electric mountain bike

Fiido D11 folding electric bike review: $999 and worth it

Fiido D11 folding electric bike review: $999 and worth it 2020-10-10Leave a comment

Fiido D11 folding electrical bike evaluate: $999 and value it

Not everybody can afford a premium electrical bike with costs that normally begin at $2,000. However what for those who might spend half that and nonetheless seize your self a good-enough e-bike that’s appropriate for lengthy city commutes and versatile sufficient to toss into the trunk of your automobile, roll onto a prepare, or carry residence to your fifth-floor walkup? That’s what I hoped to search out with the latest folding e-bike from the Chinese language model Fiido, which not too long ago began promoting immediately into the European and North American markets.

The Fiido D11 ticks all of the containers: it’s obtainable for as little as $999.99, has a claimed vary of as much as 100km, and folds right into a tiny transportable bundle. It additionally appears good.

However is it any good?

Previous to the D11, Fiido bikes had been troublesome to get outdoors of China. However the firm not too long ago setup worldwide operations in order that patrons wouldn’t must pay costly import duties that would simply add a couple of hundred {dollars} to Fiido’s finances e-bike costs. It must also assist get components to Fiido bikes in Europe and North America extra shortly after they want service… and so they probably will based mostly on my testing (extra on that later).

Unboxing a direct-to-consumer e-bike that’s solely been seen on the two-dimensional pages of Indiegogo units the temper for all the pieces that comes after. The Fiido expertise began off effectively sufficient: I used to be stunned by how tiny the D11 field was upon supply. It’s particularly small in comparison with the full-size e-bikes I normally obtain. Opening it up, nevertheless, revealed a field stuffed with haphazardly packed foam and different environmentally damaging supplies that instantly sullied my already tempered expectations.

The unboxing expertise was actually effectively under the excessive bar set by VanMoof… normally, however the D11 additionally prices half as a lot.

Free of the shackles of polystyrene rubbish and a dozen or so tie-wraps, I used to be instantly stumped by how one can increase the handlebar stem. The English meeting directions are meager at finest, and following them sequentially would have snapped a brake cable. Fortuitously, I seen that the handlebar had rotated en route (or at packing), inflicting the brake line to tug taut. Rolling it again into place with a flip of the fast launch latch created sufficient slack within the line to easily increase the handlebar into place. Subsequent, I hooked up the pedals and tightened all the pieces up. Then I charged the battery.

The novel factor in regards to the D11 design is the enormous seat put up that homes a relatively beefy 418Wh (36V 11.6A) battery for such a diminutive bike with 20-inch wheels. The battery fees from zero to full in a gradual seven hours. The Cowboy 3, which prices greater than twice as a lot because the D11, is fitted with a barely smaller 360Wh battery that fees in simply 3.5 hours. The velocity distinction is probably going defined by Cowboy’s use of extra superior 21700 lithium-ion battery cells that pack extra vitality into much less house but in addition value extra.

The battery / seat put up could be inserted at an unsafe depth.

That lengthy battery creates a really lengthy seat put up, which ought to make the D11 adaptable to all kinds of rider heights. However… no. The battery is marked with numbered gradations so to insert it to the identical depth every time. When you obey the max and min insertion marks, then the Fiido D11 is simply appropriate for tall riders — one thing the corporate fails to say. I’m six ft (183cm) tall and when the seat is at its lowest setting, I can barely contact each toes to the bottom. For my part (I could possibly be fallacious!), it’ll safely decrease one other 4 centimeters (1.5 inches) earlier than the battery juts out of the protecting body, creating a possible influence hazard. That’s the depth I examined the seat put up at as a result of it was good for my top. In different phrases, the D11’s not likely appropriate for anybody beneath six ft tall. (Fiido doesn’t checklist a min / max rider top for the D11 — it solely offers a obscure “saddle top” vary of 80cm-110cm. For what it’s value, my saddle top measures 98cm from the bottom.)

The battery / seat design does enable the D11 to fold good and compact since it may be shoved via the body, almost to the bottom, as a substitute of sticking up like a flagpole. Different, costlier folding bikes make you carry the battery individually when collapsed, or require a couple of additional steps to reposition and safe the seatpost to achieve minimal quantity claims.

