Where the motor is mounted will influence the performance and ride characteristics of the bike. A front hub motor leaves the rear hub free for all gear options and if the battery can be mounted at the rear of the bike, the whole ride will be balanced. However, having so much weight on the front wheel will make you feel bumps more and negatively influence the steering. Also you may encounter traction problems when cornering on wet roads or riding uphill.
Controllers for brushed motors: Brushed motors are also used in e-bikes but are becoming less common due to their intrinsic lower efficiency. Controllers for brushed motors however are much simpler and cheaper due to the fact they don't require hall sensor feedback and are typically designed to be open-loop controllers. Some controllers can handle multiple voltages.
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.
Founded in 1962 by Alex Moulton, a key member of the Mini design team, Moulton has been honing its pylon-style “spaceframe” since 1977. Fast forward to 2018 and its stiff, strong frame and handsome geometry still looks utterly unique. Disclaimer: this bike doesn’t actually fold, but Moultons can be dismantled into two stowable pieces within a minute, thanks to a central “kingpin”, making it suitable for car boots and train journeys. Alfine 11-speed internal hub gearing, narrow 20in tyres, a rear disc brake, Brooks titanium saddle and Deda Speciale classic drop handlebars further boost its urban credentials. And if you really want to stand out from the crowd, there’s also the ultra-specced Moulton Speed Unique: only 30 models have been produced – but with a price tag of £14,995, it costs the same as a family car.
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.
Helix has all the qualities of a performance commuter bicycle, it can be ridden hard and fast. It can handle mixed terrain; everything from city streets to gravel paths. Whether you are commuting, touring, training or just taking it easy, Helix performs the way a real bike should. Remarkably, it can transform, in seconds, to an incredibly small size.
And indeed, the company’s best seller, the Mariner, ranked as the first choice after our testing thanks to its features, as it ticks all the boxes on the list of what most commuter riders want in a folding bike. First and foremost, we found it smooth to ride and to shift—with the newest model, the D8, rigged with a Shimano trigger shifter, an upgrade to the twist shifters seen on the previous D7 and many other folders—and appropriately geared for pedaling up hills. (I rode up the Queensboro Bridge to Manhattan comfortably on the fourth-easiest of its eight gears.) It folds down quickly, in about a five-step process, and locks together with a magnet between the 20-inch wheels.
At the time of this writing, Dahon had just completed a Kickstarter campaign for its 35th Anniversary Curl, a high-end folding bike that operates similarly to the Brompton (though the company is very sensitive about that comparison). The campaign claims that the bike will be “not just a refinement of what has come before – it represents an almost total overhaul that completely changes the riding experience of folding bicycles.” We’re eagerly awaiting its production so we can test one.
My husband and I purchased a Vika + each. We have hip problems and I can't walk for any distance. But I CAN ride my new bike. I LOVE it. My husband had a hip replacement and wasn't riding very much anymore because of the hills. Now he has no problems with them and is really enjoying getting out riding again. I get around 34 miles to a charge and he gets double the mileage I get. When we ride I always have a smile on my face!!
The real purpose of folding a bike is to increase its portability. This is so that it may be more easily transported and stored, and thus allow greater flexibility in getting from A to B. Many public transportation systems ban or restrict unfolded bicycles, but allow folded bikes all or some of the time. For example, Transport for London allows folding bikes at all times on the Underground, but on buses it is down to the driver's discretion. Some transport operators only allow folding bicycles if they are enclosed in a bag or cover. Airline baggage regulations often permit folding bikes as ordinary luggage, without extra cost. Singapore has also implemented new laws to allow folding bicycles in its rail and bus transportation system, with certain size and time limitations.
The eight-speed Tern Link D8, the company’s most popular model, provides a few upgrades over the Mariner D8 that may suit taller riders or those willing to pay more for some higher-end components. Our test riders raved about the proprietary handlebar stem, which allows both height and angle adjustment via two easy quick-release levers. One bike expert praised the design of the rear derailleur and front brake, both of which sit close to the frame to reduce snagging, as well as the “top-shelf” puncture-resistant tires. Still, our testers’ reviews were mixed regarding the fold, which positions the handlebars outside the folded package—some testers found this setup easy to manage, others preferred the tighter package (and lighter weight) of the Dahon model.
This is a very cute scooter! It has better features than some other scooters in this price range. It arrived in good shape. It had a small nick in the saddle and the rubber charge port cover was dangling down. The port cover doesn't stay in place on its own, had to tape it in place. First charge took two hours, just like the instructions said. The charger gets hot. The "horn" is very weak. The headlight is very nice. Good brake, cool brake light. About 20 people rode the scooter at a family party. Everyone liked it! Some wanted more rides. The scooter was going steady for about two hours before the juice finally ran out. Over all, we like this "dolphin!"
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.
E-bikes mostly use motors and battery options from a few major suppliers: Bosch, Yamaha, Shimano, and Brose. A few other brands exist, but are less reliable or powerful. Some, like the Yamaha system, have more torque and others are quieter. But generally all four make good options. Look for motor output (in watts) which will give you an idea of total power. But watt hours (Wh) is perhaps a better figure to use—it takes into account battery output and life to give a truer reflection of power.
In 1941, during the Second World War, the British War Office called for a machine that weighed less than 23 lb (this was not achieved - the final weight was about 32 pounds) and would withstand being dropped by parachute. In response, the Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA) developed a folding bicycle small enough to be taken in small gliders or on parachute jumps from aircraft.
Some power-on-demand only e-bikes can hardly be confused with, let alone categorised as, bicycles. For example, the Noped is a term used by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario for e-bikes which do not have pedals or in which the pedals have been removed from their motorised bicycle. These are better categorised as electric mopeds or electric motorcycles.