Image courtesy HiPeak Bike

HiPeak ELIAS Step-Thru Folding E-Bike Review: CleanTechnica Review

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The folks at HiPeak, an electric bike manufacturer, recently sent us a sample of their ELIAS foldable electric bike. In this article, I want to take a look at the bike’s specifications and cover some of what I like about the bike, as well as where it could be a little better. Overall, I’d say that it’s a pretty decent folding bike, with a couple of features that set it apart from the rest.

Features and Specifications

The HiPeak ELIAS Step-Thru Fat Tire Folding Electric Bike is a high-performance electric bike that can reach speeds up to around 28 mph. It has a foldable frame and 20″ fat tires for maximum stability and comfort. Its lithium-ion battery allows for an estimated range of 40 to 60 miles on one charge. This bike also includes a 750W brushless motor and torque sensing pedal assist technology that provide a smooth riding experience, as well as adjustable stem, seat post, handlebars, and more. It even has a 350 lb carrying capacity, so there’s room in the weight budget to put some cargo on the rear rack.

Speaking of the rear rack, e-bikes often come without rear racks, fenders (mud guards), and cargo straps. You can get them, but for an extra cost. But, the HiPeak ELIAS comes with all of these, so you can save your money for extra tubes and other things you’ll want. That alone makes this bike a pretty decent value proposition.

Another thing I really liked about the ELIAS was that its grips weren’t the synthetic leather ones that come with so many other e-bikes. Instead, they come with rubber grips that have a gel-like feel in the outer layer. I’m not sure exactly what the material is, but it makes for a pretty comfortable ride, even when hitting some bumps.

And, unlike some of the competitors, the bike comes in two colors for $1299, with one special color coming in at $1349. So, you’re not only getting a decent set of parts, but you’re getting it for hundreds cheaper than most.

How It Rides

We’ve reviewed a lot of 750w e-bikes at CleanTechnica, and when it comes to power and acceleration, this bike is pretty similar to the others. This isn’t a bad thing, because regulations in most states set a maximum of 750 watts of power if you want to be able to take your e-bike on bike-only trails, bike lanes, and other bike-only places.

One difference I noticed was that the bike was pretty quiet, even with the throttle twisted completely. Most e-bikes make a little noise, but you hear a lot of that noise coming from the hub motor’s gears instead of the electric motor itself. The difference wasn’t huge, but it was noticeable.

At maximum speed (set by default at 20 MPH and could adjust up to 28 MPH), the bike felt very stable and comfortable, despite being a folding bike with only 20″ wheels. This probably has a lot to do with the bike’s relatively heavy fat tires, which helps add more stabilization via gyroscopic forces.

Like most fat-tire bikes, the ELIAS was very stable and comfortable on bumpy roads, and pretty easily powers through sand and other loose material. Even in a fairly deep sand patch, I wasn’t able to really sink it.

What Sets This Apart: A Very Safe Latching System

When I folded and unfolded the bike, I noticed something pretty cool. While there’s usually a clamp that you have to release before the handlebar and main frame tube will fold, this bike had a secondary latch for both of these actions. In other words, it requires two different moves before the bike will fold.

What’s great about this is that you’ve got almost zero chance of folding the bike while riding it. So, you’ll never have to worry about kicking or bumping the bike and having it come apart at 20 MPH. I don’t think I have to explain why it would be very bad for that to happen.

One Small Thing To Watch Out For

When I took the bike out for its first ride, we found out pretty quickly that you need to always lock the battery to the bike. Most e-bikes won’t power on unless the battery is locked to the bike, but this one has a switch you can flip to enable or cut power.

The major downside to this approach is that you can easily ride away and get to speed on electric power with a battery only held on by gravity (with most other e-bikes, you’d know something was wrong because it had no power). If you hit a bump or series of bumps, the battery can be jarred out of place and end up on the road.

Fortunately, this bike’s battery seems to be built like a tank and suffered only cosmetic damage when we deck checked our review bike. It took a lickin’ and kept on tickin’.

The reason I describe this as a small thing is that it’s pretty easy to avoid. Just be 100% sure to lock the battery to the bike before you ride away. With the key locked, the battery sits very securely and won’t come off.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I think this is probably the best deal we’ve seen for folding fat tire e-bikes. Not only is it well equipped with decent parts you’d see on bikes that cost $500+ more, but it comes with accessories many of those bikes don’t come with, and this all gets to your door for under $1400 (assuming you live in the Lower 48). Plus, it has a very sturdy latching system so there’s no risk of catastrophic failure.

So, if this bike is in your budget, it’s a decent buy.

HiPEAK ELIAS Specs

  • Battery: 720 Wh (48V 15Ah)
  • Motor Controller: HiPEAK Intelligence controller; 48V, 750W
  • Display: Charge indicator, speedometer, odometer, trip odometer, pedal assist level, motor watts, headlight/tail light indicator, etc.
  • Motor: 750W brushless gear hub motor, 
  • Lights: Front: Standard LED headlight, Rear: Integrated tail light with brake light
  • Pedal Assist: 7 level pedal assist with 12 magnet cadence sensor
  • Range: 40-60 miles per charge
  • Throttle: Half twist throttle
  • Brakes: Mechanical Disc Brakes with 180mm rotors
  • Mechanical gearing: Shimano 7-Speed

Tires: 20” * 4” puncture protection fat tires

 

This article is sponsored by HiPeak Bike


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Jennifer Sensiba

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.

Jennifer Sensiba has 1951 posts and counting. See all posts by Jennifer Sensiba