Battle of the Folding E-Bikes

Buzz Centris
Buzz Centris

Probably the most fun ebike category is folding ebikes, not so much because they fold, but because of their size. Their 20″ wheel size gives them a mechanical advantage, and their low step-over height makes them approachable. They also give off just a little bit of a mini-motorcycle vibe that is cool! Of course, having folding frames means that they can be transported more easily. I’m going to be comparing the most popular models, their pros and cons, and which one I think provides the best value.

We’ll be looking at the Aventon Sinch Step-Thru, the Rad Power Bikes RadExpand 5, the Lectric XP 2.0, and one that isn’t as well-known just yet but worth mentioning, the Buzz Centris.

At the end of the article is a helpful comparison table of specs and features.

Aventon Sinch Step-Thru

Aventon Sinch Step-Thru
Aventon Sinch Step-Thru

Price: $1799

Bike Weight: 68 lbs w/battery
Payload Capacity: 300 lbs
Rider Height: 4’11” – 6’3″
Ebike Classification: Class 2 (Has Throttle and Pedal Assist, Max Speed 20 MPH)

Aventon released the Sinch Step-Thru earlier this year. They have had the regular Sinch available for quite some time, but its higher step-over height meant it was less approachable than the competition. Step-thru is the way to go, not just for short people, but really for anyone. They’re safer and easier to mount and straddle, especially if you have stiff knees or your balance isn’t quite what it used to be. Plus, if you’re carrying a bag or cargo on the back, you don’t have to worry about trying to swing a leg over it all.

Aventon Sinch Step-Thru Pros

  • Great Build Quality
  • Dealer Support
  • Intuitive, Full-Color Display w/USB Charging Port
  • Connects to Aventon App for Recording Your Rides and Other Functions
  • Good-looking Multi-Purpose Tires
  • Power Delivery is Ideal for Safety
  • Easy Access to Battery

Aventon Sinch Step-Thru Cons

  • Priciest of the Bunch
  • No Integrated Lights
  • Fenders and Rear Rack are Extra
  • While I Appreciate the Safe Power Delivery, Others Might Prefer Faster Take-Off

 

Rad Power Bikes RadExpand 5

RadExpand 5
RadExpand 5

Price: $1599

Bike Weight: 62.5 lbs w/battery, 54.8 lbs wo/battery
Payload Capacity:  275 lbs
Rider Height:  4’10” – 5’10”
Ebike Classification:  Class 2 (Has Throttle and Pedal Assist, Max Speed 20 MPH)

In 2022, Rad replaced their very popular RadMini with the RadExpand. The frame was redesigned, the bike is lighter, and gone was front suspension and an LCD display. The brakes and derailleur were downgraded as well. Not everyone was pleased with the changes, especially the lack of front suspension.

What the RadExpand 5 has going for it though is what I think is a great look, a rear rack compatible with many popular child seats, a BMX style handlebar that can be tilted back or forwards for better reach, good range, good safety features such as integrated lights (including an upgraded brake light), reflective sidewalls, and the RadExpand is lighter than the RadMini, by about 6 pounds.

As far as price goes, it was originally $1299 for an introductory price then quickly bumped up to $1499, and now is $1599. Thanks to inflation and supply chain issues, many ebike companies have raised their prices. Is the bike still a good value at $1599? I’d like to see better brake levers and an LCD display at that price-point. I could forgive Rad for cheaper components at a $1299, and maybe even $1499, but it gets harder to forgive at $1599. Still, I think it’s a good value, but I wouldn’t say a great value, but compared to the Aventon Sinch, it offers quite a bit more for quite a bit less.

The RadExpand is the lightest of the four bikes at 54.8 lbs without the battery.  Rad worked hard to get the weight down on the RadExpand 5, and that explains many of the design and component departures from the RadMini, such a rigid front fork instead of suspension, plastic chain ring guides instead of metal, plastic pedals, and a redesigned frame.  It’s still a good amount of weight to lift, but for a folding ebike with such a strong frame and powerful motor, it’s what one can expect.  

