Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Enzo Ebikes Folding Electric Bike Review

An affordable, extra-durable, folding electric bike designed for yachts, RV's and other travel applications
Magnesium wheels are rugged and protect the motor, front and rear LED lights and fenders add utility
Ergonomic grips and plush saddle add comfort but no suspension fork or seatpost here, the seat post has an integrated pump to fix flats on the go
Folding pedals, derailleur guard and included carry bag makes transport easy and clean, aluminum rear rack works great with panniers or a trunk bag, glow-in-the-dark paint is fun and unique

This electric bike was updated to include smoother more powerful hydraulic disc brakes, a 7 speed drivetrain, reflective sidewall stripes, wider softer tires (20″ x 2.125″), a more comfortable Gel saddle, an improved LCD display panel with integrated USB charger for use with portable electronic devices and an iPhone holder. The price remains the same and these improvements can be seen in the full album (the five images of the red bike at the end).

The EnzoEbike is a uniquely outfitted folding electric bike designed with boaters in mind. Rather than using steep parts, nearly every component and built material has been chosen to reduce rust… You’ve got plastic, rubber, aluminum alloy, titanium and steel. One of the first things I noticed about the bike is the cast magnesium wheels which not only resist rust but also provide more strength and durability than traditional spokes. They’re a bit less forgiving as well but on a folding bike like this with slightly wider tires and plush saddle, it works out. Some of the other creature comforts include locking ergonomic grips, full length fenders with mud flaps, a standard rear carry rack and lights. The front light is integrated (meaning it runs directly off of the main rechargeable battery) but the rear light is not, so you’ll have to remember to shut it off independently and replace batteries every once in a while. In my opinion, the ~$1,700 price tag on this folding e-bike is pretty sweet, especially considering that you get to choose from one of five colors (ranging from fun to professional) and that the paint glows in the dark (except on the black model). You get basic mechanical disc brakes here and there’s no quick release on the wheels (which might deter theft but make on-the-go maintenance more difficult) but there’s a really cool pump built right into the seat post! Lots of delighters with this bike… but keep in mind the frame is small/medium and might not be comfortable for riders over 6′ for prolonged use.

Driving the Enzo electric bike is a proven 350 watt internally geared hub motor from 8Fun. This is about as standard as they come but a step up in terms of power for a folding bike. I probably adds a bit more weight (the overall weight of the bike is ~48lbs) but you get more torque for climbing and hitting the 20 mph top speed. I love how quiet the motor operates (in part because it’s encased by the magnesium wheel) and also how it doesn’t stand out on the frame. This is the kind of electric bike that most bystanders won’t notice or get concerned about… it’s extremely stealth. One of the benefits of smaller 20″ wheels (in addition to being smaller for storage when the bike is folded) is that they are easier to turn from the center. Hub motors on smaller wheels get a mechanical advantage and that’s definitely the case here, especially with the upgraded 350 watt size. As you pedal, there are six gears to choose from and the sprocket cluster and derailleur are both protected by a metal cage guard in the rear which is nice. The Shimano Tourney TX hardware is entry level but it gets the job done and should last if you keep it clean and oil it occasionally. The front chainring is a bit oversized to offset the smaller wheels and create a comfortable range of pedaling speeds. Shifting is intuitive with the Shimano thumb levers and they are a bit larger which makes operation with gloves possible (nice if it’s cold out).

Powering this bike is a nice 36 volt 10.4 amp hour Lithium-ion pack that uses Samsung cells. It’s super small and light weight at just under four pounds. Just like the motor, the battery is basically hidden on this ebike. It slides into the downtube after you’ve unfolded the frame. It locks inside and is secured with a key… that you actually have to leave in to power the bike on. To some, this could be an advantage as it deters tampering and theft (just take the key with you when you’re not on the bike) but I usually prefer not to have to leave my keys in when riding because they can jingle around and get snagged by my legs when pedaling. I like that the key itself folds to reduce the potential for snags but I’d like the option to take it out entirely when riding. Back to the battery, I recommend storing it in a cool dry location as extreme heat and cold can damage Lithium batteries and shorten their lifespan. Also, if you know you’re not going to be riding the bike for several months, try storing it a half-full as this will reduce strain on the cells. The pack is so small, I’d probably bring it inside or take it with me when traveling but airline regulations may limit this approach (given the 374.4 watt hour size of this pack) and you could end up forgetting it at home which would be a bummer.

