In September 2017, Brompton announced that it was enacting a voluntary recall. Bikes with the third-party-manufactured FAG Bottom Bracket axle have been largely reported to fail—at a higher-than-expected rate. Any model (S, M, P, or H) with a serial number from 1403284144 to 1705150001 that was manufactured between April 2014 and May 2017 could be affected. Although the failure isn’t life threatening and doesn’t compromise the quality of how the bike rides—at most the faulty axle would disrupt the ability to pedal—Brompton has issued an apology and is offering free bottom-bracket cartridge replacements. You can find out if your bike is affected by checking the serial number, which is imprinted on either a silver sticker or a curved plate attached to the bike frame.
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. 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.
E-bikes use rechargeable batteries and the lighter ones can travel up to 25 to 32 km/h (16 to 20 mph), depending on local laws, while the more high-powered varieties can often do in excess of 45 km/h (28 mph). In some markets, such as Germany as of 2013, they are gaining in popularity and taking some market share away from conventional bicycles, while in others, such as China as of 2010, they are replacing fossil fuel-powered mopeds and small motorcycles.
The interesting part of the pedal assist system in the Oyama is that it can really sense when it is needed. The hardest part of pedaling is starting from a dead stop, and that’s precisely when the pedal assist was providing the most power. I could feel it start to taper off as I passed through 10 mph (16 km/h) or so, but by that point I had sufficient momentum that I only needed a gentle boost from the motor to help maintain higher speeds.
"[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."
Batteries are the core part of a folding electric bike and if chosen poorly can turn your expensive e-bike into a waste. There are many batteries with different properties. But the most recommended battery for your folding e-bike is the lithium manganese battery. They are the best and are used even more than the lithium-ion ones. They generate high power and do not require a lot of maintenance.
Bike Friday - this high-end brand offers many types of folding bikes for those most concerned with performance. All Bike Fridays use 20" wheels and are built to fit into a suitcase for travel. Many also quick-fold and fit into a travel bag for use in commuting. A typical "stock" model (most Bike Fridays are custom made) quick-folds in 30 seconds to 27" X 27" X10" and weighs in at 24 pounds. Bike Fridays range in price from about $730 for a stock model to about $3400 for their best custom-made bikes. To ask questions about the Bike Friday, subscribe to the Bike Friday discussion list at www.bikefriday.com/community/the_yak. www.bikefriday.com, 1-800-777-0258.
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In theory, you’re supposed to be able to push the bike when it’s folded, keeping the seat raised so that you can steer with it, but I found doing this to be more cumbersome than it was worth. Like most of these bikes, the Mariner D8 was awkward to carry one-handed in my tests. Folding-bike expert Steven Huang’s pro tip is to keep the folding bike open and turn it around so that you can rest the seat atop your shoulder for easier carrying, especially up and down stairs.
Folding bikes generally come with a wider range of adjustments for accommodating various riders than do conventional bikes, because folding bike frames are usually only made in one size. However, seatposts and handlebar stems on folders extend as much as four times higher than conventional bikes, and still longer after-market posts and stems provide an even greater range of adjustment.
The Ancheer folding electric mountain bike does have a few weird quirks. The first is the handlebar mounted battery. It saves space for the folding mechanism, but looks odd. Fortunately it has very little effect on handling because it is mounted so close the head tube’s pivot point. It does raise the center of gravity of the bike a bit, but the difference is small compared to how much you raise the bike’s center of gravity.