The Emu Mini aims to be a more affordable alternative to the likes of the Brompton Electric (from £2,595) or GoCycle’s GX (£2,899).
Its compact dimensions both folded (700mm x 350mm x 630mm) and un-folded (1320mm x 580mm x 980mm) mean it’s a proper packable bike that’s ideal for mixed-mode commutes and stowing in the back of a car.
At 17.7kg the Emu is light for an ebike, but hefty for a folder. Its magnetic closure is similar to those you’ll find on older Dahon folding models, and can unseat occasionally if the magnets are slightly offset with each other, so you do need to take care when lifting it.
The Mini follows a fairly traditional folder format with an aluminium single-beam frame with a central hinge, along with a quick release saddle and a telescopic bar/stem with a fold-down hinge.
The 16in wheels are shod with massive 2.125in Kenda tyres with a chunky tread pattern, making the Emu towpath friendly, and the wheels have 36 spokes so are built seriously tough.
The MXUS front hub motor pumps out 250w, meaning this little bike has a decent amount of punch. The motor is controlled by a bar-mounted LCD that shows an odometer, time, current speed, and allows you to switch between five different power levels.
You can also switch on the integrated lights by pressing and holding the ‘up’ switch.
The 3-speed Shimano Nexus hub gear is operated by a grip shifter and offers a 186 per cent range, which is ample for this little machine. It’s a component that has a great reputation for reliability and staying indexed.
Range wise the Emu won’t be setting any records, especially because mine is equipped with the smaller of the two batteries available (187Wh).
The best I recorded before emptying the tank was 13.07miles/21.03km with 166metres/544.6ft of elevation. If you live in a particularly hilly area, I’d suggest getting the £100 upgrade to the 245wh battery.
That said, the charger is fairly compact at 160mm x 45mm x 70mm and only 600g (including mains cable), so you could easily stow it in your backpack to top up the battery at the office.
The battery is contained in the seatpost, so you can simply pull the seatpost out, unlock the cable and charge away from the bike.
On the road, the bike’s small wheelbase makes it fairly nimble in traffic, but the bar has no offset from the steerer so can feel a little twitchy.
It’s not a bike you ever feel really comfortable on riding out of the saddle, for instance. Also, the bike’s compact length and one size fits all approach means taller riders can feel a little cramped.
At 6ft 2in, the Emu never felt like it had enough length in the reach for me, even with the saddle set way back on its rails, but shorter riders had no such issues.
Despite deep padding I wasn’t impressed by the saddle’s comfort. The squishy feel just didn’t provide proper support and I’d much prefer a bit less of the soft padding.
It was surprising to see disc brakes on a minimalist design such as this one, but by fitting discs the Emu gains clearance for chunky tyres, which give the bike a certain toughness and versatility.
The Shimano cable discs are operated by Tektro EL555 levers, with the left-hand lever very neatly integrating a bell. The brakes offer heaps of power, so you need to be careful when braking in an emergency.
Moving your weight rearwards is important too, because you can quite easily induce a stoppy or endo without really trying.
The mudguards hug the chunky tyres and work well, keeping spray off of your legs and shoes.
The integrated lights have built in reflectors, which helps with visibility, but both lights are set fairly low-down. They’re bright enough to make you visible and just about bright enough to ride in unlit areas.
Emu Mini overall
My Emu test bike has done the rounds as a demo bike with a few hundred kilometres on the clock and is showing some rust on the magnets that hold the folded bike together, and has a few rattles coming from the front mudguard, but despite this, it’s still in pretty decent shape. It’s also backed with a two-year warranty.
All in all, the Emu is a capable short-distance ebike at a good price, but the sizing limits it to riders ideally under six foot, which is a shame because this six-foot two tester actually had a fair amount of fun riding it.