The Axon Pro Lite is a fine example of the folding bike but, better still, it comes with a battery and motor. There’s a downside in the fact that this e-bike is so tiny it can be challenging to ride, especially on less than smooth surfaces. However, it’s been cleverly designed so those svelte dimensions make it easier for you to use it on public transport. In fact, with practice the e-bike can be folded and unfolded in less than ten seconds. The Axon Pro Lite lives up to its name too and at just 15kg feels much easier to carry than many rivals. While you might not want to go too far on it, the Axon Pro Light is therefore a great option for short hops, especially if you’re looking for a powered bike. At the same time, there are no gears to worry about. It’s a simple format, but generally very effective.
Really easy to fold up
Good level of power on tap
Excellent overall quality
Small wheels require concentration
Power delivery a little erratic
Tire valves quite hard to access with a pump
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The Axon Pro Lite is an exceedingly compact and lightweight folding e-bike and is one of three models available from this London-based manufacturer. Weighing in at just 15kg, it feels extremely portable thanks to its clever design that allows it to be folded up and stored away in seconds. The lack of bulk is down to a magnesium alloy frame, complimented by dinky 16-inch wheels that make the e-bike look and feel really quite tiny.
A rear hub-mounted brushless 36V 250W motor means there’s a decent amount of power at your disposal, though the delivery can be a little erratic in our experience.
The Axon Pro Lite also comes with mechanical disc brakes, a comfy saddle plus a neat little LCD display that allows for three variable assist ride options. A built-in horn along with front and rear lights means that this is a folding e-bike that’s not only ready for business in seconds, but can be used in just about any situation.
Keenly priced, the Axon Pro Light is a good choice if you want a lightweight folding electric bike, just as long as you’re aware of the limitations that come with buying such a small machine.
Price and release date
We tested the Axon Pro Lite model, which is available for £1,665 (about $2,200 / AU$3,200) and is the entry-level edition of this folding e-bike. Axon also offers two other models: the Pro, which costs £1,850 (about $2,500 / AU$3,500) and the Pro Max, which is £2,280 (about $3,000 / AU$4,300). Both of these come with hydraulic brakes, and the latter has a beefier battery capacity of 36V, 7Ah rather than 36V, 5.2Ah. That should get you a slightly improved range of up to 30 miles on a charge.
That's very reasonable for a folding e-bike, which is a much more complex feat of engineering than a standard fixed-frame bicycle. For comparison, our current number one rated e-bike, the MiRider One, starts at £1,395 (about $2,000 / AU$2,500, while the 2020 GoCycle GX is $3,299 / £2,895 (about AU$4,500).
All three versions are available directly from Axon Rides. Our review unit came neatly packaged in a smallish box and required only minimal setting up before being usable.
Lifting the Axon Pro Lite out of its box for the first time revealed just how small this compact e-bike really is. The designers have done a great job producing such a small bike that still manages to feature an electric motor and battery power.
Similarly impressive is the ease with which you can set it up, with a frame that folds in the middle and can be secured with a clip. The same goes for the handlebar stem, which folds up and clips into place. The saddle can be pulled up out of the frame and is quickly locked into place. You’ll need to attach the pedals before your first ride, but these are the fold out type that make transportation and storage of the bike fuss-free. When folded, the bike is firmly secured with magnetic closures that prevent it coming undone.
We were particularly impressed at just how quickly the Axon Pro Lite was ready to ride. However, the front tyre was all but flat, so we had to pump it up, which quickly highlighted one shortcoming with smaller wheels. Getting a pump nozzle onto the valve was quite tricky, and particularly so on the back.
Aside from that though, the Axon Pro Lite is a piece of cake to work with. Overall, the design is a little quirky, but it’s got everything you need in all the right places, even down to a small mudguard that sits over the rear wheel to prevent spray flying up your back in wet weather. This is supplemented by another tiny one at the front.
