- A clean looking folding electric bike that comes in three different colors and has an easily removable locking internal battery
- Extremely simple to fold and unfold but still has two-step locks so it won't come undone accidentally, relatively lightweight
- Throttle and pedal assist options expand the role the Jolt can play, sturdy alloy wheels won't go out of true, the motor and battery are hidden
- Good folding electric bike for zipping through the city with a low Indiegogo campaign price, but there's still some hidden fees like $199 for shipping, higher MSRP, no suspension, racks or integrated lights
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JOLT eBike is a new company fresh off their Indiegogo campaign, which they absolutely crushed by the way. These guys were looking for $50,000 in funding and have nearly reached $300,000 at the time of this review. While JOLT’s folding electric bike, aptly named the Jolt, isn’t particularly unique, it still offers a few unique features that set it apart. It comes with motor inhibitors that cut power whenever you brake, folds and unfolds quickly and easily, comes in three different colors, has a 350-watt geared hub motor that is built into the rear wheel (which looks great) and has both throttle and pedal-assist with a top speed of 20 mph. Perhaps the best thing about the Jolt from my perspective is the super low Indiegogo campaign price of $599. I was excited to review this bike given the price, but after a bit of research I discovered some caveats. First and foremost, the MSRP for the Jolt is $1,999 – a far cry from the campaign price. While it’s possible the retail price may go down once the Jolt hits the market, it’s not a guarantee. And even those who got in early on the campaign, and snagged one of these for $599, still have to pay a flat shipping fee of $199. Additionally, it costs $39 to upgrade the front brake from a V brake to a mechanical disc brake, and $29 for those who want to opt for the LED headlamp. Still, all said and done, you’re getting out the door for only about a grand after taxes – for the campaign price anyway… Something I found a bit confusing about the campaign though is shipping and warranty. The JOLT Indiegogo campaign website mentions warranties aren’t honored outside the U.S., which seems to imply this bike comes with a warranty and can be shipped worldwide. However, after talking with JOLT directly, I discovered there is no warranty and it can only be shipped to the contiguous U.S. So folks in Alaska and Hawaii are out of luck, unfortunately. Still, this was a fun bike to review and ride, so let’s make like a swan and dive right in.
The Jolt comes in only one frame size – 12 inches – but thanks to the telescoping handlebars and extremely long seat post, I think this bike can accommodate riders of various heights. I’m 5’10” and this bike fit me fine, though it did feel a little small and reminded me of a BMX bike. But taller riders, or those who simply want to extend their reach, can easily raise the handlebars, twist them forward, and raise the seat with the quick-release levers. One thing I want to note about the quick-release for the seat post was that it seemed like it might not have been quite the right size, or perhaps the seat post diameter was just slightly too narrow. The seat post rattled around some and I had to seriously tighten the quick-release lever to the point where I needed to use both my hands and almost all my strength to clamp it down. On the plus side though, the seat post is a whopping 33.8 mm in diameter, which is great for taller riders who need to raise the seat post higher than normal. That extra thickness should help ensure the seat post doesn’t bend or otherwise become deformed. Another note for those who are looking to utilize the telescoping handlebars: Raising the handlebars also extends the brake lines and motor inhibitor wires, which could be pulled loose or get damaged if the handlebars are raised too high and then you turn hard. Try not to stretch the wires or pull on them too much.
The frame is made from 6061 aluminum alloy, giving the Jolt a curb weight of 46 pounds. That’s not too bad for an electric bike and should make lugging it around a bit easier than some heavier electric bikes. It’s on the lighter side for folding models but that’s probably because it doesn’t have suspension and the battery capacity is lower than average. Because the 350-watt hub motor is located in the rear and the internal locking battery is secured in the middle of the frame, the Jolt felt pretty well balanced. Folding this thing is a breeze. Flick open the quick release lever in the middle of the frame and at the base of the handlebars and voila! Folded. I managed to fold and unfold this bad boy with one hand, which I thought was pretty cool. That might be handy if I had luggage or groceries or something in one hand and still needed to load the Jolt into my car with the other. The Jolt I received was the Pearl White color, but the company also offers it in Obsidian Black and Electric Blue. At the bottom of the frame is a metal bar that serves to help protect the chainring and also balance the bike when it’s folded. However, I noticed that in order to actually utilize this feature the bike couldn’t be completely folded or it would tip over. There’s also no magnetic clasp, rubber strap, or bungee system included to keep the bike folded. I sometimes use my own bungee cords or you can get some all-plastic cords with adjustable length from Amazon like this.
