In March, we took the high-end style Fiido-X for a test drive, and came away very impressed. Just a week later, the company issued a product recall after receiving reports that the frame had broken in half. Now the folding e-bike has been beefed up and improved, and we’re back on the road for another look.
The Fiido X sports an eye-catching look similar to the one successfully funded by the company. D11, but the frame lines are much smoother thanks to the magnesium alloy construction and a hinge mechanism that’s mostly hidden inside the frame. And that design decision turned out to be a pain point for the Hong Kong-based mobility gear.
On April 3, a runner reported that his X had essentially snapped in half at the hinge, but without injury. The company quickly moved to lab testing the frame and issued a global recall after confirming the defect, while ending sales. Owners were given the option of choosing another Fiido model or waiting for a new, beefed-up X to roll out.
The hinge has been redesigned for better strength, the bolts thickened and the clamp reworked for easier folding. New frame versions have been produced and sent to the lab for testing, with Fiido telling us that “we tested the new design extensively, applying 20% more load to it than specified by EN15194 and increasing the number of test cycles twice that specified by EN15194.”
Before relaunching the X Mark II, a number of key upgrades to the original e-bike were also applied. Along with the 7-speed Shimano derailleur – which is now protected by a handlebar – Fiido has brought a Shimano shifter on board to replace the old S-Ride unit.
There was some discussion in an owner’s forum about rolling out a new stem-based display, but that didn’t happen. The handlebar mounted display/control has however been updated to allow a PAS 0 level to ride the X unassisted, while still keeping the motor available if you need it. It’s also brighter than before, includes an odometer, and the speed/distance units can be easily changed from km/h to mph.
The handlebar stem is no longer straight, but benefits from a 15 degree inclination for better comfort. The grips are now much less painful with bare hands and the saddle has been treated to more padding. The included fenders are thicker than before and made from polypropylene for better durability.
Fiido has made adjustments to the torque system for a longer charging range at PAS 1, and the password security system has also been upgraded. And stronger magnets have been included on the wheels to prevent accidental slippage when moving in folded mode.
As before, the X is available in 350W and 250W rear hub motor variants, with the former offering three levels of pedal assist up to 19.2mph (there’s no thumb throttle here) and the second aimed at cyclists locked into legislation that only allows a maximum of 25 km/h on public roads.
The big seat tube battery is the same as before, with new power rail technology – which does away with the external looped wiring seen on the D11 and D21 – and a 417.6 Wh capacity for maximum theoretical range per charge just over 80 miles (130 km) for the 250-W e-bike or 68 miles (110 km) for the 350-W.
The e-bike rolls on 20-inch wheels with 1.95-inch-wide tires, and stopping power still comes from front and rear hydraulic brakes.
A casual viewer might notice a slightly bigger and curvier frame than before, but that’s a small aesthetic price to pay for the promise of a safer ride. The spring surrounding the internally routed wiring at the hinge has taken a more central position which should cause less wear through the gap, and the clamp has been simplified – albeit where a metal arm neatly held it in seat when folded, it now swings loose unless the X is tilted up and rolled up by the seat. The V2 model folds down to a 31.26 x 13.78 x 31.61 inch (794 x 350 x 803 mm) trunk.
The driving experience on the updated X turned out to be much the same as before, and I had as much fun as I did with the original.
There are a number of fairly steep inclines on the 2 mile (3.2 km) journey from my house to the local train station, but it’s mostly downhill one way. Of course, that means getting home can be quite a challenge on a non-motorized bike, but less so with the X thanks to the combination of pedal assist and mechanical gears. That said, the more demanding hills required quite a bit of rider effort as the engine limits were reached.
The addition of PAS 0 was really welcome, and meant that I could cycle using just Shimano gears and didn’t have to stop, get off and enter the passcode to turn on the motor for pedal assistance. The V1 model’s S-Ride shifter worked well enough, but the new Shimano shifter made for noticeably smoother mechanical shifts. And the new grips were much softer on the hands.
The premium look sparked even more conversations than before when I stopped to take pictures. While many talking points were about e-bikes in general, there were signs of approval of the three-step quick-folding process, the seat tube battery proved a winner, and the useful mixed riding range by Charging around 50 miles from the single battery was welcomed.
At the end of the line
Unfortunately, safety-related product recalls occur with alarming regularity – with relatively recent and high-profile examples including Phillips (toxic foam in some respirators), Samsung (risk of fire/burning of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone battery), Platoon (risk of traction injuries for his treadmill) and Toyota (where the bZ4X electric car hub bolts could loosen and cause the wheel to come off).
Luckily, no one has been harmed by the frame/hinge issues of the X – or more recently the T1 utility e-bike (another frame issue that Fiido attributed to an early design flaw that has since been fixed with reinforcements , according to a report by Electrek).
In both cases, Fiido responded very quickly to user reports, developed and tested solutions, and rolled out updated e-bikes to affected riders. Concerned about safety and durability, the young company is now recovering from these design disasters and looking to move forward.
The healthy sprinkling of Model X V2 upgrades makes this folding e-bike even better than the original, while maintaining the same attractive price of US$1,799 (even better when the current discount code is applied).
Product sheet: Fiido-X