A little bit on the spur of the moment, I took part in a crowd funding for an electric folding bike MATE. The funding was a success as they raised over $6 million, more than 40 times the minimum amount required to launch the project.
I finally got this bike last month. My impressions are mixed and I’ll tell you a bit about it afterwards, but in the meantime, wanting to use it to take the bus in the morning when it’s still dark, I had to find a lighting solution.
There is a black and red connector on the front of the MATE that delivers 37 V when the control module is in lighting mode (after pressing the top button for a few seconds when the display backlight is on). It is clearly designed to power a headlight.
I had some troubles finding the reference of this connector. It is in fact a Higo mini B that I was able to order on this website (or archive). Shipping costs are a bit expensive if you order nothing else, but I couldn’t find better.
I ordered this lighting kit which seemed to me to meet my expectations ( powerful front headlight, rear headlight, possible to fix it on the bike and connectible to the Higo mini connector).
Assembly and result¶
The assembly was easy enough. The connector is sold mounted on a cable about 60 cm long. I mounted the lamp on the connector with tin soldering of the two previously stripped cables, all covered by a heat-shrinkable sheath, and a little chatterton tape.
The cable from the front headlight to the rear headlight is a little short to allow the rear light to be positioned at the top of the saddle — which is necessary to ensure proper folding of the bike. Care should be taken when folding the saddle.
Here’s what it looks like:
Impressions on the MATE bike¶
The delivery is made in a large, TV-like package. The package is in good condition. The bike assembly is carried out without too much hassle, except for a pedal whose screw pitch is damaged. It took me some time to reform the screw pitch of the pedal arm by mounting the pedal inside out before reassembling it upright.
This bike is pretty nice. It is easy to use and gives a good help for the climbs. All in all, he does what was expected.
It is fairly cheap (or at least it was at the time of the start of crowd funding).
The quality of manufacture is reasonable, without being dazzling.
Negative points or disappointments¶
Here are some less satisfactory points:
- The bike is advertised as a Copenhagen bike, but of course it is made in China.
- Be careful to remove the battery key before folding the bike. The cables that pass by the key can bend it. It happened to me once and I had a hard time extracting it. Might as well say the key was unusable after that.
- The development at the greatest speed does not make it possible to exceed 30 km/h without getting nowhere fast. That’s a shame. A somewhat larger development would have been welcomed.
- The locking system of the folding does not seem very robust. It has already jammed once, and I twisted the locking lever a little bit while trying to loosen it. A small turn of screw solved the problem, but you must remain vigilant when locking.
I will start using it on a regular basis starting on Monday. Soon I will know a little more about the durability and real autonomy of this bike and if the headlight is bright enough for a night usage.