Hands-on with Huffy's Oslo folding electric bike

We went and tested out how convenient and useful Huffy's Oslo Electric Lightweight Folding Commuter Bike actually is.

Sean Booker Video Producer
As a Video Producer at CNET, Sean has worked on more videos than he can count. He covers video games and video game hardware along with the occasional electric bike. He covers games both on and off camera, through livestreams, press events, and podcasts.
Expertise Video Games | E-Bikes
Sean Booker
5 min read

The Oslo Electric is an easy-to-fold commuter e-bike that collapses in the middle, handlebars, and the pedals. The bike has seven gears controlled by a twist shifter. It features a 36-volt battery that powers a 250-watt rear hub motor. The battery is under the rear rack and has a max weight load of 10-pounds. It is priced at $1,100.

The Oslo has an easy set up and most things come attached. The components needing a bit extra were the pedals, and screwing those into place is a breeze. Some mail-order bikes can take hours to put together; this one is ready in a fraction of the time.

Unboxing and setting the bike up takes around thirty minutes (if you're also trying to film the process). After using it a couple times, you'll be able to unfold and start riding in just a few seconds.

If you live in a small apartment, Oslo's most significant advantage is how compact it can fold down. It's small enough to fit under a desk, in a closet, on a train, or in the back of your car.  When storing it, the only real issue is that the pedals would sometimes get in the way of the bike's floor stand. Folding and unfolding the bike is relatively easy and pretty straightforward. Each hinge is well secured and even has an additional level of fastening to ensure it doesn't pop open. However, it's not the easiest to deal with once folded.

The Oslo weighs 45lbs, and there aren't any handles on the bike so picking it up isn't very comfortable. Some folding bikes have a feature that will allow easy transport once compacted, like the Brompton Electric. The Brompton locks into place and has a handle to wheel the bicycle around like a piece of luggage. The Oslo has neither, but remember that this bike is less than a third of Brompton's $3,800 price tag. With that said, carrying the Oslo means consistently having to lift the bike at awkward angles, and sometimes the bike will unfold or sway around in your arms. Something to keep in mind if you have to lug a bike up a stairwell.

It has a 36-volt battery and a 250-watt motor, smaller than many e-bikes around this price range. The Lectric XP 2 has a 48-volt battery with a 500-watt motor, but it's also 20 pounds heavier. With its 250-watts, the bike can reach up to 20 mph with pedal assist and lasts 1-2 hours. Even without the battery, though, the Oslo Electric feels just like riding a regular bike. The battery is small, compact, and easy to charge. It slides out from under the rear rack so you can plug it in or throw it into a backpack, but you can charge it while secured to the bike if need be. The battery can be locked in place but we recommend taking the battery off if you're locking your bike outside. 

The most important thing to know about the Oslo Electric is that it only has one pedal assist level. It's either on or off. That means you can't specify how much power and assistance you'd like. And you enable it by turning the battery on and then pressing the green button by the gear shift. 

When you activate it you'll feel the power kick on after about five seconds as you begin to accelerate much faster. And as a result, gearing up will be much easier so hitting the top speed is pretty quick and effortless. The downside is that the motor turns off once you stop pedaling. So if you're wanting to take a break and coast or have to slow down because of traffic or a stop sign, the motor will turn off too and you'll decelerate quite quickly. This is because the Oslo has a cadence sensor which only monitors whether you're pedaling or not and outputs a fixed amount of power. Other e-bikes like the Super73 or the RadRunner have torque sensors. These measure the actual force you're pedalling and output power to match accordingly. With the Oslo it becomes a bit uncomfortable since you'll naturally reach a speed higher than your pedaling resistance will allow for. But in order to keep the assist going and maintain your momentum, you need to continuously pedal at this empty friction. It's not a huge problem at first but if you were pedaling at a high gear or up a hill, you now need to pedal at the last gear you were on (which is probably the hardest one) for a few seconds before the bike will help you out again. 

As a result there were really only two situations where the pedal assist felt totally comfortable to ride with. The first is going uphill. This makes the gear tension constant and the motor makes the incline a breeze to overcome. The second is on long stretches of straight road. That way you won't have to keep slowing down and breaking to navigate traffic and pedestrians so the motor isn't constantly starting and stopping along with your pedal cadence. 

It's also worth noting that the kickstand has a tendency to get in the way of your ankle when pedaling. Quite an odd issue to run into. With that said, it is nice that the Olso at least has a kickstand. The Brompton doesn't come with one and you had to rotate the back tire if you wanted the bike to stand on its own.

The Oslo Electric is for a very specific kind of rider out there. It's for people commuting to work or the store. If you need to bike the last couple of miles from the train or bus. Maybe you have a couple hills on your route that you would prefer to avoid otherwise you might show up to the office with pit stains. This shorter distance doesn't need a large or super long lasting battery. It's also for people who don't have a lot of space at home for a regular bike and need to be able to slip this out of the way or easily place it into the back of a car. And lastly, it's for someone who's looking to save money. All of Huffy's bikes are priced on the lower end of electric bikes. The Oslo comes in around $1,100 and their standard, more fully featured bikes cost only $100 more.

There are just too many drawbacks to totally recommend this bike. The small storage footprint was awesome but the awkward carry you have to do to get it upstairs is not ideal. And the biggest let down was that cadence sensor and motor. The bike just didn't end up being a comfortable ride enough of the time. Try looking into the Lectric XP 2.0 or the RadMini for similarly priced e-bikes. Neither are as light and compact but much more versatile with their feature sets. Otherwise an electric scooter might be an option.