Rad Power Bikes RadMini Step-Thru 2 Review. Rad folding bike

Rad Power Bikes RadMini Step-Thru 2 Review

Jamie Hergenrader is the Commerce Director of the Travel Group at Dotdash Meredith where she leads the content strategy of product reviews and recommendations for the company’s travel brands. She joined the company in 2018 and has nearly a decade of experience writing and editing for travel and lifestyle publications.

Rad Power Bikes RadMini Step-Thru 2

Rad Power Bikes RadMini Step-Thru 2 is a fantastic e-bike option for city commuting or traversing trails due to its impressive features and design, and its small size and foldability for transport.

Rad Power Bikes RadMini Step-Thru 2

Rad Power Bikes provided the TripSavvy team with a sample RadMini Step-Thru 2 electric bike so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.

The RadMini Step-Thru 2 is an electric folding fat bike by Rad Power Bikes. Its sleek and functional design make it ideal for city dwellers looking for a commuting bike, and its all-purpose fat tires and overall durability make it a great option for trail riding. Plus, its small size and ability to fold into thirds makes it ideal for storage and transport, wherever you plan to ride. Read more about this electric bike to determine if it’s right for your riding needs.

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Design: Attractive and functional

The first thing that catches your eye about the RadMini Step-Thru 2 is the sleek design. Its white frame and brown leather accents for the grips and seat are certainly aesthetically appealing.

The second thing that’s immediately noticeable is the low standover height—at 16 inches, it’s the lowest of any Rad Power model, making for a quick hop-on and hop-off experience, and also an added comfort for riders on the shorter side. Its adjustable seat height allows for even more customization for your height and leg extension when pedaling. (If you are fairly tall, though, you might prefer another Rad Power model that allows for more leg extension when you pedal. The Rad Power website has a handy chart with a breakdown of the best models for rider comfort.)

When I encountered a steeper incline, such as the approach to a bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan, I increased the pedal assist to two or three, which still required minimal effort to climb the bridge.

These two design aspects make the bike especially ideal for commuters. Whether you’re riding to and from work, or you’re commuting around a city to run errands and make multiple stops, you can easily hop on and off the bike quickly. There’s also a bell that’s located on the left brake lever–it’s hardly noticeable but emits a clear and distinctive ring.

However, I encountered just a couple of minimal design hiccups on this bike. First, putting air in the tires presents a small challenge. The quantity of spokes on both tires make for a tight fit for the pump’s nozzle to reach the valve, and the motor on the back tire is another obstacle. Second, as someone with smaller hands, the display’s buttons on the left side of the handlebar and the gear shift levers on the right are both just a bit too far from the grips, causing me to slightly loosen my grip or let go to reach either. Neither of these are dealbreakers for me, and the latter, of course, will vary by rider.

Interface: Easy to use

The LCD display is centered on the handlebar and is controlled by buttons on the remote, located next to the left side grip. The display shows the following:

  • Battery life (indicated with five bars in 20-percent increments);
  • The level of pedal assist you’re using;
  • A speedometer that lets you toggle through current speed or average speed;
  • An odometer that can show your mileage since last battery charge or the current trip’s mileage;
  • And a watt meter that shows the power output of the motor.

It’s not removable, potentially leaving it at risk of damage due to inclement weather, but it is adjustable. When you have your lights on, the screen becomes brighter and an icon of a light is shown. Tucked underneath the display is a USB port that allows you to charge your phone, which could come in handy if you’re using your phone’s GPS to navigate your ride.

One of the best features about this bike is the integrated lighting. Mounted to the front and center of the bike is an LED headlight that’s turned on or off from the display remote (by holding down the up and mode buttons simultaneously). There’s also a brake light on the back that’s integrated with brake use, which is a nice safety feature.

Tires: Puncture resistant

As this is a fat bike, the tires (CST Big Boat tires) measure 3 inches wide. They’re puncture resistant and boast all-purpose tread, meaning they can handle rough city roads or some off-road trails. Admittedly, I haven’t taken this out onto any gravel trails during my testing period, but riding through New York City’s streets proved the tires’ strength to me as I rode over potholes, various dirt and debris, and, at one point (unavoidably), broken glass. This Rad Power model also includes PVC fenders on both tires for extra protection from any moisture you might encounter on your path.

Battery: Long-lasting

Don’t let the mini part of the title fool you—this bike packs plenty of power within its small structure due to its 750-watt motor, powered by a 48-volt battery. The battery is operated by a key that has three main positions. Going counter-clockwise from the top, the first is to lock it to the frame and turn the battery on; the second position locks it to the frame but keeps the battery off; and the third unlocks the battery (to remove for charging). (The bike comes with two keys, so you have a spare.) Note that to alter between positions, you’ll simply need to turn the key to get from one to two, and turn and push in slightly to maneuver between two and three.

