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Ado Air 20 E-Bike Review, 2023
Nov 06, 2023
A Lightweight European-Style Folding E-Bike for Easy Carrying and Commuting
The Air 20 is just one of many folding e-bike options from A Dece Oasis, or ADO. With a lightweight frame practical for carrying on a daily basis, it’s a great solution for commuters with some miles between the bus stop and the office. We explore the bike’s features and performance in this ADO Air 20 review.
In the US, the folding feature of folding e-bikes is often secondary, with some weighing upwards of 70 lbs. At 42 lbs. including its battery, the ADO Air 20 is more portable than many of its peers. It can fold in seconds, and ADO offers an optional magnetic attachment to keep the two halves of the bike together. This might seem minor, but it’s something we’ve often wished for on the folding e-bikes we’ve tested!
Another surprising feature of the ADO Air 20 was the responsiveness of its pedal assistance. The bike uses a torque sensor in conjunction with its 250W rear-hub motor, giving the rider more power when pedaling harder. We think this is a great complement to the subtle assistance provided by the relatively small motor.
Function is the Air 20’s primary concern, as exemplified by its simple operation. To keep things light and easy, it uses a single-speed drivetrain with a Dayco Power Carbon belt for long-lasting and mess-free pedaling. With no shifting, riders need only to adjust their pedal-assist setting or use the throttle!
We had a lot of fun testing this zippy folding e-bike; see our full ADO Air 20 review below for all the details.
Bike Category: Folding
Class 2 E-Bike:Throttle up to 19 mph Pedal assist up to 16 mph
ADO Air 20 Video Review
Small, lightweight and practical! At around 42 lbs the Air 20 is easy to lift, and includes a magnetic attachment to secure both halves together.
The motor dishes out more power when it’s needed thanks to a torque sensor that reacts to the rider’s effort.
Simple to operate with a single-speed drivetrain that requires no shifting and just 3 PAS settings.
Low-maintenance, quiet, and clean thanks to the Dayco Power Carbon belt drive.
Great handling and maneuverability with 20”x1.95” street tires.
Good stopping power from the bike’s hydraulic disc brakes and 160mm rotors.
We liked that the battery functioned as the seatpost; it keeps weight centered, takes up less space, and just looks cool!
Looks are subjective, but we thought the Air 20 had a visually-appealing design!
The Air 20 uses 3 PAS settings, but ours came with 5. We’d like to see ADO update the bike’s programming to correct this.
While the bike did fine when pedaling, we found its throttle a little underpowered for climbing hills.
The Air 20 felt zippy despite its pedal-assisted speed limit of 16 mph, but we’d like to see that increased to 20 mph for the US market.
ELECTRICAL SPECS & FEATURES
Battery: Samsung 36V, 9.6 Ah (345.6 Wh)
Display: IPS Color Display
Motor: 36V, 250W (350W Peak) Rear-Hub, 42 Nm Max Torque
Headlight: IPX5 Waterproof 1200 lumen
Taillights: Battery-Operated Reflector Tail Light
Peal Assist: PAS 1-3 or PAS 1-5
Range: 100 km (62 mi) max range (claimed)
Throttle: Thumb throttle, Throttle After Pedal (TAP)
App: ADO EBIKE App
UL Certification: Coming 2024
Other Certifications: conforms to the requirements of: Machinery Directive (2006/42/EC), the EMC Directive (2014/30/EU), and the Radio Equipment Directive (2014/53/EU), and DIN EN 15194:2017, and ADO Air 20 battery complies with UN 38.3 lithium-ion battery testing standards
Weight & Dimensions
Claimed weight: 16 kg (35 lbs) claimed, 42 lbs weighed
Rider height range: 4’-11” to 6’-7” claimed
Total payload capacity: 120 kg (265 lbs)
Components & Accessories
Brakes: Hydraulic Disc w/ 160mm rotors
Frame: Lightweight Aluminum Frame
Drivetrain: Single-Speed with Carbon Belt, 64T chainring and 20T cog on freewheel
Pedals: Folding Pedals
Tires: Chaoyang 20”x1.95” street tires
The Air 20 makes for a seriously fun and practical commuter thanks to its torque sensor and lightweight frame.
