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The two most common types of hub motors used in electric bicycles are brushed and brushless. Many configurations are available, varying in cost and complexity; direct-drive and geared motor units are both used. An electric power-assist system may be added to almost any pedal cycle using chain drive, belt drive, hub motors or friction drive. BLDC hub motors are a common modern design. The motor is built into the wheel hub itself, and the stator fixed solidly to the axle, and the magnets attached to and rotating with the wheel. The bicycle wheel hub is the motor. The power levels of motors used are influenced by available legal categories and are often, but not always limited to under 750 watts.
In a parallel hybrid motorized bicycle, such as the aforementioned 1897 invention by Hosea W. Libbey, human and motor inputs are mechanically coupled either in the bottom bracket, the rear wheel, or the front wheel, whereas in a (mechanical) series hybrid cycle, the human and motor inputs are coupled through differential gearing. In an (electronic) series hybrid cycle, human power is converted into electricity and is fed directly into the motor and mostly additional electricity is supplied from a battery.
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.
Mate Bikes is a small brother-and-sister company based in Copenhagen that has raised over $12 million on Indiegogo since 2016. First they collected $6.8 million for the skinny original. Now they’ve raised close to $6 million more for the beefier Mate X, a laughable 11,785 percent beyond its funding goal with five days still to go in the Indiegogo campaign. Mate Bikes has no outside investors although that’s likely to change soon, the company tells me.
"[My Bike Friday] represents the pinnacle of 31 years of cycling for me. It is incredibly well designed and features excellent, predictable road manners consistent with high end road bikes. Steering response is very quick due to the lack of gyroscopic force in the front end. Low wheel mass makes for excellent acceleration and climbing. A delight to ride and own."
According to Bike Friday, the New World Tourist will fit into a Samsonite F”Lite GT 31 suitcase, and will accommodate front and rear racks for panniers, as well as a trailer. Bike Friday offers the New World Tourist with multiple drivetrain options and disc brakes. There is also a belt-drive version with an internal shifting hub. Builds start at $1300.
While folders are usually smaller in overall size than conventional bicycles, the distances among the center of bottom bracket, the top of the saddle, and the handlebars - the primary factors in determining whether or not a bicycle fits its rider - are usually similar to those of conventional bikes. The wheelbase of many folding designs is also very similar to that of conventional, non-folding, bicycles.
The prototype Mate X I rode still had a few obvious issues related to non-final software and components. My prototype was not even meant for press previews. That bike, I’m told, was stolen the day before my test ride. As a result, there were some tuning issues and a battery mismatch on the bike I rode. After about 30 minutes of riding, for example, the motor started cutting out every 30 seconds or so, before resetting and coming back online. The culprit is likely the removable battery pack which didn’t fill the housing completely, causing it to rattle around when riding on bumpy surfaces. The company assures me that none of these issues will exist when the bikes start shipping to backers in December, as they didn’t exist in the stolen prototype.
Back into the ‘fully folding world’, we’ve got the Coyote Connect. This 20″ bike comes with a 24V battery, has a max speed of 15 mph and will go for around 20 miles. It’s got a Shimano Tourney 6-speed gear system, Tektro V-brakes with Kenda tyres. The frame is alloy, but the forks are steel – which will add to comfort bit will be a tad heavier than most.
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.
The environmental credentials of e-bikes, and electric / human powered hybrids generally, have led some municipal authorities to use them, such as Little Rock, Arkansas with their Wavecrest electric power-assisted bicycles or Cloverdale, California police with Zap e-bikes. China’s e-bike manufacturers, such as Xinri, are now partnering with universities in a bid to improve their technology in line with international environmental standards, backed by the Chinese government who is keen to improve the export potential of the Chinese manufactured e-bikes.
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.
Common to almost all models is that the handling is more responsive than on a full-size bike, and that can take some getting used to. It is not advised that you ride a folding bike with no hands or try any cute stunts. Gears on small-wheeled folding bikes are higher to compensate, but limited gearing on some models may slow you down. If that is a major concern for you, you might want to look more toward higher end "performance" folding bikes. If you plan to take a lot of trips that utilize transit, a bike that folds quickly and compactly may be best for you. If you are a tall rider, you may want to check out how each type of folding bike can adjust to fit you.