There’s additionally no simple approach to lock the battery / seat even with an exterior bike lock. Which means you both take it with you when parked outdoors a store or cafe, or danger having somebody flip open the quick-release latch and stealing the battery / seat, which might be an embarrassing and expensive trip residence.

As soon as the battery is inserted, you continue to have to attach the small pigtail cable hanging off the bike to the battery close to the highest of the put up, slightly below the facility button and built-in tail lamp. Now the bike is able to go.

The pigtail cable should be linked to the battery to energy the bike.

A number of uncovered cables to snag.

The bike collapses right into a small bundle.

Steering is fast, not twitchy.

Assembled, the blue D11 appears relatively good. Positive, it’s not iconic just like the $3,499 Brompton Electrical, however its folding mechanism is superior. It’s not as glossy or progressive as a GoCycle, however you’ll be able to outfit a household of 5 with Fiido D11 e-bikes for the value of only one GoCycle GXi.

A brief press of the facility button causes the D11 to spring to life. However the 250W motor isn’t prepared to start helping your pedal strokes till you click on and maintain the higher left button on the show.

I used to be all smiles throughout my first trip — it rode higher than I had anticipated. Sure, the D11 is restricted to only 25km/h (16mph), however that’s superb as a result of this bike is made for European metropolis commuters. The D11 velocity restrict can’t be bypassed with a cheat code both, in contrast to the Fiido D4, for instance. Fiido’s clearly hoping to keep away from tangling with regulators with the launch of its first worldwide bike.

The D11 affords three pedal-assist modes in addition to a throttle that doesn’t require any pedaling in any respect. Pedal-assist mode 3 (max) was my most popular setting because it finest augmented my aggressive using type. The motor does whine, but it surely’s not dangerous (I’ve undoubtedly heard worse), and energy supply can really feel barely jerky at occasions, even within the decrease pedal-assist modes. That’s as a result of the D11 makes use of a cadence sensor as a substitute of a costlier torque sensor that helps easy out the facility supply. The seven-speed Shimano gearbox shifts easily, permitting for fast begins off the road and speeds effectively in extra of 25km/h so long as you don’t thoughts your quads doing the work.

The paddle swap with ridges is the throttle.

Holding the throttle down ultimately engages a cruise management, however solely after it reaches the utmost motor-assisted velocity. You may then launch the button and simply benefit from the trip. You may pedal quicker, and the motor will ultimately re-engage while you gradual again down. It’s a brilliant helpful characteristic.

Sadly, the D11’s motor is fairly weak, even in comparison with different 250W motors widespread in Europe. It’s superb within the flats, however the small Xiongda rear-hub motor actually struggles in opposition to minor hills and even average winds. On my evaluate unit, the motor cuts off at 24km/h, in keeping with the bike’s show, not the said 25km/h. But it surely felt even slower than that, so I measured the tempo in opposition to a Garmin smartwatch which learn 22km/h. If I needed to guess, I’d say the Garmin was extra correct. Nonetheless, that motor supplies sufficient torque to get my 82kg (180-pound) physique shifting from a standstill to high velocity on stage surfaces in about 12 to fifteen seconds utilizing nothing however the throttle.

Another issues to notice:

  • I managed 49km (30 miles) throughout my vary check over principally flat metropolis bike paths. My lazy using was most likely 90 p.c throttle utilization and 10 p.c pedal-assisted. Fiido claims a variety of 40 to 50km (25 to 31 miles) in electric-only (throttle) modes and 80 to 100km (50 to 60 miles) in pedal help modes, which sounds about proper.
  • The rear gentle built-in into the seat put up / battery can also be a brake gentle that brightens after which flashes when pulling both brake caliper.
  • Lights, twin mechanical disc brakes, electrical horn, and kickstand come commonplace, however mudguards don’t. These fenders will add $29.99 / €25.79 to the full value.
  • Steering is agile with out feeling overly twitchy.
  • The handlebar stem can’t be prolonged, which makes the using place extra sporty than upright, particularly for taller riders.
  • Grips are onerous, transferring street bumps immediately into your fingers.
  • Saddle consolation is ok for brief journeys or the occasional lengthy commute.
  • The show is ok at evening however shortly washes out even in overcast situations. But it surely’s not one thing you might want to be continuously checking.

