Shopping for an folding bike? Read about types, features, and other must-know topics in our fold up bike buying guide. Find the best folding bicycles based on our professional collapsible bike reviews. Read more about which portable bike that is the best for your specific needs.
Best Folding Bikes 2018
Surely, these folding bikes are not for everyone as some of them carry a hefty price-tag.
With that said, one thing can be said for sure, these folding bikes are good enough to make it to our list of the top best Folding Bike 2018.
Schwinn 20-Inch Loop Folding Bike
This is a very good folding bike. It weighs 31.8 lbs. Using a fridge magnet to test its material components, the magnet clings to the fork, handle bars, seat post and the crank arms, but not to the frame that includes the rear rack. Out of the box, only one pedal had to be attached to the crank arm to completely assemble the bike. And it only needed a little bit of air to be fully functional. For tuning, the bike we received only needed an adjustment of the cable length of the rear brakes for a balanced stopping power with the front brakes. The bike performed with high marks from Will Rogers State Beach to Santa Monica and Marina del Rey and back here in Southern California, for about 20 miles of test ride.
Rating the bike, it’s a 4 star because the seat of the bike is awful. For a cruiser at this price point, the bike can still be improved with a wider and more comfortable seat.
Stowabike 20″ Folding City V2 Compact Foldable Bike
First of all let me tell you what I do and the reason I bought this bike. I am a roadie . Touring video tech. We travel on buses between shows and frequent hotels for months at a time. I was looking for a bike that I could fold up and put in our luggage bay without taking up to much space. Some of the guys leave theirs on the trucks but I wanted mine on the days off so I could split away from the hotel without the need of a cab. I did my research and read other reviews of this bike on more than Amazon and most have been pretty good. I didn’t want to spend thousand dollars on a bike , and didn’t want to waste a few hundred either.
I ordered this and set up a shipment to a hotel we were staying in the next week. I didnt realize what day of the week it was and it wasnt going to make it there before I was to arrive. I called Golf outlets directly to see if i could change the address. They were extremely helpful to me and switched the address for me. I received the bike at my hotel which was packed properly all of the parts were present and no damage. I am very mechanically inclined so putting a bike together is pretty easy and I didn’t even open the instructions. Putting the front wheel on was the tricky part. But everything went together pretty smooth.
It looks pretty sharp for the money. I have gotten plenty of comments on its look. First thing they ask me is how much it cost …. then they cant believe it . The first day I went out on the road I went on quite a trek. Just guessing it was at least 6 to 8 miles up and down hills going through the 6 gears . The gears work well when applied in the place they were meant for. The breaks work just fine . The seat is big enough and didnt kill my butt. I am a stocky guy muscular 5’10 200lbs . I have had this bike for a week or so and have put lots of miles on it without any complaint . Im trying to think of a con but the only thing I can say is I had to put a little air in the tires when I first received it. It folds up very easy and opens just as easy. Hope you think this will help you decide on a bike.
Dahon Mariner D7 Folding Bike
Riding the bike is fun. It is a joy to ride.It shifts smoothly and effortlessly making riding easy! This bike can really move with the top speeds. This bike feels like a larger bike. I am a big person, 6’3″ 230lbs and this bike feels solid under my weight. I ride this for commuting (about 4 miles a day) and I also take it for a 10 mile ride once per week.
I couldn’t find a bike store that had a selection of folding bikes so trying one out wasn’t an option for me. In fact one bike shop employee told me to not bother looking, just order one online. I had to see the Dahon folding bikes around town, and read a bunch of good reviews before I took the risk of ordering a bike online.
The bike arrived in complex packaging. Removing the packaging and familiarizing myself with the bike took a few hours. No adjustments were necessary. Everything was in working order out of the box. I got some accessories, a saddle bag, a mini pump, a water bottle holder, lights, and a bell. Some consideration for the placement of accessories must be made for folding the bike otherwise things on your handlebar can interfere with the wheels when you try to roll it around folded.
Folding it for the first time takes a few minutes. But then after doing the fold a few dozen times I got it down to about 15 seconds. There are a few tricks like standing in right place for leverage, and putting the pedals in the right place. If you leave the seat extended you can push it around the train station like a cart. It is small enough to sit next to you on the train like a piece of luggage. It will fit in the aisle without blocking passage. With the seat lowered into folded position, it stands on its own.
