The Jupiter folding electric bike is meant to go places with ease.
On a bright Wednesday in St. Augustine, Florida, I was stepping onto a small green bike when a girl on a school field trip, perhaps 12 years old, stopped me. “Where are the pedals?” she asked.
The answer is: There aren’t any. The Jupiter bike is a folding electric bike without a drivetrain, just a simple hand accelerator, brake and footpegs for rests. No pedaling required. “Whoah,” she said, before hurrying to catch up with her class.
Feeling like a child myself, I pointed the bike down the cobblestone street and accelerated. In retrospect, cobblestone probably wasn’t the best surface of choice. I bobbed along, teeth chattering inside a wide grin. “You’ve gotta try this,” I told Deputy Editor Capt. Bill Pike. As he sped away, I knew I wouldn’t get another turn. He returned, a little hunched over the bike’s small frame, with a chuckle and a smile. “Pretty cool, actually.”
VIDEO: Testing the Jupiter Folding Electric Bike
It was Executive Editor Jeff Moser’s turn. Jeff is an avid cyclist who spends his weekends racing through New York’s boroughs with friends decked out in aerodynamic outfits. He wasn’t about to be caught dead riding this thing. But taking it for a spin, he saw the appeal: an easy-to-use electric bike that fits in an oversized backpack for easy storage on the boat.
The Jupiter Bike V2.0 ($895) doesn’t have a full-sized frame like a regular bike, because it folds up to the size of a pizza. The design is pretty nifty, with the wheels folding inside the circular frame and the stem and handlebars collapsing down. Putting it together proved a little tricky at first (there are a lot of steps), but once I got the hang of it, it didn’t take long.
This bike is ideal for provisioning at your home marina or your latest destination: It can go 15 mph for 10 miles on a single charge. When we first saw the bike, we couldn’t figure out where the lithium ion batteries were. Turns out they’re inside the front wheel, and the motor is in the back wheel. It takes two hours to fully charge from a standard 120-volt outlet.
When we cruised to St. Augustine, the bike—folded neatly into 16- by 20-inches inside the backpack—didn’t take up much room. When we arrived, the 24-pound contraption was simple to lift off the boat, and the backpack’s wheels made it easy to roll down the dock.
This bike might not be for everyone, but the storage capability and price make it a compelling contender. I never did get another turn; Capt. Bill raced away, until the green became just a blur in traffic.