I wasn't impressed when this was first announced and I'm even less so now that the details are out. Every specification is below average for a $5500 vehicle. Only 16 mph assist. Up to 25 miles. Six hours to recharge. My old ebike at almost 20 years old betters all of these and was only around $1000 back when electric bikes were new and rare. I've seen ebike companies with better products come and go, and I would be very surprised if Volitude is still in business in five years, especially in the face of competition from inexpensive, faster ebikes from China. What's the advantage of rolling a $5500 folding bike onto trains and buses when you can just keep a couple of $500 Chinese ebikes locked up at each end of your commuting route, and have $4500 left over?
Alan Belardinelli
Pot-holes, cobblestones, gravel, lines of ants, and other obstacles might be a real challenge for this little hombre!
I agree with Gageteer on nearly all points. The only thing I'm not so sure about is the idea of having 2 sub-standard or unreliable low-quality bikes locked on each end of a commuter run. I would think an unattended electric bike would draw some attention. If this were the solution, then there would be no need for folding bikes. But, as we witness, Brompton's never sold better and the innovation and market share of folders is growing constantly. Even some of my hard-core upright roadbike rider friends are starting to buy folders ! Finally, with a good folder, you can ride a comfortable, pleasant, quality machine and not worry about the theft and vandalism issues of leaving bikes locked up in various public locations. Having said all this, I must admit that an electric folder -- at any cost -- is probably an unhappy marriage in most cases. These machines are way too heavy to carry so if they don't roll along, you don't want one. I roll my Birdy (13 kilos) on ts front wheel without making the fork fold. I have carried my Dahon Helios SL (10 kilos) but still, not for long distances and not running. My Brompton rolls smoothly. Very nice to just push it along.
Rick Muller
Gadgeteer, I must say I disagree with your comment. Granted, $5500 is a bit sharp in our current US context but if all people thought like you, Rolex wouldn't sell nearly a million watches every year, starting from $6000, when a perfectly functioning Timex or Swatch can be bought for $50. The reality is that "how much" is no longer the only question. People are more and more concerned by who makes things, why, how durable and where it's produced. And in that respect I must say I tend to trust the Swiss a lot more that the Chinese. I am really fed up of throwing away obsolete Chinese gadgets that are bad copies of American or European inventions. From what I see, Voltitude came up with the smartest folding system and packed this into a bike that looks as cool as a Ducati. That's definitely worth a lot to me.
Not impressed. A suitcase style one would be better and have space for things.
Matt Fletcher
Muller (re:Gadgeteer),
You shouldn't compare Rolex to the Voltitude bike. Rolex has spent a century proving it's reliability and excellence above all other watches from the get go and the wealthy are willing to spend more for the best. Rolex since the beginning outperformed all its contemporaries and has been recognized by industry experts as the best. Voltitude is doing nothing of the sort. Pros: it can fold Cons: too big to maneuver, to heavy to pick up, handles poorly, has limited assist distance and weak electrical system. Cons out weight pros to heavily too be considered innovative or demand this price. If I and many other people can build (from off the shelf parts) a better bike that folds, weighs less, handles better and goes farther for less money you can bet this bike will not be an industry leader as is. A Rolex or Ducati I can see why people pay more for but as is currently I wonder why anyone would pay this kind of money for a V1.
I tend to agree with 'gadgeteeer', as for the same sort of money I could buy a very good electric scooter. I'd expect an electric bike to be much lighter than this - for many people 25.5 kg or 27.5 kg would be totally unwieldy to lift in and out of a car, or up steps, or whatever. Plus it's wasting energy for the motor having to haul this extra mass around.
Michael Crumpton
For about $2k you can get a scooter that goes faster and weighs 10 lbs less, or a great folding regular bike that weighs about 22lbs and wheels that will safely traverse a pothole.
Dave Hargraves
good luck trying to sell that for that much, and besides wrong design, Freelance Eng.
What a joke! Worst design ever, ridiculously small wheels, hardly 'folds up' very small, weighs a ton, range is pathetic, no carrying space, WHO is going to buy this epic failure?
As for duh3000, you don't have to have "2 sub-standard or unreliable low-quality bikes" at each end of a commuter run, you can have two perfectly good, very reliable bikes for about £30 - £50 each, if you just look for second hand bikes in your area.
Or buy ANY other folding bike, which will be better than this pile of garbage.
How does rubbish like this ever get past the concept stage?