The first electric bike I bought was a cute little folding ebike. I thought it would be good for my 5’1″ height. I was wrong. Since then, I’ve learned what to look for when choosing an electric bike, especially when shopping online. That doesn’t mean they aren’t good for taller folks as this low step frame style is very accommodating to different rider heights. They’re also great ebikes for those with knee or hip sensitivity.
At the end of this article, I discuss how to properly measure your inseam and reach. We’ll be looking at these four bikes: The RadExpand 5, Magnum Pathfinder, the Biktrix Kutty, Surface 604 Twist, and the E-Joe Epik Swan.
I always tell people when they ask me to recommend a good electric bike for them is to find one that is sized right for their body. You can have the greatest bike in the world but if it’s too big or too small for your measurements, it isn’t going to be that great of a bike for you.
Being able to straddle the frame at a stop and easily hop back on is important for safety and just an overall more enjoyable riding experience. Ebikes are heavier and motorized, so it’s vital to be able to safely balance them. The four bikes that I have chosen feature low step frames which are very approachable, even to new riders. But they are not boring grandma bikes, because this grandma is not boring. :) Most can go up to 25 mph and have plenty of torque to climb hills.
The fat tire variety can handle pavement and light off-roading, especially if equipped with front suspension. The 3-4″ wide tires will be able to handle sandy beaches and gravel. The more standard size tires offer greater efficiency, are more nimble, and reduce weight. All the bikes we’ll be looking at are 20″ tires which help bring the bike lower to the ground while giving the motor a mechanical advantage. We’re talking zippy capable bikes here.
All of these bikes are foldable except for the Magnum Pathfinder which is why it has a little different frame style than the others. All come with fenders, a rear rack, and integrated lights – all the things that make them ideal commuter bikes. These are all from reputable well-known companies as well.
Make sure to read through the descriptions because there are important details for each bike that may impact your buying decision.
Rad Power Bikes RadExpand 5
The RadExpand 5 is a folding electric bike that replaced the very popular RadMini from Rad Power Bikes. It features a step-thru frame and adjustable handlebar stem to shorten reach. It’s recommended for riders from 4’10” to 5’10”, so it’s ideal for short riders.
The bike includes integrated lights, including a brake light, 4″ wide fat tires for comfort and stability, a rear rack this compatible with many popular child seats, and Rad has many accessories available for the RadExpand 5.
Being that Rad Power Bikes is the largest ebike company in America, you’ll be amongst a very large customer base. The RadExpand is also great for RVers and those new to ebikes, as it is very approachable, yet still a lot of fun.
- 750-Watt Brushless Geared Hub Motor
- 48V 14 Ah Battery
- 45-Mile Range
- 20 MPH Max Speed
- Twist Throttle, Right Side
- 7-Speed Microshift Derailleur
- Weight 62.5 lbs with Battery
- Payload Capacity of 275 lbs
- Available in Black or White
- Adjustable Handlebar for Reach
- Mechanical Disc Brakes
- 20 x 4″ Fat Tires
- Minimum Seat Height: 29″
- Maximum Seat Height 36″
- Step-Over Height: 16″
- Wheelbase 45″
- Reach 16″
E-Joe Epik Swan
We’ll start out with the Epik Swan from E-Joe, and we’ll be looking at the 500 watt option. It looks like in 2021 the 350 watt option is no longer offered. Of the four bikes the Epik Swan has the smallest tire width at 2.125″. This helps lower the weight of the bike which is ideal if you’re wanting a folding ebike that’s more portable. The weight of the bike is 50 pounds, and if you remove the battery you’ll reduce the weight another 6 pounds or so.
It also has magnesium wheels instead of spokes. This will give the bike a firmer ride, but the advantage is that you’ll never have to worry about truing the wheels, as spokes tend to need more maintenance.
A unique feature that the Epik Swan has is its front suspension. Instead of using forks the suspension is at the stem. This is a particularly nice feature because such a suspension doesn’t add much weight to the bike. It’s good enough to reduce vibrations in your hands and wrists.