Such is the design that the Axon Pro Lite doesn’t actually look like it’s an e-bike. The clever construction is really quite innovative in that respect. At the same time, it’s got everything you need for an enjoyable ride including a very decent saddle. It’s single speed too, so there’s no derailleur to worry about or, for that matter, gears to master.
The three power modes are controlled via the computer on the right-hand side of the handlebars. This is clean and simple, and the little power button tab just underneath it allows you to dispense forward motion in little spurts as needed.
Before heading out on your maiden ride, make sure you're completely familiar with the bike's controls. The Axon Pro Lite has a little lever that sits underneath the computer, which unlocks a significant burst of power.
As with any folding bike, it’s also prudent to check you know that everything is secure in terms of checking all clasps are locked in place. Thankfully, this is also very easy to do on the Axon Pro Lite. As pointed out earlier, we’d pumped up those small tyres too, which is a necessity as there’s no suspension at all, save for what you’ll get from the air in the tires.
Those wheels are so small that they could be an issue for some less confident riders. As with any small bike with narrow wheels, you’re fine going in a straight line, but you’ll need to concentrate for any out of the ordinary steering maneuvers or when navigating dropped kerbs.
The lack of suspension and tiny amounts of rubber making contact with the road result in a ride that’s fine on a smooth and well-manicured surface. However, anything else results in you being thrown around, and the ride feeling a little jittery on any real bumps and divots.
The bike did OK on gravel tracks, but the feeling of uneasiness is exacerbated when you turn into a corner. The Axon Pro Lite is certainly not designed for any unpredicted or erratic handlebar movements. Turn those bars at too much of an extreme and the bike can be a bit of a handful. That’s not a knock against the Axon Pro Lite, though; more of an observation on the shortcomings of a small wheel and frame design.
Aside from that, we found the Axon Pro Lite great in a straight line and there’s more than enough power on offer as you work the controls The power delivery can be a little frustrating at times, and a little vague until you get a feel for the bike. However, once you’re on the go the electric assistance trips in very smoothly, which suggests the torque sensor is less able to help if you’re pushing off from a standing start.
We loved the simplicity of the ride too, with a single speed and no gear changing making the e-bike perfect for hopping on and off in town and suchlike. The position of the saddle and the handlebars is nicely balanced, and those folding points in the design all feel solid enough as the motor propels you down the road via the three different levels of pedal assist.
There’s even a little horn to warn fellow road users, as well as practical built-in lights. The LCD screen on the computer is great too; it offers a fully legible readout of the usual trip necessities plus speed, mode and so on.
This little e-bike has to work quite hard to earn its keep, but in our time with it we couldn’t really fault the power from the battery and hub motor. Axon Rides states 25 miles, which is perfectly fine for what it's designed for
Charging it up is a cinch thanks to a plug in point under the saddle where the green on/off button sits, allowing for a charge without taking the battery off the bike. It takes around 3.5 hours on average. So, it’s all generally all good, just as long as you’re mindful about the shortcomings of a bike with such small and narrow wheels.
First reviewed February 2022
Buy it if
You want a lightweight and portable e-bike
The Axon Pro Lite is easily folded up and down and is wonderfully compact.
Electric power is essential
The little Axon Pro Lite bundles along very nicely when you’re tapping into its surprisingly powerful motor and battery.
You crave simplicity
There are no gears, and controlling the power is a doddle thanks to the computer and little plastic accelerator tab on the handlebars.
Don't buy it if
You’re a nervous rider
Narrow tires and handlebars mean this is a bike that’s fun but can be a little unpredictable, especially on poorly maintained roads.
You’re on the large side
The Axon Pro Lite might struggle with anyone who’s heavy or particularly tall, though it's robust overall. Check the manufacturer's advice on weight limits before ordering.
You need more range
Axon states 25 miles from one charge, making it ideal for shortish journeys, but not for long weekend rides. The MiRider One folding e-bike has a maximum range of 40 miles if you need something that will keep going further.
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Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.