Once upon a time, I was maybe 3, going vroom vroom around the house all the time, hassled my parents to get me a bike. Dad stonily said, no! On the next Christmas morning, I was at the window peering down at the new bikes going up and down. My Dad called, “Ben, come here.” I went into the living room. Merry Christmas, he said gesticulating behind him, for you! A red Fireman Sam bike stood there. I hugged his legs squealing in joy.
Since then, I never stopped enjoying riding a bicycle. Now in my late 30s, I still pedal down to my workplace. After losing my expensive BMC Teammachine which got stolen, Gracie, my wife judiciously suggested that I get the best budget folding bike out there. That way I could commute by public transport and cycle the rest of the way. What a brain flash. And so to this day I use my Columba.
Today, we'll be discussing everything you need to know about folding bikes. My team and I also prepared a list of top models that you must know about if you plan to get one.
At Gearbikesreview, we strive to reveal facts through our reviews and how-to blogs. But make no mistake, reviews are just the tip of the iceberg of what we do at the backstage. Our professional bicycle mechanics and gear experts dedicate weeks in carrying out extensive research and series of field-tests on each of our reviewed product category. Our vesatile knowledge base helps us decide the best for our readers.
Needless to say, we don't have any connection with any brand or manufacturer as we maintain impartial approach in our probes. Our mission is to provide our readers with maximum number of authentic information, so they can make better buying decisions.
How We Picked These Products
We went through several stages of market research, feature comparison and analysis, and field-tests before we finalized our top 10 choices. Intitially, we conducted over 30 hours of online research in a bid to sort out 25 top rated folding bike models with the highest number of positive user reviews.
Next, we tested each of the models with the help of a group of community based volunteers. Based on the bikes' construction, folding design, ergonomics, speed and braking we championed 10 out of the rest.
Next, we consulted with other industry experts and engineers for having their insights into our list. They guided us with suggestions before we finalized our products and proceeded to write full reviews.
Our Top 10 Best Folding Bikes
So, what is the best folding bike for the budget-conscious riders? Or, how much does a folding bicycle cost? In the following section we're going to discuss everything along with pointing out who makes the best folding bikes. Please read carefully all the details about our top 10 recommended models to have a better understanding.
Attractive design with included rear rack and fender
Great build quality
Carrying case inclusive
Heavy and bulky
Despite a few drawbacks which are compromises made to keep the price low, the Schwinn Loop offers a terrific level of performance that is bound to make your commutes a song. For the money, it is probably the coolest fully loaded entry-level folding cycle out there in the market. Moreover, it is light on the pocket. It is by far the highest rated budget folding bike, this bike very much deserves to be the Editors Pick bang on.
The Via is designed for the rider who wants the best of both the worlds: affordable price for a premium bike.
More than effective, it’s cool for any terrain you choose.
With 7 speeds to get you zipping, V style high-performance brakes and Kenda all-terrain tires, your confidence will hit the roof.
For effortless transport and a top ride, the Via is a light 6061 aluminum frame weighing a mere 27 pounds.
It sports front and back fenders, making it the perfect all-round bike.
The quick-release seat post and stem make it easily adjustable for a wide range of rider heights.
The frame and stem locks were fabricated with safety and toughness in mind. The design employs a “vice-grip” locking mechanism. This translates as the more the locking force on the folding hinge, the tighter it gets fastened with a secondary safety lock that snaps into place. This obviates any accidental unlocking when riding.
It sports 110mm V style front and rear brakes and measures H-27” x L-31” x W-12.5”.
The rear derailleur is a 7-speed Shimano RD-TY300 7 Speed direct mount.
Consider the pricing. At around $300 (but under £300), this full-size model is pricey but offers superb options.
It has an excellent 7-speed shifter. It is matchless for flat surfaces but has the grit and gear range to climb hills.
EuroMini is a full length ahead in the choice of tires. The incredible Kenda Khan 20” x 1.95” tires offer great traction, making riding in rough terrain and adverse conditions simple.
The Via is one up with its magnet catcher. It’s a simple enough process, the magnet immensely speeding up the folding process. The magnet pulls the bike in without you worrying if the bike is fully locked.
