Beach cruiser fans rejoice with the Raleigh Retroglide iE Step Thru. Cruise the boardwalk with maximum style and minimum effort as you enjoy the perks of a 350 watt motor and a top pedal-assisted speed of 20mph. Enjoy the comfort of an upright riding position thanks to the backswept handlebar and take advantage of the cargo-carrying capacity, thanks to the rear rack, to run errands around town or commute to work. With a claimed range of 35 miles, the Raleigh Retroglide is a great choice for anyone who wants to add a little speed to daily cruise.
More powerful pedelecs which are not legally classed as bicycles are dubbed S-Pedelecs (short for Schnell-Pedelecs, i.e. Speedy-Pedelecs) in Germany. These have a motor more powerful than 250 watts and less limited, or unlimited, pedal-assist, i.e. the motor does not stop assisting the rider once 25 km/h has been reached. S-Pedelec class e-bikes are therefore usually classified as mopeds or motorcycles rather than as bicycles and therefore may (depending on the jurisdiction) need to be registered and insured, the rider may need some sort of driver's license (either car or motorcycle) and motorcycle helmets may have to be worn. In the United States, many states have adopted S-Pedelecs into the Class 3 category. Class 3 ebikes are limited to <=750 watts of power and 28 mph.
Foldable bikes are a versatile and often-overlooked cycling option. Maybe your studio apartment has limited storage place, or perhaps your commute involves a train, several staircases, and a crowded elevator. A foldable bike is a cycling problem-solver and a bundle of fun packed into a tiny package. From lightweight singlespeeds and cruisers, to a fully-capable cargo bike, there is likely a foldable bike out there to suit your cycling needs. Here are some of our favorites.
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.)
This electric powered mountain bike runs on a 300 watt rear motor that gives it all the power it needs. The battery is lithium which adds to the long battery life. The electric bike has an all-aluminum frame and wheels that make the bike incredibly durable, this adds to its strength. The hydraulic shocks and off-road tires provide incredible grip and traction.
Finally, Brompton bikes are customizable, which means you can choose the frame material (steel or a superlight combination of steel and titanium); the handlebar shape (four options); the number of gears (one, two, three, or six) and the gear ratios (three choices); the suspension type; the tire type; the saddle type and height; accessories such as the fenders, rack, front bags, and lights; and the paint color. A single-speed Brompton starts at about $1,200; the one we tested, the S6L, came outfitted with sport-style straight handlebars, six speeds ($220 more), fenders ($80 more), a front carrier block for attaching a bag and a front flap bag ($185 for both, bag not shown), and rechargeable battery-powered lights ($110, not shown), totaling about $1,795.
On the day I rode the Brompton S6L to work, an acquaintance mentioned that she and her husband were both folding-bike owners. For hers, she really wanted a full-size bike feel and so went with a Dahon that had 20-inch tires (closer to the 26 inches or more on a regular bike—larger wheels generally provide a smoother ride), versus the Brompton’s 16-inchers. Her husband’s top criterion: He wanted to be able to bring his bike into bars. With its exceptionally smart, compact fold, the Brompton was his pick, and it’s also ours for anyone looking for that go-anywhere capability.
As with any purchase, ask yourself how you plan to use the bike and try to find the one that matches your needs best. Remember that you often get what you pay for and that a lower-quality bike may make you wish you had bought a better bike in the first place. The better quality folding bikes may seem expensive, but considering that a typical non-folding bike takes up 20 square feet in an apartment, you'll save perhaps $10,000 over ten years by being able to get a slightly smaller apartment. So you can't afford not to buy a good-quality folding bike.
Folding bikes became even more popular toward the end of the Twentieth Century, as environmental awareness and fitness fads led people to pursue more active forms of transportation. The collapsible design of a folding bike hasn't changed much over the past one hundred years. At its core, the folding bike has always been custom-made to remain simple. Innovations these days focuses on making lighter weight models that are sturdier and can fold quicker.
Due to the added weight of a motor and battery, electric bikes are heavier than normal bikes. Folding bikes in general tend to be quite weighty because of the folding mechanism. An electric folding bike therefore can be on the heavy side. Consider the weight of the model you are looking at. Are you happy lifting that weight? Will you still be happy lifting that weight at the end of a long day?
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 the event that you're going to be living somewhere for an abbreviated period of time, a folding bike might be a smarter choice than a car, as long as your daily commute isn't too far. For many city dwellers, there is simply no place to park a car where they don't have to worry about getting a parking ticket on random days. A folding bike is ideal if you're living in a dorm room or a temporary apartment. Another benefits besides the low upfront cost, is the tremendous resale value many have, which means that you can recoup a lot of the bike's original cost when it's time to sell.
E-bike usage worldwide has experienced rapid growth since 1998. In 2016 there were 210 million electric bikes worldwide used daily. It is estimated that there were roughly 120 million e-bikes in China in early 2010, and sales are expanding rapidly in India, the United States of America, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. A total of 700,000 e-bikes were sold in Europe in 2010, up from 200,000 in 2007 and 500,000 units in 2009.
Dahon - a full 60% of all folding bikes sold in the U.S. are made by Dahon. A quick survey of NYC bike shops shows that just about everyone is selling them. One particular model seems to stand out: the aluminum-framed Presto that weighs in at just 20 pounds, making it the lightest production folding bike in the world. Its folded dimensions are 28" X 20" X 11" (with 16" wheels). The Piccolo (based on the Dahon Classic, a very popular older model) has similar dimensions but a steel frame that makes it weigh in at 26 pounds. In addition to other 16" models, Dahon also offers many other attractive models of folding bikes with 20" and 26" wheels that fold into larger packages and offer better performance and ride. Prices range from $200 for a simple 20" wheeled model to $900 for a full-size mountain bike. Dahons fold in about 15 seconds. www.dahon.com (Bikes can be ordered through many local bike shops or from B-Fold, www.bfold.com, 212 529-7247).