Blaupunkt Fiene E-Bike Hands-On Review: A Car Sidekick Not Substitute

A folding E-bike that's perfect for short-distance commutes.
Blaupunkt E-Bike Review

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I’m sure some of you are triggered by the presence of an e-bike review on a car-centric website, even one made by Blaupunkt. But, I consider myself a serious car enthusiast. I’ve worked in the industry most of my adult life. I’ve bee doing everything from working engineering for a car company, to tuning shops, and writing about them. I’ve also been a cyclist with varying degrees of seriousness my entire life. So I’m comfortable saying an e-bike like this Blaupunkt Fiene, makes a great car accessory.

Ironically, if I were writing this on a cycling website, there would be equal amounts of anger. “Serious cyclists” think e-bikes are for cheaters. Mostly they’re mad that people wearing cargo shorts instead of lycra skin suits are blasting past them on 5% climbs. So, I’m starting this review by pointing out, that everyone hates e-bikes, we can only go up from here.

Blaupunkt Fiene E-Bike

I feel the need to point out, nobody is paying for this. Blaupunkt sent the bike for testing. No money is changing hands. The company will receive a commission if you use our links to buy one. That’s it.

Blaupunkt Fiene E-Bike specs

For those with a price-first-fetish, this bike lists for $1,599 and that seems to be the going rate all over the internet. There are a few different colors offered, and also some college liveries. Those cost an extra $100 — just supporting your favorite college is expensive. For the sake of comparison, I have Trek Marlin 7 which retails for about $1,000. The Blaupunkt is very much an entry-level e-bike and the Trek is a basic entry-level mountain bike. I bought mostly to ride around with my son, or the coffee shop, errands, etc. It represents the type of normal pedal bike I, and many others, would use in place of an e-bike or vice-versa.

To start, the Blaupunkt is a UL-certified e-bike; I wouldn’t have it in my garage if it wasn’t. Robert Kaye, director of the Consumer Product Safety Commission urges people to only buy tested and certified products, “Consumers face an unreasonable risk of fire and risk serious injury or death if their micromobility devices do not meet the level of safety provided by the relevant UL standards.” If you buy a quality e-bike, use an approved charger, and regularly check it for damage, it won’t represent any greater risk than your laptop, smartphone, cordless tools, rechargeable toothbrush, etc etc etc.

On to the fun stuff. The Fiene has a 350 Watt, 50Nm hub motor in the back wheel. Sure some of you are scoffing at a mere half a horsepower. But cyclists know that unless your name is Pogačar, 350 Watts of constant power is no joke. The removable Li-ion battery is 36 volts and 10.5Ah. Blaupunkt claims it will deliver up to 45 miles of range and a maximum electric-only speed of 20mph. It uses 20-inch wheels with a 2.125-inch wide tire which are claimed to be puncture-proof. I haven’t tested that, but I also haven’t flatted on a ride, so we’ll go with it.

Both the wheels and the frame are magnesium. Finally, a bike with real mag-wheels, dude. The drive train is Shimano SIS 6-speed, which is the company’s extremely entry-level offering. The rear cassette is a 14-28t with a 44-tooth chainring up front. Although all the specs I can find online list 160mm disc brakes with Tektro mechanical calipers, my bike has 2-piston hydraulic calipers. The total bike weighs in at 47 pounds, 5 of those are the battery pack. It folds into an awkward 20x24x32-inch shape. It’s tiny for a bicycle but still large for something you roll around the office or throw in your trunk. For reference, a carry-on bag is 22x14x9-inches and a maximum of 35-40 pounds.

For a quick comparison, my Trek Marlin 7 has a Shimano 10-speed Deore drivetrain and MT200 hydraulic calipers with 180mm rotors. It weighs 30.5 pounds, with no accessories, and doesn’t fold, or collapse — without a sub-optimal ground-based encounter. 

What is it like to ride and commute on the Blaupunkt E-bike

Both my mountain bike and gravel bike are a size Large and I ride a 56-58cm road frame. I am 6’3” and right at the top end of the height range for this bike. It’s designed for the average commuter who will expect a lower saddle height. I sit upright, less stretched out than normal. It puts less strain on the neck and is better for looking around. The saddle is extra cushy, I rode in regular shorts and never felt the need for more padding. The whole experience requires letting go of the Ex Duris Gloris “From suffering comes glory,” cycling mantra.

There are two ways you can start. One is twisting the throttle first to get going. Or you can start pedaling and the bike automatically joins in once you start rolling. The latter is scary the first couple of times. That 350 additional Watts hits pretty hard when you aren’t used to it. You’re instantly a kid again on your first real BMX bike. It is genuinely fun. Although this is a real transportation device and not a toy, although it’s definitely a toy. But, it’s also a good transportation device.

I’ve ridden this bike around quite a bit. I’ve done a few rides where I used my mountain bike or gravel bike one day and then the Fiene the next. I work from home, so instead of commuting to “work,” I went to my local coffee and bike shop. According to the the US Census Bureau, the average American spends about 26 minutes traveling 12 miles, each way, on their trips to and from work. Pedal & Pour, my local shop is just under 9 miles from my house.