How long the battery lasts depends on your usage of it—in other words, how much and how efficiently you use the pedal assist and throttle. With minimal use (in cases of mostly flat terrain, low pedal assist, and not too much wind), your full battery charge can take you about 45 miles. In tougher conditions, such as hilly terrain that requires lots of pedal assist or throttle, your battery will last for about 25 miles.

Tucked underneath the display is a USB port that allows you to charge your phone, which could come in handy if you’re using your phone’s GPS to navigate your ride.

The status of your battery life is indicated on the display screen, broken down into five increments of 20 percent. When you need to charge the battery with the included charger, you can do so with it still mounted to the bike, or you can remove the battery by lifting it up out of its receptacle (key position three). The red LED lights indicate that it’s charging. It takes three to seven hours to be fully charged—that status indicated by one green light, the other red—at which point, you’re ready to ride again at full strength.

The included bike manual has several pages that go into detail about essential battery care and tips to prolong its life long-term, so be sure to read that before you take your first ride.

The Ride: Smooth and powerful

The RadMini Step-Thru 2 is a 7-speed bike with an 11-34 tooth gearing, allowing for a wide range of options as you’re pedaling and giving you desirable flexibility as you shift from flat to hilly terrain on your ride. That flexibility is enhanced further when you employ one of the five levels of pedal assist.

Increasing or decreasing the level of pedal assist is easy to do with up and down arrows on the control pad. You can adjust the pedal assist while riding to provide the optimal level of ease or strain (the latter if you’re aiming for more exercise on your ride).

For my rides along the flatter streets of New York City, I primarily kept it on level one to provide minimal assistance. You might think that in flat conditions, you wouldn’t need any pedal assist, but compared to a traditional bike that is not nearly as heavy, the weight of this one makes it difficult to pedal at an optimal pace without any assistance. Using at least level one allows for a desirable speed and still requires some effort on your part if you’re looking to exercise. (Plus, this is an e-bike—that’s its intended use!)

When I encountered a steeper incline, such as the approach to a bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan, I increased the pedal assist to two or three, which still required minimal effort to climb the bridge. However, you could ramp it up to four or five to make the climb even easier, or resort to the twist throttle.

While it’s fairly intuitive to fold this bike, it can be a little awkward and cumbersome since the bike is quite heavy at 69 pounds.

The twist throttle on the right handlebar is very convenient—you simply twist toward you to activate, and it overrides any level of pedal assist currently in use, allowing you to cruise sans pedaling as long as you’re holding it. While the throttle is a fun and useful feature, the more you use it, the faster it drains your battery. I found it particularly helpful to use in short bursts when I needed a quick start at a traffic light or starting from a stopped position on a hill.

I experimented with all three—gears, pedal assist, and throttle—to learn the best and most efficient combinations for the varying circumstances of each ride, and I found them very easy and intuitive to use in conjunction with one another.

Portability: A bit clunky and cumbersome

There are two folding points on this bike. The first point is on the head tube, and when unclipped, allows the handlebar to fold down to the side. And the second is a hinge found at the base of the down tube that allows the bike to fold in half, with the front half of the bike rotating 180 degrees so that the tires are side-by-side when folded. I recommend folding those points in order so that the handlebar comes down first and is tucked between the two tires once you fold it at the second point. The bike comes with a Velcro strap to hold it all together and you could use a towel in between parts to prevent any scratches.

While it’s fairly intuitive to fold this bike, it can be a little awkward and cumbersome since the bike is quite heavy at 69 pounds, especially if you’re doing it alone. (So if you’re riding with a partner, elicit their assistance!) There’s a handle located underneath the seat to provide a steady grip during the process.

Overall though, the folding aspect is great, as it allows you to transport and store this bike easily. You can fit the bike inside the trunk of your SUV, meaning you don’t need a roof rack or hitch rack to take it to your destination. Folding it is less worthwhile for city commuting, as it would be cumbersome and time-consuming to fold it up at your office or between errand stops. However, one perk for city-dwellers is the benefit that folding provides for storage—I have a small storage unit in my apartment building that wouldn’t fit a full-sized bike, but when folded, this RadMini fits inside perfectly.

Accessories: Helpful extras

The bike comes with the battery and charging cables, a Velcro strap for folding, a toolkit with necessary tools for customization and maintenance, a detailed user manual, and two keys. Rad Power also offers a wide variety of additional accessories to customize your bike to your needs. I like having the water bottle holder mounted to my handlebar for quick water breaks, and a phone mount is ideal if you refer to your phone frequently for GPS.

