e-Joe EPIK SE and EPIK Lite—Paired Convenience.
You’ve seen the e-Joe EPIK Lite on my pages before. This single speed lightweight folding electric bike was included in a post on how folding E-bikes can help your lifestyle. That bike was a pre-production machine that I got to spend a couple weeks with. At the time it was just called the EPIK, but the promise of a multi-speed version was already on the books. With the introduction of the 7-speed SE, that bike (the single-speed) was renamed the Lite.
From a glance you might think these two bikes are identical with the exception of the drivetrain. With a closer look and some time in the saddles, you will see and feel much more. First up are the different frames. The SE model has a higher capacity battery that requires more internal space to house it. Both bikes share a 36 volt system and controls for the motor, yet the Lite has a 7Ah battery and the SE sports 9Ah.
Also on board of both bikes is a 350 watt rear hub geared motor. As you might know I think this size motor is ideal for most riders. The motor is smooth, quiet and has all the power you should need for everything but the steepest of hills. I am fully pleased with the new programming of the control system. It gives you the easy option of using the three stage pedal-assist, the thumb throttle, or both. You will find the thumb throttle on different sides on each bike, but other than that they work the same—very good.
The SE is decked out with a strong and smooth front suspension fork. It comes with a 7-speed rear derailleur drivetrain that changes gears from the twist shifter on the handlebars. I suggested to e-Joe that a slightly higher gear ratio would be optimum, and was told that it is already in the works. I too mentioned that having disc brakes on both ends (right now there is just one on the rear) would round out the balanced looks people want. Not a performance, issue as I found the braking on both bikes to be just fine. That too will be seen on future models of the EPIK SE.
Part of the draw of both these bikes, beyond the folding factor, is the low numbers when put on a scale. Advertised at 37 lbs for the Lite and 42 for the SE, you can feel it in the agile ride. Loading and moving the bikes brings these numbers to the forefront even better. Add to that the cool carry handle built into the frames, then you find the convenience these folding E-bikes offer even more enticing. Those handles were really appreciated on one ride we did where we had to carry the bikes up and down a bunch of steps on a canyon bridge approach.
The battery and electronics are fully enclosed in the aluminum frame work. The electric connections are automatic when you unfold the bike. This makes for a cleaner look and maximum battery security. The bikes both fold easy, and down to a fairly small size. Fold-over pedals help this and I had no problem getting both bikes into our econo-car for some fun rides by the water. The handlebar height is adjustable, as well as the saddle height.
Breaking away from what seems the norm of narrow and hard, are a pair of saddles that hug your buns. None of that numbing race pain was found while riding either of these folding E-bikes. You get a nice seating position for most any size body, something that was appreciated by each person who tried them out. The semi-ergo grips are comfy, as are all aspects of these EPIKs. The controls are close at hand too, making all the cockpit features come together for some fun riding and big smiles.
Flat-resistant quality Kenda tires are mounted to some double-walled alloy rims. Big spokes and a solid feel give you the confidence to keep riding mile after mile. Said to give a 30 mile range on each battery charge, both of these E-bikes got plenty of road miles during my couple weeks with them. At some group rides I was able to let many take the reins to see what folding E-bikes are all about. Plenty of questions and smiles reinforced what I’ve heard about the brisk sales e-Joe is having with these two models.
Both bikes come with fenders and rear racks. My test EPIK SE didn’t come with them mounted, and the fenders I see on the e-Joe website are a little different from the ones on the Lite. The EPIK Lite also comes with a front and rear battery powered LED light set. The rear doesn’t blink (as many countries don’t allow that), and for our more ambitious night rides we added our own lights to supplement the included lighting.
It is nice to see these models with the extra powerful brushless motors. To expand on the control system use, I want to point out how they work. With three buttons on the control head, one is for powering up and down the system. One chooses your level of three for the automatic pedelec power. The third gives you the choice of using just the hand throttle, or just the pedelec, or both together. This allows you great control and ease of riding. The buttons are close at hand and using them without taking your eyes of the road or hands off the grips became second nature. Great to see e-Joe doing it the way I like.
So as the EPIK line up continues to evolve in the best of ways, I am sure that most anybody would embrace the fun and utility they offer. Although the color palate has dimmed just slightly since they were first introduced, the SE I rode looks great in frosty white (with a metallic touch) and the Lite was in titanium grey. Both can be had in matte black, while the Lite is still available in that awesome British racing green. All stand-outs in any pack of E-bikes.
Get on the train to the future with a folding E-bike, Turbo Bob.
“…he put his foot on one pedal, scooted a few yards and swung his other leg over the saddle. He soared left into the vertiginously sloping hillside road and sped, without touching his brakes …
The hedgerows and sky blurred; he imagined himself in a velodrome as the wind whipped his hair clean.”—J.K. Rowling, The Casual Vacancy.
e-Joe on the web and Facebook
Videos of the two bikes and one with the LightMeUp Safety Lights on board.