Last Updated on November 29, 2021 by Igor Karni
Portability shines through as one of the most important distinguishing characteristics of folding e-bikes – and all kinds of bikes for that matter. If you’re a regular commuter who has to ride public transportation every time, this feature can be indispensable in most cases.
It’s also not limited to that scenario alone, as pretty much any e-bike can become compact, saving space and making it easy to be carried anywhere with you.
“Easy” is the keyword here, of course. If you are not already aware of it, foldable e-bikes can be hard to lug around because of their heavier weight (mostly because of the batteries incorporated in electric bikes). Therefore, when deciding the best folding e-bike to buy, you have to look at how well the manufacturer pulls off the foldability feature of the model. But that’s just one critical area you need to assess.
Top criteria to consider when selecting a folding e-Bike
Their innate folding feature aside, these e-bikes need to perform in the following factors as well in order to be deemed as truly exceptional: Folding e-bikes should be gauged based on the balance of riding range, power, size when folded, price, and features that greatly complement their foldability and improve the riding experience.
Pay closer attention to the compactness of the folded bike. More often than not, the wheels are downsized simply because the manufacturers want to either lessen the weight or make the bike less bulky. We lean more toward the latter, though.
That’s not saying that all foldable e-bikes are like this. For one, you can still have plenty of good foldable e-bikes with fat tires – just not as big as those you see on regular e-bikes.
Their creators also tend to offset weight through the battery they use. You may have to look for those that still manage to give you a good range even with the smaller (hence oftentimes less powerful) batteries. Range should never be compromised in any e-bike.
Power, on the other hand, plays a vital role in routes with regular inclines. If you intend to use your foldable e-bike on such roads, you certainly have to look at how much electric assistance the motor can impart.
The other essential benchmarks shall be discussed in further detail below. Do take the time to know it all so you can have a well-rounded overview of what you need to prioritize when considering your options. What’s certain is you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for a great foldable e-bike, unlike its counterparts.
List of the best folding e-Bikes
|Model Name||Price||Riding Range||Weight|
|Rad Power Bikes RadMini Step-Thru 2||$1,499||25 – 45 miles (40 – 70 km)||69 pounds (31.3 kg)|
|Brompton Electric||$3,499||20 – 45 miles (30 – 70 km)||30.2 pounds (13.7 kg)|
|Gocycle GS||$2,799||18 – 50 miles (30 – 80 km)||37.4 pounds (17 kg)|
|E-Lux Sierra Sport||$1,995||23 – 47 miles (37 – 75 km)||73.3 pounds (33.2 kg)|
|Magnum Classic 48||$1,599||25 – 55 miles (40 – 90 km)||57.1 pounds (25.9 kg)|
Compactness and easy-carry capabilities of folding e-bikes are key
This is because you will probably not be buying a foldable e-bike if you do not mean to get the most out of this primary distinctive feature. You want to make the most of it for this reason alone.
That said, you have to ensure first that what you really need is a folding e-bike. If you are just going to be using the electric bike for commuting and do not really have to make it compact and portable, then you can just choose from equally affordable commuter e-bikes or cruiser e-bikes instead.
As said above, you may have to get used to riding with smaller tires and batteries because of this. This is, of course, unless you will be opting for a folding mountain or gravel e-bike that has more of a hardy and performance-oriented purpose.
Chances are, these models will still be able to fold but it’s just to make sure that they won’t eat up space when being transported – and not necessarily meant to be carried.
If not or you will just be using it casually (i.e. commuting and leisure rides), as long as you are comfortable with carrying the e-bike once it has been folded, then this criterion should be easy to meet. You don’t want to end up with a folding e-bike that will leave you drenched in sweat when taking it to the office with you.
Similarly, if you choose an off-road foldable e-bike, it will surely be a welcome perk to be able to carry it in the event that you run out of battery life with no available charging station in sight or any other emergency scenarios (such as blown tires). The importance of opting for a lightweight model really shines through with this consideration.
