With our “most people” rider in mind, we started by zeroing in on the brands and models that had good reputations and good reviews from other outlets, such as BikeRadar, Folding Bike Guy, and Momentum Mag. I discussed at length the merits of a variety of options with experts Lam, Cuomo, and Berk, as well as the specs to use as limiting factors to narrow the field. We settled on bikes with:
While the monetary savings of an electric or folding bike are a definite perk in this economic climate, it's potential to get people out of their cars will help reduce traffic congestion and air pollution. As electric and folding bikes continue to grow in popularity, people will get out of the "car only" mind-set and into the cycling state of mind. Not only will you feel good about helping the environment but you will get exercise and have a blast doing it!
Electric bikes are, for all intents and purposes, bicycles. These small, compact bicycles differ from mopeds due to a key design feature – they can all be powered manually, simply by pedaling. However, each one incorporates a powerful rechargeable motor that can do the work for you when you need it to – such as on large hills, or if you’re tired after a long day – and be switched off when necessary.
One of the biggest advantages of a folding electric bicycle is that they are operable completely manually – if you run out of power, you can just ride your bike as you would normally until you get a chance to charge up. This makes them extraordinarily versatile and allows you to take extended trips on your bike with no fear of being stranded when out of power.
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.
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.

Not only will you struggle to get the B.O.B to the top of steep hills, it does not have safe braking power for the way down and is not stable at higher speeds. The B.O.B comes complete with fenders, a chain guard, and a kickstand, making it ready for you to commute in any weather. Where it really shines is the ease that it can be folded, as well as the light weight.
I’ve been riding bikes around New York City for more than a decade and commuting regularly from Astoria to Manhattan via the Queensboro Bridge to my job as a personal trainer and fitness instructor. In addition, I was formerly a staff writer for the Good Housekeeping Institute, where I was intimately involved with the scientific testing of all manner of products for the magazine and website.
Also, the power button was a pet peeve for me. You only need to hold it for a second or so to turn it on, but you have to hold it down for probably 5 full seconds to shut the bike off. If you don’t hold it down long enough, the bike doesn’t shut down all the way and just goes into “standby” mode. When I would hop off and park the bike, I found myself just standing there awkwardly while holding the button and waiting for it to turn off before I could lock it and walk away.
Your most viable option may be a folding bike. Only now you have to figure out which model to choose. Assuming that you shop online, you can use each folding bike's description - and accompanying images - to determine not only how compact that bike will be, but also how much it weighs, how long it takes to pair down, and what, if any, tools might be required to make any adjustments or repairs.

What the Link B7 doesn’t have, however, are a rack and fenders, which come standard on both the Dahon Mariner and the Tern Link D8; you can purchase them from Tern separately for $35 and $40, respectively, but they will of course add about 2 pounds to the nearly 27 pounds the bike already weighs (and unless you’re really bike-handy, you’ll also pay a mechanic—$45, give or take—to install them). The Link B7 also feels more sluggish than the Mariner D8 and Link D8: The gearing definitely isn’t calibrated for speed. On the Queensboro Bridge, I pedaled uphill comfortably in a middle gear, and I sometimes thought that the hardest gear (which is meant for going fast on level ground, not for climbing) wasn’t enough for zipping along on flats or slight declines (we’re talking 15 or so miles per hour—I’m no speed demon). One last note: The bike I tested was the 2017 model, which is now sold out. The company says that the 2018 model, which will be available in early September 2017, is what’s called a carry-forward model—it’ll be identical to the previous year’s.

Not only will you struggle to get the B.O.B to the top of steep hills, it does not have safe braking power for the way down and is not stable at higher speeds. The B.O.B comes complete with fenders, a chain guard, and a kickstand, making it ready for you to commute in any weather. Where it really shines is the ease that it can be folded, as well as the light weight.
We’ve updated the section on our upgrade pick, the Brompton S6L, to include information about Brompton’s recent voluntary recall. The company says that the recall is more of a safety precaution than a reaction to reported injuries or experiences of compromised quality. We’re still confident that the Brompton S6L is the best upgrade choice for a folding bike.

