Review by Dan A. Nelson
Buzz E-Bikes Charter F Folding:
Lack of local mobility represents one of the big drawbacks of van camping or roof-top tenting. When your vehicle becomes your camp, it’s tough to hit a local trailhead or make a supply run since it means packing up and driving your camp away for that excursion.
But the newest electric-assist bike from Buzz E-Bikes offers a great option for local travel away from camp. The Charter F Folding bike weighs just 35 pounds and compacts to roughly the size of carry-on luggage for easy transport even in vehicles already packed with camping gear. When ready to use, the Charter F swings open to fit riders of all sizes. We shared the bike between a 5’4” woman and a 6’2” man and both found it comfortable for extended rides – our longest test ride was just over 30 miles.
The Charter F sports 20-inch wheels and a seat height that ranges form 29- to 40+ inches.
A 7-speed derailleur backs up a hub-drive electric power system featuring 3 levels of power assistance. The bike easily cruises at 15-20-mph on the flat and even our 6’2” tester (220 pounds) found he could enjoy modest hill climbs at upwards of 10 mph, and we didn’t fully drain the battery even on the longest 30+ mile test rides. The brand representatives say the bike’s 30-volt battery has a potential range of 40+ miles when set to medium-assist, but in rolling terrain where high assist is employed, riders should expect an average of 25 miles per charge.
The controls are simply and easy to operate on the fly – derailleur controls on the right-hand grip, and the power control is on the left.
Based in Dayton, Ohio, Buzz E-Bikes offers a range of other bikes, but the new Charter F Folding Bike is one of the best electric bikes we’ve see for the camping community. The bike’s compact design and modest weight make it ideal for space-constrained users. And its performance and durability make it a worthy transport option for day trips out of camp.
The Buzz E-Bike Charter F Folding Bike sells from $999 is available directly from the company at https://www.buzzbicycles.com/electric-folding-bikes/