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.
Montague - this maker offers only full-size folding bikes that are fairly light (around 30 pounds) but have correspondingly large folding sizes (36" x 28" x 12") Prices range from $395 to $645, and a soft carrying bag is an option. If you are looking to avoid the small wheels of some brands and perhaps want a good full-size bike that just happens to fold, this may be a good choice. Montagues fold in 30 seconds without tools.
The 20-inch Schwinn Loop, Amazon’s best-selling folding bike at around $200 currently, isn’t really designed for commuting (despite the Amazon verbiage). It has a bulky step-through frame, and in our tests it offered a heavy, sluggish ride—Citi Bikes (those blue three-speed bike-share behemoths) often passed me on the bridge, and I had no hope of fitting it through the subway turnstiles. If you plan to use your folding bike regularly, do yourself a favor and spend more.
Folding bike wheel size: Traditionally, folders are small bicycles – but there are versions designed around full sized rims. Models with smaller wheels will be lighter and more compact when folded, but won’t gather as much momentum on the road. A folding bike with larger wheels will be much faster rolling once the wheels are up to speed – but will likely weigh more and will be little more cumbersome to load onto public transport.
This bike is named the GSD because with it you can Get Stuff Done. Twenty-inch wheels keep the center of gravity low so heavy payloads—it's rated up to 400lbs—are easy to balance and a short (for a cargo bike) 70-inch wheelbase, similar to a standard single bike, make the GSD easy to maneuver. Designed with the urban commuter in mind, the bike can easily break down to 60 percent of its original size to fit into the back of a car and the rear rack doubles as a stand that allows it to stand upright to minimize space inside tight apartments. Put two child seats on the back and take the family along, or drop the seat and let you kid take the bike out himself—anyone from 4'10" to 6'5" can ride this bike. Last but not least, the GSD gives you the option of adding a second battery to extend your range up to about 150 miles on a single charge.
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.
Your long bicycle commute to work means you are a sweaty mess before the day even begins, and you have never felt at ease leaving the bike locked outside the building all day, but now that you have a folding electric bike, both of these problems are solved. The electric bike assists you at the hardest parts of your ride and keeps you flying safely down the road at up to 20 miles per hour or faster, without pedaling. Its folding design then makes the bicycle so compact, you can fit it in a corner of the office without disturbing anyone. The large selection on eBay includes folding electric mountain bikes as well, for easily traversing more rugged terrain and in less than perfect weather. Folding electric bikes are safe, efficient, and fully rechargeable. Some brake systems turn the motor off automatically, which saves power. Brushless, gearless motors function quietly, which is more pleasant both for the rider and nearby pedestrians. Electric bike conversion kits are also available to help you install an electric bike motor onto a compatible standard bicycle.
This is a fun commuting bike that’s ideal for going to school, work, daily commuting around town, etc. Its internally housed battery combined with the powerful motor allows the bike to go as far as 15 to 30 miles. Of course, this depends on the battery life itself, environment and power level. It features the 7-speed Shimano drivetrain that makes it easy to ride the bike on all kinds of tracks and roads. It’s good to know that the bike features pedal assist mode, and you can just turn the motor off and use the e-bike as you would a standard bike. The Vilano ATOM features mechanical disc brakes, as well as the 20’’ x 1.75’’ tires. It comes partially assembled so make sure to have professionals help you tighten everything into place before taking your bike for a ride. It folds into a compact size measuring 35’’ x 20’’ x 27’’, so it’s easy to store and carry around. Its unusual design will also turn heads wherever you show up.
The 20” wheels run on puncture resistant Kenda tires. Keeping you comfortable when riding is a suspension fork, a rear shock, and a seat shock. With the huge range on offer, you may want to take the GB5 500 on some big rides, so this added comfort will be welcome. Even if you just use it for commuting, the smooth ride from the pothole-eating suspension will keep you smiling.