- Ultra light weight 36 lb folding electric bike built around a custom carbon fiber frame, solid folding mechanisms and a great 2+ year long warranty
- Clean, quiet, single-gear drivetrain using the Gates Carbon CDX belt vs. a chain, the chainring is extra large for comfortable pedaling and the pedals are tuff and grippy
- Smooth, powerful 160 mm hydraulic disc brakes seem like overkill for such a light bike with smaller wheels but they're very easy to use and the levers offer adjustable reach
- Powerful mid-mounted motor keeps weight low and center along with the battery pack... thought it doesn't lock to the frame and uses a screw-on cable that takes longer, display panel is not removable, this is an expensive electric bicycle
The eProdigy Fairweather is a light weight folding electric bike that has been purpose-built for balance, simplicity and efficiency. Many of the other, less expensive, folding e-bikes use hub motors but this one offers a custom mid-drive that balances weight and improves climbing power. The Fairweather can be operated with both pedal assist and throttle so you can opt for a bit of exercise or completely rest and focus on balancing; most other mid-drives offer pedal assist only. Other highlights include hydraulic disc brakes with levers that cut motor power when pulled, sturdy folding mechanisms on the handlebars and frame and of course… the carbon frame itself. Not only is this bike much lighter than the majority of folders I’ve reviewed but it rides smoother thanks to the vibration dampening qualities of carbon fiber. In my opinion, it’s an all-around winner because it’s quiet and durable but of course, that’s reflected in the relatively high price. And this bike doesn’t come with fenders or a rear rack which makes it less fragile but also less enjoyable in wet conditions or for people who need to haul a lot. Whether you’re a shorter rider in need of a light weight bike that is easy to stand over or a taller rider who needs an ultra-compact bike to bring along on adventures, the Fairweather should work because it has a long sturdy seat post and telescoping adjustable-height stem. My girlfriend and I both fit comfortably with room to spare (smaller or larger).
Part of what makes this electric bicycle more expensive is the custom frame and name brand belt drive. Most other bicycles (folding or otherwise) use chains, but those tend to be louder, heavier and messier. The Fairweather uses a carbon reinforced belt from Gates and while there’s only one gear to pedal with… the front chainring is extra large creating a more natural pedal cadence. Belt drives tend to be cleaner and quieter but require a cut in the frame because they can’t unlink like chains… since eProdigy made a custom carbon frame anyway, they were able to tweak it a little bit more to work with belts and that really sets this thing apart. With a single speed drivetrain, there are fewer parts that can fail or need adjustment. No derailleur to bump or tune, no heavy internally geared hub at the rear and no shifters with extra wires running to the handlebars. When you’re thinking about folding and transporting a bike, it’s important to consider what to protect and be careful with and the primary area of concern for me with this bike was its non-removable LCD display panel. As noted in the video, just keep an eye on this part and consider placing a sock over it during stowed transit to reduce scratching. Also, always make sure the bike is powered off before folding and unfolding so you don’t accidentally bump the trigger throttle and drop the bike.
The Fairweather looks very fancy and professional to me. I like the all-black frame because it’s simple and matches the accessories and cabling. The bike isn’t covered with stickers, wild paint schemes or branding but a consequence is that it’s not very reflective. If you plan to ride at night I’d strongly consider wearing a reflective vest and pant guard and adding rechargeable LED lights somewhere on the bike frame or clip them to your backpack. One alternative is to get a helmet with integrated lights like this so you don’t forget to take them off the bike when parking or damage them when folding. I’ve used folding ebikes on trips with my friends before at night and we were in traveling to foreign locations where we weren’t as familiar with the layout of the city. That’s when visibility becomes extra important and lights could save your life. Perhaps you’re looking at this bike for commuting purposes where there will be lots of cars or busses around? Whatever the scenario is for you these safety extras are worth considering because the bike does not have reflective tires and the paint just isn’t going to show up as much as a white or silver.
Driving the bike is a proprietary mid-drive motor labeled as “Achiever” which is the same one used on the recent full-sized eProdigy models. It’s compact and powerful, offering 500 to 600 watts of power output and a peak of 90 Newton meters of torque. That’s way above average (especially for a folding bike) creating a sense of zip. One of the benefits of mid-motors is that they can leverage a cassette or internally geared hub as you shift gears (for better climbing or higher speed operation) but with only one gear on the Fairweather, this isn’t relevant. It still climbs well and can hit the 20 mph top speed but it’s just not as dynamic… or delicate. Since neither the motor or control unit offer shift sensing, it’s kind of good that there’s only one gear because you don’t have to worry about mashing and grinding. The primary benefits of this motor are that it blends into the frame, keeps weight low and simplifies wheel maintenance.
Balancing out the powerful motor is a more minimalist battery pack. My girlfriend loved how small it was during our test rides because she wasn’t hitting her knees or thighs as much when mounting and pedaling as on some other bikes. I liked how light weight it was and that it wasn’t rear-rack mounted but was a disappointed that it didn’t lock to the frame for security. It also took longer to connect to the electrical plug (you screw the cable onto the end of the pack vs. clicking it on) and the battery has an independent on/off switch as well as a second on/off up at the control pad. In short, the battery capacity is below average and you should probably take it off every time you park the bike in a public place so it doesn’t get stolen. The pack is light weight but takes longer to mount and dismount so it’s just not as convenient as many others. Depending on your intended use, it might be worth carrying along the charger so you can top off in the office or a friends house or even considering a second battery pack. I’d probably ride this thing more like an unpowered bicycle with limited assist and occasional throttle to get up to speed, climb a hill or fight the wind and in that case, the battery is plenty good. Operating the controls and changing assist levels with this bike is easy to do without taking your hands off the grips and the display panel LCD is large and bright, with a backlight for use at night. Just hold the up arrow to turn it on or off. Note that the type of pedal assist offered on the Fairweather is cadence sensing so it’s not about how hard you push but the fact that you’re moving the cranks. The benefit is less knee-strain and overall effort but the downside is that starting from zero is all you… unless you press the throttle! In my opinion, it’s a great setup and the throttle is what really makes it work well.