RadExpand 5 Pros

  • Well-Thought-Out Frame
  • Rack is Compatible with Child Seats
  • Lots of Available Accessories and Upgrades
  • Good Range for Price
  • Integrated Lights and Reflective Sidewalls for Safety
  • Easy Access to Battery
  • BMX-style Handlebar that Tilts for Better Reach
  • Backed By the Most Popular Ebike Company in North America

RadExpand 5 Cons

  • Cheap Brake Levers
  • LCD Display is Extra, but Comes with LED Display
  • No Front Suspension

 

Lectric XP 2.0

Lectric XP 2.0
Lectric XP 2.0

Price: $999

Bike Weight: 64 lbs w/battery, 57 lbs wo/battery
Payload Capacity:  330 lbs
Rider Height:  Not Specified, But Minimum Seat Height is 31.75″
Ebike Classification:  Class 3 (Has Throttle and Pedal Assist, Max Speed 28 MPH)

The Lectric XP comes in as the most affordable folding ebike in our comparison. In fact, when it’s on sale, which it often is, you could buy two XP’s for nearly the same price for one Aventon Sinch. The build quality of the XP is very good. It’s solidly built, with no frame flex. It’s the only bike in this comparison with 3″ wide tires. The others have 4″ wide fat tires.

Advantages of 3″ wide tires are that they are more nimble, and are lighter, which is why I think Lectric went with them. A disadvantage of the size is that they don’t absorb as many bumps, but Lectric added front suspension that does a pretty good job making up for that.

I love the large center display, and twist throttle on the right side. And who couldn’t appreciate the price, considering the competition? Lectric also has a very big riding community and is very popular with RVers, as is the RadExpand.

The only things I didn’t like so much about the XP 2.0 was that it was more difficult for me to control, and ghost pedaling or hamster wheeling was an issue, even at pedal assist level 2. Upgrading the freewheel would improve this. As a short rider, I also felt the reach of 24″ was a little much for me, which is why I didn’t feel as in control as I would have liked. A taller rider would be more at ease on this bike. I’m 5’1″ btw.

The Lectric XP 2.0 is still a very good value. With a few inexpensive upgrades, you could turn it into a very nice ride.

Pros of the Lectric XP 2.0

  • Great Price
  • Good Build Quality
  • Fast! Only Class 3 Bike in this Comparison
  • Great Rear Rack With Good Third-Party Compatibility
  • Nice Ride Quality
  • Integrated Lights

Cons of the Lectric XP 2.0

  • Gear Ratio Causes Ghost Pedaling at Low Pedal Assist Levels
  • Smallish Standard Battery, But Larger Battery is Now Available
  • Bike Most Be Folded Before You Can Remove Battery

 

Buzz Centris

Buzz Centris
Buzz Centris

Price: $999

Bike Weight: 67 lbs w/battery, 59.4 lbs wo/battery
Payload Capacity:  Not Listed
Rider Height:  Not Listed, but Min Seat Height is Abt 32″
Ebike Classification:  Class 2 (Has Throttle and Pedal Assist, Max Speed 20 MPH)

Not as well-known in the ebike community is the Buzz Centris. It was released earlier this year by Buzz, which is owned by the same parent company that owns Huffy. It has a similar frame style to the Aventon Sinch, but with a lower price tag and pretty much everything you need, such as integrated lights, fenders, rear rack, and even a front rack included in its price.

A few disadvantages are an awkwardly placed throttle next to its twist shifter, and you have to begin pedaling first to use the throttle. This is a safety feature, but I’d prefer the option to use throttle from a dead stop. It’s also only a 6-speed, compared to the 7-speeds of the other bikes, but ghost pedaling isn’t quite as bad as on the Lectric XP. At lower speeds, it has a comfortable cadence.

The motor is definitely capable of higher speeds, but the gear ratio limits it. Changing out the freewheel would help you reach those higher speeds.

Still, overall, I like how power is delivered on the Centris. It’s not too much, nor too little. I also love how comfortable it is to ride. It’s stable and surprisingly nimble. It comes with knobby tires that are loud on pavement, but grippy on nearly any surface. It has plenty of power to take you over nearly any terrain, and the front suspension does a good job off-road, considering its price.

The Buzz Centris is priced well, and you can often find it on sale for even less. You’re getting a lot for the money.

Pros of the Buzz Centris

  • Great Price
  • Lights, Fenders, Rear/Front Rack Included in Price
  • Grippy Tires for Off-Roading
  • Stable and Comfortable Ride
  • Safe Power Delivery, Good for New Riders
  • Easily Accessed Battery
  • Good Range
  • Integrated Lights
  • Tires Make it Good for Off-Roading and Loose Soils

Cons of the Buzz Centris

  • Tires Are Loud On Pavement
  • Throttle Is Placed Awkwardly
  • Must Pedal Before Using Throttle
  • Rear Rack Not Compatible With Most Child Seats
 

So, which bike would I choose? For me personally, I like the RadExpand 5 and the Buzz Centris the most. Of course, a lot of that is just personal taste. But having owned both the Lectric XP 2.0 and Centris, I liked the Centris more. Others may feel differently, but the Centris won me over.

