But with prices ranging from a few hundred to many thousands of pounds, it pays to do your homework before choosing what’s best for your requirements. We took a range of folding bikes out in central London, on to commuter trains and into the depths of suburbia in order to ascertain which is best folding bike in each category. And if you'd prefer a little electric boost for your commute, have a look at our guide to the best electric bikes.
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.[67]
Montague - this maker offers only full-size folding bikes that are fairly light (around 30 pounds) but have correspondingly large folding sizes (36" x 28" x 12") Prices range from $395 to $645, and a soft carrying bag is an option. If you are looking to avoid the small wheels of some brands and perhaps want a good full-size bike that just happens to fold, this may be a good choice. Montagues fold in 30 seconds without tools.
The cyclamatic folding electric bike allows easy storage and can be taken along while traveling. This e-bike has a powerful motor of 250w which gives a boost of up to 15mph. It has a function that allows you to turn it into a non-electric bike. It has different modes which can be set up according to your needs. The electric assist can be turned partially or fully on by changing modes. There are three different levels: high, medium, and low.
The Super Commuter is very aptly named. The 350w Bosch motor will help you sustain speeds of up to 28mph, and the burly, 2.4-inch wide, Schwalbe Super Moto-X 650b tires will keep you secure on even the roughest city streets, and Shimano Deore hydraulic brakes provide ample stopping power. Fenders provide welcome protection from road spray so you arrive at your destination fresh, integrated lights are critical for post-sunset riding, and a side-view mirror hanging on the left side of the handlebar gives a great view of traffic around you. After all, you can ride at the speed of urban traffic on the Super Commuter.
While folders are usually smaller in overall size than conventional bicycles, the distances among the center of bottom bracket, the top of the saddle, and the handlebars - the primary factors in determining whether or not a bicycle fits its rider - are usually similar to those of conventional bikes. The wheelbase of many folding designs is also very similar to that of conventional, non-folding, bicycles.
Our test bike was a six-speed, Brompton’s most popular option, configured with a three-speed internally geared front hub (gears 1, 2, 3) and a rear derailleur that shifts between two external gears on the rear hub (called + and –). Though the internal gearing is certainly a higher-end feature, the shifting itself takes some getting used to—you aren’t supposed to pedal when changing the front gears, but you do need to pedal when changing the rear, so you have to remember which gear you’re in (or glance down really fast). And to go from, say, 2– to 1+ to climb a hill, you have to coast and drop way down to 1– using your front shifter and then pedal while shifting back up to 1+ using your rear derailleur (the alternative is to pedal really hard for a moment to go from 2– to 2+ in the rear, and then coast while shifting down to 1+). I also perceived a big difference between the gears, so I sometimes felt like Goldilocks, forever looking for the gear that was “just right.” This problem may have been remedied, though, with a custom gear ratio, which I didn’t get to select on the test bike.
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.
Hello, I live in a small apartment and was wondering what type of folder you would recommend for me. I’ve recently retired and have health problems which include Diabetes 2, irregular heartbeat, and a weakened left leg from polio as a child. I would like to take the bike to the store, post office, around town to shop, and to pay bills. I would eventually like to travel up to 6 miles but for right now 3 would do. There are a number of mounds or hills and one steep one that I avoid by jumping in the car when I have an errand to run over there. Do you think battery powered electric bikes would be more suitable. It would make climbing a mound possible without having to demount and walk. Perhaps, there’s a non-pedelec that would work that you about which you know. I’m nearly 250 pounds and 5 feet 6 inches tall and quite out-of-shape. I would like to sit closer to the ground in case of a fall or injury, maybe out of fear, due to the weakened leg muscles. By the way I live in a tourist town that is well-known for its climate, the Boardwalk and its university-Santa Cruz, California. I’m not sure how many gears/speed the bike should have, especially for the purposes of climbing hills. Forgot to mention I’m 67 years old soon to be 68. Please provide me with a couple of choices you think might work. Don’t know if a full-size would be better but I like the stand-over position of a folder as I worry about that bar of the frame being there and complicating a fall.
Folding bike wheel size: Traditionally, folders are small bicycles – but there are versions designed around full sized rims. Models with smaller wheels will be lighter and more compact when folded, but won’t gather as much momentum on the road. A folding bike with larger wheels will be much faster rolling once the wheels are up to speed – but will likely weigh more and will be  little more cumbersome to load onto public transport.
