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Old 02-17-18, 09:33 AM   #1
Papaformigas
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Looking for a lightweight bike

Hi

I a looking for advice to buy an electric bike that will be lightweight, foldable and performed good in road and city in a mix of plane and hilly roads.

I am school teacher that every month is placed for work in a different school. These schools are in an island and the main board can place me in whatever school they want. Sometimes they place me in the area I live but sometimes can be a school that is about 30-40km from my house.

That said I was recommend to by a car. Instead I think I can make my part to make planet better place to live withou polution and buy an electric bike and avoid costs and petrol as all car costs.

The volcanic geography here is a mixed of plane roads and moderate to high hills roads so the bike would need to have a good motor strong to help me while am biking (max is 250W by law).

Some roads are plane with normal pavement but the majority roads are with lots of cubic rocks put together ( such as the Roman empire roads).

I have been searching some kind of electric bike that would sort me out but as I am entering in the bike world there are more doubts than correct answers and that's why I came to this forum trying to find help.

I saw some possible bikes that fold so that I can take it to school as here there are too many bike burglors. So the bike would need to fold and not heavy so I could go up and down school stairs.

Also as I live in a 3 floor flat I would need to take the bike through narrow three set of stairs.

I have been doing some search of some possibilities and find out these ones because they are light and foldable:

Dahon Curve D3
Dahon Speed D7
Dahon Speed P8
Dahon Hélios 8
Brompton

I would thanks your help choosing one bike please. I am 1.85 m with 90kg.


Would appreciate your help me finding the best bike for this situation.

Thanks.
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Old 02-18-18, 04:03 PM   #2
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I am curious about other people's recommendations but when you say 40km, hilly roads, cobblestones, and 250W max I think a gas scooter/motorcycle or car is the ideal solution. Mixing small folding bike tires and cobblestones sounds like a future accident. Carrying a heavy ebike (15kg if you spend a fortune-25kg) up 3 flights of stairs is going to get old really quick. Can a 250w system even be useful up hilly roads and last 40km? I have no ebike experience; maybe an ebike forum would be a good place to search since this sub forum is mostly for pedal bikes.
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Old 02-18-18, 04:15 PM   #3
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Maybe put a mid-drive kit on a 24" folding Dahon. That way you could use fat tires and no 250w is going to pull you up hill except maybe a quality mid-drive. You should post this in the electric bike forum.
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Old 02-18-18, 04:19 PM   #4
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For lightweight folding electric, I'd check out the Gocycle GS. We just got them in and I have to say that they are as light as any electric bike I've ever used and they perform great.
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Old 02-18-18, 04:39 PM   #5
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Hi Papaformigas. Bravo for thinking about the environment. But I would like to just say you should also consider your students in that getting to school safely and on time would be setting a good example to them. Many decades ago I was a young pupil and a popular teacher in my school was killed in a cycling accident and had a great emotional effect on the whole school.

As far as electricity is concerned, have you researched how the electricity on your island is generated, and what kind of fuel is used that you will be required to use to charge your bike probably twice a day?

Small automobiles and small motor scooters are considered to be very fuel efficient and low emission these days. Good luck with your decisions, I would vote for the Brompton first off while saying that I am not experienced with the others on your list. Others can and will offer more insight I am sure! +-1 on the electric forum
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Old 02-18-18, 05:12 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by linberl View Post
no 250w is going to pull you up hill except maybe a quality mid-drive.
That is wrong from my experience. Over here in Germany ebikes w/o license are limited to 250W by EU-law, therefor I assume the OP is possibly talking about a location within the EU. I have ridden 250w pedelecs on steep hills w/o issue - more than sufficient. The law allows a temporarily higher peak performance (which most motors deliver) but even the 250w is plenty. If you look i.e. here you'll find out that at a gradient of 15% (which is really steep) with 250w you'll reach about 7 km/h - w/o pedaling. And as a typical rider will add another 100 - 200 W through pedaling this will really not be an issue.

A mid motor will in most cases be better on hills as it takes advantage of the bike's gearing and therefor will be running in a more efficient mode whereas many front- or rear-hub-motors will run inefficiently at low speed on hills, thus getting hot and consuming more engery.

For the problem of the OP I would not recommend a folder. 30-40km one way needs a huge battery and will take up to two hours per trip (therefor up to 4 hours both ways - every workday). Small wheels and cobblestones don't play well together and carrying an ebike with a range of 80 km in hilly terrain to the 3rd floor after having just done 40km and a day of work is no fun at all.

For the distance and the terrain possibly a suspended S-pedelec with up to 45 km/h might do the trick, but still the range in hilly terrain might be an issue and clearly the carrying as well. Plus I do not know of any folders legally having the 45 km/h-support.

So I agree with the others that say getting a moped or a car would possibly be the best solution.

