Today we’re going to look at the rise of moped bicycles. If you’ve been with me from my early days, you’ll know that I am utterly obsessed with gadgets, gizmos and new technology. One of my biggest obsessions as a motorcycle vlogger, over the last 3 years is electric motorcycles.
Two years ago, before I got my licence, I had the opportunity to ride an electric motorcycle with the English electric motor co and very recently I had the chance to ride an electric bike when I was travelling around Ireland. If there’s one thing these two test rides made me realise, is that the world of motorcycling is heading in a crazy new direction and the lines between biking and well, biking, are being very blurred.
Why do I have the Fiido M1 Pro?
Now I previously spent the entire day riding an electric motorcycle and I wanted to give electric push bikes a try to see how they compare. So I have with me today the Fiido M1 which is a budget off-road bike designed for adventure.
Now there’s a very specific reason I picked the Fiido M1 Pro for a review and it’s simply down to one feature, moped mode. Now moped mode does exactly what it says on the tin, all throttle and no sweat. However
So I started referring to this thing as a moped bicycle because honestly, that’s the easiest way to describe this monstrosity. When it comes to pedal-assisted bikes, it’s well just that, you pedal the bike round, and the built-in battery adds additional speed and power. But with little Frankenstein over here, he’s 100% throttle. Now there are some legality issues with this thing, but we will get to that a little bit later.
There is the option to use the machine in pedal-assisted mode, but let’s be honest, as a biker I’m not interested in that and neither are you! So this video is only going to focus on this bike as a motorcycle.
Walk around the Fiido M1 Pro
So straight off the bat, let’s take a quick look around the Fiido m1. Looking at this thing, you’d never suggest it was anything other than your traditional standard push bike, and it certainly looks nothing like a motorcycle.
I can say for certainty, that I’ve never purchased a motorcycle that folds in half. When folded, the M1 measures half its size which makes it a lot easier to fit into the boot of your car. The handlebars and pedals fold, too, and there’s a built-in stand beneath the crank which keeps the bike upright when folded. However, there isn’t a clip to hold the whole thing together, so I did end up snagging my legs a few times. You can remove the battery when the bike is folded for charging separately to the bike.
The bike weighs 25kg so it is quite light compared to a motorcycle but heavy compared to other push bikes on the market. It has fat tyres also mean it can be a little more difficult to shift around compared to skinner off-road bikes. It will accommodate someone up to 120kg and operate up to a 30% incline.
Fiido claims a range of up to 100km which let’s be realistic, isn’t happening. A more realistic real-world range for road riding is around 45km if you are pedalling the whole time and about 25km if you’re working on moped mode. The lighter you are, the less time you spend going uphill, and weather conditions – all affect the range on this bike.
Now Charge time for the battery is 7-9 hours meaning it’s most likely going to be an overnighter. Now, something that did cross my mind was whether you could charge this thing off an EV charger like an electric motorcycle, and the answer is yes and no, you will need to modify the input with an adapter but I did read online that most electric bikes can safely be charged but you ultimately need to research your specific model’s batteries. I’ve found most EV chargers are located in service station car parks and the chances of taking this thing on the motorway are next to none so, at this point, it’s not a consideration anyway. However, you can remove the battery and take it into your home, 6qqqzqwork, or coffee shop and charge it up.
Now in line with UK law, the bicycle must remain capped at 25 km and comes with a pre-built restrictor. It also comes with 7 gears with a quick shift button. There’s also a throttle on the right-hand side of the handlebars which isn’t allowed under EU law: a sticker warns you not to operate the bike above 9nm of torque but as there’s no way of knowing how much torque is being produced at any throttle position, it’s rather pointless.
However, if you are planning to use this machine on your private land, you can hack the restrictor off upping its top speed to 31km, roughly 20mph for my Brits. You won’t be able to find anything in the user manual, nor on Fido’s website explaining how to do this. But when we asked, Fiido did explain the procedure.
Like a motorcycle, the key is required to turn on the ignition: the electronics will not power on unless you insert the key and turn it to the correct position. Now Fiido doesn’t specify much about the rest of the system, but one noticeable drawback is that it uses a cadence sensor rather than a torque sensor. This means power delivery is much jerkier and less natural. It took me a long time to get used to the torque of this bike, and honestly, even now I still struggle with it.
Stopping power comes courtesy of mechanical disc brakes which work well and there’s a built-in front light and horn (built into the light) as seen on many other Chinese electric bikes – but only a rear reflector.
The front fork is unbranded and has 55mm of travel with adjustable rebound and a lockout function, while the rear shock is from Ke Zhen and has up to 35mm of travel.
Unlike the ugly display found on some bikes, it’s nice to see an LCD on the M1. This shows your speed, power mode and battery level and has an odometer.
This bike retails new at around £900 which is unlikely to get you anything new in the bike world, and certainly nothing with an electric motor.
Given the weight and fat tyres, the M1 is surprisingly sprightly. The motor offers a good amount of torque and easily propels you up hills. I weigh 125lbs so this thing sped up for me. However, if you are heavier, it will go a lot slower. The bike works great on-road and off-road. When the front fork is set to its softest setting the bike is a lot of fun off-road. The tyres have some amazing chunky grip and the motor makes climbing uphill easy. However, the bike isn’t great on slow technical sections because it’s honestly just so incredibly heavy.
Is the Fiido M1 Pro Lega;?
The throttle mode is similar to how a motorcycle or scooter operates. When the throttle is engaged the motor provides power and propels you and the bike forward. However, this in itself is a huge minefield. You see Electric mopeds that are self-operated bikes. By which I mean they are equipped with a motor that operates when the pedals of the bicycle are not moving are, on the face of it illegal. Like mopeds, bikes in this category must also have a license plate and are subject to the payment of the road tax and insurance. So actually this is technically a moped if used on a public road, and legally speaking it should have a licence, tax and insurance.
So on to the most important questions
Is an e-bike better for commuting than a motorcycle?
This depends on your needs. An electric bicycle will be easier to stow when not in use and can be parked just about anywhere but it also has less juice, has longer charge times and is slower to get anywhere.
Can an electric bike compete with a motorcycle?
Electric bikes, like all-electric vehicles, have electric motors. Generally speaking, these will not perform as well as road motorcycles or even electric scooters. Though they will do a decent job on a paved level surface.
Is it cheaper?
Yes and no. Electric bikes cost around £1000 to buy, but also you have no maintenance costs, no licence fees, no fuel, no tax, no insurance. To buy an electric motorcycle, you’re looking at around £10,000 up plus all the above. For a regular motorcycle, you’re looking at about £3000 second-hand. The other thing to bare in mind is that e-bikes are so new it’s not clear how long their life span is on them. There is a one-year warranty but Fiido doesn’t yet have any repair centres in Europe. The company tells us that it is planning to set one up but if you did have any problems, you’d probably have to solve them yourself or ship the bike back to China. Neither option is likely to appeal to many potential buyers.
Are the lines being blurred being electric motorcycles and electric bikes, yes absolutely? But are electric push bikes going to replace motorcycles any time soon? For bikers, no. However, food delivery guys, already have. I love the Fiido M1 Pro but ultimately, I don’t think electric bicycles will replace motorcycles any time soon!