Having a great electric folding bike by your side is crucial to not only make your daily commutes a whole lot easier, thanks to its motor, but also make your journeys a lot more comfortable. Picking the right one for it is important as there are many characteristics that different electric folding bikes have that make them the best for specific reasons and environments.
So, in this article, you’ll get a breakdown of some of the different things that you’ll have to consider when you are looking to purchase an electric folding bike for yourself.
The Electric Folding Bike Motor Systems
The most common type of electric bike motor that you will find on a lot of the electric folding bikes out there is a hub motor, that is either in the front or the rear wheel of the bike, which is powered by a battery that you will usually find built into the bike’s frame. The reason that most electric bikes will be built in this specific way is because everything is kept tidy and weatherproof, however it does also tend to limit the size of the battery they can fit into the frame and as a result will also affect the range.
There is another design route that you can do with the battery though, and that is to make it removable, like the brand Brompton has implemented. Brompton have decided to stray away from the norm and use a pack that clips to the front of your bike instead so that you are able to carry it separately. This also makes it a lot more convenient for people to take the battery somewhere convenient to charge it, without needing to take the whole bike with them.
Then there are also some batteries which are integrated into the frame but can also be removed, like in the GoCycle GX and GXi.
Gearing in Folding Electric Bikes
You will actually notice that quite a few folding electric bikes come with only a single gear ratio. Although usually one gear would feel quite tough to ride with on a regular bike, thanks to the assistance that you will get from the motor to help start you off, this may be enough for a lot of riders if your commute is pretty flat and isn’t too far.
On the other hand, if you are thinking to do longer, hillier commutes or are looking to use the bike for a leisurely purpose, you may want a folding electric bike with some extra gears. One of the most popular options that you have with extra gears are Hub gears because they are tucked out of the way and a lot less likely to get damaged compared to if your bike was set up with a derailleur system.
You’ll be able to find Hub gears that range all the way from just 2 or 3 speed systems to 8 or even more gears. The more gears that your bike will have, the heavier it will also become and the cabling for shifting through all of these gears will also add to the complexity of the design. However, at the end of the day it will be up to you to decide whether or not you will gain or lose more with the addition of more gears to your riding style.
Various Wheel Sizes
As you may have already noticed, folding bikes have small wheels and it is no different with the electric folding bikes. They come equipped with these mini wheels to ensure they come in as compact a bundle as they can once you fold them. The classic Brimpron folding bike wheels come with 16 inch wheels, which is the usual for most other folding bikes as well.
Some other brands however, such as Tern and goCycle, like to use 20 inch wheels instead. Not only do these change the look of the bikes but thanks to the larger size, it helps a little with rolling resistance to give you an overall more smooth ride over any road imperfections. However, this does all come at the cost of having increased weight as well as a larger size when it is all folded up.
Compact Folding Size
The most important feature of these various folding bikes is their ability to fold up into a compact size for storing in places where a regular bike would never be able to fit. So, with that being said, it is extremely important to look at the various folding sizes as well as the ease of folding them up. If you are a commuter who is going to be using public transport then you’ll definitely want a folding bike that is able to fold up into a size as small as possible so that you are able to take it with you onto busy trains or up steps on buses or trains.
It is here where you will see the design and integrated battery come into play as it won’t abstract anything when you start to fold up your electric folding bike. On the other hand you have other options like Brompton’s solution where you are able to separate the battery pack to fold the bikes up easier, but this way you’ll have to carry around another piece of kit with you.
Then you also have an option to go with the GoCycles and other brands where they use a part-fold design so that the bike folds into a package that you are able to either push or pull around, using the bike’s seat as a handle. Although this part-fold design definitely takes up more space than the fully folded design would, it instead has the advantage where you won’t need to fully lug around the bike’s substantial weight. The MiRider’s bikes have a cool answer to this as they’ve put a skate wheel on the bottom of their bikes in order to make it a lot easier to manoeuvre when the bike is folded up.
There you have a guide to picking out the best electric folding bike for you. The most important thing is to look at these different features that electric folding bikes have and try to choose the ones that will best suit your specific riding style and where you’ll be riding the bike.