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Folding Electric Bikes (Recent Hype)

Old 07-18-21, 03:26 PM
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Artin
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Folding Electric Bikes (Recent Hype)

Folks,

I've been seeing more and more folding e-bikes on the road lately. I was wondering except for space and portability issues, what other benefits and features do these things have???
I'm looking to buy one soon... What would you look for in a folding electric bike when shopping for one?
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Old 07-18-21, 03:42 PM
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Reputable company. Probably with so many different versions, some aren't reliable, well designed or manufactured properly. Companies like Brompton and Tern to start; if they're too expensive Aventon and Rad seem reputable. If you like speed Ariel Rider. Unless you have an overwhelming desire to look cool or you're really going to ride in sand or snow, I'd avoid fat tires. They might ride a little better, but at the expense of weight (I realize it's not as big a consideration with a motor, JMO)..

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Old 07-18-21, 05:43 PM
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I've been commuting on 16" & 20" wheel folding bikes in NYC since 2013.

In the last 4-5 years, I've used many different 14" & 20" wheel folding e-bikes.

The smaller size of folding bikes allow it to be carried onto public transportation like subway or buses.

Smaller target to get hit by motor vehicle if you ride among traffic, easier to filter through car mirrors while they are stopped at red lights.

Depending on your needs, there are plus & minuses between models that may have Built-in frame battery, seat post battery or external battery.

Having tried fat tire folding bikes, I find them to be too cumbersome. Better suited in you are a heavier rider or carrying heavy cargo with your e-bike.
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Old 07-18-21, 09:50 PM
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BTW, I was speaking from relative inexperience having ridden e-folders, but never owning one. Mr cat0020 is a better judge (as well as some others here).
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Old 07-18-21, 11:26 PM
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Most people when looking for a folding bike, dont look for one very important spec- WEIGHT

Can you pick up a 70# fat tire behemoth?

-SP
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Old 07-19-21, 06:42 AM
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Two kinds of electric folding ebikes. Fat tire and skinny tire. There's a thirty pound difference between these two that I own The wheels on the bigger bike are each about 2 pounds heavier. The battery is not mounted on my Nova, but it's six pounds, and is included in that 30 pound delta. The best analogy is the big bike is like my big Honda Pilot SUV. Heavy, powerful, but ponderous to ride, while the little one was like my sports car. Quick and nimble, and I can have a lot of fun riding it at bicycle speeds.

If it weren't for motors, no one would ever ride a folding fat tire bike. Way too heavy and not that portable. Not even good for training purposes, like when you see people puffing along on 26" fat tire bikes.



Meanwhile, the fat folder demographic includes a lot of people who haven't been on bikes for years. Sure, they're having great fun just because it's an ebike. Many owners use these bikes where the fatter tires shine, on sand and gravel trails. I have yet to do sand, but have ridden in snow, DOn't like falling down though.

I found the knobby fat tires a hindrance n pavement and switched to smooth tread. We never fold any of our folder except when I transport them in our Jetta wagon. I'd rather leave them unfolded when we put them in a stretch minvan, just lower the bars and remove the seat. I can handle the weight when putting it on a platform bike rack. Just have an assistant grab the other wheel, or do one at a time,

I only paid $775 for mine, so it was a good value, but I woudln't buy it again.

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Old 07-19-21, 03:28 PM
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The folders are great for RVers. It's easy to put them in the back of the tow vehicle if you have a travel trailer and if you have a motorhome (Class A or C) that you tow a car behind (called a Toad in RV speak) you can put the folding bike in the back of the Toad.

I bought a Blix Vika+ back in 2019 and found it fun to ride, very high build quality and a perfect first eBike. We are RVers so it worked perfectly to put in the Toad. The Blix folding eBike costs a full 70% more than cheaper folding bikes like the Lectric eBike but even at $1700 has a waiting list for deliveries.

My Blix was so much fun that I wanted more of that and bought a Dillenger Premium Off-Road kit to turn a Specialized Crosstrail hybrid bike in my garage into an eBike and that's been a great success.

PS. I'm in the process of selling the Folding bike because my new bike has really replaced it.



