- One of the lightest and cheapest folding electric bikes I've reviewed weighing in at just ~43.5 lbs and costing $1,300 comes with a year warranty, includes a carry rack and fenders for utility
- Available in two fun colors including glossy black or red, comes stock with a cargo rack, chain guide and plastic fenders with mud flaps to keep you clean and dry
- Seven speed Shimano Acera drivetrain paired with an extra wide chainring to offset the smaller wheels, feels natural, battery pack uses quality Samsung cells and fits inside the frame for protection and improved aesthetics
- To keep the bike light and affordable the display is just a basic LED type without a speedometer, odometer or precise battery gauge, the pedals are basic, there's no suspension and the lights are not integrated
In 2014 I reviewed the EG Vienna 250 EX which stood out for having full suspension (even though the travel was pretty limited), being priced pretty low and just being compact… The new 2016 version of the Vienna drops the EX from the name, upgrades the drivetrain with Shimano Acera vs. Tourney and offers a larger battery capacity with a pack that fits inside the main tube vs. being attached under the saddle. Designs similar to this have been popularized in recent years by e-Joe with their Epik models, VoltBike with their Urban and Motiv with their Stash but the Vienna stands out as being the least expensive… they actually dropped the price $100 from the EX while upgrading the battery to use name brand Samsung cells and maintaining their one year warranty.
As you might expect, powering the EG Vienna 250 is a 250 watt internally geared hub motor mounted in the rear wheel. It’s minimal, light weight and efficient… considering ebikes in the US can legally offer up to 750 watts of power you might wonder if this thing feels weak. In my experience, the bike was zippy, quiet and surprisingly torquey… in part thanks to the smaller wheel diameter which provides a mechanical advantage to the hub motor design. It gets the job done and sips electricity compared with higher powered offerings which in turn means you don’t need a large battery to go the distance and thus end up with a lighter more compact bike that’s easier to port around. The design works for me but doesn’t offer as much comfort as the original EX or some of the competing folders. You don’t get a suspension fork, suspension seat post or sprung saddle here and the smaller wheels and standard-skinny 1.75″ diameter tires just aren’t capable of absorbing cracks and bumps as well. I’d probably use this ebike mostly on smooth streets or in situations where weight savings is important, it does have semi-ergonomic grips but they don’t have lockers and are just more basic.
For the money, you really get a lot of value here including full length plastic fenders, a sturdy 25 kg (55 lb) rated rack and independent LED Lights. That’s right… unfortunately the lights do not run off the main battery pack and this can lead to drained cell-type batteries that are inconvenient, expensive and wasteful to replace. At least it has the lights! One neat upgrade on the electric front is a female type USB port on the left side of the top tube. This port allows you to charge portable electronics including possibly your own brighter lights? Back to trade-offs… the display panel used here is pretty basic, relying on LED Lights to indicate battery level and mode selection. You don’t get speed, precise battery feedback or odometer settings like you would with an LCD.
Operating the bike is pretty simple, once the pack is charged and locked into the frame you press a power toggle switch near the USB port on the left side of the top tube then power on the display. From here you can select from low, medium or high pedal assist or override with the trigger throttle on the fly. That’s cool because you can get extra power instantly for passing, starting or climbing without changing assist levels. One other neat feature is that you can disable pedal assist with the “handler” button. This will keep the trigger throttle on your “handle bar” active and help you avoid unexpected assistance from pedal movement. Note that using throttle mode only with out pedaling will deplete the battery more rapidly.
All things considered, I feel like EG vastly improved the Vienna… Almost all of the “cons” I expressed on the first generation of this ebike were addressed and they improved the power, range and price. If you’re looking for an affordable, light weight, feature rich folding e-bike then this would be worth considering. I’m not sure how extensive their dealer network is but some shops do carry this ebike so you could take a test ride. I tested it out at the Electric Bicycle Center in Fullerton California which also carries other EG models as well as some online sales and support.
- The latest 2016 version is $100 less expensive than the already affordable 2014/2015 Vienna 250 EX, it offers a lot of value with fenders and integrated LED lights
- Seven speeds is great for starting slow carrying cargo, climbing hills or riding smoothly at 20+ mph, the Acera drivetrain is an upgrade from the older model which had a six speed Tourney entry level drivetrain
- Another area that was upgraded is the battery pack, it mounts inside the frame tubing vs. clipping on below the saddle. This makes the bike look nicer and protects the battery… you can still remove it for charging or to reduce bike weight during transport
- Solid one year warranty from EG, upgraded battery cells from Samsung that should last longer than generic ones
- Not only does the battery lock into the frame for security, the key interface is inside the folding area protected from the elements! Many of the other lock designs on similar folding electric bikes requires you to put the key in under the frame tubing and this exposes it to water and debris when riding
- Purpose built frame, designed to be electric, with semi-internally routed cables going through a plastic channel beneath the downtube
- Offers cadence sensing pedal assist as well as trigger throttle mode… ride how you want pedaling or not, I like that the brake levers both have motor inhibitors
- The seat post is extra long and the reach on this bike feels more “full sized” so it can accommodate taller riders
- The older Vienna 250 EX had a suspension fork which helped to reduce jar and smooth out the ride, I think removing it helps to save weight and lower cost but it’s not as comfortable on truly bumpy surfaces
- Neither wheel offers quick release so if you get a flat tire or need to do maintenance… or even transport the bike (hoping to reduce weight or size) it takes more effort to take wheels off
- No magnets or bands to keep the bike in the folded position, it could come unfolded easier or just rattle around more as a result so consider using your own strap or bungee cord
- More basic LED display only shows your battery level and assist level with dots vs. speed, odometer and other written feedback on LCD displays
- Basic folding plastic pedals, aren’t as stiff or sturdy feeling as some aluminum ones, the lights are stand-alone meaning they run off independent batteries which are easier to forget to shut off once the ride is complete
- The cockpit/handlebar area is a bit crowded because of the throttle, bell and multi-wire brake levers that have motor inhibitors, the result is that the trigger throttle is twisted to be higher vs. down low where I’m used to seeing it
- Compared with some other folders the brakes on the Vienna 250 are more basic, just linear pull rim brakes, but they do a good enough job, if you ride in wet/muddy conditions the brakes could squeak more and scratch the rims and this is where disc brakes might be worth upgrading to with a different bike
- Because the seat post is so long, I noticed that it extends beyond the frame guard and might get dinged and create instability as a result… so I just don’t put it down so low but this in turn means that the bike doesn’t get as compact when folded
- The battery pack only locks in place when its front edge is aligned with the tube, if yo upush it way back into the tube the lock won’t work (as shown in the video)