The sub-$500 Folding Electric Bike
August 21, 2017 9:41 PM   Subscribe

My mission, if I choose to accept it (which I do, otherwise this post would be pointless): Build a transportation system that can ride on bike trails, tow a 60 lb kayak while walking/carrying a dog, and fold up small enough to fit on the kayak for the paddle home. Also, less than $500.

I have a Hobie i12s kayak (inflatable, good sized, very tough) and a cart for towing. I've towed it behind my bike a few times with no problem except that it isn't very light.

There's a 5 mile bike path (mostly paved, some dirt, very low traffic, approximate route here). It connects my house with the dog park. There's a boat ramp at the dog park which I can then use to kayak downstream to my neighborhood, where I can pull out and tow the kayak the rest of the way home.

So the play would be to bike to the dog park while my dog either trots alongside the bike on his WalkyDog bar or chills on the kayak (he's a big ol' lazy hound of indeterminate breed, sort of like a basset without the floppy skin). He then runs around the dog park for an hour, then we fold up the bike, load it on the kayak, and kayak home. The bike goes in a dry bag so water is not a problem.

I have ridden this route twice before (both times with my dog in the bicycle sidecar I built for him), and I am definitely convinced that I want the electric assist. It's Houston, it's hot, and I want the ride to be fun rather than brutal.

It looks like there are several high quality folding bikes in the $200 range that are all about 28 lbs. I weigh 200 lbs, my dog is 45 lbs, kayak is 60 lbs but the tongue weight is only 10 or so. Leading bike candidates are the EuroMini Campo and Schwinn Loop.

Then, for the electric boost, there's this wheel plus $60 in batteries. Seems legitish.

The obvious question is whether the electric wheel interferes with the folding, but I think I can make that be ok. I don't need speed, in fact, I need slow and powerful. Any practical advice for this setup? Anyone trod these paths before me? Any better parts I should consider? Dedicated folding e-bikes are very expensive and seemed aimed at people who want to go fast. Any alternate transport methods to consider? I am surprised to see that the seaways are down to $600, but I don't know if towing a kayak from my waist while holding a dog leash on a Segway is what I'd call "safe", ditto but more so for unicycles and hover boards and roller-skates.

Thanks hivemind!
posted by BeeDo to Travel & Transportation around Houston, TX (1 answer total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Looks like you + electric assist + towing load might take the Schwinn Loop over its maximum loading of 230 lb
posted by scruss at 5:39 AM on August 22, 2017

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