I even own a 24" electric folder, an Airnimal Joey with BionX motor, that would probably be one of the best possiblities within what the OP requests but carrying it is a nightmare and 40km of cobblestones would be as well. Plus the bike is no longer available. One could however convert an Airnimal Joey, but not with a middrive. Possibly still a good choice due to the tire size and because the bike is rock solid. As much as I love my Brompton - it would not be my choice for this kind of trip.

Last edited by berlinonaut; 02-18-18 at 05:18 PM.
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Old 02-18-18, 05:46 PM   #7
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High again. Thanks for all.your great comments.

I gave up the electric bike as here in the Island of Azores, Portugal, is very sturdy hilly so no chance the max 250W motor by law will make me go up those volcanic hills.

The friend from Germany is completely true in his comments. Here in Portugal (EU) the max motor in bikes by law is 250W. Can have throttle and max 25km/h.

Anyway I am.thinking to buy one of these two models from Dahon:

Curve D3 - 16"
Speed P8 - 20"

I don't like Brompton bikes as there are so many catches to fold the bike just give me confusion and then because their parts and gear is bloody expensive (like having a Mercedes car). I find Dahons foldings really intuitive and easy as 1, 2, 3!.

So my idea is having the bike to bike around the city and commumte with the bike in the big distances. Like this I can take up the bike to the bus and then go from the bus station to the school and vice versa. In bike would be very tiring...

Now the dilemma... Which one of those would I choose.

The Curve D3 is nice as it have only 3 gears and like that simplicity and their tyres are thick and can bike anywhere from terrain to plain roads.

The Speedy P8 has bigger thicker tyres, have 8 gears which I find complicated as i don't know which I have to choose from (and then the chain can go out from the crank)...

I would like to ask you guys which one of these bikes is better in:

- going up hills
- occasional off road activities
- lightweight
- travel folding
- city roads/traffic
- economic maintainance
- value for money
- confort (guy with 1.85m and 90kg)
- folding compactness
- easy ridding
- problems

I would appreciate sharing your experience and your choice.
..

Last edited by Papaformigas; 02-18-18 at 05:56 PM.
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Old 02-18-18, 06:21 PM   #8
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I owned a 250w e bike and it could not handle average hills in San Francisco. The motor heated up badly sometimes the safety would shut it off. So I'm basing that comment on real life experience which may vary from someone else.

If you are climbing hills, the more gears the better and you want a bunch of low gears to make pulling up the hill as easy as possible. If you aren't fit, big hills mean you will walk until you get fit. If you find gears too complicated to use, then consider an internal gear hub or a nexus hub. That will give you the range you need for climbing without making things too complicated (except changing tires).
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Old 02-18-18, 06:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Papaformigas View Post

Anyway I am.thinking to buy one of these two models from Dahon:

Curve D3 - 16"
Speed P8 - 20"

The Curve D3 is nice as it have only 3 gears and like that simplicity and their tyres are thick and can bike anywhere from terrain to plain roads.

I would like to ask you guys which one of these bikes is better in:

- going up hills
- occasional off road activities
- lightweight
- travel folding
- city roads/traffic
- economic maintainance
- value for money
- confort (guy with 1.85m and 90kg)
- folding compactness
- easy ridding
- problems

I would appreciate sharing your experience and your choice.
..
Hi Papaformigas. I ride a Dahon Curve D3 as my main bicycle for commuting. 20 km's per day in sun, rain and snow. It folds to a reasonably small size. I've upgraded mine to have 8 gears and it still weighs only 12 kg. For my riding style the 8 gears was necessary for hills.

Given your height you may find the distance from the seat to the handlebars too small. Test ride one if you can.

Here is my experiences taking a Dahon Curve in a suitcase to Europe
https://www.bikeforums.net/folding-b...an-europe.html

I found that the stock components for the Dahon Curve (at least for the previous model that I have) were cheap.
https://www.bikeforums.net/folding-b...omponents.html

... but the bike can look and perform better with some high quality components
https://www.bikeforums.net/folding-b...omponents.html

I don't mountain bike on my Curve, and I wouldn't recommend it, but going on rough dirt paths with the Big Apple tires is pretty secure and comfortable.
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Old 02-18-18, 06:57 PM   #10
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Hi Edelay,

Impressive the change you did in your D3.

Why did you not choose to buy the Speed P8? It has black components and 8 gear hub? It would save you some money.

Let me know.
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Old 02-19-18, 03:03 AM   #11
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Every bike is a compromise somewhere, but if rough roads are common I suggest taller and fatter tires so you can roll over big cracks and storm drains without crashing. So the Speed P8 would get my vote. Even if it is harder to carry and travel the actual riding would be nicer than a Curve.

