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.
“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.”
From the leading manufacturer of folding bikes, the eight-speed Dahon Mariner D8 offers all of the features and performance most commuter cyclists might want in a folding model in a practical, affordable package. First, it’s comfortable to ride, going smoothly over bumps and shifting fluidly up and down hills. Second, it folds and unfolds quickly, and latches securely into both modes. Its design also addresses practical concerns: It has fenders to avoid rainy road splashes on clothing, plus a rack to carry stuff. Finally, it’s a good value—as with full-size bikes, in folding models you generally get what you pay for. But in the Mariner D8 you get a good-quality folding bike with the features you need for less than $600.
Choose from a variety of builds and five colors or upgrade to the Elite Custom build and choose from 20 colors. Bike Friday’s size range should accommodate riders from 4’5” to 6’3” tall. Bike Friday also offers three belt-drive options for the PakIt, which are easy to maintain and great for keeping the grease off your pant legs. Add a electric-assist motor for easy climbing. Builds start at $1019.
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.
It's my 1st electric bike so I don't know what really to expect but one thing I do know is that this thing moves. I use it to commute to work over the Williamsburg bridge. 15 min bike ride compared to 35min on a given day on the train and the assistance help me to stay cool and dry with minimal work. I am very impressed with the quality as well. One thing to note, this bike is heavy. Once folded you won't be carrying this no where. It's at least 50lbs. And where the carrying bar is located it makes it difficult.
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.
The Mariner D8 comes with fenders and a rear rack that has a nicely designed clip-on bungee cord so you don’t have to buy or hunt for something else to use; for my eight-block ride home, it held a 4-pound bag of dog food securely in place. If you plan to use panniers with the Mariner D8’s rear rack, Dahon recommends using front panniers, which are usually smaller, to avoid heel strike when you’re pedaling; if you want to try using larger panniers on the rack, we recommend taking the bike with you while shopping, or at least taking careful measurements. The D8 also has bolt holes for a front carrier attachment, should you prefer to outfit it with a so-designed front bag or basket.