First ebike : 20x4 vs 20x2 and top speed

Epheme

New Member
Hi,
I’m looking into getting my first foldable ebike and I’m wondering, since I’ll be using it mostly in the city on bike path and paved roads, is there an advantage to getting a folding with 20x4 wheels over one with more regular wheels size (20x1,75 to 2).

The longest distance I might have to travel with for work is 60 km. I live in a condo apartment and will probably get on subways and trains with it so I’m afraid a 20x4 won’t fold small enough to not be cumbersome vs a 20x2.

My second question is the marked top speed when selecting a model. If it says top speed 32 km/h, will it go faster when I pedal assist it ? I can already attain an average of 28-30 km/h on my own with my “analog” road bike (700x23) so will the motor help me get way faster to my destination or will it reduce its assistance when it reach it’s top speed ?

Thank you

François
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Hi,
I’m looking into getting my first foldable ebike and I’m wondering, since I’ll be using it mostly in the city on bike path and paved roads, is there an advantage to getting a folding with 20x4 wheels over one with more regular wheels size (20x1,75 to 2).
The longest distance I might have to travel with for work is 60 km. I live in a condo apartment and will probably get on subways and trains with it so I’m afraid a 20x4 won’t fold small enough to not be cumbersome vs a 20x2.

My second question is the marked top speed when selecting a model. If it says top speed 32 km/h, will it go faster when I pedal assist it ? I can already attain an average of 28-30 km/h on my own with my “analog” road bike (700x23) so will the motor help me get way faster to my destination or will it reduce its assistance when it reach it’s top speed ?
Thank you François

Welcome to EBR. ;)

As a general rule... you will get better efficiency with a narrow tire and greater comfort with a wider tire.

Regarding top speed, you will get assistance up to the limit and then you are on your own power above.
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
I agree. Narrow tires roll better, and feel harder,

Also consider the difference in diameter between 20x2 and 20x4. A 4 inch tire, the ones on my bike, are 23.5" while a typical 20" tire is little over 20". I dropped down to 20x3" tires on my bike, and they're about 22" high.

Here's a comparison of our regular folders to my 20" fat tire folder with 20x3" tires. Some of the extra length is, of course, due to the frame having to accomodate the battery, but the bigger bike is 10" longer than the two small ones. WIth 20x24" tires, it would be almost 12" longer.

The tradeoff with a longer frame is a more comfortable ride, but this bike is 20 pounds heavier than the lighter two. I've never folded it or tried to stuff it in a car. Not when we already have the light weights. They runabout 39 pounds, and are home conversions.

E7300339.JPG E7300337.JPG E7300341.JPG

For commuting, I probably would want to ride at 30 km/hour and get to where I was going as fast as possible. I'd have the fat tire bike in whatever assist level is needed to hold that speed. But for riding around for fun, I like to ride at 20-22 km/hour in the lowest assist level, putting in some moderate pedal effort. In that case, I always want the skinny tires. I have 20x1.5's on the yellow bike. My wife's bike is the black step-thru and she has 20x2.0". To be honest, the 20x3" bike isn't much fun at those speeds. It's just a heavy pedaling bike.

One more thing about spinning the wheels with the pedals faster than what the motor can do. If you go with 20x2, I believe a a 52T front chain and 11T rear gear will hold me to around 33 km/hr without motor. I'm no athlete. An experienced biker could go faster. The 20x4 will be faster. I'll just say it's hard to spin the pedals fast enough to go fast on a 20: folder.
 
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Epheme

New Member
Thanks for the replies guys & thanks for the pics @harryS, it really helps.

I think I would go more toward the 20x2 to accommodate space in an apartment and on transit. And for confort, I think just going from a 23 mm to a 50 will already make a difference.

I’ve been able to find a lot of different tire brand options for 20x1,75-2. Something I can’t say about the 20x3-4 since I’ve found no options, from the companies I know anyway.

I thought of getting the 20x4 but changing the tires to a more street performance model, but I couldn’t find anything of the sort in that size. I probably just don’t know where to look, but it still seems kinda limited.

@harryS I’m assuming the frame is wider on the Ecotric than the other two to accommodate for the 20x4 tires. So once folded, it’ll be less compact or is the difference negligible ?


I’m going to try to find a model that could get me moving to around 40-45 kph with assist and a little or average effort.

I supposed there’s a better place on this forum to ask for recommandations ?
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the replies guys & thanks for the pics @harryS, it really helps.
I think I would go more toward the 20x2 to accommodate space in an apartment and on transit. And for confort, I think just going from a 23 mm to a 50 will already make a difference.
I’ve been able to find a lot of different tire brand options for 20x1,75-2. Something I can’t say about the 20x3-4 since I’ve found no options, from the companies I know anyway.
I thought of getting the 20x4 but changing the tires to a more street performance model, but I couldn’t find anything of the sort in that size. I probably just don’t know where to look, but it still seems kinda limited.

@harryS I’m assuming the frame is wider on the Ecotric than the other two to accommodate for the 20x4 tires. So once folded, it’ll be less compact or is the difference negligible ?
I’m going to try to find a model that could get me moving to around 40-45 kph with assist and a little or average effort.
I supposed there’s a better place on this forum to ask for recommendations ?

Take a look at the Best Folding EBikes of 2020 for a few specific EBR recommendations... 😉

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Here are our top picks for the best folding electric bikes of 2020. These top five ebikes represent the best combination of features and value right now, but you can see all 117 of our detailed folding ebike reviews listed by date here. Reviewing electric bikes is our primary focus, EBR has the industry’s most complete and objective reviews. Since 2012, we’ve helped millions of people find and choose the best ebike for their needs and budget. Let’s go!

Table of Contents:

Things to Consider:
  • Intended Use. There are many variations of folding electric bikes to choose from… and each sub-category has its own strengths and weaknesses. The solution is to step back and think about your use cases. Do you need the lightest and most compact, even if it means less comfort? Would you prioritize traction and off-road stability, even if it meant adding weight and size? What about fenders and lights for commuting? I know people who never fold these ebike, but chose them only for their compact size and approachability (low stand-over height). Think about your situation, as you consider these top picks, and scan through our entire library of folding ebike reviews to really get it right.
  • Battery. Cell quality is important. How far will it take you and last? How expensive is a replacement? Battery location also impacts performance. Those located near the rear wheel are easier to remove but shift weight towards the back. Having it on the main frame spreads weight evenly, improving handling, but makes attachment more difficult. Easy attachment is nice when you remove the battery for lifting the bike or to store and charge the battery separately.
  • Size and Weight. How small does it collapse when it’s folded? Will it fit into your space? How heavy is it to lift? Will you be able to load or carry it? Can it be rolled when folded? Can the bike handle your weight and cargo?
  • Component Quality. When portability it the primary focus, the quality of parts may be neglected. Make sure the core components can deliver the performance you need. is the the drivetrain, battery pack, shift mechanism, and display protected when the bike is folded?
 

ElevenAD

Well-Known Member
With a small wheel like a 20in the fatter tires are the way to go imo,helps to smooth out the ride so your not slamming into bumps with those Lil tires