolt. Loose terrain is a different matter. A bit of gravel, woodchip, or dirt trail is fine, but sand is a no-go.

Through all that riding, the seat remains quite comfortable, but the firm foam hand grips don’t. While they provide a bit more grip than holding onto bare metal, they don’t feel like they add much more cushion. This often has me shifting my hands around in discomfort — an unsafe manoeuvre while riding in city traffic. On the plus side, the brakes offer plenty of stopping power when needed.

Tenways Ago X review

(Image credit: Mark Knapp/T3)

As ready as this bike is to be a city ride, it’ll make the most sense in hilly areas. Out here in Chicago, where just about every road is flat, the lowest several gears are almost entirely unnecessary, and the minor difference between most gears just has me skipping past one or two at a time. That’s true of the motor as well. Thanks to the mechanical advantage provided by the gears, I find the Level 2 or 3 power settings enough to take almost all the work out of riding. Level 4 was handy for getting going if I forgot to shift down before a red light, but was otherwise overkill for riding on flat terrain. And Level 5? Maybe if I wanted to maintain 20mph in top gear against a stiff headwind. 

While the shifter is snappy, the Tenways Ago X actually runs into a unique issue for mid-drive ebikes. Since the motor continues to spin briefly after pedalling stops, the standard process for shifting doesn’t apply. Instead of slowing down my pedalling, shifting quickly, and then resuming. Instead, I have to stop or significantly slow pedalling, wait briefly for the motor to slow down, then shift and gently resume pedalling. If I don’t stop pedalling or don’t wait long enough to shift, I get the pained clunk of a gear shift under load. Some mid-drive ebikes avoid this issue with a special sensor that detects shifts and slows the motor accordingly. It’s surprising to see Tenways omit this when the cheaper Ride1Up Prodigy saw fit to include it. 

With a 504Wh battery pack and a decent blend of human power going alongside the motor, the Tenways Ago X is impressively economical on battery power. I was able to ride the bike 35 miles, with a lot of stop-and-go city traffic, to get the battery down to just 6%. From there, the motor didn’t stop helping out either. Though I wasn’t so readily hitting 20mph with so little left in the tank, I still went an additional 6.3 miles of motor-assisted riding, netting the Tenways Ago X a real-world range of 41.3 miles under fairly strenuous conditions. Lighter riders opting for lower assist levels and heading out on trails or bike paths could easily top 50 miles on a single charge. The efficiency of the mid-drive system is crucially combined with the 20mph speed limit. Going faster would introduce significant increases in wind resistance and see a dramatic decrease in range. 

Tenways Ago X review

(Image credit: Mark Knapp/T3)

Tenways Ago X review: verdict

Price is a factor in any purchase, and while the Tenways Ago X is no cheap ebike, it boasts admirable qualities for the price it charges. Below $2499, you’ll find very few mid-drive ebikes, and those I’m aware of don’t come similarly equipped. Most people will probably be better off with the Ride1Up Prodigy, no less because of its lower price and higher top speed. But for trail riders and those living in hilly areas, the Tenways Ago X may have the edge it needs. It’s also just a great-looking bike. While it might take falling into a niche to find its stride, this is a strong pick within that niche and definitely not one to overlook.

Tenways Ago X review: also consider

While most people will probably be better served by one of the cheaper Ride1Up Prodigy models (there’s an off-road model with a suspension fork and two city models with fenders and rear racks), the Tenways Ago X gets points for elegance with more subtle cable routing and the integrated headlight. That may make enough of a difference for some. The inclusion of fenders and a rack on a model with front suspension (something the Prodigy doesn’t offer) is also a compelling reason to pick the Tenways Ago X.

The Priority Current is an enticing alternative with a carbon belt drive, internally geared rear hub, and Class 3 mid-drive motor, but it costs substantially more (unless you’re a Costco member). If a mid-drive doesn’t matter to you, then the Juiced CrossCurrent X is a much cheaper option that can go faster and farther, and it rides with similar comfort, but it won’t be as strong a hill climber.

Mark Knapp

Mark Knapp has covered tech for most of the past decade, keeping readers up to speed on the latest developments and going hands-on with everything from phones and computers to e-bikes and drones to separate the marketing from the reality. Catch him on Twitter at @Techn0Mark or on T3, PCMag, IGN, TechRadar, Business Insider, and Reviewed.