- A stylish and well-balanced folding electric bike, you get fenders, a rear cargo rack and lights (the headlight is integrated, running off the main battery), mid-drive and integrated battery position weight well
- Sturdy frame can handle up to 300 lbs, mid-step design is easier to mount and stand over for short riders, the seat tube is extra-long and the stem telescopes upward so it also accommodates taller riders
- Stable double-leg scissoring kickstand, beautiful color LCD with lots of options and integrated USB port, upgraded disc brake in the front wheel, durable internally geared 7 speed hub that can be switched at standstill
- A bit more expensive given the upgraded hardware and components, display is not removable but the battery pack is (great for folding and transporting given the 53 pound weight of the bike)
The 3OND (pronounced BOND) is a folding electric bike with unique features and a stylish look. The founder of Platinum e-bikes, Cristine Wiseman, has been working in the electric bicycle industry for several years and I’ve seen her at trade shows and other events. She knows her stuff and it’s neat to see her first big product here, it offers a different take and I enjoyed hearing her perspectives during the video review above. And so, you may not have heard of her company before but the product felt solid to ride and it comes with a one solid one year warranty. I like how balanced the frame is, using a mid-drive and mid-mounted battery pack, and I like that it comes with reflective tires and two LED lights for safety. Folding electric bikes have to balance weight and compactness with performance and ride quality and the 3OND does this well. Instead of using a more traditional derailleur, that’s exposed on the side of the frame, it has an internally geared hub. Not only is it protected this way, it also requires a shorter chain that’s less likely to fall off and you can shift gears while stopped! This is a huge deal if you live in a hilly area with stop signs on the way up. The comfort saddle, basic suspension fork and adjustable height stem make it comfortable and possibly more upright vs. aggressive forward depending on how you set it up. While this e-bike only comes in one frame size, the seat post is extra long and I was able to dial it in easily and feel comfortable as a 5’9″ man… taller riders would get along just fine in my opinion and the black or white color schemes let you personalize a little if you order more than one.
Driving the bike is powerful 350 watt mid-drive from Bafang. These are sometimes sold as kits because they attach easily to the bottom bracket on many frames… but not all. Platinum e-Bikes chose a frame here that works with the BBS01 and allows enough space for the wires and keyed ignition above. One of the difficulties with kits and DIY is choosing a battery that will work with your non-ebike frame. The 3OND uses an ebike specific frame with internally mounted battery which looks great and stays out of the way. I was very impressed with the end result. The motor is responsive and powerful but not too quiet or overbearing. Since the wheels here are 20″ vs. 24″ or the more standard full-sized 26″ they are easier to turn and this empowers the motor. Normally I would complain that the BBS01 Bafang mid-drive motors don’t have shift sensing and can strain the chain and shifting mechanisms but that’s less of an issue here… internally geared hubs like the seven-speed Shimano Nexus here won’t shift if too much power is being exerted on them. It’s like a self-protection system and there’s no derailleur or chain movement happening that could get worn out either. In short, with 350+ watts of power and a top speed of 20 mph, this is a very capable folding electric bike and the max weight that the bike can handle is 300 lbs which should work well for a rider and some cargo in many cases.
Powering this folding electric bike is a compact but high-capacity battery pack that slides inside the downtube. You have to fold the bike to get it in and out but you can charge it while it’s in using a little port on the left side of the frame. I’d say average size for most ebike batteries is around 36 volts and 10 amp hours but this one has 14 amp hours. That means you can ride longer and go further without having to plug in. The battery cells inside the pack are made by Samsung, a higher end brand, and there’s a little handle to carry the pack around with so you don’t drop it easily. Earlier, I mentioned that the headlight runs off of this battery pack but the backlit color display and accompanying standard-sized USB port does also! This port is recessed below the display and could be very useful for an additional light, powering a GPS or keeping your phone charged. And, Cristine explained that the first batch of bikes will come with a phone mount. Pretty neat all around… I wanted to call out the charger here as well, it’s fairly compact, about average weight at 1.7 lbs and puts out 2 Amps which means it could take ~5 hours for a full refill of the battery. To really prepare yourself for longer rides I’d recommend using a trunk bag with a bottle holster and putting the charger and a tool set in the bag.
