Updated November 4th, 2023
A fun sporty folding electric bike that is easy to transport and store and won’t break the bank.
Top Pick – Best EBike Under $500
Best Value – Best Folding Ebikes
- Gotrax F1 Review and Test
- Recommendation – Buy or No Buy?
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The GoTrax F1 folding electric bike is the latest budget electric bike offering from GoTrax. The F1 has excellent power, acceleration, and range that will leave you wondering if it really only has a 350 watt motor. It folds up into a compact space that is easy to fit in the back of an SUV or car so you can take it with you anywhere. Its range allows you to do a lot of exploring on a single charge. It is one of our favorite $500-$600 electric bikes we have tried.
What we liked:
- Powerful and punchy feeling for a 350 watt motor
- Small compact size when folded
- Quick acceleration when riding with just throttle
- Easy to adjust for different rider sizes
- No assembly required
- Has headlight and tailight
- Easy to read and use LCD display and controls
What we didn’t like:
- The key is difficult to turn to unlock the battery for removal
- One crank required tightening after the second ride
- The brakes needed a little adjustment
- The front wheel has a slight wobble and could use truing
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- Max Speed – 20 mph
- Range – 15-25 miles
- Max Rider Weight – 265 lbs
- Bike Weight – 45 lbs
- Motor Power – 350 watt rear hub
- Battery – 48 volt 7.8 ah
- Speeds – 1 Speed
- Brakes – Mechanical disc
- Wheel Size – 20 inch x 2.6inch tires
Gotrax F1 Review and Test
The Gotrax F1 is their latest low cost folding electric bike. The F1 is a basic bike with a single speed driveline and 350 watt motor. It is surprisingly powerful and fun to ride. We have tried many 350 watt electric scooters and expected similar levels of acceleration and climbing ability. The F1 blew away any 350 watt scooter we have tried for performance and range.
1 – 350 watt rear hub motor
The bike has a 350 watt rear hub motor. This is to keep the weight down and keep the bike more portable. A 500 watt motor would make it heavier to carry around. For those who want a bigger motor, Gotrax sells the F2 electric folding bike which is similar to the F1 but with a bigger 500 watt motor.
2 – 48 volt 7.8 ah removable battery
The bike includes a 48 volt 7.8 ah battery that can be charged on or off the bike. The battery can be removed from the frame when it’s folded. You do this by inserting the key into the bottom of the frame and turning it. This releases it. I have found that the key is difficult to insert into the hole and difficult to turn far enough to release the battery. Fortunately, the bike is small enough and easy enough to carry around that it’s not much hassle getting it close to an outlet to charge.
3 – Folding Mechanism
The Gotrax F1 can fold down into a compact space for storage. The bike folds in half at the center. There is a lever with a locking mechanism. The steering tube also folds at the front of the bike. The handlebar and seats can both be lowered or removed to make the bike even more compact. The pedals fold up as well. The bike fits into a much smaller space when folded up. We could easily fit 2 of them into the back of our Explorer without folding the 2nd row seats down. Fitting 2 regular bikes inside requires folding the 2nd row.
There is a stand built into the bike under the cranks so that it will stay standing upright when folded. This keeps the chain and messy parts of the bike from touching the floor as well.
3 – Single Speed Driveline
To keep this bike lightweight, Gotrax went with a single speed driveline. There is no rear derailleur or shifter. The single speed gearing works well for flat ground and small hills that aren’t too steep. The gearing feels okay for speeds this bike is meant to ride. It’s a little too high for starting out. It’s not geared high enough for pedaling at 20mph where you will end up just freewheeling the pedals.
3 – Power (8/10)
The 350 watt motor provides a surprising amount of get up and go even with a near max weight rider on the bike. For those who want more power GoTrax sells the F2 version of this bike. It has a 500 watt motor and a 7 speed rear driveline making it better for riding up hills. The 350 watt motor on this bike just feels like a lot more power than 350 watts.
The bike’s published top speed is 20mph. I was able to get it up to 18.16mph measured on a GPS on flat ground. The bike’s display read 20mph. The bike’s display tends to be optimistic by about 1-2mph on speed and 1-2 miles in distance after a long ride. 18mph feels fast enough for this bike with its folding geometry. I wasn’t wishing for it to be able to go any faster.
There is a setting in the menu to change the top speed of the bike. You can set it up to 40 kph or 25mph. We tried this and the max the bike would go on throttle or pedal assist was still 20mph. Changing the setting had no effect on the bike’s performance.
We took the Gotrax F1 to our standard hill climb testing hill. This is a 0.5 mile climb with a 100 foot elevation gain. There are 2 sections of the climb with 10% grades. We use a 250 lb rider to make the bike work. We didn’t expect that much from the F1 seeing as how it only has a 350 watt motor and single speed pedal driveline. It turns out it’s got a good amount of power when it comes to hills. We tested the bike on the hill twice. Once with throttle only. Once using the maximum pedal assist level. We got the following results.
- Throttle only – 2 minutes and 17 seconds with an average speed of 13.96mph
- Pedal Assist – 2 minutes and 6 seconds with an average speed of 14.98mph
This surprised us. We have tested several electric scooters with 350 watt motors and they have taken over 4 minutes to go up this hill. We are really pleased with how the Gotrax F1 handles going up hills.
The bike has better acceleration than I expected for a 350 watt motor. It won’t win any drag races. It feels like it’s got some get up and go. It has no trouble quickly getting a max weight rider up to the bike’s top speed on flat ground.
