As with any bicycle, you should buy a folding bike in person, at a local bike shop—first, so that you can test-ride it, and second, so that you can have a knowledgeable person set it up and make sure it’s safely street-ready. If the model you want isn’t in the store, the shop owner can typically order it for you. If you do end up ordering online, unless you’re very knowledgeable about bicycle mechanics, please take your bike to a local shop to have a pro set it up (and be sure to take the fee for that service into account when you’re weighing any online discount you’ve found). Remember: You will be entrusting your life to this bike, and the last thing you want is for the handlebars to come loose or who knows what else happening when you’re riding in traffic.
A magnet combined with a rear shock absorber forms the folding mechanism. The magnet connects and locks the back wheel section to the frame. To fold the bike in half, the magnet disconnects with one movement and in a second, and without having to use one's hands, the rear wheel rotates forward, and the bike folds vertically. This mechanism also enables one to roll the half-folded bike on its rear wheel.
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:
If you live in a city, it’s quite possible that folding electric bikes are the ultimate commuting machine. The huge number of convenience factors provided by a folding electric bike make it the smartest choice for use when traveling around the city daily. You have the versatility of a bicycle – the ability to switch to sidewalks, go around traffic, and ride in tight spaces – with the convenience of a powered form of transportation.
All around the world, the way we get from A to B is changing. With the world on the verge of auto-mobility, driverless cars, ride-sharing, and the mainstream arrival of electric vehicles, it’s an exciting moment for transportation. To help drive this force of change, we developed a small collection of electric bikes that take hills, headwinds, traffic, and bike thieves out of commuting. Explore below.
Backing any high-tech crowdfunding campaign always comes with a degree of risk. In the case of the Mate X, I’d rate that to be fairly low. The brother-and-sister company now employs about 15 full-timers, and has the experience that comes from shipping over 8,000 bikes to more than 50 countries. As such, the company is much better positioned to handle the logistical and support issues that resulted in delays and frustration in the overly ambitious Mate campaign from 2016.
The folding bike may be the most convenient mode of transportation on two wheels: It can get you from point A to point B just as readily as a full-size bike, but you can stash it in a car trunk, tuck it under a desk, or store it in a closet. To suss out which folding bike does it all best for most commuter riders, we pedaled and shifted, folded and unfolded, and carried and maneuvered 11 popular models from eight manufacturers. After our 60-plus hours of research and testing, the well-designed Dahon Mariner D8 edged to the front of the pack, combining a comfortable ride and easy folding with good-quality components, all for a reasonable price.
Lastly, the headlight is always on when the e-bike is on. Perhaps there’s an option in the display somewhere to turn it off, but I couldn’t find it. It probably only draws a couple watts of power so I’m not really worried about the battery, but I hate blinding people as I roll by during the day, especially when maneuvering the bike around inside my building. And since the power button takes so long to turn the bike off, sometimes I’m blinding people in the elevator for 5 seconds straight while awkwardly smiling and gesturing towards the buttons on the display.
The Dahon Qix D8, a higher-end model than the Mariner D8, folds in half like a switchblade (end over end), and you can orient it the standard way (seat up) or upright, with the frame hinge up; with the bike in the latter position, you can roll it. In our tests, everything about the Qix D8, from ride to storage, was just fine, but unless you’re in love with the interesting fold, you may be better off putting your $1,000 toward a Brompton or a Birdy, or saving nearly half of that by buying the Mariner D8.
I have been thoroughly pleased with my Blix Vika+. I bought it in March, and I commute to work, a 22-mile round trip. I will break my review into a few different components. - Speed and handling: The bike is a real pleasure to ride. I pedal, but I don't have to pedal very hard. Because I am short (5'2"), I find the smaller wheel size and the step-through frame very manageable. It can get quite some speed, too, which is great. - Battery: I can do my 22-mile commute on a single charge, but the bike does get a bit slower on the return journey. If I'd known this, I might have upgraded to the bigger battery. - Folding: The folding and unfolding is pretty straightforward. I have done it many times to throw the bike in the back of a Yaris, and it's pretty simple, even for someone like me who is not mechanically minded. - Weight: The bike is pretty heavy. If you think you might be able to carry it anywhere except to put it in the back of a vehicle, think again. It's just too heavy. But this generally doesn't affect the handling, except sometimes when taking off from being stopped. Nothing too noticeable, though. - Customer service: Blix's customer service is GREAT. They are extremely responsive (I have contacted them online a few times, and they get back to me within a matter of hours) and always answer my questions completely and to my satisfaction. This is a very big plus when you're spending a reasonable amount of money a bike. Overall, I am very happy with my purchase and would recommend a Blix bike to anyone who was looking for an electric bike.
When it comes to utility, a folding electric bike is one of the most practical bikes you can get! Takes up very little space in your closet, car trunk, or wherever else you need to take it! We have the top of the line folding electric bikes on the market, with not only high quality motors and batteries, but well engineered frames that can handle the daily fold and ride. Check out our expert picked selection below!
Folding bike adjustability: Most folding bikes will be ‘one size fits all’, with a great deal of adjustability – meaning that it’s easy to share the bike across members of your household. However, if you know this is an important consideration, it’s worth ensuring that the model you buy offers a wide range of adjustment that’s easy to use. Brompton bikes, for example, have a long seatpost that is adjusted via a simple quick release lever, making it easy to swap between riders.
Obviously, you shouldn’t ignore traffic rules and try to weave around cars – that’s dangerous, even for unpowered bicycles. However, folding electric bikes can fit places that cars can’t – alleyways, or even sidewalks – though again, you should follow all posted laws and regulations about where to ride them. Using your surroundings smartly in an urban environment can help you avoid traffic completely.
It makes a lot of sense to put these two technologies together. You can get all the advantages of an electric bike in an easy to transport package. An electric folding bike really is the ultimate solution for commuting. You can let the battery do the hard work and not worry about getting sweaty as you scoot across town to a meeting, or you can arrive at the office faster than with just leg power alone. If part of your journey necessitates taking a train or a bus, all you have to do is fold up the bike and hop on.
As for tech specs, the Mariner D8 comes with a forged aluminum crank (according to our experts, more long-lasting than the pressed/riveted steel or aluminum that manufacturers sometimes use to cut costs) and a Shimano Altus rear derailleur (an upgrade to the Tourney on the previous D7 model), which offers good quality for the price. The D8’s tires, Schwalbe Citizens, are about on a par with the just-okay Kenda Konversions seen on the D7. Finally, and possibly most telling, our cyclist testers gave the Mariner D7 a unanimous thumbs-up, saying it “felt most like a real bike.” Although they weren’t able to test the D8, I was, and the ride quality hasn’t changed.
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.
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.