Mate Bikes is focusing on volume right now, which helps to explain why its prices are so low. The company first wants to establish itself as a global brand, before introducing more premium bikes in 2019 and 2020 (a cargo bike is coming) using materials like carbon fiber. For now it earns money on thin margins and by up-selling buyers on higher-margin accessories. And yes, Mate Bikes, like most bike manufacturers, uses off-the-shelf components like Shimano shifters, LG batteries, and Bafang motors, but it’s not a white-label Chinese bike, the company assures me. The Mate X frame, for example, has been customized to the point of now being considered an original design, and each component has been independently selected to achieve the targeted cost and performance required from the overall product.

In the 1890s, electric bicycles were documented within various U.S. patents. For example, on 31 December 1895, Ogden Bolton Jr. was granted U.S. Patent 552,271 for a battery-powered bicycle with "6-pole brush-and-commutator direct current (DC) hub motor mounted in the rear wheel". There were no gears and the motor could draw up to 100 amperes (A) from a 10-volt battery.[5]

Our test bike was a six-speed, Brompton’s most popular option, configured with a three-speed internally geared front hub (gears 1, 2, 3) and a rear derailleur that shifts between two external gears on the rear hub (called + and –). Though the internal gearing is certainly a higher-end feature, the shifting itself takes some getting used to—you aren’t supposed to pedal when changing the front gears, but you do need to pedal when changing the rear, so you have to remember which gear you’re in (or glance down really fast). And to go from, say, 2– to 1+ to climb a hill, you have to coast and drop way down to 1– using your front shifter and then pedal while shifting back up to 1+ using your rear derailleur (the alternative is to pedal really hard for a moment to go from 2– to 2+ in the rear, and then coast while shifting down to 1+). I also perceived a big difference between the gears, so I sometimes felt like Goldilocks, forever looking for the gear that was “just right.” This problem may have been remedied, though, with a custom gear ratio, which I didn’t get to select on the test bike.
As a counterbalance to the cute utilitarian bikes above, the Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Comp is a big, bad, and burly mountain bike. With 27.5-inch wheels, massive 2.8-inch tires, 150mm of travel in the front and 135mm of travel in the rear this bike is made to shred. The Specialized 1.3 Rx Trail-Tuned motor is designed specifically for off-road riding and features a double freehweel design that disengages the gear box at top speed to reduce friction while ripping downhill. The low center of gravity and stout parts make this one a relatively nimble handler that is ready for the rowdiest downhills.
The prototype Mate X I rode still had a few obvious issues related to non-final software and components. My prototype was not even meant for press previews. That bike, I’m told, was stolen the day before my test ride. As a result, there were some tuning issues and a battery mismatch on the bike I rode. After about 30 minutes of riding, for example, the motor started cutting out every 30 seconds or so, before resetting and coming back online. The culprit is likely the removable battery pack which didn’t fill the housing completely, causing it to rattle around when riding on bumpy surfaces. The company assures me that none of these issues will exist when the bikes start shipping to backers in December, as they didn’t exist in the stolen prototype.
A 2008 market survey showed that the average distance traveled in the Netherlands by commuters on a standard bicycle is 6.3 kilometres (3.9 mi) while with an e-bike this distance increases to 9.8 kilometres (6.1 mi).[79] This survey also showed that e-bike ownership is particularly popular among people aged 65 and over, but limited among commuters. The e-bike is used in particular for recreational bicycle trips, shopping and errands.[79]
Out of the box, the Schwinn Adapt 1 needed a lot of adjustment; the handlebars were loose in the frame, which was a serious safety concern, so I paid my bike expert to be sure it was set up safely for me. I enjoyed the ride just fine, but for $420 or so, you’re better off with a Tern and its brand-name components. Also, the Adapt 1 has no mechanism to hold the bike closed when it’s folded; you’re supposed to pack it into the included bag for storage, which is a lot of work and annoying if you need to use your bike regularly, as a commuter would.
Some power-on-demand only e-bikes can hardly be confused with, let alone categorised as, bicycles. For example, the Noped is a term used by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario for e-bikes which do not have pedals or in which the pedals have been removed from their motorised bicycle. These are better categorised as electric mopeds or electric motorcycles.

