Velosolex electric foldable bike?

zinfox

New Member
I intend to go and try one this week but I'd like to know if anyone knows more about it or has any experience with it?
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Hi! Thanks for sharing this unique folding electric bike by Solex... While I haven't seen this ebike in person or had the chance to ride it around, based on the specs and images at the official website I do like the look and it seems to be a high quality build. I'll share my observations and thoughts below and I'd be very curious to hear how the bike performs in real life.

Quick history: the original VéloSoleX was a motorized bicycle created in 1941. It used a small 45 cc internal combustion engine that was developed by Solex (a company that bought carburator patents after World War 1). The engine was mounted just in front of the head tube and rested a small ceramic roller on top of the front wheel, driving it forward. The e-Solex and Velosolex are electric bikes that feature an aesthetic nod to the original Solex bikes with a cylindrical protrusion on the head tube that contains the headlight... This is not the motor, just an artistic reference.

Indeed, the Solex bikes are quite artistic and their website mentions a design partnership with Pininfarina which is an independent Italian sports car design firm founded in 1930. The qualities I like most about the Velosolex are the curved tubing on the rear rack, the wooden plank inserts, optional sports-car red seat and chain ring highlights and the headlight. From a utilitarian perspective, I'd imagine this bump on the front just adds weight, though it may help to balance out the rear hub motor. For a folding ebike this thing is pretty heavy at 22kg for the frame + 2.5kg for the battery (according to the website) so this is 54 pounds which is maybe average for a full sized ebike but would make it harder to lift and store... one of the primary benefits of a folding ebike to begin with.
  • 250 watt geared hub motor in the rear (standard for folding ebikes and European ebikes)
  • 24 volt 10 amp hour Lithium-polymer (less energy density than Lithium-ion, heavier, may wear out faster)
  • Battery is removable, can be charged off the bike (~5 hours for full charge from empty)
  • Approximate range per charge is 50 kilometers (~31 miles)
  • Four levels of pedal assist (two sport, one low and one starter), no throttle mode
  • Top speed 25 kilometers per hour (~15 miles per hour) European standard and 6 km/h walk mode (3.7mph)
  • LCD computer monitor with speed, range, remaining power, power consumption, pedal assist mode, time and timer
  • LED charge indicator on the battery pack itself
  • Six speed Shimano drivetrain with standard cassette
  • 20" x 1.75" tires (should increase mechanical advantage for the motor making it a decent climber vs. 26" or 29" wheel sizes)
  • Includes a side mounted kickstand, front and rear LED lights (do not appear to be dynamo powered), seat post shock, suspension fork (does not appear to be adjustable) and a disc brake in the front with V-brake in the rear
  • Does not include water bottle braze ons,
  • Frame folds in the middle, the pedals fold up, the seat post slides down and the stem folds down - I did not see a magnet or clasp for keeping it folded
  • Dimensions when folded are L 830 mm x W 500 mm x H 790 mm
  • Available in four different colors with frame and seat/chain ring as the accent (black and red, black and black, white and black and gray and brown)
This looks like a fun ebike, the rack is more artistic than functional as the larger tubing won't work with many of the standard bags and panniers out there. The fenders and lights are functional. The suspension fork and seat post shock look awesome because these smaller 20" diameter wheels can be less comfortable when rolling over bumps and cracks. The tires look average size which will help to soften the ride as well. Many systems feature quick release (middle fold, stem and seat post) but the wheels themselves are bolt on which will require extra work when changing a flat. It appears the seat may flip up to make removing the battery easier, regardless, the quick release lever on the seat post is convenient. I noticed a sort of metal bash guard below the front chain ring and bottom bracket, this may support the bike when folded and protect the teeth on the sprocket. It looks like the front ring may also have an aluminum chain guide for protection and to act as a sort of chain guard to avoid snags and grease on your pants.

I think the front fender could have been extended more to keep feet and ankles dry when riding through puddles but sometimes if these get too long, they interfere with your feet when pedaling... tough call there. While the frame looks nice, I question the extra metal used on the front bump thing, the oversized rack and the battery slot which is primarily used for aesthetics and branding. I'm not trying to be overly critical here, just describing everything I see. It's a beautiful machine produced by two extraordinary companies and I bet it feels good to ride. Hopefully they also offer a great warranty and support.

large-view-velosolex-red.jpg

velosolex-folding-electric-bike.jpg

Since you're asking about this bike, I want to point out a couple of other options (the second may only be available in the US). These are relatively light, good climbers, thoughtfully accessorized and well built. The first is the Kalkhoff Sahel Compact that offers a solid middrive system. While it doesn't fold in half, it rides solid and has an amazing range. The second is the E-Joe Epik SE which, like the Velosolex, has a front shock and fenders but only weighs 16.8kg (37 pounds). If you like the rear rack standard and want an even lighter option you can get it as an option or forego the shock and get the standard Epik.

Hope this helps you out! I'd love to hear your feedback after the ride or any corrections to this research :)
 

Gene Keyes

New Member
I had a Velosolex for a short time when I was 15 in 1957. Not quite electric (except perhaps for the spark plug and a dynamo): 1 cylinder, 2 stroke. I loved the elegance of the design, the quietness of the motor, and its speed limit of 20 mph. One quirk was lack of a clutch; at any stop you had to shut off the motor, then restart it by pedalng. When visiting Denmark in 1971 I rented one for old time's sake; this time it had a clutch.

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