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This may not be the prettiest, the most compact and certainly not the lightest folding bike out there, but the Volt Metro makes perfect sense once you’re in the saddle. Its hefty 21.7-kilogram (including battery) bulk takes it out of the everyday commuting equation – this is more for packing in the car and cruising around. And riding it is a treat, thanks to a rear-hubbed 250W SpinTech motor that gives electrical assistance up to 25kph with a claimed battery life of 96km. Suntour forks, Velo Sport comfort saddle, wide Kenda tyres and sit-up-and-beg geometry further enhance the riding experience that’s more Sunday driver than urban bus-dodger. If you’re looking to turn heads or ride at pace (without electricity) then look elsewhere, but this Volvo-like bike/wagon is not without its charms.
The Netherlands has a fleet of 18 million bicycles. 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, and the electric-powered models represented 25% of the total bicycle sales revenue in that year. 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.
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:
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). 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.
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.
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.
E-bikes can also provide a source of exercise for individuals who have trouble exercising for an extended time (due to injury or excessive weight, for example) as the bike can allow the rider to take short breaks from pedaling and also provide confidence to the rider that they'll be able to complete the selected path without becoming too fatigued or without having forced their knee joints too hard (people who need to use their knee joints without wearing them out unnecessarily may in some electric bikes adjust the level of motor assistance according to the terrain). A University of Tennessee study provides evidence that energy expenditure (EE) and oxygen consumption (VO2) for e-bikes are 24% lower than that for conventional bicycles, and 64% lower than for walking. Further, the study notes that the difference between e-bikes and bicycles are most pronounced on the uphill segments. Reaching VO2 Max, can really help your body as a whole. Professor Janet Lord of Birmingham University in the UK published a study that looked at older cyclists, ““The study looked at muscle mass, blood cholesterol, their VO2 Max, lung function, and in many of those measures we found they didn’t age! No loss of muscle, their bones were a little thin (but nothing like the general population), their blood pressure didn’t go up.
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.
Another Kickstarter creation, the A-bike features an innovative design that sees it sporting quite possibly the smallest wheels you’ve ever seen on a bike. The makers claim that normal efficiency is maintained thanks to a dual chain drive and brushless motor that’s been optimised so that rate of pedalling matches the speed at which the wheels turn.
If an electric bike can get you to work without sweating through your shirt, and a folding bike can fit in a car and get stored under a desk, why not...an electric folding bike? Jetson’s Metro electric folding bike fits a 250-watt CZJB motor cleverly hidden in the bike’s crossbar. At $800, it's much more affordable than, say, a $3500 Tern Vektron or even a $1700 RadWagon RadMini.
Electric bikes are known for their contribution towards environment. Also known as the e-bikes or power bikes, they do not require paddling. It is very similar to bicycles but they carry a rechargeable battery that accelerates the bicycle. They are many best folding electric bikes are available with varying battery power. The light ones can travel up to 25 to 32 km/h whereas the heavier ones can travel up to 45 km/h.
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.
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. 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.
This is a widely popular electric bike and the new Epik Sport Edition even got some upgrades like the 350-watt geared hub motor, a 7-speed Shimano drivetrain and a basic front suspension fork. What’s great about the Epik is that it offers 3 levels of pedal assist and the thumb throttle control, so you can switch between assist mode, throttle only or no assist. The top speed of the bike is 20mph.
Moulton - this rugged British bike with a full suspension appears to be designed to compete with full-size bikes and win - the Moulton holds the world speed record for bicycles of conventional riding position at 51 MPH. The Moulton's unconventional cruciform "separable, not folding" frame is made of a lattice of small diameter tubes that make the bike light yet stiff and efficient. Its small high-pressure tires actually perform better than full-size tires in a variety of ways. The newest versions also offer a fully adjustable handlebar that allows the bike to adapt to urban, touring, and racing uses. The more you learn about this bike, the more it seems to be designed not so much to travel compactly (which it is) but actually to be superior in design, performance, and versatility to a standard frame bike. A typical Moulton weighs about 22 pounds and separates to take up about as much space as other small folding bikes, although folding time/size is not touted for this brand. Prices range from under $1500 up to $8000. www.moultonbicycles.co.uk.
Torque sensors and power controls were developed in the late 1990s. For example, Takada Yutky of Japan filed a patent in 1997 for such a device. In 1992 Vector Services Limited offered and sold an e-bike dubbed Zike. The bicycle included NiCd batteries that were built into a frame member and included an 850 g permanent-magnet motor. Despite the Zike, in 1992 hardly any commercial e-bikes were available.