As you might imagine, with a category like folding bikes, selecting a pick that’s truly one-size-fits-all is pretty much impossible. After all, not only are people different sizes physically but they ride for a variety of reasons, too. With folding bikes, we homed in on the commuter segment, the riders who want to get to and from work at least a few days a week, who may have a bus, subway, or car ride within that equation, who want to bring their bike inside during the day to avoid risking theft, and who may want to carry some stuff on their bike rather than on their back. This category also covers recreational riders who want a good-quality kicking-around-town bike that they can stow in an apartment or easily tote in a car.
In theory, you’re supposed to be able to push the bike when it’s folded, keeping the seat raised so that you can steer with it, but I found doing this to be more cumbersome than it was worth. Like most of these bikes, the Mariner D8 was awkward to carry one-handed in my tests. Folding-bike expert Steven Huang’s pro tip is to keep the folding bike open and turn it around so that you can rest the seat atop your shoulder for easier carrying, especially up and down stairs.
If you expect to be cycling in your office clothes, and want to ensure that you don’t bear a maker of your mode of transport on your attire, then chainguards and mudguards would be a useful addition. Provision for luggage, a frame mounted pump and integrated lights are all ‘nice to have’ accessories which you can feel justified in expecting on higher end models.
This British WWII Airborne BSA folding bicycle was rigged so that, when parachuted, the handlebars and seat were the first parts to hit the ground (as bent wheels would disable the bike). BSA abandoned the traditional diamond bicycle design as too weak for the shock and instead made an elliptical frame of twin parallel tubes, one forming the top tube and seat stays, and the other the chainstay and down tube. The hinges were in front of the bottom bracket and in the corresponding position in front of the saddle, fastened by wing nuts. The peg pedals could be pushed in to avoid snagging and further reduce the space occupied during transit.
Even so, our picks have some limitations. For starters, most folding bikes simply can’t accommodate riders who are very short (typically under 4-foot-8) or very tall (typically over 6-foot-3), and most can’t carry riders who weigh more than about 220 pounds (or, at least, their manufacturers don’t recommend that). And unless you really need your bike to fold for any of the aforementioned reasons, such bicycles might be more trouble than they are worth—a bike with additional mechanical hinges and latches may require more maintenance—and none really ride quite as smoothly or comfortably as a good full-size bike.
In the 1890s, electric bicycles were documented within various U.S. patents. For example, on 31 December 1895, Ogden Bolton Jr. was granted U.S. Patent 552,271 for a battery-powered bicycle with "6-pole brush-and-commutator direct current (DC) hub motor mounted in the rear wheel". There were no gears and the motor could draw up to 100 amperes (A) from a 10-volt battery.
5 levels of pedal assist and a thumb throttle allow you to control the amount of power, with a top speed of 20 mph. When power is applied, it is not overwhelming. You remain in control of the 500-watt geared hub motor at all times. The battery is a 36v 9 Ah Lithium-ion model. You can get 20-30 miles of range on one charge, in part thanks to the motor inhibitor that cuts power when the brakes are applied.
Our electric bikes are considered bicycles rather than motorized vehicles so you do not need a drivers license, registration or insurance to operate. The bikes have power assist which means that these bikes combine electric power with one's actual manpower creating a hybrid approach to cycling. Depending on the weight of the rider, hills, wind, pedal assist level and size of the battery a rider can expect a range from 18 to 65 miles before it needs to be recharged.
Brompton - sometimes referred to as the "Jaguar" of folding bicycles, this British import folds smaller than any other model into a package that locks together and keeps the chain away from your clothes. It also can coast about in its folded state on suitcase-style casters (with optional rollerblade wheels for really covering distance). There is also an optional cover and saddle bag combo that turns this bike into a nondescript rolling black canvas object that cannot be identified as a bike (suitable for all "stealth" infiltrations of bike-unfriendly buildings). With its rear suspension, the Brompton is also known for its exceptional ride for a folding bike with 16" wheels. Price: about $700 for the simplest model, $1300 for a fully accessorized version with lights, fenders, a carrier, more gears, a cover, and a framed bag that attaches to the front of the bike. Its dimensions, when folded, are 22" X 22" X 10" and it ranges in weight from 24-28 pounds, depending on accessories. The Brompton folds in about 15 seconds. To see a demonstration of the folding process of the Brompton in animated .gif format, click here. Visit one of NYC's Brompton retailers at nycewheels.com.
