Although there are many folding electric bicycles on the market, you may have a need for your bicycle to fold up entirely. The Sahel Compact i8 by Kalkhoff is such a ebike, where the pedals fold in, and the stem can pivot, thus creating a slimmer profile where it can still fit into tighter spaces. This type of design should be able to work for most people, unless you are a commuter that prefers to carry your ebike part of the way. Yet even if you’re not able to carry the ebike onto the train or bus like a regular folding bicycle, the Sahel Compact is incredibly light, at 37 pounds. This means that if you’re transporting it up the stairs to an apartment, you will have a much easier time than transporting a regular-sized bicycle. Not only that, but it also has the same driving system as its full-sized counterpart, with the battery just being slightly different. The design of this ebike is also quite fabulous, as the frame is step-through. This means that if you’re cycling to work or to an event or meeting where you need to look nice, you don’t need to worry about mounting the ebike, and whether it will ruin your clothes. The step-through design is also perfect for the person that is shorter in height, or has shorter legs. And if you’re worried about the manufacturer of the ebike, and whether it produces high-quality products, there’s no need to fear. Kalkhoff is part of a German company Derby Cycle Werke, and they are well-known for their attention to detail and quality. However, this is also shown in the price (at about $3,699), and can’t be classified as a budget ebike.
The motor on an electric ebike is incredibly important, and the one on the Sahel Compact has 250 Watts (the European maximum), compared to other electric ebike motors that have 350 or 500 Watts. However, the middrive system alongside the smaller wheel size produces a mechanical advantage, thus the Sahel Compact is able to climb hills quite efficiently. The motor is also very quiet and responsive, the former being perfect if you prefer to take rides outside of the city, and the latter suitable when you need to change pedal assist quickly (there is no throttle mode on this ebike, unfortunately). The location of the motor on the ebike is also incredibly helpful, as it sits low on the frame, helping to stabilize the ebike, which in turn helps with riding and with lifting the ebike.
On this compact ebike, what really stands out is the battery, which has 36 volts and 11 amp hours. Although this is quite standard for a full-size ebike, the battery on a smaller ebike is quite impressive. For charging convenience, the battery is removable, which is far superior to dragging the entire ebike next to an outlet for charging. Also, if you’re carrying the ebike and you want to lessen the weight a bit, removing the battery will be helpful. The battery also locks to the frame for greater security, which is perfect if you leave your ebike in public areas. The type of chemistry the battery uses is Lithium-ion chemistry, which is well-known for being lightweight and long-lasting. Not only that, but both the battery and the motor are under a two-year warranty (with a three-year warranty devoted to the frame), so if anything were to happen, you are sure to be covered. However, taking good care of the battery will help you in avoiding any problems. Keeping the battery where the conditions aren’t too cold or too hot, and low in humidity is one way to preserve battery life as much as possible. Also, keeping it charged between 20 and 80% is optimal, while avoiding a critically low battery level.
You may think that with the higher price tag you would be getting a fully-functional LCD display. However, that is not the case, and instead you receive a few LED lights that indicate features like battery level (although not very accurately). There are also no indicators for speed, distance, etc. Yet the display is very durable, and should be able to withstand dust and water over a longer period of time. Users also stated that the display was easy to use and intuitive to understand. The Sahel Compact also comes with great accessories like fenders, a chain guard, a bell, ergonomic grips, a kickstand (that is also adjustable), and dynamo-powered lights (that do not require a battery). Many other ebike models would require you to purchase these add-ons later, so it is wonderful that the Sahel Compact includes all of these things.
Overall, there are some negative points about the Sahel Compact, including the fact that it doesn’t have a suspension fork to lessen the bumpiness of certain roads, but the design of the ebike is consistently high-quality, and if you decide to purchase the Sahel Compact, you will be able to enjoy it immensely in the years to come.