Need to get some fresh air? Spending your time on the couch feeling sluggish? A folding electric bike might be the answer you’re looking for.
Many people are ditching their cars and swapping them for an electric bike, because of their versatility, speed, and cost-effectiveness. A folding e-bike can provide a sustainable boost to your speed and help you reduce your overall carbon emissions. You might be thinking about joining the e-bike crew and wondering where to start.
As e-bikes are one the rise, the market is filled with brand new bikes of all shapes and sizes, so you’re going to be able to find the exact right bike for you. Experts are expecting that worldwide sales for e-bikes will hit $23.8 billion by 2025, so now are the time to jump into this market.
Relatively new to the market is the folding e-bike, an e-bike which can be folded for easy storage and transportation.
Folding e-bikes are becoming increasingly popular, especially in large cities where people have limited storage space. As battery technology has improved, the folding e-bike market has expanded to include different folding e-bikes suitable for your needs, whether it’s commuting, mountain biking, or travelling.
While they’re relatively affordable, buying a folding e-bike is still an investment. In such a thriving market it can feel overwhelming to choose a bike, so we’ve created this guide to folding e-bikes to help you make the right decision.
What Is the Difference Between a Regular Bicycle and a Folding E-Bike?
The first thing to realize is that this isn’t your childhood bicycle. E-bikes are supported by battery powered motors. How the motor is used, and the limitations of the bike will depend largely on the model you choose.
One of the main benefits of an e-bike is climbing efficiency. If you suffer from any kind of physical limitations, the motor power of an e-bike can help support you to overcome those deficiencies.
And of course, if you get a folding e-bike, it is much easier to transport it to wherever you want to use it. And to store it when it’s not in use.
Classes of Folding E-Bike
Once you’ve decided that a folding e-bike is for you, the next step is figuring out what class of e-bike is suitable for your needs.
As a general rule, there are three kinds of e-bikes, which indicate the amount of support they provide and also the speed the motor is able to reach.
This video explains the three classes of e-bikes:
With a Class 1 e-bike, the motor requires you to pedal in order to assist, and once you reach 20 mph it will no longer provide assistance. This is the bike that most e-bike purchasers start with. It has the major advantage that you are guaranteed to get some exercise. Within this class, a wide range of power is available, starting at 250 watts. The higher the wattage, the more powerful the motor.
On a Class 2 e-bike, the same restrictions but apply, but it also includes a throttle powered mode that doesn’t require pedaling from the user. This gives the user the choice of getting some exercise, or getting none at all. The throttle can also be useful when starting off from a red light, or on a hill.
A Class 3 e-bike is similar to a Class 1 bike, but with the key difference that it is able to reach 28 mph. These bikes are better at climbing hills and can handle heavier weights if you carry a lot of stuff with you. However, because of their speed, they cannot be ridden on bike paths in many cities.
What to Consider When Choosing a Folding E-Bike
When you decide to start looking for a folding e-bike, you need to make a few considerations before you purchase.
Firstly, consider the primary purpose. Do you need a bike that will get you to and from work each day, so it will mostly be used in city traffic? Or do you need a bike that can handle the rigors of mountain biking? Perhaps you’re getting ready to go bike camping, and you need an extra strong bike that can carry a load.
The next consideration is the kind of assistance you want from your bike. Most folding e-bikes require the user to be pedaling before they will provide any assistance, and the support is capped at 20 mph. Those are your Class 1 e-bikes.
Within that class, there is a large range of assistance available. Some supply 250 watts of power, while others are available with 500 or 750 watts of power. If you are in reasonably good shape, you should just need a little assistance to help with the hills. We have always found 250 watts to be plenty.
There are faster e-bikes available, but in many areas they require a special license to drive, so you should consider whether that’s something you want to pursue.
A folding e-bike can be a great investment to make. Whether you’re a city commuter, or you’re simply looking to add some fitness and activity into your life, an e-bike could improve your quality of life.
Before purchasing your first folding e-bike you should do your research and think carefully about your needs. The right e-bike for you depends on your individual needs, budget, and experience with cycling.
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