Bike Review: Oyama CX E8D Series II
Oyama CX E8D Series II
By Sam Bernard
Time really does fly. It seems like it was just yesterday when we reviewed venerable bike maker Oyama’s debut into the folding electric bike market. In actuality it’s been over a year since we tested their solid entry, the CX E8D. In short, we really liked it then, and from what they’ve told us about how the bike repeatedly cleared out dealer inventory, it’s clear that consumers did also.
Not a company to rest on their laurels, Oyama has done a lot of work since then. According to distributor Foldaway Solutions honcho Ken Fagut, the goal was to improve every aspect of the bike. Let’s see how they fared with the unveiling of their new CX E8D Series II.
Folders generally aren’t known for their snazzy good looks, but in our opinion, this folder breaks that mold. Like the first version, the battery is cleanly hidden and fully integrated into the top tube. With an all-matte black finish and deep red lettering and stripe, the bike is a sleek stunner and much more pleasing to the eye than some of the garish, shiny paint jobs we’ve seen in the past. The fenders and back rack blend right in.
“Our opinion was affirmed by more than a few passersby who extolled compliments such as, ‘Sweet ride!’”
The basic build is identical to the sturdy original. It uses the same long seatpost that can be raised for taller riders and dropped below the aluminum frame for compactness. The stem telescopes so the rider can find his or her best fit. Once again, no tools needed to make any of the adjustments, including the rotating handlebars for optimal brake position on the comfortably padded hand grips. There’s the customary one-lever stem release, allowing the handlebars to lower down the side of the bike. A second folding mechanism mid-frame gives you access to the battery, which a key is needed to remove and that we like because of its low-tech but effective anti-theft measure. This folds the bike in half, and the Series II is ready for storage or transport. Both hinge points are equipped with locking levers to avoid accidental collapsing.
The Series II is not merely some tweaked version to an already decent folding e-bike. It’s a top-to-bottom upgrade to its most essential components.
Starting with the EDS UI display that’s mounted on the left handlebar. When first activated, the battery bar with a voltage readout appears. A cool feature is when you start pedaling, the display automatically changes to a speedometer and power meter. Pressing the “set” button gives you distance info, such as odometer and trip miles. The arrow keys toggle through eight PAS (pedal-assist system) levels, which at first seemed excessive but we actually came to appreciate.
Another major enhancement are the Tektro hydraulic disc brakes. The 160mm front and rear rotors provide quick and precise stopping power, giving you a high sense of confidence, as does the built-in power cutoff triggered by a light squeeze on the brake lever.
The Series II is as fully loaded as some higher-end folders we’ve seen with goodies, such as a 200-lumen headlight, rear reflector, clamping back rack and USB charge port, all pre-installed right out of the box.
Oyama has given this second iteration of the CX E8D a hearty power boost with a new 350-watt (up from 250 watts) Aikema geared brushless motor in the rear hub. It’s equipped with a bottom bracket torque sensor with eight levels of pedal assist that works in tandem with the Shimano Altus 8-speed derailleur, giving you plenty of options for various road conditions. Made by Mymark with Samsung cells, the enclosed battery provides 36 volts and 10.5 Ah.
WHO IS IT MADE FOR?
Oyama got it right with the first version by producing a reliable folding bike aimed at those who want economy, space saving and easy transport. With this version you get all that plus one of the most stylish folding bikes we’ve seen that also packs a serious power punch, which will impress even the most ardent e-bike enthusiast.
Pressing the switch in the portal that’s embedded in the top tube gets the juice going. Tapping the top button on the controller activates the power assist. Of the eight power levels (labeled simply 1–8), we found the first few fairly useless, but once we toggled up to the mid-levels, the 350-watt torque sensor motor showed its stuff and we were cooking.
One thing that struck us right away is how stable the E8D Series II is. No jiggles or trembles, looseness or rattling with enough flex to make us forget that it was a folding bike we were on. It held the road firmly as we accelerated up to 15 mph in a high gear. Our first ride was with the 20-inch Kenda tires at full inflation and without suspension. You’re feeling just about everything you’re riding over. A later ride with a little tire deflation was less bumpy, somewhat sacrificing the stellar performance this Oyama has to offer.
Cornering was quite silky, a slight lean makes a well-planted wide or sharp turn, and the twist shift is handy to adjust for inclines, descents or shooting down a straight-away. It chewed up the steepest hill around. Pumping at top level when reaching the peak, we really appreciated how the power of the Series II is complemented by the high-end hydraulic disc brakes, which are ultra responsive.
We did our testing in traffic-dense city streets with lots of bike lanes. With the intuitive torque-sensing pedal assist, it was easy from the beginning to find the right flow. At higher levels and gear it reaches 13 mph quickly, and combined with the power cut-off in the braking mechanism, the commuter experience is as good as any.
With all the stop-and-go riding we did, the battery gave us better range than expected—28 miles—and better when we took on a long, dedicated bike path with a just a quick stop. It was about seven miles each way. After starting with a full charge, we were still left with a little less than 50-percent charge, according to the meter.
Oyama warranties the bike and parts for five years, and two years on the battery.
We agree their mission was accomplished with the unveiling of the new CX E8D Series II. It should appeal to a wide range of users, especially for local commuting, boaters and apartment living. Also, it’s a really fun bike to ride, so if you’re simply looking for a bike for leisure, this won’t disappoint. Its great looks will also attract some attention seekers!
OYAMA CX E8D SERIES II
Frame: 6061 aluminum
Motor: Aikema, 350W geared brushless rear hub
Battery: 36 volt, 10 Ah, lithium-ion
Charge time: 4 hours
Top speed: 20 mph
Range: Up to 30 miles
Drive: Shimano, 7-speed
Brakes: Tektro hydraulic disc
Tires: Kenda, 20×2.125”
Weight: 42 lb.
Dimensions: 33.5” x 14.5” x 27.5” (folded)
Sizes: One Size
Color Choice: Black