As the world population increases rapidly, environmental concerns have also grown. The number of vehicles on the road has increased drastically due to globalisation, resulting in increased pollution. An emerging solution to this problem is the shift towards e-bikes.
Electric bikes – also called electric bicycles – have batteries that can be recharged for use, preventing the use of carbon dioxide-emitting fossil fuels. And you can opt for an electric folding bike if you’re low on space!
Electric folding bikes can easily be compacted for transport and storage, making them a viable option for commuters of all ages. You can fold them to fit in small spaces, whether it be the boot of your car or a small apartment. Let’s discuss them in detail.
Types of Folding Electric Bikes
Depending on your requirements and usage, you’ll find various electric folding bikes with different weights and sizes available in the market. These include:
1. Compact Folding Bikes
A compact electric folding bike is highly portable as it has a lightweight frame and small wheels. You can also store these e-bikes in small spaces and carry them on public transport, if necessary. They are also cheaper to buy than mid or full-sized e-bikes.
In this category, you have electric folding bikes with small 16-inch wheels, which have a highly compact size. However, you’ll find them folding e-bikes relatively slower and more unstable than other folding e-bikes.
2. Mid-Sized Folding Bikes
These e-bikes are bigger than compact folding bikes and have two versions: you can get electric bikes with 20-inch or 24-inch wheels. You’ll find a mid-sized electric bike sturdier than a compact electric folding bike, although they are heavier.
3. Full-Sized Folding Bikes
Full-sized folding electric bikes have two versions: 26-inch and 27.5-inch wheels. These e-bikes are heavier than the other two types and are relatively difficult to store in small places. However, you have much smoother rides on full-sized e-bikes at higher speeds, making them a feasible option for long-distance commute.
Electric Bike Components
Whether your e-bike is folding or not, it will have the following components. These include:
The frame, which is also the structure of the electric bike, is available in various materials. These include:
- Aluminium: The most popular material for electric bike frames is aluminium, which is lightweight, durable, strong, and economical compared to other materials.
- Steel: Steel is a relatively stronger material, although it is heavier. A frame made from steel can withstand heavier loads, making it useful for cargo delivery.
- Titanium: Titanium is used in e-bikes due to its high durability and strength-to-weight ratio; however, it’s expensive. It’s common in high-end bikes where cost is not a deciding factor.
The type of motor used in an electric bike affects its speed, power output, and performance. The main types include:
- Hub Motors: These are the most common type of motors used in e-bikes. They directly power the bike’s wheel and are found in the front or rear wheel hub. They are relatively heavy and can add to the bike’s overall weight but are relatively simple in function.
- Geared Motors: These employ gears to increase the torque and power output. These motors are helpful if you plan to take your bikes on inclines, as they assist the drivers in controlling the power output of the motors by using the gears.
- Direct Drive Motors: These are simple and highly efficient as you can have a smooth bike ride. They are heavier than geared motors, which affects their performance and efficiency.
- Friction Motors: Friction motors can be attached to your bike’s rear wheel to provide extra power when pressing on them. The main drawback of this type of motor is that it is extremely noisy.
- Mid-drive Motors: These are near your bike’s pedals and they directly power your bike’s drivetrain, allowing you to use gears to make your ride more efficient.
Batteries are a key feature of e-bikes as they directly impact the bikes’ range and the effort you have to put in. Multiple battery types available in the market include:
i. Lithium Ion Batteries
Li-ion batteries are the most popular batteries used to power e-bikes. Their main advantage is that they are lightweight and have high energy density. And you can recharge these batteries many times – they have a lifespan of five years or a minimum of 2000 charge cycles.
ii. Lithium Polymer Batteries
These batteries are a variation of Lithium-ion batteries, but they differ in chemical composition. You’ll find them to have a higher energy density than Lithium Ion Batteries, but they can swell up or overheat. They are also more expensive than Li-Ion Batteries.
iii. Lead Acid Batteries
These are the heaviest and have low charge density. Since they have low charge density, their lifespan is smaller than other battery types. Lead acid batteries are not preferable for high-end electric bicycles because of their short lifespan and need for high maintenance.
