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E-Moto Crosstown $1600 Folding Ebike Review

October 31, 2012
3,966 Views

The E-moto Crosstown, although not flashy or fast,  is an electric bike breakthrough, in that it is a high quality, name brand bike,  has a one-year warranty, and  a lithium battery pack, with the entire package selling at a very low $1600 retail price.  The Crosstown gets it right with some nice feature sets including a step-through folder frame, smart color coordination, fenders, front basket and rear rack.  Ebike component wise this bike is nothing to scoff at, with a Panasonic LiPo battery pack, a geared Bafang 350-watt motor, and a 17-amp controller.

Folding Design

The Crosstown is a folding bike, with step-through frame, and a small 20″ wheel. This combination makes for a highly convenient electric bike. It is easy to get on and off, it does not take much room to store even when not folded, and is highly maneuverable.  The Crosstown makes a very good city bike, or a great choice for a senior citizen or a lady. The bike is very cute looking and has convenient front basket, and rear rack.

I really like the 20″ folding bike as an electric bike choice and ride one myself. Although I rarely use the folding feature it is convenient for the times  I want to stuff my electric bike in a car trunk. Also the low step-through frame actually makes the bike a little safer, since it is easy to hop off the bike or put a foot down in an emergency.

 

 

350 watt hub motor clocked up to 600 watts

 

 

In most of its past electric bike models, E-moto used a wimpy 250 watt motor.  The Crosstown uses a Bafang geared 350 watt hub motor. Geared motors are more efficient and smaller than direct drive hub motors.  Because the motor is laced into a 20″ wheel, it makes this bike more zippy and more of a hill climber than if it would be if in a bigger wheel  (the smaller wheel means lower gearing). The Crosstown feels extremely powerful when first starting out, and is actually able to give a pretty good jolt, and if your not careful, it can wheelie you off the back.  Once your used to the bike and its off-the-line power this should not be an issue.

Although the motor is rated for 350 watts, E-moto is pushing 17 amps for a total of 600 watts making this bike a beast of a hill climber.

The motor is made by Bafang which is known for making reliable geared hub motors, and even at this higher wattage the motor should last thousands of miles.

 Ride Quality

The E-moto has lots of torque on start up and tops out at around 18-MPH fairly quickly.  The bike feels stable and smooth despite its short wheelbase. There is no rattling or jankiness. I feel extra safe when riding this bike because of of the fact that it’s so easy to get on and off of.  The bike feels good with power, but if your battery dies the single speed and low quality pedaling components would make this bike annoying to ride home.

Single Speed Drivetrain 

 

 

The E-moto Crosstown is able to keep its price low, eliminate cheap and rickety shifting components, improve its look, and make it easier to operate by only offering a single speed. I really like this choice in an electric bike. Pedal gears are really not needed when you have a 600 watt hub motor keeping your inertia going while riding. The E-moto, as you can see in the photo above, has a perfectly clean chain line because it is single speed.

Battery

 

 

The Crosstown uses top quality 18650 Panasonic LiMn cells in its 36V 9-Ah battery pack. Panasonic is known for making the highest quality cells in the industry. I would expect this battery to provide years of trouble-free service. This battery is relatively small at 9-Ah and 324 watt hours (read our story on watt hours), but is large enough to realistically expect a 15 mile range. If you need more than this you can buy a 2nd battery pack and effectively double your range.

This pack is extremely small and light, and is nicely positioned behind the seat tube adding to the smart and simple design of this bike.  The battery is locked in place with a key lock to prevent theft.

Dashboard

 

 

Most importantly, this standard Chinese Dash has your on / off button, and a battery gauge indicator so you have an idea of how much range you have left.

It also has 3 levels: low, medium, or high…so that if you want,  you can limit the amount of current being fed to the motor (most riders opt for high).

This bike also has a pedal-assist mode. The E-moto has a cadence sensor built into the crank which can sense how fast you are pedaling,  and the controller will apply power accordingly.  This makes for a convenient cruise control although most riders will opt to ride in throttle mode.

Let’s take a look at that throttle:

Throttle

 

 

The Crosstown uses a half-grip throttle.  As you can see the ebike also comes standard with a bell, highly convenient when overtaking lycra-clad road bikers (a special thrill when doing it on a bike with this styling). And yes, this bike is fast enough to pass a typical road biker  (I did it with a bell ding) with an average weight rider pedaling hard with throttle wide open…zing.

Front Basket

 

 

The Crosstown has a huge wicker basket mounted to the front big enough to put a bag full of groceries in. Having this kind of basket on an electric bike is  incredibly convenient and it matches the rest of the ebikes’ styling well.  To give you an idea of the convenience, I threw my camera  in this bag to do this review / photo shoot and it was one of the rare cases I was not worried about my camera gear on an ebike ride. Not only is your cargo  safe from falling out, your also able to keep an eye on it while riding if you are really worried…

The front basket is removable if you are a guy who doesn’t want to ride around on an ebike that definitely has that grocery-getter-look going.

Brakes

Although disc brakes are a luxury, they do add to the retail cost of an electric bike, and on a bike with this low of a retail price you can expect some compromises.  E-moto has opted to use lower quality Promax caliper brakes.  On my test ride, I felt these brakes were adequate to effectively stop this bike from its top speed (18-MPH). However, I do not expect these cheap brakes to offer years of trouble free service, and would recommend replacing them with higher quality brakes at the first sign of trouble.