Double-wall rims bestow additional protection. The user gets an additional sense of security and it is remarkable how far this company will go in offering quality.
Easy to fold and store
No high gears
Pedals get frozen
Busy lifestyles are upping the favor of folding bikes. The EuroMini Via is quite the package. The addition of stainless steel parts is a deft touch that imparts class. This bike stands tall with the range of awesome features and the surprising add-ons that normally feature in top-end brands. The Via is a conqueror in harsh conditions. The Via is an extraordinary bike, certainly, the most feature-filled light fold up bicycles of 2020.
We don’t recommend tackling hills on this bike as it is extremely exhaustive.
We faced trouble speeding up as the wheels are way too fat.
The front and rear fenders really make it easy to ride in the rain
The bike comes with a rear carrying pack that is really utilitarian.
Included is a carrying bag.
It has aesthetics.
With solid steering, this folder is stable.
Much effort has gone into the design of the Schwinn folding bike with the cyclist’s comfort and convenience in mind. The hallmark of a good folding bike is its portability, the ease with which it can be carried around. This appears to be somewhat a problem as pointed by many users as is another problem area, folding and unfolding. Sure, it performs fine as a commuter bike and is perfectly alright if you don’t have to fold it too often and lug it around. At the price it comes for, there is bound to be some trade-off. There is much in common between the Schwinn Hinge Folding and our Editor’s pick, the Schwinn Loop.
Daily commuters are not the only class that folding bikes cater to. For the adventurous thrill-seeker, the Stowabike 26: MTB V2 is the choice. It falls into the hybrid bike category.This top-class yet cheap folding bike is much cheaper than ordinary folding bikes.
Made of a steel frame, the bares are steel V-Brakes and the rims of single-wall alloy.
It weighs 37 pounds and measures 67.3” x 23.2” x 29.5”.
The stem also is steel and the fork, Zoom Suspension steel with Alloy Body Spring Shock.
The tires are Wanda 27” x 1.75”.
It brags a Speed/Gears of 6/18.
At the time of writing it is in the price range of $300- $330. Compared to other brands of mountain bikes (MTB), the Stowabike V2 is a giveaway. It can beat any of its peers under 500 bucks.
Our reviewer admits to setting his expectation bar very low before reviewing the bike.
One of the undesirable characteristics of this bike is the folding frame. It can be easily folded and unfolded but on the larger side.
It is a little less portable but all the same can be carried around for short distances.
In an aspect of build properties, the frame imparts a feeling of solidity and sturdiness.
A lot of cheap components can be discovered such as the frame hinge lock, bottom bracket, plastic brake levers, crankset, pedals, and saddle. The bike needs to be inspected carefully before hitting the trail.
Important parts like brakes, wheels, and derailleurs need adjustments.
Overall taking the Stowabike MTB on a trail does not inspire confidence. If you want to make it more foolproof, you will need to sink in some money to have the parts replaced.
The dual suspension works well but is nearly half compressed at 180 pounds so we doubt it can withstand 200-pound riders.
It is affordable
Portable as it is a foldable bike
Has a sturdy design
Designed with an 18-speed gear
Good performance on and off-road
The shock absorption works well
The wheels are difficult to remove
The manual does not give the proper assembly and folding instructions
With the market in folding bikes brimming over, with a multiplicity of brands and models. The Stowabike MTB V2 Dual-Suspension Folding Bike weighs in for consideration especially if you’re cash strapped. It is worthy of being used on and off the road. True, it is heavy but the components are decent at the price.
The IDS unYOUsual is an amazing lightweight choice for your commuting trips and there are good many reasons why enjoys being one of our top 5 choices. Spotlighting 20” wheels and Shimano 6-speed shifter and derailleur, this bike ensures umpteen options for a comfortable and relaxed experience. To get you there, a comfortable MTB saddle with a vinyl cover is provided. The bike folds and unfolds in a few elementary steps.
The tires are Wanda 20” x 1.75” with the adjustable handlebar height.
The weight is on the heavier side at about 40 pounds. The price quoted, a shade above $150, is a good buy.
Quick adjusting handlebars and seat
Easy to ride, very stable and flawless gear shifting.
Easy to assemble. All we had to do was remove the safety ties holding the bike together, close the latches and put air in the tires.
