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ADO A20 Review

Verdict

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Considering the level of power on offer, the folding design and the range of accessories that come in the box, the ADO A20 is excellent value for an e-bike. It’s comfortable to ride and the motor helps keep you bumbling along at the maximum legal speed.

Steep hills may require a lower gear and maximum power setting to get up them, but you’ll do them faster than with leg power. With useful shock absorbers making light work of the road, and a long-range battery, this is a greater commuter bike – although it’s a touch rough around the edges and very heavy.

Pros

  • Great value
  • Excellent range of accessories
  • Comfortable ride
  • Powerful motor

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Doesn’t stay together when folded

Availability

  • UKRRP: £799

Key Features

  • FoldingThis bike folds in half, with the handlebars folding over, so you can put it in the boot of a car, or take it on public transport
  • SpeedThis bike can reach up to 20mph, although it’s limited to 15.5mph in the UK

Introduction

If you thought that e-bikes, particularly folding models, were expensive and lacked features, the ADO A20 is here to prove you wrong. For less than you can buy some regular folding bikes, the A20 comes with a powerful motor, useful LCD panel, plus a ton of extras.

Its ride is generally very smooth, with suspension and a shock-absorbing seat helping out, and I found it easy to manage my regular commute with this model. The fold could be a bit neater and tough hills aren’t quite as easy as they are on the GoCycle G4. Still, for the price, this bike is great value.

Design and features

  • Folds down neatly, although it doesn’t stay shut
  • Clever LCD panel lets you adjust settings
  • Brilliant range of extras

The ADO A20 arrives in a box mostly assembled. All you have to do is attach the handlebar post, slide in the saddle, and screw in the kickstand. The tools to do all of those jobs are included in the box, but the instructions aren’t particularly clear. I found that using the online video was more helpful, particularly for lining up the handlebars.

This is a folding bike, which is handy, since it can both fit in the boot of a car and be carried onto public transport. Folding is largely very easy, although there are a couple of rough edges. First, the main clasp that holds the hinge together is loose and hangs out when the bike is folded. Secondly, there’s nothing to hold the bike together in its folded position, so trying to wheel or carry the A20 can be tricky as the bike tries to flip open.

ADO A20 folded

I bought a cheap velcro strap online and used this to hold the bike together in its folded state; it made the A20 far easier to carry around, particularly when getting it on and off the Tube. Holding the frame together made it more stable on its rest, and the folding pedals keep out of the way.

ADO A20 folded pedal

Even so, with the bike folded, it isn’t particularly stable on its rest and had a tendency to fall over. This is in part down to the bike’s hefty weight of 24kg: that’s super-heavy to the point that anything other than the occasional lifting isn’t fun. Taking the bike on the Tube, it was fine where I just had to carry the ADO A20 onto the train, but carrying it up and over a railway bridge proved quite the workout.

ADO A20 handle

Folded, the A20 has some rough edges, but it unfolds nicely and clips together, ready to ride. Despite being a folder, it’s a bike built for both off-road and longer road journeys. It ships with 20-inch wheels with funky six-axis spokes, and chunky all-terrain tyres.

You’ll want to check the tyres are fitted and inflated properly. I inflated both tyres after building the bike, but trying it out on a field, I hit a small divet in the ground, and the front tyre popped off the rim. Refitting and re-inflating fixed the problem, and I didn’t experience that issue again.

Mudguards come as standard, which isn’t the case with the expensive GoCycle G4, and you even get lights. The front light is powered by the bike’s battery, but the rear light is a battery-operated model. Still, lights as standard are to be applauded.

ADO A20 front light

There’s a seven-speed Shimano transmission, which delivers enough flexibility to cycle as fast as you can, or even use the bike without power, if the battery should go or you fancy a better workout. These use a standard shifter mounted on the handlebars, close to your right thumb.

ADO A20 gears

Disc brakes are included on both wheels, which proved to be responsive on my ride, and are a step up from standard calliper brakes.

To use the bike in electric mode, you have to insert the provided key and turn it to the on position. The key is a little hard to insert, since cables run around the slot, which you can’t see as it’s located under the frame. It’s also very easy to bend a key, especially if you leave it inserted while folding or unfolding the bike.

There’s a second lock position that lets you slide the battery out of the bike for charging, so you don’t have to position your bike close to a charging slot. That’s incredibly useful, particularly if you live in a terrace house as I do, and you don’t want to bring your bike in or through the house to charge it.

ADO A20 clip and battery

There is a charging point on the bike, too, so you can charge in-situ if you can stop the bike somewhere near a power socket.

ADO A20 charging point

With the power on, you turn on the bike using the button on the LCD panel. This panel tells you the current speed you’re travelling at and how far you’ve cycled in total. It defaults to kilometres per hour, but you can change the settings to make the display read in miles per hour.

Using the display, you can adjust the riding support level. Zero turns off the motor support completely; 1 has a max speed of 15km/h; 2 has a max speed of 20km/h; and 3 has a max speed of 25km/h. The latter is the maximum speed allowed in the UK to be road-legal, and corresponds to 15.5mph. Of course, if you can manually pedal faster, the A20 will go faster. The motor is preset to only kick in when you hit 6km/h, so you need a little bit of manual power to get going.

