- A full-sized, full suspension folding electric bike with a near-complete set of value components (disc brakes, 21 speeds, kickstand etc.)
- The single-tube frame design is elegant and conceals as well as protects the battery but requires reinforcement that adds weight
- While the Arsenal does offer front and rear suspension, it's more basic (especially the rear) and is more suited to bumpy roads or hard packed trails than rigorous mountain paths, especially since the frame is a folding design
- Okay warranty, shipping costs extra ($200 for CA and $400 for the US), only one frame size in a sort of "medium" 18.5 inch design
The Arsenal is Daymak’s full sized and full suspension folding electric bike model. Like many of the other products offered by Daymak, this is a budget-oriented ebike with some parts and accessories that are basic quality. This is an important point because it’s easy to look at a full suspension bicycle and think “let’s go off road!” but in my opinion, the Arsenal is best suited to on-road or light trail use. The rear suspension in particular is pretty basic with limited travel and adjustability. The front suspension fork is also “basic” in terms of ruggedness but I love that it has lockout and some travel adjustment built in. Between the shock absorbers, larger 26″ wheels with medium-width hybrid tires, the gel saddle and semi-ergonomic grips… the Arsenal is enjoyable to ride, even on bumpier roads with potholes or large cracks.
Apart from comfort, the Arsenal is a winner on the utility front but there is a sort of catch. This is a folding ebike that isn’t especially light weight or small. You can always take the battery out and remove the front wheel for reduced weight but this takes extra time and effort because the battery is locked inside the frame. This sort of battery configuration is used on many of the smaller folding electric bikes like the Daymak New Yorker and I love how hidden and well protected the pack is as a result but this requires the frame to be reinforced and that adds weight. For what it is, I think the bike does a fine job and I like that Daymak offers a year warranty on the frame and six months on the battery (which is a more standard sized 36 volt ~10 amp hour Lithium-ion setup).
Between the bobbing of suspension, wider tires and average sized 350 watt motor and 360 watt hour battery this bike should get upwards of 15 miles per charge using throttle mode only. Of course, it also offers pedal assist mode with five levels to choose from and this is definitely the way to go when looking to conserve the battery or climb hills. Many electric bikes offer assist but the Daymak Arsenal hits the mark by offering pedal assist only, throttle only, throttle override (while using assist) and having a full 12 magnet pedelec sensor! Many older ebikes used six magnet sensors that weren’t as responsive so starting and stopping could feel abrupt. So to me, the drive modes, display and throttle are one of the strengths of what is otherwise a more generic setup.
Generic isn’t such a bad thing however when trying to save money and you really do get a lot of extras with the Arsenal. Between the side mirrors, 21 speed drivetrain, bell, front and rear LED lights and derailleur cage there is a high attention to detail here. What you don’t get however are fenders or even a chain guard and I snagged my pants on the large front chainring as a result. You don’t get quick release, a rear carry rack, a water bottle cage mount or integration on the lights… so don’t forget to turn them off or you’ll have to replace the batteries separately. Consider a rear beam rack like this and a pack with bottle holder like this as well as reflective pant ankle bands to solve some of the gripes I just mentioned.
Daymak has been selling ebikes since around 2009 and is a leader in Canada with many physical outlets but if you order online I believe it will cost ~$200 shipping (~$400 to the USA) so that erodes some of the value. All things considered, aside from bumping my knee on the folding joint at the downtube and being amused by the overloaded handlebars (with so many attachments) I liked the bike and appreciated the more upright body position it supported. It doesn’t qualify as “affordable” by my definition own personal definitions due to the shipping costs and higher starting price but for a full suspension setup that folds it’s also not super expensive.
- Relatively affordable for a full suspension electric bike but the suspension itself is quite basic and more suited to bumpy paved roads than mountainous trails
- This is a more full-sized folding electric bike that features larger wheels and thicker tires to help smooth out bumpy terrain and a large gear set of 21 speeds so you can climb or maintain high speeds at a comfortable pedal cadence more easily
- I love that you get a lot of little extras here including disc brakes, semi-ergonomic grips, a gel saddle, an LED headlight, derailleur guard and an adjustable kickstand… even though the parts are more generic they add to the utility of the bike
- The Arsenal offers pedal assist and throttle mode so you can focus on exercise and extending range or opt for a more scooter-like ride without exerting yourself, the brakes have integrated motor shutoff switches to pause the system when pulled
- I like that the battery is protected inside the downtube, it keeps dirt and water away and makes the bike stealth so people might not even realize it’s electric
- It’s nice that Daymak matched the motor casing with the spokes and the frame (if you opt for the black frame) it’s pretty nice looking for a “value” priced full suspension ebike
- Pedal assist relies on a 12 magnet disc which is very responsive and you can always override assist with the integrated twist throttle (that has an independent on/off button as well)
- The rear suspension element is very basic with limited adjustability and no lockout feature, it’s more of a bumper than a true shock absorber with rebound and dampening
- Combining a folding bike design with a full sized frame and electric drive requires a more sturdy frame and this adds weight, the Daymak Arsenal isn’t very light so folding and then lifting it isn’t the most fun experience
- The LCD display unit is not removable which means it gets exposed to more elements when stored outside and can also get snagged more easily when folding and transporting the bike
- The oversized shifters crowd the handlebars a bit, especially because there are two (one on each side) and they may also get snagged more easily during folding and transport
- For a “large format” folding bike I found the frame to be average sized at ~18″ so this isn’t necessarily a perfect bike for tall people looking for a folder, the riser stacks create a comfortable upright seating position however
- No chainring protector or chain guard, so with a three-ring gear cluster at the front you may snag your pants on the gear teeth like I did and this can either make them dirty or cause rips
- Both lights are LED which is efficient and long lasting but they are run off of disposable batteries vs. being wired into the main rechargeable pack powering the bike, be sure to turn them off when you reach your destination!