Tough tyres with a good level of puncture protection are often high on the agenda for commuters who want to limit the time they spend fixing flats. Check what rubber is fitted to the rims of your would-be bike if that’s you. Schwalbe and Kenda are popular manufacturers of small diameter tyres for folding bikes, and most will be 1.75-2 inches wide – offering plenty of grip thanks to a wide volume and thus increased contact patch with the tarmac when compared to traditional road tyres.
Birdy - this German-engineered performance folding bike offers a full front and rear suspension and a light aluminum frame with options for 7 or 21 gears. It weighs in at a light 22 to 24 pounds and folds down to 34" X 22" X 11" in about 15 seconds. To see a demonstration of Birdy folding process, click here. The Birdy costs from $750-$1000 and can be checked out and purchased locally at Bicycle Habitat, Larry and Jeff's [1400 Third Avenue | 1690 Second Avenue].
The number of gears specced on your new machine will be important too. If you expect to keep your journeys to flat city streets, a singlespeed (just one gear) will cut down on maintenance and overall weight. However, those who expect to ride hilly terrain will be pleased to hear that there are plenty of folding bikes that come supplied with triple chainsets and 11-32 wide ratio cassettes. This will offer an easier ride on the inclines, but will add to the weight.
More powerful pedelecs which are not legally classed as bicycles are dubbed S-Pedelecs (short for Schnell-Pedelecs, i.e. Speedy-Pedelecs) in Germany. These have a motor more powerful than 250 watts and less limited, or unlimited, pedal-assist, i.e. the motor does not stop assisting the rider once 25 km/h has been reached. S-Pedelec class e-bikes are therefore usually classified as mopeds or motorcycles rather than as bicycles and therefore may (depending on the jurisdiction) need to be registered and insured, the rider may need some sort of driver's license (either car or motorcycle) and motorcycle helmets may have to be worn. In the United States, many states have adopted S-Pedelecs into the Class 3 category. Class 3 ebikes are limited to <=750 watts of power and 28 mph.
I wanted to love the Bike Friday Pakit, which is available for order with a custom-made frame. It has a unique fold (a sort of cross between those of the Brompton and the Birdy, with the rear tire rotating under), and with the front tire and the handlebar mast removed, you can pack it into an oversized backpack and bring it almost anywhere, even on a plane. It’s also the only bike we tested that can accommodate more petite riders (kids or little people) from 4-foot-5. But although it’s made in Oregon of good components—a Shimano Claris derailleur, Schwalbe tires—our testers thought it somehow felt less secure on the road, and the fenders I ordered kept rubbing on the front tire and getting caught on curbs. (If you go with the Pakit, don’t get the fenders.)
Out of the box, the Schwinn Adapt 1 needed a lot of adjustment; the handlebars were loose in the frame, which was a serious safety concern, so I paid my bike expert to be sure it was set up safely for me. I enjoyed the ride just fine, but for $420 or so, you’re better off with a Tern and its brand-name components. Also, the Adapt 1 has no mechanism to hold the bike closed when it’s folded; you’re supposed to pack it into the included bag for storage, which is a lot of work and annoying if you need to use your bike regularly, as a commuter would.
As electric bike options continue to expand, more brands are integrating the battery more seamlessly. That makes them look sleeker (and more like a real bike). Batteries are expensive, so make sure there's a good way lock the battery to your bike if you'll be keeping it outside. Overall weight is important. Some battery and motors can add 15 pounds or more to the bike. With assist, you won't feel that much when you're riding, but you will if you have to carry your bike up stairs or lift it onto a bike rack.
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.
The folding bike may be the most convenient mode of transportation on two wheels: It can get you from point A to point B just as readily as a full-size bike, but you can stash it in a car trunk, tuck it under a desk, or store it in a closet. To suss out which folding bike does it all best for most commuter riders, we pedaled and shifted, folded and unfolded, and carried and maneuvered 11 popular models from eight manufacturers. After our 60-plus hours of research and testing, the well-designed Dahon Mariner D8 edged to the front of the pack, combining a comfortable ride and easy folding with good-quality components, all for a reasonable price.
Brussels-based Ahooga picked up a prestigious Red Dot design award earlier in 2018 for this hybrid bike, which pairs design simplicity with a little added oomph from a 250W rear hub electric motor. Weighing in at 13kg including battery, it’s light enough ride as normal but with the electrical assistance as an luxury extra. The Style+ model comes with leather anatomical Saddle, Wolfy pedals, puncture-resistant Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres and a pair of rather natty roll-open mudguards. But perhaps the biggest draw with this handsome model is its colour options – there are 215 to choose from, in matt or glossy finish.