What the Link B7 doesn’t have, however, are a rack and fenders, which come standard on both the Dahon Mariner and the Tern Link D8; you can purchase them from Tern separately for $35 and $40, respectively, but they will of course add about 2 pounds to the nearly 27 pounds the bike already weighs (and unless you’re really bike-handy, you’ll also pay a mechanic—$45, give or take—to install them). The Link B7 also feels more sluggish than the Mariner D8 and Link D8: The gearing definitely isn’t calibrated for speed. On the Queensboro Bridge, I pedaled uphill comfortably in a middle gear, and I sometimes thought that the hardest gear (which is meant for going fast on level ground, not for climbing) wasn’t enough for zipping along on flats or slight declines (we’re talking 15 or so miles per hour—I’m no speed demon). One last note: The bike I tested was the 2017 model, which is now sold out. The company says that the 2018 model, which will be available in early September 2017, is what’s called a carry-forward model—it’ll be identical to the previous year’s.
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.
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.

Swift Folder - here's another folding bike option for those who want a good, fast folding bike at a reasonable price. Swift Folders are manufactured in Brooklyn with the New York City rider in mind. All Swift Folders are made to order, but models can range from 22-30 pounds and a typical Swift Folder costs around $750. It quick-folds in 10 seconds to a size that will get you onto most elevators. It folds down to 32" X 22" X 11" in about a minute, making it possible to put it into a duffle bag that you can use to tote it around in an inconspicuous manner (hint: we know of no elevators in which duffle bags are prohibited!). Swift Folders are available at various New York City area shops including the Hub, Bikeworks, and Recycle-a-Bicycle, where less expensive versions are featured (made with some used parts). www.swiftfolder.com, 1-800-884-5541.
The 1970s saw increased interest in the folding bike, and the popular Raleigh Twenty and Bickerton Portable have become the iconic folders of their decade. It was, however, the early 1980s that can be said to have marked the birth of the modern, compact folding bicycle, with competing tiny-footprint models from Brompton and Dahon.[7] Founded in 1982, by inventor and physicist Dr. David Hon and his brother Henry Hon, Dahon has grown to become the world's largest manufacturer of folding bikes,[8] with a two-thirds marketshare in 2006.[9]
You see, I’m not really a cyclist. It’s not that I’m lazy or out of shape. I run between 3 to 5 miles a day and could pedal if I wanted to. It’s just that I generally think of electric bicycles more like little electric motorcycles that don’t require me to get a motorcycle license or pay for insurance or registration. They’re for getting around quickly and effortlessly.
The Mariner D8 comes with fenders and a rear rack that has a nicely designed clip-on bungee cord so you don’t have to buy or hunt for something else to use; for my eight-block ride home, it held a 4-pound bag of dog food securely in place. If you plan to use panniers with the Mariner D8’s rear rack, Dahon recommends using front panniers, which are usually smaller, to avoid heel strike when you’re pedaling; if you want to try using larger panniers on the rack, we recommend taking the bike with you while shopping, or at least taking careful measurements. The D8 also has bolt holes for a front carrier attachment, should you prefer to outfit it with a so-designed front bag or basket.
Like our top pick, the eight-speed Link D8 offers a great ride, smooth shifting, and a rear rack that includes a bungee. The most obvious difference is the handlebar stem, which uses Tern’s patented Andros pivoting system and allows you to change both the angle and height of the bars by lifting two quick-release levers and maneuvering the bars into place in one fell swoop. If you are tall or fussy about either an upright or more aggressive riding position, you can likely get the fit you prefer with ease.
Unfortunately, not even this great bike is perfect. The otherwise great performance is somewhat let down by the weak disc brakes. Stopping time could be improved with an upgrade. The relatively high weight of 59 lbs is also a disadvantage, and lots of the weight is on the rear wheel, making the GB5 500 prone to accidental wheelies if you accelerate too hard in throttle mode.
As a counterbalance to the cute utilitarian bikes above, the Specialized Turbo Levo FSR Comp is a big, bad, and burly mountain bike. With 27.5-inch wheels, massive 2.8-inch tires, 150mm of travel in the front and 135mm of travel in the rear this bike is made to shred. The Specialized 1.3 Rx Trail-Tuned motor is designed specifically for off-road riding and features a double freehweel design that disengages the gear box at top speed to reduce friction while ripping downhill. The low center of gravity and stout parts make this one a relatively nimble handler that is ready for the rowdiest downhills.