Operating the bike, switching it on, is one of the less-refined areas I explored. It’s a two-step process starting with insertion of the key up into the base of the frame (just above the motor). This requires hunching way down or getting onto your knees, fiddling with the wires to get them out of the way and then inserting and twisting the right way. If I owned this electric bike, I might just always leave the key in for convenience and I would definitely remove any other keys and keychains to reduce noise and possible snags. Up at the display panel and remote button pad (mounted near the left grip) things get much easier. You hold the power button for a few seconds and the bike activates. It started in assist level 1 meaning the throttle was hot… and that seemed like a default, so be careful not to bump the throttle accidentally. Thankfully, the power of the throttle is limited by assist so you wouldn’t be overwhelmed if you did bump it. You can arrow down to zero and the throttle turns off. You can also arrow up through 5 or 9 levels of assist to reach the top speed of 20 mph… but you might also have to change gears to reach this speed. As a mid-drive, the motor is dependent on the gearing to either climb efficiently or go faster. The motor RPM range is good however, and I hit 20 mph in the top two gears when testing. The button pad itself was easy to reach, well sealed against water and compact but I have seen this type of display before and the plastic buttons can get bent up and broken off if you somehow pull up on them. As a folding ebike, there may be more situations where this is possible so just be careful with it.
In my opinion, the 3OND is quite unique and well designed. No, it’s not the most affordable electric bicycle but it delivers a quality experience, some great accessories and a nice aesthetic. It would work well for heavier riders, people dealing with hills and those who might want a simpler more durable build without a derailleur. Those three systems (mid-drive, internally geared hub and throttle + pedal assist) mix really well and aren’t available on hardly any other folding electric bikes. At 53 lbs with the battery in and 46.5 lbs with it out… this might still be difficult to lift without help but Cristine did it herself before meeting me. We teamed up to put it away after the ride and I was surprised that she fit both into her compact Toyota Carola automobile (one in the trunk and one in the rear seat area… buckled up for safety). I’m excited to see her working with dealers because that means better assembly and support. I trust that she knows her stuff and am happy to see a female entrepreneur with a streak of geek and a sense for style getting into the space herself. This is certainly not a product limited to women riders by any means. It’s more powerful and rugged than a lot of others I’ve tested and I’d like to thank Cristine again for partnering with me on this post and taking the time to meetup with BOTH models :)
- One of the few folding electric bikes with a mid-drive motor, this improves frame balance and makes wheel maintenance easier… it also allows for an internally geared hub in the rear
- The 7 speed Shimano Nexus internally geared hub can be switched at standstill making it easy to start pedaling, the design is also more protected than a derailleur when the bike is folded
- I’m not sure who makes the saddle but I really liked it, you get an oversized surface with a gel-like comfort and some rubber bumpers that compliment the suspension fork
- I like that the suspension fork offers lockout because rebound and stiffness didn’t seem very adjustable, it’s a great option to have in general and I like the integrated fender and headlight too
- The 3OND comes with two LED Lights for safety, even though the rear light isn’t powered by the ebike battery, it’s fairly nice and would be easy to move from the seat post to clip onto a trunk bag like this (so it isn’t blocked by the bag)
- The kickstand stows nicely and isn’t super huge but offers good balance when lowered, it’s a double-leg design that keeps the bike upright and makes loading it or working on the drivetrain easier
- Both tires have a reflective tape line on them for increased visibility, I like that you can get the bike in white for an even larger visual footprint but the black looks good as well
- The electronic wires, shifter cables and brake lines aren’t internally routed but they are well organized and kept out of harm’s way on the frame
- Both folding levers have a secondary slide-lock to keep them from coming undone, I like that they are also adjustable so you can tighten them over time… in general, they were easy to understand and use
- The folding design is unique, even though it doesn’t have a magnetic clasp or rubber band to stay folded it does come with a velcro strap and Cristine showed me how to do it in such a way that no metal makes contact and it stays folded… pretty cool
- I like that you get throttle on demand as well as pedal assist, both were responsive, I like to start with the throttle to get some momentum then switch to pedaling and release the throttle
- Even though the Platinum e-Bikes brand is new, Cristine has been working in the electric bike industry for quite a while (I’ve seen her at trade shows in Las Vegas), her company offers a one-year comprehensive warranty
- Due to the high capacity battery, strong mid-drive motor and internally geared hub, this folding ebike is a bit heavier than some others… consider removing the 6.5 lb battery before lifting it
- There are no bottle cage bosses on the frame, this is common with compact electric bikes and at least you get a rack on the back, consider a trunk bag with integrated bottle holster like this one
- They key has to be inserted, twisted and left in the frame in order to activate the display panel, this can be tricky due to the ignition slot position (just above the motor on the under-side of the frame tube)
- While the pedals are not folding, and thus protrude a little more than some competing e-bikes, they are more solid and offer a larger surface area and better traction
- Steel fenders are rigid and I like how wide these ones are but they can get bent easier or scratched and rust compared to Aluminum or plastic, they might also weigh slightly more
- This isn’t exactly a con, just a head’s up that raising the telescoping stem too high then turning the handle bars really far can strain the wires, keep an eye on that so they don’t get disconnected