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Nakto Folding OX Review 2023
Jan 01, 2023
Every now and then an e-bike comes along that throws everything at you but the kitchen sink. This one may have included the sink too. Today we’ll take you through our review of the Nakto Folding OX – a bike that can correctly be called a cruiser, fat tire, step-thru and more.
Not only does it try to give you so much in terms of styling, but it’s also trying to maintain an entry-level price to entice the e-bike curious who might not be ready to make a substantial monetary investment into e-bikes. It makes this bike a curiosity of sorts – one that we were eager to test out as we’ve seen plenty around our corner of Southern Utah.
Besides the handling characteristics of this amalgamation of different bike styles, we also wanted to see how the Folding OX’s 500W motor, 480Wh battery, 160mm mechanical disc brakes, and more would hold up while out in real-world conditions.
Over the course of several days and many miles, we put the Nakto Folding OX through all of Electric Bike Report’s standard tests to see how it performed. To get a better glimpse into how this e-bike does, and if it’s the right one for you, dive into the full review down below.
Bike Category: Cruiser / Folding Electric Bike
Bike Class: Class 3: Throttle assist up to 20 mph, PAS to 28 MPH
Nakto Folding OX Video Review
Great acceleration off the line, the 500W motor is punchy.
The headtube angle, handlebars, and frame add up for an upright and comfortable ride.
The tires are a good combo of size and width – stable, yet easy rolling enough for a fat tire.
The 52t front chainring is quite large, but it means you can actually utilize the lower gears better with PAS engaged.
The folding mechanism is very sturdy and didn’t seem to add any extra frame flex.
Both the shifting and brakes needed quite a bit of adjustment out of the box. We always encourage any D2C bike to be taken to a local shop for tuning.
The Nakto Folding OX would benefit from larger brake rotors, or maybe the jump to hydraulics.
While there is some utility with the folding design, the inability to fold down the handlebars does give it a larger folded profile than other models we’ve seen.
Handlebar: Hi-rise cruiser bar, aluminum alloy, 25.2″ width
Pedals: Yonghua PA66, foldable
Tires: Kenda or CST, 20” x 4″
Nakto Folding OX Review: Bike Overview
The Nakto brand is hyper-focused on making affordable e-bikes. A lot of brands are determined to have at least a few affordable offerings, but Nakto in particular seems to keep all of their models close to or under a thousand dollars.
They really lean into their stated vision of not allowing price to dissuade interest in e-bikes.
The Folding OX is currently priced just slightly above that thousand dollar line and it’s their second most expensive model. A fairly impressive price considering it’s arguably the everything bagel of e-bikes, checking almost all of the different categories we separate e-bikes into as its got fat tires, it’s fast, it sports a step-through frame, it folds, it has comfortable cruiser styling, fenders and headlight for commuting, a suspension fork for comfort – I think you get the point. All the different styles and things you traditionally ask for on a bike it tries to provide.
Blending those styles together does yield an easily accessible bike with comfort built-in. The stepover height is low, the tires give you a cushy ride, and the cruiser styling keeps you upright instead of in an aggressive, performance-oriented position.
Now, when something is this affordable and provides you with so many things you’re looking more so at a jack of all trades instead of a master of one or many. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It casts a wide net with some effect at being appealing to many different people.
Diving a little further into some of those features I mentioned this bike is built as a comfortable ride with a high-rise handlebar. You’ll stay upright as the rear geared hub motor propels you around supported by a 480Wh battery. The stopping power of this bike is provided by mechanical disc brakes with 160mm rotors.
By and large, the Folding OX gives an okay to good feeling in most of the performance areas. That may sound underwhelming, but when you factor in the price, there is some bang-for-your-buck appeal at play here.
But to better understand those performance factors we needed to properly test specific areas of each bike which we did in the motor, battery and braking departments.
While the Nakto Folding OX does fold down, the handlebars remain upright
The 60mm travel fork works decently at absorbing road impact
The hinge is pretty sturdy and gave me zero riding concerns
Nakto Folding OX Review: Motor Performance, Speed and Acceleration
Motor engagement is a sticking point for me on any e-bike we review. Too many pedal cranks until PAS kicks in, or awkward transitions from assistance to leg power when reaching top speeds greatly influence my overall feelings about a motor. With that in mind, I thought the Nakto Folding OX somewhat exceeded my expectations.