Other accessories available include a variety of racks suitable for carrying gear or saddle bags; pet accessories such as a foldable water bowl or branded kerchief; styling choices like colored grips or pedals; or safety items like side mirrors or locks.

Riding through New York City’s streets proved the tires’ strength to me as I rode over potholes, various dirt and debris, and broken glass.

Price: Worth it

The RadMini Step-Thru 2 costs 1,499, which is on par with several other e-bike brands, especially ones of similar high quality. It might feel like a splurge, but the fantastic design and useful features of this bike make it worthy of that price tag.

Competition: Other options available

RadRunner 1: Yes, this bike is also a Rad Power bike, but this model offers the versatility of the RadMini Step-Thru 2 at a lower price point (1,299). Similar to the mini version we reviewed here, this one offers a low standover height for a quick hop-on and hop-off, plenty of storage with an integrated rear rack, lots of compatible accessories, and high-quality tires. It’s not a folding bike, but if versatility of use or accessories is a higher priority than storage or transport for you, this might be worth considering.

Tern Vektron S10: Similar to the RadMini, this option is a foldable e-bike that has a built-in display and fairly low standover height. The bike specs claim it can be folded in 10 seconds, which I haven’t tested, but at only 48.7 pounds, it seems plausible compared to the heavier RadMini. However, the price on this one (3,999) is more than double that of the RadMini.

If you’re looking for an e-bike that offers versatility, a smooth ride, and simplicity of use, the RadMini Step-Thru 2 is a worthy contender. It offers high-quality features—such as the LCD display, the integrated lighting, a stylish frame, and durable tires— at a reasonable price point.

RadExpand 5: Electric folding bike with 72 km range launches in Germany

Manufacturer Rad Power Bikes is now also launching a new electric folding bike (or e-folding bike) in Germany with the RadExpand 5. The benefits include a range of up to 72 kilometers and the fairly low total weight of 28 kg.

RadExpand 5: E-folding bike launches in Germany

The now fifth generation of the electric folding bike shows itself improved in detail in all respects. Thus, the RadExpand 5 from Rad Power Bikes relies, among other things, on thicker tires, while the weight has been noticeably reduced compared to its predecessor.

The e-folding bike is equipped with 20-inch and 4-inch wide tires, which are supposed to be puncture-proof and have a reflector strip and are supposed to score with a convincing riding experience.

It is powered by a 250-watt hub motor on the rear wheel, which offers pedaling assistance with a cadence sensor and pushing assistance. Also offered is a half twist throttle including on/off switch, while front and rear mechanical brake discs with a diameter of 180 mm are used.

Shifting is in seven gears with a 7-speed MicroShift RD-M26 rear derailleur, while the handlebars are adjustable and can be extended and retracted to suit individual size and riding style.

Up to 72 km range

The RadExpand 5 integrates a 672 Wh battery, which should realize a range of 40 to a maximum of 72 kilometers per charge. Of course, this depends on the riding style, the strength of the pedal assistance and the respective terrain.

With regard to the design and the range, one orients oneself at the similarly stored Blaupunkt Enno folding e-bike, which the manufacturer had presented at the end of June. The UltraTRX E2 Terminator unveiled at the beginning of August, on the other hand, has considerably more steam under the hood, but is unlikely to come to Germany in this form.

Connectors and wiring harnesses of the folding e-bike made of aluminum are waterproof, charging is done at standard sockets with the help of the 48V, 2 amp charger. At the front, the e-bike offers LED lighting, while a rear light including brake light function is integrated at the back.

A rear rack is already included in the e-bike. It offers a load capacity of 25 kg, while a luggage rack for a maximum of 14 kg can also be attached at the front – as an option. In total, the RadExpand 5 weighs 28 kg and offers a permissible total weight of 125 kg.

Thanks to a revised geometry of the frame, the e-bike should also be easier to ride compared to its predecessor. However, the folding bike is designed more for smaller riders. The manufacturer speaks of a size between 147 cm and 178 cm.

Price and availability

The bike Power Bikes RadExpand 5 can be ordered now directly from the manufacturer, although currently only the model in white color is available and will be delivered within 15 working days. The manufacturer’s RRP is 1,499 euros, front luggage rack, rear view mirror, phone holder and other accessories are also optionally available, at extra cost.

RadMini 4 Electric Folding Fat Bike Review

It’s time to talk about the RadMini 4 Electric Folding Fat Bike. Every time I dive deep into a particular bike for one of these reviews it’s an opportunity to learn. I get to do the kind of research that lets me really know what a product is all about. When it’s a good product, as is normally the case if you are reading my thoughts about it, then I get really excited about it.

That was definitely the case with the recent Tern models. The Tern bikes are amazing but I know the pricing isn’t going to work for everyone. If you like the idea of what Tern is offering but you need something a bit less expensive the RadMini 4 Electric Folding Fat Bike might be a great idea.

