REVIEW – It’s safe to say that e-bikes are all the rage, but there are so many choices now that it’s a tough decision when it comes to dropping $1,000 or more on a bike. So which features are the most important? Battery life? Comfort? Tire size? It’s enough to make your head spin. I have owned e-bikes for several years and riden several different brands, and I have settled on the things that I do and don’t like about e-bikes. The latest e-bike to find its way to my garage is the $1,299 Snapcyle Eagle, fat tire, folding e-bike. Does it have enough to make it to the top of my heap? Let’s check it out!
What is it?
The Snapcycle Eagle is a class-3 e-bike that folds for storage/transporting.
What’s in the box?
- The Snapcycle Eagle
- A small collection of tools you may need for minor adjustments
- A charger
- A user manual
- A helmet
- Length: 67 in
- Folded size: 39.4 in ×16.5 in ×29.9 in
- Seat height: 28 inches to 36 inches
- Motor: Brushless hub with 1056W peak power
- Waterproof level: IP65
- Brake system: 160mm front and rear hydraulic disk breaks
- Charger: 110-240v AC 50-60HZ, 48V2A
- Tires: 4 inches wide, 20 inches diameter
- Bike weight: 68 lbs
- Max riding weight: 300 lbs
- Range: 30-45 miles
- Battery: 48V14Ah
- Top speed: 28 mph (with pedal assist)
Features and performance
When the Snapcycle Eagle fat-tire folding e-bike is taken out of the box you’ll find that it literally takes less than 5 min to get it up and ready to go. Everything is already attached and you simply have to unfold it and put the handle up, lock it in place, and you are ready to go. So the installation wasn’t really an installation. The Snapcycle Eagle design is one that has the central frame of the bike fairly high in the middle, which means you have to swing your leg over the frame to mount the bike rather than simply stepping-through the bike to get on it. Some folks don’t like that high center frame, so it’s something to consider.
The tires are 4 inch fat tires, which means it is ready for rough terrain, or can be used on paved streets. I prefer the fat tires myself to skinnier tires. I just think they are more versatile, although they do generally generate more road noise because of the bigger treads. There are mud flaps, which I think are becoming pretty much standard on e-bikes these days. There is an LED headlight on the front, which is wired into the power system and you simply double click the power button on the LCD panel to activate it. As far as a tail light goes, the bike comes with a reflector under the seat that does not illuminate. But I purchased separately a metal rack that attaches above the rear tire (I bought it after these pictures were taken so you don’t see it in the pic above) so that I could strap items down that I wanted to carry, like a bag or something. This rack came with a reflector built in that has 2 triple A batteries and a button that you can use to turn the rear light on. It would have been nice if this rack had come standard on the bike and the rear light built into the power system like the front headlight. But at least this is an option for you.
The foam seat is very comfortable, so unlike some other e-bikes that I own, I won’t need to replace it with something more comfortable. The front of the bike has lockable shock absorbers that work great, and you’ll be comfortable going over a curb or rough terrain. The seat also has a shock absorber that smooths the ride on the seat, and the seat can be raised and lowered to your liking.
Every e-bike I own is a foldable one because we like to load our bikes in the SUV and take them all over town to ride in parks and such. And the Snapcycle Eagle is an easy-folding bike due in part to the built-in handle in the frame that is right below the seat. That makes it easier than most other e-bikes because it provides the perfect place to grab and lift the bike while folding it. It’s hard to explain, but if you have ever tried to fold an e-bike you know how difficult it can be to lift and wrangle a 70 to 90 lb bike to get the darn thing closed. The Snapcycle is the easiest bike of any that I have tried to fold.
The Snapcycle Eagle fat-tire folding e-bike’s pedals are also foldable, which makes it nice when transporting the bike because it requires less space. The handle folds down as well, and there is a lever on the handlebar that allows you to move it forward and backward so you can find the best fit for the length of your arms.
The key slot, like many other e-bikes, is located at the bottom of the central frame. I have heard some people complain about that, and you’ll have to get good at inserting the key without hanging your head upside down to see it. But it just takes practice to get comfortable inserting the key. The plus is that because the key slot is on the bottom, you are less likely to break the key off by accident as opposed to having the key slot on the side of the bike. I should also mention another positive is that you can’t start the e-bike without the key, so that’s a safety plus. The aforementioned Urban Drift FIGOO S2 e-bike that I recently reviewed didn’t require the key to start the bike, which I think is a downside to bikes that do that.
The key also serves the function of releasing the battery from the bike so that you can take the battery inside the house to charge it instead of having to find a power outlet outside where you store your bike. I do wish Snapcycle had done differently the method you have to use to remove the battery. Basically, to remove the battery you have to fold the bike open because the battery slides out from inside the frame. Here are some pictures of that so you can see what I am talking about. It’s not enough of a hassle to be a deal breaker for me, but I do wish they could have enabled the battery to be released without having to fold the bike.
The LCD panel is simple and provides the basic information that you would want to know, like the battery indicator, the pedal assist level (from 1 to 5), the miles you have ridden, etc. It only lights up when you double click the power button, which will also activate the front headlight. On the left handlebar you’ll find a brake, the LCD panel (which has the power button) and the horn. On the right handlebar you’ll find the 7-speed manual switch for the gears, a brake, the twist throttle, and a strange button without any markings.
That button is what I am calling the kill switch. Basically, the only purpose of the button is to turn off the twist throttle. So if you don’t want to be able to use the twist throttle to move the bike forward, then you press it. And then you press it again to turn the throttle back on. Now, even if the kill switch is activated, you can still use the bike power by using pedal assist, which means you pedal the bike and the more you pedal, the faster the bike goes. The strange thing about the kill switch, besides not having any marking, is that there is also no indication on the LCD panel when it is activated. It’s not a big deal once you know about it, but the manual doesn’t mention anything about it so I had to discover it after some playing around with it. I would suggest that Snapcycle fix that.
As far as the performance of the Snapcycle Eagle fat-tire folding e-bike goes, that’s where it really shines. The first thing you’ll notice is that the brakes are amazing. They are very smooth and very strong. More than once as I was cruising down the road I pressed the brake that operates just the front tire and the back tire came off the ground! The shock absorbers on the front tire and the seat also work great and prevent your teeth from rattling out of your head on rough pavement and terrain. Finally, the battery life is excellent and lasts longer than some other e-bikes that I own, and the motor and gears are very smooth, so riding it is a joy.
What I like
- A comfortable ride with great suspension
- Wonderful battery life for long distances
- Easy folding for storage or transport
- Smooth gears
- Amazing brakes!
- A removable battery
What I would change
- You have to fold the bike to remove the battery. It would be nice to remove the battery without having to do that.
- There needs to be an indicator on the LCD display when the kill switch for the throttle is pressed.
- A rear tail light that is wired to the power system to automatically turn on and off.
When I reviewed the FIGOO S2 e-bike from Urban Drift recently, I believed that it was the best e-bike I had seen thus far, despite some of the misgivings I had about it. But I do believe that I finally found an e-bike that checks all the boxes for me with even fewer misgivings. The Snapcycle Eagle fat-tire folding e-bike has a comfortable suspension-supported ride, excellent brakes, amazing battery life, an easy-folding mechanism, and smooth-as-butter gears. For the price, I believe you get more bang for your buck with this e-bike. Plus, it’s not as heavy as other e-bikes so it’s easier to get into the back of your SUV when you transport it, and the handle easily folds down as well. The Snapcycle Eagle is now at the top of my heap of e-bikes! Anybody wanna go riding??