Cadence sensors are a mixed bag in terms of power delivery, but the Folding OX engages pretty well with less than one full revolution on average. It is fairly quick off the line thanks to a controller that seems to be tuned to allow plenty of juice to flow through the motor when it’s on.
The larger-than-average 52t chainring allows for a greater pedal bite on lower gearing levels, and I feel like it made for a good transition from motor assistance to a certain mph level to leg power as I was able to dial in how my own pedaling would take over.
The motor makes steady jumps at different PAS levels 1-4 with a most notable increase in PAS 5. I was somewhat taken by surprise at how fast a fat tire cruiser with a 500W motor could get me to higher speeds, but it makes that fifth PAS option a fun one on straightaways.
I also find myself a little more at ease in higher speed with wider tires, and indeed the 4” tires handled bends in the roads at faster speeds quite well.
The tires provide a good ride feel at speed even on turns
The 500W motor holds little back as it gets you up to speed
The 480W battery delivers expected range for its smaller capacity
Nakto Folding OX Review: Range Test & Battery Performance
The 500W motor and 480Wh battery pairing is maybe the most notable combo of parts that tips you off that the Nakto Folding OX is an e-bike on a budget. Fans of max assist should expect less than an hour of time in the saddle with such a pairing.
Now that shouldn’t be a deal-breaker though. I’m always happy to dish out credit where it’s due, and to Nakto’s credit they are one of a few e-bike manufacturers that set the expectation accordingly as they list about a 22-mile range on their website (many others are guilty of quoting the lowest assist range expectations).
From our testing, that claim checks out. We saw between 21-31 miles from our two different tests. It’s also notable that we held decent speeds during both tests, and the ability to get from A to B in a hurry is nice. Considering most rides one looks to take on a cruiser are likely to be under 20 miles anyway I’d say it’s an alright result.
To summarize my thoughts on the battery I’ll say this: not everybody will love charging the bike after every ride, which is likely to be the case here unless you’re making very short trips, but if you’re a weekend bike warrior who likes to just cruise around I think it’ll serve you well.
Nakto Folding OX Review: Hill Test
In my time speaking with people about what appeals to them about e-bikes I’d wager I hear more about how e-bikes can help on hills quoted more than any other aspect they bring to the table. That makes a lot of sense – for many people bikes transition from fun to work once a few degrees of incline get in your way.
So how does the Nakto Folding OX fair on hills? It does well – but to a point.
From the two hill tests that I conducted on the Folding OX to better see how a 500W, 52Nm motor could scale a hillside I thought it did great until it cut out.
The throttle-only test looked like it would make it to the top of our 1/3 mile, 12% grade test hill as it was holding decent speed into the second of the two steep pitches. However, motor power suddenly cut out on me forcing me to put a foot down.
Even on the PAS test, which I technically completed up to our segment point, the motor shut off shortly after finishing that test too.
Now, I can’t for sure say what occurred, so keep in mind that the following is an educated guess, but either the motor or the controller is able to shut down motor assistance in the event the motor starts running too hot. Considering it was giving full juice to a 230 lbs rider attempting to summit a steeper than most hill, it makes sense to me that the motor may have been running hot.
Now this result was a first for me on testing e-bikes, but I’m taking a glass-half-full viewpoint on it. Having a motor stop on me is something I’ll take any day over discovering what can happen if the motor overheats. Considering I didn’t encounter any motor shutoffs over the course of the several dozens of miles I put on the bike in normal hilly conditions also indicates to me that It’s not quick on the trigger to shut down per se either. Hell hole has seen many bikes fail to reach the top, this one just happened to call it for itself before the reviewer did which is fine by me.
When kept to normal riding conditions I think it’ll do fine, just know that it has limits if you are trying to tackle particularly steep roads on the regular.
The handling of the Nakto Folding OX is a good experience while blending together many different bike styles
The Shimano shifter needed a little adjusting out of the box, then it worked just fine
The larger than most 52t chainring allows you to use all the gears effectively
Nakto Folding OX Review: Brakes and the Brake Test
Over the past two years we’ve started to see more and more Zoom hydraulic disc brakes come on bikes. It’s a brand that’s been able to supply at a time when many others have struggled with parts availability, so we’ve seen them come on more and more e-bikes. They’ve typically faired well in terms of performance.
This review of the Nakto Folding OX represents our first go around with Zoom mechanical disc brakes that I’m aware of, and it left a little to be desired. A stopping distance of 25’4” isn’t the result I’d typically hope for.
