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Lightweight folding eBike

Old 09-06-22, 07:44 AM
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Lightweight folding eBike

Folks,
I am looking for some feedback on our latest folding eBike that has completed its prototype stage. Some of the parameters are as follows:
  • Nickel-plated chromoly frame
  • Front luggage block
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • about 34 pounds including battery
  • 250W mid-drive motor
  • 7AH battery
  • 9-speed gear set
  • 52T chainring
  • Sensah gear selector and derailleur
  • 20 x 1.75 tires
  • I am still working on alternatives for battery placement, but it works OK here.
Do you think our approach makes sense, and what guidance would you give?
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Old 09-06-22, 08:10 AM
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Looks good to me, but I'd like it much more if it had a BMX stem and bars instead of the "ape hangery" unit. Doubt you'll be able to get the price competitive with its rivals.
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Old 09-06-22, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by 2old View Post
Looks good to me, but I'd like it much more if it had a BMX stem and bars instead of the "ape hangery" unit. Doubt you'll be able to get the price competitive with its rivals.
Who would you consider to be our rivals, and what price point should we strive to meet?
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Old 09-06-22, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by 2old View Post
Looks good to me, but I'd like it much more if it had a BMX stem and bars instead of the "ape hangery" unit. Doubt you'll be able to get the price competitive with its rivals.
The handlebar height is adjustable; it happens to be up in this photo but could be about 4.5" lower.
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Old 09-06-22, 09:32 AM
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I have a bike carrier and haven't used public transportation since COVID, so probably not a good reflection of the general public, but have a Dahon bike and the only thing I don't like about it is that the stem system is like yours. I'd much rather have "high bars" that can be folded down. The competitors are all the "me too" fat folders which range in price from $600 - $1600. They are horrible bikes (to me), but sell. If you look on Amazon, they get average ratings in the "4" (of 5) from buyers that don't seem to care about quality.

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Old 09-06-22, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by 2old View Post
I have a bike carrier and haven't used public transportation since COVID, so probably not a good reflection of the general public, but have a Dahon bike and the only thing I don't like about it is that the stem system is like yours. I'd much rather have "high bars" that can be folded down. The competitors are all the "me too" fat folders which range in price from $600 - $1600. They are horrible bikes (to me), but sell. If you look on Amazon, they get average ratings in the "4" (of 5) from buyers that don't seem to care about quality.
Our production cost is in that price range, so the bike will not be. I am tentatively looking at $2,100.00. Handlebars are very to swap, so we could make other styles available as an option.

I agree with you on the fatties, they are not my cup of tea...and they tend to weigh a TON.
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Old 09-06-22, 10:14 AM
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IME, commuting with folding bikes in NYC metro since 2013, hydraulic brake on these small wheels/narrow tires are just overkill, if not hazardous in loose/wet surfaces.
Smaller wheels/tires with smaller contact patches, not ideal for higher speed and/or heavy rider/cargo load; mechanical disc brakes should be plenty powerful for stopping power.
Personally, I prefer hidden battery in the frame or seatpost, stand alone battery that protrude from frame, not so attractive.
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Old 09-06-22, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by cat0020 View Post
IME, commuting with folding bikes in NYC metro since 2013, hydraulic brake on these small wheels/narrow tires are just overkill, if not hazardous in loose/wet surfaces.
Smaller wheels/tires with smaller contact patches, not ideal for higher speed and/or heavy rider/cargo load; mechanical disc brakes should be plenty powerful for stopping power.
Personally, I prefer hidden battery in the frame or seatpost, stand alone battery that protrude from frame, not so attractive.
I disagree with you about the brakes. I chose hydraulics for their ease of modulation, and superior feedback. It wasn't really about clamping force since we can get than with cables.
I agree with you regarding the battery. I may have to change to a seatpost design.
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Old 09-06-22, 02:34 PM
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Whether you disagree with me or not those are just facts; not opinions.
Yes, hydraulic brakes do offer superior modulation and feedback, great for MTB or DH racing, but rather unnecessary for small-wheeled folding bike that travel at speeds no where near DH racing.
If you can have suitable mechanical disc brakes for smaller wheels, you might just save yourself some cost per unit.
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Old 09-06-22, 08:17 PM
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Rivals are probably all the various similar stuff from overseas. Though you have a leg up on them with hydraulic brakes and a mid drive of some sort. If your price point is in the low 2000s or less you might have something decent-ish.

Always wider tires, use 10 speed and put the battery somewhere sensible or make it look cleaner. The bike itself doesn't look so terrible I see a lot worse daily.

