- A folding electric bike with two hidden batteries, offering extended range! The main battery pack is built into the custom seat post, and the other is mounted inside the downtube. Total combined capacity of 840 watt hours, both packs are lockable and removable, includes a 3 amp quick charger.
- Available in three colors, but only one frame size. Adjustable handlebar and seat height provide a range of fit options. Sturdy joints and clasps, fairly stable when folded, magnetic clasp keeps it from coming unfolded. Base level Shimano Tourney 7-speed drivetrain with 14-28 tooth freewheel.
- Includes an integrated headlight and AAA powered rear light, a flick bell, and steel fenders to keep you dry. Powerful 20 amp sine wave controller supports the 500 watt planetary geared hub motor, keeping it smooth and quiet. Five levels of pedal assist activated by a cadence sensor, also has a trigger throttle and cruise control.
- Lots of optional accessories including front and rear baskets, pannier bags, and a seat post clamp lock. But, if you get this lock, you'll have to manage two sets of keys. Smaller wheel size with high attack angle can feel jarring, and the unique seat post cannot be swapped for a suspension post. Some unboxing and assembly required.
This review was provided for free, but Qualisports gifted the demo bike to my Mom so we would have extra time to test it and they wouldn’t have to deal with return shipping and selling a used demo bike. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased with you, this video and writeup are not meant to be an endorsement of Qualisports products. I welcome your corrections, additions, and feedback in the comments below, and the Qualisports electric bike forums.
- I covered the standard Dolphin in 2019, which only had one battery pack (the seat post). It’s neat to see this Plus model with an internal pack for extended range! The battery is completely hidden in the downtube, and it keeps the weight low and centered on the frame for improved balance. You can still purchase a single pack Dolphin for $1,599 if you want.
- I appreciate how both battery packs are hidden and their weight is kept fairly low and centered on the frame. The Dolphin looks really nice and offers so much utility with the steel fenders and optional front and rear racks! I feel that Qualisports stands out in the space because of their purpose built designs.
- It’s nice that they sell the Dolphin with one or two batteries, because not everyone needs the additional range or wants to spend the $300 more for the Plus model. Interestingly, the second downtube battery only adds about 4lbs to the total weight of the bike.
- A lot of times with ebikes like this you have to go online to find them and then assembly manually. Qualisports has a dealer network, so you can get established and knowledgeable help and service. It’s not the largest network, but it’s better than nothing, and we list the dealers on our ebike shop directory page.
- The frame seems to have sturdy joints and locking points. I like how easy it is to fold and unfold as you slide the seat post down and use it as a balance point.
- The bike comes mostly assembled and includes all of the necessary tools, though I chose to use my own Phillips head screwdriver because it has a larger handle that provides more leverage. Assembly was pretty quick, and Qualisports produced a great unboxing folding video to help.
- In the folded position, you can actually walk the bike around by using the seat post and saddle as a grab point (if extended up a bit). If the seat is left down and the base is touching the ground, you can sit on the saddle and almost use the folded bike as a chair.
- The display lets you activate the headlight by holding the up arrow, activate walk mode by holding the down arrow, activate cruise control by holding down while riding (which is kind of rare to see), and you can access settings by holding up and down. I like that it’s very open this way, and also that the display has a USB charging port built into the base! This means you could maintain a smartphone or additional lights. The downtube battery also has a USB port built in, but this one cannot be used unless the battery is off of the bike.
- I like how the trigger shifters have an optical view window, so you can determine which gear is in use as you ride. I prefer triggers to twist shifters, and although these ones are kind of basic and require thumb and index finger to use, they are still a Shimano part that should hold up well… and I’m grateful that they are not the large index thumb shifter design that many other affordable models use.
- The power delivery is nice and linear because of the 20 amp sine wave controller and how they configured it. Sometimes cadence sensor ebikes can feel jarring and almost unstable with the highest assist level… but this one accelerates smoothly and the motor is super quiet.
- The move to hydraulic disc brakes is just awesome! They are both easy to use, whereas the right brake can be difficult if it’s a mechanical system because the wire rubs on the housing and can get gunked up over time. Both brake levers have motor inhibitors and offer adjustable reach. The brand of these parts isn’t super high end, but they worked well, and the smaller 160mm rotors gets a mechanical advantage because of the small 20″ wheel size.
