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Lemon 18-Inch Ride Cymbal Review – Best Budget Electronic Ride?

Think an 18-inch electronic ride for a quarter of the price of others currently on the market is too good to be true? Find out in my review of the Lemon 18-inch Ride Cymbal pad!

For many years, electronic drum pads and cymbal pads have been substantially smaller than their acoustic counterparts. Electronic snares usually topped out at 12 inches, while the largest cymbal pad you could get was the 15-inch Roland CY-15R.

That changed with the launch of the Roland 18-inch digital ride in late 2016 and the ATV 18-Inch Ride following in 2017, though sadly unobtainable for many, thanks to a very high price point and compatibility only with the latest TD-50 and TD-27 modules in the case of the Roland ride.

These days, A-to-E drum conversions and ‘acoustic’ looking drums such as the Roland VAD series and ATV ADrums are very popular. But to achieve this acoustic look, large cymbal pads are almost essential. Fortunately, with the Lemon 18-inch ride, these large-sized electronic cymbals are now available at an accessible price, around one-quarter of the cost of the Roland and ATV pads mentioned above.

I’ve owned the Lemon 18-inch ride for over seven months now, so read on for my long-term review and find out if you should consider this cymbal.

Lemon 18-inch ride

A great budget electronic ride cymbal with triggering response rivalling Roland’s non-digital pads.

– Seb Atkinson

Electronic cymbal after cleaning with 303 aerospace protectant
Triggering Response
Build Quality
Ease of use

Summary

At 1/4 the price of other large electronic ride cymbals, you can forgive the handful of shortcomings such as build quality and additional set-up steps.

4

Lemon 18-inch Ride pros and cons

ProsCons
Unbeaten value for money compared to mainstream competitorsMay require some disassembly to change the internal wiring to work with your module
Great trigger response and playability, on par with the Roland CY-15RFairly flat bell and flat cymbal profile that might not suit all drummers
One of the only ways to get an 18-inch ride at such a low priceCymbal chokes are slightly harder to pull off than on a Roland cymbal
The Lemon ride on my kit

Where can you buy the Lemon ride cymbal?

eBay

You can find Lemon cymbals on eBay, but be aware that these listings are usually from resellers and not the original manufacturer. If you prefer to use eBay, make sure you check the shipping estimates – if it’s over two weeks then it most likely means the product is being ‘drop-shipped’ directly from China – the seller may not actually have the product, and is instead waiting for a buyer before purchasing from Alibaba and sending directly to the buyer.

Amazon.com

The Lemon 18″ ride has recently become available on Amazon.com after this review was first published. As with eBay, it appears the seller here is a reseller, rather than the original manufacturer.

Note: if you choose to purchase via the Amazon or eBay links above, we may earn a small amount of commission which helps us to maintain the site!

Alibaba

Unlike the Roland and ATV alternatives, you’re unlikely to find the Lemon ride cymbal in brick-and-mortar music stores. These cymbals come straight from China via the Alibaba.com marketplace and are sold by Shanghai Jiajun Science & Trading Co. Buying from Alibaba can be a little daunting for consumers, given it is primarily intended for business and wholesale. But it’s not actually too different to buying from Amazon or any other online retailer, aside from a few quirks:

  • The list price is currently $69, but that’s not the price you’ll pay.
  • Shipping is added on top, which was $48.38 for where I am based
  • On top of that, taxes will be added, based on your location
  • Finally, there’s a small transaction fee based on the payment method you use
  • Shipping can take a while since the product is sent directly from China

Even with all these additional prices, the total price of the product comes in at around one-quarter of the price of the ATV 18-inch cymbal, which also uses two standard jack inputs.

Alibaba Buying experience

The product listing on Alibaba says you can order this cymbal either with or without the Lemon logo, and I decided to order mine in a set with the 15-inch China and 9-inch splash, without logos. To do this on the bundle, you had to submit a message to the seller alongside the order, which I did.

Related: Lemon 15-inch China Review

Unfortunately, despite confirming this was ok with the seller, my set arrived with the logos on all three. On the plus side after sending a photo of the products I received, I was quickly offered a discount on the price I paid. The logos themselves blend in very well and are not immediately obvious, so if you’re after a clean look as I was, don’t worry too much.

If you’re just after the one cymbal though, there is a separate listing for it without the logo, so you may have better luck buying it like this!

Of course, this can be avoided if you choose to purchase via Amazon.com or eBay instead, but it’s worth comparing the prices and shipping dates first.

Shipping and Packaging

My order was delivered via FedEx and arrived within the two-week estimate, and each cymbal was sent in a separate box (Note that my order was back in January 2022 to the UK, and shipping might vary based on your location).

I’ve read other reviews of this product saying the cymbal arrived in a single cardboard box devoid of any other packaging. Mine was definitely packed better than this, with the cymbal in a plastic bag and a piece of foam protection.

However, this still falls a bit short of the standard you’d expect from a more premium brand – another piece of foam would have been a bit more reassuring, especially as the box looked a bit scuffed after such a long journey.

Also included was a Roland-style cymbal rotation stopper and Allen key, which was not mentioned on the listing and a nice addition saving me £10 compared to an official Roland one.

Design and build quality

I was pleasantly surprised by the build quality of the Lemon 18-inch ride. I’d bought the product on a whim and was ready to be let down, as the price definitely felt too good to be true.

As one might expect, the product isn’t quite as well-made as a Roland cymbal, but it gets fairly close. Differences include the underside of the cymbal which features a basic design, and slightly thinner rubber than my Roland cymbal pads.

