Folding electric bike under $1,000!

The Buzz Charter F, Buzz’s newest value-oriented electric bike brand, offers a low-cost $999 foldable model with the battery hidden in the seatpost.

It’s a battery design we’re starting to see more of, and for good reason. It can be useful in urban settings where riders will likely want to take both the saddle and battery inside while the bike remains locked outside.

These are the two most commonly stolen parts of an electric bike, so combining them into one easy-to-grip component means riders can keep thieves away on the trail.

But there’s more than just a clever battery design at work here on the Charter F.

Take a look at my video review below to see what I mean, then keep reading afterwards for the rest of the in-depth review.

Buzz Charter F . video review

Buzz Charter F . Technical Specifications

engine: 250W rear hub motor
maximum speed: 32 km/h (20 mph)
It includes: up to 64 km (40 mi)
battery: 36V 8Ah (288 Wh)
Weight: 15.8 kg (35 lb) with battery
framework: Aluminium
Tires: 20 x 1.75 inches
brakes: Mechanical rim brake
Extras: 3 levels of pedal assist, LED dot matrix display, built-in battery, seat post lock, kickstand
price: Currently $999

Lightweight folding electric bike

The Buzz Charter F’s specialty is being a foldable, lightweight, no-frills electric bike.

Weighing in at just 35 pounds, it definitely falls on the lighter end of the range of e-bikes I’ve tested. Folding bikes are often particularly heavy due to the extra weight of some powerful folding mechanisms, but Buzz Charter F manages to keep an eye on their waistline to maintain their sleek shape.

This makes it ideal for anyone who needs a lightweight folder to haul in the trunk or take to the subway.

However, the light package comes at a cost: energy.

humble strength

The 250W rear hub motor isn’t the most dynamic motor I’ve ever tried. In fact, it is at the lower end of the spectrum.

This is a pedal electric bike – it does not have a pedal – so it will add your own help. But don’t expect to put in rubber when you walk away from the stop sign on Buzz Charter F.

The nice thing is that it still gets you the top speed allowed for Class 1 e-bikes of 20 mph (32 km/h). Many of these small folding e-bikes top out at 15 mph (25 km/h), so the extra speed is a good benefit, even if it takes a few extra seconds to get to the top end.

The good news about low power is that it helps the low capacity 288 watt battery to last longer. They say you can get up to 40 miles (64 km) of range off the e-bike, but that should be in the lowest of the three power modes. If you’re driving faster, expect about 25-30 miles with reasonable pedals.

However, the fact that the battery is hidden in this seatpost makes up for the small battery, because it is very convenient to get in and out when the bike is locked.

Some concessions

To keep the bike’s low price of $999, some compromises had to be made.

In addition to the small motor and battery, there is a simple dot matrix LED display. It shows you the battery capacity, the pedal assist level, and that’s it. It’s good enough for other e-bikes I’ve enjoyed, so it’s good enough here too. But if you’re hoping to get an LCD with a speedometer and other data, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Next, the bike uses rim brakes. They have a lot of stopping power, so this is not a concern. But it can be difficult to adjust over time as the cable stretches. You’ll also need to align the brake pads every time you change them, which is a bit tricky if you’re not familiar with them. Any bike shop can help you do this in a couple of minutes, if you don’t want your hands to get dirty when it’s time to change your brake pads.

There is also no flap or rear rack package. Not only are they not included, but there aren’t even options available as add-ons. You will have to go to a third party if you want to add those parts. I’d like to see the company at least offer a compatible option that you can buy directly instead of trying to find your own third-party parts. When Lectric eBikes recently unveiled the XP LITE and didn’t include bumpers or a rear rack to lower the price, they at least offered them as paid upgrades. So it would be nice to see it here.

Finally, there are no lights on the bike. This means that if you want to ride at night, you will have to add your own car. They give you a pair of rear reflectors, which is very neat. But true e-bike lights should be standard equipment, in my opinion.

So while there’s a lot to like here, there are some compromises made as well.

Finally, the bike rides well and is very comfortable for city riding. Just don’t get caught up in after dark without buying a proper set of bike lights to add!

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