The purpose of our brake test – where we take the average of five attempts of riding the bike to 20mph before braking to measure overall stopping distance – is to get an idea of how well a bike can stop you in a hurry. Given that e-bikes produce higher speeds it’s essential to know you can counter that speed with good stopping power, and I’d say that the Nakto Folding OX was a bit lacking in that regard.
Upgrading the rotor from 160mm to 180mm would be a cost-effective solution, or if a jump to hydraulic brakes could happen for a few dollars more then I’d say it would be worth the price difference.
Nakto Folding OX Review: Ride Comfort, Handling and Cockpit
Before diving into the meat of the handling I think a quick PSA on bike assembly is worth talking about.
We review several DTC e-bike brands and considering the savings for the consumer we love how it makes e-bikes affordable and opens it up to more people finding an e-bike within their budget.
However, unless you’ve tuned your own bikes we do recommend taking DTC bikes, such as the Nakto Folding OX we reviewed, into a local mechanic for setup. Ours arrived needing some TLC with the shifting and brakes before we were ready to hit the road. We have seasoned bike mechanics here on staff, but average consumers will want to make sure things are set up properly by a more experienced professional.
Once you’ve got things dialed in the ride experience is overall pretty decent. The Shimano Tourney works fairly well with shifting, and I think the gear range on this bike works pretty well.I’m largely a fan of the 52T front chainring as it helps lower gearing levels feel like they have meaning (which isn’t often the case when using any amount of PAS on some other e-bikes).
The 60mm spring fork does okay at soaking up the impact of bumps in the road, and the spring dampened saddle will keep you at a relatively good comfort for how long you’re likely to be riding.
Given that the Folding OX is an upright cruiser, I expected handling to have the wide-turn radius that cruisers can be a bit notorious for having. Happily, I don’t think that was entirely the case here. It was more responsive than most of its peers in terms of navigating tighter turns, and the wider tire makes leaning into them a good overall handling experience. The handlebars and grips weren’t standouts in either a good or bad sense – several fairly standard harder rubber grips, simple LCD motor controller, and blaring horn that you see on many a budget e-bike.
The 20” X 4” fat tires roll decently and are capable of hitting some light dirt and sand areas with a little more sure of footing than a standard cruiser tire. The highlight for me is more in their handling on the road than the allure of taking them offroading.
Two areas for improvement on future Nakto Folding OX models would be in the weight distribution and the folding mechanism. The bike is heavier in the rear than the front half – a motor, battery, and upright rider make the backend account for more of the load and I sprang up more than I thought I would when pulling up on the curbs I went off. More of a quirk than an outright con, but something worth noting.
Folding bikes have a soft spot in the hearts of many. Whether it’s the ability to store them in an apartment more easily, or having the option to quickly toss it in the back of a truck, SUV or a car, there is definitely a reason they are in demand. One thing that the Nakto Folding OX doesn’t do that several competitors do is have a fold down handlebar. This means that my sedan couldn’t carry it around in the trunk (which I always hope to get away with when reviewing a folder) and I needed to get a bike rack or swap out for my wife’s SUV to haul it around. The highrise handlebars are unique to folders, but that’s the tradeoff you have to accept apparently is that you’ll have a taller profile than others when folded, and no way to avoid the handlebar width when hoping to close a trunk.
A simple but effctive LCD display and horn
The Zoom Mechanical disc brake and 160mm rotor
The 4″ wide tires are comfy, grippy, and decent rolling for fatties with tread
The saddle works fairly well for the shorter rides on the Nakto Folding OX
Nakto Folding OX Review: Summary / Where to Buy
So here at the end of the review of the Nakto Folding OX I’ll answer the question likely on your mind: do I think this is the thousand(ish) dollar e-bike you should buy? Reviewer cop-out: it depends.
I grew fond of the way the Folding OX pulled so many different bike styles into one e-bike, and having ridden cruisers, fat tires, and folders extensively I do appreciate the taste it gives you into each of their respective worlds. I’m also a fan of sheer comfort you get from an upright cruiser with highrise handlebars – it nails the bombing around town feel I like for more leisurely rides – but the motor can definitely let you go fast if you’re looking for that too.
But as is always the case, the low price point means a few compromises are to be expected. It isn’t the most convenient folder on the market, though it still could be enough to make a difference for some out there. Also, I do think this bike needs to have stopping power more on par with the speeds it’s capable of.
I’d say the Nakto Folding OX is worth a hard look for the budget-conscious crowd who isn’t expecting the world from an e-bike but would like a fun little e-bike for shorter trips.