I’ve had the Estarli e20.7 Original Pro on somewhat of a long-term test – about a good six months, I think – riding it through the winter and into the warm days of spring and it’s been dependable, fun and one of the most grabbed bikes out of the shed for bombing across town and routes further afield. It’s a neat little package, for not a huge amount of cash.
If you are used to riding full size bikes – those with 700c or 26” wheels – the most striking thing about riding a small-wheeled folder can be the compromises in handling. They can feel nervous, twitchy even, and you’ve got to keep an eye out for potholes lurking in the darkness.
The 20” wheels and wide Schwalbe tyres minimise any compromises – that and the extra weight added to the e20 by way of the motor and battery setup over a traditional folder. It feels surprisingly stable, takes tight turns well and even at speed there are no signs of any wobble.
In an urban environment – where let’s be honest the e20 is likely to spend most of its time – it behaves exactly how I wanted it to.
Its nimbleness let me weave through the nose-to-tail rush hour traffic when commuting through Bath, and the low-down punch of the motor allowed me to bridge gaps in between the cars as they occasionally take the chance to perform some forward motion.
At just under 18kg, its weight brings a level of stability on cold wet roads, and should you need them, the disc brakes will bring you to a controlled stop without much fuss.
On the whole, in these busy environments where your head is turning like a budgie’s looking for gaps and shortcuts, the e20 gives a huge amount of confidence, not just in terms of its stability on the road, but also from the ride position.
With a single size covering the majority of the population, at 1.8m I was given a tall, upright stance which easily allowed me to look far ahead over the cars. Your weight is well balanced too. Even when stamping hard on the pedals I had no issues with the front tyre picking itself up off the road – something that I find can happen on non-motor assisted folders.
Even at speed I was impressed – not usually an area where small-wheeled bikes feel at home.
From the park-and-ride on the outskirts to our office based in the city centre is a steepish descent which is easily 45mph on a road bike. On the e20 I hit 35mph (I ran out of gears) and it felt unbelievably planted. If the ratios allowed, I definitely would have been happy to go faster.
Obviously, you don’t have to ride the e20 like a loon if you don’t want to. The large volume tyres and comfortable saddle make for a pleasurable riding experience, and I covered many miles with the kids on various routes or popping out through the lanes to the next town or village.
When you are above the 15.5mph limit of the motor assistance (UK law) the e20 rolls along nicely and on flat sections of road I was happily cruising along unassisted. It’s only on the transition between the flat and the climbs where your speed hasn’t dropped enough for the motor to kick in that you notice the overall weight of the Estarli. That’s not limited to the e20 though, it’s a broader e-bike thing.
The way it behaves, and those wide tyres, means that the e20 is just as much fun away from the road too. I rode it on gravel tracks, hardpacked byways and canal paths, so it gives you plenty of options if you want to ride or commute away from the traffic.
From a ride point of view, if you are looking for an e-bike that can do a bit of everything, and can sit folded up in the corner, then the e20 is definitely worthy of consideration.
Frame and fork
The frame is constructed from 6061 grade aluminium alloy, a blend of tubes that look like they will stand up to any abuse you exert on them, with the addition of some welded gusset sections for a boost in strength to cope with the motor.
It’s available in a range of colours, some bright and some subdued like this grey. I like it though; it doesn’t show the dirt and it blends in with its surroundings when parked up outside the shops.
The paint is robust too. Being taken in and out of the back of the car countless times and packed away in the shed with all of the other bikes, lawnmowers and other things that need to be dragged past it haven’t left any lasting marks or scratches.
The frame and fork come with countless mounting points (with many of them used in this build) and everything looks to be finished to a high quality. The welding has a look of robustness and purposefulness to it, without coming across as industrial, which is a nice balance.
When it comes to folding the e20 manages it quickly and easily, once you have practiced it a few times, with the main hinge situated on the top tube (is it still a top tube when there isn’t one underneath it?) allowing the frame to swing in half. Then it’s a matter of dropping the handlebar assembly down and voilà.
When folded, the package measures around 450mm x 660mm x 845mm, so everything considered it’s pretty compact. Weight wise, you probably aren’t going to want to carry it too far, but it’s not going to be an issue to lift on and off a train, and I had no problems lifting it in and out of a family hatchback.
As I mentioned earlier, the e20 is a one size fits all affair, with customisation allowed by way of extendable handlebar height and a very long seat post. The seat tube is open at both ends, which allows you to drop the post right through for folding or for those who aren’t that tall.
Everything is also quick release operated so fettling when out and about isn’t an issue.
You get a two-year warranty from Estarli and they build all of the bikes here in the UK.
The power plant
The e20 uses a 250W motor mounted within the rear hub which puts out 40Nm of torque. It’s a set up that I found to work well with a bike of this size. It was only on the long steep hills (like climbing the one back up to the park-and-ride) that I found that the speed started to drop off.
Acceleration from a standing start is smooth and it drops out at the speed limiter without you really noticing. There is certainly no clunky on/off kind of feel here, which is great.
You get five levels of assistance which are controlled via the head unit display, which also shows you a load of other ride metrics too.