This is actually the number one thing stopping many people from riding bicycles to work – if it’s hot outside, nobody wants to be sweaty when they get to the office, especially if they have no place to shower. folding electric bikes allow you to minimize the work done on the bike when you need to in hot weather, and keep you feeling fresh and cool even during the hottest commutes.


This is list of the best performing, best value electric bikes for 2017 / 2018. For each category I list two models, the first recommendation is based on performance and the second is based on affordability. As you explore the list and get to know EBR, check out the ebike community forum for more personalized feedback. Share your height, weight, budget and intended use (along with bikes you like) to get advice from actual owners and moderators.
I unboxed, assembled (if needed), adjusted, and assessed each bike for my initial impressions, taking them all on a short first ride around my neighborhood in Queens. In a few cases, the bikes needed more extensive adjustments, for which I brought them to Nomad Cycle in Astoria; if you buy a bike online, you should bring it to a mechanic for a once-over, no matter what.

E-bikes are classed according to the power that their electric motor can deliver and the control system, i.e., when and how the power from the motor is applied. Also the classification of e-bikes is complicated as much of the definition is due to legal reasons of what constitutes a bicycle and what constitutes a moped or motorcycle. As such, the classification of these e-bikes varies greatly across countries and local jurisdictions.
Designed specifically for travel, the Breakaway is a full-sized road bike frame that splits in two for easy packing. Ritchey uses high-quality butted cromoly steel for the frameset, which features an efficient road riding geometry and carbon fork. A locking compression system ensures the joints won’t come apart while you’re riding, and only adds 100 grams. The Breakaway weighs 5.2 pounds and is available in five sizes. Ritchey also includes a travel-ready packing case. Build it up to suit your traveling road cycling dreams. Price: $1600.

Also, the power button was a pet peeve for me. You only need to hold it for a second or so to turn it on, but you have to hold it down for probably 5 full seconds to shut the bike off. If you don’t hold it down long enough, the bike doesn’t shut down all the way and just goes into “standby” mode. When I would hop off and park the bike, I found myself just standing there awkwardly while holding the button and waiting for it to turn off before I could lock it and walk away.
"[My Bike Friday] represents the pinnacle of 31 years of cycling for me. It is incredibly well designed and features excellent, predictable road manners consistent with high end road bikes. Steering response is very quick due to the lack of gyroscopic force in the front end. Low wheel mass makes for excellent acceleration and climbing. A delight to ride and own."

The environmental effects involved in recharging the batteries can of course be reduced. The small size of the battery pack on an e-bike, relative to the larger pack used in an electric car, makes them very good candidates for charging via solar power or other renewable energy resources. Sanyo capitalized on this benefit when it set up "solar parking lots", in which e-bike riders can charge their vehicles while parked under photovoltaic panels.[66]


Cargo bikes and city bikes are common in the e-bike space, but until recently we haven’t seen that many performance road bikes. The Giant Road E+1 is a pedal-assist performance road bike that’s made for more than just commuting; the powerful motor can rank you up to 28mph very quickly on the highest setting so you can rip the flats, join your local group ride, or blast through the mountains with far less effort than a traditional road bike. Don't expect it to feel like a 16lb race bike when you lean it into high-speed turns, but the endurance-oriented geometry allows for an aggressive position on the bike and keeps the it nimble and agile at high speed.

More powerful pedelecs which are not legally classed as bicycles are dubbed S-Pedelecs (short for Schnell-Pedelecs, i.e. Speedy-Pedelecs) in Germany. These have a motor more powerful than 250 watts and less limited, or unlimited, pedal-assist, i.e. the motor does not stop assisting the rider once 25 km/h has been reached. S-Pedelec class e-bikes are therefore usually classified as mopeds or motorcycles rather than as bicycles and therefore may (depending on the jurisdiction) need to be registered and insured, the rider may need some sort of driver's license (either car or motorcycle) and motorcycle helmets may have to be worn.[14] In the United States, many states have adopted S-Pedelecs into the Class 3 category. Class 3 ebikes are limited to <=750 watts of power and 28 mph.[15]