4 – Range (7/10)
We took the F1 out to a nearby bike path that is flat with a stop every 1/2 mile to mile. We used this to test the range with a 250 lb rider on the bike. We rode the bike as close to 15mph as we could.
We used pedal assist level 4 which puts the speed just over 15mph as measured on a GPS. I was able to get 26.98 miles on a single charge riding with pedal assist. I had to split this ride into 2 parts because the bike went much farther than expected and it got dark before we could run the battery out. The published range for the F1 is only 15-25 miles. It’s very rare that we ever ride a bike that goes farther than the published range.
During this ride the left side crank bolt came loose in the middle of the ride. I had to stop and finger tighten it every mile or so until I got to a trailside bike fixing station where I tightened it back up again. I have had crank bolts come loose on several bikes I have owned after riding for several miles. This isn’t a big deal.
I took the bike out to the same flat bike path to see how far it would go on throttle only. I tried to keep the bike as close to 15mph as possible for the entire ride. The bike went 17.6 miles before the battery died. It was able to maintain 15mph until the last mile. This range really shocked me. I was expecting closer to 10 miles based on the battery size. 18 miles was really good for a cold windy day with a 250 lb rider.
5 – Ride and Handling (8/10)
The bike feels good to ride for a small folding bike. It’s not as comfortable as a cruiser bike with a regular frame. It’s fine for a 1-2 hour ride which is all it’s made for. The seat has enough padding to work okay. You can make a more or less upright riding position by raising and lowering the handlebar. You can’t adjust the reach length but there is a lot of size adjustment possible between the seat and handlebar.
This bike is well suited for riding on sidewalks and around people. It can turn quickly and goes easily in tight spaces. It handles okay at full speed with no bad habits. It’s overall fun to ride on bike paths, local streets, and sidewalks.
6 – Braking (8/10)
Stopping power is okay but not great. You won’t mistake this bike for having hydraulic disc brakes. You need to give it some squeeze to get it to stop from high speeds. My front brake felt a little grabby on the first couple rides. It felt better after the pad broke in a little. I took a few turns on the rear brake cable adjuster to get a better feel out of the rear. They are just adequate for stopping power for heavier riders on this bike.
7 – Controls (8.5/10)
The LCD display is simple but gives you eveything you need to know. It shows your speed, pedal assist level, and how much battery you have left. The bottom has an odometer or trip meter.
There are 3 control buttons on the left handlebar that control everything. They are easy to operate while riding. They are big enough to be easily pushed while wearing winter cycling gloves. There is a “+”, “-“, and “m” button. The M button is also the on/off button.
Menus and settings
The menu is easy to use and contains just enough information. You can cycle through the 4 display screens by pressing the “m” button. There are 2 trip meters. You can reset them by pressing the “m” and “-” buttons at the same time for 2 seconds while on that display.
You turn on the headlight by holding the “+” button for 2 seconds. It also turns backlighting on and off on the LCD display so you can read it at night.
Pedal Assist and Throttle
Throttle is controlled by using the twist grip on the right handlebar. You can activate throttle at any time while riding it without stopping. You must be in at least pedal assist level 1 for the throttle to activate. It won’t turn on when the bike is set to level 0.
8 – Assembly Ease (9.5/10)
Assembly Time – 0.5 hours
There is no assembly required with this bike. It is completely assembled in the box. The only thing you have to do is take it out of the box and remove all the shipping material. All you have to do before riding it is charge the battery and unfold it.
Extra tools required
No tools are included with the F1 and no tools are required for assembly.
This bike is a very simple single speed bike. There really isn’t much to adjust on it. Our bike has required some attention after riding it.
My rear brake felt very loose and needed the cable tightened so it would activate with less handle movement. This required just a few turns of the cable adjuster at the brake lever. My front brake pulsed and was a little grabby at first but felt good after some break in miles.
The left side crank bolt on our bike came loose after about 25 miles of riding. We tightened it up and it’s been fine ever since.
See the below video by ParkTool for some guidance for adjusting mechanical disc brakes in case you need to.
9 – Accessories
The bike has a small head light and tail light that are adequate for riding on bike paths and streets. They aren’t super bright but they get the job done. They will let cars see you from far enough away.
There is a bell on the right handlebar. It uses an elastic ringer that you pull and release. I find the easiest position to ring it from is with the ringer pointed straight toward you.
10 – Size and Fit
The bike is designed to fit a wide variety of riders. I am 5’11” and my wife is 5’6″. It fits both of us comfortably. The frame step over height is low so it will work for shorter riders. The riding position is more upright. You can make it more upright by raising the handlebar. I have found that the handlebars are at a good comfortable height at their lowest position.
Recommendation – Buy or No Buy?
We would recommend the Gotrax F1 to anyone looking for a low cost simple folding electric bike. It is much more powerful and fun to ride than expected. The range surprised us given the size of the battery and only single speed driveline. It’s one of the few bikes out there that went farther than the published range. If you want a cheap fun electric bike, check out the Gotrax F1.
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UP TO $600 OFF and more during GOTRAX BLACK FRIDAY SALE
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Co-Founder & Chief Editor
I grew up back east in Pennsylvania and learned to ski on a family trip to Killington, Vermont when I was 6. I immediately fell in love with the mountains and outdoors and have been skiing across the US and Canada ever since. I went to school for Mechanical Engineering, and have a Master’s Degree in Material Science and Reliability.
I am a total gear nerd and love learning how things work and thinking about how they could be improved. Nothing excites me more than trying out new gear. I’d rather spend 3 hours taking my bike apart and learning how to change something than go to a bike shop. These days I reside in Michigan by the Great Lakes and go skiing, biking, and boating as much as possible.