There is overwhelming testimony of most users is positive. The few hiccups that have been mentioned can be taken as a one-off. This bike with its many features indeed shows great promise. Throw in the price and its practically a steal. We prefer to pitch for the manufacturers.
The Columba 26” is a steel-framed bike non-traditional folding bike but as close as it can get for the tag.
It can go everywhere; uphill, slopes, city roads, rough terrain. The durability of the wheels, owing to the Kenda 26” x 1.5” tires and alloy rim, permits riders to make short work of challenging terrain.
It comes armed with the Shimano 18 speed shifter and derailleur.
The bike weighs 35 pounds.
The folding mechanism is located halfway down the frame and employs a single latch design that is simple and quick to use.
The handle stem is removable and adjustable as you deem fit.
Front and rear V brakes are included so you can come to a dead stop when in a hurry.
It features a metal kickstand.
The maximum rider capacity is 200 pounds and it is suitable for persons whose height is 5.3 to 6 feet.
Alloy V-brakes are employed.
26” wheels are a much better deal where you can negotiate potholes with ease.
It has no shock absorbers so you've got to stick to paved roads.
It is heavy and bulky.
The Columba uses cheaper components and is not that swift to fold and unfold.
It fits conveniently in the boot though.
The bike arrives almost fully assembled requiring just the fitting of the front tire.
Our reviewers have tested the bike for over a month. No adverse reports have come in.
With a sturdy frame, shifting gears is effortless.
A derailleur protector, mount holes for a water bottle, and a PVC black bell are the accessories thrown in.
Sturdy steel frame
Comes in 4 colors
A good city bike
Outdated folding mechanism
Brake handles made of plastic
The Columba SP26S is a good take-off point for beginners switching from a regular bike to a folding bike. As an entry-level bike, it is quite like our Editor’s choice, the Schwinn Loop. Decent riding experience is delivered. Overall it is a good buy when you're confused between a regular bike and folding bike and having a tough time balancing what you get and what you pay.
lDS Home has come up with another convenience for their loyal customers with their latest unYOUsua transformer 20-inch bicycle edition. This one packs all the standard features that a folding bike should sport, plus it houses some extra goodies that we’ll be discussing here.
The overall build quality is sturdy enough to withstand long rides. It feels solid when handling on rough surfaces. Weighing about 32 pounds, this super-portable bike is amazingly compact. Accordingly, this one is ideal for carrying in boats and RV’s and snugly fits in small spaces. It folds from the middle and it takes only a few steps to fold it completely.
Despite being one of the best budget folding bikes out there, it packs 6-Speed Shimano twist grip gear shifters. It speeds up smoothly, thanks to the WANDA tires. The adjustable handlebars and the seat make the folding easy The product offers a hassle-free assembling which can be done within a short period.
Fast assembly and folding options
Sturdy build quality
Quality gear shifters
Ideal for exercising and commuting
Weight is on the higher side
We liked the overall build quality of the bike and its fast-folding features. You can fold it within a couple of minutes. We liked the level of comfort the bike offered when riding. It can save a lot of space in your flat, RV or boat. We highly recommend this one if you have the budget. Follow the bike safety rules with it and it'll be a great companion to you for years.
The EuroMini Urbano, a premium pick, catapults your riding experience to the next level.
This 24 pounds lightweight 6160 Aluminum alloy frame is a smooth ride.
The 20” double-walled rims bestow strength. With Kenda Kommuter 20x2.5” take smooth riding to greater heights.
The 110mm V-Style brakes mean business.
The genuine Shimano 8-speed derailleur and grip shifter make uphill, hill riding a smooth experience.
The adjustable stem is adaptable for all riders from under 5 feet to 6.4 feet.
The maximum weight capacity is 240 pounds. So, heavy riders within this weight range wouldn't face any problem.
Dissimilar to other folding frame bikes, this one has a magnet catcher, so once folded, it stays in place. It costs $350 to $380.
Designed for smaller riders but can accommodate tall riders also
It does not have quick-release wheels. If you wish to take off one of the wheels you will need a wrench.
A complaint is that the magnet catcher fails after some use.
Comes with water holder brackets and reflectors
The seat can be changed
Another thing that leaves to be desired it has only one front chainring.
