17 October 2018

REVIEW: Emu Mini Ebike

We fold

Usually when we test an electric bike we're ripping through the muddy countryside, or effortlessly tackling steep inclines. However, during the past month we've been leisurely cruising to the railway station and back... before getting on the train with the bike. That's because we've been reviewing the folding Emu Mini Ebike.

Yep, this is a small, light(ish) bike that can not only fold up to make it easy to store and transport, but also boasts a battery-powered electric motor. As with most ebikes these days, that motor will kick in as you pedal, augmenting your own energy with a bit of stored electrical energy. So no sitting back and squeezing a throttle to go.

As we said in the intro, we're not just not used to testing an ebike like this. Usually the electric bikes we get sent to review are beefy things designed for tackling hills and steep roads, with chunky tyres and powerful motors. The Emu Mini is far more subtle, with small wheels and a clever folding design. Plus, at just 16kg in weight, it's the lightest electric bike we've ever ridden.

Mind you, 16kg is not the lightest folding bike you can get, and we actually found it pretty heavy when carting the folded frame about, on and off trains, and in and out of the house. Much of that extra weight is created, of course, by the addition of the 250w front hub motor and the battery - which lives inside of the seating post, uniquely.

Still, the Emu Mini wasn't unmanageable, and any gripes we might have about the weight are nullified by the sheer joy of riding it. The five levels of power assistance help you find the right balance when cruising the streets. It felt as if the force delivered by each actual pedal was doubled by the motor, halving the energy required to go anywhere, especially up hills.

It's also a very comfortable ride. Emu haven't gone for a cheap seating option, as it is both wide and well padded. The handle bars, once deployed, are also a pleasure to grip, and thanks to the adjustable folding points (tightening tools included) it feels very secure when unfolded.

There are Shimano disk brakes, a three gear system to control the feel of the ride, and integrated lights - which is a bloody great idea, especially for early-morning commuters now that we've entered the darker months. The battery/seat post can be completely removed, and Emu even offer a choice of a 5 or 7aH Samsung power pack - charger included, obvs.

The LCD display lights up when the lights are activated, which is handy as this is where you can select your power assistance level and also keep an eye on the remaining battery level. It's all very easy to adjust and simple to comprehend.

We were sent the Emu Mini with a 5aH battery, which Emu claims will keep us riding for between 12 to 20 miles. We're not sure how that is calculated, or if our particular battery was nearing the end of its life (having been wrecked by many other tech reviewers), but the most we got out of it, running constantly on the highest power level, was about seven miles. Based on that, the Mini became a bike we felt like we had to charge after every time we used it, just to be safe.

We felt especially keen on the charging every time idea after the battery did indeed run dry a good couple of miles from home. Cycling on the Emu Mini Ebike without any power assistance at all wasn't great, and it was the only time the bike felt heavy and sluggish. Again, we can't be sure if it was just our battery that wasn't good, but overall the Mini seems to hit the lower end of ebike battery ranges.

That said, Christ it is good fun. We love how easy it is to use, how you can just fold it up and leave it in the hallway ready to go for the morning, and the integrated lights. The Emu Mini Ebike is nippy, cleverly designed, and fast to charge. If you need a folding cycle solution, but you hate arriving into the office sweating buckets from a hard ride, consider this.


Visit www.emubikes.com

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