Rad Power Bikes is a company born from necessity. When the Founder and CEO Mike Radenbaugh needed a way to take on his 16-mile commute to school, he found a solution.

That early innovation went on to evolve into the biggest ebike brand in North America. Given that story, it’s no surprise that Rad Power Bikes is a company all about solutions that work for everyone. Let’s take a look at the RadMini 4 Electric Folding Fat Bike and see what makes it the bike it is.

Geometry and Sizes

The RadMini 4 Step-Thru and the standard version are the same other than the variation in a frame shape.

Like all bikes, the place to start is with a solid and well-built frame. The RadMini 4 represents two different models. The two models are virtually identical other than a dropped top tube for the step through version. I’m not actually going to reference the models as different other than to say that the two options do exist.

If you want the extra versatility of an easy step-through design then that option is there for you. Other than that detail the two are the same. I would say in most cases the easier step-through design is the option that makes the most sense but everyone has different needs. Choose whatever is going to work for you without hesitation.

The frame material of choice for the RadMini 4 is 6061 aluminum.

I’ve talked about this material choice for other bikes but I can mention it again here. Aluminum is an excellent option that keeps the price in check. It’s cost-effective and easy to work with while giving up nothing when it comes to performance.

When it comes to the top-of-the-line race bike designs there’s some small amount of weight savings with a carbon fiber option. For a fat-tired folding bike, aluminum is the best option.

When it comes to sizing the frame for the RadMini 4 is 16 inches (40.64 cm). Rad Power Bikes lists the geometry measurements as 16.5″ Seat Tube Length, 18″ Reach, 28″ Stand Over Height, 32.5″ and Minimum Saddle Height of 27.5.”

The total length of the bike is 68″ with a wheelbase of 45″. Folded dimensions are 41″ x 22″ x 28″ (L x W x H). Like all folding bikes though the seat tube length has little to do with the usable fitment.

The Radmini 4 is a one-size bike. Rad Power Bikes handles fitting based on leg length and lists a large range of useability. The ideal leg length is 28″ to 32″ inches with a note that at these leg lengths “you will be able to pedal and stand over the frame comfortably”.

It’s not all lost if you are a bit shorter and have a leg length in the size range of 24″ to 28″. Rad Power Bikes says “you will be able to pedal comfortably but you may not be able to stand over the frame without it contacting your body.”

In order to measure properly, Rad Power Bikes has detailed instructions for what you are measuring and how to do it. Leg length is going to refer to what Rad Power Bikes calls “your real inseam.” They call this “the distance between your body where it sits on your bike saddle and the ground” and specify that it’s not the same as your pants inseam. To measure this detail, there is a process.

Direct from Rad Power Bikes, “Wearing your regular riding shoes and with your back to the wall, stand with your feet spread so there are about 7 inches between them. This is about the distance apart your feet would be when straddling a bike with your feet on the ground (standover height).

Place a hardcover book against the wall with the spine of the book facing upward. Slide the book upwards towards your groin until it is solidly against your body. This may be a bit awkward, but is way more comfortable — and safer! — than trying to ride a bike that is too big.” Then just measure from the top of the book to the ground.

RadMini 4 Motor and Battery

The electric-assist system on the RadMini 4 Electric Folding Fat Bike is sourced from Bafang. Bafang is a well-known electric motor company based in Suzhou, China. For many people in Europe and the US, the name isn’t the most well-known.

Despite a smaller name recognition in some markets, Bafang is still a serious contender in the world of electric bike motors. The name represents a history of innovation since 2003 as well as 700 people in 5 locations all over the world.

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In this instance the motor system that Rad Power Bikes has employed is unique. They have partnered with Bafang to create something just for the RadMini 4.

It’s a 750watt system housed in the rear hub. Torque sits at 80Nm and delivery of that torque gets metered through a 12-position cadence sensor or a twist throttle with a max speed of 20mph. The motor specs are impressive and should provide plenty of power for whatever you need.

To support the impressive motor specs there’s an equally robust battery.

It’s a large 672Wh 48V, 14 Ah Lithium-Ion Battery with a quoted range of 25 miles (40 km) up to 45 miles (72 km) and a 6-hour charge time. To check how much battery life the bike has at any time check the grayscale 2.75″ LCD sourced from King Meter. Choosing one of the 5 assist options with less assist will extend how many miles you can cover.

RadMini 4 Components

Flip over to the traditional bike side of things and it’s a little more of a mixed bag. The Bafang system put to use for electric assist does provide some cost-saving but also carries impressive specs. The mechanical bike components are somewhat less impressive on the spec sheet.

Fortunately, in this use, they should do a great job even if the numbers don’t sound as impressive.

