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.
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.
Once I’d done my part, I invited eight cyclist friends over for test rides, asking them to rate the ride quality and the ease of folding and unfolding, as well as to provide commentary and suggest a price, as a way to gauge their perception of value. (Note: The Mariner model they tested was the D7, but we’re confident they would have similar opinions on the upgraded D8). Finally, I asked bike expert Damon Strub to peruse the spec sheets and highlight any pros or cons of each model.
We’ve updated the section on our upgrade pick, the Brompton S6L, to include information about Brompton’s recent voluntary recall. The company says that the recall is more of a safety precaution than a reaction to reported injuries or experiences of compromised quality. We’re still confident that the Brompton S6L is the best upgrade choice for a folding bike.
“I am a big mountain biker and over the past couple years have taken a couple of electric folding bikes with me on various trips around the Southwest. I ride hard on the mountain bikes, then use the eFolders to get out and see the nooks and crannies of the town we are staying in … Mammoth Mountain, Big Bear Resort, Sedona, Springdale near Zion National Park, etc. I leave my truck in the parking lot and explore on the eFolder … after a hard day of riding the electric aspect is great … don’t have to worry about hills! Also the folding nature allows the bikes to transport easily, and store easily in the hotel or condo.”
For some shoppers, the number-one criterion is how small a bike can get. The Brompton S6L elegantly transforms into a package that shaves 3 inches off the height, 2 inches off the width, and 8 inches off the length of the folded Mariner (and even more off the dimensions of the Tern models), making for an easier carry. Even so, it manages an “I’m almost riding a full-size bike” experience on the road. The handlebars, gearing, frame type, accessories, cargo options, and paint job are all customizable—for a price. (Our six-speed test bike, as it came to us, retailed for about $1,800 at the time of our review.)
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.
The Mate X, like the original, can be folded completely in about 10 seconds. That can be a huge convenience for many urbanites since you can pack it in the car or take it on public transport where folding bikes are often allowed free of charge all day long (in Amsterdam, there’s a €6.20 surcharge for regular bikes and they can only be taken on trains during off-peak hours). You can also just fold the handlebars and pedals if you need a thin profile to store the bike in a narrow hallway, a wall rack, or to roll it into a busy elevator. But don’t underestimate the weight or the size of the Mate X. At 29kg (64 pounds), this bike is heavy, and it can be unwieldy to lift because it doesn’t lock into the folded position.
MIT graduate David Montague launched his folding-bike business in 1987 and counts the US Marines among its previous clients. The Massachusetts-based company offers a wide range of full-sized folders, but we went for this entry-level model for its stripped-back simplicity. The smart choice for commuters with longer journeys to the station (or those who simply have issues with smaller bikes), the 10.8-kilogram Boston comes in 17- or 19-inch frame options, with 700c alloy wheels, which allow for steady, speedy riding over medium distances. The folding system – essentially a bi-fold but for full-sized bikes – does a great job crunching the size down to a reasonable 90cm x 48cm x 30cm for stowing on trains or car boots, but the front wheel needs to be removed – albeit via a quick-release system – which delays the process by a few seconds.

Mate Bikes is a small brother-and-sister company based in Copenhagen that has raised over $12 million on Indiegogo since 2016. First they collected $6.8 million for the skinny original. Now they’ve raised close to $6 million more for the beefier Mate X, a laughable 11,785 percent beyond its funding goal with five days still to go in the Indiegogo campaign. Mate Bikes has no outside investors although that’s likely to change soon, the company tells me.
If you have very little storage space and love to bring your bike on vacations, you should look at the Goplus Electric Folding Bike. It has a powerful battery that’s removable and allows you to go up to 30 km per charge. To fully charge the battery, you’d need about 5 to 6 hours. It charges easily, and its charger is UL approved for safety. The bike is made of aluminum alloy with the front fork made of high-strength carbon steel. It features a quick release clamp that allows you to fold the bike quickly and easily. The bike weighs 55lbs, and when folded, it measures 33’’x26’’x14’’ (LxHxW). Both front and rear brakes are reliable and guarantee safety. The seat height is adjustable, so you can go up or down a size if you’re maybe sharing the bike with someone else. The bike comes partially assembled, and if you’re not a professional, I suggest you have someone help you with tightening everything into place.
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.
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:

Prodeco technologies have made an amazing and stylish electric bike. It is created with very high technology. The battery goes up to 720 watts which makes it more reliable. It can go 28-36 mph. The body is covered with lithium powder that makes it rust resistant. The material used is very lightweight and allows easy portability. It is easily foldable. The design of this electric bike is high-class. You will love going to different places and showing off your new and classy bike.
Some power-on-demand only e-bikes can hardly be confused with, let alone categorised as, bicycles. For example, the Noped is a term used by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario for e-bikes which do not have pedals or in which the pedals have been removed from their motorised bicycle. These are better categorised as electric mopeds or electric motorcycles.
Back into the ‘fully folding world’, we’ve got the Coyote Connect. This 20″ bike comes with a 24V battery, has a max speed of 15 mph and will go for around 20 miles. It’s got a Shimano Tourney 6-speed gear system, Tektro V-brakes with Kenda tyres. The frame is alloy, but the forks are steel – which will add to comfort bit will be a tad heavier than most.
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.

A 24V Lithium Ion battery with Samsung cells powers a 250W motor on this entry level folder. The battery will take you about 30 miles, with a max speed of 15mph. There are 4 levels of assistance, all displayed on an LED screen. You get Shimano Tourney 7 speed shifting, and the whole bike folds – including the pedals which will be a handy feature for those commuting by train. The drawback? It does weigh in at 22kg so you do pay for the bargain with your carrying arm.

I’ve been riding bikes around New York City for more than a decade and commuting regularly from Astoria to Manhattan via the Queensboro Bridge to my job as a personal trainer and fitness instructor. In addition, I was formerly a staff writer for the Good Housekeeping Institute, where I was intimately involved with the scientific testing of all manner of products for the magazine and website.


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"The bike has been a pleasure to ride and performs as well as most of my other road bikes - the shifting is exceptional. Since the Department of Transportation has moved out of our City Hall offices the Dahon has been a lifesaver as I use it downtown to get from meeting to meeting. I must admit I get far more looks from people on this bike, and more questions, than I ever have about any other bicycle I've owned. Which is great as use of the bicycle is what my job is all about."

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.
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:
If an electric bike can get you to work without sweating through your shirt, and a folding bike can fit in a car and get stored under a desk, why not...an electric folding bike? Jetson’s Metro electric folding bike fits a 250-watt CZJB motor cleverly hidden in the bike’s crossbar. At $800, it's much more affordable than, say, a $3500 Tern Vektron or even a $1700 RadWagon RadMini.
The rack and fenders make the Navigator a solid choice for daily commuting or light touring. The Octagon stem is also adjustable without tools, so it’s easy to dial in a comfortable fit. At 29-pounds, the Navigator is a bit less portable than some other folding options, but the full-sized wheels make it a great choice for longer rides and commutes. Price: $959.
In a parallel hybrid motorized bicycle, such as the aforementioned 1897 invention by Hosea W. Libbey, human and motor inputs are mechanically coupled either in the bottom bracket, the rear wheel, or the front wheel, whereas in a (mechanical) series hybrid cycle, the human and motor inputs are coupled through differential gearing. In an (electronic) series hybrid cycle, human power is converted into electricity and is fed directly into the motor and mostly additional electricity is supplied from a battery.
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