4. Pedal Assistance
To assist riders, e-bikes have different pedal assistance levels to make your bike ride more comfortable. Typical pedal assistance modes include:
- Off: In the off mode, your bike is powered by your pedalling only as the motor is turned off.
- Eco Mode: You are provided with minimal assistance in this mode. This mode is suitable for going up an incline or hilly terrain where you may require little assistance in pedalling.
- Touring Mode: This mode can provide more assistance than the eco mode, also making it suitable for longer and more difficult rides.
- Sport Mode: This mode suits more intense, high-speed, and challenging rides. A high level of pedalling assistance is provided when using this mode, making your ride smoother and easier.
- Turbo Mode: You’re provided with the highest level of pedalling assistance when you deploy turbo mode. This pedalling mode is feasible for riding on steep terrains or when you’re going at high speed.
Different brakes are used in electric bikes to accommodate higher riding speeds and weight. Some of these include:
- Mechanical Disc Brakes: These are the most common type of brakes used in e-bicycles. Mechanical disc brakes have a metal rotor that is attached to the wheel hub. A calliper is also present that grips the rotor when you apply the brake. They are used in front and rear brakes and provide good stopping power.
- Rim Brakes: Rim brakes have brake pads that grip the rim of your bike’s wheel when you apply a brake. They are less expensive than disc brakes but also provide less stopping power.
- Hydraulic Brakes: These brakes have a filled fluid system to transfer force from the brake lever to the calliper. These brakes have excellent stopping power and are feasible if you’re a professional rider who travels on tricky terrains.
- Mechanical Brakes: Unlike hydraulic brakes, mechanical brakes employ a cable system that transfers force from the brake lever to the calliper. They have lower stopping power than hydraulic brakes and are less expensive.
Features to Look For in an Electric Folding Bike
Image: E-Movement’s Panther
When looking to buy a folding electric bike, listed below are some features you should look for.
1. Weight and Size
Weight and size are important when selecting the right folding electric bike. The e-bike should be sturdy enough to bear your weight. However, it needs to be lightweight so you can carry it easily.
2. Wheel Size
It is important to carefully select the size of your electric bike’s wheels. Smaller wheels increase the electric bike’s manoeuvrability, whereas larger wheels ensure smoothness while riding. Electric folding bikes with small wheels are very easy to store, as you can fold them compactly.
3. Folding Mechanism
The ability of electric cycles to be folded is their key feature. So, make sure you get an e-bike that you can fold easily and quickly. The folded size of the electric bike should be small enough to fit in your storage space. Some e-bikes have multi-step folding mechanisms, whereas others employ a quick-release lever.
It is important to note that as these bicycles become bigger, they become harder to fold. However, they are more sturdy in comparison to the smaller and more easily foldable electric bikes.
There are three most commonly available folding techniques. The simplest folding bikes are the breakaway electric bikes; these can be folded into compact shapes. Another type is the triangular electric folding bike which is relatively difficult to ride but easy to fold. The half-fold electric bikes, on the other hand, are more sturdy.
Your folding e-bike should be portable and easy to carry. Very light bikes come with a shoulder strap, so you can easily carry them on your shoulders. However, e-bikes that are that portable are less sturdy and only suitable for smaller travel distances on smooth roads.
5. Your Storage Options
Storage space is an essential factor, especially if you have limited space available in your house. You should be able to store your electric bike in compact spaces such as under your bed. An electric folding bike can even be mounted on walls to save floor space.
An electric folding bike can easily be used for commuting and intercity travelling. To ensure a comfortable experience, look for a folding e-bike with adjustable handlebars and a comfortable seat, like E-Movement’s Troy Pro. You can adjust the size of your bike to your comfort.
If you plan on travelling on uneven terrain, look for an e-bike with a full-suspension system for the most comfortable experience.