Once I’d done my part, I invited eight cyclist friends over for test rides, asking them to rate the ride quality and the ease of folding and unfolding, as well as to provide commentary and suggest a price, as a way to gauge their perception of value. (Note: The Mariner model they tested was the D7, but we’re confident they would have similar opinions on the upgraded D8). Finally, I asked bike expert Damon Strub to peruse the spec sheets and highlight any pros or cons of each model.
The 20-inch Schwinn Loop, Amazon’s best-selling folding bike at around $200 currently, isn’t really designed for commuting (despite the Amazon verbiage). It has a bulky step-through frame, and in our tests it offered a heavy, sluggish ride—Citi Bikes (those blue three-speed bike-share behemoths) often passed me on the bridge, and I had no hope of fitting it through the subway turnstiles. If you plan to use your folding bike regularly, do yourself a favor and spend more.
For many bikes, battery range is more important that total power (because they're all pretty powerful). You want a bike that delivers a range long enough for your rides at the power levels you want. Most e-bikes will have three to five levels of assist kicking in anywhere from 25 percent of you pedal power to 200 percent boost. Consider how fast the battery takes to recharge, especially if you'll be using your bike for long commutes.
Come for the price, stay for the awesome. The August Live! LS is one of the lower-cost e-bikes you’ll find. What it lacks is gadgets it makes up for in flare and retains just what you need. You won't find a digital display or integrated lights, Instead you get trendy, chopper-style handlebars, a sweet paint job, and a 250 watt motor that is more than capable of tackling steep hills without a second thought. That said, this bike just begs to be ridden on casual cruises down the boardwalk or bike path.

It makes a lot of sense to put these two technologies together. You can get all the advantages of an electric bike in an easy to transport package. An electric folding bike really is the ultimate solution for commuting. You can let the battery do the hard work and not worry about getting sweaty as you scoot across town to a meeting, or you can arrive at the office faster than with just leg power alone. If part of your journey necessitates taking a train or a bus, all you have to do is fold up the bike and hop on.
E-bikes use rechargeable batteries, electric motors and some form of control. Battery systems in use include sealed lead-acid (SLA), nickel-cadmium (NiCad), nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) or lithium-ion polymer (Li-ion). Batteries vary according to the voltage, total charge capacity (amp hours), weight, the number of charging cycles before performance degrades, and ability to handle over-voltage charging conditions. The energy costs of operating e-bikes are small, but there can be considerable battery replacement costs. The lifespan of a battery pack varies depending on the type of usage. Shallow discharge/recharge cycles will help extend the overall battery life.
A magnet combined with a rear shock absorber forms the folding mechanism. The magnet connects and locks the back wheel section to the frame. To fold the bike in half, the magnet disconnects with one movement and in a second, and without having to use one's hands, the rear wheel rotates forward, and the bike folds vertically. This mechanism also enables one to roll the half-folded bike on its rear wheel.[12]

The E-mazing Innovations e-bike goes about 15 miles per hour and has both throttle and pedal assist modes. It features instant fold option that allows you to fold the bike into a compact size in just a few seconds. Because it’s lightweight, you can easily bring it upstairs, in your car trunk, or wherever you need. With its unusual design, you’ll attract attention anywhere you go. The bike is one of the most stable models on the market, and it’s because of its tires and maximum speed. If the bike were to go faster, it probably wouldn’t be as stable. The motor and battery that power the bike are the 8Fun front-mounted geared hub motor, and a 9ah, 324wh Samsung 36V lithium-ion battery. You can go about 30 miles once you fully charge the battery for which you’ll need 5 hours. This folding electric bike features an LCD that shows battery life, a kickstand, and fenders to keep your pants clean and dry. Keep in mind, though, that the bike features some unusual parts that are much different than those you find in standard models. This isn’t a deal breaker, but keep in mind that for this reason, some parts may be hard to replace if need be. All in all, it’s attractive, modern and well-made to last you a long time.