A magnet combined with a rear shock absorber forms the folding mechanism. The magnet connects and locks the back wheel section to the frame. To fold the bike in half, the magnet disconnects with one movement and in a second, and without having to use one's hands, the rear wheel rotates forward, and the bike folds vertically. This mechanism also enables one to roll the half-folded bike on its rear wheel.
The real purpose of folding a bike is to increase its portability. This is so that it may be more easily transported and stored, and thus allow greater flexibility in getting from A to B. Many public transportation systems ban or restrict unfolded bicycles, but allow folded bikes all or some of the time. For example, Transport for London allows folding bikes at all times on the Underground, but on buses it is down to the driver's discretion. Some transport operators only allow folding bicycles if they are enclosed in a bag or cover. Airline baggage regulations often permit folding bikes as ordinary luggage, without extra cost. Singapore has also implemented new laws to allow folding bicycles in its rail and bus transportation system, with certain size and time limitations.
Many folding frames follow the classic frame pattern of the safety bicycle's diamond frame, but feature a hinge point (with single or double hinges) allowing the bicycle to fold approximately in half. Quick-release clamps enable raising or lowering steering and seat columns. A similar swing hinge may be combined with a folding steering column. Fold designs may use larger wheels, even the same size as in non-folders, for users prioritizing ride over fold compactness. Bikes that use this kind of fold include, Dahon, and Montague, and Tern.
Pedelecs are much like conventional bicycles in use and function — the electric motor only provides assistance, for example, when the rider is climbing or struggling against a headwind. Pedelecs are therefore especially useful for people in hilly areas where riding a bike would prove too strenuous for many to consider taking up cycling as a daily means of transport. They are also useful for riders who more generally need some assistance, e.g. for people with heart, leg muscle or knee joint issues.
And indeed, the company’s best seller, the Mariner, ranked as the first choice after our testing thanks to its features, as it ticks all the boxes on the list of what most commuter riders want in a folding bike. First and foremost, we found it smooth to ride and to shift—with the newest model, the D8, rigged with a Shimano trigger shifter, an upgrade to the twist shifters seen on the previous D7 and many other folders—and appropriately geared for pedaling up hills. (I rode up the Queensboro Bridge to Manhattan comfortably on the fourth-easiest of its eight gears.) It folds down quickly, in about a five-step process, and locks together with a magnet between the 20-inch wheels.
The average speed of a folding e-bike is 25 mph. Even though the speed of 20 mph is only allowed in America, it is easier to pedal which can allow you to speed up. This average speed can take you up to 50 miles. With an electric bike, the battery is all that keeps it going so if your battery is fully charged and working then this speed can be reached in no time. It will help you ride from home to your work without stopping.
After you decide which style of e-bike you want, consider the class. In the US, there are three classes defined by the type of assist and how fast the motor will propel you. Most electric bikes sold are class 1 or 3. Class 1 bikes have a motor (max 750w) that assists while you're pedaling, up to 20 mph. Class 3, also known as “speed pedelec” can also have up to a 750w motor, but it can assist you up to 28mph. Both of those are allowed in most states and cities without license. Class 2 have throttles that don't require you to pedal to get a boost. They're allowed on most streets, bike lanes, and paths, but less popular than the other classes and not covered much here (because we still love to pedal and the greater distances pedal assist bikes can cover).
Dahon - a full 60% of all folding bikes sold in the U.S. are made by Dahon. A quick survey of NYC bike shops shows that just about everyone is selling them. One particular model seems to stand out: the aluminum-framed Presto that weighs in at just 20 pounds, making it the lightest production folding bike in the world. Its folded dimensions are 28" X 20" X 11" (with 16" wheels). The Piccolo (based on the Dahon Classic, a very popular older model) has similar dimensions but a steel frame that makes it weigh in at 26 pounds. In addition to other 16" models, Dahon also offers many other attractive models of folding bikes with 20" and 26" wheels that fold into larger packages and offer better performance and ride. Prices range from $200 for a simple 20" wheeled model to $900 for a full-size mountain bike. Dahons fold in about 15 seconds. www.dahon.com (Bikes can be ordered through many local bike shops or from B-Fold, www.bfold.com, 212 529-7247).
Not only will you struggle to get the B.O.B to the top of steep hills, it does not have safe braking power for the way down and is not stable at higher speeds. The B.O.B comes complete with fenders, a chain guard, and a kickstand, making it ready for you to commute in any weather. Where it really shines is the ease that it can be folded, as well as the light weight.