Easy to fold-up and carry
Highly adjustable stem, comfortable seat with Vinyl cover.
Only one front chainring
Pedals appear a little flimsy
There are no fenders, no racks.
This is a foregone conclusion judging by the sheer high ratings it has achieved. But our unbiased opinion is on the same lines. These durable features do make the Urbano long-lasting and sturdy. The Urbano has garnered rave reviews on many sites outranking others in the same price range. In short, it's overall a good bike for sale and all our experts gave a positive nod on it.
For those who seek something extra or special, this folding bike is the answer to your prayers.
This folding electric bike is a godsend to ride on. Surprisingly comfortable and the seat is adjustable from way down to regular and higher.
This bike is meant to be a campus commuter for which it is more than adequate. Don’t let its size fool you, it’s pretty powerful.
It uses a 250 Watt motor with a speed of 15.5 mph. The brakes, both front and back, work like a dream regardless of speeds going downhill.
The handlebar controls include a power push-button. There are two ways to engage the motor; using the throttle on the right bar and the other way is to just pedal. This method switches the bike to the ‘pedal-to-go mode’. If you stop pedaling, the motor stops a second later.
The bike is foldable of course but not so much. Enough to be transported over short distances.
The bike comes with a US-based wall charger/ power converter.
The 36V Lithium-ion battery takes a full charge in about 5 hours and can travel 15.5 miles or more if also assisted by pedaling.
The bike can handle riders up to 260 pounds.
This bike is strictly not for kids, fancy jumps or tricks. There are other high-quality kids bikes that you can get if you really need one for your children.
It measures 49.2” x 21.7” x 34.9”.
The frame is aluminum alloy and weighs 37 pounds.
The Swagcycle EB-5 comes for around $420 to $440.
It is the most compact E-folding bikes out there. It’s pretty small after folding.
The folding and unfolding are routine but it can’t be rolled in the folded condition.
The EB5 has one gear only so going uphill does not present a problem.
If the battery runs out, just relying on pedal power is strenuous. So check your battery before an anticipated long run.
The battery life is impressive. Actually, our reviewers put it at a higher endurance.
The Swagtron EB5 comes with one serious limitation; it has one level of assistance or in other words, the motor kicks in when you pedal slowly. Other bikes have more levels of assist also automatic, but the EB5, in order to slash down pricing has stuck to just one level.
Compact and lightweight design
Impressive battery mileage
Good quality components
Only on level of power assistance
Difficult to ride without motor
Initially, our concern was how to override the green concern. But this electric bike did readjust our mindset somewhat. The Swagtron EB5 is well balanced for short runs. The EB5 Pro is a new entrant in the E-bike segment but compares well.
For the price, it delivers a lot. After carefully researching, our green concerns have been laid out to rest. The EB5 is the perfect start and it won’t break the bank.
Judds hand-built aluminum frame is 30% lighter than the leading folding bike. That’s saying something. It weighs 23.5 pounds.
The Kwenda Kwest commuter tires grip well with rounded treads. The substantial scattering grooves make riding in any weather a small job. The tires are 20” x 2.12”, once folded it can perfectly fit a small room in an NYC apartment.
The built-in 16T coaster brakes are a treat. No wires or cables, so it is that much easier to fold.
Whether it is a short run across campus, heading to the workplace or a weekend getaway, Judd’s convenience is unmatched.
It is a low maintenance city companion that is also easy to store.
High impact resin pedals, Kraton rubber ergonomic grips and UrbanComfort saddle by Retrospec are some of the choice features of the Retrospec Judd.
It compares with our Lightest Choice the EuroMini Via, the price differential not being much.
The first thing that grabs one is the unbelievable ease of folding and unfolding this bike.
The 20” wheels make it easy to accelerate and require less pedaling effort
It’s a unisex bike
One reviewer complained that the bike came out of the box pretty mangled; bent frame, broken spokes. Is it transit damage or poor workmanship?