My husband and I purchased a Vika + each. We have hip problems and I can't walk for any distance. But I CAN ride my new bike. I LOVE it. My husband had a hip replacement and wasn't riding very much anymore because of the hills. Now he has no problems with them and is really enjoying getting out riding again. I get around 34 miles to a charge and he gets double the mileage I get. When we ride I always have a smile on my face!!
Not only that, the foldability and light weight of these bikes can help you prevent theft – which is a huge problem in most cities. Instead of locking your bike up outside and leaving enterprising thieves to consider the best way of stealing it, you can simply fold it up and take it with you – to the office, grocery store, wherever you may be. No fretting about whether or not you bike will be there when you get back from your errands.
Because e-bikes are capable of greater speeds for longer periods of time than standard bikes, you want extra control. Wider tires provide traction and some bump absorption with little penalty. You also want strong brakes to slow you (and all that extra weight) easily. It's worth looking at the quality of the brakes and investing in bikes with better ones if you can.
Richard M. aka El Tigre is an avid adventure traveler with extensive trekking experience throughout Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. In 1998 he weathered category 5 Hurricane Mitch on the northern coast of Honduras. He has mountain-biked, hiked and 4x4 toured extensively in Central America, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Mexico. In the summer of 2004 he lived among the Kuna Indians of the San Blas islands in Panama. Today, he manages a real estate investments company based in San Jose, Costa Rica and organizes adventure travel excursions to Costa Rica. He is a motorcycle enthusiast and enjoys sport touring and dual-sport riding. Richard lives in Arizona.
I wanted to love the Bike Friday Pakit, which is available for order with a custom-made frame. It has a unique fold (a sort of cross between those of the Brompton and the Birdy, with the rear tire rotating under), and with the front tire and the handlebar mast removed, you can pack it into an oversized backpack and bring it almost anywhere, even on a plane. It’s also the only bike we tested that can accommodate more petite riders (kids or little people) from 4-foot-5. But although it’s made in Oregon of good components—a Shimano Claris derailleur, Schwalbe tires—our testers thought it somehow felt less secure on the road, and the fenders I ordered kept rubbing on the front tire and getting caught on curbs. (If you go with the Pakit, don’t get the fenders.)
I found the $49 optional thumb throttle to be very useful. It’s a great way to get yourself easily out of a mess like deep sand or mud, while walking alongside the bike. It’s also useful when you want to make a quick start from a stop light without having to shift into a lower gear, or when you’re feeling lazy and want to cruise along without peddling.
Some manufacturers are producing folding bikes designed around folding systems that allow them to use 26" wheels, e.g., Dahon, KHS, Montague, and Tern Bicycles. Advantages of smaller wheels include potential for more speed, quicker acceleration, greater maneuverability, and easier storage.[10] For example, the A-bike is similar to the Strida but has tiny wheels and folds a bit smaller. Bikes with smaller than 16" wheels are often called portable bicycles. These forgo the performance and easy ride benefits of their larger counterparts, acquiring characteristics similar to those of an adult folding kick scooter. Nonetheless, regardless of how each bike folds, the result is easier to transport and store than a traditional bicycle.[11]

Designed specifically for travel, the Breakaway is a full-sized road bike frame that splits in two for easy packing. Ritchey uses high-quality butted cromoly steel for the frameset, which features an efficient road riding geometry and carbon fork. A locking compression system ensures the joints won’t come apart while you’re riding, and only adds 100 grams. The Breakaway weighs 5.2 pounds and is available in five sizes. Ritchey also includes a travel-ready packing case. Build it up to suit your traveling road cycling dreams. Price: $1600.

Another type of electric assist motor, often referred to as the mid-drive system, is increasing in popularity. With this system, the electric motor is not built into the wheel but is usually mounted near (often under) the bottom bracket shell. In more typical configurations, a cog or wheel on the motor drives a belt or chain that engages with a pulley or sprocket fixed to one of the arms of the bicycle's crankset. Thus the propulsion is provided at the pedals rather than at the wheel, being eventually applied to the wheel via the bicycle's standard drive train.
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