Mycle Compact Review – The Perfect Folding Ebike for Camping?
“Are you taking the Mycle?” – a sub £1000 folding ebike which comprehensively delivers the goods. Have we found the perfect campsite companion?
What we like about the Mycle Compact: Folds up really small; Ample power; Fits all sizes of rider; Neat design; Great brakes.
What we don’t like about the Mycle Compact: Delayed power surge can be disconcerting; Slightly twitchy steering.
We’re big advocates of using battery-powered transport on your camping trips, be it a scooter, hover board or bike. The additional power can really help extend the range you can explore around your destination. In particular, electric bikes combine practical transportation with fun, exercise and adventure.
There are many ebikes on the market at the moment, and the designs are constantly evolving. You need to be really sure that the ebike you buy is suitable for the job you intend to use it for. For example, the features you need to ride off-road dirt tracks (suspension, high power, ruggedness) are very different to those you require from a camping ebike (portability, lightweight, rack, mudguards etc).
In our view, a camping ebike should take up minimal space when not in use, be quick to set-up at the campsite, fit a wide range of rider sizes/weights and have decent lights, mudguards and potentially a rack to carry a saddlebag. Yes, you can use a downhill mountain ebike for camping if you own one, but the practicality isn’t really there and they are very expensive. Better to buy the right tool for the job in the first place, and potentially save some money in the process.
Mycle Compact Ebike – what is it?
Enter the Mycle Compact ebike which is the subject of our in-depth testing and review in this article. This is a really interesting offering to the electric bike market because it is a small bike which has the ability to fold up extremely compactly, and yet can easily transport riders up to 115kg (18 stones) and up to 6ft5 in height. It produces ample torque from a 40Nm electric motor and can provide power assistance to your pedalling for up to 30km on a single charge. All for under £1000 at time of writing. These credentials really got us itching to try it out!
Who are Mycle?
Mycle are a UK company with serious green credentials. They build each and every Mycle ebike at their Tetbury premises using 100% renewable energy, and are all about providing great “value for money” green transport to their customers. Their range includes ebikes and scooters, with multiple products of each type.
- Mycle Compact – What’s in the box?
When the box arrives at your front door, you feel a little shocked at how small and light it is – can there really be a bike inside? Upon cutting through the sellotape holding the top of the box together, you find the following inside
- folded ebike covered in protective film and polystyrene protection
- small box containing toolset and 240V AC power pack for charging the ebike battery
We found that the instructions are almost next to useless for setting up the ebike, but luckily it’s a fairly intuitive process.
Regarding the bike, almost anything that possibly can fold will be folded. The frame itself, the handlebars and even the pedals. To assemble you just need to use common sense and extend out these items and then use the in-built clamps to clamp the bike together into its free-standing state. On the first go at this the handlebars will need tightening using a quick-release bolt which is supplied.
Mycle Compact Specs
- Weight (with battery): 17.5kg
- Gears: Shimano Tourney 7 speed
- Battery size: 230 Wh (6.4 Ah)
- Range: 30km
- Brakes: mechanical disc brakes
- Tyre size: 20 x 2.125
- Max rider weight: 115kg
- Folded size: 85 x 70 x 40cm
- Unfolded size: 150 x 110 cm
The Mycle comes with front and rear mudguards, a useful rack for panniers and also a front (but not rear) headlight which is powered from the battery.
Check out our in-depth video review of the Mycle Compact ebike on Youtube below.
Mycle Compact – the battery and motor
The Explorer uses a unique (to us at least) design whereby the chunky battery has been incorporated into the seat-post and has the saddle attached to it on top. You can fully remove the battery by lifting out the saddle and seat-post to charge separately, or directly connect the battery charger to a little connector under the saddle if you want to charge in situ. We really like this flexibility because it means you can store and charge the battery separately in your house if you don’t want to keep it with the bike in the garage.
Mycle state a 4 hour charge time, but that is charging from totally flat to 100% charged. In practice, we found that only about 3 hours was needed because we never let the battery get totally discharged. This is probably a sensible precaution, although Lithium-ion batteries do not mind getting discharged in the way that the old lead-acid batteries did.
Once the battery is charged and you have the seatpost attached in place on the bike, there is a single electrical connector to attach to the frame of the bike. This is connected to the end of the seatpost by an extendable electrical cord which pokes out of the bottom of the seatpost. In our view it looks a little unsightly, but is part of the reason that the Mycle Compact can be used by both tall and short riders – as you raise the saddle, the cord can stretch upwards inside the frame, allowing taller rider to ride.
