Tiny $500 city electric bike folds into a backpack
There's a new contender for the title of world's most compact folding e-bike. The HiMo H1 packs down smaller than virtually any folding e-bike we've covered previously, sizing down to fit in a backpack. It won't be the quickest or most comfortable way you've ever darted around downtown, but it will be much easier than larger bikes to pack up and carry up stairs, onto public transportation and into buildings. With an integrated headlight and LED display, it's a powerful, little transporter ready to maneuver through the cramped spaces of city living.
Technically more of a tiny electric scooter than an e-bike, the H1 relies solely on its 180W brushless DC rear motor for drive power. In place of pedals, the rider rests his or her feet on fold-down foot pegs just above the front wheel. Riders hit speeds up to 11 mph (18 km/h), and the 7.5-Ah battery provides enough power for over 18 miles (30 km) of range.
The H1's I-shaped aluminum frame sits low to the ground atop 7-inch airless rubber tires. The bike relies on the extension of the stem and seat post to size its way up to the adult rider. When fully extended, the handlebars stand at 3.1 feet (955 mm) and the bike stretches 2.8 feet (840 mm) front to back. It certainly looks small with an adult man on top of it, but HiMo says it'll support riders up to 200 lb (91 kg).
The tradeoff of the small riding size is a tiny, convenient packed size. After all, if everyone was only worried about a cushy ride, they'd all be on full-size, heavy bikes with solid frames lacking any folding action. But today's urban commuter also wants something he or she can easily pick up and carry up and down stairs, onto trains and into elevators, something that will store easily in a confined space like an office cubicle.
The H1 folds and collapses into a package that measures 12.6 x 18 x 9-in (32 x 46 x 23-cm), small enough to easily grab and carry or drop into a backpack and throw on a shoulder. At 32 lb (14.5 kg), it's not quite as lightweight as its small size would suggest, but it's still easily managed.
There aren't that many bikes in this ultra-packable category, but a couple for comparison: The 26-lb (11.8-kg) A-Bike Electric we covered back in 2015 has a folding A-frame that packs down to 8.3 x 15.7 x 27.6 in (21 x 40 x 70 cm). The 15.4-lb (7-kg) Smacircle S1 relies on a double-hooped frame to pack down to 11.4 x 20.9 x 7.9 in (29 x 53 x 20 cm).
The HiMo H1 includes an integrated headlight and an LED display with information about battery power, speed and headlight setting. A digital braking system helps bring the mini two-wheeler to a quick, decisive stop.
The 4-lb (1.8-kg) li-ion battery pops out of the H1's rear frame for more convenient charging. The H1 seems well-suited for battery swapping, the rider carrying an extra battery in the same backpack he or she might use to carry the bike when folded, but HiMo isn't offering extra batteries through its Indiegogo campaign. Perhaps it will later on, or perhaps it figures that 18 miles is about as far as anyone's going to want to ride on this particular bike in one sitting.
HiMo is currently offering the H1 at Indiegogo early bird pledge levels as low as US$469 (or $880 for a pair). Retail price is estimated at $699. The campaign has surged past the $50K mark on a $10,000 goal and still has more than three weeks to go. Deliveries are planned to start in May, assuming things move along as planned.