Richard M. aka El Tigre is an avid adventure traveler with extensive trekking experience throughout Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. In 1998 he weathered category 5 Hurricane Mitch on the northern coast of Honduras. He has mountain-biked, hiked and 4x4 toured extensively in Central America, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Mexico. In the summer of 2004 he lived among the Kuna Indians of the San Blas islands in Panama. Today, he manages a real estate investments company based in San Jose, Costa Rica and organizes adventure travel excursions to Costa Rica. He is a motorcycle enthusiast and enjoys sport touring and dual-sport riding. Richard lives in Arizona.

I have been thoroughly pleased with my Blix Vika+. I bought it in March, and I commute to work, a 22-mile round trip. I will break my review into a few different components. - Speed and handling: The bike is a real pleasure to ride. I pedal, but I don't have to pedal very hard. Because I am short (5'2"), I find the smaller wheel size and the step-through frame very manageable. It can get quite some speed, too, which is great. - Battery: I can do my 22-mile commute on a single charge, but the bike does get a bit slower on the return journey. If I'd known this, I might have upgraded to the bigger battery. - Folding: The folding and unfolding is pretty straightforward. I have done it many times to throw the bike in the back of a Yaris, and it's pretty simple, even for someone like me who is not mechanically minded. - Weight: The bike is pretty heavy. If you think you might be able to carry it anywhere except to put it in the back of a vehicle, think again. It's just too heavy. But this generally doesn't affect the handling, except sometimes when taking off from being stopped. Nothing too noticeable, though. - Customer service: Blix's customer service is GREAT. They are extremely responsive (I have contacted them online a few times, and they get back to me within a matter of hours) and always answer my questions completely and to my satisfaction. This is a very big plus when you're spending a reasonable amount of money a bike. Overall, I am very happy with my purchase and would recommend a Blix bike to anyone who was looking for an electric bike.
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.
This eco-friendly bike is completely electric and emissions-free. If you care about the environment but still want to enjoy easy commuting, consider this bike. The Swagatron SwagCycle uses a 36V battery and a 250W motor that allow you to go up to 10mph. The battery takes about 2.5 hours to charge, and you can go up to 10 miles before having to recharge it. The frame is made of aerospace grade aluminum and folds into a compact size. It’s ideal if you struggle with storage space since it can fit pretty much anywhere. The handlebar display shows you the battery life and allows you to honk the horn, turn on the headlight, and brake and accelerate. One of the coolest things about this bike is that it features a USB charging port for charging all your gadgets and devices. However, note that this bike doesn’t have any pedal assist mode. Also, SwagCycle comes with a battery charger and user instructions that help you with the assembly.
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.
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.
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 Mate X I rode is not a quiet bike. It sounds the way it looks: loud. On flat pavement, the drone of the 750W motor was louder than the 250W bikes I’m accustomed to riding on the streets of Europe (750W requires a license here, but not in the US) and the knobby treads only added to the din (you can opt for quieter street tires). Off road, the tires go quiet, but the sound is replaced with chain slaps and some creaking from the (optional) rear fender. While the knobby tire and motor noise isn’t likely to change, the company assures me that the final bike will ship with a tighter chain and silent rear fender.
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Somehow, despite my original aversion to pedaling, I soon realized I was actually having fun using my legs. I even started dropping the assist level down from 8, the highest level, to a more reasonable 5 or 6. I could feel that I was making an honest effort, but it was just enough to get those endorphins going without being so much that I was sweating and tired.
I also had long discussions with my editors about price versus value. A number of companies sell very inexpensive folding bikes on Amazon and at big-box stores such as Target and Walmart. However, because a rider’s life could quite literally be at stake should their bike suffer a mechanical failure mid-ride, we suspected that most people would prefer to spend a little more for a known brand with a reputation to maintain. We did call in Amazon’s best seller, a $200 Schwinn, as well as a couple of other mass-market bikes that had good reviews from other editorial outlets. On the other end, we considered a few pricier picks for more serious riders who are willing to shell out for higher quality or extra features. Finally, with the established producers (Dahon, Schwinn, and Tern), we looked at both an entry-level model and an upgrade version. Our final list:

The interesting part of the pedal assist system in the Oyama is that it can really sense when it is needed. The hardest part of pedaling is starting from a dead stop, and that’s precisely when the pedal assist was providing the most power. I could feel it start to taper off as I passed through 10 mph (16 km/h) or so, but by that point I had sufficient momentum that I only needed a gentle boost from the motor to help maintain higher speeds.
Depending on local laws, many e-bikes (e.g., pedelecs) are legally classified as bicycles rather than mopeds or motorcycles. This exempts them from the more stringent laws regarding the certification and operation of more powerful two-wheelers which are often classed as electric motorcycles. E-bikes can also be defined separately and treated under distinct Electric bicycle laws.
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