Most people have a love-hate relationship with foldable bikes. Fans of them love the cute tire sizes, fancy designs and most importantly of course, the ability to ‘transform’ the bike into a more compact size for storage or transportation. On the other side of the spectrum are purists who insist on riding a proper sized road or mountain bike. When we speak about foldable bikes, brands like Dahon and Brompton will inevitably come to mind. However, there is a relatively new brand in the market, which offers not just the standard manual foldable bike but also something out of the norm, that is, electric foldable bikes which come equipped with a built-in motor which runs on battery power. One such example is the Esi Electric Foldable Bike.

Features and Details

While standard manually foldable bikes are an increasing common sight these days, electric foldable bikes are quite new-the Esi brand has been only in the local scene for about a year.

For those who are concerned about the use of electric bikes which need approval from the Land Transport Authority (LTA), the Esi model has been registered and approved by the LTA for local use. Every bike comes with a metallic tab with the LTA logo and registration number of it.

Appearance-wise, the Esi Electric Foldable Bike looks rather compact and low profile and one cannot really tell if it is an electric bike at first glance-the only give away for the keen observer is the battery box at the lower part of the bike. Another reason is that the motor is built into the front wheel of the bike, concealing its identity as an electric bike.

One of the reasons why some folks feel a little uneasy about a foldable bike is because of the potentially complicated folding and unfolding procedures. With the Esi bike, there’s virtually no issue as the main folding action is located at the seat post area with a rod at the back. Just a simple clamping action (imagine 2 chop sticks being held together) of the seat post and rod would lock or unlock the main folding mechanism of the bike.

For those who prefer the standard manual foldable bikes, Esi also offers a 6-speed model in an assortment of colours. Folding action on the manual model is very straightforward as well, with just a simple locking and unlocking of the main mechanism in the centre of the frame. The change in gearing is performed by a basic 6-speed grip-shift type shifter on the right side of the handlebar.

6-speed grip-shift style shifter on the Esi Manual Foldable Bike


The ride feel of the Esi Electric bike on manual mode is pretty comfortable. With the motor switched on while riding, one can feel an instantaneous surge forward as the power from the battery kicks in after increased pedaling. The feeling is quite exhilarating, especially when going on long sections of flat and straight roads. Something to take note of is cornering as the sudden surge in power may compromise handling, so the best way is to off the motor before cornering just in case. Weight-wise, the Esi Electric bike is slightly heavy, weighing about 16kg while the manual folding model comes in at about 12kg.

The Esi Electric Foldable Bike in folded mode

The Esi 6-speed Manual Foldable Bike in folded mode

The Esi Electric Foldable Bike is aimed as something that is suitable for all generations within a family: children can learn how to ride and balance (with the battery removed of course), adults can use it as a commuting tool and the seniors can use it as a form of exercise and the motor will give them an extra boost if they need to negotiate steeper terrain. In addition, the Esi range of foldable bikes, both electric and manual, provides a way in which the older folks can strengthen their knees and related leg muscles through regular riding as well as improve their overall health and physical fitness.

Both the electric and manual models are more suited in the category of short to moderate distance commuting, or those who wish to try something novel or different.

The Esi Electric Folding Bike/6-speed Manual Folding bike is available at:
Globe Bell Technoskill Creation

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