In September 2017, Brompton announced that it was enacting a voluntary recall. Bikes with the third-party-manufactured FAG Bottom Bracket axle have been largely reported to fail—at a higher-than-expected rate. Any model (S, M, P, or H) with a serial number from 1403284144 to 1705150001 that was manufactured between April 2014 and May 2017 could be affected. Although the failure isn’t life threatening and doesn’t compromise the quality of how the bike rides—at most the faulty axle would disrupt the ability to pedal—Brompton has issued an apology and is offering free bottom-bracket cartridge replacements. You can find out if your bike is affected by checking the serial number, which is imprinted on either a silver sticker or a curved plate attached to the bike frame.
When it comes to utility, a folding electric bike is one of the most practical bikes you can get! Takes up very little space in your closet, car trunk, or wherever else you need to take it! We have the top of the line folding electric bikes on the market, with not only high quality motors and batteries, but well engineered frames that can handle the daily fold and ride. Check out our expert picked selection below!
The Pacific Cycles Birdy Standard 9 Speed has a cool backstory: The bike was designed by a pair of German engineering students in the 1990s and is now manufactured by a Taiwanese firm. This model, a reintroduction of the original design, has no break in the frame. Instead, you fold it by rotating both tires underneath. This means that when it’s locked into the riding position, it has the structural integrity to handle heavier riders (up to 240 pounds). In our tests it offered a comfortable ride thanks to its integrated rear suspension, but given the bike’s limited distribution, its larger footprint when folded, and its high price—comparable with that of the Brompton—we chose the Brompton as our upgrade pick. Still, the Birdy could be a good option for larger riders.
As with any bicycle, you should buy a folding bike in person, at a local bike shop—first, so that you can test-ride it, and second, so that you can have a knowledgeable person set it up and make sure it’s safely street-ready. If the model you want isn’t in the store, the shop owner can typically order it for you. If you do end up ordering online, unless you’re very knowledgeable about bicycle mechanics, please take your bike to a local shop to have a pro set it up (and be sure to take the fee for that service into account when you’re weighing any online discount you’ve found). Remember: You will be entrusting your life to this bike, and the last thing you want is for the handlebars to come loose or who knows what else happening when you’re riding in traffic.
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.
The Allen Sports Urban X was a lot of fun to ride; I was able to get up some decent speed. It was lighter than many other models we tested, despite its larger wheel size (451 mm)—likely because it lacked fenders and a rack (a surprising omission, considering that Allen Sports is known for its bike racks for cars). It also had a nice secure wheel lock when folded, and a very easy fold and unfold process. However, its no-name Chinese components gave our bike expert pause, and I quickly noticed that the plastic chain guard was breaking. Furthermore, no matter what I did, I couldn’t get it to stay balanced upright when folded, and it took up a lot of space—it also wouldn’t fit through the subway turnstiles. Since our testing, Allen Sports has discontinued its folding-bike line and some of its other models have been recalled. We’re confident you’d be better off with one of our picks.
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Choose from a variety of builds and five colors or upgrade to the Elite Custom build and choose from 20 colors. Bike Friday’s size range should accommodate riders from 4’5” to 6’3” tall. Bike Friday also offers three belt-drive options for the PakIt, which are easy to maintain and great for keeping the grease off your pant legs. Add a electric-assist motor for easy climbing. Builds start at $1019.
But that doesn’t mean the Oyama can’t fold as well as the rest of them. In addition to the standard two points of folding, one at the middle of the frame and one at the handlebars, the Oyama also has a third folding point at the top of the handlebars. That one allows the handlebars to rotate forward and make the bike just a bit smaller in folded form, and also helps to protect the brake levers, display and other goodies mounted on the handlebars.
Traditionally folding bikes are made with small wheels to make their foldability easy. Of course, models with small wheels tend to be lighter and gives you more portability. However, they may lack the ability to speed up. Foldable bikes with conventional size tires are much faster with rolling but their heavy load will give you a tough time while traveling through public transport.
Another type of electric assist motor, often referred to as the mid-drive system, is increasing in popularity. With this system, the electric motor is not built into the wheel but is usually mounted near (often under) the bottom bracket shell. In more typical configurations, a cog or wheel on the motor drives a belt or chain that engages with a pulley or sprocket fixed to one of the arms of the bicycle's crankset. Thus the propulsion is provided at the pedals rather than at the wheel, being eventually applied to the wheel via the bicycle's standard drive train.