They look similar, so what's the difference?
There are a lot of folding e-bikes now in the market, all claiming to be the best for a variety of reasons. And many of these bikes look the same. It’s like trying to decide between buying a cheap bike from Walmart or a more expensive Specialized bike from an actual bike shop. So, without some extensive research how is the consumer to know which to buy? The Swagtron EB7 and Jupiter Bike Discovery are two such bikes.
In this post I'm going to do a side-by-side comparison of the various aspects of the two bikes. The Jupiter Bike Discovery is a bit more costly, but in my opinion if you’re serious about owning a folding e-bike for the long haul, the Discovery is the better choice.
Let's start with the basic specs
|Folded Size (L x W x H)||30.08" x 16.93" x 25.08"||29.5" x 16.5" x 25.9"|
|Unfolded Size (L x W x H)||52.75" x 21.65" x 34.30"||52.7” x 22” x 42.1”|
|Weight||40 lbs||42.3 lbs|
|Max Speed||16 mph||18.6 mph|
|Full Charge Time||4 hours||4 hours|
|Full Charge Range||30 miles||15.5 miles|
|Hub Motor||250 watt||350 watt|
|Lithium Ion Battery||36 volt||36 volt|
From the basic specs, one can see the bikes are pretty much the same with two exceptions. The Swagtron has a more powerful motor, which translates into a slightly higher max speed, and the Discovery has a full charge range double that of the Swagtron. So, now let’s drill down into the components to see the difference. In all the photos, the Discovery component is on the left or top and the Swagtron on the right or bottom.
The Discovery is made from a form molded magnesium alloy. Being form cast makes for a stronger frame. There are no weld joints thus making for a better-looking bike. Also, welds are potential breaking points. By contrast, the Swagtron EB7 frame is welded aluminum. And magnesium is lighter and stronger than aluminum. Hence, the core of the Discovery bike is superior to that of the Swagtron EB7.
The Handlebar Stem
As with the frame, the handlebar stem is form cast in a mold. It’s a more expensive process that results in a stronger, better-looking stem. As you can see in the image, the Swagtron stem has an unsightly weld at the base.
The Battery Pack
The JupiterBike Discovery uses a battery pack by LG Electronics, a leading and well-know manufacturer of quality components. By contrast, the Swagtron EB7 uses a cheaper, generic battery pack.
The Swagtron EB7 has an IPX4 rating. This means it’s resistant to water splashes from any direction. By contrast, the Discovery has an IP54 rating, which means in addition to resistance to water splashes from any direction it also has protection from dust that can clog and cause wear on moving parts.
Quality brakes are important to assure your safety when you need to stop. The Discovery uses CoreRide disc brakes, a quality disc brake manufacturer. By contrast, the Swagtron EB7 uses generic brakes.
Chainring and Guard
The chainring is the sprocket the pedals are attached to. The Discovery uses a larger chainring. What this means is more teeth on the sprocket and less effort getting the bike going. The Discovery also has a small wheel to protect the chainring when the bike is folded and sitting on the ground. The Swagtron uses a metal rod. The added advantage to the Discovery wheel is it allows for the folded bike to be rolled as opposed to having to carry the folded end.
If you’re planning on riding for any length of time it’s important to have a comfortable saddle. The Discovery comes with the JupiterBike Deluxe Seat, which features high density foam, dual suspension ball springs, and a wear resistant, anti-scratch microfiber surface. It also has a red LED taillight with 3 modes: solid, flashing and snake. I’ve been using one of these on my mountain bike the past couple years and I love it. The Swagtron EB7 uses a cheaper, generic saddle.
Additional Discovery Features
- Nylon carrying bag
- Reflective wheel sidewalls front and rear
- Fenders front and rear
- Higher quality rear shock absorber
- Louder electric horn
- Magnet to hold bike securely when folded
- Upgraded, branded handlebar grips
The Bottom Line
So, even though the JupiterBike Discovery and the Swagtron EB7 are very similar in appearance, there are major differences. The Swagtron EB7 is less expensive due to less expensive manufacturing processes and generic components. The Discovery is more expensive due to a form mold casting process for the frame and handlebar stem, and due to higher quality, name brand components. It comes down to whether you want a Huffy or a Specialized. For my money, the extra expense is worth it to get a bike I can ride with confidence that it will perform as expected and that I will still be riding it for years to come.