Ancheer Folding 16-inch Electric Bike Review
Cons: Funky handling, doesn't fold as easily/small as competition, limited rider height range
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Ancheer Folding is a reasonably priced folding electric bike with 16-inch wheels and an easily removable battery. This popular and highly rated model caught our eye with its convenient folding design and impressively low price. Considering its size and foldability, we found it to handle relatively well with respectable power output, top speed, and distance range. This bike is an impressive value and easily took home our Best Buy Award for a folding model.
The Ancheer Folding has a ride quality that is a product of its folding design, compact geometry, and small, 16-inch wheels. While it can't quite compete with the non-folding models with larger wheels in this metric, we found that it was slightly smoother and more stable than the folding competition. Overall, we found its ride quality to be respectable considering the limitations of its design, and comfortable, albeit with a limited rider height range.
Generally speaking, we found the overall ride quality of the Ancheer Folding to be the best of the folding models we tested. It is important to understand that this isn't a high-performance bicycle, and its overall handling is undoubtedly affected by its small wheel size and ultra-compact geometry. The small, 16-inch wheels roll reasonably quickly, and they feel marginally better than 14-inch wheels, though they certainly can't compete with larger diameter wheels in terms of rolling speed or smoothness. The small wheels and short wheelbase length give it a short turning radius, although it feels a little twitchy and unsteady while turning for the same reasons. The steep head angle, as well as the tall and somewhat narrow handlebar, also helps to amplify its less stable feel. This carries over into its stability at higher speeds as well, where it feels a little less confident than non-folding models with larger wheels. That said, we found it challenging to get it much above 20 mph, even on steeper downhills.
During testing, we found that the components all worked well, and we experienced no issues. The drivetrain is a simple single-speed setup, and it required no adjustment or tinkering to function smoothly. While the simplicity of the single-speed drivetrain is nice, it does make this bike more challenging to ride if/when you run out of battery on a ride. The mechanical disc brakes have somewhat of an inconsistent and pulse-y feel, but they provide adequate stopping power, and we were able to go from full pedal-assisted speed to a complete stop in 20 feet in our braking distance test. It also comes with a bell and a headlight, although you will need to purchase a couple of inexpensive coin cell batteries for the light as they are not included.
The overall comfort of the Ancheer Folding is pretty good with a wide cushioned seat and a relatively upright body position. Ancheer claims a maximum weight capacity of 220 lbs, although they do not specify a recommended user height range. We found the bike to be on the small side, and our six-foot-tall tester with a 32-inch inseam couldn't even come close to getting proper leg extension with the seat height maxed out. Taller riders may find the range of adjustment to be inadequate, especially those who plan on pedaling the bike as opposed to just twisting the throttle.
We didn't expect much from the Ancheer Folding in terms of its distance range, but it impressed us in our testing. In fact, this bike traveled the farthest amongst the competitors with the smaller, 288Wh battery storage capacity. It may not have the greatest range of all the models in our test, but it seems to use its power quite efficiently.
The Ancheer Folding has a 288Wh battery and claims a distance range of 15 to 30 miles. We assume that the low end of that range is using it in full-electric/throttle mode while the upper end is using pedal assist. We feel this range estimate is relatively accurate, and during our standardized throttle-only range test, we rode 15.42 miles with 896 vertical feet of elevation gain/loss in 1 hour and 3 minutes. Our average speed was 14.7 mph with a 21 mph maximum (while going downhill). Assuming you were to ride on perfectly flat terrain, we'd imagine you could increase the range slightly as well.
Much like the range of the Ancheer Folding, we were impressed by this small affordable bike's power output. It has a 250W brushless rear hub motor and a claimed top speed of 15.5 mph. It has a throttle for full-electric power without pedaling, as well as three pedal assist modes to support your own pedaling effort. It's not the fastest or most powerful bike we tested, but it surprised us given its affordability and small wheel size.