Many color options
Minimal design with rear coaster brake
Easy to fold and unfoldable
Good for short rides
Single-speed is not good for hills
Smaller wheels make you lower on the ground
The bike has a lot of promise. It’s elegant looking with a good build, easy to fold up, and other enticing features. But the weakest/ cheapest parts of the bike occur at critical parts of the frame. Many of our reviewers were not too gung-ho about this bike and voiced apprehension that it could fail under vigorous conditions. We have our reservations about this bike.
Unless you are aiming to participate in the Tour De France, rigid bicycles are on the wane. They are just too cumbersome. And if you think folding bikes lag in performance, you have another think coming. Although having a low weight limit, they are good for a neighborhood spin, a day out in the countryside and especially for commuting to work. If you are hard-pressed for time, hop on a bus or the tube, get off, and unfold your bike. Next stop, your office desk.
Like every other thing in this world cycling has both benefits and disadvantages, but the pros are so high in number that they surpass the cons on a large scale. Going in for the best budget folding bike is highly recommended because of the following reasons -
High fuel prices
Cost of motoring (tax, maintenance, parking)
Reduces your carbon footprint.
Portability - The one single consideration. Can be lugged around in a bag, the easiest way to carry around.
Saves on space - normal bikes take up an awful amount of space
Safe from being stolen - no need for chains and locks. Carry it into your office or home.
Durability - They are made of the same materials as standard bikes.
Efficient performance - They are made to travel fast. The combination of gears is such.
Low depreciation - They maintain their value. Keep them well maintained and you don’t lose.
Predictable commuting time
When you are on a bike, you are not checking your phone
Physical fitness is promoted without trying.
Everyone gets around faster if more people take to cycling.
Your bike doesn’t ‘put tools down.’
Low maintenance - Just oil the chain, keep tires inflated and batteries charged.
Folding Bikes - A Comprehensive Buying Guide
Whether your collapsible bike is intended for leisure rides, urban commuting or some other reason, identifying the right pick can be tough. There are several factors you need to toss around before narrowing in on your precise requirements.
1. Folding Mechanism
a) Half / Mid Folding
This is the most common folding method you will see.
Breakaways come in different variations. This mechanism takes a little time to fold and unfold so it is recommended not to unfold it regularly.
c) Vertical Folding
The mechanism here is similar to that of the folding type with the difference that the aspect is vertical instead of horizontal after folding.
d) Triangle Hinge
The rear wheel and triangle can be twisted forward of the frame and tucked down. Some models feature, a folding front fork with flip and swing hinges fitted on the frame.
e) Magnet Folding
The magnet disconnects when folding allowing the unit to be bent halfway and vertically with the back wheel rotating forward.
2. Wheel Size
The folding cycles have wheel diameters ranging from 14 to 26 inches. Small wheels light and compact are prone to bumps and difficult to maneuver especially in rough terrain.
Larger wheels offer greater speeds but are bulky and heavy. They handle off the road better but portability is constrained.
The weight of a folding cycle is a crucial factor in the overall quality and its price. Typically the weight should be under 30 pounds as can be found with cheaper variants that use heavier metal. The more expensive bikes can be as low as 20 pounds.
That frame size plays a vital role. Folding bikes, unfortunately, do not have this option even if you’ve the budget folding bike in your arsenal.To make up, most other aspects are adjustable so that you can pedal and steer comfortably. The seat height is adjustable to give legroom to pedal easily. The handlebars too can be adjusted, unlike rigid bikes.
5. Intended Use
It makes scarce sense to invest in a folder with top features if it does not cater to your needs. How you plan to put your bike to use should be the only guide and every component and decision point should be in tandem with this. Folding bikes require even greater consideration as to what you are getting one for; urban leisure rides, countryside languid rides or for commuting. Going and getting a mountain bike for commuting is being a chump. Choose prudently.
6. Frame Material
What the skeleton is to the human body, the frame is to a bike. It holds the bike together and every component in some way or other is attached to it.
Steel- Inexpensive, weighs more hence better stability and shock absorption.
Aluminum- inexpensive, low weight, good maneuverability, and control.
Titanium- Very expensive, lightweight, strong, relatively good shock absorption. Bike frames made from this materail can easily withstand 300 pounds (lbs.) and above.
For the sake of weight savings and simplicity, the majority offer one gear. Multi-gear models abound however and can go up to 18 gears now.
