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NEO VOLT folding electric bike boasts discreet battery, impressive range

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September 17, 2012

ITEM's NEO VOLT folding electric bicycle

ITEM's NEO VOLT folding electric bicycle

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Folding electric bikes may not be a new thing, but they've come a long way since 2005, when a game of "spot the battery" was unlikely to provide any more than .6 of a second's entertainment. More recent models such as the VeloMini, Bik.e and db0 have benefited from advances in EV technology, and now the NEO VOLT comfortably continues the trend. At first or second glance, you mightn't spot that its an electric bike at all.

But an electric bike the NEO VOLT is, and a fairly capable folding electric bike it appears to be: ITEM, which has designed the folder for BH Bikes, hasn't revealed the capacity of its "generous" battery (perhaps it's yet to be finalized), but does claim that it's "autonomous" up to a range of 90 km (56 miles), presumably meaning the rider is not required to pedal to assist the 250 W motor over that distance.

The battery is removable for remote charging, and slots discreetly onto the NEO VOLT's top tube, actually making up the bulk of this part of the frame so far as volume is concerned, despite being compact as electric bicycle batteries go.

Unique to the NEO VOLT is its patented folding system which, in addition to the obligatory riding and fully folded positions has an intermediate "shortened" configuration, for easier access to public transport and elevators. ITEM claims that the bike "lets you set three fixed positions just by pressing a button," but given the fully folded position requires the removal of the front wheel, it may require just a little more effort than that.

We can see no mention yet of the NEO VOLT at the BH Bikes website, and assume this thing is still in development. Pricing and availability info appears to be scarce, but we've asked ITEM for details and will let you know if we hear more.

The video below gives some idea of how the NEO VOLT folds up, though obviously a hands-on demo would be preferable.

Update, September 17, 2012: We've received word from ITEM that there are actually two versions of the NEO VOLT in production, both targeted for a release of November 25, 2012. The NEO VOLT, actually the black model, will be priced at about €2,100 (US$2,750), while the white NEO VOLT SPORT (the white model) will be priced at about €2,200 ($2,900).

"The difference between these two models is basically the choice of components," ITEM's Javier Cuñado Landa told Gizmag. "Neo Volt Sport has got better shifting gear, hydraulic disk brakes and so on. Neo Volt is more urban with mudguards, light and more standard shifting and brakes."

Source: ITEM, via Ecochunk

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life.   All articles by James Holloway
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7 Comments

Having just returned from Eurobike, I can honestly state that North America will soon have access to a number of high quality electric full size and folding bicycles. With over a 100 different manufacturers showing close to 1000 models is it just a matter of time before the US has a larger selection of electric bicycles. Currie Tech, the largest company in the US is just one company unveiling new European electric bicycles at Interbike this week.

As far as folding electric bicycles, one of the smallest, lightest and most affordable electric bicycles in the world is already available in the North America. The VeloMini has a lithium-ion battery hidden in the frame, weighs under 33lbs and travels at speeds of 12mph all for under $1200.

Douglas
17th September, 2012 @ 09:27 am PDT

The VeloMini sounds like one of the best because it is light and affordable. Now if only we could get much needed bike lanes to make it safer we could have less traffic, less dependency on foreign oil and cleaner air. It's just painted lines but it makes a huge difference.

The Hoff
17th September, 2012 @ 04:53 pm PDT

"does claim that it's "autonomous" up to a range of 90 km (56 miles), *presumably* meaning the rider is not required to pedal to assist the 250 W motor over that distance".

I'll bet you a pound to a penny that the above assumption is completely incorrect!

Having ridden a lot of pedelecs over long distances, I am damn sure that this little folder will require pedal assistance all the way to cover 56 miles!

'Autonomie' in French/Italian/Spanish is just a synonym for 'range' in English. It does NOT imply no need to pedal!

PNB

paulblez
18th September, 2012 @ 03:50 am PDT

Cant anyone see that these prices are ridiculous? You could have a proper motorbike for $1000. Until an electric bike that costs $500 or less can go 20-30 miles on a charge, they will never take off.

Adam Dixon
19th September, 2012 @ 05:30 am PDT

Adam,

Whether your motorbike costs $700 or $7000, you still have the additional costs of...

- licensing

- insurance

- fuel

- parking

Electric bicycles are not subject to licensing or insurance fees and charging an electric bike costs pennies. But it's convenience & peace of mind that really makes folding electric bikes cool. The folding aspect allows the electric bike to go inside your home or office, eliminating the cost to park and freeing your mind from worry about your ride getting vandalized or stolen while you're away.

By the way, a light electric bike that also folds makes multi-modal commuting far more practical than Park & Ride or walking to & from a transit stop. Even if the bike racks on a bus are full, you can fold the electric $1500 CarryMe DC, roll it down the aisle to your seat and stand it upright in the footprint of a copy of National Geographic. Try that with a $1000 moped, Vespa scooter or motorbike!

RideTHISbike.com
19th September, 2012 @ 01:50 pm PDT

Riese und Müller is coming up with an electric version of their Birdy folding bike:

http://en.r-m.de/bike/birdy-hybrid/

Freyr Gunnar
19th September, 2012 @ 05:41 pm PDT

Dahon makes lots of high-quality folders, including some with 26" wheels and disc brakes. About $300 to $400 will get you a 1, 3, 6, or 7 speed 20" folder to which you can easily add an electric drive kit for about $300 (preferably a front wheel drive - plenty on the internet). Two caveats: 1) the weight limit is 230 pounds on all their folders; 2) be aware that 20" wheels can be treacherous (the front wheel can hang up on cracks and bumps and throw you off ... I know this from experience - TWICE! ... I bought a 26" folder and never had such a problem again). I'm now too heavy for my folders, so I plan to electrify my wonderful Electra Townie flat footer - highly recommend this bike!

WagTheDog
22nd September, 2012 @ 02:59 am PDT
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