The Aventon Sinch is a well-built great looking bike, but I think priced high, at least compared to the competition. Of course, that dealer support is a compelling reason to buy from Aventon. It may be worth the higher price tag just for that dealer support.

Overall, I think the best value is the Buzz Centris. I like how the bike handles, and you get everything you need for one reasonable price, instead of feeling like you’re being nickled and dimed after the sale. The ride quality is good, too.

I also really like the RadExpand 5 for its form factor and compatibility with so many accessories, and who couldn’t appreciate the price and power of the Lectric XP?  

There are lots of good options here, and the best choice is the bike that offers what you need. I hope the pros and cons help you make the best decision for you.

Motor*

48 V 500 Watt

48 V 750 Watt (Peak)

48 V 850 Watt (Peak)

48 V 500 Watt

Battery

48 V 14 Ah

48 V 14 Ah

48 V 9.6 Ah or 48 V 14 Ah

48 V 10.4 Ah

Range**

40 Miles

Up to 45 Miles

9.6 Ah Up to 45 Miles; 14 Ah Up to 65 Miles

40 Miles

Top Speed

20 MPH

20 MPH

28 MPH

20 MPH

Gears

7-Speed

7-Speed

7-Speed

6-Speed

Display

Color, USB Charging Port

LED

LCD, Backlit

LCD, Backlit

Pedal Assist Levels

5

4

5

5

Throttle

Thumb Throttle; Left Side

Twist, Right Side

Twist, Right Side

Twist, Right Side

E-Bike Classification

Class 2

Class 2

Class 2; Can Be Configured as Class 3

Class 2

Tires

20 x 4", Gum Sidewalls

CST 20 x 4", Reflective Sidewall

20 x 3"

20 x 4" Knobby

Brakes

180 MM Mechanical Disc

180 MM  Mechanical Disc

160 MM Mechanical Disc

160 MM Mechanical Disc

Front Suspension

RST GUIDE-ML-20 45 mm Travel, With Lockout

No Suspension; Steel Fork

Oil Suspension; 40 mm Travel, Adjustable

Spring Front Suspension

Lights

No

Yes, Front/Rear, Brake Light

Yes, Front/Rear

Yes, Front/Rear

Payload Capacity

300 LBS

275 LBS

330 LBS

Not Listed

Rider Height Range

4'11"-6'3"

4'10" - 5'10"

5' - 6'4"

Not Listed

Min Seat Height

33.46"

29"

Not Listed

32" (My Measurement)

Max Seat Height

40.08

36"

Not Listed

Not Listed

Reach

19"

16"

Not Listed

18" (My Measurement)

Bike Weight

68 LBS W/Battery

62.5 LBS W/Battery; 54.8 LBS W/O Battery

64 LBS W/Battery; 57 LBS W/O Battery

67 W/Battery; 59 LBS W/O Battery

Price

$1799

$1599

$1099 9.6 Ah Battery; $1299 14 Ah Battery

$1099

Notes

Display Syncs with Aventon App, Lights, Fenders, and Rear Rack Not Included but Available, Has Dealer Support

Lightest of Four Bikes, The Best for Shorter Riders, Reflective Side Walls and  Brake Light for Safety, Rear Rack Compatible with Many Child Seats, Many Available Accessories from Rad

Fasted of the Four with the Most Powerful Motor, Two Battery Options, Rear Rack is Compatible with Many Child Seats, Many Available Accessories

Knobby Tires and Decent Front Suspension for Some Off-Roading, Comfortable and Surprisingly Nimble, Two-Year Warranty. Comes with Front Rack.  

*Some bike makers list peak motor wattage while other list nominal motor wattage.  

**Estimated range can vary quite a bit depending upon many factors such as rider weight, throttle usage, pedal assist levels used, tire pressure, etc.  

*Prices are as of 9/12/22 and subject to change.
*Post contains affiliate links that help fund future reviews.  Thanks for your support!

 

 



>>Shop at Moosejaw for Your Outdoor Adventures!