7. Battery Life and Range
You should look for a battery that charges easily and quickly and has a considerable lifespan. The electric bike should also have a reasonable range to travel longer on a single charge. So choose a model with a suitable range to meet your needs.
Since folding e-bikes are commonly used for commuting, you should select an electric bike that can withstand regular riding. The frame should be strong enough to carry your weight without bending. Make sure your folding e-bike has high strength and is made of a rust-free, durable material.
Depending on your usage, you should look for a folding bike with a motor that can provide enough power. 250 Watt e-bikes are most commonly used as they provide enough power to travel on flat surfaces and rough terrains.
Additionally, according to the UK government, the maximum power output of an e-bike should be under 250 watts for you to be able to commute through them legally on roads.
A motor with a higher power will provide better acceleration and allow you to ride up steep terrains. But it’s only to be used for off-roading.
Best Electric Folding Bikes in UK’s Market
Although many folding e-bikes in the market, E-Movement is proud to offer the most spec-laden, price-competitive ones in the UK:
Panther 250W and 500W
As the name suggests, this bike has a 250W motor, and its default version comes without a throttle. Panther 250W is a road-legal e-bike with a sturdy frame, providing a choice of level-5 pedal assistance and a maximum speed of 25 km/h. This fat tyre folding electric bike is suitable for travelling in multiple weather conditions and has puncture-resistant tyres making travel on any terrain smooth and easy.
The improved dual-suspension in this e-bike helps absorb shocks and gives you a good grip. E-Movement offers it with battery options of 12.8Ah and 14Ah, and they can upgrade it to add a throttle and change the coloured display to a B&W, more powerful one.
The 500W version of this electric folding bike has a throttle for off-roading. It weighs 28 kg, provides a level-5 pedal assistance choice, and has and a maximum speed of 25 km/h. This bike’s default LCD shows the battery power, gear, and speed, helping you stay in control. You can ride it in multiple terrains, as it also has 120 TPI puncture-resistant 20-inch tyres that are 4 inches broad.
Hunter Extreme 250W and 350W
Hunter Extreme is E-Movement’s 2023 take on their best-selling Hunter series. This e-bike has a folding step-through design – you can mount this bike if you have mobility constraints or are wearing tight clothing. And E-Movement can adjust your seat post to cater to riders of multiple heights! No matter if you’re of smaller stature and shorter height or are a senior looking to incorporate e-bikes into your fitness regime, Hunter Extreme can serve you!
The electric bike has puncture-resistant tyres, and you can travel at a speed of up to 33 km/h. You also enjoy considerable choice due to the 5-level pedal assistance on this bike, making your journey comfortable.
This inclusive bike has removable Samsung batteries, a lockable front suspension, and a 250W and 350W rear hub motor options. E-Movement plans to introduce a 500W motor as well.And, perhaps most importantly, Hunter Extreme has the option to give you the highest battery power in the UK market! You can opt for the default 7Ah battery, a 20Ah battery, or the combined power of 27Ah – making it a long-range electric folding bike suitable for cruising throughout the day.
Benefits of Using an Electric Folding Bike
The advantages of a folding e-bike include:
You can fold these e-bikes compactly, which makes them easy to carry, transport, and store. In contrast, it can be difficult for you to store traditional bikes in your home if you do not have a garage.
2. Health Benefits
Most e-bikes incorporate hybrid technology: manual pedalling alongside motor-assisted pedalling, which makes e-bikes an easy way to stay fit. As you pedal, the motor of your folding e-bike is powered, decreasing the effort you need to pedal. You can often choose the level of electric pedal assistance you require, with 1 being the least and 5 being the highest.
So, e-bikes will allow you to reach your destination and burn calories without stretching your limbs. As you cycle to work, you achieve your daily exercise goals too!
