Electric Folding Bikes: Ultra-Efficient City Travel

Folding Electric Bike: Dahon + BionX

Folding bikes are particularly efficient when used in conjunction with public transit. Unlike regular bikes, they can be taken easily on buses, trains or ferries. In fact, some transit systems will only allow folding bikes to be taken on board. I recently reviewed the Best Folding Bikes of 2008. An efficient addition to these bikes is an electric motor. For a little extra weight, you get the benefit of going up hills easily, and this is often very important to commuters who do not work up a sweat before getting into work. Let’s take a look at one of the better folding electric bikes out there: a Dahon Mu P3 custom-fitted with a BionX electric assist motor.

This bike is called Dahon Conversion and it’s sold by NYCEWheels for $1899 (see photos above and below).

Dahon Mu With Bionx Folded

The Dahon Conversion weighs just 42 pounds. It can be folded in less than 20 seconds into a size roughly 13″ x 25″ x 30″.

The folding of the bicycle requires the loosening of 4 clasps and the bicycle collapses to its folded size without removing any of the wheels or adjusting any of the gears. The wires are out of the way and do not obstruct the folding and require no special attention in the folding process.

Dahon Mu Folded

The bike has a range of 20-30 miles. This version of the bike uses a 250 watt motor and NiMH batteries. If you spend more, you can get a 350 watt motor (add $230) or lithium-ion batteries (add $300).

The BionX standard system includes a control console, a battery and a motor. The control console includes a multi-functional odometer, four assistance levels, four generative settings as well as a battery charge indicator.

bionx_console.gif


You can also create your own folding electric bike. For example, to recreate the Dahon Conversion you could get the Dahon Mu P3 (about $590) and install the BionX motor system yourself (kits start at $1100). Of course you can also use other folding bikes and electric assist kits. Some kits are available for less than $500, however I can’t vouch for their quality. There’s also DVD that will tell you how to fit your bike with an electric motor — its a bit hokey but it shows the basic method of installation.

iZip EZGo Electric Bicycle

Another folding electric bike is the iZip EZgo. This inexpensive bike by Currie Technologies, will help you  pedal for 18 to 25 miles with speeds up to 18 mph. The bike weighs 53 pounds, including the motor. The EZgo has a simple twist throttle with a battery gauge. The wheels are 16″ heavy duty alloy with stainless steel spokes. The bike also features an integrated rear carrier to take some items on the go with you.

It’s available from Amazon for $649. The bike’s home page is here.

bionx_montague_folding_electric_bike.jpg

Biontague is a folding electric mountain bike, created by Electric Cyclery. It’s a Montague Swiss Bike LX folding mountain bike fitted with a Bionx PL350 electric conversion kit. The Biontague bike offers speeds in the 20 MPH range, great hill climbing assistance, and a range of up to 60 miles on a 3-hour charge.
montague_ebike.jpg

The Montague Swiss is a mountain bike that folds for easy transport and the whole thing weighs only 43.2 lbs. A 36-volt lithium-ion battery pack is mounted down low on the frame.

The price is $2425 from Electric Cyclery, plus $100 shipping in continental USA.

Comments

  1. says

    Or you could roll your own DIY electric bike from parts and a bike you already have for less than half the price of some of these (excellent) bikes. It’s not hard to build your own. One of the leaders in this field has everything you need and are great people in Vancouver -> http://ebike.ca

  2. Susan says

    I have the 2001 or 2002 version of Lee Iococa’s Mini E Bike. How does that rank competitively quality wise in 2008? Where can I buy a new battery and battery charger?

    I look forward to hearing from you.

  3. rebecca says

    hi i bought the mini e bike recently. it is used of course. its very nice bike. i have a contact from villageebike.com. it was this:

    Hello Rebecca,

    Please forgive the delay in replying to your request for a 24V
    replacement
    battery for your folding mini eBike. We no longer stock this item or
    any
    ebike parts.

    Please contact Gerry at eBikeParts.net
    (http://www.e-lectricwheels.com/).

    Gerry’s email address: ElectricEwheels@aol.com

    He will most likely be able to supply the 24-Volt Battery you require,
    PLUS service backup and other parts. (Coincidentilly, I just had to
    replace the battery in my personal SX e-Bike, and the lead-acid battery
    he
    sent is actually a few pounds lighter than the old one it replaced).

    Hope this helps you.

    Please let me know if I may be of any further assistance.

    Happy e-Biking,

    Dave Cutter
    VillageEnergy.com
    dave at villageebike dot com

    P.S. I am forwarding this email to Gerry so he will have your contact
    details, as well. (When Gerry becomes rich and famous, he’s promised to
    look after me).
    P.P.S. Call Gerry toll free: 1-866-940-1700

  4. Angie says

    Does anyone have any info on the SunL SEB-18 Electric Assist folding bicycle? We need a new battery and are not sure what to look for.

  5. catherine says

    On NPR or PRI, I heard about an electric bike that can be charged, at home, while being used as an exercise bike but I can’t find info onit. Has anyone else heard about this? I woul dlove to harness energy from exercise equipment. Can anyone provide info on how to do this or someone who sells such equipment?

    Thanks,
    Catherien

  6. says

    Awesome info…..
    Super light weight and portable bike is perfect for recreation. With petrol prices increases, these folding electric bikes makes more and more popular than ever. The durable frame with an adjustable saddle, ultra soft and adjustable handle bars for comfort. This can also used as a regular bike.

  7. says

    Question: Will you benefit more from a bike that weighs little and can be packed into the trunk of a car, or one that has a longer range and higher top speed?
    Answer: BOTH, meet the Neo Velox the lightest hi capacity electric folder that rides like a regular bicycle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>