Controllers for brushed motors: Brushed motors are also used in e-bikes but are becoming less common due to their intrinsic lower efficiency. Controllers for brushed motors however are much simpler and cheaper due to the fact they don't require hall sensor feedback and are typically designed to be open-loop controllers. Some controllers can handle multiple voltages.
The Liv Amiti-E+2 is a low-priced but highly versatile e-bike. It’s just as much at home on the pavement as it is on bike paths and rail trails. But don't feel constrained to groomed paths. Front suspension and 42mm-wide tires mean you can take on off-road detour on your way home from work. Speaking of work, this e-bike makes a great commuter thanks to rack and fender mounts and integrated lights for riding after dark. Internal cable routing and a nicely integrated battery make for clean lines and 9-speed shifters give you plenty of gearing options for whichever type of terrain you decide to tackle. This do-everything bike is great option if you’re riding includes a little bit of this and a little bit of that.
The Pacific Cycles Birdy Standard 9 Speed has a cool backstory: The bike was designed by a pair of German engineering students in the 1990s and is now manufactured by a Taiwanese firm. This model, a reintroduction of the original design, has no break in the frame. Instead, you fold it by rotating both tires underneath. This means that when it’s locked into the riding position, it has the structural integrity to handle heavier riders (up to 240 pounds). In our tests it offered a comfortable ride thanks to its integrated rear suspension, but given the bike’s limited distribution, its larger footprint when folded, and its high price—comparable with that of the Brompton—we chose the Brompton as our upgrade pick. Still, the Birdy could be a good option for larger riders.

DAHON bikes unfold the world around you, with two wheels and all kinds of ingenious technology. Suddenly ‘too far’ or ‘too big’ is not the issue, and the question becomes ‘where to next?’ Go the extra mile, your way. Folding bikes come in all variations to fit right on into your lifestyle, be it the urban commute, where you fold right on up into the office, or a weekend away with bikes for the family all stashed in your trunk. We’ve got you covered. Filter and find your ride over on the Bikes page.
E-bikes are zero-emissions vehicles, as they emit no combustion by-products. However, the environmental effects of electricity generation and power distribution and of manufacturing and disposing of (limited life) high storage density batteries must be taken into account. Even with these issues considered, e-bikes are claimed to have a significantly lower environmental impact than conventional automobiles, and are generally seen as environmentally desirable in an urban environment.[65]
"[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."
What the Link B7 doesn’t have, however, are a rack and fenders, which come standard on both the Dahon Mariner and the Tern Link D8; you can purchase them from Tern separately for $35 and $40, respectively, but they will of course add about 2 pounds to the nearly 27 pounds the bike already weighs (and unless you’re really bike-handy, you’ll also pay a mechanic—$45, give or take—to install them). The Link B7 also feels more sluggish than the Mariner D8 and Link D8: The gearing definitely isn’t calibrated for speed. On the Queensboro Bridge, I pedaled uphill comfortably in a middle gear, and I sometimes thought that the hardest gear (which is meant for going fast on level ground, not for climbing) wasn’t enough for zipping along on flats or slight declines (we’re talking 15 or so miles per hour—I’m no speed demon). One last note: The bike I tested was the 2017 model, which is now sold out. The company says that the 2018 model, which will be available in early September 2017, is what’s called a carry-forward model—it’ll be identical to the previous year’s.
As for tech specs, the Mariner D8 comes with a forged aluminum crank (according to our experts, more long-lasting than the pressed/riveted steel or aluminum that manufacturers sometimes use to cut costs) and a Shimano Altus rear derailleur (an upgrade to the Tourney on the previous D7 model), which offers good quality for the price. The D8’s tires, Schwalbe Citizens, are about on a par with the just-okay Kenda Konversions seen on the D7. Finally, and possibly most telling, our cyclist testers gave the Mariner D7 a unanimous thumbs-up, saying it “felt most like a real bike.” Although they weren’t able to test the D8, I was, and the ride quality hasn’t changed.
"The bike has been a pleasure to ride and performs as well as most of my other road bikes - the shifting is exceptional. Since the Department of Transportation has moved out of our City Hall offices the Dahon has been a lifesaver as I use it downtown to get from meeting to meeting. I must admit I get far more looks from people on this bike, and more questions, than I ever have about any other bicycle I've owned. Which is great as use of the bicycle is what my job is all about."

In 1941, during the Second World War, the British War Office called for a machine that weighed less than 23 lb (this was not achieved - the final weight was about 32 pounds) and would withstand being dropped by parachute. In response, the Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA) developed a folding bicycle small enough to be taken in small gliders or on parachute jumps from aircraft.

