Help choosing an ebike for NYC

whataquandary

New Member
Howdy! I'm extremely new to ebikes, but I'm hoping to purchase one soon for (eventual) commuting & bumming around the city purposes. Given the pandemic, it's a bit challenging for me to safely get to a dealer and test drive some, so I'm hoping to find one I can purchase online.
  • My commute is about 6 miles with a bridge in the way (from Queens to BK following mostly roads that don't have clear bike lanes).
  • Ideally I'd love a folding bike that isn't super heavy (under 50lbs??) because I 1) need to store it in a small 3 story walk-up and 2) would love to be able to carry it into a store if necessary (unfortunately there are not a lot of places to easily lock up a bike in my area). Is that a pipe dream?
  • Would love to spend under $3k but could go over if the specs were right
Some of the bikes recommended to me by a friend were the Tern Vektron and the Rad Mini but both are definitely on the heavier side. Was also looking at the Brompton Electric (and contemplating the price point) but I can't gauge if people really like the electric version? Also it seems like it's hard to order one without a test drive...

Anyway, I'm very green especially when it comes to benefits of motor placement and stuff like that, so any help would be greatly appreciated! Also as an optional thing, if anyone has recs for good helmets for ebike riding, those would be much appreciated as well. Thank ya!
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
Tern Vektron is good, I think the D7i model is two grand and lighter than the RadMini which seems to meet your needs better. Brompton might be useful if you needed to carry it on a train folded or carry the bike inside buildings regularly because it’s lighter and more compact. Might also want to look at a GoCycle GX, which is the folding model. If you can try to test ride before you buy.
 

byunbee

Well-Known Member
Check out Watt Wagons. @pushkar (well regarded and very active on this forum) the company owner is active on this forum and is located in Boston. If you're willing to make the trip, you can test ride before you buy.

Below are his newest models in development targeted for fall of this year.
 

whataquandary

New Member
Check out Watt Wagons. @pushkar (well regarded and very active on this forum) the company owner is active on this forum and is located in Boston. If you're willing to make the trip, you can test ride before you buy.

Below are his newest models in development targeted for fall of this year.
Appreciate the response! These look really nice, but are unfortunately a bit out of my price-range for ones that don't fold.
 

whataquandary

New Member
Tern Vektron is good, I think the D7i model is two grand and lighter than the RadMini which seems to meet your needs better. Brompton might be useful if you needed to carry it on a train folded or carry the bike inside buildings regularly because it’s lighter and more compact. Might also want to look at a GoCycle GX, which is the folding model. If you can try to test ride before you buy.
Thanks--saw some things about GoCycle a while ago but was being overly picky about aesthetics and ignored them, haha. I'll check them out again since that & the Brompton are definitely the lightest folding models I've come across so far.
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Howdy! I'm extremely new to ebikes, but I'm hoping to purchase one soon for (eventual) commuting & bumming around the city purposes. Given the pandemic, it's a bit challenging for me to safely get to a dealer and test drive some, so I'm hoping to find one I can purchase online.
  • My commute is about 6 miles with a bridge in the way (from Queens to BK following mostly roads that don't have clear bike lanes).
  • Ideally I'd love a folding bike that isn't super heavy (under 50lbs??) because I 1) need to store it in a small 3 story walk-up and 2) would love to be able to carry it into a store if necessary (unfortunately there are not a lot of places to easily lock up a bike in my area). Is that a pipe dream?
  • Would love to spend under $3k but could go over if the specs were right
Some of the bikes recommended to me by a friend were the Tern Vektron and the Rad Mini but both are definitely on the heavier side. Was also looking at the Brompton Electric (and contemplating the price point) but I can't gauge if people really like the electric version? Also it seems like it's hard to order one without a test drive... Anyway, I'm very green especially when it comes to benefits of motor placement and stuff like that, so any help would be greatly appreciated! Also as an optional thing, if anyone has recs for good helmets for ebike riding, those would be much appreciated as well. Thank ya!

