It’s hard to tell anyone to spend more money. But seriously—if you’re looking for a folding electric bike that can reliably replace your car, then it might be worth it to save up for a sturdier e-bike that can schlep just a little more. If you’re actually looking for a fun toy to get you from the subway to work without breaking a sweat, Jetson’s own Bolt is both lighter and cheaper, leaving the poor Metro between a rock and a hard place.
Its fold really is innovative. The rear wheel rotates under, the front wheel tucks into the side, and the handlebars fall sideways and lock into place—the typical fold-in-half frames of our other picks look clunky and huge by comparison. (The larger wheels don’t help, of course.) The folded Brompton stands 3.4 inches shorter, and measures 2 inches narrower and 8.1 inches shorter front to back, than the Mariner—and the differences are even more dramatic when you compare the Brompton with the larger Tern models. If you want to tuck your bike under your desk or bring it into stores with narrow aisles, smaller is, of course, definitely better.
Some manufacturers are producing folding bikes designed around folding systems that allow them to use 26" wheels, e.g., Dahon, KHS, Montague, and Tern Bicycles. Advantages of smaller wheels include potential for more speed, quicker acceleration, greater maneuverability, and easier storage. For example, the A-bike is similar to the Strida but has tiny wheels and folds a bit smaller. Bikes with smaller than 16" wheels are often called portable bicycles. These forgo the performance and easy ride benefits of their larger counterparts, acquiring characteristics similar to those of an adult folding kick scooter. Nonetheless, regardless of how each bike folds, the result is easier to transport and store than a traditional bicycle.
E-bikes use rechargeable batteries, electric motors and some form of control. Battery systems in use include sealed lead-acid (SLA), nickel-cadmium (NiCad), nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) or lithium-ion polymer (Li-ion). Batteries vary according to the voltage, total charge capacity (amp hours), weight, the number of charging cycles before performance degrades, and ability to handle over-voltage charging conditions. The energy costs of operating e-bikes are small, but there can be considerable battery replacement costs. The lifespan of a battery pack varies depending on the type of usage. Shallow discharge/recharge cycles will help extend the overall battery life.
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.
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.
Not only that, the foldability and light weight of these bikes can help you prevent theft – which is a huge problem in most cities. Instead of locking your bike up outside and leaving enterprising thieves to consider the best way of stealing it, you can simply fold it up and take it with you – to the office, grocery store, wherever you may be. No fretting about whether or not you bike will be there when you get back from your errands.
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).
Folding bikes weren't sold to the public until the early 1970s. Revenues were sluggish at first. Eventually though, these bikes caught on, thanks in large part to a competitive rivalry between Brompton, Raleigh, and Dahon. These three manufacturers, in particular, increased their advertising budgets, thereby creating awareness and an eventual uptick in profitability.
For anyone familiar with the folding-bike category, it may not come as a surprise that a Dahon—the Dahon Mariner in particular—topped our tests and emerged as our pick for most people. Founded in Southern California by David Hon 30-plus years ago, the company lists 18 current models on its site, from basic grocery-getters to step-through beach cruisers to high-performance bikes.
"I never lock my Brompton. I just fold it and carry it with me. I have several bikes, and at 24 lbs my Brompton is the lightest bike I've got! I take it in its sack on the Long Island Railroad and everybody assumes its just a large soft-sided attache case. The bike is quite nimble but is not the fastest two wheeler on the street. I wouldn't want to ride it to Chicago but its great for errands around town and the trip between Penn Station and Wall Street or for a leisurely trip from my home on Long Island to anywhere within 25 miles or so."
Traditionally folding bikes are made with small wheels to make their foldability easy. Of course, models with small wheels tend to be lighter and gives you more portability. However, they may lack the ability to speed up. Foldable bikes with conventional size tires are much faster with rolling but their heavy load will give you a tough time while traveling through public transport.
bike design refers to the ideation and development of two-wheel, human-powered, pedal-driven vehicles, and their use across various aspects of our lives -- from leisure to sport to basic transportation. bicycles can take on a variety of frame geometries, rendered in a diverse range of materials such as aluminium, bamboo and carbon fibre; and include hybrid and electric versions.