The amazing thing about e-bikes is now that they have gained some widespread acceptance, the various manufacturers continue to push the envelope and most of the same myriad of options available for pedal-power bikes are now available in an electric bicycle form. The category of folding bikes has sometimes been scorned by the adamant biker but it does solve a particular set of biking challenges and riding requirements.
Before we go into the additional benefits of an electrically powered bicycle, let’s consider some of the features of a folding bike and determine if that is the right model for you.
For one, there is the compact size. Folding bicycles require a fraction of the storage space required by traditional bikes. This makes them a perfect solution for small apartment living or transporting the bike to or from destinations. The compact form makes it easier to store in a home or office which protects it from the elements and theft.
For me, the great benefit is that a folding bike is easier to take on trips- whether by automobile or on a train, plane or bus. Add to that the power assistance of an electric motor and suddenly long trips through the French countryside come to mind. Striking out locally and catching a train back when darkness falls is also an option.
Of the folding e-bikes that we reviewed, the Mariner 7 was a favorite among our readership. The sleek style of the Mariner 7 makes it an attractive bike. When shipped, the G Plus Mariner 7 arrives fully assembled- you simply need to insert the seat post and the handlebar stem and you are on your way. The seat post is easily adjusted for your height. The sturdy kick stand also performs as a crankset protector. The folding mechanism of the Mariner 7 was the easiest of the folding e-bikes we tested. There are two quick release levers that allow the bicycle to fold to into an area that is half its original size- making it easy to fit into a closet, trunk of a car or bring on public transportation. The pedals can also be folded up providing for further compaction. When folded, the Mariner 7 can be rolled on its own wheel, preventing unnecessary lifting. Comfort is not forsaken with its versatility as it has a smooth ride supported by suspension in the seat post and the fork.
The great thing about the Mariner 7 is that it can be ridden like a regular bike with much less resistance than other electric bicycles. When you want power, just press the “power-on-demand” variable throttle. Simply turn the throttleand the 36V 300W motor will help with the hills to the extent desired or you may avoid pedaling and ride the Mariner 7 much like a scooter. The easily charged battery can travel up to 25 miles (rider and terrain dependent) on a single charge. The 36V 300W motor is more powerful than the 250W motor. The 250W motor is still available for those who prefer lighter weight and longer distance per charge.
· Top speeds of 16 mph (rider contingent)
· Throttle propulsion system
· Charged range of up to 25 miles (rider contingent)
· Folding aluminum alloy frame
· 300W brushless front hub motor
· 38.4V lithium Ion Phosphate 2000 charge cycles battery
· 7-Speed Shimano Altus Derailleur
· Front & rear “tool free” adjusting disc brakes w/ 180mm stainless steel rotors
· Lifetime frame, 2 year components warranty
· Built in the USA
· Versatile construction for commuting and pleasure
· Sturdy components
· Stylish design
· Easily folded and unfolded
· Tough Frame
· Quick release battery for easy recharge
· No built in front or rear lights (can be aftermarket fitted)
· No mudguard (can be aftermarket fitted)
· Some riders objected to weight