The global electric bike market is expanding at an overwhelming and unprecedented pace. As of the end of 2018, this market was valued at nearly $15 million USD.
Even more, according to a major industry trend and forecast report, the electric bike market is expected to continue growing at a rate of 6.39% in the next five years. Clearly, there is a very high and escalating demand for this form of transportation from consumers worldwide.
As is often the case with the emergence of new technologies that effectively meet a massive demand.
There are currently thousands of manufacturers that all want to win market share and establish themselves as the electric bike brand of choice.
This has resulted in a very fragmented selling and buying environment, with top-revenue electric bike companies only commanding a very minimal 6.4% of total market share.
Given all of these statistics around the state of the electric bike market, you may be wondering: What does all of this mean for me as a buyer considering an electric bike?
Well, most notably, it means that you have a lot of options to choose from.
This is a big positive, but it can also be a negative if you don’t do your due diligence and research which type of bike is best for you.
We are here to help educate you on the two key categories of electric bikes, traditional electric and foldable electric.
We will help you better understand the range of benefits that come from picking an electric bike that you can fold. Ultimately, provide you with the confidence to make a more informed buying decision.
Table of Contents
- Electric Bike vs Foldable Electric Bikes – Understanding the Key Differences
- What Type of Rider Benefits From Foldable Electric Bikes?
- A Closer Look at Compact Nature of Foldable Electric Bikes
- You Can Take a Foldable Electric Bike Anywhere
- Efficiency of Foldable Electric Bikes
- Weight of Foldable Electric Bikes
- Is It Easier To Experience Theft with Foldable Electric Bikes?
- Finally, A Closer Look at Durability of Foldable Electric Bikes
- So, Why Should Riders Try These Foldable E-Bikes?
Electric Bike vs Foldable Electric Bikes – Understanding the Key Differences
Before we break down the key differences between traditional electric bikes and the newer market entrant, foldable electric bikes, it is important to first define what exactly an electric bike is.
Every electric bicycle, regardless of application type or brand, has one key product similarity: an integrated electric motor that is aligned and connected to one or both of the physical pedals of the bike.
This electric motor is typically charged by a battery, with varying degrees of distance range per charge period.
Unlike an electric scooter, an electric bike allows riders to combine physical exertion and activity with the added boost of power and speed that a battery enables.
Traditional electric bikes are manufactured to resemble pedal-only bicycles. This means that they are designed to stay in their original, up-right form at all times.
Foldable electric bikes, contrastingly, have smaller wheels, a step-through frame, and a lightweight and smaller battery.
These features ensure collapsibility of an electric bike.
What Type of Rider Benefits From Foldable Electric Bikes?
Foldable electric bikes are made for a wide range of riders that have many shared preferences with any electric bike user.
Primarily, the top foldable electric bike manufacturers target environmentally conscious consumers that prefer an easier and more efficient travel experience.
Foldable e-bikes are less expensive and more cost-effective mode of transportation. It’s an experience that is simultaneously fun and physically challenging.
The key difference between riders of traditional electric bikes and those of foldable electric bikes, however, lays in the desire for increased convenience and storage capabilities.
This preference can be defined at a higher level as a general consumer desire for better efficiency from their electric bike.
Therefore, the foldable electric bike is mainly targeting riders that reside in urban neighborhoods with limited storage capacity.
A reduced access to in-home storage options in their smaller homes or apartments.
The primary users of this type of electric bike include commuters, tourists, RVers, or mountain and adventure riders.
These groups benefit greatly from being able to fold and store their mode of transportation quickly and efficiently.
A Closer Look at Compact Nature of Foldable Electric Bikes
As we highlighted earlier, the electric bike market is increasingly saturated, with many different bike options popping up each year.
In this rapidly growing market environment, electric bike manufacturers are incentivized to constantly develop and roll out technological advancements to their products.
Gaining a competitive advantage and attract a larger rider base.
Foldability and designs focused on delivering a more compact product are perfect examples of such electric bike features that only recently appeared on the market.
The most important benefit of these new, foldable electric bikes is that they are incredibly compact, and riders can thus take their bike with them on the go.
You Can Take a Foldable Electric Bike Anywhere
These bikes are so compact, in fact, that you can essentially take them anywhere. This portability is especially appealing for any rider that wants to combine their bike riding with walking.
It’s a common reality for both commuters and riders that are using their bike for more adventurous activities such as mountain biking.
The 2020 average wheel size for folding electric bikes comes in right at 20-inches. Once a bike with this size wheel is packed down and folded.
