Electric motors have made cycling to the office a sweat-free breeze. Once you arrive at the office though, it's still handy to fold your bike away to carry it inside. That's where the Cyclotricity Wallet is worth a ride.
It's a compact, city-centre bike that folds in two main places. The rear point allows the back wheel to swing forwards, while the second point lets the handlebar stem fold down on itself. Once collapsed, you can then lift the Wallet by its seat and push it along on the two conveniently-located caster wheels.
It's a nice idea in theory, but the problem is that the bike weighs a really rather hefty 37 pounds. It's a struggle to carry it up and down stairs, and trying to lug it onto public transport will no doubt be met with a few raised eyebrows. Still, it's easy enough to wheel through office doors and into a sturdy lift. Also, the smaller footprint of its folded form makes it much more inconspicuous than a full-size road bike.
Actually folding the bike down is something of a challenge, though. Even after multiple practice attempts, I still felt like I was wrenching apart the metal welding points when I tried to pull the handlebar stem from its socket. Maybe it's something you'll get used to in time.
The Wallet's small size makes it well-suited for inner-city roads, and its comfortably-sprung seat disperses all but the worst of the road's potholes before they reach your delicate zone. The small wheels makes going up and down kerbs a rather jolting experience, so always look out for more comfortable routes.
The motor itself is positioned in the front wheel, and it's marvelous fun. A quick push on the thumb throttle sets the motor whirring, very quickly bringing you up to its 15.5mph (25kmh) top speed. The fast response makes setting off from a standstill at traffic lights a much safer task.
It will simply provide assistance to your pedalling if you still want to have a bit of a workout on your way to the office. It has a range of 20-30 miles (32-48km) from a charge, which should be enough for both legs of your daily commute, but you'll need to recharge it every night if you want the motor's assistance the next day.
I'm not keen on the brakes, which were pretty ineffective (not to mention squeaky), and the gears sometimes made some unpleasant churning sounds when I tried to change up or down too quickly. I had the same problem with Cyclotricity's other bike, the Stealth, which suggests to me that these components aren't some of the best. I'd recommend regular services with a bike mechanic.
Still, at £900 (converted, that works out to around $1,165 or about AU$1,520) the bike is relatively affordable, in comparison with the £1,300 Stealth or the £2,000 Mando Footloose, and the company will ship worldwide. The immediate motor assistance means you can cycle into work without breaking into even a mild sweat. If you're after a compact e-bike and you don't want to break the bank, then the Wallet is worth a look.