Fiido X folding ebike reborn with strengthened frame and upgraded components
Back in March we took the high-style Fiido X for a test ride, and came away mighty impressed. Just a week later, the company issued a product recall after receiving reports that the frame had snapped in two. Now the folding ebike has been strengthened and upgraded, and we've been on the road again for another look.
The Fiido X rocks a similar eye-catching look to the company's successfully crowdfunded D11, but the lines of the frame are much smoother thanks to magnesium-alloy construction and a hinge mechanism that's mostly hidden inside the frame. And this design decision proved to be a trouble spot for the Hong Kong-based mobility outfit.
On April 3, a rider reported that his X had essentially snapped in two at the hinge, though without injury. The company quickly set about testing the frame in the lab, and issued a global recall after confirming the fault, while also pulling the plug on sales. Owners were given the option to choose another Fiido model or wait for a new strengthened X to roll out.
The hinge was redesigned for improved strength, the bolts thickened and the clamp reworked for an easier fold. New frame versions were produced and sent to the lab for testing, with Fiido telling us that "we have tested the new design extensively, applying 20% more load to it than what is specified by EN15194 and raising the number of test cycles to two times what is specified by EN15194."
Ahead of relaunching the X Mark II, a number of key upgrades to the original ebike were applied as well. In addition to the 7-speed Shimano derailleur – which is now protected by a hanger – Fiido brought a Shimano shifter onboard to replace the S-Ride unit of old.
There was some talk in an owner's forum of a new stem-based display being rolled out, but that hasn't happened. The handlebar-mounted display/control has been updated though, to allow for a PAS 0 level to ride the X without assistance, while still having the motor available if you need it. It's also brighter than before, includes an odometer and the speed/distance units can be easily changed from km/h to mph.
The handlebar stem is no longer straight upright, but benefits from a 15-degree tilt for improved comfort. The grips are now much less punishing on bare hands, and the saddle has been treated to more padding. The included fenders are thicker than before and fashioned from polypropylene for improved durability.
Fiido has made adjustments to the torque system for longer per-charge range at PAS 1, and the passcode security system has been upgraded too. And more powerful magnets have been included at the wheels to prevent accidental slippage when rolling along in folded mode.
As before, the X is available in 350-W and 250-W rear-hub motor variants, with the former offering three levels of pedal assist to 19.2 mph (there's no thumb throttle here) and the latter aimed at riders locked into legislation that only allows for a maximum of 25 km/h on public roads.
The chunky seat-tube battery is the same as before, featuring novel power rails technology – which does away with the external curly cabling seen on the D11 and D21 – and a capacity of 417.6 Wh for a theoretical maximum per-charge range of just over 80 miles (130 km) for the 250-W ebike or 68 miles (110 km) for the 350 W.
The ebike rides on 20-inch wheels with 1.95-inch-wide tires, and stopping power still comes from hydraulic brakes front and back.
A casual onlooker might notice a slightly chunkier and curvier frame than before, but that's a small aesthetic price to pay for the promise of a safer ride. The spring surrounding the internally routed cabling at the hinge has adopted a more central position that should result in less wear across the gap, and the clamp has been simplified – though where a metal arm previously kept it neatly in place when folded, it now swings loose unless the X is tilted up and rolled along by the seat. The V2 model folds down to a trunk-friendly 31.26 x 13.78 x 31.61 in (794 x 350 x 803 mm).
The ride experience on the updated X proved to be pretty much the same as before, and I had just as much fun as I did with the original.
There are a number of fairly steep inclines on the 2-mile (3.2-km) journey from my house to the local railway station, but it's mostly downhill on the outward jaunt. Of course, this means that the return home can be quite a challenge on an unpowered bike, but less so with the X thanks to the combination of pedal assist and mechanical gears. That said, the more demanding hills required quite a bit of rider effort as the limits of the motor were reached.
The addition of PAS 0 was very welcome indeed, and meant that I could ride the bike using the Shimano gears only and didn't have to pull over, hop off and enter the passcode to power on the motor for pedal assist. The S-Ride shifter on the V1 model performed well enough, but the new Shimano shifter did make for noticeably smoother mechanical gear changes. And the new grips were much more gentle on the hands.
The high-style look prompted even more conversations than before when I stopped for photo opportunities. While many of the talking points were about ebikes in general, there were nods of approval at the quick three-step folding process, the seat-tube battery proved a winner and the useful mixed-riding per-charge range of around 50 miles from the single battery was well received.
Sadly, product safety recalls happen with alarming regularity – with relatively recent high-profile examples including Philips (toxic foam in certain respirators), Samsung (fire/burn hazards from the battery in the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone), Peloton (risk of pull-under injuries for its treadmill) and Toyota (where hub bolts on the bZ4X electric car could loosen and cause the wheel to come off).
Thankfully, no-one was injured by the X's frame/hinge issues – or more recently the T1 utility ebike (another frame issue which Fiido put down to an early design flaw that has since been rectified with reinforcements, according to a report by Electrek).
In both cases, Fiido responded very quickly to user reports, developed and tested solutions and rolled out updated ebikes to affected riders. With a keen eye on safety and durability, the young company is now picking itself up from these design disasters and looking to move forward.
The healthy sprinkling of upgrades to the X V2 model make this folding ebike even better value than the original, while keeping the same attractive US$1,799 price point (even better when the current discount code is applied).
Product page: Fiido X
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