All in all the best bike I ever owned. I am debating whether to get another because I hear in other reviews that some of the unique parts are impossible to find.
Retrospec Bicycles Speck Folding Single-Speed Bicycle
When I first purchased this bike it performed great, it accelerated quickly, handled well, and was fairly reliable. If you havent had a folding bike, theyre pretty useful and get many compliments (I had to stop folding it when I get on the bus to avoid them actually). I have flown with this bike, rode trains, and even folds up if the bus racks are full. That part is really cool and why I’m giving this bike two stars.
The other three are missing, because unlike some of the other reviewers, I’m not quite a casual rider – I actually used this bike. I chose it for my commute of about 4 miles 3-5 days a week. I would also use it to run to the store and whatnot, and kept the bike stored inside when not in use.
Between 3-6 months I started having a few problems.
1.) The bolt holding the seat snapped when I hit a small bump at about 13 mph and I was almost violated by the seat post.
2.) The screw connecting the torque “arm” to the frame on the rear wheel fell out.
3.) The screw that goes in the bottom of the hinge fell out.
If you do decide to purchase this bike, make sure to tighten everything, and do it hard. These issues I experienced were handed by messaging retrospec and in a few weeks I received some replacement fasteners. But the seat is still constantly coming lose, and those parts that failed resulted in other parts that failed.
When the screw for the torque arm of this bike failed, the hub failed shortly after. This has resulted in a “wiggle” of the back tire as I use the bike and the chain constantly derails.
When I contacted retrospec to discuss this issue, I was told that I was out of warranty (my purchase was less than a year ago) and to go buy the part myself. I inquired as to why the one year warranty they post was no longer active, and have yet to receive any reply.
With that said, I regret not spending the little extra dough for that Dahon Speed Uno instead. You don’t want to cheap out with single speed folders because the chain derailing can lead to injury or death, and Retrospec takes shortcuts with the quality of their parts. Folding bikes are great, just get a different one.
Also if you’re considering doing an electric hub motor conversion the rear dropouts are 110mm and most hub motors will be 135mm. You don’t want to bend the rear dropouts on aluminum frames because aluminum is brittle and will crack or buckle. I am considering going this route since the hub I have now is still damaged and still needs to be replaced. A motor controller with regenerative braking can also take some of the pressure off the coaster brakes.
Strida Folding Bicycle
Bike is very interesting. Single side on front and rear forks. Belt drive with unusual bottom bracket. Unique looks. Riding, it is less stable than a traditional 27 inch bike, but still easily rideable. Initial set up: Did not come with correct instructions for mounting the seat to the frame. The adjustment device arrives in the position for tall riders. I am just under 6 feet, and I am about at the bottom of the upper seat adjustment. My wife is 5’09” and at the top of the lower seat adjustment. Seat adjustment instructions are for an older model. To adjust the seat on this bike, first you must decide if you are going to use the upper or lower adjustment range. If it is the upper range, slide the “seat post” (black pieces of plastic which hold the seat) on the inside of the red aluminum adjustment device on the inside of the triangle area. If it is the lower area, disassemble the seat height adjustment device. Slide the red piece of aluminum up, pull the black plastic clip fully aft, take the larger of the two independent allen wrenches and remove the peg. Get the peg screwed into the lower hole and reassemble the seat height adjustment device. Suffice to say, this model is new, and you are largely on your own. No “youtube” videos, no proper manual. Contact me, I might be able to help you.
The transmission is interesting. Reverse pedal for two clicks and you change gears. You go from 1st gear to 3rd gear, then to 2nd gear, then to 1st gear. This is a terrible system. You should be able to accelerate away from 1st to 2nd to 3rd. I couldn’t get it to do that, but I have only ridden it once. Maybe if you go for only 1 click, it will be able to upshift, but when I tried that, it would only freewheel and I got no power at all.
Collapses in seconds
You can push it like a stroller when it’s collapsed (you don’t have to carry it)… this is a major plus
The brake locks are a critical feature; helps the bike stay steady when it’s collapsed and you’re holding it upright.
Belt is very clean (no grease on hands or clothes)
I have not had any maintenance issues with it so far, and I’ve been riding it regularly for almost a year now.
