"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."
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.
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.

While folders are usually smaller in overall size than conventional bicycles, the distances among the center of bottom bracket, the top of the saddle, and the handlebars - the primary factors in determining whether or not a bicycle fits its rider - are usually similar to those of conventional bikes. The wheelbase of many folding designs is also very similar to that of conventional, non-folding, bicycles.

Pedelecs are much like conventional bicycles in use and function — the electric motor only provides assistance, for example, when the rider is climbing or struggling against a headwind. Pedelecs are therefore especially useful for people in hilly areas where riding a bike would prove too strenuous for many to consider taking up cycling as a daily means of transport. They are also useful for riders who more generally need some assistance, e.g. for people with heart, leg muscle or knee joint issues.

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.

As with any purchase, ask yourself how you plan to use the bike and try to find the one that matches your needs best. Remember that you often get what you pay for and that a lower-quality bike may make you wish you had bought a better bike in the first place. The better quality folding bikes may seem expensive, but considering that a typical non-folding bike takes up 20 square feet in an apartment, you'll save perhaps $10,000 over ten years by being able to get a slightly smaller apartment. So you can't afford not to buy a good-quality folding bike.


The real purpose of folding a bike is to increase its portability. This is so that it may be more easily transported and stored, and thus allow greater flexibility in getting from A to B.[13] Many public transportation systems ban or restrict unfolded bicycles, but allow folded bikes all or some of the time. For example, Transport for London allows folding bikes at all times on the Underground, but on buses it is down to the driver's discretion.[14] Some transport operators only allow folding bicycles if they are enclosed in a bag or cover. Airline baggage regulations often permit folding bikes as ordinary luggage, without extra cost.[15] Singapore has also implemented new laws to allow folding bicycles in its rail and bus transportation system, with certain size and time limitations.[16]
Unlike many electric pedal-assist bikes, Mate bicycles are relatively affordable. The Mate X funding tiers on Indiegogo start at $799, plus $200 more for delivery anywhere on the planet. The maxed-out Mate X prototype I tested brought the price closer to $1,500, delivered, with the “Big Daddy” all-terrain tires, and optional items like a 48V 17Ah (816Wh) battery ($99), a more powerful 750W motor ($200), hydraulic brakes ($129), thumb throttle ($49), and rear mud guard ($49). Expensive, yes, but dirt cheap relative to many e-bikes, the best of which start at around $2,500 and are half as much fun.

The Mate X, like the original, can be folded completely in about 10 seconds. That can be a huge convenience for many urbanites since you can pack it in the car or take it on public transport where folding bikes are often allowed free of charge all day long (in Amsterdam, there’s a €6.20 surcharge for regular bikes and they can only be taken on trains during off-peak hours). You can also just fold the handlebars and pedals if you need a thin profile to store the bike in a narrow hallway, a wall rack, or to roll it into a busy elevator. But don’t underestimate the weight or the size of the Mate X. At 29kg (64 pounds), this bike is heavy, and it can be unwieldy to lift because it doesn’t lock into the folded position.
Due to the added weight of a motor and battery, electric bikes are heavier than normal bikes. Folding bikes in general tend to be quite weighty because of the folding mechanism. An electric folding bike therefore can be on the heavy side. Consider the weight of the model you are looking at. Are you happy lifting that weight? Will you still be happy lifting that weight at the end of a long day?
The 1970s saw increased interest in the folding bike, and the popular Raleigh Twenty and Bickerton Portable have become the iconic folders of their decade. It was, however, the early 1980s that can be said to have marked the birth of the modern, compact folding bicycle, with competing tiny-footprint models from Brompton and Dahon.[7] Founded in 1982, by inventor and physicist Dr. David Hon and his brother Henry Hon, Dahon has grown to become the world's largest manufacturer of folding bikes,[8] with a two-thirds marketshare in 2006.[9]
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.
The Netherlands has a fleet of 18 million bicycles.[77] E-bikes have reached a market share of 10% by 2009, as e-bikes sales quadrupled from 40,000 units to 153,000 between 2006 and 2009,[78] and the electric-powered models represented 25% of the total bicycle sales revenue in that year.[77] By early 2010 one in every eight bicycles sold in the country is electric-powered despite the fact that on average an e-bike is three times more expensive than a regular bicycle.[73][78]
“I am a big mountain biker and over the past couple years have taken a couple of electric folding bikes with me on various trips around the Southwest. I ride hard on the mountain bikes, then use the eFolders to get out and see the nooks and crannies of the town we are staying in … Mammoth Mountain, Big Bear Resort, Sedona, Springdale near Zion National Park, etc. I leave my truck in the parking lot and explore on the eFolder … after a hard day of riding the electric aspect is great … don’t have to worry about hills! Also the folding nature allows the bikes to transport easily, and store easily in the hotel or condo.”
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.
Montague - this maker offers only full-size folding bikes that are fairly light (around 30 pounds) but have correspondingly large folding sizes (36" x 28" x 12") Prices range from $395 to $645, and a soft carrying bag is an option. If you are looking to avoid the small wheels of some brands and perhaps want a good full-size bike that just happens to fold, this may be a good choice. Montagues fold in 30 seconds without tools.
The first step in deciding which Electric Bike is for you is to determine the right style for your type of riding. Want to take things off road? We have a full range of Mountain Electric Bikes, Hunting Electric bikes, and  Fat Tire Ebikes that’ll have you going on and off trails with ease. Looking for a low impact but super fun ride? Our line of Comfort E-bikes, Commuting E-bikes, and even folding bikes will have you zipping around town, on the beach, or anywhere you can ride- no problem.
×