Heading to a horse show? Bring a sixthreezero electric bike along for the ride!
As an avid follower of the Elphick Event Ponies vlog, I have Meg to thank for introducing this old school equestrian to modern electric bikes. Now that I’ve tried sixthreezero’s Simple Step-Thru 500W Electric Bike, I understand why so many riders are now bringing e-bikes to competitions.
Read on for a detailed review of this electric bike’s features, safety, and performance, along with the my personal experience unboxing, assembling, and testing it at the barn. I’ll also include safety tips for riding your new e-bike around horses, especially in a show setting.
Equestrians & E-Bikes
Horse riders (and the friends, family, and trainers who support them) are increasingly turning to electric bikes as indispensable companions for horse shows. The sprawling grounds of these events—especially eventing competitions—make efficient and quick transportation challenging.
Whether you’re checking the show office for scores, reviewing course maps, checking on the schedule, or sneaking a snack between classes, foot travel gets old fast. But unhooking trailers so you can take your truck every time isn’t realistic either.
Enter a more practical solution—electric bikes! These self-powered bicycles allow you to check on your horses, navigate to different arenas, traverse cross country courses, and make offsite horse care a lot easier.
Why equestrians love e-bikes:
No wonder electric bikes are now seen as practical and recreational ‘companions’ in the horse world.
E-Bikes rookie? Me too!
Though I’m an experienced horse rider, I was a total rookie when it came to navigating the world of e-bikes, I found myself on a quest for a two-wheeled companion that could blend the freedom of cycling with the convenience of electric power.
When the folks at sixthreezero offered to let me try their Simple Step-Thru 500W Electric Bike, I jumped at the chance to see if it could make barn and horse show transportation less stressful.
My only experience with an e-bike was earlier this year in Santa Barbara, CA. A friend and I rented them on the way home from beach yoga because we were too tired to walk back to our hotel. It was such a blast, and I was excited to get back aboard!
The Sixthreezero Bicycle Company, established in 2005, traces its roots to a deep-seated love for bikes that began in childhood and blossomed in the vibrant Southern California beach culture. Based in Hermosa Beach, CA, the founders immersed themselves in cruiser bicycles, embracing the associated lifestyle and culture.
Fun Fact: I visited beautiful Hermosa Beach for the first time this year!
Fueled by a passion for bikes, fashion, and pop culture, they aimed to create unique designs and contribute to the cruiser community.
This company is now a leader in crafting stylish, comfortable, and reliable cruiser bicycles at an affordable price (at least relative to the cost of horses ha!). The team is dedicated to continual improvement and stands unwaveringly behind its products.
Promising a commitment to customer satisfaction, they assure riders that once part of the Sixthreezero community, they will be supported in “moving happy forever” with a great-looking, durable bike that perfectly complements their lifestyle.
My E-Bike in a Nut Shell
The sixthreezero Simple Step-Thru 500W Electric Bike stands out with its innovative features and versatile performance. Its low step-thru height simplifies mounting and dismounting, prioritizing safety and stability with a thicker tire size and reliable brakes.
The powerful 500 Watt Rear Hub Drive Motor and a long-lasting 500 Watt Hour Battery ensure a smooth and reliable ride, accommodating various rider preferences and needs. In my humble opinion, it’s also an extremely attractive bike!
Despite potential challenges in unboxing and assembly (more on that next), the benefits of having an electric bike at the barn or horse shows definitely outweighs the initial hurdles.
Unboxing My E-Bike
Likely because I was a total newbie to electric bikes, I wrongly assumed I would be up and riding with about 30 minutes once my bike arrived. Umm, not so much.
I had the forethought to ship the bike to my business address, a postal annex that’s staffed by lovely folks who gave me a heads up that the box was… ginormous. I flipped the seats down in my Nissan Rogue and drove over to see for myself.
Sure enough, I wildly underestimated the size and weight of the bike box. Even with a strapping young man helping me get it out of the warehouse and into my car, moving it was a Herculean feat. With about an inch to spare, we finally got the box loaded and were able to shut the trunk.
I drove home wondering how in the world I would get the box out of my car. I live alone and now realized that handling this box solo would be no small feat.