Public transport services such as subways, buses, and Uber can be expensive over time. Purchasing a traditional vehicle can also be difficult due to its high cost, and you must repeatedly pay for gasoline on a daily basis. And given the rising costs of inflation,
Folding electric bikes are more affordable compared to traditional vehicles. You can charge your electric bicycle at your home or office and save large amounts of money on gasoline. You can also save money by avoiding parking tickets and public transport. Over time, these savings can also help cover the initial cost of your folding electric bike.
4. Multiple Shapes and Styles
Consumers have different preferences and size requirements. Foldable electric bikes come in different shapes and sizes to cater to the varying demands of customers. If you are a biking enthusiast, different colours, unique styles, and aesthetics are also available in folding electric bikes. Using minimum parts also ensures that your electric folding bike is lightweight.
5. Environmentally Friendly
Compared to traditional vehicles, electric bikes, folding or not, are more environmentally friendly. These bikes do not emit harmful emissions, which helps reduce the carbon footprint. So you can ride them without worrying about carbon emissions.
How to Choose the Right Folding Electric Bike?
An electric folding bike can be a hefty one-time investment, so you must do proper research to choose the right one for your needs. Here’s what you have to do:
1. Identifying Your Needs
You need to identify exactly how will you ride your electric folding bike. For instance, if you want to buy an e-bike for short-range commute or leisure, you can narrow your search to low-end or smaller folding e-bikes.
If you require an electric folding bike for cargo servicing or high-terrain rides, you must look for high-end or advanced e-bikes for the best experience. For example, we recommend Thunder or Aries for those who frequently navigate challenging regions or like living on the edge by taking on thrilling adventures.
2. Deciding on a Budget
Once you’ve identified your needs, you must decide on a price range to further narrow your search. It is important to note that higher-end folding e-bike models are more costly and require more maintenance, so you should only invest in them if they cater to your needs.
Low-end e-bike models below £800 may seem like a good deal, but they likely won’t last you long, warranting replacement after a few months. And you have to ensure that your safety is not compromised if you’re buying a low-end version. We recommend looking for a mid-range electric folding bike if your budget is restricted.
Note that you can always buy in instalments through companies like Snap Finance and Klarna. The Cycle to Work scheme in the UK is also a brilliant solution, where your employer pays for the e-bike and adjusts your upcoming salaries to make up for it. This gives them tax benefits and lets you pay for your electric folding bike hassle-free.
3. Finding a Reputable Seller
An important part of choosing the best electric bike for yourself includes finding trustworthy sellers that can guide you toward making the right choice. You can easily search for websites online that sell electric folding bikes. Good sellers often allow you to check an e-bike before purchasing it for your satisfaction.
Due to the constant increase in the prices of gasoline and the need to control carbon emissions, electric bikes are becoming increasingly popular worldwide. However, the laws concerning the use of electric bikes differ across different countries.
Electric Bike Laws and Regulations Around the World
Due to the constant increase in the prices of gasoline and the need to control carbon emissions, e-bikes are becoming increasingly popular worldwide. However, the laws concerning them differ across different countries.
The relevant laws and regulations in some major countries are:
1. United Kingdom
You must be aged over 14 years to ride an electric bike in the United Kingdom. All electric bikes are known as EAPCS (Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles), and you don’t require to register them or get a licence to ride them.
Legal electric bikes must have a maximum power output of 250 Watts to be driven on roads, and the motor should not propel the bike when it’s travelling more than 15.5 miles per hour. If your e-bike does not meet standard EAPC rules, you must get it registered separately.
2. United States of America
Due to a lack of regulation by the federal government, the laws regarding electric bikes in the USA differ per state. Most e-bikes fall in the bicycle category, and riders must follow similar rules as bicycles.
Generally, any e-bike with a motor wattage of fewer than 750 watts and a top speed of 20 mph does not require any licence or registration. Most states require you to wear a helmet while commuting an electric bike. Some states also regulate the areas where you can ride your e-bike.
