Ideawalk F1 - Cheap, Chinese, folding, 250w, 36v, ss.


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Ideawalk F1 - Overview/Review

It is a cheap, Chinese folding e-bicycle with a rear hub motor.
I bought it from the Banggood site for about 423€ ($483) - shipping included.
It was poorly packaged and I had some trouble with that, but customer support was good (for a Chinese store).
I also bought a mirror and a front light. I cannot drive in the city without them. These are the only non-standard things on the following photo (the actual unit I own):
Click on the following gif to see how it folds:
The pedals also fold (plastic ones).

A few specifications (including comments) before my impressions:

Material____________Aluminum Alloy Frame
Handlebar_________Aluminum Alloy Flat Handlebar
Size________________1230 × 550 × 920mm (48.43"x21.65"x36.22")
Weight_____________14.8kg (32.63lbs)
Folding Size________630 × 300× 500mm (24.8"x11.81"x19.69")
Wheel Size_________12 Inches (Aluminum Alloy Wheel)
Brake Type_________Front And Rear Disc Brake (Mechanical)
Modes______________5-speed Modes for PAS and thumb throttle
Battery Life_________Power Mode: 40-50 km (25-31mi); Pure Electric Mode: Over 30km (18.64mi) (claimed)
Max Speed_________25-km/h (15.53mph)
Motor Power_______36V 240-250W (depending on vendor)
Motor Type_________Brushless DC Permanent Magnet Motor, "German design", magnesium aluminum alloy casing
Motor Controller____High-performance FOC Controller
Battery Capacity_____5.8 Ah (some claim 6.8Ah, I believe the lower number)
charging Time_______3 - 4h
Optimal working temperature: -15 to 50°C
Waterproof grade: IP54 (which means basic dust and water spray protection)
Motor can be used for about 50,000 hours

Other Features:
- 18650 power lithium battery, 90% energy conversion rate. Some vendors claim that they are Panasonic Cells.
- LED warning taillight with brake light function
- Bicycle stand, chain guard on the chainring
- Telescoping/expanding head tube and seatpost (I am 1,73m (~5ft8") and I don't use the full length of the seatpost (I pedal with almost full knee extension), but I do use the full length of the head tube in order to have a slightly crouched position, still more upright compared to my road bike, but I would find it uncomfortable for taller riders)
- Brakes cut off motor. Regeneration function when using the front brake.
- Certification: CE, EEC, EN15194, ISO, CQC, EPA, COC, DOT (claimed by vendor)
- max 100kg weight limit (220lbs) (spec found in the manual I received)
- Battery locks with key on the frame. It can also function as a huge battery bank (USB A port -only accessible off the bike)
- Kenda all terrain tire (Schrader bent valve)
- 12 Months Extended Warranty
- LCD display, all in one screen
- nice comfortable saddle, "shock absorbing frame" (I found this true, but mainly means soft chainstays)
- all in one backlit display (17-02 model). Displays battery percentage (6 bars), speed, mode setting, and there is another position for data (total odometer/trip distance/battery voltage)
- Single speed (1 gear)
- Motor cable emerges from the centre of the axle, well protected in a coil tube.
- Mud guards included
- Bottle cage bosses on top of the top tube
battery.jpg motor.jpg idealwalk-f1-foldable-electric-bike-6-.jpg HTB1EKqVOXXXXXXsXFXXq6xXFXXXk.jpg h-60km-mileage.jpg Clipboard03.jpg
Manufacturer site:

Most of the above are manufacturer/vendor claimed specifications, but I have corrected many in order to correspond to the actual product.

My backround and thought process for buying this product. Basically I want to use it for downtown locations, trips shorter than 10km (6.2mi - longer ones are possible on this bike but that means significant more time than using a car for the same trip and usually I do not have the time). Often I need to carry a backpack with some load and see customers upon arrival, so I prefer not to be sweating as with my regular bike.

Overall I am quite happy with my purchase, but there are a few drawbacks.

