If you have a mixed commute with a bike as part of the mix, you might have already considered a folding e-bike. They’re just the ticket for taking the effort out of the bits that you do in the saddle. A folding bike can also be a boon if you’re short on space, at either end of your journey. We trawled the show halls looking at the various options, and here are six of the best.
Benelli Mini Fold
If space on your train or in your office is really at a premium then it might be worth looking at something like the Benelli Mini Fold (pictured top), which is a super compact folding e-bike built around 16” wheels, the same size you’d find on a Brompton.
This bike is still pre-production, and some of the bits on the display bike at the show were 3D-printed, but it’s due for launch next year and looks pretty interesting. The bike uses a front hub motor and an internal battery that’s fitted inside the single beam of the mainframe. At 187Wh it’s not going to take you on long adventures, but that’s not what it’s designed for: this is a short-hop bike and its low 15kg all-in weight should mean rolling it onto the train or lifting it into the back of a car shouldn’t be too taxing. The Mini Fold has two skate wheels on the back of the rack to make it easier to push around when folded.
KTM Macina Fold
This 20”-wheeled folder from KTM is also brand new, and they had it inside a plastic box to keep everyone’s sticky fingers off it – presumably because it’s just a 3D model – which made it a bit difficult to shoot. Anyway, KTM are looking at a fairly high spec here. The motor is the new generation Bosch Active Line (or Active Line Plus) with the direct drive chainring, and there’s a Gates CDX carbon belt drive and a Shimano Alfine rear hub gear. The bike has Shimano Hydraulic brakes, too: this is the sort of spec you’d expect to pay north of £3,000 for, so this one’s not going to be cheap.
The new Bosch Powertube battery makes it a lot easier to keep clean lines with a bike like this; here the battery is integrated into the main frame tube above the folding hinge. Full mudguards, rack and integrated lighting are all part of the package.
The Vektron is a bike we know pretty well at ebiketips: we rode it at last year’s Eurobike (when it was called the Elektron) and we have one on longer-term test at the moment. It’s a great little bike in the Bosch build that we have, but it’s pretty expensive. The good news is that Tern have updated the Vektron and added two new models with the cheaper – but still very good – Bafang Max Drive mid motor.
There are three models below the original 10-speed Vektron, which is now the Vektron S10. The D7i gets a Shimano Nexus hub gear, and the P9 and D8 get 9- and 8-speed derailleur gears respectively. All three bikes will be significantly cheaper than the £2,599 for the original Vektron, although we don’t have full UK pricing yet.
Tern have also introduced a Transit Rack for the Vektron, with four casters that make pushing the bike around a lot easier when it’s folded.
Dahon e-Vigor i7
Another new bike, the e-Vigor is currently starting production over in the far east an is likely to be available in Europe in January of next year. It’s a 20” folding bike built around the dependable Shimano STEPS city motor. It’s got a particular design element that’s quite interesting, that we didn’t spot on first look…
That arrangement underneath the frame is a cable, that’s designed to handle the tensive forces that go through the bike when you ride it around, and keep it away from the hinge mechanism. The tension cable isn’t a new idea: the Slingshot mountain bike (https://www.pinkbike.com/news/1992-slingshot-team-issue-now-that-was-a-bike.html) was popular in the early 1990s and the design dates to a couple of decades before that. But it makes sense on a folding bike like this, as it adds triangulation to the frame but doesn’t interfere with the fold.
The e-Vigor uses a 7-speed Shimano Nexus hub gear, and Magura HS-11 hydraulic rim brakes. The frame integrates a neat carry handle on top of the main frame for when you need to haul the folded bike about.
Vello have raised over $700,000 for their folding e-bike on Indiegogo; and they’re currently in the process of fulfilling the crowdfunded orders, but you can still get on board with builds starting at €1,799 and running up to nearly €3,000 for a titanium framed, geard model. The bike itself uses the same basic frame as their non-powered bikes. It’s a clever design that uses a magnetic clasp in the suspension unit behind the seat tube to separate the two parts of the frame. The bike can be folded using one hand.
Vello have teamed up with motor manufacturers Zehus for this bike, and it uses the Bike+ all-in-one hub. Motor, processor and 160Wh battery are all contained in one unit, and you control the hub wirelessly from your smartphone. The motor features regenerative braking to maximise your range around town and the lack of wiring makes for a neat package.
BH EasyGo Volt
Spanish manufacturer BH bikes have a number of folding bikes in their range, and the EasyGo Volt is the most compact. Based around 18” wheels – not a size you often see – the EasyGo Volt has a main frame that folds around two hinges for a compact folded size.
EasyGo is BH’s lightweight and small-capacity range, and the Volt gets a 250Wh battery and a BH rear hub motor. The bike has a claimed 50km range but really this is a bike designed for shorter travels and should be ideal if you need to move the bike about folded: the compact size and reasonably low weight will make it easier to handle than many.
The Volt gets a 7-speed derailleur transmission and V-brakes for stopping. The drive system has Bluetooth capability, and you can pair the bike with the BH app for more control of the system.