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Old 14-11-2019, 13:53   #16
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Re: Any recommendations for a lightweight folding electric bike to take cruising?

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Originally Posted by magentawave View Post
Thanks, but it's crazy how expensive some of these little folding ebikes are.
Well, you forgot to mention that you want light, foldable, electric, reliable AND cheap. Good luck and please let us know what you find.
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Old 14-11-2019, 14:13   #17
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Re: Any recommendations for a lightweight folding electric bike to take cruising?

500 bucks for the tinyurl.com electric with 25-30 km range....ain't nothing to turn your nose up at. For those with experience on smaller wheel foldables….if you look at these smaller wheel bikes the chain leaving the pedal sprocket seems like it would be easy to mess it up as it descends to the rear sprocket derailer. Any comments about that engineering would be appreciated. Cant go wrong at that price... thanks for posting up ahead of time.

I rode bikes all my life but never a small wheel collapsible.
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Old 14-11-2019, 14:57   #18
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Re: Any recommendations for a lightweight folding electric bike to take cruising?

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Well, you forgot to mention that you want light, foldable, electric, reliable AND cheap. Good luck and please let us know what you find.
I didn't say "reliable AND cheap" because I was just starting my research and didn't know what was available yet, but I did say this in my first post: "lightweight folding electric bike."
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Old 14-11-2019, 15:03   #19
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Re: Any recommendations for a lightweight folding electric bike to take cruising?

The e-bike market is still evolving, although the folding bike market is well established. Many of the lower-cost folders are simply horrible for pedaling, and others are fine. The point of the Brompton is that it maintains the correct dimensions for sitting and pedaling, which is why the widely-spaced 16" wheels look a bit funny but the bike rides surprisingly well. I tried other folders before coughing up the steep price for the Brompton, and ultimately I am very glad that I did. YMMV. Some people buying e-bikes simply don't care how well it pedals as they intend to use electric drive only, so 60# clunkers with poor geometry are not an issue. For those that do like to pedal a bike then even the "lightweight" 35#-40# is heavy, but perhaps worth it for the electric drive. Since the OP is an experienced rider I would encourage him to try that model before buying if possible; the 30-day Amazon return policy is a good second choice.

It is quite feasible to buy a good, moderately-priced folder, such as a DaHon, and add a motorized front wheel. The package linked above would not be my choice (hint: the store selling it is a bridal shop). Some of the reviewers were using sealed lead acid batteries - a poor (and heavy) solution - it is better to pay for a lithium power pack. It has a simple throttle control, which may suit those that have no intention of moving their legs, and is legally limited in the US to 20mph. For those that actually pedal a bit it is preferred to have a "PAS" (power amplification system?) controller; these have pedal sensors that attempt to amplify the pedal input for a more natural way of riding. Most PAS controllers also have throttle control. In the US PAS systems have a higher speed limit (28mph IIRC). The EU has similar regulations for e-bikes.

I have been shopping for an electrification kit, which is why i am current on them. Replacing the front wheel is usually the easiest approach, and leaves the rear derailleur system intact. Replacing rear wheels is a bigger problem and I don't see a benefit great enough to justify it. Alternatively a motor can be mounted in place of the normal bottom bracket spindle; the lower and centered mass plus no wheel modifications is a plus, although it puts higher loads on the existing drive system. Lots to think about...

Greg
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Old 14-11-2019, 15:25   #20
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Re: Any recommendations for a lightweight folding electric bike to take cruising?

Check electric wheel chairs. Fold to 42# with a 20mi. range,
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Old 14-11-2019, 17:33   #21
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Re: Any recommendations for a lightweight folding electric bike to take cruising?

You may wish to consider an upgrade kit, like https://www.swytchbike.com/kits/

You can get them for virtually any type of bike (e.g. Penny farthing) and it looks much cheaper than buying an ebike direct. e.g. Brompton ebike £2,700, or Std Brompton with a swytch kit around £1,800 and has the same e-performance stats.

Haven't needed one as yet so I can't speak/type from experience. I have no affiliation with either Brompton or Swytch, but it's where I'll start when the time comes.
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Old 14-11-2019, 18:59   #22
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Re: Any recommendations for a lightweight folding electric bike to take cruising?

A lot of the bikes riding to trestles are Murfs, they don't make a folder but range and power are great. I've got an Izzy model, not giant tires but still bigger than my regular mountain bikes ever had.
https://murfelectricbikes.com/
It ain't light but I can get it in the bed of the pickup which I couldn't do with an older POS Chinese electric bike with SLA batteries.
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Old 14-11-2019, 19:23   #23
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Re: Any recommendations for a lightweight folding electric bike to take cruising?