I bought the rear rack bag, which I use to store keys/wallet/etc so I don’t even need to carry a bag with this bike.
Other reviewers have mentioned poor handling. I think there is a small learning curve with this bike, but it’s absolutely something that can be mastered within the first 2 or 3 rides. You really have to make sure you push off the ground firmly so you get enough momentum when you start to ride… otherwise you will be a bit wobbly. And once you get peddling, it feels fine. After the first 5 rides, you won’t even notice that initial wobbliness anymore.
Overall, a technological achievement, cool looking bike. Documentation is terrible. Folded size is pretty good. Pretty long overall, but all other dimensions are good. Gear range is adequate for the vast majority of cycling conditions. Think 3rd, 5th, and 7th on an old school 10 speed.
Xspec 20″ 7 Speed City Folding Compact Bike Bicycle Urban Commuter Shimano
The quality of the build seems pretty similar. Sturdy bike and fun to ride. However it came in many pieces with no instructions. Thankfully I’m a bit mechanically inclined and was able to figure it out. And I’m glad I had a bunch of different wrenches and a metric Allen set. The main piece in the center front tube of the bike needed to be inserted followed by the handlbars. If you don’t know what you’re doing take it to a bike shop for setup. My neighbor is a cyclist so he helped me with the front and back breaks. They were way off and took him about 40 minutes to get right. The front wheel needed to be installed too as did the front fender. Took me at least an hour for full assembly. Tires were flat as well but after sorting it all out my first ride was great. Gears worked great too. Comfy for me and I’m 6 feet 175. Main thing is adjusting the breaks. So get that done right and make sure you assemble the front end properly. Nice bike. Looks great too. Should be fun.
Speed: I was worried a folding bike would be painfully slow. Luckily this isn’t the case. In top gear this bike moves along 10-12 mph. Doesn’t perform like a 26″ road bike, but I didn’t expect it to.
Comfort: Seat is comfortable. I’m 5’10” and this bike fits me fine. Hand grips also have a nice feel.
Quality: Fenders are made of really thin cheap plastic. Gear shifter and brakes are both Shimano and good quality. I did have to adjust the rear derailer (shifter) as when it arrived it was making a slight clicking sound when I rode it. The adjustment was a little frustrating at first as my initial adjustment actually made it worse, but after watching a few youtube videos on “adjusting shimano derailer” I finally got it. Once you’ve done it once it’s really easy to adjust. Rear rack is nice and solid.
Ease of use: Very easy to fold and unfold. All of the folding mechanisms are easy to use and are high quality.
Tip: Secure the seat post very tightly! If you don’t you will have a 16 inch drop down! I made this mistake in my haste to try out my new bike. I didn’t secure the seat post tightly enough and it held me up for a minute and then dropped me straight down.
Schwinn 14 Hinge Folding Bike
I bought the bike even though the reviews were still unknown. It worked fine. You do have to assemble it but what I mean assemble is to snap it together. There are directions. The bike is a bit heavy. But it folded fine and I was able to put it in a hatchback. The only issue I have is that it does not have a latch or I have yet to figure it out when it is folded it stays like that especially when transporting. Otherwise, I was looking for a simple bike to just ride around with. This did the job. I am happy with it.
Good bike for what it is BUT as with any non bike shop bike have it assembled, adjusted, and properly greased by a shop or do it yourself if you can. I purchased this bike as emergency transport to be kept in the trunk of the car. For that it’s perfect. The bike arrived with no damage. It’s a good looking bike. Has a smooth ride. It is on the heavier side but not too heavy. Easy to fold and held it closed with a bungee. Initial adjustments were made on the brakes and chain tension. I also oiled critical areas. Overall i’m very happy with the bike. If you need daily transport buy a bike shop folder and spend some coin. As a budget friendly trunk bike this will work perfectly.
Camp 20″ Alloy 7 Speed Folding Bike Disc Brake Super Sonic
I did a lot of looking before purchasing this bike. I needed something light and compact but also wanted it to look good. This bike fit all those requirements and more. I’m not an avid rider really just wanted something for a bit of exercise and fun. The high end bikes were just too pricey and this bike looked like it had everything I needed/wanted. The small touches really add up from the fenders on both front and back, reflectors, the back rack, there’s even a small stand under the bike for when it’s folded and a Velcro strap to make sure it stays folded. I live on the second floor so it was important that the bike was light enough for me to carry up and down the stairs. I actually think those little extras add a bit of weight but they’re worth it and I can still carry it when I want to ride and fold it for storage when I’m done.
