The 10 Best Folding Bikes
We spent 44 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Today's folding bikes can offer the ride quality and durability of standard bicycles, but with the added benefit of total portability. The fact that they are foldable lets you take them places you could never reach by pedal power alone, as you can stash them in your vehicle’s trunk or carry them onto a bus or train. Some are even equipped with batteries to give you an even greater range. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best folding bike on Amazon.
Brompton H6R Notably expensive, and made by hand in England by luxury-bike maker Brompton, this bike can be hard to find (and service) in many parts of North America, but is backed by 20 years of folding bike expertise, and extremely detailed craftmanship throughout. brompton.com
What Separates a Good Folding Bike From a Great One?
Once you've researched all these aspects, you can begin to narrow your list by way of versatility.
A lot of folding bikes feature a one-size-fits-all frame, which is why it pays to confirm that any model you're interested in comes with an adjustable seat.
If you're in the market for a folding bike, it's safe to assume your interest has something to do with needing a compact mode of transportation. Whether you live in a small apartment, or you want a bike that you can ride to work, the point is that you need a two-wheeled vehicle that does not take up space.
Your most viable option may be a folding bike. Only now you have to figure out which model to choose. Assuming that you shop online, you can use each folding bike's description - and accompanying images - to determine not only how compact that bike will be, but also how much it weighs, how long it takes to pair down, and what, if any, tools might be required to make any adjustments or repairs.
A lot of folding bikes feature a one-size-fits-all frame, which is why it pays to confirm that any model you're interested in comes with an adjustable seat. As a general rule, you'll want a folding bike to be streamlined. The more gears and brake lines, the greater the chances that something might get tangled, or even break.
Once you've researched all these aspects, you can begin to narrow your list by way of versatility. Read some professional reviews to determine whether each bike has a durable frame, and whether it's built to be ridden on various kinds of off-road terrain.
If you need a folding bike for school or work, you'll probably want that bike to feature a cargo rack. As a precaution, you'll want to invest in a strong lock that'll fit through the collapsed bike's grooves, as well.
When to Choose a Folding Bike (Instead of a Traditional One)
Let's start with the obvious; you prefer a folding bike because you don't have space. Maybe you lack a lot of space at work, or you live in a tiny apartment. In fact, if you live in a tiny apartment that is located in a walk-up, then you probably know just how insane it is to lug a bike up and down several flights of stairs. If any of these conditions apply, you should probably own a folding bike.
If any of these conditions apply, you should probably own a folding bike.
If you're accustomed to taking your bike along on buses, or trains, or subways, it makes a lot more sense to have a model that collapses. The same holds true if you own a small car. A folding bike isn't only sensible if you own a small car, it saves you the headache of having to attach your bike to a metal rack.
If you ride a bike to work, a collapsible model can fit beneath most office desks. If you spend time in a bad neighborhood, most folding bikes lock down in such a way that they are essentially theft-proof. If you carry a backpack, many folding bikes come with a cargo rack, which can be very convenient.
In the event that you're going to be living somewhere for an abbreviated period of time, a folding bike might be a smarter choice than a car, as long as your daily commute isn't too far. For many city dwellers, there is simply no place to park a car where they don't have to worry about getting a parking ticket on random days. A folding bike is ideal if you're living in a dorm room or a temporary apartment. Another benefits besides the low upfront cost, is the tremendous resale value many have, which means that you can recoup a lot of the bike's original cost when it's time to sell.
A Brief History of The Folding Bike
Folding bikes have been around since the end of the 19th Century. During World War I, these bikes were used by European armies because they were compact enough to carry, while also allowing personnel to cover more ground without feeling exhausted.
Folding bikes weren't sold to the public until the early 1970s.
During the Second World War folding bikes were used in a lot of French and British parachuting missions. These bikes provided a compact means of transportation for any paratroopers who had touched down inside of remote enemy territory. Folding bikes were also used during the D-Day Invasion to help special mission forces advance to the front.
Folding bikes weren't sold to the public until the early 1970s. Revenues were sluggish at first. Eventually though, these bikes caught on, thanks in large part to a competitive rivalry between Brompton, Raleigh, and Dahon. These three manufacturers, in particular, increased their advertising budgets, thereby creating awareness and an eventual uptick in profitability.
Folding bikes became even more popular toward the end of the Twentieth Century, as environmental awareness and fitness fads led people to pursue more active forms of transportation. The collapsible design of a folding bike hasn't changed much over the past one hundred years. At its core, the folding bike has always been custom-made to remain simple. Innovations these days focuses on making lighter weight models that are sturdier and can fold quicker.
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