ADO A20 LCD

Technically, the A20 has a 350W motor and can do 35km/h (20mph), and it can do this entirely without pedalling thanks to the twist throttle on the handlebars. However, in the UK the bike ships with the throttle disabled, with power limited to 250W and the max speed set to 25km/h (15.5mph). You can override all of these, although that will make the bike illegal to ride on the road.

With the default UK modes, you get a good combination of options, and you can easily adjust the riding mode to suit the terrain.

Under the control panel, there are two buttons. One sounds the horn, and the other turns the front light on or off.

Finally, it’s good to see ADO ship the A20 with a handlebar mount for a smartphone, plus there’s a USB port that you can use to keep your handset topped up as you cycle.

ADO A20 USB port

Performance

  • Quick acceleration
  • A smooth ride
  • You may need to change modes for hills

Riding the ADO A20 is largely effortless. It’s tuned to kick the motor power in from 6km/h (3.7mph). You can feel when the motor powers on, as the bike surges forward. This does make peddling at slower speeds – say, moving through traffic or a car park – quite difficult, as the motor wants you to go faster. Fortunately, you can quickly turn off assist using the control panel for manoeuvring at slower speeds.

With the Swytch eBike Conversion Kit, you have to physically turn the power pack off to stop the motor from kicking in.

As you begin to move, the ADO A20 up to the maximum speed based on the level selected. Operating in gear 7 on the flat and gentle inclines, it’s easy to keep up the speed and continue moving at the maximum speed. On the flat or downhill, the gearing is high enough that you can push the bike faster. I regularly hit near-20mph on some stretches of my commute.

ADO A20 gear shifter

Big hills are a little different. With the GoCycle G4, the torque sensor and boost button let you operate at maximum support to glide up hills. Here, the ADO A20 doesn’t have a torque sensor or a boost button, and it feels more dependant on how fast you’re peddling. Hills can feel like more effort than on the G4, although I should point out that I could still climb the steep hill outside of Epping at more than 20km/h – which is way faster than I’d manage on leg power.

I found that setting the highest level of motor support and dropping down a gear or two, making the pedals easier to push, made hill climbs much easier overall.

I didn’t always find gear changes that easy, particularly when coming to a stop. When I needed to stop – say, at a set of traffic lights – the most natural thing to do is shift down through the gears to get ready for accelerating away. With the ADO A20, I was generally travelling quite fast, and pedalling to shift gears would kick-in the motor, which accelerates the bike. As a result, I found it hard to get from gear 7 to gear 1 in a normal stopping distance: as I pulled away, the bike would shift down through its gears at first, making it slower to get away.

My way around this was to shift down to mid-level gear (3 or 4), and then rely on the power of the motor to kick in quickly to help me pull away. The smoother gears on the GoCycle G4 mean that this isn’t an issue on that bike.

Shock absorbers on the forks, rear and even in the saddle post help iron out the bumps in the road. Certainly, I found the A20 more comfortable in a lot of places than either my regular Dahon folder or the GoCycle G4.

ADO A20 wheel

My commute is just over 8 miles, taking in B-roads, main roads and a short jaunt through some forest. The A20 handled all ground well, even the off-road section through a dirt track. 

Completing the round trip on the maximum support level, I managed an average speed of 15.23mph, just a little behind what I managed on the GoCycle G4. I put this down to some faster hill climbs on the G4.

The bike’s range will largely depend on how much work the motor has to do. ADO states a full electric range of 60km (37 miles) and assisted range of 80km (50 miles). On my commute, I had just under half the battery remaining, following just over 16 miles (26km) – which would see me do between 30 and 40 miles on a charge. That’s more than enough for most people’s commutes to and from an office, or for longer general rides.

Once the battery is flat, it takes between six and seven hours to top up – that’s an overnight job or a regular working day to get back to full. 

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Should you buy it?

If you want a folding e-bike that you can take anywhere and ride on practically any surface, it’s hard to beat the value and power that the ADO A20 offers.

It isn’t as neat a folder as some, and it’s quite heavy, too, so those who want the lightest of options may be better looking elsewhere.

Final thoughts

Buy the GoCycle G4 and you’ll get a smoother ride, particularly on hills, and a much neater folding bike in a lighter package. You’ll have to pay a lot more for the privilege, though – and what you get with the ADO A20 is fantastic value and, thanks to the shock absorbers, a very comfortable ride.

Considering the bike comes with everything you need to get on the road, including mud guards and lights, that price seems even better value. Yes, the fold could be neater but, for me, a simple velcro strap fixed the most annoying problem. 

Overall, the powerful motor and long-range battery make the ADO A20 an excellent choice. It made my commute easier, and I did it much faster than I could manage without power.

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FAQs

What’s the maximum speed of the ADO A20?

It’s limited to 15.5mph in the UK, but can go up to 20mph if unlocked.

Can you take the ADO A20 on public transport?

Yes, but only if you fold it.

Full specs

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