Welcome to my first Daddy & Dad blog post (it's Tom, by the way)! I'm a huge technology buff and an early adopter of the latest tech. Plus I'm fascinated by how things work (hence my days and days lost to Big Clive on YouTube). So, I've taken responsibility for the Daddy & Dad Tech section to bring you my honest thoughts and reviews of the very latest technology in 2021. Here goes!
Let's talk about 2021. In these unprecedented times, collectively as a country our priorities have completely changed, haven't they? Take family transport, for instance. Twelve months ago, I was travelling 100,000 miles a year in a company car. Meanwhile, Jamie worked on the blog from home during the short break between school runs which meant a lot of wear and tear on his little Fiat (and a fair few interesting school run chats with the boys, by all accounts).
Over the last year, office commutes like mine have largely become extinct, as have school runs until recently and who knows what's next. Well, as a result transport has become an individual leisure pursuit, rather than a family necessity. I've given up my company car and I've been using the park & ride and my bike to get to the shops and back. Which is why I was delighted to unwrap an electric bike this Christmas. More specifically, the Fly folding eBike from E-Trends.
Here, I take a look at my Fly bike's design and features and I'll take it out on the road on its maiden voyage up to the local park to report on my riding experience.
Fly from E-Trends
What is it?
The Fly is an electric folding bike, designed for short trips around an urban space, like our home city of Leicester. It currently retails at £699. It's foldable for convenient storage and it zips along at an admirable 15 mph when pedalled with the assistance of its 250W electric motor.
I like the design and out of the box it was easy to assemble for the first time. It's smaller and heavier than I'd expect from a men's commuter bike but the seat is the right height and feels very comfortable. The controls and battery are well designed. So far, so good!
First, let's talk about all the good bits about the Fly's design. It's a lovely looking bike. Matt black paintwork, stylish decals, a nice chunky frame and modern controls. When assembled, it looks as good as any high-end folding commuter-bike I've seen.
The battery is easily removable and can be charged when either attached or detached from the bike. This means the bike can be stored without the battery - allowing the battery to be charged out of sight.
When folded up, it's a convenient size and shape for storage, fitting perfectly behind the downstairs loo or beneath my work bench in the garage. However it's fairly heavy - not really designed to be carried around and it doesn't seem to 'click' securely into its folded form.
As a folding bike newbie, I found the Fly's folding mechanism very easy to get the hang of. With or without the battery connected, the handlebar folds down to the side, then the middle of the frame folds in half, bringing the wheels together. Finally the seat pushes down. There's a stand beneath the pedals to steady the bike in its folded form.
As mentioned earlier, the wheels don't click together which means it can only be transported a short distance. Unlike other light-weight foldables the Fly doesn't appear to be designed to be carried by hand. It's not an issue for me as I plan to use it to nip to Aldi and back a couple of miles away.
Riding the Fly
By the way, I've taken to saying "I'm gonna ride the Fly" purely to embarrass the kids!
But how does the Fly ride?
Well, this morning I rode my Fly up to the community centre, about a half mile along suburban roads through our village.
Firstly, to get going, turn the key in the battery bank. Then, start peddling like a normal bike and the clever motor kicks in. You feel a gentle boost which keeps you going while you peddle with very little effort required at all. If you free-wheel, the motor powers off, allowing you to glide along until you start peddling again.
This works very well, especially on flat and uphill sections of a trip. But, it does take a bit of practise because if you're going too fast, you can find yourself peddling like Pee Wee Herman - your feet and legs a blur! This is because it's a single gear bike - it's not designed for racing along at top speed.
The Fly really comes into its own when cycling uphill. The silent motor takes almost all the effort out of peddling - it's quite impressive and genuinely effective.
The battery and controls
The battery has a handle on top and is easy to remove. A full charge takes 4 hours and lasts up to 19 miles (depending on how much you pedal). The battery can be charged when either attached or detached from the Fly bike.
The battery gauge on the handle bar (pictured above) is clear and bright but I'm not sure how to read it. There are no instructions but I'm sure quick Google will let me know!
Anything I'd change about the Fly?
There were a couple of very minor things I thought were either surplus to requirements or not there. Firstly, the throttle seems a little unnecessary - it doesn't power the bike along and serves only to provide a very slight acceleration (up to walking speed). It may serve a purpose but I just haven't found it yet!
Secondly, information provided with the Fly is limited. Assembly instructions were clear but usage instructions not so clear. E-Trends would benefit from a YouTube channel with basic tutorials for new customers, including how to fold the bike and read the dials.
Also (but quite insignificant), when folded it would be very useful if the bike would click securely into its folded form. We'd love to see an accessory to resolve it, however it's not hugely important if you're just transporting the folded bike into the house or the boot of your car for storage.
I'm impressed! My Fly folding bike is:
easy to fold and unfold
very easy to ride
quick to charge with a good battery length
comparatively good value for money
To ensure this review is balanced, I'd also mentioned the Fly is rather heavy to carry and not really designed to be transported by hand in its folded form - but this isn't an issue for me as it's not how I'll use it anyway.
In summary, the Fly E-Bike from E-Trends receives a very commendable 4 stars!