At the rear hub is a 7-speed freewheel with 11-34 gearing. On most bikes since around the mid80’s the freehub with Shimano compatibility is the standard. A freehub uses splines and it slides onto the wheel hub. Alternatively, a freewheel uses threads on the hub. For an inexpensive 7-speed drivetrain, it’s unlikely that it’s going to make much difference.

One challenge that can arise with a freewheel instead of a freehub is max gearing. Rad Power Bikes has put Shimano mountain bike components to use and sidestepped this issue. The rear derailleur is a Shimano Altus unit that represents one step up from the entry-level Tourney lineup.

The steps between gears on a 7-speed drivetrain are going to be a little on the large side but the choice of a 34-tooth max cog is a good one. Combined with the 48-tooth front chainring and the Bafang system I would not anticipate hill-climbing issues.

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The braking system of choice on the RadMini 4 Electric Folding Fat Bike is from Tektro. The lever is an aluminum alloy comfort grip with a motor cutoff switch and integrated bell. At each wheel, there’s a huge 180mm rotor that should provide plenty of stopping power.

The caliper grabbing those large rotors is a Tektro Aries (MD-M300) cable-actuated caliper.

Although I’d love to see a hydraulic brake system put to use here the MD-M300 is a quality system built from a single-piece aluminum body. The biggest challenge with cable pull disc brakes is always pad adjustment. To help with that the MD-M300 features Automatic Caliper Centering (A.C.C), Inside Pad Adjustment, and Automatic Pad Angle Adjustment.

When it comes to stopping the bike there’s nothing to worry about and these features should help the rest of the experience.

Other Components

Not all the features of the RadMini 4 electric folding fat bike fit neatly into other headers but they are worth mentioning. At the front of the bike, a stem is a folding unit that helps make the folded RadMini 4 compact. When it comes to the riding experience though it’s the telescoping nature of the stem that is worth mentioning.

It’s not unusual for folding bikes to use this design and it’s important that it’s there to make sure the bike will fit a range of riders.

Along with the telescoping stem, the front of the bike features a suspension fork. The unit Rad Power Bikes uses has 60mm of travel as well as preload adjustment and a lockout. The preload adjustment will, again, help set the bike up in a way that fits you and your body. Then if you need to save a bit of energy lost to the movement you can lock it out.

Being a fat bike the RadMini 4 sports massive tires. Low pressure will help keep the bike feeling supple even if you don’t want to use the suspension.

As far as accessories there are a few included and a bunch of great options available. On the included side of things, there’s an integrated rear light, front light, and fenders at both ends of the bikes. Not included, but available, are solid front and rear racks that should let you make use of that impressive cargo capacity.

Assembly of RadMini 4

Like most bikes the RadMini 4 Electric Folding Fat Bike comes in a box mostly assembled. Once you’ve got the bike unpacked the assembly needed is minimal. It includes the pedals, the handlebars, the fenders, the front light, and the front wheel. All of the tools needed come in the box and the instructions are clear. If you’d like more info check out the RadMini 4 Assembly Instructions below.

Verdict

I tend to downplay how much people will actually get off the beaten path with the various electric fat bike options. People often surprise me but I’m going to downplay the possibility again. A folding electric fat bike seems even less likely to find use on sand or snow.

That’s okay though, the large tires mean a cushy ride no matter how broken the pavement might be. Don’t be afraid to buy a RadMini 4 and cruise around the city.

There are a ton of great things about a bike like the RadMini 4. Fat bikes take up a lot of space but because it folds it’s going to be much more usable with a small apartment. The large tires mean not only a cushy ride but also a stable ride. My favorite part about the RadMini 4 is the cargo capacity.

It’s an inexpensive option that lets you carry all the groceries you might need to then folds up when you get to your house. There’s a ton of utility and a great price.

The Best Folding Electric Bikes of 2023

Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases made through the links below may earn us and our publishing partners a commission.

Lectric XP 3.0

A versatile, powerful folding electric bike, designed to make your workday commute and weekend adventures as enjoyable as possible. Read

Rad Power RadExpand 5

Rugged, fast on an incline, and built using lots of off-the-shelf parts, the RadPower RadExpand 5 is a great folding electric bike. Read

Aventon Sinch Step-Through

This stylish powerful e-bike will get you where you want to go. That it lacks fenders or any carrying racks takes from its luster. Read

Swagtron EB7 Elite

While less than ideal for taller riders, the EB7 Elite is a great choice for those looking for a compact e-bike that folds up small when not in use. Read

Heybike Mars

Offering lots of speed, but minimal torque, this is not an e-bike for those that live in hilly areas. Read

Cons

The electric revolution isn’t constrained to passenger cars. and more commuters opt for two-wheels powered by a battery to get around town and make their way to work. This is especially true in areas that have taken the initiative to install proper bike lanes.

