China has experienced an explosive growth of sales of non-assisted e-bikes including scooter type, with annual sales jumping from 56,000 units in 1998 to over 21 million in 2008, and reaching an estimated fleet of 120 million e-bikes in early 2010. This boom was triggered by Chinese local governments' efforts to restrict motorcycles in city centers to avoid traffic disruption and accidents. By late 2009 motorcycles are banned or restricted in over ninety major Chinese cities. Users began replacing traditional bicycles and motorcycles and e-bike became an alternative to commuting by car. Nevertheless, road safety concerns continue as around 2,500 e-bike related deaths were registered in 2007. By late 2009 ten cities had also banned or imposed restrictions on e-bikes on the same grounds as motorcycles. Among these cities were Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Changsha, Foshan, Changzhou, and Dongguang.
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.
For some shoppers, the number-one criterion is how small a bike can get. The Brompton S6L elegantly transforms into a package that shaves 3 inches off the height, 2 inches off the width, and 8 inches off the length of the folded Mariner (and even more off the dimensions of the Tern models), making for an easier carry. Even so, it manages an “I’m almost riding a full-size bike” experience on the road. The handlebars, gearing, frame type, accessories, cargo options, and paint job are all customizable—for a price. (Our six-speed test bike, as it came to us, retailed for about $1,800 at the time of our review.)
Another type of electric assist motor, often referred to as the mid-drive system, is increasing in popularity. With this system, the electric motor is not built into the wheel but is usually mounted near (often under) the bottom bracket shell. In more typical configurations, a cog or wheel on the motor drives a belt or chain that engages with a pulley or sprocket fixed to one of the arms of the bicycle's crankset. Thus the propulsion is provided at the pedals rather than at the wheel, being eventually applied to the wheel via the bicycle's standard drive train.
Among other bike manufacturing brands, Ancheer is popular for its electric-powered bicycle manufacturing. First off, the detachable lithium battery gives you the opportunity to ride fast up to 50 km. The brushless gear motor offers high speed of 25 km per hour. Along with it, the frame is extremely lightweight, made of aluminum alloy material. This folding electric bicycle has got secure brakes with premium 7 speed Shimano transmission mechanism.
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.
"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."
Depending on local laws, many e-bikes (e.g., pedelecs) are legally classified as bicycles rather than mopeds or motorcycles. This exempts them from the more stringent laws regarding the certification and operation of more powerful two-wheelers which are often classed as electric motorcycles. E-bikes can also be defined separately and treated under distinct Electric bicycle laws.
There are two types of people in this world: those who like fat-tire bikes and those who don’t. I’m very much of the fat tire persuasion, which is why I just had to test the new Mate X electric folding bike. There’s something about those big knobby wheels that speaks to my desire to forge a new path, to take the road less traveled. To explore strange new worlds and go where no one has gone before, even if that’s just to the corner store.
"The bike has been a pleasure to ride and performs as well as most of my other road bikes - the shifting is exceptional. Since the Department of Transportation has moved out of our City Hall offices the Dahon has been a lifesaver as I use it downtown to get from meeting to meeting. I must admit I get far more looks from people on this bike, and more questions, than I ever have about any other bicycle I've owned. Which is great as use of the bicycle is what my job is all about."
Electric trikes have also been produced that conform to the e-bike legislation. These have the benefit of additional low speed stability and are often favored by people with disabilities. Cargo carrying tricycles are also gaining acceptance, with a small but growing number of couriers using them for package deliveries in city centres. Latest designs of these trikes resemble a cross-between a pedal cycle and a small van.
You will be very comfortable riding this bike. Both the handlebar and seat height are adjustable and you can get the seat very high, which is an advantage for taller riders. The swept back handlebars give you a relaxed riding position. Thanks to the low frame, it is easy to step onto the bike. Adding to the comfort, and total weight is a basic suspension fork to take the sting out of potholes.
Swift Folder - here's another folding bike option for those who want a good, fast folding bike at a reasonable price. Swift Folders are manufactured in Brooklyn with the New York City rider in mind. All Swift Folders are made to order, but models can range from 22-30 pounds and a typical Swift Folder costs around $750. It quick-folds in 10 seconds to a size that will get you onto most elevators. It folds down to 32" X 22" X 11" in about a minute, making it possible to put it into a duffle bag that you can use to tote it around in an inconspicuous manner (hint: we know of no elevators in which duffle bags are prohibited!). Swift Folders are available at various New York City area shops including the Hub, Bikeworks, and Recycle-a-Bicycle, where less expensive versions are featured (made with some used parts). www.swiftfolder.com, 1-800-884-5541.
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).
The Ancheer folding electric mountain bike does have a few weird quirks. The first is the handlebar mounted battery. It saves space for the folding mechanism, but looks odd. Fortunately it has very little effect on handling because it is mounted so close the head tube’s pivot point. It does raise the center of gravity of the bike a bit, but the difference is small compared to how much you raise the bike’s center of gravity.