Operating the Enzo bike is very intuitive, once the pack is charged and locked into the frame you simply press the on/off button on the LCD display panel (mounted near the left grip). The monochromatic display shows your battery level, power use (as the motor kicks in), speed, assist level and some other stats about trip distance and time. At any time once the bike is turned on, you can press the trigger throttle and it will take off. I love that you can override any of the assist levels with this throttle because it makes passing other riders or climbing hills very easy and not distracting. You get five levels of assist as well as a “zero” level which is basically throttle only and leaves the display on as a cycle computer. I tend to ride in assist level two or three then add power with the throttle occasionally, this will extend your range and provide more of a workout. Because the trigger throttle is also mounted near the left grip, you do have to reach a bit further to adjust the display (change assist levels, turn on the lights etc.) but it’s still doable and reduces the need for a separate button pad. While many electric bikes in the US have twist throttles or trigger throttles that spin down or towards you, this one spins up and away which isn’t a huge deal but likely resulted from the addition of a bell near the right grip (and lack of room on that side to add the trigger throttle). You may be able to customize the layout a bit but it worked well enough for me. You can turn on the headlight with the display panel by pressing the Current button once and if you hold it down, a walk mode engages. Overall, great setup with all of the necessary drive modes and readouts in my opinion. One area for possible improvement is the bottom bracket cadence sensor which uses a less precise six-magnet cadence sensor. I found that there was a bit of delay for it to start and stop when riding but you can always cut it out immediately by pulling either brake lever. The levers themselves and the disc brake rotors and calipers are very basic but still do a good job and will stay cleaner than traditional pads.

I was delighted by the Enzo electric bike… I’ve reviewed two very similar ebikes over the past few years (the E-Joe Epik and EZ Pedaler X350) and both vary in terms of price, number of gears and aesthetic, but this frame style is definitely a winner in my book. This is the first electric bike I’ve tried that glows in the dark (in select colors) or that uses titanium hardware. The mag wheels are sweet and the integrated pump is very useful if you’re away from home. I’d love a suspension fork or seat post shock to reduce vibration and impact on bumps but that would add weight and likely increase the price. For what it is, I think the Enzo ebike is excellent and I could see it working very well on yachts and RV’s. I wanted to test the pink or orange model because I rarely see fun colors like these but apparently those are some of the top sellers so they were out of stock! Considering this e-bike is predominantly sold through Amazon and their official website I was excited to see the 30 day refund policy and two year comprehensive warranty. I buy a lot of stuff online and enjoy the free Prime shipping options and refund paths. So far, this is the only model on offer from Enzo but I did get a sneak peek at a possible upcoming single speed carbon belt drive edition that could be cool (quieter, cleaner and lighter) but for now, the six speeds are nice for a wide variety of terrain.

Pros:
The battery is locking and removable but very well concealed within the downtube/top-tube of the frame, this makes the bike stealthy, adds protection and also keeps weight low and centered
I love the full length fenders and integrated LED headlight, it would be nice if the rear light was also integrated but at least it’s included, these offer safety when riding in wet and dark conditions, they also don’t get in the way when folding this bike!
The integrated pump (built into the seat post) is very unique, I haven’t seen this before but it makes a lot of sense, especially if you’re traveling and get a flat (you could use Slime in the tires to help hold the air pressure if there is a leak)
Rather than using traditional spokes, the Enzo Bike uses magnesium wheels that won’t go out of true or get loose over time, they can also support more weight
I like the ergonomic grips and comfort saddle, the seat post and stem are adjustable but this is still a small/medium sized ebike
The rear rack lets you carry extra gear, a lock or water (since there’s no bottle cage on this bike) I like that it uses standard sized tubing and has the spring latch built in
The front chainring is extra large to create a comfortable range of pedaling cadences given the smaller 20″ wheelset, I like that it has an aluminum bash guard built in and a plastic chain guide so you don’t drop your chain as easily over bumps or when folding/unfolding
Enzo eBikes upgraded all of the hardware to aluminum or titanium to deter rust, this is especially useful if the bike is stored on a boat at sea
Very quiet motor… because it’s built into the magnesium wheel in the back, you can still hear a faint whine but it’s less than some similarly sized geared motors I’ve tried
Disc brakes tend to stay cleaner than v-brakes or other rim mounted linear-pull designs, I like that the levers have motor inhibitors but the quality is basic
Cons:
The battery compartment key must be left in to activate the bike, it does fold so potential snags are reduced but if you’ve got a keychain connected it can jingle and get in the way
The wider tires help to add comfort but there isn’t a suspension fork or seat post suspension on this bike so it can feel bumpier when riding over cracks and potholes
No integrated bottle cage bosses here, consider a trunk bag like this with a bottle holder, also the rear light is independent and requires its own battery cells
The cadence sensor is a bit more basic with just six magnets, it doesn’t start or stop as quickly as some ebikes I’ve tested that use 12 magnets
Folding pedals are nice for portability but these plastic ones are kind of basic and don’t offer as much power transfer or stability as aluminum ones that I’ve seen on some other models like these
Not exactly a con but no quick release on front or rear wheel… the bike already folds pretty small but sometimes it’s nice to remove wheels for maintenance, the pump eliminates that need to some extent here and without quick release the wheels might not get stolen as easily
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