- 500-Watt (860W Peak) Brushless Geared Hub Motor
- 48V 11 Ah Battery
- 40-Mile Range
- 25 MPH Max Speed
- Thumb Throttle, Right Side
- 7-Speed Shimano Tourney
- Wellgo Folding Pedals
- Weight 50 lbs with Battery
- Payload Capacity of 300 lbs
- Available in Sky Blue or Frosty White
- Front Stem Suspension
- Telescoping Stem
- Mechanical Disc Brakes
- 20 x 2.125″ Kenda Puncture Resistant Tires
- Minimum Seat Height: 30″
- Maximum Seat Height 37″
- Step-Over Height: 21″
- Wheelbase 43″
- Reach 15″
Surface 604 Twist
The Surface 604 Twist is equipped with some very good components. It’s available in two difference frame sizes, 17.5″ and 19.5″ making it the most versatile for different rider heights. The 17.5″ frame is ideal for riders 5’2″-5’7″ while the 19.5″ frame is suitable for riders 5’8″-6’6″. It’s rare to find different frame sizes offered for electric bikes at this price point.
At $1999 it’s not the cheapest, but for that price you’re getting hydraulic disc brakes, a 9-speed gear set, a torque sensor, and leather wrapped grips. It’s also equipped with a 3.5″ color display with a micro USB port.
It’s amazing that it only weighs 50 lbs with the battery but leaving off front suspension helps keep the weight down. Its 20″x4″ fat tires will absorb a lot of the bumps in the road.
This bike will ride like a premium ebike considering it has a torque sensor and hydraulic brakes. Surface 604 didn’t get chintzy with the components.
- 500 Watt (750 Peak) Bafang Geared Hub Motor
- 48 V 14 Ah Battery
- Up to 45 Miles Range
- 20 MPH, Can Be Unlocked to 25 MPH
- Thumb Throttle
- 9-Speed SRAM X5
- Wellgo Platform Pedals
- Weight 50 lbs
- Payload Capacity 285 lbs
- Available in Black (17.5″ Frame), Blue (19.5″ Frame)
- No suspension
- Telescoping Stem
- Hydraulic Disc Brakes
- Panaracer 20″ x 4″ Tires
- Wheelbase 42.1″
*Min, max seat height as well as reach not listed, but I’ve contacted the company and inquired about these measurements. I will update when they get back with me.
BikTrix Kutty and Kutty X
The BikTrix Kutty is available in two different models, the Kutty and Kutty X. The main differences between the two are battery size and brakes. The Kutty X has the larger battery and hydraulic brakes. However, the base model Kutty is still equipped with a battery that will offer good power and range, but is equipped with mechanical disc brakes. You also have more color options with the Kutty X.
Both models are equipped with a 750 watt, I’m assuming peak power here, so probably 500 watt nominal geared hub motor from Shengyi.
This is the only one of the four bikes with a front suspension fork. Thus, the bike weighs in the highest at 60 lbs, but add that with it’s 4″ wide fat tires and this bike should be very comfortable to ride.
It also has the largest chain ring with 52-teeth. It’s paired to a 11-32T gear set.
The suggested rider height is from 4’8″ – 6’2″, so if you’re a very a petite person this is a bike that might be the right fit for you.
The Kutty is available in two colors, black and blue. The Kutty X gives you more choices with blue, gray, red, and yellow.
Video from BikTrix
- 750 Watt (peak) Geared Hub Shengyi
- 48 V 11 Ah (Kutty); 48 V 14 Ah (Kutty X)
- Range isn’t listed but I’d expect about 35 miles for the Kutty and 45 for the Kutty X
- 20 MPH Speed
- Thumb Throttle
- 8-Speed Shimano Altus
- Weight 60 lbs
- Payload Capacity 280 lbs
- Available in Black, Blue (Kutty); Blue, Gray, Red, Yellow (Kutty X)
- Front Suspension Fork
- Telescoping Stem
- Mechanical Disc Brakes (Kutty); Hydraulic Disc Brakes (Kutty X)
- 20″ x 4″ Kenda Krusade Tires
- Minimum Seat Height: 30.5″
- Maximum Seat Height 42.1″
- Step-Over Height 12.2″
- Wheelbase 48″
- Handlebar Height 42.1″ Max
- Reach 19.9″
*Best for Short Riders
The Magnum Pathfinder at first glance looks like it has the same frame style as the others, but an important difference is the stem for the handlebars. Instead of a telescoping stem it has one that is the most like standard non-folding ebikes. The stem still offers some adjustability, but the frame geometry will make this bike more stable.