- Many great accessories are available for the Dolphin and Dolphin Plus including aluminum alloy front and rear racks, the seat post clamp lock, and pannier bags. Some of these are pretty custom, and it’s reassuring to see that Qualisports has been around for many years and offers a solid one year comprehensive warranty.
- I love that they include a derailleur guard to protect the sensitive area of the bike from bumps. This is especially useful for folding ebikes that could end up tipping over during transport. It protects the derailleur and motor power cable fairly well. I also appreciate the plastic chainring guard, though metal would be tougher and a full guide would ensure no dropped chains during riding and folding and transport.
- The bike uses a sealed 12-magnet cadence sensor that is more responsive than the lower resolution 6-magnet designs that some of the cheaper ebikes use. This one is also protected from dust and mud batter because the magnets are not exposed.
- The bike does not have a suspension fork or other shock absorbing system. As with most folding bicycles, the smaller 20″ wheels have a higher attack angle that can feel jarring on bumpy terrain. The slightly wider 2.3″ tires increase the air volume, improving comfort a bit, and they offer a wide range of pressure options 35PSI to 60PSI (lower is more comfortable but less efficient) so at least you can experiment with that. Since the seat post is also a battery, you’re not able to swap it for a suspension post. All things considered, the bike is not any worse than most of the other folding models I’ve tested.
- The Innova tires get the job done, but don’t include puncture protection or reflective sidewall stripes. These enhancements can be useful when riding long distances, exploring new environments, and dealing with low light conditions. Since folding ebikes tend to have smaller wheels and sit lower to the ground, I am always thinking about safety and how to be seen more easily. I do appreciate the integrated headlight and rear light, though I wish the headlight was up higher on the handlebar and the rear light ran off of the main battery vs. two AAA cells, since you have to remember to turn it off separately after each use.
- There is no slap guard on the right chain stay, and the chain can get very close when riding in the highest gear. This may result in chips over time as the chain bounces up and down. I would recommend protecting it with an aftermarket neoprene slap guard, sticker, or some clear box tape.
- The bike uses some generic and base-level parts here and there, such as the brake system, plastic folding pedals, plastic display, and entry-level Shimano Tourney derailleur with limited 14-28 tooth freewheel. This is understandable given the relatively low price of the bike. I do think the bike is geared a bit high, and I noticed that we rode in the two lowest gears most of the time to make starting easier since it uses a cadence sensor vs. torque or multi-sensor.
- The downtube battery comes with a key and locks securely inside the frame, but the seat post battery does not lock by default. Qualisports does sell a $60 locking clamp as an optional upgrade. This is a nice feature, but the two keysets are very different, so you’ll have to keep one of each and that adds a bit of clutter and weight.
- The 2.25″ display panel is easy to read and backlit, but the battery charge level indicator is not very precise. It uses four bars that each represent a 25% fill. When you reach the last bar, it’s difficult to know how much is left before the bike completely runs out.
- I noticed that the five assist levels influenced how the throttle performed. It’s basically capped by the assist level, meaning you won’t get more power or speed unless you click up to reach the highest level. I prefer when the throttle functions independently from pedal assist and as an override so I can get quick bursts of power and speed without taking additional steps. I also prefer when the throttle is active at standstill, vs. having to pedal a bit to unlock it as is the case here. This requires more leg effort to go from zero, and since the bike is geared higher, that isn’t as easy if you have a sensitive knee as I do.
- The steel fenders are sturdy and match the bike well, but are heavier and prone to rust if they get scratched. This is not the case with aluminum or plastic… though plastic can rattle more. Also, there is no bottle cage mounting point on this ebike by default. You might consider a hydration pack or putting a bottle in a trunk bag if you get the rear rack.
- I struggled to get both the rear fender and rear rack mounted together, since the bolt has to go through both to reach the threaded eyelet. I also stripped one of the rack support bolts by over-tightening… so be careful during assembly.
- Even though the bike looks thin and small, it still weighs quite a bit at 48-53lbs depending on whether you add the fenders and additional accessories. The lightest is probably 46ish pounds with the single battery and no fenders added. Please be careful when lifting the bike, consider unplugging the seat post battery and removing completely to save 7.5lbs.