The folded e-bike measures 34”x28”x24” and weighs a highly manageable 42 lbs.
The International Version of the bike uses a 350W rear-hub motor with a peak of 480W.
ADO Air 20 Review: Speed Test
To gather data for our Speed Test, we rode the ADO Air 20 with no motor assistance and in each pedal assist system (PAS) setting, using a 3rd party speedometer app to measure the maximum speeds we reached. We applied a consistent level of effort when pedaling, which is especially important on e-bikes like the Air 20 that use torque sensors – you can read why in our article explaining torque sensors vs cadence sensors. This process allowed us to mark the bike’s top speed, but also gave us an idea of the distribution of motor power in each setting.
The Air 20 pedaled fairly easily with no help from the motor, as we expected from such a lightweight bike; we measured a fairly impressive 12.6 mph. Its large 64-tooth chainring made getting started somewhat challenging, but once we were moving, pedaling felt much easier. In PAS 1, the amount of power from the small rear-hub motor was subtle but helpful, bringing our top speed up to 14.3 miles per hour. PAS 2 offered more power, allowing us to reach 15.1 mph, and we reached a maximum speed of 15.9 mph in PAS 3.
The bike has three programmed settings; ours came with 5, but PAS 4 and 5 felt equal in power to PAS 1 or 2, so we set the system to use just three through the settings menu. This can also be done easily through the ADO EBIKE app. This minor error aside, we’re happy to see just three PAS settings (especially for a Class 2 e-bike) – we tend to prefer the simplicity of fewer settings, especially with the assumption that most riders tend to put a bike in its highest setting and stick with it.
It’s worth noting that, with the Air 20’s torque sensor, we were able to reach the bikes maximum speed of around 16 mph even in PAS 1 with a bit more effort. There did not seem to be much of a difference in feel between the three PAS settings except when approaching hills, though the bike did accelerate more quickly in PAS 3 than PAS 1.
The Air 20 comes in two versions depending on location; we tested the International Version (IV) of the bike with a 350W motor (480W peak). The bike includes a throttle and is thus a Class 2 e-bike, though its throttle was limited to roughly 19 mph and its motor provided pedal assistance up to 16 mph. We reached out to ADO to find out why the bike did not have the usual Class 2 limit of 20 mph – specifically through pedal assist – and our contact advised us that, with the bike’s single-speed drivetrain, they chose this limit to avoid ghost pedaling, or as they stated, the feeling of “stepping into the air.”
Even with its small size, the Air 20 felt comfortable for our tallest rider who is 6’-5”!
With a single-speed belt drive, the Air 20 is low-maintenance, and won’t get your pants greasy like a chain.
To save on space and balance weight, the bike’s battery is its seatpost! We liked this less-common design.
Both the incorrect number of PAS settings and the speed limit should be able to be corrected with an update to the bike’s firmware, and we’d like to encourage ADO to address these two points. The speed limit is the larger of our two concerns; we think the Air 20 is more likely to appeal to those in the US market with the standard Class 2 speed limit. But since there are only three programmed settings, it seems to us that removing the additional two settings completely would made the bike’s operation even easier.
Overall, we were satisfied with the distribution of power in PAS 1-3 – each provided a measurable and expected increase in assistance, which helps to make the bike feel intuitive and easy to use. And despite its lower-than-expected speed limit, we enjoyed the zippy feel of the bike!
ADO Air 20 Review: Range Test
The distances we measured in our Range Test differed significantly from ADO’s advertised range, but we found its capabilities to still be quite practical. The brand advertises a range of 62 miles, but our results were between roughly 36 and 46 miles depending on the pedal assist setting used. We gathered our data using the process explained in the graphic above.
Despite falling short of ADO’s claimed range, our results correlated with the behavior of the Air 20’s PAS as measured in our Speed Test. The bike’s 350W motor was likely using similar amounts of power (at least most of the time), since the largest difference in feel between PAS settings occurred on hills or when accelerating. This is reinforced by our ability to reach the bike’s max speed even in its lowest setting. On bikes with greater differences in power between settings, we would expect to see a wider min/max range bracket, but the Air 20’s narrow bracket with just 10 miles of difference makes sense with the limited disparity between PAS 1 and PAS 3.