Electric bikes also give those that live in hilly regions or haven’t spent their weekends tackling 100-mile bike rides an opportunity to enjoy cycling without showing up to the office drenched in sweat and unable to walk. Folding electric bikes have the added capability of being able to be stored in smaller apartments and next to a desk.

That said, folding electric bikes are not light. These are not origami-style commuter bicycles that can be easily carried up stairs or onto a ferry or light rail. For the most part, the transformation is simply a way to take up less space while sitting idle. Unless you’re into carrying 60-pound pieces of metal and rubber up a flight of stairs.

After weeks of riding these bikes around town including up and down steep hills, we can tell you the best folding electric bike for most people is the Lectric XP 3.0. It’s a relatively inexpensive bike that delivers a quality ride over rough roads, is easy to fold, and has a solid build quality.

The Lectric XP 3.0 folding electric bike is a great option for getting around in an environmentally-friendly style.

The Lectric XP 3.0 is comfortable, rugged, and impressively powerful. You can hit the road in comfort with adjustable shocks, fat tires, and a well-padded saddle.

The clear LCD display and simple controls make it easy to switch between five pedal assist levels (six, if you include no help from the motor). With each increase in assist level, the XP 3.0 maintains a progressively higher speed, topping out at about 20 mph on level roads with the factory settings.

A Shimano seven-speed gear set also lets you fine-tune the gearing. Between the multiple assist levels and the gears, you can dial in your preferred combination of speed and pedaling effort, adjusting to account for hills or your own energy levels. Lectric has upgraded the gearing compared to the XP 2.0. So, you won’t struggle to pedal fast enough to maintain higher speeds.

The XP 3.0 features multiple upgrades compared to the popular XP 2.0. The most important is a more powerful motor that delivers more torque. The torque helps with acceleration and powering you up steeper hills. On the steepest grades near David’s home, he reached a top speed of 18 mph.

Combined with another upgrade, a welded rear cargo rack, the extra power lets you carry a passenger (up to 150 lbs). But you’ll need to pay extra for the Passenger Package add-on.

With extra power and potential extra weight, you’ll need brakes you can trust. Luckily, the disc brakes were also upgraded in the XP 3.0 compared to the 2.0. Lectric has increased the diameter of the brake disk, improving stopping power. Even riding downhill on a wet day, the disk brakes and grip from the fat tires kept the bike safely under control when I needed to hit the brakes.

Folding the bike for storage or hopping on public transport is straightforward. Releasing a couple of latches lets you fold the frame and handlebar stem into the most compact configuration of all the e-bikes we tested.

Between the sturdy build, responsive controls, and impressive performance, there’s a lot to like about the XP 3.0. It’s a versatile performer, with the speed and comfort for a long commute and the power to haul groceries or even a passenger.

Our only complaint is the ignition placement. To insert the key, you have to feel around under the frame. An unlucky collision with a high curb could leave you with a broken key.

Other Folding Electric Bikes We Tested

Out of the box, the RadPower RadExpand 5 required slightly more assembly than most of the other bikes in this guide. However, it came with its own tool bag which is always a nice bonus. After being made road ready, the bike delivered an impressively comfortable ride, thanks to its knobby fat tires, even without front shocks.

Name-brand components on the bike should ease any concerns about the bike’s durability: you’ll have no problem finding replacement parts if your shifters or brakes fail. We loved that its frame felt solid: ready for the offroading, with beefy tires that encouraged us to hit the trails. No matter where we took it, the RadExpand 5 performed well.

During our uphill test, it was one of the quickest bikes we rode. It made it up the incline at 7.6 MPH, with only mild pedaling which again, should make this bike the go-to for those looking to e-bike off the beaten path.

When it came to folding, the bike was one of the easiest to collapse from its riding configuration and was reduced to about 28% of its original size.

One thing that was a disappointment was the RadExpand was the only bike in our tests that didn’t have a digital display. Instead, a simple series of lights on a handlebar-based controller gave you an indication of the state of charge and that’s about it. As one of the more expensive bikes in the test, we expect some useful bells and whistles.

Cons

The most ‘looks-like-a-regular-bicycle’ bicycle in this guide, the Aventon Sinch Step Through was also the most powerful. It dragged us up our test incline at a very impressive 7.6 miles per hour with mild pedaling. It also posted a very respectable 20.2 mph on the flat ground top speed test. Its ride quality was outstanding, thanks to its fat tires and shock-absorbing front suspension.

A full-color display with information about the bike and the ride including calories burned. One item that should have been included though is fenders. The Sinch Step Through is not an inexpensive vehicle. The fact that the first time someone rides this bike in the rain they’ll drench their dress or pants is a misstep. That, along with its missing fenders, the Sinch Step-through also lacks a cargo rack. Boo.

