Mando is a South Korean company that is delving into the electric bike market, and also has a foldable model being introduced, the Footloose. The first model of Footloose came out in 2013, and now they also have an updated version that includes a removable battery, integrated LED lights, and better performance. The technology behind Footloose is something known as series electric, where the battery is charged when the cyclist pedals, rather than the cycling propelling the bike. The intentions behind this technology and design of is that it will be much easier for the cyclist to scale hills and battle wind, while not needing to worry about shifting gears. However, the users that tested this collapsible e-bike stated that it was loud and uncomfortable, and wasn’t a very feasible idea to take this electric bike off-road. The Footloose also is priced quite high, at $3,999, but it does come with some extras that are appreciated. You can purchase the Footloose in four different colors, which is great if you are particular about aesthetics. Also, it has high-quality mechanical disc brakes, as well as a LCD display that is backlit as well. The bike’s kick-stand is also an interesting extra with a unique design that may attract people who are influenced by innovativion.
Driving this e-bike is a 250 Watt motor, which is smaller than many of the other motors found on newer e-bikes (newer models will often have motors that are at 350 Watts). However, the motor on the Footloose isn’t a traditional motor, but rather a dual winding motor. This means that the motor can operate two different optimal speeds, one being a lower speed with a higher torque, and the other a higher speed with less torque. The motor is the central part of this bike that will intuitively switch gears depending on elevation and terrain. As stated before, the motor has been reported to make a fair amount of noise, but users also said that it accelerated to 15 mph efficiently, which is the advertised top speed for the Footloose. For other e-bikes that use a direct-pedal system, people can often go slightly beyond the advertised top speed from using more pedal power, but for the Footloose this isn’t a possibility since pedaling won’t influence the speed of the bike, only the battery level of the bike. Users also mentioned that the Footloose had a difficult time scaling hills that were on the larger side, which is a downfall of this bike’s system.
An important part of a foldable electric bike is the battery, and that is especially true for the Footloose, as whether the battery is charging while cycling is the primary force that makes the bike move. The battery on the Footloose is 36 volts and 8.2 amp hours. The pack uses Lithium ion batteries, which are high-quality and thus cost more, but will last longer compared to competitive battery packs. Another positive of the Lithium ion battery is that it is light-weight at as well, which will help you when you want to carry or haul the bike around. The basic rule for extending the life of the battery is to keep it charged between 20 and 80% as to avoid disrupting the cells inside of the battery. If you are storing the bike away for a period of time, also make sure to check on the battery every once and awhile to keep the battery charged at the optimal level. Also, make sure that you avoid storing the battery in very hot or very cold conditions, and a dry environment is best for its longevity. The negative aspect about that battery on the 2013 model is that it is not removable, and thus you need to bring the entire e-bike next to the outlet while you’re charging the battery, which can be inconvenient if you are living in a small space.
When your battery is charged and you’re ready to cycle, to start you need to press the on/off button on the LCD display, and the display will turn on as well. A handy feature of the LCD display is that it is backlit for day and night viewing, so you will never have to endure the glare of the sun during the day, or being unable to see the text at night. The display will show the battery level, speed, riding mode, and also how many calories you’ve burned (which is a nice feature if you’re trying to keep track of your fitness). There are also a few levels of pedal assist and throttle mode as well that you can turn on from the display, as well as a few different modes of cycling you can choose from which include automatic, eco, and normal. Users noted that it was difficult to regulate pedal speed and get used to the alternative pedaling system of the Footloose.
Conclusively, the Footloose would be an interesting foldable e-bike for the enthusiast that is interested in having a bike with an alternative pedaling and motor system. However, for the majority of people, this bike won’t necessarily be as beneficial as its price tag claims to be.