Our results using PAS 3 exceeded our expectations based on the Air 20’s 250W motor, 345.6 watt-hour (Wh) battery, and maximum speed of about 15.5 mph. Using the method in our article explaining how to calculate the range of an e-bike, we expected our Max PAS test to last an hour and 23 minutes and result in a distance of 21.4 miles. Our measured result of 36.3 miles (nearly a 70% increase) indicates that the motor and battery pairing is impressively efficient.
This is likely due to the bike’s torque sensor, which requires some effort from the rider, as well as the ease with which riders can exceed the maximum motor-assisted speed. We did our best to maintain speeds just below the Air 20’s maximum, but with such a lightweight frame, some brief portions of our ride inevitably exceeded the point where the motor was contributing.
It’s also worth pointing out that our testing took place on a series of roads and paths with a significant number of hills; we gained roughly 860 feet of elevation over the duration of our two range test rides. Riders pedaling on flatter ground should expect some degree of additional distance than we measured.
So ultimately, while ADO’s claimed range seems to have been a bit hopeful, the roughly 36-46 miles we measured over the course of 2.5 to 3.5 hours proves that the Air 20 can still deliver practical range for commuters riding both short and long distances.
ADO Air 20 Review: Hill Test
The Hill Test we performed on the ADO Air 20 yielded mixed results. As explained in the graphic above, we performed two separate tests with the bike to evaluate its motor and throttle performance.
On its throttle-only test, the bike did not succeed at climbing Hell Hole Trail. Considering that we received the more powerful International Version (IV) of the Air 20, our test bike’s 350W motor peaked at 480W of output with a maximum of 42 Nm of torque. Neither of these maximum outputs is particularly powerful, especially when the motor is doing 100% of the heavy lifting, so we were not surprised that it was unable to conquer our test hill.
When pedaling using the maximum amount of power in PAS 3, we successfully made it to the summit, with an average speed of 9.3 mph and a time of 1 minute and 57 seconds. This is significantly slower than many other folding e-bikes we’ve tested, though comparison to those is unfair, as most have been equipped with more powerful 500W motors.
When looking at other styles of e-bike we have tested with similarly-powerful 250W or 350W motors, the ADO Air 20 remained near the bottom of the list in comparison. Based on motor output, this is also not unexpected, as many of those other e-bikes produced higher peak wattage and torque, which added more to the effort of our test rider.
We measured solid stopping power from the bike’s hydraulic brake system.
The Air 20 uses hydraulic disc brakes with 160mm rotors.
20”x1.95” street tires keep the bike light and super maneuverable.
We later performed a number of “unofficial” tests with the Air 20 on another local hill near our office. There, we learned that – while PAS 3 made a big difference in allowing us to reach the tops of hills our legs and lungs would have given out on – the bike is most capable when approaching inclines using a combination of its throttle and PAS. This added a greater amount of motor power to the contribution of our legs, adding an option for even easier hill climbing.
With its small motor and torque sensor, the ADO Air 20 is made to feel much like an analog bike, and this was most apparent on hills. It extends the limits of the human body, allowing riders to pedal in locations where they otherwise would not, but the bike will not do all of the work by itself. We learned to think of the throttle as a method of taking a break or adding a boost to the ride – it’s a helpful tool, but riders should expect to pedal when approaching most hills.
ADO Air 20 Review: Brake Test
When measuring the performance of the ADO Air 20’s brake system (using the process explained above), we measured an average stopping distance of 21’-6”. The bike’s brakes are unbranded, but they are hydraulic disc brakes with 160mm rotors on both wheels.
This result is good! When compared to all other folding e-bikes we’ve tested, its results are better than average, and when compared to those with specifically hydraulic brake systems, it was slightly slower – but in both cases the difference was a matter of inches, which is relatively negligible.
We noticed that when braking hard, the rear wheel had a tendency to lock up and slide, but it straightened out when we relaxed our grip. I recommend that new owners do some practice braking to get a feel for the bike’s behavior, but by performance and feel, we deem the Air 20’s brake system to be effective and appropriate for the bike’s weight and speed.