Seat

 

 

The Crosstown is very well color coordinated with the vinyl on its seat matching well with the battery pack, the hand grips and the tires.  It uses a quality Velo seat with a suspension post to smooth out the ride. I like this choice over having cheap Chinese suspension forks on the front, which would not do much but detract from the look of the bike.

Tires

 

 

The Crosstown uses sharp looking  (tan colored)  Chinese tires. The quality of these tires is pretty cheap. The rubber feels hard and is not very grippy and is prone to tears. Usually in a non suspended bike such as this, ride quality can be greatly improved with quality tires. Unfortunately these tires are just made to sell the bike, and do not offer a quality ride. I would recommend if you own this bike and are riding a lot to upgrade to quality Schwalbe tires such as the 20″ Schwalbe Big Apples, which is the tire I use on my folding bike with a similar geometry.

Kickstand

 

 

The Kickstand is of adequate quality but I notice it does not work well if the ground is not level.

 Conclusion

There is no doubt about it when you pedal the Crosstown around it is made up of pretty cheap Chinese components (think $100 Walmart bike).  However the 350 watt motor over clocked to 600 watts in a 20 inch wheel makes this bike a joy to ride even in a hilly environment. The 36V 9-Ah battery is on the smaller side but it is hidden well, does not weigh much, and enables this bike to be offered at a low retail price. At the $1600 price point I find this bike to be a very good choice. At this price point, and in a compact folding bike, this bike is in a league of its own.  If anyone knows of a bike that compares with it please let me know in comment section.

Special Thanks

 

Special thanks to Electric Bikes LA  for allowing me test ride this bike. Because of its price point this is one of the best sellers in this popular Southern California Electric Bike shop. Their service manager, Craig,  reports very few service issues with the Crosstown and recommends it as a reliable ebike. As always I highly recommend you buy your electric bike from a brick-and-mortar store if you are lucky enough to have a dealer close to you so you can get after-the-sale support.

E-MOTO CROSSTOWN SPECIFICATIONS

Battery Panasonic© Lithium Ion 36-volt, 9Ah Battery Pack
Speed Control Throttle or 3 mode speed sensor pedal assist.
Controller 17 amp motor controller
Range Approximate 18-mile
Speed 18mph Top Speed
Frame Height 15.5″
Gearing Single Speed 16T freewheel
Cranks Lasco 46T
Rims Double wall rims with eyelets and 13g stainless spokes
Tires Kenda© Kontact 20″x1.95″ Brown Tires, with Puncture Resistant Tubes
Brakes Promax© V-brakes
Seat post Promax© Suspension Seat Post
Fenders Zeppelin Fenders with Stainless Steel Hardware
Racks Standard Front and Rear Racks
Warranties 10-year Frame Warranty, 1-Year Component Warranty, 1-Year Battery Warranty

Eric has been involved in the electric bike industry since 2002 when he started a 6000 square foot brick and mortar Electric Bike store in downtown San Francisco. He is a true believer that small electric vehicles can change the way we operate and the way we think.

  • magic carpet

    I’m getting tired of the referring to of cyclists as ‘Lycras’, and the air of superiority that comes with it. Especially in the review of a mediocre Chinese folding Ebike.
    Why the needless polarization? As a cyclist, motorcyclist, Ebiker and car driver I don’t understand the narrow-minded mentality that differentiates between people based on their clothing. Padded cycling shorts make sense the same way leathers do for motorcyclists.
    Where I live, Ebikes are legal based on the features they share with bicycles and their integration is dependent on these similarities. The future of performance Ebiking lies within this compatabilty, not in illegal wattages and inefficient, singlespeed, never ‘need’ to pedal scooters.
    The existence of Ebikes is based on human/electric HYBRID technology and only by maximizing BOTH of these forms of propulsion can the true potential of LEGAL Ebikes be attained.
    If you want a high-powered electric bike, with motorcycle-like performance, be prepared to pay for license, ownership, insurance and road tax and don’t expect to ride on the bike paths. Just like any other motor vehicle.

    • guest

      Completely agree! A fellow cyclist, bike racer, car driver, ex-Ducati rider, and very-soon-in-the-future e-bike rider.

  • I suggest you compare to the Prodeco Mariner. They make single speed and multi-speed models, folding, 20″ ebikes. This bike was recently rated very highly by Forbes in a article as well. Price starts under $1000. 2 year warranty not one. They’re a little less “old lady” looking as well.

  • Kato

    The Crosstown looks just like the Citizen Barcelona…do you know if they are from the same manufacturer? I was thinking about doing a conversion on the Barcelona. I like that it comes with the 3 speed IGH, and I really want a 500W 48V system. I am thinking about a Bafang or MAC froont wheel geared hub and a 48V 15-Ah LiPo, LiMn, or LiFePO4 battery mounted on the rear carrier. I live in an area that is very hilly. I figured the bike, E-bike components and good Schwalbe tires would cost right about the same amount and I would have a stronger running bike…your thoughts?

    • ElectricBIke

      It’s not from the same manufacturer as Citizen Barcelona. If you live in a hilly area I would use a MAC motor, a 48V 15-Ah AllCell or LiPo because the LiFePO4 will be way too big and bulky for this bike. I think you are being a bit optimistic in hoping that you can keep the price down to $1,500. You will be lucky to build it for $2K…

  • Clifford Louis-Jacques

    Montague Crosstown paired with a copenhagen wheel. Made with shimano components, disc brake compatible and is a full size 700c frame under $1700.