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Old 07-19-21, 03:46 PM
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I ride a Bike Friday pakiT, 16" wheels, and sometimes use a motor. There are tradeoffs. Folders come with smaller wheels - better acceleration but much more road feel, not always in a good way. And some potholes can swallow their tires whole. Otoh, a folder which rides as a good bike that also happens to be motorized, can be amazing if you commute using bus or rail. Easier to tote up stairs or get into elevators, easier to get on crowded trains. And then there is theft issue - a nice folding bike can often go in the office with you rather than get locked up outside where it can be vandalized or stolen. Same when going to stores and such. I'd say if you use it for transportation a folder is fantastic; if you use it purely for exercise it may not be as ideal.
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Old 07-19-21, 11:07 PM
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Mr creativepart, how is the battery on your Dillenger holding up, and how long have you had it?
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Old 07-20-21, 07:33 AM
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I’ve had it completed since Dec 28, 2020 and have 850 miles on it as of yesterday. The battery is doing great. My longest ride was just over 30 miles on PAS 2 without running out of “bars” on the battery gauge. So far everything has worked great.
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Old 07-20-21, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by creativepart View Post
I’ve had it completed since Dec 28, 2020 and have 850 miles on it as of yesterday. The battery is doing great. My longest ride was just over 30 miles on PAS 2 without running out of “bars” on the battery gauge. So far everything has worked great.
Thanks; I really enjoyed my Dillenger kit which was an introduction to e-bikes. It was a good errand bike (then I moved to a more urban area), and off road, it was fun ascending pretty steep trails since it was necessary to load the front wheel while pedaling. My daughter has the kit now and it's still functioning well after six years. I went through a couple of their batteries before getting a good one, and that's why I asked. Thinking of procuring another since the first one was such fun. I built a two wheel drive with the Dillenger front and a 1000w rear (two separate dedicated systems), but then my daughter intervened.
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Old 07-20-21, 12:56 PM
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My Dillenger battery came with DLG branded NCM 18650-260 cells. They are not LG or Samsung... but DLG is pretty well respected in the battery cell business. I've been inside my battery because I shorted my charger input and had to replace it (easy task). Everything in there was well laid out and not slapped together with cheap cells, wiring etc. The BMS was well located and protected but it didn't have much to identify it on the side that was visible, so I don't know much about it.

From the way some folks talk about kit batteries I was worried I'd find a real mess in there - but on the contrary it was very professionally constructed.
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Old 07-20-21, 01:52 PM
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I had at least one of mine apart, and it was constructed well too. Apparently had some bad cells (I didn't bother checking). The company they used at the time (forget the name) wasn't regarded highly. The third battery has functioned well.

Last edited by 2old; 07-22-21 at 08:02 AM.
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Old 07-20-21, 05:00 PM
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For pavement usage, there really isn't much need for fat tire (4" wide).
Here are two folding e-bikes I have in Hoboken that I use sporadically on my commute to Coney Isl.
I've been using them since NOV 2019, logged about 600-750 miles on each of them.
One 16" wheels the other 20" wheels, both 7-speed, rear hub motor, seatpost battery, tough different capacity & diameter seatpost.
PAS & throttle both cuts out at 25 mph or 40 kmh; rarely do I feel the need to go faster in NYC traffic.



The fat tire folding bike I have is kept in PA, where I ride it in the winter snow at times.
It has regen braking. coasting downhill also shows regen working.
I've given another similar e-bike to one of my employee in Brooklyn to use as daily transportation.
He seems to be happy with it.
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Old 07-20-21, 06:08 PM
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That 20" bike is neat; wouldn't mind owning it, but don't need folding mechanism.
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Old 07-21-21, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by 2old View Post
That 20" bike is neat; wouldn't mind owning it, but don't need folding mechanism.
The 20" Qualisports Dolphin was an experiment prior to my Chinese cargo e-bike purchase.

I wanted to try out an e-bike with seatpost battery to see if the comfort level was decent for city traffic & road surfaces.
The longest ride I've take on it was about 27 miles (battery capacity down to 25%) and I would prefer to have a suspension seatpost with the ride.
The tires are 20x3", I guess i could ride with lower tire pressure to allow more comfort.
The folding mechanism is rather elegant, doesn't add much weight to the bike, but allow convenience when you need to fit the bike into a car.
I can easily fit the Dolphin into the back of my Prius, if it was much heavier, it would have been more difficult.


Fat tire folding e-bike also has 20" wheels, just the fat tires makes wheel diameter look like 24".
Casts wheels seem to provide more durability vs spoked wheels, I can't really tell if there is a weight penalty.
I did a few rides in the snow with it, it has about 45 mile battery range in sub-freezing temperature while operating with level 2 PAS, (total 5 levels).
I haven't ridden it much since the weather got warmer, just few errand runs here & there, not enough to drain the battery to below 60% with the regen.
The fat tires generate lots of noise on pavement, maybe that's why I don't like to ride it as much as the other bikes.
Originally, the bike came with a folding stem, which puts riding position very upright.

I converted it to a adjustable stem & lowered the handlebar height.

Last edited by cat0020; 07-21-21 at 07:49 AM.
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Old 07-21-21, 08:02 AM
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Some people like these https://lectricebikes.com/
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Old 07-21-21, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by alloo View Post
Some people like these https://lectricebikes.com/
Trend of LectricBikes are also going to narrower tires from 20 x 4" to 20 x 3".

https://electrek.co/2021/05/18/popul...ated-upgrades/

Similar supply issues with most e-bike imports, LectricBikes delivery have been delayed and delayed,

