Mate Bikes is a small brother-and-sister company based in Copenhagen that has raised over $12 million on Indiegogo since 2016. First they collected $6.8 million for the skinny original. Now they’ve raised close to $6 million more for the beefier Mate X, a laughable 11,785 percent beyond its funding goal with five days still to go in the Indiegogo campaign. Mate Bikes has no outside investors although that’s likely to change soon, the company tells me.
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.
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:
Somehow, despite my original aversion to pedaling, I soon realized I was actually having fun using my legs. I even started dropping the assist level down from 8, the highest level, to a more reasonable 5 or 6. I could feel that I was making an honest effort, but it was just enough to get those endorphins going without being so much that I was sweating and tired.
Another system found on folders, such as Montague Bikes, utilizes the seat tube as a pivot point for the frame to fold. This system uses a tube within a tube design to give the bike more torsional stiffness. It allows the user to fold the bike without "breaking" any vital tubes down, thus preserving the structural integrity of the diamond frame. This system is operated by a single quick release found along the top tube of the bike.
The environmental credentials of e-bikes, and electric / human powered hybrids generally, have led some municipal authorities to use them, such as Little Rock, Arkansas with their Wavecrest electric power-assisted bicycles or Cloverdale, California police with Zap e-bikes. China’s e-bike manufacturers, such as Xinri, are now partnering with universities in a bid to improve their technology in line with international environmental standards, backed by the Chinese government who is keen to improve the export potential of the Chinese manufactured e-bikes.
At nearly 29 pounds, the Link D8 is heavier than many of the bikes we tested, including our top pick, the Dahon Mariner; this Tern model also has a larger folded footprint (the Link D8 is nearly 3 inches wider than the Mariner). In my tests, when the bike was folded the handlebars kind of dangled, even when I “secured” them with the rubber strap; I found that if it was on too tight a notch, the balance of the folded bike was off and the whole thing was liable to tumble over. This bike is outfitted with a twist shifter (not as good at the trigger one on the Mariner D8), which, weirdly, has the gears in the opposite order of every other bike we tested—as an owner, you’d no doubt get used to it, but it was definitely an odd adjustment for us to make when we were testing bikes en masse.
Range is a key consideration with e-bikes, and is affected by factors such as motor efficiency, battery capacity, efficiency of the driving electronics, aerodynamics, hills and weight of the bike and rider. Some manufacturers, such as the Canadian BionX or American Vintage Electric Bikes, have the option of using regenerative braking, the motor acts as a generator to slow the bike down prior to the brake pads engaging. This is useful for extending the range and the life of brake pads and wheel rims. There are also experiments using fuel cells. e.g. the PHB. Some experiments have also been undertaken with super capacitors to supplement or replace batteries for cars and some SUVS. E-bikes developed in Switzerland in the late 1980s for the Tour de Sol solar vehicle race came with solar charging stations but these were later fixed on roofs and connected so as to feed into the electric mains. The bicycles were then charged from the mains, as is common today. While ebike batteries were produced mainly by bigger companies in past, many small to medium companies have started using innovative new methods for creating more durable batteries. State of the art, custom built automated precision CNC spot welding machines created 18650 battery packs are commonly used among Do-it-yourself ebike makers.
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.
The size, when folded, lands in the middle of the field, narrow enough to fit through subway turnstiles and compact enough to avoid getting too many annoyed looks on an elevator. Its 28-pound weight is average (news flash: none of these bikes are really very light), and this model is rated for riders up to 230 pounds. The handlebars both pivot and telescope to accommodate riders of different heights (from 4-foot-9 to 6-foot-3) or riders who simply prefer a more upright position.
Let's start with the obvious; you prefer a folding bike because you don't have space. Maybe you lack a lot of space at work, or you live in a tiny apartment. In fact, if you live in a tiny apartment that is located in a walk-up, then you probably know just how insane it is to lug a bike up and down several flights of stairs. If any of these conditions apply, you should probably own a folding bike.
This British WWII Airborne BSA folding bicycle was rigged so that, when parachuted, the handlebars and seat were the first parts to hit the ground (as bent wheels would disable the bike). BSA abandoned the traditional diamond bicycle design as too weak for the shock and instead made an elliptical frame of twin parallel tubes, one forming the top tube and seat stays, and the other the chainstay and down tube. The hinges were in front of the bottom bracket and in the corresponding position in front of the saddle, fastened by wing nuts. The peg pedals could be pushed in to avoid snagging and further reduce the space occupied during transit.
After a very wait, Brompton finally announced its first electric bike in 2017. The Brompton electric has the same design and folded size as non-electric Brompton folders. The differences are the motor on the front wheel and a 300Wh battery bag clipped on the front luggage block. These additional parts make the bicycle heavier at 30.2 lbs for the 2-speed version.
Electric Bikes and Scooters have become the go to method of transportation for anyone looking for a healthy, eco-friendly way to get to work, school or anywhere within a 30 mile radius. With over 120 models from over 40 different manufactures to choose from, you'll be sure to find the right Electric Bike or Electric Scooter for you. We offer E-bikes only from the highest rated brands, including bikes from QuietKat, Populo, E-Joe, Juiced and more. We live, breath and ride electric bikes so don't be afraid to contact our experts today for guidance on picking the right one for your needs. Our bikes are federally classified as electric bikes and not motorized bikes, which means that in most states, you don't need license, registration or insurance.