I wanted to love the Bike Friday Pakit, which is available for order with a custom-made frame. It has a unique fold (a sort of cross between those of the Brompton and the Birdy, with the rear tire rotating under), and with the front tire and the handlebar mast removed, you can pack it into an oversized backpack and bring it almost anywhere, even on a plane. It’s also the only bike we tested that can accommodate more petite riders (kids or little people) from 4-foot-5. But although it’s made in Oregon of good components—a Shimano Claris derailleur, Schwalbe tires—our testers thought it somehow felt less secure on the road, and the fenders I ordered kept rubbing on the front tire and getting caught on curbs. (If you go with the Pakit, don’t get the fenders.)
Because these bikes are foldable, they’re incredibly portable. This is one of the best features of folding electric bikes. Since your bike can fold, you can fit it into many tight spaces you wouldn’t normally be able to fit a bike, such as in a tiny studio apartment without space for a mounting rack, or in your truck without using a cumbersome bike rack.
Brompton - sometimes referred to as the "Jaguar" of folding bicycles, this British import folds smaller than any other model into a package that locks together and keeps the chain away from your clothes. It also can coast about in its folded state on suitcase-style casters (with optional rollerblade wheels for really covering distance). There is also an optional cover and saddle bag combo that turns this bike into a nondescript rolling black canvas object that cannot be identified as a bike (suitable for all "stealth" infiltrations of bike-unfriendly buildings). With its rear suspension, the Brompton is also known for its exceptional ride for a folding bike with 16" wheels. Price: about $700 for the simplest model, $1300 for a fully accessorized version with lights, fenders, a carrier, more gears, a cover, and a framed bag that attaches to the front of the bike. Its dimensions, when folded, are 22" X 22" X 10" and it ranges in weight from 24-28 pounds, depending on accessories. The Brompton folds in about 15 seconds. To see a demonstration of the folding process of the Brompton in animated .gif format, click here. Visit one of NYC's Brompton retailers at nycewheels.com.
Come for the price, stay for the awesome. The August Live! LS is one of the lower-cost e-bikes you’ll find. What it lacks is gadgets it makes up for in flare and retains just what you need. You won't find a digital display or integrated lights, Instead you get trendy, chopper-style handlebars, a sweet paint job, and a 250 watt motor that is more than capable of tackling steep hills without a second thought. That said, this bike just begs to be ridden on casual cruises down the boardwalk or bike path.
The suspension works, but there isn’t any true dampening. That means you’re just riding around on springs. On a real full suspension e-bike (i.e. a few thousand dollars) you get actual oil-dampened shocks. Those absorb bumps and dampen the shock. With springs, the bike bounces a few times after bumps, with the energy dissipating through the spring stretching and compressing.