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.
It’s easy to figure out how to fold and unfold it. I put a stopwatch on myself and discovered that it usually takes under twenty seconds for me to take it apart or put it together. Of course, that’s not including the times when I couldn't align the crossbar properly, or when it took extra grunt to close the clamp. I thought about loosening the nut to make it easier to clamp the crossbar together, but loosening parts on a bike that can go 16 mph didn't seem like a great idea.
Founded in 1962 by Alex Moulton, a key member of the Mini design team, Moulton has been honing its pylon-style “spaceframe” since 1977. Fast forward to 2018 and its stiff, strong frame and handsome geometry still looks utterly unique. Disclaimer: this bike doesn’t actually fold, but Moultons can be dismantled into two stowable pieces within a minute, thanks to a central “kingpin”, making it suitable for car boots and train journeys. Alfine 11-speed internal hub gearing, narrow 20in tyres, a rear disc brake, Brooks titanium saddle and Deda Speciale classic drop handlebars further boost its urban credentials. And if you really want to stand out from the crowd, there’s also the ultra-specced Moulton Speed Unique: only 30 models have been produced – but with a price tag of £14,995, it costs the same as a family car.
With our “most people” rider in mind, we started by zeroing in on the brands and models that had good reputations and good reviews from other outlets, such as BikeRadar, Folding Bike Guy, and Momentum Mag. I discussed at length the merits of a variety of options with experts Lam, Cuomo, and Berk, as well as the specs to use as limiting factors to narrow the field. We settled on bikes with:
The Dahon Qix D8, a higher-end model than the Mariner D8, folds in half like a switchblade (end over end), and you can orient it the standard way (seat up) or upright, with the frame hinge up; with the bike in the latter position, you can roll it. In our tests, everything about the Qix D8, from ride to storage, was just fine, but unless you’re in love with the interesting fold, you may be better off putting your $1,000 toward a Brompton or a Birdy, or saving nearly half of that by buying the Mariner D8.
The environmental credentials of e-bikes, and electric / human powered hybrids generally, have led some municipal authorities to use them, such as Little Rock, Arkansas with their Wavecrest electric power-assisted bicycles or Cloverdale, California police with Zap e-bikes. China’s e-bike manufacturers, such as Xinri, are now partnering with universities in a bid to improve their technology in line with international environmental standards, backed by the Chinese government who is keen to improve the export potential of the Chinese manufactured e-bikes.
Your long bicycle commute to work means you are a sweaty mess before the day even begins, and you have never felt at ease leaving the bike locked outside the building all day, but now that you have a folding electric bike, both of these problems are solved. The electric bike assists you at the hardest parts of your ride and keeps you flying safely down the road at up to 20 miles per hour or faster, without pedaling. Its folding design then makes the bicycle so compact, you can fit it in a corner of the office without disturbing anyone. The large selection on eBay includes folding electric mountain bikes as well, for easily traversing more rugged terrain and in less than perfect weather. Folding electric bikes are safe, efficient, and fully rechargeable. Some brake systems turn the motor off automatically, which saves power. Brushless, gearless motors function quietly, which is more pleasant both for the rider and nearby pedestrians. Electric bike conversion kits are also available to help you install an electric bike motor onto a compatible standard bicycle.
Torque sensors and power controls were developed in the late 1990s. For example, Takada Yutky of Japan filed a patent in 1997 for such a device. In 1992 Vector Services Limited offered and sold an e-bike dubbed Zike. The bicycle included NiCd batteries that were built into a frame member and included an 850 g permanent-magnet motor. Despite the Zike, in 1992 hardly any commercial e-bikes were available.