Folding Electric Bikes—Alternative Transportation You Can Use.
I have been able to ride quite a few folding E-bikes over the last few years. They have so much going for them that I think we will be seeing more and more of them as time passes. Although they generally don’t fold into as small of a package as non-electric folding bikes and can weigh a fair amount more, they are practical and share many of the benefits with them. And too, they share the pluses of full-sized E-bikes.
In many areas folding bikes are very popular. The ability to bring them into your work or home for full security is big. Using them to ride public transportation and fitting them into your trunk or back seat can save you tons on parking and the associated costs there. Out of town jaunts get a big boost with a bike on hand. Plus the fun factor is undeniable. Add in the electric-assist to make them the perfect vehicle for so many people. RV’ers and boaters take note, as these E-bikes are designed for you too. In alphabetical order, lets look at some (but not all) of the ones I have tested or ridden lately.
So this listing will start with the best folding E-bike on the market. You might also consider it the priciest too, but of course that figures. I’ve been riding this H3L Brompton that is a specialty item (E-conversion) out of the NYCeWheels camp. It is speced so well and executed so perfectly, you will find it better than any of the production folding E-bikes. The bike folds the smallest, is the most solid one on the market, and rides like a full-sized bike. With the power-assist added you get a E-bike unlike all others.
One of the things I like is that the battery is in the removable bag so the extra weight is split into two easier to manage packages. There is still plenty of room there for your cargo and you can add the rear rack if you need more carrying space. This bike’s power system is only operated by the thumb throttle, so the simplicity in its design and operation is a great feature. With its three-speed drivetrain I have been able to conquer most any hill and have taken some very long, fun rides. That includes some fantastic out-of-town adventures.
Busettii Folding MINI
My friend Steve has owned this folding E-bike for almost two years. This is a powerful bike with a 6 speed drivetrain. I have ridden it a few times after helping him with some miscellaneous repairs. It is a pedal movement pedelec with a hand throttle you can use when needed. It rides ok, but does have more flex in the frame and handlebars than I think is right. A very long range is claimed and Steve has told me this is true.
As I read about it on their website it appears to have an old-school brushed motor (which doesn’t make sense) and a few options such as disc brakes and a heavy rider package. Steve has had fairly good luck with it, although more than couple spokes have broken and the ECU needed to be replaced once (I did this for him too). A few sites I have visited talked down the reliability, yet the Busettii site claims different. Such is the case with any product (or E-bike). Steve has dreams of up-grading to a full-suspension folding E-bike.
The final version will be on sales floors next month, so the bike I have ridden the last two weeks is a prototype. One of the main goals they tried to achieve with this folding E-bike was to be the lightest. With the clean design and components hidden inside the frame, they seem to have met that easily. It has a very stiff chassis (although not rock solid) and rides well. For now it is a single speed and the option of a 7-speed set-up is in the works. Mine hit the scale at 40 lbs, yet without the fenders and rack (included) it is 37.
With 4 great colors and factory lighting, it should be a big seller. It has pedal movement pedelec and a thumb throttle to work with the rear hub brushless motor. The range of the battery proved to be long on the many rides I took during my time with it. My wife got to ride it with 2 different groups we join in with and was sorry to see it go back to e-Joe at the end of the test. I will get the production model for a full write-up soon.
EZ Pedaler F300
I rode and reported on this bike just over two years ago. It is a larger bike and I can’t say I folded it to get the full feel of it in that mode. It rides nice and shares its basic pieces with the other E-bikes in the EZ Pedaler line-up. With a 3-speed hub in the rear and a brushless motor up front, the ride was comfortable and smooth. The thumb throttle works in conjunction with the pedal movement pedelec.
A large capacity battery slides in next to the frame below the saddle. Fenders, lights and a rack make for a complete package from the factory. It weighs in about the same as most of the bikes in this article, just under 50 lbs. I rode this bike at Ivan Stewart’s Electric Bike Center here in San Diego, although I don’t believe they still carry it.
