If you commute to work and you’d like to cycle part of the way, or just fancy heading out on your travels with a bike that’s easy to take, opting for a folding model can be a very valuable investment. They don’t have to cost the Earth, either!
Shrinking down from a rideable adult cycle to a transportable, storage-friendly bundle, it’s very convenient if you need to travel on public transport but still want to be able to ride before and after. But what makes a good ‘foldie’, as they’re called?
No need to spend hours scouring the web: we’ve already done the hard part, and picked out five of our favorite folding bikes for you, each well-received by customers and securing a significant amount of five-star reviews.
For a breakdown of exactly which features you need to consider, user-friendly enough for even a biking novice to understand, look no further than our Buyer’s Guide. There, you’ll find out everything you need to know before hitting add to cart.
Last minute queries and concerns may be addressed by our FAQs section, so be sure to read right to the end. We’ve rounded up and answered some of the most common questions from customers also looking for folded bikes - one may be yours!
Seriously Bored Of Your Bigger Bike? Here’s Our Top Pick:
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
Promising the simplest assembly, folding out in just a couple of simple steps, the Schwinn Loop bike can accommodate riders up to six feet.
It’s our favorite of all five on our list, because it folds up so small you won’t even need a rack.
Producing bikes since 1895 from Chicago Illinois, Schwinn want to bring the confidence and freedom of a bike to everyone, and this durable aluminum folding model does just that thanks to its limited lifetime warranty.
Made with commuters in mind, durable steel hinges and a solid kickstand make set-up and breakdown a breeze, and the splashproof fenders will minimize the amount of cleaning and maintenance required.
Using mechanisms like the RevoShift Twist Shifter and Tourney Rear Derailleur from popular manufacturers Shimano, every part of the bike has been thought about and executed well. You’ll be able to switch between seven different speeds!
Included with your purchase is a sturdy nylon carry bag, which combined with the built-in rear carry rack, is perfect for concealed transportation. Never worry about your bike getting lost or stolen again!
- 20 inch wheels for a full-size ride
- Boasts high-quality Shimano parts
- Frame folds small for storage
- Weighs approximately 33 pounds, features carrying rack
- May be unsuitable for those taller than six feet
With a high tensile, steel folding frame capable of withstanding rough mountain trails, this 21-Speed bike from XSpec is the optimum bike for riders between 5’3” and 6’0”.
It promises to be stronger, faster and more reliable than traditional V-brake systems.
With full-size 26 inch diamond wheels and alloy double wall rims, it offers a sturdy ride comparable to a regular mountain bike.
The Shimano shifters and derailleurs are high quality, as you would expect from such a reputable manufacturer.
Thanks to a quality dual steel suspension, featuring a set of front and rear shock absorbers, commutes and mountain trails alike are conquerable and comfortable; disc brakes will prevent tire wear and provide quick and accurate braking distance.
The twenty one speed settings offered by the gear shifters will allow you to alter your riding experience to suit the terrain, speed and weather conditions. You can either cruise to your heart’s content or punch it in high gear!
Unlike some of the other bikes on our list, there is some assembly required when you first receive this model.
Customers have reported the manual provided is general and may not perfectly match - amateurs could struggle to put it together.
- 21-speed gears for versatile riding
- Full size 26 inch diamond wheels
- Secure, solid folding mechanism
- 220lb weight limit
- Light assembly, with tools, required
Alongside an lightweight aluminum alloy frame, the EuroMini ZiZZo Vio has an adjustable, collapsible telescopic handlebar post, suiting riders from 4’8” to 6’3”, one of the widest height ranges of the bikes on our list.
The genuine Shimano Tourney derailleur combined with a stainless steel cassette allows for 7 adjustable gear speeds, helping you tackle any terrain.
Attached to the frame, an aluminum derailleur hanger absorbs impact to protect the drivechain.
Front and rear fenders have been installed to minimize the impact of dirt and poor weather on your bike.
Aluminum alloy V-brakes are lightweight, but have plenty of stopping power to spare your tires and keep your ride smooth and safe.