Pedelecs are much like conventional bicycles in use and function — the electric motor only provides assistance, for example, when the rider is climbing or struggling against a headwind. Pedelecs are therefore especially useful for people in hilly areas where riding a bike would prove too strenuous for many to consider taking up cycling as a daily means of transport. They are also useful for riders who more generally need some assistance, e.g. for people with heart, leg muscle or knee joint issues.

Cargo bikes and city bikes are common in the e-bike space, but until recently we haven’t seen that many performance road bikes. The Giant Road E+1 is a pedal-assist performance road bike that’s made for more than just commuting; the powerful motor can rank you up to 28mph very quickly on the highest setting so you can rip the flats, join your local group ride, or blast through the mountains with far less effort than a traditional road bike. Don't expect it to feel like a 16lb race bike when you lean it into high-speed turns, but the endurance-oriented geometry allows for an aggressive position on the bike and keeps the it nimble and agile at high speed.
But that doesn’t mean the Oyama can’t fold as well as the rest of them. In addition to the standard two points of folding, one at the middle of the frame and one at the handlebars, the Oyama also has a third folding point at the top of the handlebars. That one allows the handlebars to rotate forward and make the bike just a bit smaller in folded form, and also helps to protect the brake levers, display and other goodies mounted on the handlebars.
MIT graduate David Montague launched his folding-bike business in 1987 and counts the US Marines among its previous clients. The Massachusetts-based company offers a wide range of full-sized folders, but we went for this entry-level model for its stripped-back simplicity. The smart choice for commuters with longer journeys to the station (or those who simply have issues with smaller bikes), the 10.8-kilogram Boston comes in 17- or 19-inch frame options, with 700c alloy wheels, which allow for steady, speedy riding over medium distances. The folding system – essentially a bi-fold but for full-sized bikes – does a great job crunching the size down to a reasonable 90cm x 48cm x 30cm for stowing on trains or car boots, but the front wheel needs to be removed – albeit via a quick-release system – which delays the process by a few seconds.
The Tern GSD is designed to carry up to 400 pounds, while keeping its footprint the same as a standard ebike. A stepthrough frame adds to the versatility and ease of use, especially for smaller riders, and a slightly longer wheelbase adds stability. Magura disc brakes provide confident stopping power, even when the bike is loaded. Tern also offers an assortment of accessories to customize your ride. Price not available.
If you are like a lot of New Yorkers, you may have trouble finding a safe and dry place to put your bike at home. Your tiny apartment refuses to budge another inch, and the street seems to be the place bikes get left to find new owners. You may also want to ride to work, but parking is hard to find. If you try to take your bike into your building, the concierge looks at your bike as if it was a giant wheeled rat and refuses to let you onto the elevator. You may also long to take your bike along on a trip that requires transit, but cannot because of rush hour restrictions or outright bans on bicycles on trains or buses. The solution you are looking for might be a folding bike.

Our test bike was a six-speed, Brompton’s most popular option, configured with a three-speed internally geared front hub (gears 1, 2, 3) and a rear derailleur that shifts between two external gears on the rear hub (called + and –). Though the internal gearing is certainly a higher-end feature, the shifting itself takes some getting used to—you aren’t supposed to pedal when changing the front gears, but you do need to pedal when changing the rear, so you have to remember which gear you’re in (or glance down really fast). And to go from, say, 2– to 1+ to climb a hill, you have to coast and drop way down to 1– using your front shifter and then pedal while shifting back up to 1+ using your rear derailleur (the alternative is to pedal really hard for a moment to go from 2– to 2+ in the rear, and then coast while shifting down to 1+). I also perceived a big difference between the gears, so I sometimes felt like Goldilocks, forever looking for the gear that was “just right.” This problem may have been remedied, though, with a custom gear ratio, which I didn’t get to select on the test bike.
Like our top pick, the eight-speed Link D8 offers a great ride, smooth shifting, and a rear rack that includes a bungee. The most obvious difference is the handlebar stem, which uses Tern’s patented Andros pivoting system and allows you to change both the angle and height of the bars by lifting two quick-release levers and maneuvering the bars into place in one fell swoop. If you are tall or fussy about either an upright or more aggressive riding position, you can likely get the fit you prefer with ease.
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.
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