Tucked away in an unassuming street near Borough, you’ll find Volt Bikes – who were one of the first UK bike companies to spot the growing appetite for electric commuting.
The Volt Metro is the company’s newest folding bike, pitched directly at the commuter looking for a great quality, compact electric bike at a competitive price.
At just under £1400, I think this is a very well priced bike when compared to the rest of the market. For the kit you get, the fully folding functionality, the performance and range, it’s worth it. It’s kitted out very nicely with a Velo Plush saddle, ZOOM and SR Suntour suspension (more on this later). Combine Shimano disc brakes and it’s notably a step above in terms of spec. Where it lets itself down though is the weight – at 23kg with battery. And I certainly noticed this. In fact, at times I did find myself questioning the benefits of the bike folding at all, if in its folded form it essentially became a monolithically heavy – and far less practical to carry – version of itself. As a way to economise on hallway/garage space, it’s fine – but this is not a bike you’d want to lug up flights of stairs on a daily basis, if at all.
I usually associate fold up bikes with being cramped, slightly too small and unnerving to ride on looser grounds. Not so with the Volt. Chunky tyres and frankly outstanding suspension make this bike a very comfy ride. I felt upright and confident, even at 6ft2, at no point did I feel unstable as I have occasionally felt with similar sized folding bikes.
I’m not going to pretend that the Volt is a sexy bike – it’s fairly middle-of-the-road in terms of its looks. However, a head-turner isn’t for everyone – and its understated style is going to appeal to a lot people.
The Volt is quite something when it comes to performance. Yes, it has the same speed capping issues as other electric bikes, but somehow this matters less on the smaller, city-sized frame. More important is its acceleration, and it has this in abundance.
The Volt comes with a built-in Abus wheel lock and it’s equipped with a neat immobiliser by default – a feature we are used to seeing more and more from bike manufacturers. We put it to the test, and I can confirm it’s surprisingly effective – but above and beyond all, it’s great to see manufacturers take this seriously and continue to fight bike theft culture!
At first sight I confess to having been a bit underwhelmed. Unassuming black frame, mechanical folding and surprisingly heavy – I didn’t quite know what all the fuss was about. However, all of the above fades into insignificance when riding. It’s fast, comfortable, solid and fun. I think of it like the Audi of bikes – practical, safe and solid as a rock. It’s unlikely to draw attention – but perhaps that’s the whole point – this is a bike precisely for people who want to cycle. And given the affordable price tag – good luck to them for sticking to that principle.