Welcome to the EBR forums.
I would recommend reading the EBR summary of Best Folding Bikes, then check out the specific reviews.
Feel free to post questions and you will find most members are very willing to help with suggestions. 😉

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?
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
There was a similar question a while ago. Main problem mentioned was deep potholes in NYC that 20" wheels don't handle well, and thus the need in a quality suspension fork. I don't know what he eventually decided on.

Most folders are heavy, despite their small size. Average 20"x2" model weighs ~50 lbs, though there are some 40 lbs as well. Fat tire models are over 65 lbs, this is deadly. Folders are still awkward to carry when folded, this is 2ft x 3ft bundle. It could be easier walking it upstairs un-folded, using a throttle or Walk mode.

Brompton might be light but it is 16", rear rack will be a problem and front basket is taken by battery pack.

Check Bike Friday - they install e-kit that adds 10-12 lbs so the total weight should be under 40 lbs with rack and battery. They can install either front or rear hub motor. Battery is either very small hanging in a soft bag behind the seat (a couple of small interconnected batteries similar to Brompton kit):



or a bottle battery attached to the frame.
They have both 16" and 20" bikes but I wouldn't want 16". They don't make ebikes, they install an e-kit on a regular Bike Friday model, so you need to choose which model. Maybe this New World Tourist like on the photo. It doesn't have suspension fork though.

For half the price you could get something like Amego Freedom with big battery, suspension, lights and all, but it weighs 51 lbs.
 
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byunbee

Well-Known Member
Appreciate the response! These look really nice, but are unfortunately a bit out of my price-range for ones that don't fold.
I thought your price range was $3000 or bit over. If you did City Commuter with the following configuration it may meet your needs:
  • Default battery (you shouldn't need a 2nd one for the distance you're describing)
  • Suntour Mobie 45 suspension fork
  • Shimano G-C7000-5D 5-Speed IGH
  • Tektro 725 Brakes
  • Default rack
  • Default Light (Lezyne Macro 1000 Lumen)
  • Default Tail Light (It's brake actuated)
  • Carbon Riser Handlebar
  • 2A Charger
The total for that configuration should be $3297

If you go with the default rigid carbon fork then the price would be $3098.

If you go with the Magura MT5e Brakes then the total would come out to $3496

The bike comes standard with two top end components
  • Kinekt Suspension Seatpost
  • Brooks B17 Imperial Saddle
You also have to consider that this bike comes with Gate Carbon Belt Drive which requires no maintenance and will last 4 times longer than a chain/derailleur/cassette which you will need to maintain and replace.
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
One of his preferences was (ideally) a folding bike. Wattwagon bikes are not folding. I don't, however, think that getting a folder makes sense unless you intend to fold it.

If the only reason for a folder is carrying it upstairs, I suspect that 26" bike with Walk mode will work better.
But, if the reason is that a small storage space won't allow for a regular full-size frame - then he needs a folder.
 

byunbee

Well-Known Member
One of his preferences was (ideally) a folding bike. Wattwagon bikes are not folding. I don't, however, think that getting a folder makes sense unless you intend to fold it.

If the only reason for a folder is carrying it upstairs, I suspect that 26" bike with Walk mode will work better.
But, if the reason is that a small storage space won't allow for a regular full-size frame - then he needs a folder.
Yeah, if he's dead set on folding bikes, the Watt Wagons is not an option. But, if weight is the primary concern, City Commuter can work.

Honestly, I think it's unrealistic to lug around a 50lb bike inside stores while shopping.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
I think it's unrealistic to lug around a 50lb bike inside stores while shopping.
I agree that’s true for regular ebikes, but some folding ebikes like the Brompton are designed to be pushed one-handed through transit stations, some on their wheels like Tern, whereas the famous ‘Brompton fold’ has the rear half of the bike fold under the frame so it can be pushed by the saddle on little wheels fitted to the rack, perfect for pushing on hard floors, it’s not a feature of all folding ebikes but worth seeking out for the OP’s intended use.
 
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Alex M

Well-Known Member
Many folders can be rolled around when folded. Probably most of them can, though not conveniently. Typical 20" bike is huge when folded, think a very big suitcase. Not something I would want to take in a store when shopping.

