Swagcycle EB5 Plus Folding Review
Compare to Similar Products
Swagcycle EB5 Plus Folding
$479.99 at Amazon
|$1,799 List||$999 List|
$899.00 at Lectric eBikes
|$1,199 List||$550 List|
$439.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Lightweight, compact for storage and transport, integrated battery, no assembly required||Good looks, very smooth ride, frame-integrated battery, streamlined design, excellent range, comes fully assembled||Great price, no assembly required, Class 2 and 3 capable, wide range of fit, loads of features, nice ride and power||Great distance range, throttle cruise control, lots of features||Affordable, lighter than most, 3 pedal assist modes|
|Cons||Only one pedal assist mode, limited rider height range, shorter distance range, less steady handling||Heavy, less compact when folded, limited features||Falters in its range, smaller battery, modest portability||Slightly twitchy handling, battery rattle, inaccurate speed reading on display||Funky handling, limited rider height range, modest power and max distance|
|Bottom Line||A basic but convenient folding Class 2 electric bike that collapses small for transport or storage||For the smoothest ride around town with the convenience of a folding model, this bike is eye candy that also performs||A near perfect match of performance and price, this model will appeal to most riders seeking a quality folding e-bike||A mid-priced, well-featured folding electric bike with a great distance range||This convenient Class 2 folding model has a serviceable all-around performance at an entry-level price|
|Rating Categories||Swagcycle EB5 Plus...||Aventon Sinch Step-...||Lectric XP Step-Thr...||Rattan Folding Elec...||Ancheer 16-inch|
|Specs||Swagcycle EB5 Plus...||Aventon Sinch Step-...||Lectric XP Step-Thr...||Rattan Folding Elec...||Ancheer 16-inch|
|Battery Size (Wh)||270||672||460.8||624||288|
|Measured Weight||36 lbs 10 oz||67 lbs 13 oz||61 lbs 10 oz||58 lbs||46 lbs 15 oz|
|Folded Dimensions||26 x 15.6 x 23.6 in||46 x 28 x 30 in||37 x 18 x 28 in||38.6 x 18 x 28 in||29.5 x 15.3 x 33.4 in|
|E-Bike Class||Class 2||Class 2 (Can be configured Class 3)||Class 3 (Can be configured Class 2)||Class 3 (Can be configured Class 2)||Class 2|
|Number of pedal assist settings||1||5||5||5||3|
|Top speed throttle||15.5 mph||20 mph||20 mph||20 mph||17.5 mph|
|Top speed pedal-assist||13 mph||up to 24 mph||up to 28 mph||up to 25 mph||18 mph|
|Measured Distance Range||12.1 miles||30.1 miles||20.7 miles||29.7 miles||15.4 miles|
|Frame material||Aluminum and Steel||6061 Aluminum||Aluminum||Aluminum||High strength carbon steel|
|Weight Limit||264 lbs||300 lbs||330 lbs||300 lbs total, 55 lbs on rear seat||220 lbs|
|Drivetrain||Single speed ProWheel||Shimano Acera 7-speed||Shimano Tourney 7-speed||Shimano TX50 7-speed||Single speed|
|Brakes||V-brakes||Mechanical disc||Tektro Mechanical Disc Brakes||Tektro Mechanical Disc||Mechanical disc|
|Additional features||Bell, folding pedals||45mm suspension fork, folding pedals, Aventon app||Fenders, rear rack, front and rear lights, folding design, front suspension, mounting points for racks, baskets, and a bike lock, IP-65 rated for water resistance||Fenders, rear seat and foot rests, folding, head and tail light,||Bell, fenders, headlight, tools, folding pedals|
Our Analysis and Test Results
In addition to having a catchy name, the Swagcycle EB5 caught our attention for its convenient folding design, reasonable price, and positive consumer reviews. This Class 2 electric bike weighs just 36 pounds and 10 ounces and collapses to a tiny package, ideal for transport or storage. Its minimalist design includes a battery integrated into the frame and a simple user interface. You can ride it with the power off or in throttle or pedal assist modes at speeds up to 15.5 mph. We tested this small folding model against a diverse field of the best folding e-bikes on the market to see how it compared to the competition.