When folded, the bike is 27” x 31” x 12.5” and this is achieved in thirty seconds or less once practised. The pedals also fold, reducing the size of the bike overall for even more compact storage opportunities.
With the seat post serving as a tripod to hold the two wheels in an upright position, your ride is held securely in place by a magnet catch, so there’s no chance of the bike unfolding at an inopportune moment!
- Unisex and suits a wide variety of heights
- Shimano parts that assure long lasting quality
- Secure folding thanks to magnet catch
- Folds down smaller than rival bikes, including the pedals!
- Pricier than other options we’ve selected
Choose between a u-shaped or curved crossbar when you opt for a Goplus 7-speed folding bike, with a solid steel frame that offers excellent load bearing.
Folding down to store is as simple as following three easy steps!
Non-slip, pierce resistant 20 inch tires are crafted from high-quality rubber with aluminum alloy rims, great for bumpy and uneven rides.
Adjust the height of your seat and handlebars for an even more comfortable experience.
Prolonged riding won’t be a problem anymore, as the ergonomic and anti-slip handlebars are soft to touch. The pedals are also designed to prevent slipping, as well as equipped with a BS reflector for nighttime riding.
Front and rear V-brakes are efficient and minimize braking distance, which is great when you’re rushing on the morning commute! A comfortable cortical saddle ensures you won’t feel the burn of riding to work.
Arriving 98% assembled, all you need to do is attach your pedals and reflectors before you hit the road. If you need a bike ASAP, and you don’t have a huge amount of money to spend, this is the one to go for.
- High quality, slip-resistant tires
- Widened, adjustable seat
- Ergonomic handle - choose the shape of your crossbar
- Comes ready assembled (besides pedals)
- No magnet to hold locking system securely
Available in six bright colors, there’s sure to be a Eurobike to suit all riders, each being equipped with genuine 21-speed Shimano gear shifters, which is impressive for such a budget-friendly bike.
Mid-folding for easy storage, though not as compactly as a non-mountain bike, you’ll find it very easy to carry around with you. It’s also small enough to fit into the trunk of your car, so no need to worry about a roof rack!
Responsive Shimano Gearing is paired with TZ-30 and TZ-50 front and back derailleurs, which adapt well to various terrains and make for easy hill climbing. Shifting between speeds is simple, easy and won’t interrupt your ride.
Front and frame suspension allows for a pleasant ride even on rougher roads, and lets riders practically glide along those smoothly paved city streets. It’s absolutely ideal for commuting part of the way to work.
Unfortunately, manufacturers advise that despite boasting full size, 26 inch wheels and an adjustable seat, it’s only suitable for riders between 5’3” and 5’9”, so we can’t recommend it for taller cycling enthusiasts on the go.
- Six bright colors to choose from
- Full-size wheels and suspension
- Shimano 21-speed gears
- Dual disc brakes
- Small height range of 5’3-5’9
Best Folding Mountain Bike Buying Guide
You’ll find that, as with regular mountain bikes, various materials are used for building foldable models; this will determine not only how heavy it is, but the durability of your new ride long term, and the overall feel when cycling.
Usually selected for being inexpensive, steel is an affordable choice. Whilst it weighs more than other options, it is sturdy enough to keep beginners stable, as well as absorbing plenty of the impact when riding on unstable terrain.
Slightly more pricey is aluminum, which curates a nice middle ground between being lightweight and budget friendly whilst maintaining stability. As it weighs less, it’s easier to control when riding and less of a burden for transportation.
As the quality and price tag of the bike increases, chances are it will be produced from carbon fiber, which is a relatively new material in comparison to the above. Simultaneously the lightest and most durable, it’s favored by professionals.
You may find some of the most expensive folding bikes have been made from titanium, though they will often cost a pretty penny, so you won’t find any of them on our list! We only pick bikes suited to the average Joe or Jane.
Frame-wise, your biggest consideration is making sure it’s large enough to support you in a comfortable ride! It’s no good your bike being super portable if you can’t even ride it properly, so this one is a biggie.
Wheel size will impact your ride quality overall, with general consensus being that the bigger your wheels, the smoother your cycle altogether. This does kind of defeat the object of portability, so you can try to overcome this with good suspensions.