If you go for a gas motorbike then make sure it is Japanese like Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, or Suzuki with fuel injection (avoid carburetors). As long as you maintain it properly it should run for decades. Use a safety approved helmet and gloves on any bike.
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Old 02-19-18, 03:19 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by ttakata73 View Post
If you go for a gas motorbike then make sure it is Japanese like Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, or Suzuki with fuel injection (avoid carburetors). As long as you maintain it properly it should run for decades. Use a safety approved helmet and gloves on any bike.
If it is about transport and not about motorbike fun I'd recommend a Honda Super Cub (sometimes sold under different model names like "Innova"). This is the bike with the highest production numbers in the world and has been built for more than 60 years now. It is ultra reliable, has a near perfect fuel economy and it is dead cheap. This is the bike that motorized wider parts of Asia as well as other parts of the world - if you have ever been there you have seen one (well hundreds) of these. The actual variant has between 50 and 125cc with the bigger engine-variants being probably powerful enough for your needs. And it is as ecolocigal as you can get with a petrol bike.
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Old 02-19-18, 03:53 AM   #13
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While I’d certainly agree Honda is the way to go, the Super Cub, of which an updated model is sold as the Wave in mostly Asian markets, may not be available any more. It hasn’t been in France for some years now, nor in the UK.
As far as I know it has only been offered for a couple of years in Europe (using the name "Innova") and sales stopped about three years ago - but getting a used one is still possible and a good choice. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_Wave_series
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Old 02-19-18, 04:02 AM   #14
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I own one, a 125cc job...

Simple, one-cylinder engine with automatic and kickstart ignition. You get bogged down, pick it up cuz it only weights 105kg. 55km to the liter. Nearly indestructible. The wife, the bambino and i ride it together around town for short jaunts and quick errands. I once took one down to the crater of the Bromo volcanic complex. Google it.



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If it is about transport and not about motorbike fun I'd recommend a Honda Super Cub (sometimes sold under different model names like "Innova"). This is the bike with the highest production numbers in the world and has been built for more than 60 years now. It is ultra reliable, has a near perfect fuel economy and it is dead cheap. This is the bike that motorized wider parts of Asia as well as other parts of the world - if you have ever been there you have seen one (well hundreds) of these. The actual variant has between 50 and 125cc with the bigger engine-variants being probably powerful enough for your needs. And it is as ecolocigal as you can get with a petrol bike.

Last edited by Abu Mahendra; 02-19-18 at 11:33 PM.
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Old 02-19-18, 09:33 PM   #15
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Yeah I thought about recommending a Wave but I rented one and it rode like an unsuspended farm tractor; teeth rattling harsh on dirt roads. A current model scooter like a Click, Nouvo, PCX, etc. rides more like a modern car; decades of progress after all. A geared Yamaha Exciter 150 is super refined with a comically light clutch lever.

Still if cheap and reliable are the only criteria then a Cub/Wave-like Honda is perfect.
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Old 02-19-18, 11:41 PM   #16
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I can't speak about the others but a PCX is nearly twice the price of a Supra (the name for modern fuel-injected cubs in Indonesia). Plus they are more complex machines with automatic transmissions and smaller wheels, and worse fuel consumption. Stylish city rider, great. Daily beater, not so much. The main source of discomfort on those neo-Cubs are the undampened engine vibrations from the single cylinder.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ttakata73 View Post
Yeah I thought about recommending a Wave but I rented one and it rode like an unsuspended farm tractor; teeth rattling harsh on dirt roads. A current model scooter like a Click, Nouvo, PCX, etc. rides more like a modern car; decades of progress after all. A geared Yamaha Exciter 150 is super refined with a comically light clutch lever.

Still if cheap and reliable are the only criteria then a Cub/Wave-like Honda is perfect.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaeKrqJJqm0

Last edited by Abu Mahendra; 02-20-18 at 12:32 AM.
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Old 02-20-18, 12:52 AM   #17
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I'd recommend a Honda Super Cub
Australia Post use the Honda Super Cub's, and they'd get a flogging, so they can't be too bad.
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Old 02-20-18, 02:14 AM   #18
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As far as a 250W motor...

As a cyclist, the max power I can generate for a significant amount of time is about 200W to 300W. So, take a cyclist's 200W PLUS an E-Bike 250W, and one should be able to climb hills reasonably well. Just remember to keep pedaling.

Of course, an E-Bike is somewhat heavier than an ordinary bike, but it doesn't have to be that bad, and what is an extra 10lbs if one has 250W assist?

@odiolalluvia , that GoCycle GS looks quite nice. Unfortunately it says it has a 500W motor which may not work for the OP. And, I don't see any options. Of course, one could contact the company and point out EU license requirements.

Another option; Bike Friday, here in Oregon has been working on their E-Pakit. They should ship internationally, and allow a lot of personalized custom options.

https://www.bikefriday.com/folding-bikes/e-pakit/
https://www.bikefriday.com/folding-b...-really-small/



Unfortunately I'm not seeing an actual weight for the electric version. I think the basic non-electric version is as light as 15 lbs. And, it is designed to fit into a backpack.