I’m very happy with my purchase and if you’re looking for a bike that folds, is lightweight, sharp looking with all the bells and whistles ( well it didn’t come with a bell but you know what I mean) to ride to work or to the park or even just around the block and that doesn’t break the bank then this is one that you should definitely consider.
I’ve owned this bike for a couple of months and still happy with it. I did NOT purchase this at a discount in exchange for a review and I seldom rate my Amazon purchases but this bike has really impressed me!
Dahon Vybe D7 Folding Bike Obsidian
The bike has been great to ride so far. It folds easily, is light to carry, and feels pretty solid when unfolded. I wasn’t sure what to expect as this is my first bike. It rides like a full sized bike. I looked at a lot of bikes before this and I feel like it is good for the price and features. It is one of the more lightweight folding bikes under $500 that has more than 1 gear, which were my requirements. I have some complaints below that I think could be fixed by updating the product entry to make them obvious to consumers, but I think the quality of the bike makes up for those and I would recommend the bike.
I have two complaints that led me to rate it lower.
1) The warranty. You need to have the bike inspected before you ride it to activate the warranty, which means purchasing a tune-up (cheapest in my area for a Dahon reseller was $90 which is over 20% of the cost of the bike). You keep the bike inspection checklist in case you need to use the warranty. The process was not clearly stated and the need for the tune-up is not in the product description. The tune-up probably is necessary as parts of the bike were rattling when I rolled it and some parts were loose. You also have to print out the inspection checklist for the bike shop. It is included on a CD-ROM with the bike and I don’t have a CD-ROM at home.
2) There is no rack included. The rack is right at the sweet spot of being not important enough to pay shipping to return it for, but being something that could be really useful in some situations so most people won’t return it. Since it is included in the title of the product, I think it is worth rating down for as it is false advertising.
Dahon Speed Uno Folding Bike
I bought the Dahon Speed Uno for my commute into New York. I take a 30 minute bus ride into the city. Prior to getting the Dahon, I’d chug along with the crowds and would take the subway 20 blocks north. This added an extra 30 minutes to my commute! The ride on the bike is 10 minutes! Ok…on to the bike:
First of all, what I love:
-It folds and unfolds so easily. Practice though, I did pinch myself early on. The seat clamp needs some fine tuning sometimes. Once while riding the seat twisted to the right. I stopped the bike and tightened it with no problems.
It packs up compact enough to bring on a non-crowded bus. It could easily fit on the floor in front of a seat. Since my bus is packed every morning, I place it in the under luggage area.
-The large tires soften the road/pot holes of NYC. Go on YouTube and search for this bike.
-The fact that there are no break or gear cables is great.
-I am 6’2 so I am at the upper limits of the bike. It fits great and I can get some pretty good speed. On the flats, I’m sometimes spinning really fast to beat the cabs.
What could be better (but by no means hate):
-It’s a bit heavy to carry long distances. I remedy by leaning to one side as I carry it and resting the seat on my hip. For the price, though, it is such a great little bike. The weight helps keep me stable when I ride, I’m sure.
-The seat post or handle bars didn’t fit any of my Planet Bike lights mounts. I had to invent some things to get my lights.
Overall, I am in total love with this bike. It’s fun to ride, convenient, and tough. Can’t wait for the NYC snow!
UPDATE: (after owning for a few months). I’m still loving my little “burrito.” Couple of updates:
1. I discovered the perfect way to carry it. There’s a great little nook on the frame if you carry it with the seat facing forward and on your left side. Totally balanced weight. Perfect.
2. Changed the seat. It had a big “comfort padded” seat that was actually uncomfortable for me. Switched to a thin, race-like saddle from an old bike. Love it..
3. The handlebar grips kept migrating and spinning on their own. It was pretty annoying. I put some electrical tape on the handlebar to prevent them from slipping in. (They still spin around, so I’m constantly putting them back in the proper direction).