ADO Air 20 Review: Ride Quality
In terms of ride quality, the Air 20 is relatively spartan, but effective. With its lightweight frame, the ADO Air 20 places functionality – namely its folding and carrying abilities – at the forefront, with comfort being more of a secondary concern. It pedals well, and is a comfortable enough bike to ride, but it doesn’t have many of the bells and whistles that many other folding e-bikes in the US market tend to feature.
With that in mind, we felt that the Air 20 did its job in terms of contact points; the firm saddle grew somewhat uncomfortable after long journeys, but it worked well for short rides. Similarly, the simple, lightweight grips were not as comfortable over time as ergonomic rubber, but again, they did what they needed to do. The bike’s pedals were expectedly small, as is standard for the folding variety, but they also performed well. Again, function is key here, and the Air 20’s setup works and helps to keep its overall weight manageable.
ADO states that the Air 20 can fit riders between 4’-11” and 6’-7” with its single frame size. Its geometry and design allows for 8.5” of adjustment in saddle height, 5” of adjustment in handlebar height, and a small amount of reach adjustment on the saddle rails. In our experience, taller riders may have less leg extension than expected even with the seatpost and telescoping stem fully extended, but those of shorter or average height should be better accommodated.
At 5’-11”, I experienced more of a forward-leaning riding position than I expected with the Air 20; most folding bikes I have tested have had more upright geometry. Shorter riders may be able to sit more vertically, though the bike’s reach is still relatively long, so some degree of lean should be expected.
We enjoyed the bike’s handling; small 20” wheels with 1.95” wide street tires helped to reduce weight while making the Air 20 feel nimble and highly maneuverable. With no suspension, bumps could feel expectedly rough, though this again keeps the weight down and riders can stand to reduce their effects.
The small headlight was brighter than we expected for its size.
We haven’t seen this color display before but we liked that it was appealing and easy to read!
There’s a quick-release clamp on the handlebars for rotation adjustments when needed.
The Air 20 includes a battery-operated taillight beneath the saddle.
Pedaling was natural and enjoyable with the bike’s torque sensor; this gave the Air 20 an analog feel while the motor’s assistance helped us to travel further and faster than we’d have been able to do with only our own power. We appreciated the simplicity of the user interface; while the single-speed drivetrain had its limitations (a little tougher to get moving and some ghost pedaling around 20 mph), it made operation of the bike easy. Users can rely on the pedal assist system or the throttle for their choice of riding.
The bike’s belt drive has advantages as well; in addition to being quieter than a chain, it’s likely to last at least twice as long, and with no lubrication needed, it’s clean and nearly maintenance-free.
The Air 20’s full color display was attractive and unique; it’s always refreshing to see something different! Within the settings menu, riders can tailor some of the bike’s features to their liking, including the number of PAS settings, and whether the bike can operate without motor assistance. ADO also has an app that can pair with the Air 20, allowing riders to adjust settings, track ride data, see the percentage of the battery charge instead of relying on the small pictorial gauge on the bike’s display, or use a useful navigation feature.
ADO Air 20 Review: Summary / Where to Buy
All in all, the Air 20 keeps things mostly straightforward and focused; it functions well for what it includes, and we were satisfied with nearly everything it had to offer. Despite having a few minor flaws, we thoroughly enjoyed our time with the bike; it felt sprightly and responsive, and completely appropriate for commuters needing a compact and easily carried method of zipping around town.
Of our three areas of critique, two should be easily fixable with a firmware update. We’d like to see a permanent reduction to the three programmed PAS settings to avoid any confusion for new owners. And in terms of its speed limit, we appreciate ADO’s effort to circumvent ghost pedaling, but we’d like to see a maximum motor-assisted speed of 20 mph to meet standard Class 2 limits.
Realistically, the ADO Air 20 performed well in our testing, and we think it’s just a cool little bike! Riders should expect a bit less power than with many of the other folding e-bikes we’ve tested, but the Air 20 is perhaps one of the more practical when it comes to its intended purpose. The bike folds easily, it’s balanced and light, and it includes everything needed to get its user from point A to point B quickly and effectively!
Happy Riding! Make sure to let us know if you have any questions down in our comments section or if you think we left anything out in this review of the ADO Air 20.