This is one of the most favorite electric folding bikes on the market because it’s well-made and packed with quality features. It’s made of 6061-T6 aircraft aluminum alloy and glows in the dark. It’s powered by rear direct drive 350W motor, with brushless front and rear 160mm hydraulic disc brakes. The bike features a display that shows on/off status, throttle and pedal assist control, USB phone charger, speed and battery life.
The Tern Link B7 rides great, folds and unfolds quickly (in the same manner as our top pick, the Dahon Mariner D8), and has a forged aluminum crank and a decent-quality seven-speed Shimano rear derailleur and shifters, all for a price that’s on a par with that of cheaper bikes built with no-name components. What’s missing are a rear rack and fenders (available for purchase separately from Tern). This model also has a slightly larger all-around footprint than the Mariner D8.
The Mate X I rode is not a quiet bike. It sounds the way it looks: loud. On flat pavement, the drone of the 750W motor was louder than the 250W bikes I’m accustomed to riding on the streets of Europe (750W requires a license here, but not in the US) and the knobby treads only added to the din (you can opt for quieter street tires). Off road, the tires go quiet, but the sound is replaced with chain slaps and some creaking from the (optional) rear fender. While the knobby tire and motor noise isn’t likely to change, the company assures me that the final bike will ship with a tighter chain and silent rear fender.
The Enzo bike shares a lot of features with the e-JOE bike, the names sound similar and even the design looks pretty much the same. However, there are some differences inside the hood. Notably, the Enzo comes with extra features like seat post pump, storage bag and you can get the glow-in-the-dark color. It has 5 levels of pedal assist and trigger throttle.
The rack and fenders make the Navigator a solid choice for daily commuting or light touring. The Octagon stem is also adjustable without tools, so it’s easy to dial in a comfortable fit. At 29-pounds, the Navigator is a bit less portable than some other folding options, but the full-sized wheels make it a great choice for longer rides and commutes. Price: $959.
The biggest risk in backing this campaign, like most crowdfunding projects, is long-term support. The company offers a 24/7 help desk and the ability to video conference with a mechanic on complicated matters. It also offers a two-year global warranty on the important stuff. But that requires the company to exist long enough to honor it. I think that’s likely, but it’s a risk you need to weigh. Fortunately, Mate Bikes are designed to be serviced by local bicycle shops, and the electronics can be swapped out easily thanks to the liberal use of cable connectors (if the LCD breaks, for example, you can quickly unplug it and swap in a new unit).
A big selling point of the attractive Citizen Bike Seoul, sold direct from the company’s website, is that it comes straight out of the box ready to ride—on our test unit, even the tires were inflated. Unfortunately, we didn’t find the ride and gearing as smooth as those of bikes costing just $100 more. Though the folding and unfolding were easy, the magnets simply wouldn’t hold when the bike was folded, and it kept flopping open (especially problematic when I was carrying it down subway stairs); the company told me that an update on that was coming. Plus, the Seoul’s folded footprint was so large it wouldn’t fit through the subway turnstiles.
Depending on local laws, many e-bikes (e.g., pedelecs) are legally classified as bicycles rather than mopeds or motorcycles. This exempts them from the more stringent laws regarding the certification and operation of more powerful two-wheelers which are often classed as electric motorcycles. E-bikes can also be defined separately and treated under distinct Electric bicycle laws.
The Benno e-Joy promises to be as fun to play with as it is to look at. Benno says it took inspiration from the timeless style of vintage Italian scooters and classic German cars. Add in the functionality of front and rear cargo racks and the 250w pedal-assist motor and you have a beautiful bike that's ready for anything. Cruise into town for groceries, wander comfortably along a gravel path on 2.35-inch balloon tires, or add the child seat attachment and take your kid along for the ride, and beach-goers will appreciate the surfboard rack. Whatever your cycling pleasure pursuit may be, the e-Joy can be your ticket to fun.
After you decide which style of e-bike you want, consider the class. In the US, there are three classes defined by the type of assist and how fast the motor will propel you. Most electric bikes sold are class 1 or 3. Class 1 bikes have a motor (max 750w) that assists while you're pedaling, up to 20 mph. Class 3, also known as “speed pedelec” can also have up to a 750w motor, but it can assist you up to 28mph. Both of those are allowed in most states and cities without license. Class 2 have throttles that don't require you to pedal to get a boost. They're allowed on most streets, bike lanes, and paths, but less popular than the other classes and not covered much here (because we still love to pedal and the greater distances pedal assist bikes can cover).
The pedal assists feature is especially convenient for when you run out of battery or simply want to ride it as you would a standard bike. It has seven speeds thanks to the best Shimano 7-speed derailleur. Also, the bike features a LED seat post that’s adjustable and has an integrated tire pump. Its battery is the rechargeable Samsung 36V 8.8AH battery. It takes about 5-5 hours to charge, and once it’s fully charged, the bike can go as far as 30-50 miles. The Enzo e-bike features a storage bag and an aluminum rear rack. It folds easily, and it’s lightweight and compact enough so that you can carry it anywhere from upstairs to your office, or inside public transportation.
The Link D8 is outfitted with puncture-resistant, cushiony 20-inch Schwalbe Big Apple tires, which bike expert Strub pointed out as a highlight given the bike’s price. Those tires alone retail for around twice what the tires on the Mariner D8 would cost. Strub also told us he projects the Big Apples to last for 3,000 to 5,000 miles of use versus the Citizens’s 2,000 to 3,000 miles, and that they should be less prone to a sidewall puncture—a common mishap in city riding. Less obvious but just as noteworthy is the design of this Tern model’s Neos derailleur, which sits close to the frame—meaning you’re less likely to bang it going through doors. Fenders and a basic rack with a bungee come standard, and the frame also has a socket for attaching a bag (sold separately) to the front of the bike. The Link D8’s fold, too, is different from that of the Dahon Mariner D8 and the Tern Link B7, with the handlebars releasing to the outside; if you leave them up, you can push the bike when it’s folded, a nice feature if you don’t want to lug the folded bike, say, along a train platform. I also liked the ergonomic handlebar grips, which have a softer feel than the similarly shaped grips on the Mariner D8. The Link D8’s internally geared hub offers eight speeds, which probably sounds better than the seven on the Link B7 but likely won’t make much of a difference to most people.
Because the power is applied through the chain and sprocket, power is typically limited to around 250–500 watts to protect against fast wear on the drivetrain. An electric mid-drive combined with an internal gear hub at the back hub may require care due to the lack of a clutch mechanism to soften the shock to the gears at the moment of re-engagement. A continuously variable transmission or a fully automatic internal gear hub may reduce the shocks due to the viscosity of oils used for liquid coupling instead of the mechanical couplings of the conventional internal gear hubs.
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.
In the 1890s, electric bicycles were documented within various U.S. patents. For example, on 31 December 1895, Ogden Bolton Jr. was granted U.S. Patent 552,271 for a battery-powered bicycle with "6-pole brush-and-commutator direct current (DC) hub motor mounted in the rear wheel". There were no gears and the motor could draw up to 100 amperes (A) from a 10-volt battery.