The HiMo Z20 Aims to Be Cheapest but Still Reliable Folding e-Bike

Xiaomi’s sub-brand HiMo is expanding worldwide, with the latest offer being a very affordable but still admittedly reliable folding e-bike. The Z20 has just launched to international markets via crowdfunding.
The Z20 folding e-bike from HiMo aims to be affordable but still reliable adventure companion 15 photos
Photo: HiMo /
HiMo has been a constant presence on the Chinese market and it’s recently started making its products available in other territories, mostly through crowdfunding. The Z20 is no exception: the IndieGoGo campaign for it has gone live, and it’s already secured the goal funding even though, as of the time of press, it still has 30 days to go.

Folding e-bike options are abundant today, and you are bound to find one that best suits your needs depending on budget. With the Z20 commuter e-bike, HiMo seems to be going for the cheapest but still reliable title: super early birds can get it for as little as $699. That said, even the MRSP of $999 places it in the very affordable category.

With this product, the Chinese company is aiming for the sky. Commuters don’t want just a cheap bike, they’re also looking for something that is light and easy to store away.

So, the Z20 isn’t just affordable, it’s also lighter than similar products, given its aluminum frame. Weighing just 47.6 pounds (21.6 kg), it comes with a 36V 10Ah battery hidden in the “patented aluminum frame” that can be removed for easy charging. A 250W DC brushless motor delivers a top speed of 25 kph (16 mph), while the battery is good for up to 80 km (50 miles). That estimated top range differs in real life according to a series of conditions, including rider weight, assistance, terrain and weather.

The Z20 comes with two riding modes, Cool Mode (with pedal-assist) and Dynamic Mode (no pedal-assist, and can run on both pedal-assist and throttle-only. HiMo makes a big show of how you can ride this bike as you would a non-electric counterpart, but this holds true for most electric bicycles with more than one speed. The Z20 comes with a 6-speed Shimano drivetrain.

It’s IPX7 waterproof-rated (or at least the display is), and folds down in three easy steps, which means it can be easily lifted and stored away in the trunk of a car or on public transport. The pedals also fold, and HiMo is offering an extra pair in the package.

While it has no suspension (so good luck taking it on rougher terrain), the Z20 comes with something you don’t see with other e-bikes: an integrated in-seat air pumper. “Ever found yourself with a flat tire at the worst possible time?” HiMo asks. Sure! “HiMo Z20’s in-seat air pump travels everywhere with you, so your tires will always be in tip-top shape.”

Additional features include headlight and stop light in the back and dual mechanical disc brakes. Maximum payload is of 100 kg (221 pounds), which was a given considering its small frame and less than powerful motor.

With a $999 price tag, the HiMo Z20 aims to be the cheapest quality folding bike out there. This is not explicitly stated, but it’s understood. The general rule of thumb is that, when you buy something on the cheap, you’re willingly making some compromises. You can’t have good quality and a cheap product – you know the saying, “you get what you pay for.”

Still, HiMo is saying you can have the best of both worlds. The Z20 is being marketed as a very reliable and solid build, one that won’t break down after less than a month on the road. That may turn out to be the case – and it may not. Even more expensive similar products compromise on the certain components (brakes, gear-shifter) to keep the price point low, so this is probably no exception. With a folding bike, the hinges and the safety mechanisms would better not be among those places where there is room for compromise.

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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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