Customers often ask me: "Why should I buy your electric bike conversion kit and a quality folding bike such as Brompton, Dahon, Dr Hon or Tern when I can buy a cheap Chinese folding electric bike for only about 20% more than our kit cost?"
Well the answer to that is simple - the cheap Chinese folding electric bikes are absolute rubbish as bikes!
85%+ of their value is in the electrical components and the bike components are of low quality and poor design.The batteries are also not the best quality and are prone to failure.
Their foldability is also more theoretical than real. They are such a pain to fold and so bulky when folded that people never actually fold them.
Customers sometimes think "who cares, I'll just use the motor."
But just using the motor on an inefficient bike with heaps of rolling resistance means you don't pedal and put big strain on the motor and especially on the battery leading to early failure.
In contrast, on a quality folding bike like a Brompton, our kit can be much lighter (total of 14kg Brompton & kit vs 25kg for Chinese folders) and yet still give as long range as bikes with twice the battery capacity. This is because the motor isn't being asked to to all the work.
With a quality bike the rider is happy to pedal at a comfortable level and the motor is used mainly for acceleration to cruise, hill climbing and riding against the wind (all the "hard" bits of riding a bike.)
With a poor quality bike pedalling is hard and seems not worth the effort so riders don't pedal. This is bad for your health, bad for the bike and bad for performance.
The physics go like this. A human can put our 100 watts continuously and 300 watts peak on a bicycle. Our motor can put out up to 250 watt continuously and around 450 watts peak.
If you use the motor just to add to your 100-300 watts pedalling, you end up with a lot more power and acceleration than if you just rely on the motor alone (350-750 watts).
A motor & battery that could deliver similar performance to our kit without pedalling would push add 15 - 20kg to the bike and thus decrease performance by 15-20% (Quality folder & Freedom Ebikes kit + 85kg rider = 100 kg) (Cheap Chinese Electric + 85kg rider = 120kg).
Thus adding weight of motor and battery to compensate for poor bike quality is a losing proposition. The extra weigh substantially reduces the performance gain.
If the rider is putting in his/her 100 watts continuous on a 1 hour ride, that is equivalent to 100 watt hours which is more than 50% of the capacity of a typical 36V 5Amp hour battery.
Thus a smaller battery can get you further if its fitted to a quality bike that makes it easy to pedal.
A friend of mine bought one of these Chinese cheapies a year ago. I offered him a Brompton with our kit but he said it was too expensive. Now his Chinese cheapie has got a dead battery after 1 year and he basically has to throw the bike away because it costs so much to replace the battery and the bike itself is a worthless piece of junk. The sellers of these cheap Chinese folders rarely provide proper warranty or service.
Now he has to spend the same or more again.
He now realises that he would have been far better off to buy a quality folding bike and convert it to electric with our Freedom Ebikes kit.