Despite the claimed top throttle speed of 15.5 mph, we found that our test bike was capable of hitting and holding 17.5 mph on flat stretches of pavement. Its acceleration felt robust, and it got up to speed faster than the competition with the same size 250W motor. During our range testing, we found that it held its speed relatively well uphill, as it was able to crest our test hill at a respectable 12 mph. This was further evidenced by the fact that it had a 14.7 mph average speed on our range test course that featured nearly 900 feet of elevation gain/loss.
The Ancheer Folding has three pedal assist modes that provide varying levels of support to your pedal stroke. The percent of support for each mode is not specified, but it feels quite similar to other bikes with 3-assist modes that provide 30%, 60%, and 90-100% in modes 1, 2, and 3, respectively. It takes about a full rotation of the pedals for the assistance to kick in, but once it does, it comes on strong and stays on for approximately a full second after the pedals stop turning. In all three modes, we also found that the pedal assistance felt the same regardless of how much effort we put into pedaling. We found that the assistance felt like it stayed on up to about 20 mph, although it was quite challenging to get up to that speed given the lack of gears, small wheels, and cramped geometry of the bike.
The display and controls of the Ancheer Folding consist of a simple handlebar-mounted unit with three buttons and two sets of LED lights. While it is far from the best system we tested, we have to admit that its use is relatively intuitive, it has decent ergonomics, and it displays pertinent information like pedal assist setting and remaining battery life at a glance. We prefer digital displays that provide more information, but this system works well enough.
The controls of the Ancheer Folding are attached to the handlebar by the left grip. There are three buttons, power, + and -. The power button turns the power on, but only as long as you insert the key into the battery and turn that to the on position first. The + and - buttons are used to shift between the bike's pedal assist settings, 0 (off), 1, 2, 3, which are shown with a row of 4 numbered LED lights above the buttons. The + and - buttons are located on the left side of the controls closest to the grip and are relatively easy to reach with your thumb while riding. Remaining battery life is displayed with four additional LED lights labeled Power. All four lights are illuminated when the battery is fully charged, and they turn off progressively as the battery is depleted. The power button does not turn the bike off; instead, you need to turn the key in the battery to the off position.
Charging the battery of the Ancheer Folding is relatively standard. It comes with a charging cord that plugs into a charging port on the side of the battery opposite the key. Charging can be done on or off the bike, and the battery is easily removable for charging or security purposes. You do need to keep a key handy when using this bike as it can't be turned on without locking the battery to the bike and turning the key to the "on" position.
The Ancheer Folding scored higher than most for its ease of assembly. In fact, this was the second easiest model to put together with less assembly required than the full size, non-folding models we tested. It took our tester 30 minutes to get this bike from inside the box to ready to ride.
Despite being a small bike, our test model arrived in a relatively standard size bike box. Inside the box, the bike was well packaged and seemingly well protected from shipping damage. As we removed the protective packing materials, we did find that the very top of the seat tube had been bent inwards just slightly. Fortunately, the damage was relatively minor, and the thin aluminum tubing was easy to bend back into shape. The Ancheer Folding comes mostly assembled with both wheels attached. It comes with all the necessary tools and very basic instructions needed to complete the rest of the bike assembly, which includes attaching the pedals, seat and seatpost, and the stem and handlebar.
The battery for our test bike came charged, and installing it was simple as it slides into position behind the seat tube. The battery also has a handle at the top, and it is very easily removed from the bike thanks to the seat that flips forward on a hinge. While this feature is nice, the use of a rear reflector on the seatpost does conflict with easy battery removal, unfortunately. The battery can be locked into place on the bike, and the key is also necessary to turn the power on.
The Ancheer Folding is the least expensive electric bike we tested, and we feel that it is a great value. Despite its low price, our testers were impressed with its power, range, easy assembly, and convenient folding design. While its performance can't match that of the higher-priced non-folding competition, it did outperform the other, slightly more expensive, folding model in this test.
We were pleasantly surprised by the Ancheer Folding during our electric bike testing. This bike's overall performance exceeded our expectations, and we were especially impressed by its power output and distance range. We felt that its ride quality was also quite respectable considering the limitations of its smaller wheels and folding design. It is the best folding model we tested and also the least expensive bike in our test; we have no problem giving it the Best Buy Folding Electric Bike Award.
— Jeremy Benson