If you’ve only recently caught on to how the rest of the world is going bike crazy for electric bicycles, you’re not alone. In America, especially the west coast, electric bikes or “Ebikes” have taken over many people’s lives as they switch to using one for daily commuting. Either for the purpose of bypassing excruciating traffic jams or saving money on gas or promoting green technology, or all of the above. Electric bikes are here to stay.
However, since the demand has just caught on for the mainstream consumer, it’s difficult to find the right one out there since the prices can range from under $1,000 all the way to $10,000+ monstrosities.
Here’s the one we picked up recently that is super affordable and yet carries quiet the combination of features that’ll get you going on a very smooth but powerful ride!
Presenting BPM Import’s F-15RS Folding Electric Bike:
Before we talk about the performance in detail, let’s look at the design first.
As you can see, it’s fairly unique. Even if it kind of resembles the rad mini electric bike clones out there, the F15 RS still has something about it that makes it stand out from the folding bike category. Especially the way this mid section frame is curved like that…
It has full suspension, front and rear. The front fork is fairly generic, but it does have preload and lock features in case you’re riding on flat surfaces mostly and don’t want the added reistance of bouncing when trying to accelerate. But it’s really the rear suspension that makes it unique, check out these shocks in the back as it supports the weight of the rider directly under the seat. It even has this swivel on the lower area of the frame, adding more support for comfort and durability of the frame when going over bumps and sidewalks.
And that’s on top of the fact that these come with 20” fat tires that roll over pot holes like it’s high fiving them.
The ability to fold will be appealing to anyone who has limited storage space for bikes. But because of the tire size and the overall frame design, it’s pretty bulky and very heavy and won’t fit in most trunks unless you have an SUV or a huge space on your hatchback.
Don’t rely on this folding feature for convenience unless you want a good work out. Another potential downside to this type of folding design also is that the distance between the seat and the handlebars is very short, making it extra difficult to mount if you happen to be a short rider or have a huge baggage on the rack and can’t kick your legs over. So keep that mind.
Still. I really like the way it looks, and everywhere I go it just turns heads left and right. Cars stopped at a redlight often give the thumbs up and nods in approval. And you can see why. The F15-RS has more of a badass small motorcycle look than a bicycle when viewing it from the side.
And that’s actually what this electric bike was built to do for you in performance as well. So let me just get that out of the way now…
If you want to get an exercise and work up a sweat, this is not the Ebike for you. It has 5 levels of Pedal Assist on a cadence sensor, not Torque. At least, as much I can tell with the magnets being very visible down there and no torque arm in the rear. If you’re staying on level 1 or 2, you can still feel like you’re riding a bicycle moving at 15mph or less. But, anything above that and the motor will kick in faster than you can pedal. Making it feel like you are just kicking air because the cadence is so loose at that point.
Even when going up hill, this bike will push you up a 15% gradient climb at roughly 12-15 mph. It’s that powerful. Making it very ideal for anyone who wants to use this as a main commuter bike and want to get to places without being sweaty. Just use the twist throttle all the way. That is… as long as you don’t need to go more than 15 miles one way.
Because with great power, comes a great strain on the battery. The lack of good pedaling assistance will have you riding this dry quicker than what you would think a 17Ah battery should be able to take you. The fat tires will make your ride more stable, but it will also add even more drag when riding on smooth flat roads. But if you’re really worried about the range, because of the silver-fish style battery pack, you can easily buy another one for about $300 online. Strap that on or put it in saddle bag for the rear rack, and you’ll be good to go for 30 miles and up of sweet comfy cruising.
Speaking of comfy, check out this seat. If you’re not familiar with the biking industry, this is what they call a couch. Super wide, very comfortable to sit on for long periods of time. IF you’re not pedaling a lot. Again, this goes back to the apparent intentional purpose of designing and building the F15-RS as a cruiser bike running mostly on electric power than relying on man power. This seat is not good for your glutes if you’re pedaling hard, trust me on that. Because of the wideness of the cushion, you will feel a lot of rubbing of your thighs and groin as it awkwardly forces shifting of your hips when you pedal.
Which is actually fine for short distances, it won’t affect you at all. But not if you’re trying to extend the range of your travel by staying on low PAS levels, really pushing as much distance as you can. You’re not gonna like this seat. So you can see why I said this is going to be more for cruising on power than pedaling. This is not the bike you want to rely on for any places that is more than 15 miles away from the next charging outlet. I’m confident you can get 20 miles the most if you’re riding it mostly on flat roads with no hills to climb. And that’s plenty far enough for most folks to commute. Again, it’s just meant for cruising, not actual cycling.
One more thing to point out about the seat is the seat post. Well specifically the clamp. You will NEED to buy a $12 clamp replacement at the bike shop because this thing is either going to kill you mid ride when it suddenly falls down, and possibly damage this shock. Or you have to use a vice grip to adjust it if you want it to stay on for a while.
The fenders are good and made of metal, possibly steel because it’s very stiff and heavy. The headlight if mounted properly is more than bright enough to see in the night. And it’s integrated into the power you can activate just by holding down the up button. The twist throttle has a red button here if you just want to use electric only with no pedaling. But just keep in mind also, even if you have the button turned off, if you twist this handle while you’re pedaling, the throttle will kick in. As in, full power suddenly! This can be a good thing when accelerating from a red light or a stop sign for example. But because this was never mentioned anywhere on the manual, it scared the crap out of me when I accidentally twisted it while it was on pedal assist mode.
Speaking of manuals… don’t rely on it. Not even for assembly. If you’ve never handled a bike before, let alone an ebike, it would be a good idea to take the box to your local bike shop. If not then, the 2 things to watch out for are the proper torque locking of the handle bar stem so it doesn’t twist around while you’re riding and also proper installment of the front wheel because it has a quick release feature.
Overall… I think this bike is worth that $1600 price range as electric bikes go. The design looks bad ass, and comes with full spension plus fat tires and a couch for a seat, emphasizing comfort while cruising. But again to make that point for the last time, you will want this bike for cruising not cycling. It’s essentially a scooter desguised as a bicycle. The only way you’re going to get a good workout from this is if you’re climing a steep hill on low pedal assist levels.
If you’re just cruising to work or exploring your neighborhood, wanting a good relaxing time. Get this. You will have a ton of fun!
And because Ebikes tend to be very limited in supplies with each iteration of a design, if you like the look of the F15-RS, you probably won’t be seeing this again elsewhere in the next years to come.