I've had an order with LectricBikes since APR 2021, still no idea when I might receive the shipment.
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Old 07-21-21, 09:36 AM
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Interesting how you converted the stem on your fat bike, and I didn't know it was possible (probably not with some/most systems). That eliminates my major problem with these bikes since I dislike the "rickety" feeling of the steering. I have an older Dahon (circa 1984, it was procured recently for a very reasonable price) and need to tighten the steering every couple of rides. Going to check to see if this modification is possible.
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Old 07-22-21, 07:05 AM
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I've worked on & off as a bicycle mechanic at my LBSs for the last 2.5 decades,
accumulated enough spare parts in my basement to modify bikes of most types to suit my needs.
Folding bikes can be tricky, some have proprietary (non-bicycle industry) parts, Dahon, Brompton, Bike Friday are known for those.
Finding solutions to adjust or modify those proprietary parts to replace with standard bicycle parts can be more difficult; part of the reason that I steer away from those brands of folding bikes, other than they are more expensive than they need be & don't always have better performance and/or utility.
I try to use standard bicycle industry parts when I modify my bikes, makes it easier to convert back to OEM if need to and also I'm familiar with how much abuse the parts can sustain.
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Old 07-22-21, 09:32 AM
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For folding bikes, which is all I own, I find the weight on commercially available ones to be too high to benefit from the all the nice things about folders. They are more compact but still fairly heavy to put in your car, a pain to carry up stairs, etc. In my mind, I separate out the fat tire big battery folders as different where weight isn't an issue, but for regular type wheels/builds for transportation the weight can matter. I prefer using an add on kit with a good folder - either a Bike Friday or Swift or Brompton. You can get BF down to around 15lbs (pakiT), a Switft with modifications under 20lbs, and a titanium Bromton around 24 lbs. Add on a good kit (anything from <5lbs for a OM friction drive to <10 for a hub kit) and your folder is still around 30lbs maybe under. When you're lifting it into a shopping cart at Costco the weight matters. I took my Dahon Mu Uno and Travoy trailer to Costco yesterday and stupid me forgot my lock (I lock up my Dahon; never lock up the Bike Friday). Even with the motor and battery, the Dahon was 27lbs so I could fold and lift into the cart. I swapped out just a couple things on the Dahon to bring it down to a reasonable 22 lbs (got rid of the pump seatpost and heavy saddle). One of the nice things about folders is not having to carry a lock (or not having to go home if you forget).
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Old 07-22-21, 06:39 PM
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I like mine because it looks more like a regular bike than many others, and I can take it to some fun places without installing a bike rack. I mostly ride on dirt roads, but like to travel to different trails. I went on a 14 mile trail last week that was all grass. Quite the work out. There's no coasting on grass.
Someone mentioned a bike this heavy wouldn't be fun without a motor, and yeah, sometimes, but I went through a stretch of mud yesterday, and was darn happy I had fat tires and a motor.
For those who call it cheating: We are all different, have different abilities, and like different things. It doesn't mean you're not a driver because your car is different than mine. So if I am pedaling a 2 wheeled thingy, then I am a bicyclist.
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Old 07-22-21, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by PrettyCurious View Post
I like mine because it looks more like a regular bike than many others, and I can take it to some fun places without installing a bike rack. I mostly ride on dirt roads, but like to travel to different trails. I went on a 14 mile trail last week that was all grass. Quite the work out. There's no coasting on grass.
Someone mentioned a bike this heavy wouldn't be fun without a motor, and yeah, sometimes, but I went through a stretch of mud yesterday, and was darn happy I had fat tires and a motor.
For those who call it cheating: We are all different, have different abilities, and like different things. It doesn't mean you're not a driver because your car is different than mine. So if I am pedaling a 2 wheeled thingy, then I am a bicyclist.
I ask if they drive a car. When they say yes, I tell them I bike every where with my e-bike, and don't own a car, so I'm getting more exercise than they are since they get zero when they drive. And I'm not polluting.
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Old 07-23-21, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by 2old View Post
Interesting how you converted the stem on your fat bike, and I didn't know it was possible (probably not with some/most systems). That eliminates my major problem with these bikes since I dislike the "rickety" feeling of the steering. I have an older Dahon (circa 1984, it was procured recently for a very reasonable price) and need to tighten the steering every couple of rides. Going to check to see if this modification is possible.
I think most of the steerers can be changed. The quills om threadless systems can be changed to threaded with quill adapters. Then you attach your stem extension to this or your standard threadless system. Put your BMX handlebars into that. I don't know how Dahon does it though.

Some of your (my) folding steerers are flimsy. I replaced one on my wife's folder that seemed to wobble. It was hard to find something that was stronger. I eventually bought one from Downtube for 3X the price of what I could find on aliexpress. Worth it and more to avoid a face plant.

One major seller of folding 20" fat tire ebikes had five cases of steerers snapping off last year. They broke in the quill below the hinge. I followed three cases in their 10,300 member facebook user group for that model (don't own it). One member posted pics. Contusions and bruises. Rough off road use is not good with any folding alloy steerer tube. Best to swap if you ride like that.

.
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Old 07-23-21, 10:37 PM
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Thanks DW. Doesn't look like the steering mechanism can be "adapted" unless Dahon makes some sort of "converter". I'll check with them. This bike isn't terrible, just that I don't need the stem to fold since I have a bike rack on my car.
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