We have Bromptons and love them. I canít imagine how you could beat the design and quality. I expect them to last a lifetime. But Iím considering an electric skateboard or scooter. But the pedal bikes wonít run out of batteries and ride like the wind. Also great on non boat trips! Smallest folding bike Iíve seen but rides like a full size bike.
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Old 14-11-2019, 20:53   #24
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Re: Any recommendations for a lightweight folding electric bike to take cruising?

As far as prices go, the sky's the limit with these goofy little bikes and hopefully the less expensive ones in the $500 range aren't disposable pieces of garbage. I know from mountain bike experience that you can often pay a thousand less for a bike with the same frame as the more expensive model. However, the difference is that the more expensive model will have much much better components.

As someone said previously, ebikes are still evolving and none of these brands are what I know of as "name brands" so I'm kind of in the dark here. I'm not sure if spending more results in higher quality components (like the good mountain bike brands) or merchants are getting whatever they can now because folding ebikes are the hot new thing. Does anyone know if higher prices with folding ebikes means a better bike?

I narrowed my choices on Amazon down to bikes with lots of reviews comprised of mostly 4 and 5 stars. (You have to wonder about the longevity of these bikes too as there's a huge difference between someone that left 5 stars for a bike they just received vs. someone whose review is based on many months of use and many hundreds of miles.)

What I have found so far is that the less expensive folding electric bikes with aluminum frames, 16" wheels x 2" tires and 350 watt motors are around $500.

If you want the same thing but with 20" wheels x 4" FAT tires and a 500 watt motor then the price jumps to $800. The downside to the 20" wheels with fat tires is that they weigh about 12 pounds more. I'm thinking the fat tires would be nice for rough roads and sandy beaches though.



Quote:
Originally Posted by CarinaPDX View Post
The e-bike market is still evolving, although the folding bike market is well established. Many of the lower-cost folders are simply horrible for pedaling, and others are fine. The point of the Brompton is that it maintains the correct dimensions for sitting and pedaling, which is why the widely-spaced 16" wheels look a bit funny but the bike rides surprisingly well. I tried other folders before coughing up the steep price for the Brompton, and ultimately I am very glad that I did. YMMV. Some people buying e-bikes simply don't care how well it pedals as they intend to use electric drive only, so 60# clunkers with poor geometry are not an issue. For those that do like to pedal a bike then even the "lightweight" 35#-40# is heavy, but perhaps worth it for the electric drive. Since the OP is an experienced rider I would encourage him to try that model before buying if possible; the 30-day Amazon return policy is a good second choice.

It is quite feasible to buy a good, moderately-priced folder, such as a DaHon, and add a motorized front wheel. The package linked above would not be my choice (hint: the store selling it is a bridal shop). Some of the reviewers were using sealed lead acid batteries - a poor (and heavy) solution - it is better to pay for a lithium power pack. It has a simple throttle control, which may suit those that have no intention of moving their legs, and is legally limited in the US to 20mph. For those that actually pedal a bit it is preferred to have a "PAS" (power amplification system?) controller; these have pedal sensors that attempt to amplify the pedal input for a more natural way of riding. Most PAS controllers also have throttle control. In the US PAS systems have a higher speed limit (28mph IIRC). The EU has similar regulations for e-bikes.

I have been shopping for an electrification kit, which is why i am current on them. Replacing the front wheel is usually the easiest approach, and leaves the rear derailleur system intact. Replacing rear wheels is a bigger problem and I don't see a benefit great enough to justify it. Alternatively a motor can be mounted in place of the normal bottom bracket spindle; the lower and centered mass plus no wheel modifications is a plus, although it puts higher loads on the existing drive system. Lots to think about...

Greg
Electric motor conversion kits on Amazon are $165 to $1100 with most in the $250 range. Folding bikes on Amazon are around $250. I'm bike-less now so if I bought a non motorized folding bike for $250 and a motor kit for $200 I'll be looking at around $450. Besides the price savings, do you see any advantage to converting a bike vs buying a factory electric bike?



Quote:
Originally Posted by InternetSailing View Post
You may wish to consider an upgrade kit, like https://www.swytchbike.com/kits/

You can get them for virtually any type of bike (e.g. Penny farthing) and it looks much cheaper than buying an ebike direct. e.g. Brompton ebike £2,700, or Std Brompton with a swytch kit around £1,800 and has the same e-performance stats.

Haven't needed one as yet so I can't speak/type from experience. I have no affiliation with either Brompton or Swytch, but it's where I'll start when the time comes.
I'm really hoping to not spend that much for what is essentially a funky little circus bike that will be subjected to the caustic environment on a sailboat.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Calif.Ted View Post
A lot of the bikes riding to trestles are Murfs, they don't make a folder but range and power are great. I've got an Izzy model, not giant tires but still bigger than my regular mountain bikes ever had.
https://murfelectricbikes.com/
It ain't light but I can get it in the bed of the pickup which I couldn't do with an older POS Chinese electric bike with SLA batteries.
Those look pretty sweet but wouldn't fit in the ama's of my boat.
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Old 14-11-2019, 21:49   #25
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Re: Any recommendations for a lightweight folding electric bike to take cruising?

