- Ultra-compact, quick folding and extremely light weight - perfect for public transport or travel in RV or boat
- Lower top speed of just 12 miles per hour and only one gear, this works alright given the smaller wheels
- Non-standard parts like the small 12" wheels may be more difficult to find, replace and fix
The Battery-Operated Bicycle or “bob” by e-Mazing Innovations is one of the lightest and smallest electric bikes available anywhere. It features a unique “instant fold” design that lets you lift with one hand to automatically collapse the frame. Even though it’s only got one gear and a top electric-drive speed of ~15 miles per hour, this bike offers both pedal assist and throttle mode meaning you don’t actually have to pedal if you don’t want to. And that’s a huge benefit if you’re wearing nice pants, commuting to work.
The bob is a geeky bike no matter how you slice it. From the instant fold feature reminiscent of a Transformer toy to the company name itself “e-Mazing Innovations”. And while the feature set is rich, the design lacks the style and simplicity of a truly successful mainstream product. Would Apple ever release a bike like this? I don’t think so, it’s just complicated… but that’s not necessarily a deal killer. The awkward style, low top speed and complexity of features balance with portability, safety and convenience.
Most full sized electric bikes have a top speed of 20 miles per hour and that’s only due to legal restrictions. Some companies are starting to support higher top speeds when using pedal assist mode, but that’s not the norm. The bob, by comparison, cuts out electric assist at ~15 mph and that’s purely because the bike starts to get unstable. The small wheels and sliding frame supports just can’t take the vibrations and bumps without becoming jittery and producing “speed wobbles”. In pedal mode, this bike only has one speed so there truly is a physical limit on how fast it can go.
The 220 lb passenger weight limit is also worth considering, but it’s not as limiting as you might think. This bike isn’t meant for hauling, clearly, but it can haul larger riders effectively because the diameter of the 12″ wheels is much smaller and thus offers more torque in conjunction with the standard 250 watt motor. In general, this bikes is more efficient to ride than walking but you’ll have to pedal along to get up steep and even medium sized inclines. It’s simple to carry onto a bus or train and is less expensive than a lot of other ebikes so it does it’s job well. The bob is a niche product for sure but it’s well designed and fairly durable as I’ve known people who owned and used it for over two years with no major problems.
In terms of electric drive, the bob runs off of a lightweight long-lasting Lithium ion battery pack that’s removable. It offers 36 volts of power and 9 amp hours of range which is quite good for such a small bike. The front hub motor is smallis at 250 watts but for its size the motor is very capable. The pedal assist and twist throttle hardware works very well and is standard kit, the same parts that many Currie bikes use. When pulled, the brakes cut power to the system as one would expect. The front v-brake works especially well but I’m not as big a fan of the rear drum brake. Considering the lightweight frame, it works well enough.
Outside of the electric components on the bob, I love the addition of fenders for staying clean and dry. Also, the kickstand works well and the wires are all kept out of the way even though they aren’t fully integrated into the frame. Overall this bike delivers something special at a decent price. Because it uses non-standard parts however and is so compact, servicing may be more difficult. It’s a good choice for someone with limited space or a short gap in their commute on public transportation. It’s not the fastest ride but it is well thought out and much more efficient than walking. It’s also surprisingly comfortable.
- Removable 36 volt lithium ion battery pack
- Very light weight, can be lifted by most people with just one hand
- Compact when folded, designed with quality parts that will last through many fold/unfold cycles
- Offers both pedal assist and twist and go “throttle” modes
- Great fenders and chain protector, keep pants clean
- Nice little kickstand, stays out of the way
- Relatively affordable for such a feature-rich bike
- Several color choices to match your style
- Only one gear, hard to go faster than 15 miles per hour
- V-brake on front wheel with less powerful drum brake on rear
- Harder to find non-standard parts for repair
- Looks a little geeky vs. full sized folding ebikes
- Hard to find in local shops, mostly sold online