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A folding ebike with good looks and low weight

todayJune 27, 2021 7

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Electric bikes are my favorite way of getting around New York City, and they’re even more convenient when they can fold. Bikes can cut through traffic, the motor makes it easier to keep up with cars without sweating, and the ability to fold allows you to take the bike indoors, on a cab, or on public transportation.

Unfortunately, the folding design often means you get a wimpy battery, a heavy and ugly frame, or a high price tag. The Fiido D11 manages to overcome several folding bike caveats while maintaining a price of just $999.

The D11 launched as an Indiegogo campaign last year and marked Fiido‘s entrance into the US market. As you’ve surely noticed by now, the D11 has a rather unusual design. Unlike most ebikes, which hide the battery in the frame or mount it awkwardly elsewhere, the D11 stuffs the battery into the chunky seatpost. While it’s not for everyone, you’ll likely get a lot of comments while riding it; I think it’s a pretty cool-looking bike, and it certainly stands out.

The seatpost battery has the benefit of allowing Fiido to use a larger battery than you typically find in the category, at 418 Wh (most folding ebikes in this price range have a roughly 300Wh battery), while still keeping the bike relatively lightweight at about 39 pounds, battery included. Anything under 40 pounds is basically featherweight for an ebike.

Fiido claims a maximum range of 100 km (62 mi), and based on my usage I’d estimate real-world range to be closer to 35-50 miles, depending on your assist level. That’s still really quite good for this category product, and more than enough for most riders. And if the battery does run out, the bike is still very much pedal-able thanks to the weight savings (NYC’s rideshare Citibikes weigh ~45 lbs, for reference) and a 7-gear drivetrain.

It’s worth noting now that this isn’t a bike built for crazy speed and torque — the D11 is limited to 25 km/h and uses a 250W, 35 Nm rear hub motor. Even among similarly spec’d motors, it’s on the ‘gentler’ side; the 250W motor on my (much more expensive) Brompton Electric feels noticeably more zippy. Still, it managed to get my larger self up some fairly steep hills, even if you’ll need to put in some work to maintain a good pace.

Fiido D11 ebike seatpost

While I prefer pedal ebikes and generally do not care about throttles, having the option on the D11 was nice. It’s handy when starting from a dead stop, especially as the D11 uses a cadence sensor rather than a fancier torque sensor, so it takes about a half-turn for the assist to kick in. And if you don’t want to pedal at all, if you hold down the throttle for five seconds, it’ll enter ‘moped mode,’ which is basically cruise control.

Kudos to Fiido for including an actually-decent headlight and taillight which are directly wired to the power system (the taillight is actually in the seatpost); I’ve more expensive bikes with worse lighting. The display on the other hand is about as basic as they come, but it gets the job done. And though I’d rather have a proper bell (hint: get a Spurcycle), the built-in horn is certainly loud enough.

The bike uses mechanical disk brakes, which aren’t as fancy as the hydraulic disc brakes on many ebikes, but they’re easier to maintain and are still superior to most rim brakes you’d find on most regular bikes. Considering the motor’s speed limitation, there isn’t a great need for more stopping power.

There’s a lot to like with the D11, but it’s not perfect. Some general notes to be aware of:

  • The mega chunkster seatpost means you can’t replace it with a bump-softening suspension seatpost. There are suspended saddles you can buy, but the design limits your options in this regard.
  • The chunky seatpost also means you can’t use seatpost accessories like the Burley Travoy cargo trailer or a seatpost-mounted rack.
  • Find a rack that fits appears to be somewhat tricky; I wished Fiido offered something official. There are some solutions in this customer’s YouTube video though.
  • The bike does come with fenders, but they’re a little finnicky to install.
  • The included grips are absolutely horrendous and are to be replaced immediately.
  • The taillight is on while the bike is charging, and again, it’s quite bright, so it can be annoying in dark spaces.
  • Though the bike looks very cool from a distance and it feels very sturdy, the welds do look a little less polished up close.
  • The frame lacks closed loops, which makes locking up feel less secure. If you try to use a U-lock around the seat stays and rear wheel, for instance, a thief could remove the wheel, cut the motor cable, and be off with the bike. That’d be really dumb, since the motor is worth a good chunk of money, but it’s not an unrealistic scenario. You could set up a . I’d suggest using something like the Pinheads system to make it more difficult for thieves to remove vulnerable components.
  • While the bike can be rolled when folded, there isn’t an included strap or magnet to hold the two sides together.
  • At 6′ tall, I found the bike slightly small and wished it had an adjustable-height stem, but it would be easy enough to get riser handlebars (and there’s plenty of clearance in the folding mechanism.

It’s also worth noting that Fiido is actually planning to announce a fancier ebike akin to the D11 named the Fiido X. This model incorporates a torque sensor, a sleeker seatpost mechanism, a keyless security system, and an overall sleeker design.

Fiido X ebike
Credit: Fiido