IZIP E3 Compact
Once again the bike I rode is a prototype. It will be out soon and in a slightly different configuration as the bike I got a chance to try last month at the Interbike Electric Bike Media Event. Based on a Dahon supplied bike, it rode very nicely. Their site shows it at 42 lbs, that’s pretty light. All the details will be coming as I have been working with Currie Technologies to do extended tests on most every bike they offer. So stay tuned for the full run-down.
Prodeco Mariner 7
Another friend’s folding E-bike, Mike got this less than two weeks ago. He is so very happy with this USA assembled E-bike. With giant disc brakes and a 300 watt motor up front, it has plenty of go and stop. I rode in around for about 10 minutes last week, so I don’t have all the insight needed for a full report. Good news is that Mike will let me really wring it out soon.
He picked it up at San Diego Electric Bike’s new location in Solana Beach. They have taken on the whole Prodeco line, including a full-sized folding E-bike that I saw there last weekend. I rode many other Prodeco E-bikes at the Interbike Event last month and will get to do full write-up on many of their products as the year rolls on.
Richen Warrior 20 & 26
This pair of bikes come from a Chinese company that has been trying to get a distributor here in the states. They are full-suspension E-bikes that are light as can be for all the features they offer (under 50 lbs). Both bikes are speced pretty much the same, the main difference being the tire and frame sizes. The 20 inch bike has a folding handlebar stem, while the 26 inch bike doesn’t.
They are not as powerful as some with only 250 watt motors, but are quite efficient and net some long rides. I am not 100% happy with the operation of the control system, yet the cruise control function is a favorite. You may or may not have the chance to buy these here in the USA.
To my knowledge, the company that sold these up in the LA area is no longer. I haven’t heard from them in a while and their website is shut down, but I thought it would be interesting to add these E-bikes here anyway. Barbara had I had a ton of fun riding this matching pair of folding E-bikes back in 2011. They were single speed bikes that folded down pretty small.
It was easy to transport them to several out of town rides, just one of the many reasons you might enjoy a folding E-bike. I had a chance to get a killer deal on a couple demo bikes and every now and then I feel bad we didn’t pick them up. We love our matching bikes and these would have treated us quite well I’m sure. Matching folding E-bikes, a great concept you might consider yourself.
Build your own folding E-bike
Not all folding bikes would be a good choice for an electric conversion, but many are. NYCeWheels has done some nice ones on Terns and Montagues. An off-the-shelf BionX conversion kit can turn the right folding bike into a real workhorse. Don’t overlook this option, but tread lightly as you consider the needed extra strength of the bike and the cost involved.
Remember too that a full pro conversion like the E-Brompton might not be possible with any old E-bike conversion kit. NYCeWheels uses pieces from 30 suppliers and has spent a lot of time putting together a full-pro job that is cleanly done and fully reliable. If you do it right, then it could treat you as well as the E-Brompton has treated me.
Fold your E-bike? Why not? Turbo.
“If the wind is not against you, it is not blowing.”—James E. Starrs, The Noiseless Tenor.
E-Brompton, from the one and only NYCeWheels.
You can find them on the web and on Facebook.
You can find many of my articles on the E-Brompton on my site and on the NYCeWheels blog site. This will list the links to most all of them.
This is my most popular E-Brompton video.
Here is another E-Brompton video I posted.
Busettii on the web.
e-Joe links—web & Facebook
Want to see a video of the e-Joe EPIK? Here you go.
e-Joe Bikes can be found locally at Ivan Stewart’s Electric Bike Center.
Web and Facebook sites a can be linked here.
Also, here is a article I wrote on their E-transformer
The EZ Pedaler website and the test review I wrote on it.
Currie Technologies on the web and Facebook—The IZIP E3 Compact.
Prodeco links on the web and Facebook.
Here is a video I shot of Mike’s Prodeco Mariner 7
One of my Richen Warrier posts with a link to the company included.
Here’s a video I shot on the Warrior 20
The V-Source post with a link to their closed out website.