A rule-of-thumb is to go with single gear for flat roads and multi gears for hilly terrain.
Favor additional features and components which provide hassle-free use, sturdiness, and convenience. Tires should allow a firm grip and be puncture-resistant Cargo basket, chain guards, fenders, etc. are attachables for convenience and safety.
When it comes to Warranty, most manufacturers are dodgy. It can be up to 1-5 years but limited to only the frame. However, you might not get warranty coverage when buying a model during the period of sale. Used or discounted products don't get covered by warranty.
Folding Bike Maintenance Tips
Your folding bike’s Users Manual will normally contain a full detailed Maintenance section. We will guide you here more generally with effective maintenance tips for folding bikes.
Bike Care Tips
Store your bike indoors. Rain, moisture and dirt increase wear and subsequent breakdown.
DO NOT use WD40 on your chain. It will strip it completely of lubrication causing metal on metal grinding. Use chain lube to clean the chain.
Riding frequently in the rain takes its toll. Service your bike more regularly.
If not mentioned in the manual, this link leads to maintenance frequency schedules.
Items You Will Need
A sponge or a cleaning brush.
Clean rags. These can be old clothes or sheets that you’re happy to get filthy.
A drying cloth.
A degreaser or oil.
A bucket full of warm water mixed with liquid soap or bike wash fluid.
It’s time to clean your bike. Follow these steps in order and your bike will be shimmering in no time at all:
If you don’t have a stand, prop the bike up so that it is stable.
Apply the degreaser to the chain, chainrings, cogs, gear cassette, and also to the jockey wheels. You might need to use your brush to get into all the crevices if you’re using a liquid degreaser. Also, if your bike has gears, change them while you are applying the degreaser, as this will allow you access to different elements of the cogs, so you can clean them too.
Once the degreaser has been applied, wait until the recommended time has passed.
Hose off the degreaser. The dirtiest parts of the bicycle are much cleaner.
Take the sponge, dunk it into the soapy water, and start going at the frame of your bike till there is no trace of dirt left.
If you’re satisfied you’ve got rid of all the muck on the frame, rinse off all the soapy water.
A warning: When you’re rinsing your bike, ensure that the water doesn’t get into the brakes or gears too much, as this may damage their functionality.
Bounce the bike a bit to remove some of the water that has lodged itself in crevices.
Get the rags and wipe the cycle.
When you’re drying off your bike, check that everything is in order. Do your brake pads need changing? Are your tires looking worn?
Apply some bike polish. Your bicycle will be gleaming.
What to Do Once You’ve Cleaned Your Bike?
Your bike is clean. Well done! The final bit is yet to be done.
Carefully apply the lubricant or bike oil to the bike chain turning it as you go. making sure that the oil doesn’t get onto your brake pads or the rims of your wheels. Wipe clean.
The chainrings, cogs, gear cassette, and jockey wheels should also be carefully lubricated. Once again, make sure that you don’t get the oil on the brake pads, as it could ruin them.
Our team of test editors has vetted and minutely evaluated every product here. The gamut of features explored are folding, unfolding, carrying, stowing and riding these bikes. Those untested were chosen carefully based on value, quality of parts, our riding experience on similar models and the suitability of the overall package to the needs of the intended buyer.
The Schwinn Loop is a good entry-level folder and the best budget folding bike as per our findings. So accordingly our focus is more acute to determine folding/closing arrangements, a smooth riding experience and to keep it simple for the user.
It is specifically for commuting and a foldable mountain bike. It calls for extreme sturdiness considering the rigors of off road cycling. Our testing is equally that much more stringent to make sure it can withstand the needs.
Folding bikes match different lifestyles and fetch varying benefits, the most glaring being portability. This is one aspect, you as a buyer must be dead sure of as far as your requirements go.
It has been pointed out a number of times that you are the judge and all reviews, writeups, and recommendations do definitely keep you well informed, but your preferences and needs take center stage.
Here at Gearbikesreview, we believe that biking is an expression of who we really are - a group of fanatic riders, bike designers, professional mechanics, and adventurers who’ve been riding different types of bikes and experimenting on improving the overall experience for the past two decades. We use this platform to share our professional insights, riding skills, and industry expertise with the serious cyclists out there.Read More