In this simple guide to folding ebikes (electric bikes), we discuss what they are, who they’re for, the pros and cons and what to look for, as well as three very different ones to consider.
It really wasn’t that long ago that ebikes (electric bikes) were a novelty and folding ebikes were unheard of. Now, they’re everywhere – and for good reason! Not only do they provide an easier alternative to getting around town once you’ve set up your RV, but they also have a smaller carbon footprint than your RV or tow-car and can be folded into a compact size for ease of storage.
But even if you’re not a regular traveller, the ability to pack it up to a compact size for storage is still a great feature, particularly in the absence of a proper garage at home and work.
What are folding ebikes and who are they for?
Folding ebikes are just like regular ebikes, but they have a clever folding mechanism that allows you to go from normal size to a smaller size for storage. And as you know, storage space is premium in an RV, making them a popular ebike choice for travellers.
Should I get a folding ebike or a ‘normal’ ebike?
Like anything, there are pros and cons to getting a folding ebike. So you need to weigh them up and decide if it will suit your lifestyle.
Pros of getting a folding ebike
The vast majority of riders getting a folding ebike purchase it because of the ability to fold it up to a more compact size, making it ideal for those travelling and/or with limited space.
Let’s face it, all ebikes are super convenient. Once you try an ebike and make use of pedal assist for the first time, you’ll never want to go back. Folding ebikes have an extra level of convenience because they’re so portable.
Less risk of theft
As that a folding ebike transforms to a portable size, you can store it inside your RV (as opposed to mounted on a bike carrier) or inside your home or work building to lessen the chance of it being stolen. I wish this was something that we didn’t have to worry about, but the reality is you have to lock up everything these days.
They’re versatile by nature
Due to their folding nature, they can be taken on RV trips, camping trips and in general, more places than you could usually travel with a standard ebike. Some can be carried onto public transport and you can even get folding fat-tyre ebikes for getting off the tarmac.
The downsides to getting a folding ebike
There is no denying that a folding ebike is more expensive than a regular ebike. However, you pay for the convenience of the portability.
Those smaller wheels can make for a bumpier ride.
Folding ebikes tend to be heavier than their standard ebike counterparts due to the folding latches and mechanisms.
Some argue that folding ebikes are not as ‘tough’ due to the folding mechanism, but for most riders, a folding ebike will be plenty strong enough. However, if you are an aggressive off-road rider, a folding ebike is probably not the best choice for you.
Although this isn’t true for all folding ebikes, sometimes the battery life is not as good as a standard ebike in an effort to balance the folding mechanism, weight and cost. Basically, they have less physical space to mount and store batteries.
Compared to a normal ebike, some can look a little ugly. Does this matter? Not really.
Things to consider when buying a folding bike
Rather than just go out and buy the first folding ebike you see in excitement, consider these things first.
If you think you’ll be riding up hills on your folding ebike, choose one with a more powerful motor. The amount of grunt the motor can output dictates the level of assistance it can provide.
The longer your folding ebike battery can last the better, but better batteries come with a higher price tag. If you’re planning on riding long distances, you’ll need to fork out for a good battery. At the end of the day though, you can still use an ebike the old-fashioned way if the battery runs down. One thing people forget to consider is charging time. A bike that takes all day to charge is not very convenient.
The folding mechanism
Is it simple and straightforward? If it’s not, the novelty is going to wear off very quickly.
Folding ebikes traditionally have smaller wheels to make them more compact, although this isn’t always the case. The smaller wheels take a little getting used to and tend to stop you from getting a ‘run up’ as you approach a hill. Look for one with larger wheels if you plan on getting off sealed bike paths regularly.
Three folding ebikes (including a trike) to consider
Aventon is a trusted name in ebikes and the Aventon Sinch.2 folding ebike is a popular choice for those travelling in an RV due to the traditional square shape it folds down to and its great features. The frame is fully foldable with fenders and a rear rack included in the purchase price.
Specs on the Aventon Sinch.2
Eunorau’s New Trike folding ebike is a good option for those who are vertically challenged, suitable for riders 155cm – 185cm. The large rear basket is a good solution for those riding with a dog or wanting to carry cargo such as fishing gear or groceries.
Specs on the Eunorau folding trike
The new Aventon Abound cargo folding ebike will no doubt be popular with couriers and delivery drivers, but it’s actually very practical for others as well. With the ability to easily fit groceries on the back, there’s even an attachment that turns the rear rack into a child seat. It doesn’t fold down to the usual wide square shape and instead, the handlebar folds downwards, retaining its long and lean shape. This will be a pro for some and a hindrance for others.
Specs on the Aventon Abound cargo bike
Folding Ebikes are handy for those travelling in an RV, giving you the option to have your own transport while your RV is set up at the camp site. Their foldability is the biggest selling point due to the limited storage space associated with travelling. The ability to fold your ebike allows you to store it in places regular ebikes can’t fit and also adds an additional layer of security, allowing you to store it inside your RV for security when you’re not at the campsite.
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