Our garage is constantly packed to the rafters. It doesn’t help that I frequently review electric bikes, because I have to store them somewhere during the testing period. So standing them all on one side of the garage has become an issue, according to my wife who parks her car in there also. Which is just one reason I was intrigued to try out the new Ride1Up Portola Folding Ebike: I wanted to see if it’s truly space saving.
Plus, other e-bike companies have told me of their intentions to bring folding bikes to the market in the coming few months. So I know this will be a hot trend – maybe even by the holidays.
I tried a folding cargo bike a few years ago and was not impressed. It was clunky, heavy, cumbersome, difficult to fold up, and honestly easier to just leave in its unfolded state. It seemed like a novelty at the time, as it really was unimpressive as an actual bike.
But the Portola promises to be different. First of all, its manufacturer is proven in the ebike space with very solid products. Secondly, its specs are impressive – more in line with a peppy model. It includes front suspension, integrated rear rack, nice tires that can handle more than pavement, two battery options, a 48v 20a controller, hydraulic disk brakes with a motor cut off, 48v 750w sustained motor, and Shimano Altus 8-speed drive train. But the first tangible thing to impress me was the box it showed up in that was maybe half the size of most ebike containers.
Assembling it was a little more involved than I anticipated. It would’ve been easier had I read the clear and illustrated instructions better. But after roughly 30 minutes of my handiwork, it was time to pump up the deflated tires and get moving. The seat was easily adjustable to my desired height. And I never felt as if it was a toy. It feels like a legitimate, peppy and powerful ebike first and foremost that is also portable by folding in half. And yes, the innovative folding latch mechanism in the bike’s mid-torso area works easily and smoothly. Unlike my first experience with a folding bike, I could see collapsing this up after every use for super easy storage. I can also see placing it in the back of the SUV to use for rides out in the country, camping or wherever.
It has the usual assortment of five pedal assist levels, plus a throttle. It comes as a Class 2 bike but can be converted through the menu into a Class 3. As for range, I’ve been getting about 25 miles per charge. But honestly, I’ve mostly kept the pedal assist maxed out – which eats away at battery life. The ride, acceleration, and braking are also super smooth. And it tackles hills with ease – it’s very zippy gliding up hills. Plus, it’s actually quite an attractive and sleek bike: Several times in my first few weeks riding it, I noticed people checking it out. Several have asked all about it. The Portola comes in black, blue or turquoise. It sells for $1,095 with a 13.4ah battery, or $995 with a 10.4ah battery.