Top Tips for Buying an Electric Folding Bike.
Folding electric bikes (e-bikes) have been a revelation within the sailing community in the last year or so. It’s now becoming almost a common sight around marinas to see people silently wizzing around with rucksacks full of provisions. But what should we be looking at when choosing an electric bike, and in particular a folding style…
One of the most important things to look for is battery capacity. Battery capacity will generally be between 8Ah and 10Ah. A bike with an 8Ah battery will have a range of about 30 miles, whereas you could expect around 40 miles from a 10Ah one. This will of course vary depending on rider weight and terrain. Most e-bikes will have a control unit with a battery status indicator to help you avoid getting caught out without power.
“You can turn down the level of assistance on most bikes to conserve battery power and get more of a workout!”
- Force 4 Trade Secret
Frame material will make a big difference to the weight of the bike. Aluminium bikes will be slightly more expensive but significantly lighter than steel ones. There is also less to worry about with an aluminium frame from a corrosion point of view if the bike is kept in the marine environment.
Most folding bikes will have either 16” or 20” wheels. Although 20” bikes will be slightly heavier and more bulky, they will be much easier and more comfortable to ride than smaller wheeled bikes.
If the bike is to be ridden any distance, it is recommended to go for one with multiple gears (usually 6 or 7 on folding bikes). Look for branded componentry such as Shimano for easy adjustment and sourcing of spares.
Folding bikes are available with either rim brakes or disc brakes. Disc brakes are easier to adjust and work better than rim brakes in the wet.
A battery that fits in the frame keeps the weight in the right place and also means there is less chance of it being stolen or damaged. The battery can then be charged in situ, or removed if preferred.
“Batteries can be an espensive item to replace, so many bikes allow you te remove them for security. If you stop at a pub or shop, just take the battery inside with you”
- Force 4 Trade Secret
E-bikes are always going to be heavier than standard folding bikes, but some have the option of buying a bag with wheels in which to carry the bike when not riding it. This will also protect the bike when being stored.