We also had issues folding and unfolding the Sinch Step-though. It was the most difficult to initiate the frame fold and whenever we tried to put the bike back into the riding configuration, a bundle of cables would get in the way and we’d have to adjust them back into the frame. Also, its folded-down area was about 37% of its unfolded size. If storage space is a premium asset in your home, its nearly 17 cubic feet of space might be a deal breaker.

Cons

The Swagtron EB7 Elite is one of the smaller folding bikes we tested. While Roberto was taller than the recommended height for the bike, we still came away happy with its performance.

Because of its small wheels, it had a tougher time on some of our jaunts over rough roads. The rear suspension did help a bit. On smoother treks, the ride quality was good, but not great. Again, you can blame the small tires for this shortcoming. But its tiny stature also results in a huge drop in weight. At about 43 pounds, it’s more than 20 pounds lighter than the larger bikes in the roundup. It’s also no slouch in the speed department, either, with an uphill speed with mild pedaling of 5.6 miles an hour. On the flats, it posted a top speed of 18.6 MPH. With a lighter rider, it should easily hit 20 MPH.

When not in use, the EB7 folds down to about 28% of its ready-to-ride configuration and only takes up about 8.5 cubic feet of space. At this size, you could probably throw this in the trunk of a sedan, with room to spare.

While not as capable as the larger bikes, the EB7’s‘ quality parts, built-in light, easy foldability, and reasonably light weight make it great for urban commuting where folding bikes are required.

Cons

We had high hopes for the HeyBike Mars but it didn’t quite match the power of the other bikes in this guide.

We appreciated the silky ride it provides, thanks to the fat tires and front suspension. During testing, we found that its LCD display was easy to read during the day and was backlit for night rides. Its large battery is capable of transporting the bike up to 48 miles with pedal assistance and can be removed from the bike and used to charge your USB devices while not riding.

Unfortunately, while it posted a flat road speed of 21.6 mph on flat roads, during the uphill test, the bike dropped to 3.8 mph and required Roberto to pedal, hard, in order to make it to the top of the hill.

We also had an issue with the seat post having a slight wiggle that no amount of adjustments seemed to remedy.

Cons

The smallest bike in this guide also had, you guessed it, the smallest wheels. Riding on anything but smooth roads while mounted on the Sailnovo Electric Bicycle felt a bit unnerving. At the time that this guide was originally written, it was the least expensive bike in our lineup and it shows.

The Sailnovo’s parts felt cheap compared to every other bike we tested. While it was able to reach 18.4 mph in our flat road test, it was unable to get us up the hill in our incline test and closed to 2.8 mph for a few feet before we ended up walking the rest of the way up the hill. It doesn’t help that the bike only has a single gear.

Our rider’s height and weight didn’t help matters. The Sailnovo might be better suited for smaller lighter adults and teenagers, but for a few hundred dollars more, the Swagtron is just a better overall bike.

We were also surprised to find that the frame of the Sailnovo didn’t fold. Only the handlebar post folds which means that while it was the smallest bike it had the worst reduction in size. When “folded” it was 57% of its ride-ready size.

How We Tested Folding Electric Bikes

We assembled, rode, and, reviewed a variety of folding electric bikes, to help you make an informed buying decision.

We spent a considerable amount of time figuring out how to test folding electric bikes. The resulting tests we conducted ensure that our top pick will get you where you’re going.

The Testers

Roberto Baldwin is an automotive and technology journalist with electric vehicle experience. He tests cars, motorcycles, and Vespa-style scooters powered by gas and electrons. Roberto understand the need for quality-built and safe transportation on roads that are shared with cars. At six-foot-three and 220 pounds, he may be larger than the ideal rider of a number of the bikes in this guide. But, in truth, his weight allowed us to create a baseline for our tests: according to the CDC, the average weight of an adult male in the United States is roughly 200 pounds.

Dr. David Ellerby is Reviewed’s Chief Scientist; a man of many metrics and data-based opinions. He’s deeply involved in the creation of the tests for the most of the products guides, featured in The Best Right Now section of this website. When not overseeing Reviewed’s test lab, he’s heck on two wheels whose fiery electric bike tire tracks can be found throughout the streets of Cambridge, MA.

The Tests

Before testing began, we eliminated a wide variety of electric bikes including those with poor or no user reviews on a number of well-known commerce sites.

To test the bikes we assembled them to factory specifications and made sure the tires were inflated to their proper PSI. We rode the bikes in a hilly suburban area over the course of a few weeks. Our hill climb test was conducted on a hill that gradually hits 12 degrees of incline about three-quarters of the way up a distance of roughly 300 yards.

