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Electric Bike Review: BH Emotion Volt Folding Electric Bike
Mar 15, 2012
The Emotion Volt electric bike folded up.
Folding electric bikes are a new up and coming niche in the e-bike market and I recently had a chance to ride and test the Emotion Volt folding e-bike. If you are in the market for a high quality folding e-bike you should check out this review!
Take this bike with you where ever you go: in the trunk of a car/taxi, on a bus, on a subway, on a train, on a plane (you will need to ship the battery separately because the airline won’t let you fly with a lithium ion battery), on a boat/ferry, on a camel, in a backpack, okay I am getting a little carried away 🙂
In addition to taking this bike with you when you travel or commute, folding e-bikes also work well if you live in a small apartment or condo. You can store a folding bike in a pretty small space.
Some people like folding bikes because they can store them in their office at work and keep them safe from theft.
What you can expect from this folding electric bike:
Here is the real world information on how this bike performed on my typical riding circuit that includes a lot of hills, wind, etc.
The results below are based on a paved circuit that I use for testing other electric bikes.
Emotion Volt Range and Elevation Info: 14 miles and 1400 feet of climbing.
While testing these bikes I like to put them through the toughest conditions (highest assist setting with little pedaling) to see where their bottom line is in regards to range and speed. The Emotion Volt is a pedal assist only bike (no throttle).
Range: From the GPS info that I recorded, the bike traveled 14 miles and did a total elevation gain/loss of around 1400 ft. Considering that I weight 190 lbs and I pedaled very lightly this is pretty good range for a small 26 Volt 8 ah battery pack (208 Watt Hours).
Speed: The Volt was able to maintain about 17 mph on the open road. This bike climbs pretty well (but not fast) because of it’s mid drive motor that allows you to shift the gears and make it easier for you and the motor to climb the hills.
Weight: This bike tips the scales at 46 lbs. which is pretty good for a folding electric bike.
The weight distribution on this electric bike is great because both the motor and the battery are located in the center of the bike and low to the ground. The low center of gravity is good for the handling on a small bike like this.
Let’s get into the Pros and Cons of this folding electric bike.
Easy to Fold: The Emotion Volt is easy to fold and take with you. There are 3 basic steps to folding the bike: fold the pedals, unhinge and fold the stem/handlebars and then unhinge and fold the main frame. You can also lower the seat using the seat post quick release, but the seat itself can be a nice handle for moving the bike around.
Solid Frame: The frame construction appears to be solid for a folding bike. Despite the frame having the center hinge and just one main structural tube the bike seemed to be fairly stout even when standing and pedaling on a climb. It does flex a little but that is to be expected in almost all small wheeled folding bikes.
View of the 250 watt Panasonic mid mount motor and 26 volt 8ah lithium ion battery.
Panasonic Electric Bike Kit: The Panasonic kit has been used on many bikes in Europe and it has a proven track record. The 250 watt motor with a 26 volt battery is not going to wow the speed and power crowd but it will get you where you need to go efficiently.
Shimano Nexus 8-speed Internal Geared Hub: I like internal gear hubs because they keep things simple and eliminate the rear derailleur which is nice on a small wheeled folding bike. There is a downside to this particular Shimano Nexus hub in combination with a mid drive motor which I will get into in the cons section below.
Good Components: Overall the components of the bike are good quality and they should last a long time. The V-brakes offered good stopping power, the Kenda tires appeared to be good quality, and the rims seemed stout.
A Lot of Accessories: The Emotion Volt comes with almost all the accessories that you can think of: front and rear lights, fenders, rear rack, kickstand, bell, etc.
Easy to Remove Battery: The Panasonic electric bike kit is designed for easy battery removal. This is convenient when you need to store your e-bike outside but you want to keep your battery safe from really cold or hot temperatures.
Not that Fast: In general folding bikes are not made for speed, they are made for convenient portability. The Emotion Volt is not going to impress you with it’s power or speed. Topping out at about 17 mph is about as good as it gets and this bike doesn’t accelerate super quick or climb hills very fast.
With all of that said the Volt will get you around town quicker and with less sweat and effort than a normal folding bike.
The Emotion Volt front light powered by the front hub generator.
Lights Always On: The generator (dynamo) front hub powers the front and rear lights and it appeared to be always on with no way to turn it off when you don’t need it. I like generator front hubs but on an electric bike it would be nice to see the lights powered directly by the battery instead of the front hub generator because it is more efficient and it would be one less component that could malfunction.
No Brake Lever Sensors: There are no brake lever sensors that will stop the motor from assisting when you apply the brakes. You will need to stop pedaling for the motor to stop assisting since this is a pedal assist only bike (no throttle).
When waiting at a stop sign or light and you have your foot on the pedal the bike will try to go even if you have the brakes on. This is something I have experienced on other bikes equipped with the Panasonic motor system.
Shifting on a Climb: The combination of the mid drive motor with pedal assist only (no throttle) and the Shimano Nexus internal gear hub makes shifting on a climb difficult. The Shimano hub requires that there is little to no pedal or motor pressure on the hub in order for it to shift to an easier gear. The Panasonic system continues to assist a little after you stop pedaling so it makes shifting to an easier gear on a climb a little awkward. Once you get used to this it is not so bad, but you should be aware of this and plan on adjusting your hill climbing style for this.
A Little Noise: The Panasonic motor does make some noise but it is pretty quiet once you get it up to speed.
Emotion Volt Folding Electric Bike
Overall I think the Emotion Volt is a nice folding electric bike. It has a nice frame and folding system, the high quality Panasonic electric bike kit, Shimano components, and a good assortment of accessories. It won’t amaze you with its speed or power but it will get you there efficiently.
For the price of $2850 USD it is definitely on the high end compared to other folding electric bikes out there but you do get a good mix of quality components and accessories.
Please keep in mind that this is a relatively short term test. This testing can’t really give you the long term review of durability and reliability. My thoughts on the quality of this bike are from previous experiences with similar bikes. If you own this bike and have some input on the long term durability, please share your comments with the Electric Bike Report community below.
Where to get the Emotion Volt folding electric bike? In the US Pete’s Electric Bikes (not my company, they just choose a cool name!) and The New Wheel. Otherwise I would check with BH Emotion for a store in your location.
Do you have any questions about the Emotion Volt folding electric bike? Please leave them in the comment section below.