And indeed, the company’s best seller, the Mariner, ranked as the first choice after our testing thanks to its features, as it ticks all the boxes on the list of what most commuter riders want in a folding bike. First and foremost, we found it smooth to ride and to shift—with the newest model, the D8, rigged with a Shimano trigger shifter, an upgrade to the twist shifters seen on the previous D7 and many other folders—and appropriately geared for pedaling up hills. (I rode up the Queensboro Bridge to Manhattan comfortably on the fourth-easiest of its eight gears.) It folds down quickly, in about a five-step process, and locks together with a magnet between the 20-inch wheels.
This is a very cute scooter! It has better features than some other scooters in this price range. It arrived in good shape. It had a small nick in the saddle and the rubber charge port cover was dangling down. The port cover doesn't stay in place on its own, had to tape it in place. First charge took two hours, just like the instructions said. The charger gets hot. The "horn" is very weak. The headlight is very nice. Good brake, cool brake light. About 20 people rode the scooter at a family party. Everyone liked it! Some wanted more rides. The scooter was going steady for about two hours before the juice finally ran out. Over all, we like this "dolphin!"
A hinge in the frame may allow the rear triangle and wheel to be folded down and flipped forward, under the main frame tube, as in the Bike Friday, Brompton Mezzo Folder, and Swift Folder. Such a flip hinge may be combined with a folding front fork, as in the Birdy. Swing and flip hinges may be combined on the same frame, as in the Brompton Mezzo Folder and Dahon, which use a folding steering column. Folding mechanisms typically involve latches and quick releases, which affect the speed of the fold/unfold. Bike Friday offers a model, the Tikit, featuring a cable-activated folding mechanism requiring no quick releases or latches, for increased folding speed.
The other standout feature is the front luggage system, which allows you to clip a number of well-designed bags from Brompton and other makers to the front of the bike; the bags can even hang out there (albeit a bit awkwardly) when the bike is folded. (This last feature, which allows you to roll the bike when it’s half-folded and use it as a shopping cart, works better if you have Brompton’s basket bag attached, rather than a touring-style bag.) We’ll look more closely at both Tern’s and Dahon’s front-carrier options for a future update.
Finally, Brompton bikes are customizable, which means you can choose the frame material (steel or a superlight combination of steel and titanium); the handlebar shape (four options); the number of gears (one, two, three, or six) and the gear ratios (three choices); the suspension type; the tire type; the saddle type and height; accessories such as the fenders, rack, front bags, and lights; and the paint color. A single-speed Brompton starts at about $1,200; the one we tested, the S6L, came outfitted with sport-style straight handlebars, six speeds ($220 more), fenders ($80 more), a front carrier block for attaching a bag and a front flap bag ($185 for both, bag not shown), and rechargeable battery-powered lights ($110, not shown), totaling about $1,795.
Unfortunately, not even this great bike is perfect. The otherwise great performance is somewhat let down by the weak disc brakes. Stopping time could be improved with an upgrade. The relatively high weight of 59 lbs is also a disadvantage, and lots of the weight is on the rear wheel, making the GB5 500 prone to accidental wheelies if you accelerate too hard in throttle mode.
After evaluating the seven-speed Tern Link B7, I had to double-check that it in fact retailed for just $400. For starters, it rode great, an opinion that all nine of our cyclist testers shared—one tester, suspecting it was one of the pricier bikes of the group, said that even if it cost $500, he would buy it that day. (I don’t think he actually did buy it, but he was pretty pumped when I told him it came in under his estimated sticker price.) Bike expert Strub confirmed that “it’s a lot of bike” for the money, praising its “clean frame design” and pointing out that it had the same Shimano derailleurs and shifters and similar 20-inch Kenda tires as the Mariner D7, which usually retails for nearly $200 more; the updated Mariner D8, however, improves on the derailleur and shifter for the same D7 sticker price. I found the fold, which is like the Mariner’s, to be a cinch, and the magnet snapped tight every time. The Link B7 also has ergonomic handlebar grips similar to the ones we like on the Link D8.
the perception of e-bikes has transformed in recent years as standard bikes undergo a tech transformation. where once they were deemed uncool battery-assisted cheatmobiles, now they are prized for their tech-packed design quality. more and more people want one, perhaps only put off by the price but as black friday and cyber monday approach, this could be the time to finally get your hands on one. here’s a round-up of some of the best deals on electric bikes found worldwide. (please check deals as some black friday deals may only apply to US and in europe some might only start on monday).