The Electric Assist Dahon Formula: What a Friend Thinks

by Jack R. on January 21, 2015

By: Mike from DIYBIKING.COM

Dahon electric conversion bionx folding bicycleHow will you feel when you get to ride NYCeWheels’ electric assist Dahon Formula? Well, it depends on what you’re used to.

Yesterday I let my friend Ron – who has no experience with electric assist bikes – try it out. On his return from his first two-minute ride on it, he turned to me with a smile and said: “It’s zippy.”

To take his corner for a moment: “zippy” is a good word to describe it. However, in all fairness, I must point out what Ron usually rides:

Dahon electric conversion bionx folding bicycle

His four-year-old daughter – who came with him when he was testing out the Dahon – is usually perched either on the front or backseat of this pedal powered GMC Yukon. And note the basket in front suitable for a large amount of groceries or a small alien.

After explaining to Ron that I wanted him to elaborate on the “zippy” comment, he told me he could tell there is “a lot of computing going on” with the electric assist and that it’s a “fun little ride.” He also said that he didn’t expect the bike to be so small when folded up and that he did expect a squirrelly ride due to the small wheels (“almost like the one with my training wheels on it” is how his four-year-old described it) – but he was impressed with the handling.

I encouraged him to take it out again, and he did. His daughter and I waited on the bench in front of the coffee shop.

And waited.

And waited.

More than five minutes passed. A person walking a dog came by, and while I was looking around the corner hoping Ron would reappear his daughter narrated the action of the dog defecating on the sidewalk.

Another minute passed, and to my relief Ron – again smiling and again looking uninjured – came into view.

Dahon electric conversion bionx folding bicycle

He explained he wanted to go up a hill, and said the sensation of pedaling on a lower electric assist setting felt more natural than the high setting he had tried earlier. On cresting the hill, he put the bike on the ‘recycle’ setting to allow the motor to charge the battery and slow the descent.

That led to his only real complaint about the Dahon eFormula: he wished that setting would automatically turn itself off when he resumed pedaling at the bottom of the hill. He likened the sensation of pedaling against the setting like being on an old Richard Simmons exercise bike when someone would tighten the tiny roller wheel to create resistance.

His first reaction to when I told him the price (about $3,000) was “holy crap” but after a moment he reasoned that the bike – unlike his Wagon Queen Family Bike Truckster – was very light at 40 pounds and, since it can fold, he could take it on Metro North anytime he wanted.

I thanked and said goodbye to Ron and his daughter – and decided that I next needed to see just how well the eFormula would do on the train.

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