In terms of design, a noticeable difference from Roland’s cymbals is the flatter profile of this cymbal. Compare the profile of the Lemon 18-inch Ride with the Roland CY-15R below:

The Lemon ride is almost a flat disc. While this doesn’t have much of an impact on playing the ride, it is less realistic – the Roland ride profile matches a real acoustic cymbal a bit more closely.

One design aspect that does affect playability though, is the shallow bell, which also tends to trigger better in the very centre of the area facing the player. That means if you tend to play with the shank of the stick to the side of the bell, you’re actually getting a slightly lower trigger response than playing with the tip in the middle of the bell. The shallow bell might also bother some players, or mean you might need to adjust your technique slightly.

How to set up the Lemon 18-inch ride cymbal

An important thing to know about this cymbal is that on some modules, you’ll need to open up the cymbal, unplug a small cable from one socket and plug it into another, in order to get the three zones triggering correctly.

This is because certain drum modules are wired to use ride cymbals with two jacks differently, and so this aftermarket cymbal needs a way to ensure it is compatible with a wide range of modules.

Switching the internal cable is the way this cymbal achieves wide compatibility, though it’s a shame the process is so involved and not achieved using a switch, which is probably one of the reasons this is so cheap. However, the good news is if you need to change the cable over, you only need to do it once.

The other impact of this is that the two jack inputs are labelled as Ride 1 and Ride 2, and not bell/bow or bow/edge. So when you plug yours in, experiment with changing the jacks over first, before opening up the unit and changing the internal cable.

No instructions are included with the product, so some trial and error is definitely needed!

Once you’ve got your plugs and cables the right way round, then you might need to use the module’s pad settings to adjust the settings. In my case, using my Roland TD-11, I selected the CY-15R pad preset and didn’t actually need to change anything else. I was able to trigger a wide range of dynamics across all zones with the default settings, though your mileage may vary, based on your module and individual preferences.

Triggering response

I was pleasantly surprised by the triggering response of this cymbal pad – the only slight niggle was the bell area as detailed above. Though to give it some credit, Roland ride pads have not been known to have the most sensitive bell zones either.

All in all, the triggering response feels no different to my Roland CY-15R, which cost nearly three times the price when shipping is included. That’s a huge win given the absurdly low price of the Lemon ride.

Originally, I had an issue with getting cymbal chokes to work, however, I discovered this was a setting within Superior Drummer 3 that I had not configured correctly.

Cymbal chokes work, however due to an inner plastic lip around 1 inch from the edge of the cymbal, performing a choke isn’t very comfortable in comparison to using a Roland cymbal.

Additionally, the choke area feels a bit smaller, so you have to be a bit more precise in your hand placement to trigger a cymbal choke correctly.

Acoustic noise

One difference between this cymbal and the others in my collection is that the Lemon 18-inch is slightly louder than my Roland cymbals. This is most likely down to the slightly thinner rubber used here, as well as the larger size.

This is not going to be a problem for most users, but if you definitely need a quiet kit, you may be best off using smaller pads that typically emit less noise. You can also check out my guide on cheaper alternatives to Roland Noise Eaters if you need to quieten your kit on a budget.

How has the cymbal held up after 7 months of use?

After 7 months of weekly use, I’ve not had any issues with the Lemon 18-inch ride – it still triggers well with my TD-11 and Superior Drummer 3!

One observation is the pad does tend to get dirtier more easily than my Roland pads, which might be because the rubber is different. Below is how the pad looks after around 3 months of not being cleaned, played using nylon-tipped drumsticks (my preferred drumsticks for electronic drums)

The Lemon ride after around 3 months of use

Fortunately, this can be cleaned using 303 Aerospace Protectant spray. For more information, visit my guide on how to clean electronic drums.

The ride after a polish using 303 Aerospace Protectant

Alternatives to the Lemon 18-inch ride

As mentioned earlier in this article, this cymbal dramatically undercuts the more expensive Roland CY-18DR (only compatible with the TD-50 and TD-27 at present), and the ATV 18-inch ride, which are both around four times the price.

The only other comparable product I have found is this other unbranded 18-inch ride on Alibaba, which is from a different company. I first became aware of it soon after buying the Lemon ride, but have not seen any reviews of this, and have not got round to buying one myself yet. If anyone has any experience with this cymbal pad, please let me know in the comments!

Should you buy the Lemon 18-inch ride?

I was prepared to be let down by the Lemon ride cymbal as the price seemed too good to be true. Yes, the low price does show up in some areas, such as the more basic underside compared to Roland pads and thinner rubber on the top.

However, I was very impressed by the playability of this electronic ride, which feels on par with my much more expensive – but smaller – Roland CY-15R. It’s worth remembering just how cheap this cymbal is, even if it needed to be replaced three times during the lifespan of a more expensive 18” ride from Roland or ATV, you’d still have paid about the same amount.

Because of this, I’d recommend the Lemon 18-inch ride cymbal pad, whether as your main ride for your home kit or as part of a cheaper set of cymbal pads if you want to gig with your electronic drum kit.

Where to buy

You can buy the Lemon 18-inch ride at Alibaba via this listing, or in a set with a splash and china pad or with 13 and 15-inch cymbal pads. The ride is also available here with no logo, however, be aware I tried to order this and received one with a logo, which is hopefully an isolated incident!

For a more streamlined, familiar ordering experience, you can also find the Lemon 18″ ride on Amazon.com or on eBay.


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By Seb Atkinson

Seb has been a drummer since 2004 and an eDrummer since 2008. He founded eDrumHub to provide information on electronic drums for other drummers who can't justify an acoustic drum kit for practice at home.

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