In Australia, power-assisted and pedal-assisted electric bikes have different regulations. Power-assisted electric bikes are allowed to have a maximum motor wattage of 200 watts, whereas pedal-assisted electric bikes can go up to 250 watts.
Pedal-assisted bikes can go up to speeds of 25 km/h and require you to wear a helmet. On the other hand, power-assisted e-bikes can only go up to 10 km/h. You must register an e-bike if it has a motor wattage of over 250 watts.
You are required to wear a helmet when riding an electric bike in Australia. Your e-bike should have a horn and working brakes and be visible at night. Riders under 12 years are allowed to ride their e-bikes on footpaths. However, your e-bike must have pedals to be considered a bicycle.
4. European Union
All European Union countries require registration and insurance for e-bikes. Using helmets is mandatory; the rider should be at least 14. An e-bike can have a maximum motor wattage of 250 watts and a top speed of 15.5 mph to be road legal.
Riders must stick to the designated cycling lanes and have one hand on the handlebar. In most countries, you must keep your e-bike on the right side of the road and gesture with appropriate hand signals when turning. When walking it, you can use the sidewalk.
Power-assisted bicycles in Canada can have a maximum motor wattage of 500 watts and a top speed of 32 km/h. No licence or registration is required for these electric bicycles in Canada. However, e-bikes with a higher motor wattage require a licence and registration.
You must wear a helmet when commuting on an e-bike in any part of Canada. The minimum age to ride an electric bike varies between 12-16 years in different states of Canada.
China has the highest number of electric bike users. The relevant e-bike regulations are constantly changing in China. As of 2019, all e-bikes can have a maximum motor wattage of 400 watts.
E-bikes here can have a maximum speed of 20 km/h to 25 km/h. Your e-bike should weigh at most 55 kilograms and be equipped with pedals. They should have the option to be ridden both manually and electrically.
Safety Tips for Riding an Electric Bike
While electric bikes are easy and safe to ride, there are several safety tips that you need to keep in mind when riding an electric bike.
- Helmets are required to reduce the risk of any serious injuries when riding an electric bike.
- If cycle or bike lanes are available, stick to them to ensure your safety. You should also follow all traffic laws.
- Your bike should be equipped with a horn and reflectors. Reflectors will allow your electric bike to be visible at night.
- You should keep your electric bike well-maintained. The brakes of your bike should be in working condition to avoid any accidents. And the tyres should provide adequate traction for a smooth ride.
- You should avoid using your smartphone while cycling, as it can lead to fatal accidents. Ride safely and predictably. Make sure you signal when turning and stay in your lane.
Folding electric bikes are a relatively newer addition to the transportation family. These e-bikes make travel easier while also being easy to store in small spaces. You do not need to refuel them; instead, you can recharge their batteries to keep them running.
Depending on your needs and usage, different types of folding e-bikes are available in the market. They vary in size and weight, which affects their ultimate performance.
Other features, such as the type of brakes or motors used in the electric bike, affect its efficiency and performance. An advantage of using electric bicycles is that they’re environmentally friendly. Although, you have to maintain your electric bike regularly so that performance isn’t affected.
If you want to buy a good electric folding bike, contact us so we can help you!
1. Are folding electric bikes suitable for long-distance rides?
All folding e-bike versions may not be suitable for long-distance rides. A mid to full-sized electric folding bike is most suitable for long-distance rides as they provide more stability at higher speeds.
2. Can an electric bike be used for off-road rides?
Folding electric bikes with a throttle, like our E-Movement’s Panther or Hunter Extreme, can be used for off-road adventures. For the most comfortable off-road experience, go for full-suspension e-bikes.
E-bikes suited for off-road adventures are sturdier and faster but are more challenging to store in small spaces because of their heavier frames.
3. Can folding electric bikes be charged using solar power?
With solar panels becoming more accessible than ever, you don’t need non-renewable resources to charge your bike. So, generally, it is possible to charge an electric folding bike using solar power. Just buy a solar panel that is compatible with your e-bike and connect!