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Fiido’s New C21 Is The E-bike For People Who Say They’ll Never Get An E-bike


Forbes Lifestyle Cars & Bikes Fiido’s New C21 Is The E-bike For People Who Say They’ll Never Get An E-bike William Roberson Contributor Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. I write about motorcycles, ebikes, cars, trucks and mobility tech. Following May 26, 2023, 02:58pm EDT | Press play to listen to this article! Got it! Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Linkedin The Fiido C21 ebike is simple and concise, and it’s difficult to tell it’s an ebike.

Fiido Ride an e-bike? No way, not you. You’re analog and old school. Pedal assist is cheating.

Ebikes are for grandparents and “bike riders,” not serious cyclists. You want the benefit of exercise from riding your bike, no gliding along on a electrons. Ebikes are ugly.

Too expensive. Not really a “bicycle. ” And so on, and on and on and on.

I’ve heard it all so many times. And then what invariably happens is the doubter/shamer/hardcore rider climbs aboard an e-bike I have in for review to, you know, “just see what it’s like,” and they return with big smiles and questions and a changed mind. I’ve lost count how many times that has happened.

It happened again with Fiido’s new $1,599 C21 e-bike , and it’s tough to tell is an e-bike at all. Admittedly, in the early days of e-bikes (at least in the U. S.

), they were definitely a novelty of sorts, with unrefined power trains, sometimes off-putting aesthetics, a lot of weight and not much range or power for the money. In 2023, all of those issues have pretty much been addressed, and one of the latest entries into the ever-expanding It Looks Like A Regular Bike But It’s Actually An E-bike market segment are the new C21 and C22 models From Fiido, which are available for pre-order. I’ve been riding a C21, which is the model with the standard step-over style frame, for several weeks now.

Fiido got started with a crowdfunding campaign around a unique (and unexpectedly capable) folding magnesium-framed e-bike, the Fiido X , that ran into a bit of trouble early on with some frame failures. Fiido did the right thing and recalled ALL of the bikes it had sold and redesigned the frame hinge. They also took the opportunity to touch up a few other points on the bike, making it even better.

Now, they’ve expanded their offerings with more folding models, some fat tire e-bikes, kids e-bikes and some cool e-scooters among other micromobility products. But the full-size, “regular bike” C21 and C22 models represent a new tangent of sorts. C21 e-bike Tech A simple LCD display and large buttons make adjusting the bike’s elelctrics easy.

Fiido MORE FOR YOU Ford s EV Customers Getting Access To Tesla Charging Network In 2024 Candela C 8 Polestar Edition A Fully Electric Fully Foiling Powerboat Debuts Toyota Says Public Charging Not Ready For Pure EVs The Fiido C21 is a standard-style bike – Fiido calls it a gravel bike – that could be a gravel bike with some small changes (handlebars, mostly), but in truth it’s more of a slim-tire mountain bike-style bicycle with an urban focus. It has an aluminum frame, 250-Watt Mivice hub motor, 9-speed Shimano derailleur, bright dual-LED headlight, hydraulic Tektro disc brakes, a 208-Watt hour battery in the lower frame spar and a tidy LCD display up top. A small three-button controller on the left bar controls assist level as does a small button panel on the LCD display, which shows a simple battery and speed display or a more data-heavy spread of ride information.

Power is further massaged with a torque sensor that matches motor output to your leg power. Best of all, weight is a svelte 39 pounds, or a tick over 40 with the included lightweight plastic fenders installed (per my digital scale). A second battery is about the size and shape of a water bottle.

Fiido The Fiido C bikes are Class 2 with no throttles and a top assist speed of 20mph in the U. S. A 208 Watt-hour battery is tucked into the lower frame spar, and Fiido says it should give about 80km/50-ish miles of assist likely set to Level 1 or 2.

Fiido sent Forbes. com a photo of a water bottle-shaped second battery that mounts (unsurprisingly) in a water bottle-type cage and plugs into the bike directly, greatly extending the bike’s range while only adding a few pounds to the weight. It’s a simple but effective upgrade for anyone looking to do more distance – or just have some backup power on hand at all times.

