The 10 Best Folding Bikes
This wiki has been updated 27 times since it was first published in March of 2015. Today's foldable bikes can almost match the ride quality and performance of regular bicycles, but with the added benefit of easier portability and more compact storage. You can take them places you can't reach by pedal power alone by stashing them in your vehicle’s trunk or carrying them on a bus or train. Some are even equipped with batteries to give you an even greater range. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
April 06, 2021:
If you have limited storage space at home or a commute that involves public transport, a folding bicycle may be the solution you need, since they pack away compactly, and are usually permitted on busses and trains. There are several things to consider when choosing the ideal model. Namely, how will you transport it, how much height adjustment does it have, and how heavy is it. If you plan on taking it in the trunk of your car then a model with smaller wheels will be more manageable for lifting in and out, however, smaller wheels do equate to greater exertion when cycling long distances. If you will need to carry it by hand, for example up staircases or in and out of elevators, then an aluminum frame will keep the overall weight down. Tall riders should check the maximum seat and handlebar height, as, although most models offer adjustment, they may not be suitable for riders over six-foot tall.
During this update to the ranking, we added several new models to the list that feature the latest components, designs, and lightweight materials. The popular Columba SP26 was switched for the Columba RJ26A which now boasts an alloy frame, forks, and wheels, thus considerably reducing the weight. The addition of front and rear suspension greatly improves its off-road capabilities and overall ride comfort. The battery-assisted Ecotric 20-Inch was replaced with the Fiido D3S, which weighs a mere 39 pounds and has a powerful lithium-ion battery with an impressive 50-kilometer range. We selected the Xspec Commuter as a good option for tall riders as it has a seat that adjusts up to 42 inches and a weight capacity of 220 pounds. Finally, we included a three-wheeled option due to its stability and ease of use. The Mophoto Tricycle has a carbon steel frame and a high weight capacity and is available in a wide range of colors.
January 07, 2020:
During this update, we removed the Addmotor Motan since, other than an included rack and headlight, we didn't feel it offered anything that the Ecotric 20-Inch doesn't. They both have similar specs, get about 40 to 45 miles per charge in the pedal assist mode, and top out right around 20 MPH. And, the latter is about half the price of the former, so with the money saved you could easily buy those things for yourself and still come out ahead.
Another new battery-powered addition to our list is the Swagtron EB7 Plus, which comes from a well-respected company that is known for making high-quality electric scooters and hoverboards. Its powerbank is removable, which makes it convenient to charge since you won't have to bring your whole bicycle indoors, and it has enough juice to push up 25-degree inclines.
We also eliminated the Xspec Trail due to user complaints of it having too many low-quality parts, as well as too many reports of the bike arriving with damaged components. We felt there are enough good options available on the market that there is no need to take the chance on one that could be considered questionable.
If you plan on riding your folding bike for long distances or up and down hills, you'll be best served with multi-gear model like the Dahon Mariner D8, EuroMini Zizzo Urbano, Dahon Vybe D7 Tour Deltec, Columba SP26, EuroMini Zizzo Campo, and Schwinn Loop. However, if you will generally be using yours for shorter rides around town or campus, you can save a little money and get a single-speed model like the Vilano Urbana and Retrospec Judd, both of which are more than suitable for that and boast very lightweight construction for easy carrying when needed.
Tern Link D8 The Link D8 boasts an eight-speed drivetrain and Shimano Claris rear derailleur that allow for quick gear changes and make for efficient peddling on hilly terrain. It also comes equipped with Schwalbe Big Apple tires that are reinforced with Kevlar for puncture resistance. Plus, it allows for tool-free handlebar height adjustment just in case you want to change your riding position while away from home. ternbicycles.com
Blix Vika+ The electric Vika+ has an attractive design, accommodates rides from 4'10" to 6'2", and features integrated front and rear LEDs for nighttime safety. With a 500-watt motor and 48-volt battery, it gets roughly 45 miles on a full charge, making an ideal long-distance commuter. blixbike.com
Brompton S6L Tempest Blue Superlight If you can stomach the high price, the S6L Tempest Superlight is the way to go. It has a premium titanium frame, six well-space gears for smooth shifting, and a front bag mount. Most importantly though, it boasts a smooth ride and folds up exceptionally compact. brompton.com
What Separates a Good Folding Bike From a Great One?
If you need a folding bike for school or work, you'll probably want that bike to feature a cargo rack.
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 you ride a bike to work, a collapsible model can fit beneath most office desks.
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.
Innovations these days focuses on making lighter weight models that are sturdier and can fold quicker.
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.