On average, wheels for folding bikes are between 16 and 20 inches. However, you will notice that some models do still feature full-size wheels, though of course these aren’t as easy to break down as their smaller counterparts.
One of the biggest determining factors of a folding bike’s portability is its weight. Lighter materials are often, quite confusingly, more expensive than their sturdier counterparts, so usually the more expensive a cycle, the less it will weigh.
The majority of folding bikes will weigh no more than forty pounds, which seems to be suitable for most able-bodied adults to carry around with them on the go. Remember: titanium and carbon fiber bikes will always be the slimmest and lightest!
Ease Of Folding
According to our research, there are several primary methods of folding down that manufacturers utilize when producing their folded bikes:
Half folding, also known as mid folding, is probably the most popular, and certainly manufactured most commonly. Working via a hinge in the middle of the bike’s frame, it simply folds in half and then quickly pops back out again.
Vertical folding follows the same logic but uses two hinges to fold in half vertically. These are usually located on the frame’s main tube or in the seat of the chain. It’s used less frequently, but they take up less space, storage wise.
Magnetic folding is quite difficult to explain, but essentially there’s a magnet on the rear of the bike, rotating the rear wheel forwards and connecting the whole back wheel to the front of your frame. This leaves a wheel free for rolling in transit!
Triangular hinges can be used to fold down the rear triangle and wheel of your bike, which then swings forward to sit beneath the main frame tube. Swing or flip hinges can both be used together, intended to make setting up and breaking down easier.
This of course encompasses size and weight but is a consideration all of its own. The dimensions of your bike once folded will determine if it will fit nicely under a seat, say, or in overhead storage on the bus or subway.
Likewise, whether or not you can still utilize the wheels for pushing will also impact portability. Can you use the handlebars (or another of the bike’s sturdier parts) as a handle for easy carrying? Is there a built-in handle for this purpose?
Frequently Asked Questions
Do folding bikes break easily?
Much as a normal bike can only take so much beating before it becomes unrideable, your folding bike is only able to withstand a certain amount of impact. However, the portable nature of these models can make them more susceptible to damage.
As the folding works through hinges, these areas can be spots of weakness for an otherwise sturdy and stable bike. Overzealous riding, too much time on difficult terrain or especially heavy shocks could cause a separation here.
You’ll find that it’s very unlikely that a hinge will fail out of nowhere. Small fractures or cracks can build up over time, so consistently checking your bike at these potential weak points to prevent complete separation mid-transport is advised.
Provided that you treat your folding bike with care and courtesy, understanding it can take less of a beating than a standard, full-sized model, there’s no reason it won’t continue to carry you from A to B for years to come.
Can folding bikes go uphill?
Again, every folding bike is different, and its ability to ride smoothly and successfully uphill is determined by the presence of adequate gears. Whilst it will certainly take more effort on your part, there’s no reason it won’t be possible!
Ensure you select a low gear for uphill riding - your own personal abilities and preferences will determine how low, but this will reduce the amount of effort you need to exert in order to produce momentum and move forwards.
The more you practise, the more experience you’ll gain, and the better muscle mass you’ll have accrued. Keep at it, and you’ll be zooming uphill in no time, whether on a folding bike or its full-size, non-portable counterpart.
Are folding mountain bikes safe?
Just as safe as any other bike you could get! Much like any vehicle, motorized or otherwise, would be, they are produced under strict safety guidelines and undergo significant testing before being released for sale to the general public.
Where previously, the folding bike was very much a niche in the world of cycling, only produced by a select few manufacturers, and not necessarily very well, times have changed. The most popular bike companies in the world have folding models!
Designs have been improved and refined over the years, ironing out any early stage design flaws that may have previously posed a threat. As we’ve said above, as long as you treat a folding bike as well as you would a regular one… you’re all good!
However, it is important to bear in mind that they aren’t as well-suited to riding in wet and windy conditions, nor will they withstand difficult terrain as well as a full-sized adult bike could. Ride with caution, take care and always wear a helmet!