You do tend to get what you pay for. Bosch seems to be the best, and most expensive, motor supplier. Their PAS controller is the real deal: it measures pedal torque and then amplifies it very smoothly. If money is less of an issue this would be a great choice. There are several Chinese names that have established their brands with decent products, the best known being Baofeng. Needless to say there is a lot of no-name stuff as well, which I would avoid. Whichever bike or motor kit is of interest to you I would think you should check the on-line reviews of the motor - there is a lot of good info out there. Also, many of the so-called PAS systems fake it with a motion (not torque) sensor on the spindle which are generally not quite as smooth but do the job.

The advantage of buying the bike and converting is that you can choose both the bike and the motor package to your liking. I recommend that you cough up a little more money and get a name brand folder, like a DaHon (https://usa.dahon.com, end-of-summer sale going on now), and add a kit based on Baofeng or another leading Chinese brand motor. Avoid the no-name stuff as the risk of getting crap is significant. Also, the ideal thing is to buy the bike with an empty battery pack and fill it with US-sourced 18650 Lithium batteries: many of the Chinese-sourced lithiums are repackaged cells salvaged from old battery packs. I have found this to be the case with many of the flashlights I buy, so I now try to get the flashlights without batteries then buy good batteries locally. Buying things from China is a wild west experience...

BTW there is one bike shop in the US that is known for selling the Chinese e-bikes at prices close to the import-your-own ones. But in order to do that they offer NO warranty. You have a day or so to ship it back if it is DOA and then it is your problem. Which is better than importing your own and not being able to send it back. Buying in the US can be a fun experience. Many of the e-bike shops are pushing expensive "city bike" clunkers that weigh a ton, which makes no sense to me. Heaven help you if you ever have to actually pedal the things. If you enjoy a self-propelled bike trip then an e-bike under about 40# is the way to go. Good folders run about 30# plus or minus, then add a 10# or so motor kit and it should be enjoyable.

Fat tire bikes can be very lightweight - surprisingly so. Go to a decent bicycle shop and lift one up for a real shock. Go to a cheap big box store and try the same - careful about the hernia. But not folders.

The Brompton is not "a funky little circus bike", but you won't appreciate it until you try one. I first tried one at the Southampton Boat Show in 1997 and fell in love, but was too cheap to buy one. Big mistake - I would have really enjoyed it in northern Europe. Four years later I had one shipped into Gibraltar, and after that I enjoyed riding it nearly every day in the Med. Worth every penny. I bought the 3-speed Sturmey-Archer model, and added a Swiss Mountain Drive to make 6 perfectly spaced gears. The Brompton continues to evolve, and I have added some of the newer components, such as the dual-pivot brakes. When I got back to Portland I tore it completely apart and rebuilt it, including having the local dealer replace the loose hinge pins (I put a lot of wear on the poor little thing). There are Brompton shops around the US so if you are curious go have a ride.

Greg
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Old 15-11-2019, 05:10   #26
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Re: Any recommendations for a lightweight folding electric bike to take cruising?

If you buy your preferred model, I'm sure that it would be appreciated all around if you let us know how it goes. We sold our folding bikes before leaving Mexico but I can see that we could make good use of some electric folders now. Thanks in advance if you are able to give us a review.
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Old 15-11-2019, 06:37   #27
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Re: Any recommendations for a lightweight folding electric bike to take cruising?

We have a Swagtron. It was a test to see if we like electric bikes and it was a success. It is a little heavy but we get it in the dinghy just fine and rides great. It is not a performance bike but you can pedal or just sit there.
Range is great. It has weathered onboard without rust better then we had hoped. We like it enough that we are not even looking for a more expensive one.
This one is perfectly adequate and you canít beat the price. If you use it for transportation it is hard to beat. If you are a rider that is used to high quality non electric bikes you will probably find the ride inferior to those.
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Old 15-11-2019, 12:15   #28
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Re: Any recommendations for a lightweight folding electric bike to take cruising?

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Originally Posted by jkleins View Post
We have a Swagtron. It was a test to see if we like electric bikes and it was a success. It is a little heavy but we get it in the dinghy just fine and rides great. It is not a performance bike but you can pedal or just sit there.
Range is great. It has weathered onboard without rust better then we had hoped. We like it enough that we are not even looking for a more expensive one.
This one is perfectly adequate and you canít beat the price. If you use it for transportation it is hard to beat. If you are a rider that is used to high quality non electric bikes you will probably find the ride inferior to those.
No doubt a little folding bike can't compete with the ride of a high quality "real" bike but this is a compromise and I'll be okay with it.