I parked in the garage and assessed the situation. The weight alone meant I couldn’t slide the box out on my own. It didn’t even budge when I tried. So I decided to try and get the bike parts out of the box while it remained in my car. I grabbed heavy duty scissors, a box knife, and an iced tea.
Then I got to work.
It took over an hour of hacking away at the box, piece by piece, to liberate the Simple Step-Thru. The sheer effort to extract the bike was an unexpected hurdle and it left me yearning for a more streamlined unboxing experience—or a heads up from the company to have a friend on-hand.
Key Takeaway: Get 1-2 people ready to help you unbox your bike!
Assembling My E-Bike
By the time I freed the bike parts and pieces, I knew I’d made a second mistake—not having someone around to help with assembly. But, as I said, I live alone…so I decided to go it alone. (At first.)
Now, I must confess, I have zero experience assembling bikes. I know what a bike generally looks like, but that’s it! Regardless armed with optimism and a set of video tutorials provided by sixthreezero, I gave it a good college try.
And gave up about ten minutes later.
The video tutorials, while informative, didn’t always align with the actual components of my specific bike. Each step seemed to present a new challenge, and my initial enthusiasm gave way to a sense of bewilderment. Plus, I struggled to even hold the bike upright by myself while trying to piece it together.
Single life strikes again. Ugh!
I decided to call it quits for the evening and restart in the morning. When I awoke with fresh eyes and renewed conviction, I headed back to the garage, saying aloud, “I have a Masters Degree. I am capable of putting a bike together.”
Nope, I wasn’t. Frustrated within minutes, I raised the white flag and phoned a barn friend. Her husband is an avid cyclist, well-versed in the intricacies of bike assembly. He graciously took on the challenge, picked up the pile of pieces, and took them to his house that day.
By nightfall, he had successfully deciphered the puzzle that had stumped me. His experience and familiarity with bike components proved invaluable, and he brought me a fully-functional e-bike the next day. (Thanks Taylor!)
I asked him for feedback on the process, and he said:
- There should be clear warnings in the directions about not charging the battery unsupervised, as e-bike batteries can be fire hazards.
- He didn’t find the assembly directions naturally sequential, and sometimes the parts listed on the boxes were different from what was actually inside.
- It would be really hard to assemble it alone because the bike wouldn’t stand on its own and be able to use the kickstand without the tires on—something I’d found as well.
- Different size wrenches are needed for the front and back fenders, which he found odd.
Key Takeaway: If possible, have an experienced cyclist help with assembly!
Now Onto All the Good Stuff!
Though unboxing and assembly proved to be a rocking ride, I’m happy to report it was smooth sailing from there.
Easy Mount & Dismount
The standout feature of the Simple Step-Thru is its lowest possible step-thru height, making mounting and dismounting a breeze. The forward pedal design, with pedals positioned approximately four inches forward from a traditional bike frame, allows for a low seat position while maintaining optimal leg extension.
This innovative design not only simplifies the process of getting on and off the bike but also lessens the risk of falling or tipping over.
Safety & Stability
Safety is a top priority in the design, and this bike doesn’t compromise on performance. The low-step thru frame geometry, coupled with a thicker tire size, enhances stability on various terrains, including smooth pavement and hard-packed trails.
The added stability not only contributes to a secure riding experience, but also absorbs more bumps and shocks, ensuring a smoother ride that’s gentler on your body.
The front and rear disc hand brakes provide easy and prompt stopping power, adding an extra layer of safety to your rides. Whether you’re navigating horse show grounds or exploring off-road trails, the Simple Step-Thru handles it all with confidence.
A Note About Helmets
Horse riding helmets and cycling helmets, while serving the common purpose of head protection, exhibit distinct design features tailored to the unique demands of their respective sports.
Horse riding helmets typically feature a lower profile and a brim, offering increased protection for the back of the head and neck. The outer shell is crafted from materials designed to withstand impact from falls and kicks, reflecting the specific types of hazards encountered in equestrian activities.
On the other hand, cycling helmets are aerodynamically shaped with extended coverage over the temples and the back of the head, reflecting the forward-leaning position cyclists maintain. They prioritize efficient airflow for cooling during high-speed rides and often include features such as visors or eye shields to guard against wind and debris.