"The bike has been a pleasure to ride and performs as well as most of my other road bikes - the shifting is exceptional. Since the Department of Transportation has moved out of our City Hall offices the Dahon has been a lifesaver as I use it downtown to get from meeting to meeting. I must admit I get far more looks from people on this bike, and more questions, than I ever have about any other bicycle I've owned. Which is great as use of the bicycle is what my job is all about."
As electric bike options continue to expand, more brands are integrating the battery more seamlessly. That makes them look sleeker (and more like a real bike). Batteries are expensive, so make sure there's a good way lock the battery to your bike if you'll be keeping it outside. Overall weight is important. Some battery and motors can add 15 pounds or more to the bike. With assist, you won't feel that much when you're riding, but you will if you have to carry your bike up stairs or lift it onto a bike rack.
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.
Founded in 1962 by Alex Moulton, a key member of the Mini design team, Moulton has been honing its pylon-style “spaceframe” since 1977. Fast forward to 2018 and its stiff, strong frame and handsome geometry still looks utterly unique. Disclaimer: this bike doesn’t actually fold, but Moultons can be dismantled into two stowable pieces within a minute, thanks to a central “kingpin”, making it suitable for car boots and train journeys. Alfine 11-speed internal hub gearing, narrow 20in tyres, a rear disc brake, Brooks titanium saddle and Deda Speciale classic drop handlebars further boost its urban credentials. And if you really want to stand out from the crowd, there’s also the ultra-specced Moulton Speed Unique: only 30 models have been produced – but with a price tag of £14,995, it costs the same as a family car.
There’s a reason the chunky, quirky Brompton is ubiquitous on today’s urban roads: it does the job remarkably well. Tough, easy to carry (the M6L weighs in at 11.7 kilograms) and well constructed, the London company’s bikes have barely changed since the early 1980s. Once you’ve mastered the tricksy folding process, the Brompton can be stowed into the smallest of nooks within 20 seconds. Its folded dimensions are an impressive 53cm x 59cm x 29cm – but being the tiniest folder also means tiny components – 16-inch wheels and narrow handlebars take some getting used to. Steering is super sensitive and you have to be on alert for potholes. But for those with space issues in their lives, a short-to-medium distance to cover and an appreciation of solid, reliable engineering, this remains the leader of the pack. We’ve chosen the raw, smokey 2018 Black Edition for its handsome industrial sheen, but Brompton offers a wide range of colourways and collabs, not to mention its impressive 2017-released Electric model, to suit all tastes.
The Mate X I rode is not a quiet bike. It sounds the way it looks: loud. On flat pavement, the drone of the 750W motor was louder than the 250W bikes I’m accustomed to riding on the streets of Europe (750W requires a license here, but not in the US) and the knobby treads only added to the din (you can opt for quieter street tires). Off road, the tires go quiet, but the sound is replaced with chain slaps and some creaking from the (optional) rear fender. While the knobby tire and motor noise isn’t likely to change, the company assures me that the final bike will ship with a tighter chain and silent rear fender.
I have been thoroughly pleased with my Blix Vika+. I bought it in March, and I commute to work, a 22-mile round trip. I will break my review into a few different components. - Speed and handling: The bike is a real pleasure to ride. I pedal, but I don't have to pedal very hard. Because I am short (5'2"), I find the smaller wheel size and the step-through frame very manageable. It can get quite some speed, too, which is great. - Battery: I can do my 22-mile commute on a single charge, but the bike does get a bit slower on the return journey. If I'd known this, I might have upgraded to the bigger battery. - Folding: The folding and unfolding is pretty straightforward. I have done it many times to throw the bike in the back of a Yaris, and it's pretty simple, even for someone like me who is not mechanically minded. - Weight: The bike is pretty heavy. If you think you might be able to carry it anywhere except to put it in the back of a vehicle, think again. It's just too heavy. But this generally doesn't affect the handling, except sometimes when taking off from being stopped. Nothing too noticeable, though. - Customer service: Blix's customer service is GREAT. They are extremely responsive (I have contacted them online a few times, and they get back to me within a matter of hours) and always answer my questions completely and to my satisfaction. This is a very big plus when you're spending a reasonable amount of money a bike. Overall, I am very happy with my purchase and would recommend a Blix bike to anyone who was looking for an electric bike.
There’s a reason the chunky, quirky Brompton is ubiquitous on today’s urban roads: it does the job remarkably well. Tough, easy to carry (the M6L weighs in at 11.7 kilograms) and well constructed, the London company’s bikes have barely changed since the early 1980s. Once you’ve mastered the tricksy folding process, the Brompton can be stowed into the smallest of nooks within 20 seconds. Its folded dimensions are an impressive 53cm x 59cm x 29cm – but being the tiniest folder also means tiny components – 16-inch wheels and narrow handlebars take some getting used to. Steering is super sensitive and you have to be on alert for potholes. But for those with space issues in their lives, a short-to-medium distance to cover and an appreciation of solid, reliable engineering, this remains the leader of the pack. We’ve chosen the raw, smokey 2018 Black Edition for its handsome industrial sheen, but Brompton offers a wide range of colourways and collabs, not to mention its impressive 2017-released Electric model, to suit all tastes.
This relative newcomer from the Banbury-based Hummingbird team pairs a streamlined, glossy carbon-fibre frame with a fast fold. The USP here is its weight: at just 6.9 kilograms, it can comfortably claim the title of lightest folding bike on the market. It’s a delight to ride, too: on the road it offers a stable, highly responsive ride, although the lack of suspension rattles the teeth over craggier terrain. Its innovative Swinglock folding system enables the anodized aluminium swingarm to pivot neatly around the bottom bracket, keeping total fold time down to around 15 seconds. One drawback: at 117cm, its folded length exceeds the size of some rail networks’ luggage compartments, so research is advised before committing to this beautiful but pricey model.

Brought to market via a Kickstarter campaign, this electric folding bike is probably the most superhuman looking of the bunch. The battery is just 138W, but it’s the size of a water bottle, drastically reducing the weight of the overall bike to just 12kg. A dual chain drive keeps the pedalling feeling as close as possible to a ‘normal bike’, despite the teeny tiny wheels. Possibly one that’s got to be tried to be believed.
With our “most people” rider in mind, we started by zeroing in on the brands and models that had good reputations and good reviews from other outlets, such as BikeRadar, Folding Bike Guy, and Momentum Mag. I discussed at length the merits of a variety of options with experts Lam, Cuomo, and Berk, as well as the specs to use as limiting factors to narrow the field. We settled on bikes with:
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.
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.
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