It should be able to fulfill your main purpose
You probably already have an inkling that folding e-bikes pretty much overlap the main categories of e-bikes. There are numerous types of folding e-bikes because these electric bikes only add the folding feature for convenience. Simply look at the numerous folding fat e-bikes, mini foldable e-bikes, folding eMTBs, and commuter e-bikes in the market, and you’ll instantly see the variety in foldable e-bikes available.
This diversity can become a downside for anyone who sees first and foremost the inherent appeal of foldable e-bikes before everything else. Indeed, this partly becomes one of the reasons why first-time buyers tend to have a hard time deciding.
You might, for instance, choose a fat tire folding e-bike but find that you will only end up riding on smooth, paved roads. E-bikes with fat tires are often designed that way to help their riders get through rougher terrain without much difficulty.
Knowing how the folding e-bike you are considering will be able to fulfill. Of course, this takes looking at its main and secondary features. At best, you should already know what type of foldable e-bike (mountain, city, commuter, mini, etc.) you need to buy before considering other criteria.
Incidentally, mini e-bikes are just those that maximize the space-saving capabilities of folding electric bikes. Again, the distinctions are readily apparent; you just have to be mindful of what they are.
Folding e-bike range depends on what you plan to use it for
Having as much riding range in e-bikes, foldable varieties included, is always a coveted feature but certainly not an end in itself. The best foldable e-bike should be one that provides you with enough range to get you through each ride with relative ease and comfort. It should comply with your purposes, in short.
For most casual folding e-bikes, namely those used for commuting and city riding, expect the best ones to have an average of 30 to 50 miles (50 – 80 km) of range. This should suffice for a lot of daily round trips; you might even have a lot of leftover battery life left in plenty of cases, especially if you full charge daily.
That said, how quickly the battery charges also almost always go together with riding range when gauging the battery. Regular commuters should be inclined to choose those that charge to full quickly (4 hours is already a decent speed in most cases). This can be helpful if you think it’s more likely for you to have to stop every now and then to charge your bike on a trip.
No need to go to the extremes with motor speed and assist
This is actually why we are not recommending any folding eMTBs on our list above. They almost always pale in comparison to purpose-built eMTBs in terms of durability, battery, and motor power. Most of the foldable e-bikes that we recommend are commuter and city, simply because these are the settings where their foldability perk is just too glaringly obvious.
You just have to be mindful of any elevated portions in your daily route if you think you need more pedal assist from the motor. Otherwise, plenty of the folding e-bikes we mentioned in the list should give you a good picture of all the motor power you will ever need from a folding e-bike for commuting and casual riding.
Look at price and warranty relative to features
If the folding e-bike manages to incorporate outstanding features that you will really be able to use and make the most out of, then do not hesitate to pay extra for it. Do you really need high-tech features like app integration and automatic torque sensing in your e-bike?
Without a doubt, these features can be very neat to have if you want your ride to be as smooth and safe as possible. These features, after all, let you know vital parameters like speed and battery life when traveling and the automatic torque sensing can ensure you will. They will cause the price to balloon, though (a fact that is almost automatic in just about any techier e-bikes).
Value for money really hinges a lot on how the e-bike delivers helpful, practical features. If you also appreciate the aesthetics of the bike, then it also counts, too. In the end, the overall value of the e-bike to you is also dependent on its ability to fulfill your needs and preferences. Even if your e-bike is not “high-end” in terms of pricing, it can still become the best because it manages to do just that.
As a final note, keep an eye out for models with great warranty terms. And we mean the truly exceptional ones that are not afraid to give you 2 to even 3-year full warranties and 3 to 5 years on the frame. Even certain models are generous enough to give you warranties for the battery. Any model that gives as much coverage for these essential components and those with a growing network of parts dealers are certainly superior options.
A few words in conclusion
Once you know the type of folding e-bike you need, you should be able to narrow down your options without much difficulty. While foldable e-bikes may not be as expensive as other e-bikes (with the exception of folding eMTBs), a lot of the best models can still cost quite a bit. Make sure you land the one that will be able to fulfill all your needs regularly, considering it will be your main e-bike for a long period of time.
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