1. Size: I wanted the smallest and lightest one I could find that can accomodate a normal riding position. It can fit in small elevators without folding anything or lifting it. I can carry it for a small distance. Easy to lift. VERY manouverable in traffic. The small wheels make this possible, and reduce the dimensions when folded. The small diameter also gives me more confidence with the durability of the alloy wheels. Mostly everything is positive on this, besides the fact that it has no magnets to lock in the folded position (as per other folding bicycles - I use an extra strap). I also was hoping it to be able to move it when folded as a luggage cart. This is actually possible, but only if you tune the brake calipers quite open. When folded the cables also fold and pull the calipers, not allowing the wheels to turn. I prefer to have nice tuned brakes than this function.
The rear axle has a rubber cap on the nut. As there are no magnets in this spot, the front fork will rub on the cup and displace it. I use the stand as a spacer, but still, there should have been a more elegant solution

2. Not bad quality overall. Known brand for the tires. Folding mechanism works well and seems rugged. Has locks at the central and fork hinges. The telescoping/expanding head tube moves within a channel without turning, so no need to re-align the handlebars each time you unfold. Good quality saddle (usually not the case for most cheap bikes). Brakes work fine. Price point is evident in the plastic pedals, foam grips, quality of the paint job, logo sticker (the sticker started falling apart already). Still everything works without rattling. The pedals creak a little. I use cycling gloves for safety, so grips feel comfortable enough. I could see these parts not last very long.

3. Gears and speed: The bicycle has only one gear and 5 electric modes. The gear ratio for this single speed is wisely chosen as it allows for it to climb significant inclines at a pace of around 10-15km/h (6.2-9.3mph), without me lifting from the saddle. The gear ratio will support up to around 18km/h (11mph) max, 16km/h (10mph) for prolonged riding. Higher than that speed the cadence needed is unsustainable for me. Thumb throttle will take you from that point and up to 25km/h (15.5mph) depending on incline and rider weight (I am 72kg -159lbs and it has no problem). Motor support continues up to 29km/h (18mph), but you will only see that downhill, still good for acquiring momentum. PAS uses a 6 magnet sensor at the crank arm. Engages after around 1 second for PAS (noticeable lag), usually smoothly as it is a hub permanent magnet motor. It fades without noticing it. The bad stuff is that every mode has a certain speed limit for the PAS and throttle. In PAS I have no complaints, but I would prefer the max throttle speed to be available in any mode. Throttle max speed per mode: 9-14-20-27-30km/h (5.6-8.7-12.4-16.8-18.6mph). So as you can understand I can reach the maximum speed of 18km/h easily with PAS in mode 1-2 but then I need to change to modes 4-5 in order to use the throttle effectively. I can access settings in the display, but it doesn't seem possible to change this.

In the real world could I use more gears? Definitely, as I prefer using PAS than the throttle. It is not easy to implement in 12"wheels as the derailleur would need to be super compact.
I would be as fast or faster without using as much battery.
The positive is that this makes me prefer routes more suited for bicycles, in order to use more of the PAS and be more relaxed cruising in lower speeds.

4. Range. I have not really tested it extensively. A trip of 18km (11mi) shows a 20% drop (mostly PAS use). 9km PAS + 9km throttle showed 50% drop. I have suspicions that the onscreen meter is optimistic on the high end of the scale. Bear in mind these routes had significant level changes.

5. Features. For the price it is extremely feature rich. I was impressed with the brake light function and the regeneration. You can actually feel it and it has an effect on the battery.

Main concerns:
- support and warranty. Time will tell. The manufacturer has not replied to an email I have sent asking about the settings. Some replacement parts (motor assembly, battery) you can purchase in Alibaba. If specifications are true, permanent magnet motors and panasonic cells last a long time.
- user will need some technical knowledge adjusting stuff.
- not the fastest thing on the road.

If you have any questions, I will be happy to answer.
If you recognise the display unit from another bicycle please contact me as the settings may be the same and I would be happy to find out more. At this point I have figured out how to change backlight intensity, swap km/mi, change calibration for the battery display, change wheel diameter (only affects the speed displayed).

PS. I have a new found respect for what Court does after collecting and writing all that...
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