Axon Rides makes a range of folding electric bikes around the same frame, and this one – the standard Pro – sits fairly squarely in the middle. This means it neatly straddles the balance of features versus price, with everything you want and a few things more, but at a price that’s got increasingly attractive, especially with the discounts available on it at the time of writing. Review by Phill Tromans and Richard Beech.
- City commuters
- Carrying when needed
- Single-speed drivetrain means less to go wrong
- Hydraulic brakes feel brilliant
- Removable seat-post battery is convenient and looks great
- Fairly light for a folding e-bike
- Lack of gears makes steeper hills hard work
- Only three levels of electric assist
- Won’t suit taller, larger riders
|Components + build quality
|Safety + security
|Performance + handling
|Comfort + practicality
The Axon Rides Pro is a well-specced, well-priced folding e-bike that has plenty to recommend about it, although it has a few quirks that mean it might not suit everyone.
Its light weight makes it attractive to commuters, as it’s easy to lug up steps and into train carriages, and it’s comfortable and nimble on all manner of roads. The lack of gears is a double-edged sword – it means less maintenance and less to go wrong, but means less flexibility if your commute involves lots of hills, despite the power assistance.
Overall, though, it’s a solid choice for getting to and from work in a busy town or city.
|One size for adults 150cm / 4'9" to 180cm / 6'2
|Max Rider Weight
|25cm x 64cm x 76.5cm
|Hydraulic disc brakes front & rear
|Up to 40km/25 miles
|250 Watt rear-wheel hub.
|5.2Ah 36V, integrated in seatpost
|3.5 hours. Charger included
|15.5mph (UK e-bike speed limit)
|3 power assist modes
|Front & rear
Axon Rides Pro in detail
Components and build quality
The Axon Rides Pro is based around an unusual lightweight magnesium alloy frame that’s common across all the firm’s folding bikes, but the components vary depending on the exact model. This frame helps a great deal with weight, with the whole bike tipping the scales at just 15.5kg despite its chunky appearance.
The wheels are also unusual, with six double spokes, mounted on just one side on both the frame and the fork, so you can change tyres without taking them off. The brakes on this model are discs with Nutt hydraulic callipers and the tyres are 16-inch Chao Yang numbers, which are common on e-bikes and perform reasonably well while keeping costs down.
The drivetrain is a single-speed chain attached to a 250W motor in the rear hub, and it’s designed to be relatively maintenance-free – just a regular clean and lube of the chain should do it.
Three levels of power assistance are available, controlled via an LCD display unit on the right handlebar.
Front and rear lights are integrated into the bike and are controlled by buttons on the left handlebar, as is a handy horn – it’s not particularly loud, but it should at least alert wandering pedestrians to your presence when needed.
Small mudguards are included on both the front and rear wheel, but there’s no rack available. A kickstand is also included.
The folding process is well thought-out, simple and fairly standard to folding bikes, with a release clip in the centre of the frame and on the steering tube.
All the components feel solidly made and put together, although on the move the bike flexes at its joints slightly more than some of its rivals. It’s not off-putting, but you can definitely feel it.
Safety and security
The included horn is a great addition to warn pedestrians of your presence while riding – just a quick toot via the handlebar-mounted button and danger is averted. Just make sure you don’t accidentally turn the lights on or off instead, as the buttons are next to each other. If you do need to slam on the anchors, the hydraulic brakes are brilliant with loads of feel and modulation to stop you locking up and skidding.
The ability to easily remove the seatpost battery is an effective deterrent against theft; we suspect not too many opportunists will want to pilot a saddle-less e-bike with no power.
Performance and handling
The Pro model sits in the middle of the Axon Rides range of folding ebikes, and its 187.2Wh battery capacity means a range of up to 25 miles. That should be enough to cover the majority of urban commutes, but if yours is particularly lengthy then the Pro 7 and Pro Max models have a larger battery promising 30 miles.
The electric motor sits in the hub of the rear wheel and gives you up to 250W of power, with three levels of assistance available – you can choose maximum assistance for hills or when moving away, and then dial down the assistance when cruising. Being able to switch between these modes is vital because the Pro is single-speed – there are no gears. This is great for ease of maintenance, with no need to make sure the gears are indexed, but does mean that, especially on hills, pulling away can be a challenge. The included thumb throttle on the right handlebar can give you a short blast of extra power to help.
At this point we need to mention the cadence sensor, which is used to detect when you’re pedalling and want power assistance. Unlike higher end bikes – like the Axon Rides Pro Max – which use torque sensors to detect pressure on the pedals, the Pro’s cadence sensor detects movement, which means you need to have the pedals moving before the assistance kicks in. Out of the box, the cadence sensor is set to wait two full rotations of the pedals before it provides assistance, which is way too long (it’s a safety feature to stop the power kicking in accidentally if you’re walking the bike along). Thankfully, you can change it to a quarter turn, and we’d recommend you do – otherwise your legs will get a heck of a workout as you strain to get moving before the motor helps you out.
This is perhaps the Pro’s main shortcoming. Other rival bikes have more levels of assistance (usually five) and many have gears to make undulating terrain easier to ride. Once you’re up and running on the Pro, the power is perfectly sufficient to make for easy cruising, but this is a bike we’d suggest you test ride before purchasing, to make sure it fits the profile of your usual journeys.
In terms of handling, the Axon Rides Pro feels impressively nimble when negotiating tight turns through traffic, but it’s also more than stable enough to cruise on faster cycle lanes. The hydraulic brakes make for dependable, feelsome braking; there’s little danger of locking up during an emergency stop because modulating them is really intuitive.
Comfort and practicality
Considering that the Axon Rides Pro has little 16-inch wheels – which aid in portability but can be detrimental to ride comfort – it’s remarkably comfortable to ride, and the cushioning from the Chao Yang tyres is enough to take the sting out of cobbles and uneven road surfaces.
A note for taller riders – although Axon Rides claims that the Pro is suitable for riders up to 6’2, on my test ride I had the seat as high as it would go and it still felt a little low. For reference, I’m 6’0 but I have fairly short legs.
Speaking of the seat, the seatpost is home to the battery, which is both a neat solution for aesthetics and handy for recharging – just unplug it at the bottom of the seat tube, take the whole seat post out and take it just about anywhere to plug in using the included charger. That said, because the lowered seat post acts as a stand when the bike is folded, removing it takes away that feature.
The bike comes fitted with discreet mudguards for both front and rear wheels, but no rack, and there’s no official accessory to fill that gap. If you want to carry things on the bike, you’ll have to look for a third party steerer tube-mounted affair.
Women rider's verdict
Eilis Barrett: "It must be noted that all bikes are gender neutral, unless specified by the manufacturer. But women often look for smaller frame sizes and shorter reach with a handlebar width more suited to a smaller person. The Axon Pro is a great option for the smaller sized riders, recommended for a starting height of 4 ft 9.
"In fact - a note for taller riders! The frame is small and if you have longer legs you will notice it. Despite having the seat as high as it would go, being 5ft10 I couldn’t extend my leg out as I would with a larger sized ride.
"It is also one of the most lightweight folders I've ridden, weighing in at 15.5kg. I’ve personally taken it on the tube, held it whilst going down a steep descent on the escalators and used it as a last mile solution from the station to my house. It’s super convenient for local riding and multi-modal commutes!"
Other Axon models
Phill Tromans has been a journalist and reviewer since 2001. As both a keen road cyclist and car aficionado, he’s fully embraced the concept of e-mobility, and while he still loves pure pedal power, he also likes not being a sweaty mess at the end of every bike ride.