The tires on the Jolt are little 20-inchers, which are great for giving a mechanical boost to the motor and coasting efficiently, but not so good for shock absorption or stability. The smaller tire can lead to some squirreliness at higher speeds, and 20 mph feels a lot faster on a bike like this than something with 26″ or 28″ wheels. That’s not to say the smaller tire size is a bad thing – in fact I actually like them and think they’re fitting for this bike’s philosophy of use – but it’s definitely something to be aware of. It’s not the kind of ebike I’d get for long daily commutes. From an aesthetics standpoint, I also appreciate the rims, which have six large cast bars as opposed to traditional spokes. As far as components go, the Jolt has primarily entry-level equipment. I wasn’t able to discern the brand of the hub motor, and the Shimano Tourney derailleur works fine, but it’s definitely on the lower end of the quality spectrum. In fact, it’s the lowest component group that Shimano makes as far as I’m aware. I did like the Wellgo folding pedals quite a bit, though I prefer the type that have a lever in the middle as opposed to these, which need to be pushed in before they fold. They’re pretty generic, and might flex or feel small if you’re heavy and have large feet… this is another area that is easy to upgrade with larger alloy folding pedals from Wellgo like these.
JOLT estimates the range of their bike at 50 miles, though honestly I think with the 36 volt 7.8 amp hour battery it’d probably be closer to around 15 to 30 miles. But I think that’s still fine as I personally wouldn’t want to be riding a folding bike with no suspension fork for extended periods. The battery itself was extremely easy to remove. Just open the frame and insert the key to unlock it and it slides right out. Some of the older folding e-bikes required you to leave your key in while riding or had the locking core external to the frame which could take more water and dirt, so it’s nice that this one is protected. I LOVE that the battery has a USB port built in as that means it can be used to power the bike and also my accessories! It also means I can use the battery as a portable power bank too, which is a huge plus in my opinion. The battery has an on/off switch so you can keep it from drawing down when not in use (and maybe keeping it safer if you’re on a long trip and the bike is getting jostled around). Having a removable battery is great for those who want to use the Jolt as a city bike and charge the battery while the bike is parked a rack or maybe the bike is loaded in the cold outside of your car and you want to keep the battery safe inside or use that USB port to fill your phone or something. Because the battery is relatively lightweight – weighing just 3.8 pounds – it won’t be as much of a chore to lug around as some of the heavier battery packs. Accessing the USB port, On/Off button and charging port on the battery while it’s inside the bike is done via a triangular rubber grommet on the left side of the Jolt. The grommet seemed to fit securely and snuggly in place and didn’t seem like it would come loose during riding – a problem I’ve noticed with quite a few other electric vehicles. This may seem like a small detail, but having a grommet that doesn’t come undone when it’s not supposed to means dirt, water and other debris will stay out of the electronics, thereby increasing the overall longevity of the battery. Do be careful if you plug a USB cable in while riding the Jolt, because it could get snagged and bumped by your foot when pedaling.
Riding the Jolt was fun. The eight-magnet cadence sensor did an okay job at giving and cutting off power when I started and stopped pedaling and the lag wasn’t too bad – about a half second to a second at most. The throttle was also fun to use as it made the Jolt feel a little like a scooter as opposed to a bicycle. This is a feature I always appreciate, especially since I don’t see throttles on electric bikes that often. Because of the Jolt’s small frame and tires, it was easy to whip around and felt quite nimble. I think those who are able to get the Jolt at the campaign price of $599 plus $199 for shipping are getting a decent deal, but with an MSRP of $1,999 it would be nice to see some more upgraded features like front and rear disc brakes, a cargo rack, integrated LED lights, a torque sensor and maybe a step up or two with the derailleur and a suspension fork. You can see lots of other folding electric bikes which do offer these upgrades priced in the $1,500 range reviewed here. This seems like a good bike for those who need something portable and relatively lightweight to zip through the city or down the beach. I’d like to thank JOLT for partnering with me on this review and I welcome your comments and feedback below, especially if you’re a backer for the Indiegogo campaign. As with all crowd funded products, there’s some question as to how long it will take to ship or whether it will change from what is presented to the final product. I have done my best to present what I got in an objective way and I hope for the best to anyone who is backing.