Choosing the appropriate helmet for your specific sport is crucial for optimal safety. The distinct designs cater to the unique risks associated with horse riding vs. cycling. While both helmets share the fundamental goal of safeguarding the head, their specialized features underscore the importance of selecting gear tailored to the demands of your chosen activity, ensuring maximum safety and enjoyment.
Key Takeaway: Don’t wear your horse riding helmet while cycling, or your bike helmet while horse riding.
At the core of the Simple Step-Thru’s exceptional performance is the 500 Watt Rear Hub Drive Motor. This powerful motor provides a smooth and easy ride, whether you choose to pedal with assistance or let the motor take full control.
The versatility of this motor allows riders to seamlessly switch between pedal-assist and full electric modes. Just be prepared: activating the electric motor adds speed QUICKLY and may surprise you at first!
The 500 Watt Hour Battery ensures a reliable and long-lasting power source. Whether you opt for the full electric mode or engage in pedal-assist, this battery will take you up to 20 miles on a single charge in full electric mode and an impressive 20-40 miles in pedal-assist mode.
The substantial range makes it an ideal companion for both short daily commutes and longer recreational rides.
Intuitive Controls & Technology
Navigating the controls of the Simple Step-Thru is intuitive and user-friendly. The LCD display on the handlebar provides essential information at a glance, including your speed and the level of pedal-assist power engaged.
This user-friendly interface enhances the overall riding experience, allowing you to stay informed and in control.
The sleek display on the handlebar provides essential information at a glance, including your speed and the level of pedal-assist power you are engaged in. A simple thumb throttle adds a thrilling element to the ride – just push down and feel the excitement of a motorized experience. The intuitive controls give riders the power to tailor their journey with precision.
Versatility & Convenience
What sets the Simple Step-Thru apart is its versatility. Whether you’re using it for your daily commute or exploring scenic trails, this electric bike can handle it all. The seven-speed Shimano gear system provides a wide range of options, ensuring a comfortable ride in various terrains.
The built-in rear rack is a thoughtful addition, letting you add saddle bags or baskets for grocery runs or other errands. For me, it’s the perfect place to store items like horse boots, vet supplies, brushes, half chaps, gloves, and other smaller essentials I want on-hand at a show.
The front and back fenders are also great for preventing puddle splashes on your white show breeches, keeping both your competition clothes and the bike cleaner.
Other Models You May Like
While the model I tried works perfectly well for my purposes, sixthreezero has a few others options that may suit your equestrian lifestyle even better.
All-Terrain Zip n’ Fold 750W
The biggest difference is probably obvious—this bike FOLDS! That would be a game changer for someone like me who needs to put it in the back of a car by myself. I don’t own a car bike rack, truck, or horse trailer, so a folding bike would be a lot easier to take along to shows.
Its 20″ x 4″ Multi Terrain tires provide exceptional traction, complemented by a robust 750W motor and a 48V 15AH battery that effortlessly propels you across steep hills and challenging terrains. The responsive suspension fork ensures a smooth and comfortable ride, absorbing shocks for an enjoyable biking experience.
With a durable 17″ aluminum alloy frame designed to accommodate a big controller case and a head tube mount for a basket, the All-Terrain Zip n’ Fold 750W blends durability with style, adding a touch of practicality to every journey.
EVRYjourney 250W Electric Tricycle
This tricycle is a great option if you don’t need a folding model, but do want a lot of storage capabilities and increased stability. This trike eliminates balance concerns, allowing you to relax on your rides with its step-through frame. Mounting and dismounting become a breeze, ensuring a graceful experience without the fear of falling or tipping over.
The ergonomic riding position ensures that major joints, including shoulders, wrists, and knees, stay relaxed and tension-free while riding. The 1.95” tires smoothly glide over streets, absorbing bumps for a comfortable ride that keeps your body free from tension. With a spacious 59 x 48.5cm rear basket, you can bring everything you need on your journey–boots, helmets, show clothes, and grooming supplies.
The 250-watt motor functions in pedal-assist or full-electric mode, offering a top speed of 15 mph in full-electric mode and 28 mph in pedal-assist mode. The 250-watt battery provides a range of 18 to 40 miles in full-electric mode and 20 to 60 miles in pedal-assist mode. With 26-inch wheels, 1.95-inch semi-slick tires, and reliable brakes, this tricycle offers excellent roll, stability, and easy stopping.