I mostly just left it on full power, but if you do want to try and prolong battery life, switching into the lower modes can help range.
The 259Wh, 7.2ah 36V Samsung/Panasonic battery sits within the seat post, connected to the motor system by a removable cable at its base.
This allows you to remove it for charging should you so desire.
Range isn’t massive. I averaged between 24 and 28 miles between charges – but as I said I left it on full most of the time. I’m a pretty strong rider though, so I was only using assistance on the climbs and when pulling away – most other places I was unassisted.
Estarli claim 31 miles (50km), so to be honest I’d say what I was achieving is pretty good. The range has got better as the weather has warmed up, as batteries don’t really like the sub-zero temperatures I was riding in at the beginning of the review period. (More on this in our guide to e-bike range.)
A full charge using the power pack provided took around 4.5 hours, and cost around 4p per hour according to my smart meter.
The e20 has seen some properly rubbish weather including heavy rain and salt covered roads, but none of this has had any affect on the reliability or durability of the motor system.
Alongside the motor system, you also get a Shimano 7-speed gear system with a cassette range of 28T to 14T across the seven cogs. Up front that is teamed with a single 48T chainring.
The rear mech is a Tourney offering which skips the chain up and down the cassette by way of a thumb and finger shifter that sits atop the straight handlebar. Modern it ain’t, and it’s quite clunky compared to the latest gear systems, but it’s functional and robust.
The disc brake setup uses cable-operated calipers mated to 160mm rotors front and rear. Again they are low budget offerings, but this is an e-bike costing just over a grand, so some compromises are to be expected.
If you aren’t worried about logos or brand names, then you’ll be happy with the performance. They haul the e20 up without issue and while there is a bit of cable compression felt at the lever, I never felt that the brakes were underpowered.
The chainset has alloy cranks which attach to a square taper bottom bracket which feels to be robust. Like I said, this bike has seen some rubbish conditions and I’m not finding any issues with rumbly bearings.
You also get a chainguard to stop an oily chain coming into contact with your clothes.
When it comes to the gears and brakes, they are all components that are cheap to replace should the need arise, and it is all technology that can be fettled and serviced by yourself if you have some basic tools and a rough understanding of how bike components work.
The contact points are comfortable with the saddle providing some cushioning that isn’t overly soft, so on longer rides numbness shouldn’t become an issue. The grips do just that – grip your hands well in the wet and dry.
The model we have here is the Pro option, which comes with a rear rack, lights and mudguards.
They are worthy upgrades as it makes thee e20 a capable year-round machine straight out of the box. The mudguards give good protection considering their diminutive size. On really wet roads you’ll get some spray onto your shoes, but not as much as I expected.
The e20 has a weight limit of 110kg in total so having the rack allows you to carry some extra stuff.
The front light is controlled by the head unit, and it chucks out a decent amount of illumination, certainly enough to ride by at around 15mph to 20mph. The rear light is turned on manually and it’s quite a cheap option with no flashing mode.
Both lights are ideal if you get caught out in the dark, but I’d recommend secondary flashers front and rear to help you get noticed in amongst the sea of urban light.
Wheels and tyres
The 20” wheels are laced with 36 spokes front and rear to create a belt and braces approach to the build. They have coped with plenty of on and off-road abuse during testing and remain true and smooth rolling.
Tyre-wise the e20 is wearing a pair of Schwalbe’s Big Apple in a width of 2.15”. They are lightly treaded, which’ll make a tiny bit of difference when on looser surfaces.
Puncture proofing seems to be good. They have coped with small stones and flint from wet roads, hedge cuttings and gravel trails without any issue, and as long as you keep them topped up with air I can’t really see any issues arising.
Since I’ve had the e20, it has become the e20.7 Original on Estarli’s website with prices starting at £1,295 for the standard model. This Pro model with the upgrade’s costs £1,350.
Personally, I think that’s a respectable price for a build like this. The money looks to have been focused on delivering a quality frameset and motor system which are definitely where you want it to go. Other bits can be upgraded over time.
Richard reviewed the MiRider back in 2021 and he was very impressed with it. It’s a similar weight to the e20 at 17.65kg, plus the torque levels match at 40Nm. It only has 16” wheels though and a single gear and Richard found the handling to be ’lively’. It was £1,350 when he tested it, and it’s now £1,595.
The Raleigh Stow-E-Way is a 20” folder available for £1,399. It has some neat touches like the rear rack being part of the actual frame, but its external battery pack doesn’t look as clean and stealthy as the e20’s.
If you are after an affordable folding e-bike, you can find a few more options in our guide to the best folding e-bikes for under £2,000. It’s worth saying though that the e20 will almost certainly be joining them the next time we update that page.
With the e20.7 Original Pro, I think Estarli have delivered a great package for the money. Yes, there are some budget components included, but where it matters everything is reliable and works great. The best thing about the e20 though is the way it rides. It just does everything well from bumbling about to smashing it through the traffic and even if you aren’t a seasoned cyclist you’ll find it’s easy and confidence inspiring to ride.