Wednesday 6 February 2019 6:37 pm

Volt Axis e-bike review: You won’t find a more hard-wearing, high-spec and reliable electric folding bike on the market


I'm a City A.M. writer covering gadgets, games, film, food and art reviews. You know, all the fun stuff. Drop me an email at steve.hogarty@cityam.com

I'm a City A.M. writer covering gadgets, games, film, food and art reviews. You know, all the fun stuff. Drop me an email at steve.hogarty@cityam.com

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Winter is done. I’m no Michael Fish, but I’m calling it.

The season is finished. That pathetic sprinkling of grey snow we had last week was all that nature dared throw at us. From here on in we can gently coast back up the thermometer, past the teens, into the twenties, and then beyond to the inevitable heatwave that will consume the city and boil many of us alive.

So you know what that means: it’s time to get back on your bike and commute using the meat-legs god gave you. And you know what that means: it’s time to circumvent those dumb meat-legs with a battery-powered e-bike.

The Volt Axis is a foldable commuter bike with a mid-mounted Shimano Steps 250 watt motor and an Alfine Di2 8-speed gear hub, combined with a Gates CDX carbon belt drive system – a configuration that Volt claims is the first ever found on a folding bike.

The setup is fast and responsive, zipping you up to the legal speed limit of 15mph in no time at all. The fully-automatic Shimano gear system shifts up and down in such a way as to constantly balance your physical effort with the motor’s electric horsepower. The bike takes care of working the gears, so all you have to do is pedal.

And crucially, it folds up so you can take it on the train or tube. Unlike the Brompton Electric, which collapses into itself like an aluminium yogi, the Axis folds back on itself like a big spokey book. Unclip the crossbar and the entire front swings around to meet the back. The handlebar snaps and twists around in a way that’s not possible or even useful to describe in writing, and then everything is held in place by magnets, nature’s wizards. The resulting package is still rather large and heavy for a folding bike – at 18kg you wouldn’t want to carry it very far – but it’s collapsible enough to endure the scrutiny of any train guard (if those even exist any more).

The advertised range is 60-plus miles in super eco sweatlord mode, but comes in at closer to 30 if you plan on letting the bike do most of the work. In any case it’s more than enough to get you across London and back several times, such that you need only charge the battery using your employer’s electricity. The ultimate pennypincher’s con, and really the only range you need out of an e-bike.

The £3,000 price reflects the high-specification of every inch of the Volt Axis, but you won’t find a more hard-wearing and reliable electric folding bike on the market.

 

£3,099, voltbikes.co.uk

Specifications

Category Shimano STEPS E-bike
LCD Display Shimano LCD display showing speed, distance, battery power and gears
Frame High Grade Reinforced Aluminium 6061 T6 Frame
Weight 16.00 kg without batteries / 18.65 kg with battery
Max Person Weight Max 100 kg (Depending on the settings of dampers)
Max Weight (rider) 100 Kg
Frame Size 20 Inches
Chain SHIMANO
Rims Aluminium Double Wall Reinforced Alex Rim DP19
Tyres Schwalbe big apple 20 x 2.10
Seat Velo
Seat Post Zoom
Gears Shimano 8 Speed Alfine DI2
Brakes Shimano S700 Alfine Hydraulic Front Disc / Rear Disc
Lights Dutch Spanninga
Fork Aluminum

 

Motor 250W Shimano STEPS
Max Speed Assisted Motor Speed: 15.5 mph or 25 kmh
Location of Motor Mid-frame (crank drive)
 

Battery Type Sony Lithium
Battery Weight 2.65 kg
Power 36V Standard 418Wh
Distance 60+ miles under Eco PAS mode
Lifetime 1000 charge-discharge cycles
Charge Time 3 to 4 hours
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