E Bikes Reviewed

Eelo 1885 Disc Explorer Pro review

Eelo’s 1885 folding electric bike has been completely revamped for 2022. The bike now comes with custom one-piece alloy wheels, which look sharp in their raw polished-aluminium state.

Mechanical disc brakes have replaced the old bike’s simple V-brakes, while the engine has gained a little oomph and a trigger throttle to aid you getting away from standing starts or give you a boost up hills.

Eelo 1885 Disc Explorer Pro motor and battery

Don’t expect a moped-like freewheel from the throttle, it’ll only kick in once the bike senses pedal movement, but the throttle boost is pretty impressive.

The simple LCD display gives plenty of information and, unlike a lot of its rivals, the battery level is reasonably accurate without too much in the way of level fluctuation you often find on mid-range systems.

Eelo claims a range of up to 40 miles from the bike’s 280.4Wh battery. That may be achievable if you live in a relatively flat urban area, stay in the most economical of its three power modes and are a smaller, lighter rider.

I couldn’t get much more than half of that range though, because I live in a relatively hilly area and at 6ft2in and 90kg, it takes more energy to move me. My longest run was 22.85miles / 36.77km, with 3,133.2ft / 955m of ascent.

Eelo 1885 Disc Explorer Pro dimensions

I wouldn’t criticise the Eelo on range, however, because this is an ultra-compact folding bike. Its 89cm (axle to axle) wheelbase is shorter than a Brompton (105cm) and it’s intended for short-distance rides, commutes or trips to the shops.

Dimensions when folded down are 37x61x59cm, which makes it a good choice to stow in campervans, caravans and boats.

The bike adjusts from a saddle height of 70cm to 98cm (from the floor) and a bar height of 80 to 103cm, making it suitable for riders from under 5ft up to around 6ft 3in. It’s a versatile design that could work for multiple users, perhaps as a single bike for the family or the office to use when needed.

Eelo 1885 Disc Explorer Pro ride impressions

These dimensions, however, come at the expense of the handling. The super-short rear end (36cm) means that taller riders like me are pitched way back over the rear wheel because of the seat angle when the long post is fully extended.

It means the 1885 has a very light and slightly twitchy front end. I adapted fairly quickly riding the Eelo with a pitched-forward seated position.

Wearing a backpack laden with groceries pitched even more weight rearward. On steeper inclines, the bike naturally wants to wheelie, so you very much need to keep your wits about you.

In defence of the 1885, however, my 5ft partner had no issues with the handling on the days she borrowed it for her mixed-mode (bike/train/bike) commute.

The 250w motor contained within the one-piece rear wheel is impressively punchy. The three modes controlling it are at their best when you substitute the assistance for gears, because the 1885 is a singlespeed bike.

On the flat, however, a relatively fit rider will find themselves spinning out the gear all too soon, negating the motor assistance. On hills, the motor provides ample power to assist you smoothly.

However, the short back-end means adopting a strange leaning-forward position once the gradient ramps up beyond around 5 per cent.

The folded bike is suitably compact, though at more than 17kg it’s not exactly light. The fold also doesn’t lock in place properly, like a Brompton, Tern or MiRider.

If you’re porting the bike any sort of distance, it’ll need to be bagged. Thankfully, Eelo includes a bag that straps neatly to the rear rack.

For shifting on and off a train or bus when cycling to work, the 1885 does the job well enough, but is outclassed by the market leaders. It’s a similar story with the included equipment.

The front light is wired into the battery system and can be operated by the controller. However, the rear light straps to the seatpost and is an accessory rather than an integrated component.

The rear rack is neat, but because the wheel size is small (14in) it’s not something you’d fit a pannier bag to. The platform is generously sized to fit your bag, but if you want to carry the bike bag that storage real estate is already taken.

The Eelo is easy to live with. It’s compact, easy to adjust and easy to ride, while the compact charger slips into a backpack pocket easily.

However, the battery is fixed and the charge port is underneath the main frame, so you’ll need to keep the whole folded bike near a power source to charge it.

The five-hour charge time is shorter than the working day, so you can top up the 1885 for free at the office and potentially use it for long commutes. Impressively, it’s backed up with a three-year unlimited mileage warranty.

Eelo 1885 Disc Explorer Pro bottom line

I find it hard to recommend the 1885 to anyone taller than around 5ft 10in, and if you’re in the market for a compact e-folding bike at this sort of price, the MiRider ONE just does things better. Its longer wheelbase and rear make it more stable for taller riders too.

The Eelo isn’t a bad compact folding ebike, it’s just not among the best electric bikes I’ve tested.

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Richard Alvin

Managing Editor of EV Powered who has a passion for electric converted classic cars - currently converting Lottie the Landy a 1965 Series II ex RAF Land Rover to electric power and the person responsible for two wheel reviews at EV Powered.