Including sitting at stoplights, and riding at party pace, I did the ride in roughly 38 minutes on a normal bike. I could go faster, but I wanted to treat this like I intended to show up at work, not dripping with sweat and needing a nap. I did the same ride on the e-bike, it took about 30 minutes and a big portion of that was spent with my heart rate in zone 1. So I was not only faster, but I did a lot less work; which is my first complaint. 

There are three selectable levels of motor assist, but what you are setting is the speed governor. The highest of which is 20 mph, and that’s fine. But, the bike isn’t geared for more than that. You are spinning out your legs to get to 21mph. This bike could benefit from a cassette with a 12-tooth cassette or a larger chainring up front. Also, if you’re set on 20 mph, once you start pedaling, the bike keeps accelerating to that speed. If you want to be more precise, you can use the twist throttle along with your pedaling input, but even after some decent time on the bike, it doesn’t feel natural to me. Anyway, after an 18-mile round trip, I never used even half the battery’s capacity — according to the gauge.

Who currently uses E-bikes and who should be

In 2022, that’s after the COVID bicycling boom wore off, Americans purchased $1.3 billion worth of e-bikes, so they are catching on. According to research done by Portland State University, e-bikers are a diverse bunch. You have riders of all ages who feel they are not fit enough to cover the distance they need or have other physical limitations keeping them from riding an unassisted bike. You have a younger demographic who want the ability to transport cargo, especially in areas where hills are a concern. As you might guess, you have those with environmental concerns and those who see an e-bike as a cheaper alternative to driving a car every day. They aren’t always used for someone’s full commute, with many bikes being used to get from home to mass transit and then again for the last mile or so to work.

For myself, I hate the idea of starting my car if I’m not driving at least 10 minutes. It doesn’t get up to temperature; this is when most of the wear occurs. I haven’t been working on my car much lately, but I can’t tell you how many times I would have loved having an e-bike to get to the parts store while my car was in pieces. I could even see myself commuting regularly if I didn’t work from home. Being on a bike is therapeutic.

Blaupunkt E-Bike Review

Can E-bikes make a significant impact on the environment?

This will get contentious, so I’ll try and stick to the math. OK, one quick thing, not math. Yes, this is a Li-ion battery like those in countless devices surrounding all of us. I’ve noticed nobody ever points out how horrible lithium is when it’s in a battery for an impact wrench or vacuum, only a car, weird. I don’t know this battery’s origins so we will assume the worst for emissions.

According to MIT, the worst case scenario is 2,000kg of CO2 is required to make 1kWh of battery(mining to manufacturing). This is a 378Wh or 0.378kWh battery, so 75.6kg of CO2 was released making the battery alone. Burning one gallon of gasoline releases 8.9kg of CO2, so if I save 8.5 gallons of gas, about half a tank in my car, I have already broken even. Before you start on how much CO2 was used to charge the battery, I have been using a DJI solar generator.

That’s the environment, let’s talk cash. I can buy a lot of gas for 1,600 bucks. I just filled up a few hours ago and paid $4.69 per gallon. So, I would need to save 341 gallons of gas to pay for the bike, that’s about 7,800 miles in my car. If I had that normal 12-mile (each way) commute, that is 325 days to pay for the bike. But, that’s also assuming I would only use it back and forth to work and not for other errands. The average American between the ages of 35 and 54 drives an average of 15,291 miles per year, so as they say, your mileage will vary.

Blaupunkt E-Bike Review

Blaupunkt Fiene E-bike: The Verdict

Overall I love this thing. To me, it feels more like riding an adult-sized BMX bike than a commuter bike. But, if you’re like me, you were always trying to figure out how to motorize your bike as a kid, and this is the completion of that fantasy. It’s extremely well made. I’m sure Blaupunkt could’ve shaved some pounds if the specs didn’t call for the bike surviving being run over by a tank. But, in the long run, this thing will last for years without ever feeling like a folding bike.

Blaupunkt Fiene E-Bike
Ease Of Use7/10

I have a few complaints. I’ve already touched on the gearing and I’ve checked, that can be fixed for about 20 bucks. I also don’t like the folding pedals. They work great at the folding part, but the platform isn’t flat and the bearing housing feels like a lump below your foot. Again, tons of options for 20 to 30 bucks. I like the fact that the bike includes a headlight, but why no taillight? Lastly, I couldn’t find a way to recalibrate the controller/speedometer if I were to switch to different tire sizes. My guess would be, that people would use that functionality to trick the bike into increasing the top speed, so I’m sure lawyers said, NEIN!

I know some of you still hate it; either as car enthusiasts or cyclists. I know at least one person will comment that their commute is 300 miles each way, with 7 passengers, 2 pallets of cylinder blocks, towing a boat, so e-bikes are dumb and aren’t good for anyone, and I’m some kind of communist that wants to force everyone to ride one. I’m not saying these are for everyone, not even most. But some of us could use an e-bike regularly to not only lessen traffic and pollution but save some money while getting healthier. Give e-bikes some thought, either as a supplement for your car or so you don’t hate other people riding them.

Blaupunkt E-Bike Review