I'd heard about this John, looks interesting. I've never ridden a Birdy, but that front suspension seems to be a "Marmite" thing, loved or hated. Many really despise the way it rides, but others are so enthusiastic about the Birdy that they go on inter-country European group tours, some even towing trailers.
I suspect adding all that power will increase the love/hate divisions about how it behaves on the road. Definitely a "try before buy" bike.
Looking at the electric version, I have to say, there are two things I'm not keen on.
The wheels look rather small (16 inch?).
I also dislike the battery bar-bag.
I've ridden bikes with front racks (low down) and I know how they upset steering and balance. Surely a bag up high on the bars (including battery) must upset the balance and steering even worse.
Bet it's impossible to pull a decent wheelie with it
Try this one, AIRNIMAL FOLDING BIKES|High Performance folding bikes|Joey Move
Retails around the £1500 mark, with NimH battery.
I've had a brief encounter but only on the flat. It was a typical Joey without the motor on. The clogging torque ( the stick-tion you can get with direct drive motors ) is hard to detect, maybe as you speed up?
If you run the Bionx in small wheels you can seem to hit a brick wall as the power turns of, but the speed limiter can be disabled. With small wheels this amounts to a more gradual power down curve, but not a huge speed increase.
It doesn't say which of the 250w motors it uses, there is now a high torque version , I think it's the American 350w derated by the sound of it, but not tried it yet.
The birdy is a very robust little bike as flecc says well suited to touring. Handling is very good compared to other more twitchy folders (because of the rigid frame and handlebar post and full suspension) It also folds as compactly as a brompton , but is about twice the volume due to the bigger wheels 18'' and racks. You can also fit normal small panniers on front and back and the racks dont affect the fold. Handling is fine with front loaders (comparable to my dawes tourer). I did wonder why they didnt mount it on the front rack.
The one problem with the birdy is that like other full suspension bikes its a bit slow. Also when descending that front 'fork' can get into a yoyo rthym at about 18-20 mph. Its a bit disconcerting, but you just let the bike run and its ok.
Like the brompton nano, an electric birdy definetly has scope as an all weather and conditions commuter bike allowing that 'no sweat' hill climb.
Comparison with a huge bike like the airnimal, that only folds in half doesnt fold up is a bit of a poor one.
You can see two other ways of mounting the battery. They have been saying for years that the Bionx/Birdy combo is a match made in heaven and now it looks like Birdy is adding this option from the factory.
Check out the video as the Birdy takes on a Road bike in a 10km climb !!