Brompton folds very compactly and - yes, can be rolled with one hand. But it has 16" wheels and no racks - front bag is taken by the battery, rear rack can't be attached. Still heavy to carry on the 3rd floor folded, ~32-35 lbs with motor and battery, but sure better than 50 lbs.
 
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byunbee

Well-Known Member
Many folders can be rolled around when folded. Probably most of them can, though not conveniently. Typical 20" bike is huge when folded, think a couple of big suitcases. Not something I would want to take in a store when shopping.

Brompton folds very compactly and - yes, can be rolled with one hand. But it has 16" wheels and no racks - front bag is taken by the battery, rear rack can't be attached. Still heavy to carry upstairs folded, over 30 lbs with motor and battery.
I think the folding bike feature is really meant for storage rather than mobility when shopping. I still think it’s not realistic to carry/roll it around with you in stores.
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
It does rather depend on how much you intend to buy, an advantage of the Brompton is if you buy the larger battery bag and leave it attached to the handlebar you can essentially use the bike as a shopping cart with room for one grocery bag of shopping.
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
Not suggesting it, but there is this little thing for mobility when shopping: Liberty Trike. It is literally a "mobility". Store clerks perceive it as a mobility device so you just ride in :).
It is folding, but folded package is way too big, this is for transportation and storage only. Forget about trying to lift it off the ground - 80 pounds.

Brompton might actually work for both his purposes - carrying upstairs after removing the battery (still 25-27 lbs), and doing a limited shopping into space remaining in the bag half-filled with the battery. A bit heavy to carry, a bit small space for groceries. And he'll have to put up with 16" wheels on the road. Compromises all around...
 
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byunbee

Well-Known Member
Not suggesting it, but there is this little thing for mobility when shopping: Liberty Trike. It is literally a "mobility". Store clerks perceive it as a mobility device so you just ride in :).
It is folding, but folded package is way too big, this is for transportation and storage only. Forget about trying to lift it off the ground - 80 pounds.
Even if you can, I don't know if I feel right about pretending to be someone who's got mobility issues (disabled/handicapped) for my personal convenience. :(
 

Audrey.Adrian

New Member
Howdy! I'm extremely new to ebikes, but I'm hoping to purchase one soon for (eventual) commuting & bumming around the city purposes. Given the pandemic, it's a bit challenging for me to safely get to a dealer and test drive some, so I'm hoping to find one I can purchase online.
  • My commute is about 6 miles with a bridge in the way (from Queens to BK following mostly roads that don't have clear bike lanes).
  • Ideally I'd love a folding bike that isn't super heavy (under 50lbs??) because I 1) need to store it in a small 3 story walk-up and 2) would love to be able to carry it into a store if necessary (unfortunately there are not a lot of places to easily lock up a bike in my area). Is that a pipe dream?
  • Would love to spend under $3k but could go over if the specs were right
Some of the bikes recommended to me by a friend were the Tern Vektron and the Rad Mini but both are definitely on the heavier side. Was also looking at the Brompton Electric (and contemplating the price point) but I can't gauge if people really like the electric version? Also it seems like it's hard to order one without a test drive...

Anyway, I'm very green especially when it comes to benefits of motor placement and stuff like that, so any help would be greatly appreciated! Also as an optional thing, if anyone has recs for good helmets for ebike riding, those would be much appreciated as well. Thank ya!

Hi whataquandary,

Did you ever pick buy an ebike? I was looking through the forums to try to find a buyer for my GoCycle GX and saw your post. Let me know if you are interested, here is my original post.

I realized the GX is just too heavy for me to handle regularly going up 3 flights of stairs in my walkup in NYC, so I decided to part with it.

Thanks!
Audrey
 

Dewey

Well-Known Member
If I were still living in Rego Park, this would have been my dream bike https://oyama.com/product/cx-e8d-series-ii/
probably can get one through Sleek Ebikes in Tarrytown! - take the metro north from grand central - easy enough.

Interesting for the 2nd generation of that model Oyama have upgraded the pedal assist to use a torque sensor, the 6-magnet cadence sensor on the 1st gen model was the biggest issue Court discovered when he reviewed the bike 3 years ago, in his review he wrote it took a full turn of the crank before the motor kicked in, presumably it's a lot faster with the new model.