Shopping for an electric bike? This carbon fibre e-bike is like a two-wheeled Tesla (price-wise anyway)

Ultra light, packed with tech, Hummingbird Electric 2.0 can be customised in a colour of your choice (for a further fee)

Hummingbird Electric Gen 2.0
(Image credit: Hummingbird)

Looking for a cheap electric bike? Well, you are out of luck on this occasion. This is the fold-up Hummingbird Electric 2.0 and it is not cheap. It is said that 50% of the UK population is considering buying an electric bike, but the percentage pondering a purchase of this brightly-coloured, carbon fibre, folding electric bike is probably rather smaller.

In some ways, you do get a lot for your money with the Hummingbird Electric Gen 2.0 – to give it its full name. Also, since it is easily the world's lightest folding e-bike at just 10.3kg, in a way you are not getting a lot for your money – but in a good way.

Would I buy one? Hell no! I'm a journalist, not a TikTok influencer. But I will be more than happy to try out the one Hummingbird are sending next week, and will report back to you on it. For now, here's what you need to know.

Hummingbird Electric Gen 2.0

Hummingbird Electric Gen 2.0 folds up to about the width of a small Hairpin desk with an Anglepoise lamp on it

(Image credit: Hummingbird)

Despite being exceedingly light and a little on the pricey side, the Hummingbird Electric Gen 2.0 is capable of exactly the same top assisted speed as every other electric bike: 15.5mph (25kph to our European readers). If Hummingbird start selling in the USA, it would be 20mph (32kph), which is a better, but it's still hardly Evel Kneivel, is it? 

The usefulness of all that sumptuous carbon fibre and super-light hub motor is two-fold, however. 

Firstly, the Hummingbird 2.0 will accelerate to that top speed with great rapidity and smoothness, and you should then be able to push on to something resembling actual speed, by pumping the pedals up and down, just like an old-fashioned, non-electric bike.

Secondly, when you need to carry your bike over obstacles such as the stairs between platforms at railway stations, this will be possible without giving you a heart attack and a ruptured back. One of the main attractions of fold-up bikes is that you can take them on a train or other transport, before completing your journey on two wheels. However, anyone who has had to hump about other folding e-bikes, which typically weigh between 15 and 20 kilos, will know this is not as idyllic as it sounds. 10.3kg is properly light. 

The new Pure Electric Pure Flux One – which doesn't fold – and the Xiaomi Mi Smart – which does – have shown that you can get very good e-bikes for a more than reasonable price. The Hummingbird 2.0, however, is not aimed at bargain seekers. In fact its target market seems to be people who would like to buy a Brompton Electric (opens in new tab), but feel it isn't quite expensive enough for their boujee tastes. Its closest rival is probably the GoCycle G4i.

As you can see from the pictures here, the Hummingbird Electric Gen 2.0 looks remarkably like the original. Improvements have been made to the motor, which offers '50% more torque' and the battery, which gifts you '20% more range', for a maximum ride of 'over 50km' (about 30 miles) on a single charge.

It will be interesting to compare the Hummingbird's 250W motor's performance to the G4i. That also got a significant torque boost over its predecessors in the GoCycle range, but then the G4i also has gears, whereas Hummingbird 2 is single-speed. 

As on the G4i and a lot of other e-bikes, there's a ‘boost’ feature. This gives you maximum assistance by pushing down a button, so you can quickly pull away from traffic lights or get going on hills.

One slightly quirky feature that's been carried over from the original Hummingbird Electric is that you need to pedal unassisted for a few seconds when you first mount up, and then pedal backwards to engage the motor. Some might say this seems unnecessarily complicated compared to the more traditional 'press the on button' technique used by every other e-bike, but there it is.

Hummingbird Electric Gen 2.0

(Image credit: Hummingbird)

The Electric Gen 2.0 folds up quickly and easily, Hummingbird assures us, and unfolds in 'just five seconds' – that is fast!

Hummingbird Electric Gen 2.0

Although a belt drive is a key USP, Hummingbird is keeping a chain-driven model available for traditionalists

(Image credit: Hummingbird)

The Gen 2.0 comes with a choice of either a chain or belt drive system, 'to give the rider a fully bespoke experience.' 

I have no idea why anyone would choose a chain over a belt on a bike like this, but the option is there if you really must stay stuck in the 20th century. Carbon-reinforced belt drives are grease-free, cleaner, lower maintenance and even more quiet than a chain. 

Hummingbird Electric Gen 2.0

(Image credit: Hummingbird)

Via Hummingbird's BitConnect app and the miracle of Bluetooth, you can adjust the motor-assist level, top speed and also the exciting sounding 'regenerative braking function', which taps off the energy from braking to top up your battery. 

BitConnect can also be used as a basic bike computer, showing your speed, battery status and engine power as well as GPS navigation for route-finding and also for locating your Hummingbird should you forget where you left it, or have it stolen. Interestingly there is also an electronic locking system that can be used to disable your bike if it is the victim of theft. However, there is not a built-in alarm to help prevent it from being stolen in the first place, unlike the VanMoof S3.

The bike is available in Hummingbird Yellow, Burnt Orange, Freedom Blue and Prestige Black, as well as a Carbon Edition. If you take up Hummingbird on its custom colour option, this adds a further £500, taking you to the brink of £5,000.

Duncan has been writing about tech for almost 15 years, during which time he has attended every event going, apart from Apple ones, as he mysteriously doesn't get invited to them. He has covered everything from smartphones to headphones, TV to AC and air fryers to the movies of James Bond and obscure anime. 

Duncan's current brief is everything to do with the home and kitchen, which is good because he is an excellent cook, if he says so himself. He also covers cycling and ebikes – like over-using italics, this is another passion of his. Duncan also edits T3's golf section because fuck it, someone has to. Dave Usher does all the real work on that bit, though. In his long and varied lifestyle-tech career he is one of the few people to have been a fitness editor despite being unfit and a cars editor for not one but two websites, despite being unable to drive. He also has about 400 vacuum cleaners, and is possibly the UK's leading expert on cordless vacuum cleaners, despite being decidedly messy.

Before T3, Duncan was a music and film reviewer, worked for a magazine about gambling that employed a surprisingly large number of convicted criminals, and then a magazine called Bizarre that was essentially Reddit before the invention of Reddit. There was a lengthy period where he essentially wrote all of T3 magazine every month for about 3 years. 

A broadcaster, raconteur and public speaker, Duncan used to be on telly loads, but an unfortunate incident put a stop to that, so he now largely contents himself with telling people, "I used to be on the TV, you know."