The Swagcycle has a ride quality that is largely a product of its small wheels, compact size, and overall design. Riding it feels a lot like riding a large electric scooter with a bike seat attached. Considering its size, weight, and foldable design, it's fine but not impressive. It feels a bit twitchy and awkward compared to models with larger 20" wheels and multi-speed drivetrains.
The EB5 has a very compact geometry with a short wheelbase and a steep headtube angle. These elements combine to give it a short turning radius, although they detract from its stability in turns and at speed. While it may have a short turning radius, we did find that the small wheels, narrow-ish handlebar, and steep angles resulted in unsteady steering and handling feel when turning. The small wheels roll a fair amount slower than larger wheels, and we had difficulty getting this bike to break the 20 mph mark, even on a steep downhill. That said, it only took a little time to get accustomed to the way this bike felt.
The simple single-speed design of the EB5 helps to make it relatively hassle-free as there is no tinkering or adjustment required to keep the drivetrain running smoothly. At the same time, that simple drivetrain makes this bike somewhat of a bear to pedal around, especially uphill, should you run out of battery. We found the V-brakes to work as well as the mechanical disc brakes found on some of the other competitors, and we were able to stop this bike from its top speed at 22 feet.
During testing, we spent several hours sitting on the seat of the EB5, and we have no complaints about its comfort. That said, our six-foot-tall tester with a 32-inch inseam found the range of seat height adjustment to be inadequate for his height to achieve proper leg extension for pedaling. The height range was a non-issue when using the throttle and only became a concern when pedaling the bike. In contrast, our 5-foot 7-inch test assistant found the adjustment range to be perfect for her needs. Swagtron doesn't specify a recommended user height range, although they claim a maximum rider weight of 264 lbs. While we feel that the sizing of this bike is suitable for a vast range of riders from kids to adults, it feels too small for taller users.
The Swagcycle EB5 didn't impress in our throttle-only range test. That said, we were pleasantly surprised by how far it went, considering the fact that it has a smaller battery storage capacity than the competition. It has a modest range for use on shorter commutes, errands around town, or casual bike path cruises.
With only 270Wh of battery storage capacity, the Swagcycle has one of the smallest batteries of all models tested. Yet, it could still travel 12.1 miles with 630 vertical feet of elevation gain/loss in 59 minutes while using the throttle only on our test course. During that test, the average speed was 12.5 mph. While testing, the EB5 provided the same level of power output the majority of the time, but it was notable that it entered what we assume is a power save mode at the very end of its battery life. We spent the last five minutes or so of our range test cruising right around five mph.
Sure, that is the shortest range in the test, but we still feel it is respectable given the lightweight and foldable design of the EB5. Swagtron claims 15.5 miles of range on a charge, and we would speculate that it could possibly travel that distance on perfectly flat ground with the throttle only. One could also increase the range of the EB5 by using the pedal-assist mode as opposed to just the throttle.
The Swagcycle EB5 has a 250W brushless rear hub motor that provides a reasonable power output for this small folding bicycle. It is the simplest of all the electric bikes we tested, and it has three modes, throttle, pedal assist, or off/no pedal assist. Under throttle, power delivery is strong, and this bike can quickly get up to its 15.5 mph top speed on flat ground. Its single pedal-assist power output mode feels like it offers about 70% support. However, it is a little jumpy, inconsistent in its delivery, and slower than the competition. While riding, the use of the brakes shuts off the power in both the throttle and pedal assist modes.
When using the throttle, the 250W rear hub motor is responsive and very responsive and quick to accelerate to its top speed of 15.5 mph. We found the power output to remain relatively stable during our test period, and it didn't diminish over time or repeated use.