Activating the power is easy: simply hold down the central button for a few seconds until the display activates. You can then use the up and down arrows to add or remove power from 0 (off) to 5 (max power).
The control panel also includes a few extras which are nice to see. Underneath is a USB-A socket which allows you to run an extra gadget from the ebike battery. This could be a light, an electric horn or simply just use it for charging your phone while you’re riding. Either way, it’s a useful feature to have.
There is a ‘walk-mode’ included. This will power the bike along if you’re not riding and makes it much easier to push up hills. Simply hold the ‘down arrow’ on the control panel for 2 seconds and this will be activated.
Finally, the control panel can be used to activate the front headlamp of the ebike. Hold the ‘up arrow’ for 2 seconds and the light will turn on. I think it would be simple to wire in a rear light in parallel as well, because as standard the Compact only comes fitted with a front light – a bit of an oversight in our view.
Riding and Comfort - In Use
So what’s it like to ride the Mycle Compact? Well we were pleasantly surprised. We’re a family of three, ranging from under 5ft to over 6ft3 tall, and from 40kg to 95kg – the ebike caters for all of us which is pretty impressive.
In the maximum power mode 5, there is a large amount of ‘oomf’ which gets shoved into your back once you’ve completed a full revolution of the pedals. This can be a little disconcerting the first time you set-off, so we recommend starting with power level 2 or 3. The 250W motor can supply a torque of 40Nm which is a significant amount for what is essentially a budget bike. Some bikes costing over £5000 (Specialized Levo SL) have less power than that!
The battery is not the largest on the market with a real-world range of around 20 miles, but actually I don’t think you would want to ride much further than that in one go. You can then quickly recharge using the mains or a battery power pack.
The saddle is comfortable for both men and women, although my wife and daughter both said that they wouldn’t like to do much more than 10 miles on rough terrain. There is no suspension on the Mycle Compact and so you’re relying on the tyres and saddle to soak up vibrations.
The Mycle Compact is only running on small wheels with 20-inch circumference tyres. With a relatively long handlebar stem relative to the wheels, the steering of the ebike can feel a little ‘twitchy’. It’s absolutely fine for cruising along in the park, but if you want to do some delicate steering around obstacles then it can feel a little out of its comfort zone. This really isn’t a problem for the majority of cycling that you’ll be doing, but is worth pointing out. That being said, it is a lot of fun to whizz along on, and is so easy to transport to your destination.
I really want to point out the performance of the brakes on the Mycle Compact – they are excellent. We always recommend seeking out disc brakes on an ebike if possible because you’re trying to stop a much heavier vehicle than a non-electric ‘analogue’ pushbike. Ebikes are often twice the weight of their non-electric siblings, and so standard v-brakes will not really cut the mustard.
Folding and Transportation
This is the real reason you should consider the Mycle Compact as a campsite companion. By virtue of its ability to fold down into a small size you don’t need a bike rack to transport it. It can simply be transported in your car, campervan or motorhome and then used to your heart’s content at the campsite. This massively increases the ease of use because you don’t need to faff around to pack it in your gear – simply lift it into your vehicle. The relatively low weight of 17.5kg also helps in this regard, and this can be lowered still if you remove the battery seatpost before lifting.
Mycle Compact - Conclusions
We’ve been extremely impressed with the Mycle Compact ebike and really see it as a great bit of camping kit. It packs up exceedingly small, doesn’t weigh much and yet can be ridden by the whole family for up to 30km (20miles). It’s easy to charge and offers a very comfortable ride on tarmac, but less so on stones and rougher terrain.
We love the fact that Mycle are a UK company and offer a 12 month warranty on all their bikes and scooters. We also like that you can fully configure every bike you order, from the colour of the frame to the colours of the saddle and tyres. Overall, this is a Camping Secrets classic and we wholeheartedly recommend it.
The Mycle Compact is a fabulous little folding ebike which is perfectly suited to camping trips away. It will stow away in a very small space in your car or campervan and can then be used to explore your surroundings at the campsite. We love the practicality (mudguards, rack and light), the power and the fun on offer. For under £1000 at time of writing, this is a bargain in our view. Highly recommended!