EVRYjourney FAT TIRE 500W
Conquer long distances, challenging hills, and strong winds without excessive exertion, thanks to the efficient 500 Watt electric bike motor on this fat tire bike.
The ultra-comfortable ergonomic frame ensures an upright, relaxed riding position, minimizing strain on your back, hips, shoulders, and knees. Perfect for riders from 5 feet to 6 feet 4 inches tall, this bike with 26-inch wheels and 4-inch semi-slick FAT tires provides excellent stability and cushioned rides, while front and rear disc hand brakes ensure easy and prompt stopping.
Reach a top speed of 20 mph in full electric mode and 28 mph with pedal assist. The 500 Watt Hour Battery offers a range of 20 miles in full electric mode and 20-40 miles in pedal assist mode, providing ample power for your cycling adventures.
Safely Riding E-Bikes Around Horses
But wait a minute… won’t horses spook if you zip around on your e-bike? If you take proper precautions, hopefully not!
Regular bikes are commonplace at horse shows, so most horses and riders have seen them before. Because this particular e-Bike is so quiet, none of the horses spooked at mine.
That said, *always* be cautious and aware of your surroundings. Horse shows are stressful enough, so be kind if you encounter horses or riders that don’t respond well to bikes.
- Approach Horses Slowly and Audibly: Horses are sensitive animals, and sudden movements or unexpected sounds can startle them. When approaching horses on your e-bike, reduce your speed and make your presence known. Announce your approach with a friendly greeting. This gives the horse time to register your presence, minimizing the likelihood of a spook.
- Maintain a Safe Distance: Respect the horse’s personal space. Maintain a safe distance when passing or riding near horses. This not only ensures the comfort of equine partners, but also minimizes the risk of startling the horse. Consider the e-bike’s speed and keep a slow, steady pace when in proximity to horses.
- Pass Wide and Slow: When overtaking a horse or approaching from behind, pass at a wide and gradual distance. Sudden movements or rapid acceleration can be unnerving for horses. Slow down, give a clear signal of your intention to pass, and maintain a steady speed until you are safely beyond the horse.
- Use Caution with Electric Assistance: While e-bikes provide a welcome boost to your pedaling, it’s essential to use electric assistance judiciously around horses. Abrupt acceleration or sudden bursts of speed can startle horses. Gradually increase or decrease your speed to maintain a smooth and predictable ride.
- Be Mindful of Noise and Lights: Some horses may be sensitive to loud noises (like bells) or bright lights. Be considerate of this when operating your e-bike around stables or horse shows. If your e-bike has integrated lights, ensure they are not too bright or flashy, and consider dimming them when passing close to horses.
- Dismount When Necessary: In situations where horses seem particularly agitated or nervous, dismount and hand walk your bike. Stand at a safe distance until the horse has calmed down.
- Familiarize Your Horse with the E-Bike: If you’re a horse owner introducing an e-bike into your equestrian routine, take the time to familiarize your horse with the bike in a controlled environment. Allow the horse to see, smell, and hear the bike while under your guidance.
- Choose Quiet Routes: When planning your e-bike routes around horse-populated areas, opt for quieter paths and roads. Avoid congested or noisy areas that may unsettle horses. Serene routes not only contribute to a more enjoyable ride but also create a calmer environment for horses.
- Communicate with Horse Riders: If you encounter fellow horse riders during your e-bike journey, communicate openly and respectfully. Slow down, give them ample space, and inquire if they are comfortable with your presence.
- Stay Informed about Local Regulations: Different areas may have specific rules or regulations regarding e-bike use around horses. Stay informed about local guidelines and adhere to any restrictions in place. Responsible riding ensures the safety and well-being of both e-bike enthusiasts and the equestrian community.
By embracing these tips, e-bike riders can contribute to a safer and more harmonious shared space with horses. The Simple Step-Thru 500W Electric Bike from sixthreezero, with its quiet operation and rider-friendly design, aligns seamlessly with these principles, making it an ideal choice for equestrians seeking a reliable and considerate e-bike companion.
The journey from unboxing to assembly may have been more arduous than anticipated, but the rewards of effortless rides, powerful performance, and unmatched comfort make the challenges a distant memory!