However you might be violating forum rules so just be careful on that.
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Old 09-06-22, 08:34 PM
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Quality components will be the key to success but manufacturing cost is issues.
also quality control is really important.
where do you plan to make this bike? If your factory is in China, it will be very challenging to make good products because of quality controls.

adjustable handlebar is good. I like 9 speed.
battery needs to be bigger 7.0amp is a little small. It should be at least 11amp.
location of battery is tricky.
people will ask for Rear rack.
also focus on small details such as hubs and headset with sealed bearings.
for Brake, I prefer hydraulic brakes but I want better quality hydraulic brakes instead of unbranded brake company.
my bike has it but not happy with it so I put magura MT4. It makes so much better.

honestly price of $2100 might be challenging since itís new company.
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Old 09-07-22, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by kimguroo View Post
Quality components will be the key to success but manufacturing cost is issues.
also quality control is really important.
where do you plan to make this bike? If your factory is in China, it will be very challenging to make good products because of quality controls.

adjustable handlebar is good. I like 9 speed.
battery needs to be bigger 7.0amp is a little small. It should be at least 11amp.
location of battery is tricky.
people will ask for Rear rack.
also focus on small details such as hubs and headset with sealed bearings.
for Brake, I prefer hydraulic brakes but I want better quality hydraulic brakes instead of unbranded brake company.
my bike has it but not happy with it so I put magura MT4. It makes so much better.