A rider can very easily carry it in a larger vehicle, or pack it to bring on a plane or train for travel.
Recently, some foldable electric bike brands have released bikes with even more efficient compact-capabilities. You can find high-quality, well-priced bikes with 14 to 16-inch wheels.
This means that you could fold up your bike to fit in a large backpack.
As you sift through the top-rated providers of electric, foldable bikes, make sure to consider just how compact you want your bike to be.
Choose a wheel size accordingly. Before you jump to a purchasing decision based just on wheel size, however, we encourage you to consider three other key features of these bikes: Efficiency, durability and weight.
Efficiency of Foldable Electric Bikes
Generally, electric bikes are known as being an incredibly efficient mode of transportation. Foldable electric bikes are certainly no exception.
However, given the new bike’s relatively smaller size and corresponding lighter battery.
You can reasonably expect to see a slight decline in their speed and battery power range. The bigger the electric bike battery, the higher the torque rating, and – in turn – the more efficient the bike will be.
The majority of foldable electric bikes use a hub-motor.
There are two relevant types of hub-driven, foldable electric bikes: Direct-drive hub motors (these have no moving parts, are the simplest and larger motor type), and geared hub motors (these have a series of gears and can increase the power capabilities of the bike within a more constrained speed range).
The majority of foldable electric bikes use the latter, since geared hub motors can be up-to half the weight of more traditional bike motors.
While you will still be able to achieve a reasonable level of speed with these motors.
Be aware that, since they are geared down when it comes to torque they will not be as fast or efficient. Larger motors and batteries typically fuel heavier, non-foldable electric bikes.
Keep in mind, however, that foldable electric bikes make up for their slightly decreased efficiency in speed and battery power with the huge benefit of increased storage efficiency.
The main driver of this capability is the electric bikes’ weight.
Weight of Foldable Electric Bikes
A major advantage of foldable electric bikes is their weight. The weight typically ranges from a minimum of 30 pounds, to a maximum of 45 pounds for foldable bikes that have larger motors that we referenced in the previous section.
To put this weight in perspective, a traditional, non-folding electric bike weighs, on average, 55 pounds. This is a 20 pound difference.
Clearly, if you are a rider that strongly prefers a lightweight and compact bicycle, foldable is the product for you.
Is It Easier To Experience Theft with Foldable Electric Bikes?
Despite all of the positive advantages that naturally come from a foldable electric bike’s relatively light weight.
You may be feeling concerned about the likelihood of experiencing theft. This is a legitimate concern, loads of electric bikes are stolen every year.
Your chance of theft also goes up considerably when you decide to purchase a lighter weight traditional electric bike.
A foldable electric bike, however, is less likely to be stolen. Given the compact design and efficient storage capabilities this type of bike affords.
You can avoid leaving your bike out in public places where it is more likely to catch the eye of thieves.
If you do continue to store your foldable bike outdoors or in public, there are many steps you can take as a rider to avoid this theft situation entirely.
You should always document your ownership after the initial purchase (save your receipt and accompanying bike serial number in a safe place).
Additionally, you should invest in a really well-rated lock for your foldable bike.
Finally, A Closer Look at Durability of Foldable Electric Bikes
As we have outlined, foldable electric bikes are an excellent option for riders that want more efficiency. A wider range of storage options with their bike riding experience.
These bikes are compact, relatively efficient, easily stored and transportable, lightweight, and less likely to be stolen.
The final notable element of these bikes is that they are very durable.
Like all products, you get what you pay for with the specific model and brand you choose for a foldable e-bike.
We recommend looking for a lightweight aluminum framed bike, with shock absorbers on the bike’s fork and rear frame.
You also want to investigate the bike’s specific transmission system and thoroughly read user reviews to ensure it is a high quality and reliable motor.
So, Why Should Riders Try These Foldable E-Bikes?
Electric bikes are an incredibly efficient and environmentally clean transportation option. Any individual looking to get solid exercise while also decreasing the time spent out on the road.
Foldable electric bikes, however, are an even better option for any rider that wants to reap the benefits of a lighter weight, more compact, and easily transportable e-bike.
We highly encourage these bikes for anyone that wants to maximize efficiency and improve their level of control over the entire e-bike ownership experience.
Imagine taking an electric bike to work, being able to fold the bike up in a matter of seconds, place the bike in your backpack, and feel confident all day that your bike is with you.
If this sounds ideal, then a foldable electric bike is an excellent product for you to consider.