At the time of this review, it was not yet available nor were specs on capacity or range. MORE FROM FORBES The Fiido X Folding Ebike Returns Stronger But Still Stylish And Fun By William Roberson A rechargeable seatpost-strappable LED taillight is included along with some neatly packed tools, fenders and a small charger which will juice the battery to full in about three hours. Assembly was simple and I was ready to ride the bike about 20 minutes after opening the box.

Installing the fenders took up the majority of the time; the bike itself only requires slotting in the front wheel, positioning the seat, installing the handlebars and adding the pedals. I also had to tweak the shifter adjusters to get the Shimano rear cassette to change gears cleanly, a task fairly typical for any bike you receive in a box. Fiido has a smartphone app but they are also preparing to release a Fiido smartwatch, called the Mate, which will automatically boot up the C series bikes as you approach and shut it down when you walk away (but that does not include physically “locking” the bike so be sure to secure your bike).

The Mate will track fitness data from your rides and pairs with your phone. For this review, the Mate was not yet available, but we hope to have an example to test soon. Riding Experience The ebike motor is so small it disappears behind the Shimano derailleur’s cassette.

Yet it’s plenty . . .

[+] powerful for in-town riding. Fiido The best compliment I can give the Fiido C21 is that the riding experience is completely. .

. normal . As the headline suggests, this a perfect e-bike for anyone who never thought they would ride an e-bike, and specifically so if they want an e-bike that really looks like a “regular” or “analog” bicycle.

There are certainly other e-bikes out there that fit that description – the VanMoof S5 comes to mind – but the S5 has a distinctive style that might not appeal to riders looking for a low-profile bike that looks like a common, traditional pedal bike. The C21 succeeds there quite well. At 40 pounds and with the new Shimano 9-speed derailleur out back, I started out on the C21 with the bike powered “on” but pedal assist set to zero (no assist).

The C21 is a Class 2 e-bike with no throttle, only pedal assist. Using pedal power alone, it rode as expected, which is to say like a regular bicycle but one with a touch more heft. After making slight seat and handlebar adjustments, the C21 was an easy and comfortable bike to ride, and like they did with the innovative Fiido X , Fiido has given the C21 a stylish design that draws people in.

I got a lot of questions about “who makes that cool bike” and if it was indeed an electric bike. When I said it was, most people commented they loved how “normal” it looked. Fiido calls the C21 an “E-Gravel” bike but as noted, it does not have drop bars like a typical gravel bike.

It’s also a hardtail (no suspension front or rear) but it wears deeper-tread gravel-style tires and the C21 sports mountain bike-style flat bars while the C22, with its dropped top frame tube, uses more swept back bars. I prefer the more aggressive flat bars, traditional frame and posture of the C21 and had no problem getting up on the pedals on hill climbs. Add in the pedal assist and the 250-Watt motor kicks in without overwhelming or taking over pedal duties.

Keyed to a torque sensor, the assist is clearly felt across five levels (or six counting zero) but I was also impressed with how quiet the motor is – another checkmark in the Rides Like A Normal Bike column. Pointed down a long hill, the C21 maintained composure as speeds climbed to near 40 mph, and the hydraulic disc brakes scrubbed off the speed easily. The C21 tracked well through some fast but rough sweepers but I stayed out of the seat to work through the bumps.

In the flat with assist set to 2, the C21 ticks right along at 20mph. When hills arrived, I just ticked up the assist to match. Conclusions It’s gratifying to see Fiido expand their offerings and find success after the rough start with the Fiido X, and to my eyes they have a better sense of style than many current e-bike makers.

The C21 is well-made, good looking and felt precise while riding. I like how much it looks – and rides – like a traditional bicycle while having the pedal assist in the back pocket as it were. For those looking for a capable but low-profile e-bike with sharp style and good road manners, the new Fiido C21 certainly seems to fit the bill.

Recommended. Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn . Check out my website .

William Roberson Editorial Standards Print Reprints & Permissions.

From: forbes

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