honestly price of $2100 might be challenging since itís new company.
Yes, a bigger battery is worth considering, but it comes with more weight.
A rear rack is in the plans too.
Yep, sealed bearing in the headset and hubs already.
We are not a new company, we have been making folding bikes for 11 years now. and this will be our fourth eBike.
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Old 09-07-22, 01:04 PM
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Is this the fourth prototype or do (did) you have product(s) for sale?
I don't think you need a larger battery since most individuals aren't going to use them for 25 mile rides.
Hydraulic brakes are a great idea and help separate you from the fat tire behemoths that aren't who you want to compete with. Don't let the individuals who ride 10 mph convince you to change.
Don't recognize the mid-drive, but if it isn't Bosch, Brose or Yamaha, you may have difficulty selling the bikes. I think you would be served better with a front hub like Gocycle.
It should be fun trying to get very many batteries in a narrow seatpost, and if you increase the size of the seatpost/frame, weight will increase. Before you consider using the frame tubes, you might try to find someone from Faraday Bikes (now defunct). They had a great system and I really enjoyed testing their bike, but batteries in a steel tube seemed to be a problem.
The Chinese can manufacture excellent products if they're specified correctly and someone is there to monitor quality. My granddaughter's Kent e-BMX is virtually perfect and priced very well (even before it was discounted).
Do what you can to keep the price at $1995 if this is feasible.
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Old 09-07-22, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by 2old View Post
Is this the fourth prototype or do (did) you have product(s) for sale?
I don't think you need a larger battery since most individuals aren't going to use them for 25 mile rides.
Hydraulic brakes are a great idea and help separate you from the fat tire behemoths that aren't who you want to compete with. Don't let the individuals who ride 10 mph convince you to change.
Don't recognize the mid-drive, but if it isn't Bosch, Brose or Yamaha, you may have difficulty selling the bikes. I think you would be served better with a front hub like Gocycle.
It should be fun trying to get very many batteries in a narrow seatpost, and if you increase the size of the seatpost/frame, weight will increase. Before you consider using the frame tubes, you might try to find someone from Faraday Bikes (now defunct). They had a great system and I really enjoyed testing their bike, but batteries in a steel tube seemed to be a problem.
The Chinese can manufacture excellent products if they're specified correctly and someone is there to monitor quality. My granddaughter's Kent e-BMX is virtually perfect and priced very well (even before it was discounted).
Do what you can to keep the price at $1995 if this is feasible.
This will be our fourth production model. We currently have two new models on their way, but they are hub motors and are really just a stop-gap measure.
The motor is by Star Union and it is very well designed and made. They are a smaller company, but they have been making ebike components for the big guys for seven years, so they have their stuff together.
I hate front hub motors and would not go that route.
We can modify the design to use a larger seat post tube and go with a 10Ah seat post battery. I am leaning this way now, but still open to other ideas.
$1995 could be a possibility as long as the 25% Trump tax stays away. It is scheduled to rear its ugly head again on January 1st.
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Old 09-07-22, 02:18 PM
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Sorry you don't like front hubbies; I had some of my best times on them, both on and off road. One was DIY and one a Faraday, but neither folders. Good luck; it should be interesting, and I really like nickel plated steel.
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Old 09-07-22, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Pinigis View Post
This will be our fourth production model. We currently have two new models on their way, but they are hub motors and are really just a stop-gap measure.
The motor is by Star Union and it is very well designed and made. They are a smaller company, but they have been making ebike components for the big guys for seven years, so they have their stuff together.
I hate front hub motors and would not go that route.
We can modify the design to use a larger seat post tube and go with a 10Ah seat post battery. I am leaning this way now, but still open to other ideas.
$1995 could be a possibility as long as the 25% Trump tax stays away. It is scheduled to rear its ugly head again on January 1st.
Origami Bull + hub motor is what I wanted,... If you put it up on your website I'd buy it TODAY! The only reason I didn't get the Bull is no motorized version. The strength of it, with a motor, is perfect IMO. 😢
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Old 09-07-22, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by tds101 View Post
Origami Bull + hub motor is what I wanted,... If you put it up on your website I'd buy it TODAY! 😢
What about a Bull with a Bafang mid-drive?
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Old 09-07-22, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Pinigis View Post
What about a Bull with a Bafang mid-drive?
Provided it's in the $1200 range. A hub motor is more affordable. A large percentage of the members here have a sufficient amount of disposable income compared to my broke azz! 😭
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Old 09-07-22, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by tds101 View Post
Provided it's in the $1200 range. A hub motor is more affordable.
Hub motors are definitely cheaper, but less efficient since they cannot take advantage of the gearing. $1,200 could be a challenge, but I will see what I can do.
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Old 09-07-22, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Pinigis View Post
Hub motors are definitely cheaper, but less efficient since they cannot take advantage of the gearing. $1,200 could be a challenge, but I will see what I can do.
Less efficient, but more accessible to the general public. The Bull is the only bike capable of what I want to do next year. I have plans, finally, to do some adventurizing. Since I've been working on losing weight (45lbs plus so far), and my breathing has vastly improved (Covid), I'm taking advantage of it and trying to get some enjoyment out of life.
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Old 09-07-22, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by tds101 View Post
Less efficient, but more accessible to the general public. The Bull is the only bike capable of what I want to do next year. I have plans, finally, to do some adventurizing. Since I've been working on losing weight (45lbs plus so far), and my breathing has vastly improved (Covid), I'm taking advantage of it and trying to get some enjoyment out of life.
Congrats on the weight loss, and better breathing. I could probably put that together for you. email me off line Paul@origamibicycles.com
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Old 09-07-22, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Pinigis View Post
Congrats on the weight loss, and better breathing. I could probably put that together for you. email me off line Paul@origamibicycles.com
I'll contact you on Friday, if that's OK with you. And thank you!
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Old 09-08-22, 10:00 AM
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Hub systems are excellent (IMO) as long as the terrain isn't hilly and they're being used on road-type surfaces. The differences in efficiency, if any, haven't been noticeable FME.
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Old 09-08-22, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Pinigis View Post
Yes, a bigger battery is worth considering, but it comes with more weight.
A rear rack is in the plans too.
Yep, sealed bearing in the headset and hubs already.
We are not a new company, we have been making folding bikes for 11 years now. and this will be our fourth eBike.
thatís good. There are many new companies which sells junk ebike then they disappear within one year. Worst thing is those people renamed the company then sell another junk ebikes. There is no way to get parts for the situation but you were in the business for 10+ years. You know what to do since production processing is harder than normal people think.

I have a few questions, have you thought about rear rack with built in battery option? Also rear rack and battery combination with rear light? If you can solve cable routing issue, it will give much cleaner looking than current battery placement. Also I am not a big fan of seatpost battery.

if you want smaller battery option, make sure there is PAS0 option (assistance motor off).
my folding bike did not have PAS0 option from display so If I want to turn on and off, I have to stop but recently I got revised version which has PAS0 option from display and I donít have range anxiety anymore and use motor assistance for hills only.

actually, I like frame design because of slick and simple. If you can make rear cassette to 11 speed, it will give more upgrade possibilities to buyers. Nowadays 7 speed freewheel is so popular for ebikes but not many companies make good parts. Since you will not use rear hub motor, you can use cassette and make enough space for 11 speed, it will be easier to find upgrading parts from Shimano and Sram.
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Old 09-08-22, 05:26 PM
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I have 350w rear hub motor with torque sensor. It’s not a bad system except motor resistances.
I have not experienced with mid-drive system yet but I don’t think there is a motor resistance with mid drive system….
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