And, they should be able to put in any hub motor you wish.

As far as electricity generation. Some E-Bike owners are installing solar panels. In theory, a grid-attached solar array will use the grid as a battery, and still allow one to offset one's power consumption. Say a 500W array would be a fairly small array and wouldn't break the bank.
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Old 02-20-18, 11:55 AM   #19
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I am not into motorbiking cause here we need to get a licence if the motor is125cc and above. Before if one person had the car driving licence could ride a motorbik but some days ago the law changed...

Anyway I am choosing between the Dahon Curve D3 and the Dahon Speed P8. Someone told me that the Dahon Jetspringer P8 with double suspension with 8 gears was good for all terrains..
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Old 02-20-18, 01:13 PM   #20
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Hi Edelay,

Impressive the change you did in your D3.

Why did you not choose to buy the Speed P8? It has black components and 8 gear hub? It would save you some money.

Let me know.
Hello Papaformigas.

The reason I purchased Dahon Curve D3 instead of a Dahon P8
- cheap: purchased used on Craigslist, for $450CDN/$350US in mint condition
- I like the look of 16" wheeled bikes better
- the Curve folds smaller for travel
- I wanted internal gears instead of a derailleur
- the curve is red, such a nice red.

I could be wrong, but I think 2 or 3 years ago, the Dahon bikes were still using the silver look instead of black.
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Old 02-20-18, 01:24 PM   #21
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Now I have just read that some people reported that their folded Dahons had life-threatening handlepoast failure. They got seriously injured... And Dahon did nothing


This is scary if something's g like this can happen... I have not.thought about it...

Anyone know about these Dahons bike failures??..
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Old 02-20-18, 03:50 PM   #22
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Now I have just read that some people reported that their folded Dahons had life-threatening handlepoast failure. They got seriously injured... And Dahon did nothing


This is scary if something's g like this can happen... I have not.thought about it...

Anyone know about these Dahons bike failures??..
There was a handlepost recall about 10 years ago. If you buy a new Speed 8 and clasp the post correctly you'll be fine. Don't get the Curve 3, you need bigger wheels and more gears for the terrain you ride.
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Old 02-20-18, 04:16 PM   #23
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Ok Iam more relaxed now...

Anyway here in the Azores Island there are plane roads mainly near the seaside in cities and villages. As soon as we start going to the island center all kind of hills come up... It's normal as it's too is the mouth of Vulcans... Apart from that there are lots of terrain roads that have not road pavement and are with clays, mud and gravel.

When I need to go to the other side of the island I need to cross it and the bus go though these steep hills and mud roads.

So I was thinking about the curve D3 because it fold small and Incan take it anwhere but in the other hand I can't bike properly through these roads and pathways... So what can I choose that is the middle from a big bike and a small wheell bike?

I have done some more searchings a d found out these bikes:

- Dahon Jerystream P8
- Dahon D7
- eLion eletric bike (read eBay listing number: 282836321229)

It seems the first isnmade for all terrains because it has double suspension and 20" wheells and fold like any other Dahon. Could be a choice...
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Old 02-20-18, 05:25 PM   #24
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It took a little hunting for your E-Bay link:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/282836321229

That is a big bike. Likely pretty heavy. Not high quality components, but it may work for your needs.

Do you ride a bike now?

A 30 to 40km (20 to 25 mile?) each way ride including cobbles and hills is a daunting ride.

Hopefully most of your commutes are much shorter, and you'll have an opportunity to work up to the longer rides.

Personally, my choice for the ride would be a drop bar cyclocross bike. And, just figure out how to secure it on both ends. Or, perhaps a drop bar conversion of a quality "hybrid".

Second choice (if folding was a priority) would be something like a Bike Friday Pocket Rocket outfitted with 20/406 wheels and reasonably wide tires, although Bike Friday does list a 37/451 tire that would be worth considering.

https://www.bikefriday.com/folding-b...pocket-rocket/

Getting a quality folding bike isn't cheap, but may make the difference if you'll be able to ride the distance or not.

If many of your commutes are closer to 10 miles (16 km), then you may not need the electric option, but you could also get a quality base bike electrified.
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Old 02-20-18, 07:20 PM   #25
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Is a license required for motorbikes under 125cc? If not, there are many that would work.. From your descriptions of road conditions and distances, pedaling a 20" or 16" bike could be problematic.. and, electric bikes will come with their own issues including charging stations, reliability, and range anxiety .. I would think 50cc or less wouldn't require an A1 (moto) license, but a more typical B license or none at all.. I used a 49cc scooter for a year a couple of years ago and it was great with a top speed of around 40mph and gas mileage over 115mpg achieved easily..
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