Before diving into the meat of the handling I think a quick PSA on bike assembly is worth talking about.
We review several DTC e-bike brands and considering the savings for the consumer we love how it makes e-bikes affordable and opens it up to more people finding an e-bike within their budget.
However, unless you’ve tuned your own bikes we do recommend taking DTC bikes, such as the Nakto Folding OX we reviewed, into a local mechanic for setup. Ours arrived needing some TLC with the shifting and brakes before we were ready to hit the road. We have seasoned bike mechanics here on staff, but average consumers will want to make sure things are set up properly by a more experienced professional.
Once you’ve got things dialed in the ride experience is overall pretty decent. The Shimano Tourney works fairly well with shifting, and I think the gear range on this bike works pretty well.I’m largely a fan of the 52T front chainring as it helps lower gearing levels feel like they have meaning (which isn’t often the case when using any amount of PAS on some other e-bikes).
The 60mm spring fork does okay at soaking up the impact of bumps in the road, and the spring dampened saddle will keep you at a relatively good comfort for how long you’re likely to be riding.
Given that the Folding OX is an upright cruiser, I expected handling to have the wide-turn radius that cruisers can be a bit notorious for having. Happily, I don’t think that was entirely the case here. It was more responsive than most of its peers in terms of navigating tighter turns, and the wider tire makes leaning into them a good overall handling experience. The handlebars and grips weren’t standouts in either a good or bad sense – several fairly standard harder rubber grips, simple LCD motor controller, and blaring horn that you see on many a budget e-bike.
The 20” X 4” fat tires roll decently and are capable of hitting some light dirt and sand areas with a little more sure of footing than a standard cruiser tire. The highlight for me is more in their handling on the road than the allure of taking them offroading.
Two areas for improvement on future Nakto Folding OX models would be in the weight distribution and the folding mechanism. The bike is heavier in the rear than the front half – a motor, battery, and upright rider make the backend account for more of the load and I sprang up more than I thought I would when pulling up on the curbs I went off. More of a quirk than an outright con, but something worth noting.
Folding bikes have a soft spot in the hearts of many. Whether it’s the ability to store them in an apartment more easily, or having the option to quickly toss it in the back of a truck, SUV or a car, there is definitely a reason they are in demand. One thing that the Nakto Folding OX doesn’t do that several competitors do is have a fold down handlebar. This means that my sedan couldn’t carry it around in the trunk (which I always hope to get away with when reviewing a folder) and I needed to get a bike rack or swap out for my wife’s SUV to haul it around. The highrise handlebars are unique to folders, but that’s the tradeoff you have to accept apparently is that you’ll have a taller profile than others when folded, and no way to avoid the handlebar width when hoping to close a trunk.