Do you see your Swagtron on this page? https://tinyurl.com/qr6nx7t Have you used it a lot, like many many miles and many months?



Quote:
Originally Posted by CarinaPDX View Post
You do tend to get what you pay for. Bosch seems to be the best, and most expensive, motor supplier. Their PAS controller is the real deal: it measures pedal torque and then amplifies it very smoothly. If money is less of an issue this would be a great choice. There are several Chinese names that have established their brands with decent products, the best known being Baofeng. Needless to say there is a lot of no-name stuff as well, which I would avoid. Whichever bike or motor kit is of interest to you I would think you should check the on-line reviews of the motor - there is a lot of good info out there. Also, many of the so-called PAS systems fake it with a motion (not torque) sensor on the spindle which are generally not quite as smooth but do the job.

The advantage of buying the bike and converting is that you can choose both the bike and the motor package to your liking. I recommend that you cough up a little more money and get a name brand folder, like a DaHon (https://usa.dahon.com, end-of-summer sale going on now), and add a kit based on Baofeng or another leading Chinese brand motor. Avoid the no-name stuff as the risk of getting crap is significant. Also, the ideal thing is to buy the bike with an empty battery pack and fill it with US-sourced 18650 Lithium batteries: many of the Chinese-sourced lithiums are repackaged cells salvaged from old battery packs. I have found this to be the case with many of the flashlights I buy, so I now try to get the flashlights without batteries then buy good batteries locally. Buying things from China is a wild west experience...

BTW there is one bike shop in the US that is known for selling the Chinese e-bikes at prices close to the import-your-own ones. But in order to do that they offer NO warranty. You have a day or so to ship it back if it is DOA and then it is your problem. Which is better than importing your own and not being able to send it back. Buying in the US can be a fun experience. Many of the e-bike shops are pushing expensive "city bike" clunkers that weigh a ton, which makes no sense to me. Heaven help you if you ever have to actually pedal the things. If you enjoy a self-propelled bike trip then an e-bike under about 40# is the way to go. Good folders run about 30# plus or minus, then add a 10# or so motor kit and it should be enjoyable.

Fat tire bikes can be very lightweight - surprisingly so. Go to a decent bicycle shop and lift one up for a real shock. Go to a cheap big box store and try the same - careful about the hernia. But not folders.

The Brompton is not "a funky little circus bike", but you won't appreciate it until you try one. I first tried one at the Southampton Boat Show in 1997 and fell in love, but was too cheap to buy one. Big mistake - I would have really enjoyed it in northern Europe. Four years later I had one shipped into Gibraltar, and after that I enjoyed riding it nearly every day in the Med. Worth every penny. I bought the 3-speed Sturmey-Archer model, and added a Swiss Mountain Drive to make 6 perfectly spaced gears. The Brompton continues to evolve, and I have added some of the newer components, such as the dual-pivot brakes. When I got back to Portland I tore it completely apart and rebuilt it, including having the local dealer replace the loose hinge pins (I put a lot of wear on the poor little thing). There are Brompton shops around the US so if you are curious go have a ride.

Greg
Lots of great information there, Greg. I didn't even consider the quality of the motor so thanks for pointing that out. Today I will dive deeper into possibly buying a folding non-motorized bike and adding a conversion motor. I found a good deal on a used Dahon MU N360 with 20" wheels and 8 speed NuVinci planetary internal gear hub. My concern is figuring out how to fit a surfboard rack on to it that can accomodate the width of a surf sup that is 29" to 30" wide. I am waiting to hear back from a couple of bike surf rack manufacturers. Perhaps I could modify an existing rack or make something custom?
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Old 15-11-2019, 18:20   #29
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Re: Any recommendations for a lightweight folding electric bike to take cruising?

That is a pretty nice DaHon; I expect you will enjoy riding it. It does have the narrower front hub for folding bikes (74mm) if you want to go that way, which I think is the best for such a bike. Thanks to @InternetSailing's post I looked at the Swytch and decided to order now while the 40% off IndieGoGo price is available. I bought the Pro version. There are only a few more available at this price ($750) and then I expect the discount to be reduced a bit more. It would have been nice if I had known about it in the beginning for a 50% discount. They seem to have done everything right, are very easy to install and add very little weight. Hunting around on Chinese sites might have saved some money, but would have required more effort and entailed a higher risk.

I'm sorry but I really can't address the rack issue. Putting a rack for a surfboard on the side of a folding bike is going to be a fun project...

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Old 16-11-2019, 23:23   #30
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Re: Any recommendations for a lightweight folding electric bike to take cruising?

I've been looking at the same thing lately. I'm not trying to sell you anything, but I did find this rather useful. http://electricbikereview.com &

Chris
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