So, you do get an honest set of options on your cash with the Fiido D11. However you additionally surrender most of the issues loved by premium bike house owners:

  • The D11 weighs 18.5kg (40 kilos, 13 ounces) which isn’t even near being “ultralight,” as claimed by the Indiegogo marketing campaign, because you’re not going to be using it with out the battery / seat. The total-sized Gogoro Eeyo 1S weighs simply 11.9kg (26 kilos), for comparability, whereas the Brompton Electrical folding e-bike is simply 14kg (31 kilos).
  • Options like folding pedals or locking mechanisms that maintain the handlebar and body tightly collectively are lacking on the D11, making it unwieldy to trolley or carry one-handed when collapsed.
  • Excessive-end e-bikes have clear designs with cables that snake via the frames. The D11 has plenty of uncovered cables that look ugly and danger snagging.
  • The D11 has a Shimano seven-speed shifter, whereas premiums typically have automated transmissions and internally geared motors.
  • The D11 has a messy, uncovered chain and derailleur that require extra upkeep than the easy belt drives discovered on higher-end electrics.
  • Premium e-bikes typically embody theft safety within the type of built-in locks or GPS / GSM location monitoring and restoration providers. However at the least you’ll be able to carry your Fiido into the home or workplace at evening.
  • Every little thing from the D11’s packaging, to the thick welded seams, to the tire choice, to the chosen battery cells is inferior to the superior construct high quality related to bikes above $2,000.
  • The higher e-bikes have homegrown apps that monitor your journey historical past, assist the corporate remotely monitor the bike’s well being, and permit the proprietor to fine-tune trip settings. Fiido doesn’t provide any app in any respect.
  • Premium bikes provide higher after-purchase assist, over-the-air software program fixes, and first- or third-party preparations that may even service or restore the bike proper the place it breaks down. Cowboy house owners are even provided a free crash detection service.

Fiido says it’s prepared for Europe. Hopefully that’s true.

At $999.99, the D11 is affordable for an e-bike you may use day-after-day, but it surely’s nonetheless a giant bundle of cash that units an expectation of sturdiness. Sadly, that is the place I’ve some issues. I have already got an issue with the saddle after simply two weeks of testing: each time I hit a bump, the seat abruptly, and uncomfortably, tilts upward a notch, regardless of tightening it as a lot as I can. And since the saddle is built-in into the battery, the mount isn’t a inventory half I can get from any outdated bike store. The rear wheel additionally rubs with a slight metal-on-metal sound. It doesn’t look like a disc brake alignment situation, so I’m guessing it’s one thing to do with resistance launched by that rear hub motor. It’s audible when pushing the bike, after which heard solely periodically when using as a high-pitched squeak that comes and goes.

Once I reached out to Fiido to report the problems, my messages to the corporate bounced, saying the e-mail addresses now not exist. These are the identical Fiido.co.cn workers who organized to ship me the check bike. I nonetheless wasn’t in a position to attain anybody on the firm by publication time, 4 days after dropping contact.

As a newcomer to the worldwide market, making guarantee claims on the motor, controller, and electronics, and getting substitute components on the Fiido D11 would probably be a problem even in one of the best of occasions. The pandemic complicates issues additional for the reason that excessive demand for generic components used on e-bikes just like the D11 are briefly provide, and couriers are overwhelmed with deliveries. I’ve realized to stay with the issues that must be serviced on my check D11, however I wouldn’t be so calm had I paid $1,000 and wanted assist for my two-week-old bike.

Taken at face worth, the Fiido D11 is a superb little folding e-bike, made higher by its €859.99 / $999.99 price ticket. However like most issues in life, you actually do get what you pay for.

Pictures by Thomas Ricker / The Sports activities Grind Leisure

Sports activities Grind Leisure has affiliate partnerships. These don’t affect editorial content material, although Sports activities Grind Leisure might earn commissions for merchandise bought by way of affiliate hyperlinks. For extra data, see our ethics coverage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *