12 Best Folding Bikes in 2017
With overcrowding becoming more and more of an issue in cities, many urbanites are ditching the car and looking for new ways to get to work or make a grocery run. The fastest way around is often by bicycle.
While many people flock to the hybrid commuters and road bikes, there are a number of bikes that can get you through the gridlock. The folding bike is perfectly designed for city living. Not only are riders able to get around quickly on two wheels, but they can also easily hop on other forms of transportation like the bus or subway with a quick fold of the frame to carry it onboard.
While the folding bike sounds like a niche genre, there is actually a huge range of options available, and we will show you some of our top picks in this list of the best folding bikes.
Table of Contents
Top 12 Folding Bikes Comparison Chart
Carrying the Weight
If you’re considering a folding bike, you’re probably intrigued by the idea of traveling easily with a bike in tow. Whether you’re hopping on the train or packing up the camper with a campsite cruise in mind, having a bike that’s easy to carry and store is essential.
The weight of your bike is normally only a factor when concerned with speed, but having something that doesn’t feel like a ton of bricks as you carry it upstairs is clearly a factor for a machine you plan to take with you everywhere.
Gears to Keep You Going
City riding allows riders to get away with a small selection of gears for most occasions. However, folding bikes are expanding their horizons with a new interest in mountain bike trails and hilly suburbs.
You can now find drivetrains – the bike’s gears and shifting system – ranging from single speed to 21 speed.
- Single Speed – Having one gear limits where you can ride. If you don’t have the legs of a professional cyclist, hills and rough terrain become much more of a chore. However, the simplicity of one gear drastically reduces maintenance and makes folding less of a hassle.
- One-By Drivetrains – One of the best options for city riding with mild hills is a system that has one gear in front and 6 to 7 gears in back. These systems are still relatively easy to maintain, but provide riders with options when they work their way uphill.
- 18-21 Speed – Having a large selection of gears is a huge plus if you live in a hilly area or like to take the unbeaten path to work. The downside is that the extra gears require extra shifting components that can make maintenance and repair a headache.
The Future is Electric
A growing trend across the bicycle universe is the use of electric motors. Most electric bikes allow you to use their power boosting abilities in multiple ways; from a pedal assist that gives you an extra power uphill, to throttle accelerators for when you don’t feel like pedaling at all.
Superhuman power on the bike is a nice feature when you don’t want to break a sweat on the way to work or have multiple hills to get up along the way. Keep in mind that an electric motor adds weight when carrying the bike as well as the need for charging, but the assistance in power and neat features like phone chargers and motor-powered lights make up for the inconvenience.
Wheel and Frame Size
When most people think of folding bikes, they think of little clown wheels. While many folders have the small 20” wheel size and compact frame design, there are bigger bikes out there. 26” foldable mountain bikes are growing in popularity, as are foldable townies. The bigger frame and wheel size does affect how small they can fold and how heavy the bike is, but depending on your use this may not dissuade you.
Top 5 Best Folding Bike Reviews
The GB5 is a small bike with a powerful punch. Does it fold into a compact package that’s easy to store and carry? It absolutely does. However, where the Greenbike USA GB5 shines is with all of its extra features.
At the heart of the GB5 is a 350W electric motor that helps power a 6-speed Shimano gearing system. You can use the nine different levels of pedal assist, or use the throttle and reach speeds up to 28mph. The motor also powers lights, turn signals, brake lights and a horn for when you’re flying through traffic.
With all that speed it’s important to have a powerful stopping system. The GB5 comes equipped with front and rear disc brakes, a suspension system, and wide Kenda tires to keep riders comfortable and in control.
A high power electric motor and all the key features that come along with it make the Greenbike USA GB5 the best folding bike on the market.
The Columba 26” breaks the trends of the traditional folding bicycle. It comes equipped with 26” wheels, mountain bike frame geometry, and an 18 speed Shimano drivetrain. These factors make it a great option for riding trails around the campsite or getting up steep grades.
The larger wheels and wider gear options also make this bike something to consider if you want to get to work quickly. There’s no electric engine, but the wheels and gears significantly increase efficiency at high speed for those that don’t need electric assistance.
The larger size doesn’t fold up as compact as many on the list, but the bike is still surprisingly light weight and built to last. With some proper adjusting upon purchase the Columba 26” is a bike that you will want to take everywhere.
There isn’t anything out of the ordinary with the EuroMini Campo (which is made in the USA). In fact, it’s a model image of your traditional folding bicycle. So, why number 3 on the list?
The Campo does everything a folding bike should do, exceptionally well. The folding system is simple and packs the frame nicely. The Shimano shifting is smooth, as to be expected with Shimano drivetrains, and the frame itself is sturdy and reliable.
These are characteristics that many budget folding bikes strive for but just can’t meet. Unlike the Campo, many folders feel flimsy and never work perfectly, leaving something to be desired. EuroMini knocked this bike out of the park and presented us with a ride that most people expect from a folding bicycle.
Dahon is a big name in the folding bike world. They have multiple models to choose from, but the Speed D7 is a favorite among folding bike enthusiasts. With a sporty feel and good value, the D7 is an excellent option for all your commuting and travel needs.
Though the drivetrain is made in-house, it is still fairly reliable, and the seven available gears make it easy to get wherever you need to go. Even if it is raining, the bike comes equipped with fenders and a rack for panniers.
A clean look with a beautifully crafted frame and rack, classic looking tires, and fenders will turn heads and give you confidence as you cruise around with a big smile on your face.
The Strida is on the other end of the spectrum when it comes to turning heads. This bike looks like it just rolled out the door of a futuristic concept bike show. A triangular frame, asymmetrical fork design for the front and rear, and a single speed belt drive makes the Strida stand out not only as a folding bike but a bike of all genres.
With its unique construction comes a unique solution to the problems many folding bikes encounter. The belt drive makes maintenance a not issue: no chain lube, no gears, and the belt lasts for thousands of miles without needing a second look. The irregular frame shape folds easily, and the asymmetrical forks allow the frame to fold closer together than any other bike on the list.
Add disc brakes for exceptional braking power, and a rear rack for commuting and you have yourself a statement piece that performs great and looks even better.
If there is one thing to remember when selecting a folding bicycle, it’s fun. If you’re going to ride something that looks like it just rolled out of a clown car you better have a smile from ear to ear to match.
Look for something that looks good to you, will perform properly for the roads you ride on and will be easy to carry if you plan to bring it with you wherever you go.
If you plan to use it for regular commuting, consider a bike that comes equipped with a rack and fenders. They may add weight and affect the bike’s ability to fold, but the ability to carry all of your belongings on the bike and not in a backpack makes for a much more enjoyable ride.