The Swagcycle has only one pedal-assist mode, and it is automatically on whenever the bike's power is on. It isn't specified, but the pedal-assist support feels to be around 70%, similar to the middle mode on competitors with three output settings. The assistance comes on after about a quarter pedal stroke, and it comes on relatively strong, almost jumpy, and stays on for about a full second after the pedals stop turning. It provides the same amount of pedal assistance regardless of how fast the pedals are turning or how much input the rider is putting into pedaling. We found our top pedal-assisted speed closer to 13 mph, as this bike's lack of gears made it hard to get above that speed.
Portability is where the SwagCycle shines brightest. Weighing just 37 pounds and packing up small (26 x 15.6 x 23.6 inches), you would be hard-pressed to find a more portable folding e-bike on the market. Folks seeking the lightest model to pack away into a small space in a garage or small apartment will be attracted to the SwagCycle. It's also reasonable to lift onto public trains or carry into an office or classroom.
The SwagCycle loses ground to the competition for its basic user interface. While there is something to be said for simplicity, the display and controls on this bike just can't compete.
This bike's controls consist of a single power button by the right-hand grip. This button is used to turn the bike on or off, which is all it needs to do. There is only one pedal assist setting, which is automatically on when the power is on. The display is attached to the power button, and it is a small screen with 5 LED light bars that display the remaining battery charge. A full battery is shown as five green bars, and as the battery depletes, the lights turn red progressively from left to right. It's nothing fancy, but it works. We noticed that it can be challenging to determine the color of the battery life indicator lights in bright sunlight. The throttle is also integrated into the right grip, and it is a similar twist style to those found on some of the other models we tested.
The battery of the Swagcycle is integrated into the main tube of the frame. You can't remove it, so you need to get the bike close to an outlet for charging, or use an extension cord. The charging port is located on the underside of the frame and is sealed with a small rubber cover. Due to its somewhat hidden and hard-to-see location, it was sometimes a little challenging to plug the cord into the charging port. This bike did not come with keys; anyone can turn it on when it is in its unfolded/rideable position, so you will need to invest in a good bike lock to keep it secure while parked.
The Swagcycle EB5 stands out for its ease of assembly. This model arrived in a box about half the size and 2/3 the weight of all the other competitors. Upon opening the box, we realized that the bike was already fully assembled and packaged in its smallest collapsed size. We removed it from the box, took off all the protective packing materials, and it was set up and ready to go in approximately 10 minutes.
The Swagcycle comes with short but sweet printed instructions that lay out the basics of folding and unfolding the bike. Since it comes preassembled, that's all you need to know to get it up and running. Simply fold the mainframe into position and lock the clamp into place, fold the handlebar up and lock that into place, then adjust the handlebars and seat to your liking and secure them with their quick-release levers. The only other steps are to unfold the folding pedals and charge the battery. This bike has no gears, so there is no derailleur to adjust, and our test bike came with V-brakes that were properly set up out of the box. No tools are needed.
Should You Buy the Swagcycle EB5?
At its retail price, the Swagcycle EB5 is an inexpensive electric bicycle. It is basic in terms of its features and performance, but it is unique in its low weight and small collapsed size. This bike will certainly work best for the user who prioritizes its portability and storability and is less concerned with ride quality and power output. There are less expensive folding options, but none that can rival the convenience of the Swagcycle, and we feel this affordable electric bike is a convenient portable option for short commutes or those with limited space.
What Other Folding Electric Bikes Should You Consider?
If weight and size are not as important to you, then the Ancheer Folding 16-inch Electric Bike is better with a similar price tag. It is heavier and slightly less portable than the Swagcycle but has more power (read: speed) and better range. Willing to spend a bit more to go further and smoother? The Lectric XP 2.0 is clearly a few levels above the SwagCycle. It's quite a bit heavier, but it's way more powerful with a 500W motor and Class 3 capability, plus it has a way longer distance range. It also handles significantly better with a suspension fork and wider 20-inch tires that perform better on varied surfaces.
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