Bikes with telescoping stems can feel a little squirrelly upfront, especially if you’re a taller rider and have the stem extended.
I also should point out that this is not a folding ebike frame, but if you don’t need that feature and just want a smaller bike than this is a great option. It has a very low stand over height of just 14.5″ which is ideal for those with balance or knee issues.
Other differences are a full chain guard which will help keep stains off your clothes. That’s a nice touch.
It also only has 3-levels of pedal assistance while the others have 5 levels. I prefer to have a wider range, but it’s not a dealbreaker.
It is available in 350 watts or 500 watts. The 350 watt Pathfinder is paired with a 36 V 12.5 Ah battery and is listed for $1599. The 500 watt Pathfinder is paired with a 48 V 13 Ah battery. Obviously the 500 watt version with the larger battery will have more speed, longer range, and more hill climbing ability, but the 350 watt version is still capable and a good choice for petite riders who weigh less than 140 lbs or so. It’s also great for those new to ebikes.
While it is a fat tire ebike it is equipped with 3″ wide tires instead of 4′. This will help the bike by a little more nimble without sacrificing comfort and stability.
There’s no front suspension but like the other bikes the upright riding position keeps a lot of your weight off of your wrists. On pavement it will be a comfortable bike.
A neat thing about the Magnum Pathfinder is that its color options are inspired by nature. Ocean blue, forest green, beige sand, and white snow offer unique colors not found on many other bikes.
- 350 Watt Geared Hub Motor or 500 Watt Geared Hub Motor
- 36 V 12.5 Ah Battery for 350 Watt Option; 48 V 13 Ah for 500 Watt Option
- 20-Mile Range 350 Watt; 30-50 Miles Range 500 Watt
- 18 MPH 350 Watt; 25 MPH 500 Watt
- Twist Throttle
- 7-Speed Shimano Altus
- Weight 50 lbs listed for both, but the 500 Watt would weigh more than the 350 watt due to the weight of the larger motor and battery
- Payload Capacity 265 lbs
- Available in Ocean blue, Forrest Green, Beige Sand, or White Snow
- No front suspension
- Adjustable stem; not telescoping
- Mechanical Disc Brakes 350 Watt Option; Hydraulic Disc Brakes 500 Watt
- 20″ x 3″ Innova Tires
- Minimum Seat Height: 26″
- Maximum Seat Height 36″
- Step-Over Height 14.5″
- Wheelbase 44″
- Handlebar Height 39″-41.5″
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How To Measure for a Bike
Instead of focusing on your height, you’ll want to take measurements of your inseam and reach. Inseam measurements for a bike are a little different from measurements for pants.
To measure your inseam stand with your back against a wall and spread your feet apart about 6-8″. This mimics how your legs will be positioned when you’re sitting on a bike seat. Place a book snug against your crotch to be similar to how a bike seat would be positioned and then have someone measure from the top of the book pressed against your body to the floor. This inseam measurement is the most important measurement to know when choosing a bike.
To measure your reach measure from your collar bone to the middle of your palm.
As you can see from the table above there’s quite a bit of difference in sizing between these four bikes. The Magnum Pathfinder is most ideally suited for shorter riders with its low seat height and shorter reach. The BikTrix Kutty offers the highest seat height for taller riders. It also has the longest reach.
I’ve contacted Surface604 for seat height and since this is a brand-new model they don’t have the exact measurements for it yet, but the height from the top of the seat tube to the ground is 30.4″. Assuming, the seat and seat post will add a good 3-4″ to this the minimum seat height is probably somewhere around 33″. This may make this Twist better for average to taller height people.
I hope this was helpful information. I’ll be listing the best full-size ebikes for shorter people soon, as well as ebikes suited for heavier riders.