We tested the brakes both on a flat road and on a road with a seven-degree angle.

Determining the differences in size between the bikes in ride-ready mode and storage mode we determined the number of cubic feet the bikes would take up in both configurations by measuring their length, width, and distance. This was done in order to figure out the cubic feet they would take up in a rectangular box.

Testing the folding and unfolding of bikes was conducted only after days of working with the bikes so that we would become more comfortable with the movements needed to transform the bicycles.

Comfort levels were determined while riding both on smooth and rough roads. While most of the electric bikes we tested did well on smooth bike trails, the real world requires dealing with less-than-ideal road conditions, especially in urban settings where road construction is a constant issue.

What You Should Know About Buying A Folding Electric Bike

Why Buy An Electric Bike?

While regular bikes are built to be picked up and moved either on public transportation or up and down stairs, folding electric bikes are really built for storage. With weights that hover between 60 and 70 pounds, these are heavy bikes.

We instead see these bikes as a solution for homes where space is short and for transportation in the back of a vehicle for rides outside of your home turf.

Electric bikes have a pedal assistance system that, usually, can be adjusted. Typically there are five levels of adjustment with the lowest being no assistance from the motor while you pedal, to five, being the most amount of power delivered to the rear wheel while you are pedaling. The top level can be a bit unnerving during your first rides and we recommend starting at a lower number until you master the extra power being delivered to the wheels.

Advantages And Disadvantages of a Folding Electric Bike

While folding bikes have traditionally been used to reduce the size of a bicycle for public transportation. Electric folding bikes are a bit of a different breed. The advantage of a folding electric bike is really based on home and vehicle storage.

If you live in a small apartment (hopefully with an elevator), a folding electric bike can be placed in a corner without impeding too much into your living space. The smaller wheels and compact size don’t require the elaborate wall-mounted or hanging storage solutions that full-sized bicycles do.

This also pertains to transporting the bike. If you regularly haul a traditional bike with your vehicle, then a bike rack is a great option. But, if you’re traveling with a bicycle once a month or less, a folding electric bike gives you the option of having something you can toss in the trunk of a car. This option saves money on buying a bike rack and, on the fuel efficiency hit a vehicle incurs while hauling an empty bike rack around during regular trips.

The downside of a folding electric bike can be found in its weight and longevity. Because of their battery systems, they are not light and their use case is different from that of a standard traditional folding bicycle. The reduced footprint in your home is great, but might not be enough to make it a desirable option if you need to carry it up a few flights of stairs. That sort of thing can get old, fast.

Longevity is likely also an issue. While the bikes we reviewed in this test all had reliable hinges, regularly folding and unfolding a bike will present issues, in the long run. Hinges can deteriorate, especially in humid climates, over time. Plus, every time you fold or unfold it, there’s the potential for the bicycle’s wires to get pinched, forcing a costly repair.

How To Choose The Right Folding Electric Bike

There are a lot of things to consider when purchasing a folding electric bike. We’ve broken down some of the most important factors to keep in mind before forking over your hard-earned money:

  • Size Weight: For this guide, we chose bikes that would fit riders of various heights and weights. Finding an electric folding bike that’s the right size for you is easy: most manufacturer websites post the weight and height limit for their products. This should make the initial choice easy. But you’re really just narrowing down the pack.
  • Use: Sure, you’re buying an electric bike to ride it. But what else will you use it for? Are you planning on taking long leisurely rides? Do you plan on making this bike part of your errand and commuting routine? If you plan on transporting anything besides yourself, a bike that’s set up to accept aftermarket baskets and other cargo carriers is a must. Yes, you can wear a backpack, but eventually, you’ll need to haul other things including groceries and weird things your boss might send home with you.
  • Terrain: The roads you travel on regularly should be taken into consideration when choosing a folding electric bike. The smaller bicycles in our test would be great for short jaunts on pristine concrete and asphalt. But the smaller wheels posed issues when they encountered ruts, holes, and gravel. If you’re lucky enough to fit on these bikes and have outstanding roads and trails in your area, that’s great. If you are taller and/or have to deal with a crumbling infrastructure or dirt roads, the wheels of your electric bike are extremely important. Large wheels maintain more momentum and soak up issues on the road far better than smaller wheels. If you plan on going off-road on a regular basis, knobby tires give the bike additional traction on dirt and gravel. That said, if you buy a bike with street-ready tires and then move, buying new tires to accommodate your updated environment is an easy fix.

One aspect that might also factor into your choice, is a bike’s suspension. A hearty front suspension can reduce jarring pothole hits traveling up to your hands and arms which, over time can lead to fatigue. Seat suspension is also a nice addition to a bike if you travel on rough roads.

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