Buying a bike is much like buying a car nowadays. There are high-end models and there are entry-level models. Then there are bikes for different kinds of uses and roads. You’ve got road bikes, mountain bikes, triathlon bikes, touring bikes, adventure bikes, fitness bikes, and fat bikes, which would be different from your run-of-the-mill kiddie bikes, tandem bikes, and utility bikes.
One popular category that has grown popular over the last few years are folding bikes. Portable and lightweight, this is the bike type for you if you travel around with your bike. Because of its compact nature, it can easily be carried and brought around on trains, buses, planes and boats even.
Different types of small folding bikes
Since many people have varying preferences, many kinds of folding bikes have popped up. Before you go out and buy a folding bike, you should first understand the different kinds.
Hiking folding bike
If you love hiking mountains and use your bike, this is the right one for you. You can carry the hiking folding bike like a backpack as you travel and go up the mountain. What makes it easy to bring around are the shoulder straps installed and a smaller rear wheel.
Mini folding bike
Who would have thought a kiddie toy scooter can inspire the creation of the mini folding bike? It is small enough to bear the weight of an adult and be put inside your clothes bag. Catch is, it is only advisable to use on smooth roads / pavements.
Necessity is the mother of invention. And this spurred Gianluca Sada to invent the umbrella bike. He was not happy with the existing design so he became creative and came up with this one. But don’t let its looks fool you. This umbrella bike can be used on smooth roads and uphill.
8” folding bike
This folding bike is unbelievably small and compact. Unfortunately, the design can only accommodate lightweight individuals and can only be used on smooth surfaces. Otherwise the bike design will be compromised.
Of the different folding bikes, the A-shape bike has a very stable design. The handlebar and seat can be adjusted to the height of the rider. The only limitation to the design is it cannot be used on rough surfaces. Apart from that, buyers can enjoy the bike for a long time as it has proven itself durable and easy to use.
We’ve curated the best small and compact folding bikes for you to make it easier to choose and shop.
Cheapest small folding Electric bike – Brompton Electric Folding Bike
Brompton has come up with another winner of a bike with the Brompton Electric Folding Bike. It even has a cult following! As if the original Brompton Folding Bike is not good enough, Brompton powered it up with a 300Wh battery pack. This can give you 25 to 60 miles. This comes in 2 variants – 2-speed and 6-speed models. You can buy the 2-speed variant for USD 3,499, while the 6-speed variant costs USD 3,639. It comes with pedal assist (for up to 15.5 mph). You’ll find that the shifting and acceleration smooth regardless of the pedal assist or the e-assist. People love this because it is compact enough to put it in a plane’s overhead compartment. And even though the ebike packs in extra pounds because of the battery pack, it still weighs in at 35 to 37 pounds.
Best Lightweight Full-sized Folding Bike – Montague Boston Folding Bike
The Montague Boston Folding Bike is fitted with 700c wheels that works well with the flip-flop hub. It folds quite easily (like in 20 seconds) but it is not as compact as other bikes with 16” or 20” wheels. It is designed with BMX-style brakes and has a riser bar. It is available in 2 sizes – medium 19” frame and large 21’ frame. The medium frame is best for riders who are 5’3” to 5’10” while the large frame is best suited for riders who are 5’11” to 6’4”. The standover height for both sizes is 28”. It retails for USD 699.95
Most Portable Folding Bike – Bike Friday PakiT
Weighing in at 15 pounds, this is a definite shoo in when it comes to the lightest, most portable folding bike out in the market today. To keep it compact, it is fitted with 16” wheels, and you can easily put it inside your backpack, with the bike measuring 28”x17”x8” when folded. And it only takes 20 seconds to fold. But don’t let this lightweight bike fool you. It can still be considered a heavyweight when it comes to its features. You get 11 gear options for different uses – for leisurely cruising, commuting, or if you want to go adventure-riding. It can be used by people who are under 5’ and over 6’. The Elite model can carry a maximum load of 190 pounds, while the standard pakiT model can carry up to 220 pounds. It retails for USD 1,269 at bikefriday.com.
Best Fully Loaded Bike – Dahon SUV D6
Whatever you are looking for in a folding back is in the Dahon SUV D6. For only USD329.99 at Amazon, you get 20” aluminum rims, a compact front hub and a standard rear hub, 1.5” wide Kenda tires, and a 6-speed Shimano drivetrain. When you put all these together, you get a bike that would offer great portability, maneuverability, and navigation of steep inclines. It is also equipped with sports fenders and a rear rack, 110 mm alloy V-brakes, a D-shape handlepost.
Cheapest Folding Bike – Decathlon B’Twin Folding Bike
The Decathlon B’Twin Folding Bike may be pint-sized but we all know that big things come in small packages. As far as folding bikes go, this is the cheapest you will find in the market as it only goes for USD 249. It only weighs 28.4 pounds, lighter than most folding bikes still, and measures 30”x26”x15” when folded. So it is light and compact enough to lug it with you when you ride public transport. It is equipped with a Shimano 7-speed drivetrain to make going uphill not so difficult. And to stay comfortable on bumpy roads, 1.75”-wide tires are able to absorb the shock. It is built with a T6 aluminum frame, which is lightweight but sturdy. You can buy a rear rack aftermarket but it is already fitted with front and rear fenders.
Best Motor on an Electric Folding Bike – Tern Vektron S10 Folding Bike
The Tern Vektron S10 wins hands down for having the best motor on an electric folding bike. It is fitted with a Bosch Active Plus motor (300Wh) that gives you 25% more torque and a 10-speed Shimano drivetrain, which provides more options. As the bike is quite hefty, weighing in at 48 pounds, the additional torque you get is quite necessary as you go up inclines or hills. But it still folds in 3 easy steps in 10 seconds. It is also given 20” wheels to make the bike more stable. It also comes with a longer rear rack. It sells for USD 239.99 at bikeattack.com.
Most Versatile compact Folding Bike – Rad Power RadMini
The Rad Power RadMini bike is an electric bike, a cargo bike, and a folding bike all rolled into 1 neat product. Starting off with its 4”-wide wheels, it can navigate the toughest terrain there is. It is equipped with pedal assist, a throttle, and can run as fast as 20 mph. You can squeeze 24-45 miles out of it from a single charge. The battery produces 750 watts with 59 foot/pounds of torque. It is given a 7-speed Shimano gearset, along with a Shimano thumb-operated shifter. There are 5 pedaling options to choose from and can be done so on the LCD control panel mounted on the handlebars. With all its features, it weighs in at 67 pounds. While it may not be the lightest, the fastest, the most compact, nor the cheapest, it is still the best jack of all trades folding bike around. You can own one from radpowerbikes.com for USD 1,499.