A folding electric bike is as cost effective as compared to vehicles. To make your work easier, we shall discuss some of the most important things you should check before buying a foldable electric bike.
Folding Electric Bike Rider’s Guide (Updated for 2019)
Folding e-bikes have become so popular today due to their numerous benefits as compared to the normal bikes. One of the reasons why people love them is because they are very secure. You can easily fold them and keep them in a safe place even under your desk.
For those who are trying to lose weight, e-bikes will be the ideal solution. However, the major problem people face today is choosing the best folding model since there are so many.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Folding Electric Bike
Why should you buy a foldable electric bicycle? Below are some of their major benefits and disadvantages.
- Health benefits– Cycling an e-bike could be one of the best exercises for those who want to keep fit. It is one of the most effective ways of reducing weight. Regular exercises will keep also away from many diseases especially those that are caused by accumulation of fats in the body.
- Space –If you have a limited space, e-bikes will be a great option due to their foldable design, which allows them to fit anywhere.
- Quiet– These ones are very quiet as compared to cars and motorcycles. This is mainly because they are operated by a quiet motor (but not all motors are that quiet).
- Maintenance – Unlike the standard bikes, these ones are very easy to maintain. You only need to clean them regularly.
- Speed– In case you want to move to hilly terrains, they will allow you to do that faster as compared to mountain bikes.
Disadvantages of a folding e-bike:
- Heavy to carry – E-bikes are very heavy and in case the battery runs out, pedaling them may not be easy.
- Battery life– due to the size of a standard folding ebike, the battery usually is small as compared to some electric mountain bikes like the Trek Powerfly 5.
- Tires– Most of these e-bikes have small tires. This translates into having not the best grip so going potentially a bit off-road would be a problem.
Which Electric Folding Bike Should I Get
In order to select the right folding e-bike, you must take into consideration the following eight (8) points:
Frame material, size and design
This one is arguably the most important factor that can help you to determine the quality of the electric bike. Ensure that the frame is sturdy enough to support your weight. It should also have a user-friendly design. The materials used in the production of the e-bike should be strong and durable.
Foldability & Storability
You should also ensure that you have set up a place where you will be storing the electric folding bike. Check the dimensions of the bike when it is folded to ensure that it will fit perfectly on the available space.
Another important thing you should think of is the security of the place where you will be storing it.
Motor quality and efficiency
As we have discussed, e-bikes have hub and mid-drive motors. The efficiency and effectiveness of an e-bike highly depends on the strength of the motor. What you need to know is that the position of the motor affects how it adds power to the bike as you ride.
In the case for a folding electric bike, they come with either motor location. The power of these motors are between 250w and 500w.
The only one exception we have found with the location of the motor is the one featured by Gocycle with his GS model. This motor is located in the front wheel and mainly due to its design.
In general, the motors fitted in these type of e-bikes are powerful enough to get you anywhere.
Hill climbing ability
To avoid frustrations, you need to think of the terrain in which you will be riding the bike. If you will need to climb hills, you need to ensure that the folding bike you have picked has a motor suitable for hills climbing (check here to read our e-bike motor guide).
Brakes efficiency is always important in any bike. Foldable e-bikes are not different. What we have seen so far is that all have hydraulic disc brakes that will ensure you slow down comfortably.
Tires and common specifications
Tires are among the most important parts of a foldable electric bike. Therefore, they should be made of reliable and sturdy materials to boost durability.
- Seatpost and saddle – Seatposts are available in different diameters. The best ones have a diameter of 27.2 mm. The other equally important part is the saddle. When measuring the width of a saddle, you measure from one edge to the other. A good saddle should have a width of 130 mm for narrow, 155 mm for wide and 143 mm for medium e-bikes. In general, the seat post and the saddle should be very comfortable for you when riding.
- Battery technologies, integration – The most common batteries used to power electric bikes are Lithium-Ion batteries. What you need to know is that batteries lose their efficiency with time and you will find that they hold less charge as they age. This means that you need to look for a quality battery from a reputable manufacturer. Companies such as Panasonic, Sony and Samsung provide high quality batteries that maintain charge for a long time.
You also need to consider the distance the foldable electric bicycle can cover after a single charge. This distance is known as the range. If you will ride in a hilly terrain, you need to be prepared to avoid running out of juice before you complete your ride.
The range is determined by the weight, speed and the battery capacity.
- Gear system – Without an effective gear system, you may not be able to enjoy your rides. The e-bike of your choice should have an effective gear system that responds quickly as per your requirements.
A foldable e-bike requires frequent maintenance just as the ordinary bikes. You need to check various parts from time to time to ensure that they are working. After using the e-bike for some time, you may need to replace some parts. Therefore, you need to ensure that the spare parts of the e-bike you have selected are readily available.
Other Important Consideration
- Test Drive –In case you have never used a folding e-bike before, it might not be possible to have clear requirements of what you need. Therefore, it is good to try out different folding bikes before you make a final decision on which one you should buy. This will also help you to pick one that is functional or a bike that fits you correctly.
- Brand reputation – Purchasing an e-bike from a known company is always the best idea. These companies usually have excellent customer support and they also provide e-bikes with a reasonable warranty.
- Weight and Portability – Before buying, you need to be very sure about the maximum weight that can be supported by the bike. Most of the electric folding bikes can support a total weight of up to 300 lbs. It should also be portable or have a lightweight design.
- Warranty, customer service and serviceability – The best electric folding bikes are a bit pricey which means that you need to ensure that the product you have chosen will give you value for your money. One of the key things that can help you in determining the quality of the bike is the warranty. Ensure that the warranty is reasonable enough or the company has a good customer support.
- Riding modes and speedy – Folding electric bikes have different speeds just like they have different designs. The lighter models have a speed of up to 20 mph which depends on the e-bike style. The high-end models usually have a higher speed of up to 28 mph.
- What you want to do? – If you are intending to use it for short rides around your area, then you need to look for a small and flimsy bike like the ones manufactures by Gocycle or Hummingbird brands. However, of you need a folding bike you can use for more active or long rides, you need to look for one with bigger wheels such as the Tern Vektron S10. The frame should also be firm.
Folding Electric Bike: Wrap Up
The type of electric folding bike you will pick depends on your personal preference. However, do not just pick a bike because it is affordable or just because it has an attractive design.
You need to ensure that it is strong enough for the intended purpose. We hope that this guide will help you to choose a the right folding electric bike so that suits your requirements.