Many boat owners have already discovered the joys of carrying a folding bicycle on board. It allows you to explore further afield than the immediate confines of whatever marina you happen to be visiting and makes that boring but necessary trip to the supermarket that much less of a chore.
But even the best folding bikes can prove a bit of a slog, especially in warmer climes – after all, the only way is uphill from most marinas.
Now, however, the latest generation of folding electric bikes promises to take you further and faster than ever before, whatever your age or fitness level.
Designed from the ground up as electric bikes rather than hastily converted pedal cycles, they feature powerful electric motors, long-range lithium ion batteries and neat folding mechanisms that often conceal the batteries and cables within the frame. The result is a lighter, neater, more compact solution that is both fun to ride and easy to store on board.
We took a team of four testers down to Berthon’s Marina in Lymington to put the bikes through their paces. The team deliberately included people of varying age, height, weight and fitness levels with differing degrees of cycling experience to reflect a suitably broad range of users.
Each of them rated all six of the bikes for comfort, performance, handling, brakes, ease of use and build quality on a variety of different surfaces from tarmac to dirt tracks.
We then systematically folded and unfolded all of the bikes, noting how quick it was to do and how easy the folded bicycle was to carry and store.
With most of the bikes requiring some pedal effort to get them moving, it wasn’t possible to accurately compare their claimed ranges so we’ve used the battery capacity and their own claimed ranges as a guideline. Lastly we measured their abilities against their price tag to ascertain our value-for-money rating.
You can read the full test in the February 2017 issue of the magazine.