Note that the final production build of this bike has a lower seat tube which allows the seat post and saddle to slide down closer to the ground, accommodating shorter riders. However, in order to hit the lowest saddle height, you’ll have to use a hack saw to cut the seat post (which ships at 400 mm long). It’s a trade-off because you WANT a long seat post if you’re tall but as a result the base butts up against the motor casing when slid all the way down as shown in the video… That’s where the hack saw comes in for some riders, but admittedly it’s a permanent solution and one that might feel uncomfortable after spending $3,800 on the bike. For those who enjoy RV, Yacht and private plane travel this would be an excellent choice as an electric bike (or pair of bikes) because it’s so light, compact and durable. Just make sure you fill those tires and keep them at the recommended PSI to avoid pinch flats, top the battery off every month or so if it hasn’t been uses and it should work without issue. It’s such a light weight bike that lifting and stowing won’t usually require two people (especially if you take the battery off or the front wheel which has quick release) and that makes it more enjoyable to take along and use. Big thanks to eProdigy for partnering with me for this review.
- Beautiful aesthetic here, not only is the bike frame matched to the grips, pedals, wheels and other accessories but most of the cables are internally routed through the frame so they won’t snag as easily or stand out as much
- Super light weight at ~36 lbs (16.3 kg), once it’s folded you should be able to lift and stow the Fairweather easier than many other folding electric bikes… and the removable battery further reduces weight by ~3 lbs
- Reliable and clean drivetrain, only one gear so you don’t have to adjust a derailleur or worry about dropping the chain as much over bumpy terrain (it’s super tight) and since it actually uses a belt vs. a chain there’s no squeaking or rust to worry about
- Awesome hydraulic disc brakes… this is less common for folding electric bikes which tend to be cheaper and lighter but they are much easier to pull and have adjustable levers for those with small hands or fingers
- Carbon fiber frames tend to dampen vibration compared with Aluminum and are also much lighter, in recent years they have also become sturdier so scratches and bumps are less damaging
- Extra large 70 tooth chainring balances the small 20 inch wheels so pedaling feels natural, you aren’t “beating eggs” quite as much, trying to keep up when the bike is riding at higher speeds
- Extra-wide seat post is sturdy and I’m guessing the wider seat tube (made from carbon) requires this larger diameter for frame strength, be careful not to overtighten the seat tube collar and crack the carbon frame
- In my experience working with eProdigy, they are super friendly and offer great support, as a Canadian company they ship to the US and have a solid 2+ year warranty
- The mid-drive motor is very powerful and since there’s only one gear on the Fairweather you don’t have to worry about mashing gears when shifting, it should climb well and helps to keep weight low, center and balanced since it’s mounted in the middle (along with the battery)
- The front wheel has quick release for easy quick fixes and maintenance, the rear does not since this bike uses a belt, but it’s still easier to work on since the motor is in the middle of the frame and not a hub motor
- Cool little roller stand thing below the motor bottom bracket which allows for easier transport when folded and protects the motor and frame from touching the ground
- The battery packs are so light and small it would be easy to get a second one to extend your range…just toss it into a backpack or use a beam rack like this with a trunk bag
- This is one of the few mid-drive electric bikes I’ve tested that offers throttle mode, I like that pedal assist was very responsive during the ride tests
- Both folding latches were tight and felt sturdy, they also didn’t have any removable parts (nothing to lose) and the final build will have a magnetic clasp to keep the bike from unfolding once it’s broken down, this means it shouldn’t rattle or come unfolded in transit, also consider using one of your own bungee cords or an adjustable one like this for further security
- No fenders or lights… they say that’s why it’s called the “fairweather” because you’ll get wet otherwise, but it is super light weight and durable being a single speed with a belt drive
- I love that the battery pack is removable but wish the display was too, especially since this is a folding electric bike and could be packed tighter spaces
- There’s only one gear to pedal with but this isn’t a huge issue considering the bike offers throttle and pedal assist mode, I like that they went with a larger front sprocket so the cadence is more natural (you aren’t spinning super fast trying to keep up all the time)
- Plugging in the battery isn’t quite as fast or simple as other e-bikes I’ve tested, you have to screw in a metal plug and it doesn’t lock to the frame which makes it vulnerable to theft (but it’s so light… just take it with you… but then it takes longer to get on/off each time, see the trade-off?)
- The bike is super expensive at nearly $3,800 but it’s one of the only carbon fiber folding ebikes I’ve ever seen and for someone with limited strength and storage space (like people who go boating, RVing or flying a lot) it’s the perfect solution
- No bottle cage mounts or rack bosses… so you’ll have to bring a backpack to carry water and gear which isn’t as comfortable
- The display readout shows four bars to indicate charge level on the battery which means each bar represents 25% and it would be easy to feel insecure once you’ve gotten down to that last tick… I’d prefer a 10 bar readout or percentage
- Even though the production version of this bike has a shorter seat tube, you might need to saw the seat post in order to bring the saddle all the way down because the seat post is 400 mm long (or it was on the prototype bike I tried) and it collided with the base of the seat tube before the saddle gets all the way down to the seat tube collar
- I like the mid-step lower stand over height and the narrow top tube and battery but be careful when stepping over so as not to kick the battery, it’s mounted with two bolts like a bottle cage would be