About Folding Bike
A folding bicycle is a bicycle designed to fold into a compact form, facilitating transport and storage. When folded, the bikes can be more easily carried into buildings, on public transportation (facilitating mixed-mode commuting and bicycle commuting), and more easily stored in compact living quarters or aboard a car, boat or plane.
Folding mechanisms vary, with each offering a distinct combination of folding speed, folding ease, compactness, ride, weight, durability, and price. Distinguished by the complexities of their folding mechanism, more demanding structural requirements, greater number of parts, and more specialized market appeal, folding bikes may be more expensive than comparable non-folding models. The choice of model, apart from cost considerations, is a matter of resolving the various practical requirements: a quick easy fold, a compact folded size, or a faster but less compact model.
There are also bicycles that provide similar advantages by separating into pieces rather than folding.
Folding bikes generally come with a wider range of adjustments for accommodating various riders than do conventional bikes, because folding bike frames are usually only made in one size. However, seatposts and handlebar stems on folders extend as much as four times higher than conventional bikes, and still longer after-market posts and stems provide an even greater range of adjustment.
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.
Some manufacturers are producing folding bikes designed around folding systems that allow them to use 26″ wheels, e.g., Dahon, KHS, Montague, and Tern Bicycles. Advantages of smaller wheels include potential for more speed, quicker acceleration, greater maneuverability, and easier storage. For example, the A-bike is similar to the Strida but has tiny wheels and folds a bit smaller. Bikes with smaller than 16″ wheels are often called portable bicycles. These forgo the performance and easy ride benefits of their larger counterparts, acquiring characteristics similar to those of an adult folding kick scooter. Nonetheless, regardless of how each bike folds, the result is easier to transport and store than a traditional bicycle.
Folding mechanisms are highly variable.
Half- or mid-fold
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
Instead of folding horizontally, this style of bike has one or two hinges along the main tube and/or chain and seat stays that allow the bike to fold vertically. The result leaves the two wheels side by side but is often more compact than a horizontally hinged design. The Brompton and Dahon Speed Uno both feature vertical folding.
A hinge in the frame may allow the rear triangle and wheel to be folded down and flipped forward, under the main frame tube, as in the Bike Friday, Brompton Mezzo Folder, and Swift Folder. Such a flip hinge may be combined with a folding front fork, as in the Birdy. Swing and flip hinges may be combined on the same frame, as in the Brompton Mezzo Folder and Dahon, which use a folding steering column. Folding mechanisms typically involve latches and quick releases, which affect the speed of the fold/unfold. Bike Friday offers a model, the Tikit, featuring a cable-activated folding mechanism requiring no quick releases or latches, for increased folding speed.
Magnet folding and suspension system
A magnet combined with a rear shock absorber forms the folding mechanism. The magnet connects and locks the back wheel section to the frame. To fold the bike in half, the magnet disconnects with one movement and in a second, and without having to use one’s hands, the rear wheel rotates forward, and the bike folds vertically. This mechanism also enables one to roll the half-folded bike on its rear wheel.
Break away and other styles
Bikes may partly fold and partly disassemble for packing into a standard or custom sized suitcase for air travel (e.g., Airnimal and Bike Friday). Other variations include: Bicycle Torque Coupling, a proprietary connector system that can be retrofitted to a standard frame; the Gekko, which folds from the seat tube like an upside down umbrella; the Giatex, which folds and retracts, adjusting to the size of the rider; the iXi, which literally breaks into two halves; and the Strida, which has a triangular frame and folds to resemble a unicycle.
Folding mechanisms may incur more cost and weight, allow folding smaller, and they tend to use smaller wheels. 24 inch wheels are the largest for which flip hinges are generally used, but smaller wheels, typically 16 or 20 inches, are more common.
Smaller size does not mean lighter weight, as most of these designs forgo the bracing benefits of the diamond frame and must compensate as a step-through frame does, with thicker metal. The step-through design is a boon to a wider range of rider size, age, and physical ability.
Another system found on folders, such as Montague Bikes, utilizes the seat tube as a pivot point for the frame to fold. This system uses a tube within a tube design to give the bike more torsional stiffness. It allows the user to fold the bike without “breaking” any vital tubes down, thus preserving the structural integrity of the diamond frame. This system is operated by a single quick release found along the top tube of the bike.