German designers Heiko Müller and Markus Riese began working on the Birdy in 1992 for their university thesis – the first model comprised of parts of two old bicycles welded together. Fast forward 26 years and the Weiterstadt-based company have mastered the art of folding bikes. With 18-inch wheels for a more stable ride than the Brompton, the Birdy City offers impressive stability and comfort, and its aggressive, sporty geometry means it’s faster than many of its competitors. At 12.8kg, it’s not the lightest model around, but if you’re happy to take that hit in favour of a superior ride it won’t let you down. Eight-speed hub gear, front suspension/rear shocks, disc brakes adjustable-height handlebars and optional rear rollers all tick the right boxes, and although it’s not the smallest fold, it only takes 20 seconds or so to pack it down for the train or trunk.
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.
Budget is the main part that troubles us when buying expensive equipment. It is a myth that expensive things are better than the cheaper items but it can also turn into truth. In order to save money make sure that you perform a test drive and study all the parts of an e-bike. After all the studying, you will not hesitate to invest your money into something good.
Bike Friday - this high-end brand offers many types of folding bikes for those most concerned with performance. All Bike Fridays use 20" wheels and are built to fit into a suitcase for travel. Many also quick-fold and fit into a travel bag for use in commuting. A typical "stock" model (most Bike Fridays are custom made) quick-folds in 30 seconds to 27" X 27" X10" and weighs in at 24 pounds. Bike Fridays range in price from about $730 for a stock model to about $3400 for their best custom-made bikes. To ask questions about the Bike Friday, subscribe to the Bike Friday discussion list at www.bikefriday.com/community/the_yak. www.bikefriday.com, 1-800-777-0258.
The Mate X, like the original, can be folded completely in about 10 seconds. That can be a huge convenience for many urbanites since you can pack it in the car or take it on public transport where folding bikes are often allowed free of charge all day long (in Amsterdam, there’s a €6.20 surcharge for regular bikes and they can only be taken on trains during off-peak hours). You can also just fold the handlebars and pedals if you need a thin profile to store the bike in a narrow hallway, a wall rack, or to roll it into a busy elevator. But don’t underestimate the weight or the size of the Mate X. At 29kg (64 pounds), this bike is heavy, and it can be unwieldy to lift because it doesn’t lock into the folded position.
The 1970s saw increased interest in the folding bike, and the popular Raleigh Twenty and Bickerton Portable have become the iconic folders of their decade. It was, however, the early 1980s that can be said to have marked the birth of the modern, compact folding bicycle, with competing tiny-footprint models from Brompton and Dahon. Founded in 1982, by inventor and physicist Dr. David Hon and his brother Henry Hon, Dahon has grown to become the world's largest manufacturer of folding bikes, with a two-thirds marketshare in 2006.
The Super Commuter is very aptly named. The 350w Bosch motor will help you sustain speeds of up to 28mph, and the burly, 2.4-inch wide, Schwalbe Super Moto-X 650b tires will keep you secure on even the roughest city streets, and Shimano Deore hydraulic brakes provide ample stopping power. Fenders provide welcome protection from road spray so you arrive at your destination fresh, integrated lights are critical for post-sunset riding, and a side-view mirror hanging on the left side of the handlebar gives a great view of traffic around you. After all, you can ride at the speed of urban traffic on the Super Commuter.
Once I’d done my part, I invited eight cyclist friends over for test rides, asking them to rate the ride quality and the ease of folding and unfolding, as well as to provide commentary and suggest a price, as a way to gauge their perception of value. (Note: The Mariner model they tested was the D7, but we’re confident they would have similar opinions on the upgraded D8). Finally, I asked bike expert Damon Strub to peruse the spec sheets and highlight any pros or cons of each model.
Tackle your daily commute with ease or go for a weekend cruise in style with the Gazelle CityZen T10 e-bike. And don’t worry about those thigh-burning hills; the Bosch motor offers four assist levels—Eco, Tour, Range Sport, Turbo—making hills a breeze and the Lithium-Ion battery provides a range of up to 85 miles in Eco mode. The bike is one of the first to use Bosch's new integrated battery, which is concealed in the downtube. The matte black paint and classic, step-through design give a classic look while fenders, pannier racks, and integrated lights add practical functionality. The bike is easy to maneuver in city streets, but still has assist up to 28mph so you can cover a lot of miles and power up steep hills. There's a suspension fork too. It's not at the level of something you'd find on a mountain bike (or even some better e-bikes) but it takes the edge of some potholes and curbs.
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.