Electric bikes have been around for some years now and whilst some have of them have raised eyebrows, the majority have been messily designed and uninspiring to ride. But lately things have begun to change.
Whether it’s the development of battery technology or the exponential growth in urban cycling in our big cities, who’s to say. But they are definitely getting better. Enter the Kwikfold Xcite-3. Not only is this relative newcomer an innovative folder (they claim it to be the fastest folding bike available!), it also boasts an electric motor hidden in the 7-speed rear wheel which can help you to go for around 20 miles, so long as you pedal – so more than enough for most commutes.
By their nature, electric bikes are going to be heavy – the combination of a motor and the rechargeable lithium battery add kilos to the weight – and most electric folding bikes still need to be carried. The designers at Kwikfold decided that even the fittest and strongest commuters wouldn’t want to carry a folded bike weighing 22 kgs. So, they thought it through; when the Kwikfold Xite, with its re-designed fold mechanism, is folded - which takes only seconds, and doesn’t require a degree in origami to master - it can still be rolled about on its wheels. It also has German-designed handlebars that can be folded to further narrow the profile of the folded bike. The Kwikfold Xite is the only folding bike currently available that folds like this!
Now we have established that this innovative machine folds easily and becomes a simple push-about which doesn’t have to be carried, we need to know what it’s like to ride. The Xite is deemed a Pedelec, which means that the electric motor merely ‘assists’ the pedaling action of the rider. There are five setting of assistance and the advice is that riders start with the first setting so that they get used to the amount of assistance on offer – there is probably more of it than you might imagine. Press the simple on-off switch on the battery and then another on the handlebar mounted LCD monitor which displays the amount of assistance you’ve selected and how much battery charge remains, and you’re ready to go. From there it is so easy – simply ride away and feel the power from the hidden motor pushing you along. It’s that simple.
There is one issue that everyone asks about – what happens if the battery goes flat? Unlike some electric bikes, if your Kwikfold Xite battery runs out of juice, you can simply ride home in the normal way. Oh, and yes, they’ve even sorted out an LED front bike light for you – it’s powered by the main battery, so no need for extras – plus, there are disc brakes front and rear as standard for confidence-inducing stopping power in all weathers.
Whether you’re going to use the Kwikfold Xite-3 Electric part of your commute or you just want an occasional electric bike that will fold away tidily indoors, this little bike is an excellent choice. The ride is comfortable, and the subtle hidden electric assistance is delightful. In conclusion, we think that the Xite-3 is cleverly and neatly designed and a cinch to ride; so everything that Electric bikes didn’t used to be!