- Very easy to fold and unfold this electric bike with sturdy quick-release levers on the frame and stem, the handlebar can also be rotated and this raises or brings it back because of the low-rise bar design
- Telescoping handlebars and extremely long seat post means the Jolt should be suitable for a large range of rider heights, plus the seat post is sturdy thanks to its larger than normal diameter
- Having a trigger throttle means the Jolt ebike can be used like a moped or scooter instead of only being pedaled, this could be handy if you’re carrying cargo or focused on balancing with the smaller wheels (which tend to be twitchier)
- Gotta love the plastic chain guide, this ensures that the chain won’t bounce off as easily (important since there’s no suspension here) and it is handy when folding the bike as well, though plastic could get cracked vs. Aluminum alloy used on some other ebikes I have seen
- The bike is very stealthy, you cannot see the motor casing or battery unless you know what to look for, I like how they are concealed and also well protected inside parts of the frame
- Buying an ebike online usually means you’ll have to deal with packaging and some assembly… and while the JOLT eBike did come in a big cardboard box, I was delighted to see that it was fully assembled, and the wheels were perfectly straight because they don’t use spokes like most full sized models
- It’s nice to be able to tap into the battery for your own portable electronics, either while riding or with the pack off the bike, just be careful with any wires that might be plugged in if you do try to use it and ride at the same time… it would be a bummer if you snagged a wire and broke the USB port
- Being able to override pedal assist with the brake levers, which both have motor inhibitors, provides a sense of control and safety
- I like how the bike remembers what level of pedal assist you were in when you turn it off… it stays in the same mode when you turn it on again! Just be careful not to get surprised by this or bump the trigger throttle on the right because that could cause some instability or an accident
- Three color choices so you could get a couple of bikes and keep them separate, or just go for something more fun, but I like the white because it’s going to be the most visible at night (especially since this ebike has no integrated lights or reflective tires)
- It looks like you could add a rear rack to this bike pretty easily, I saw threaded eyelets on the seat stays and near the rear dropout, just find one that would fit a smaller 20″ wheel setup
- The pricing on this ebike is a bit confusing because of the Indiegogo special, it sounds like shipping is $199 and if the true MSRP is $1,999 then this is one of the most expensive folding electric bikes around despite being kind of generic
- No suspension, cast rims instead of spokes, and the smaller 20″ wheel diameter means that this ebike could feel stiff and uncomfortable on long rides
- The motor power cable exits the right side of the rear dropout and is not protected by a derailleur guard, so just be careful not to bump this cable when folding and transporting, it’s not uncommon to see these cables get bent if the bike tips etc. and that could ruin the motor
- The display panel is very basic, instead of an LCD with numeric readouts for speed, odometer, and battery percentage, you get LED indicators and dots that guide you but aren’t as precise
- Rim brakes are a bit more basic than disc brakes and may get dirty and squeak more, apparently you can upgrade the front to disc (the demo bike I got came with a front disc) so this is one of the areas where cheaper parts were used but the price of the bike doesn’t really reflect that, on the Indiegogo campaign you have to pay more for the headlight and disc brake so I’m not sure how that will work on the final bike once the campaign is over
- It seems like either the seat post is too narrow for the seat tube or maybe the seatpost collar needs to be tighter, I had to really tighten this down to reduce rattling and support my weight (so the seat wouldn’t slide down)
- It’s great to have a kickstand but this one is mounted just below the bottom bracket which means the crank arms can collide with it if you back the bike up, it’s a minor gripe but some bikes do have their kickstand positioned further back and out of the way of the cranks
- Minor gripe, the shifter cables, brake lines, and electrical wiring on this bike is all externally routed and can look a bit messy – especially on the white frame, but maybe it’s easier to repair and won’t get pinched when folding as easily?