Folding bikes are different from other bikes for one obvious reason. The clue is in the name: they fold. The ability of these machines to become suitcase-sized makes them perfect for taking on the train. It means you don’t need to leave a bike locked at the station, and it’s there to hop on at the other end of the train journey, too.

Yes, you can take regular non-folding bikes on trains but often not during rush hour and never on the Tube. A folding bike gets around those problems for commuters.

Folders are not only popular with city commuters but, they’re also super convenient for people who have limited living space – if you live in a studio apartment or shared house, for example. And they’re also much easier to take with you on RV trips or even canal boat holidays.

We’re now seeing a massive surge in the popularity of e-folding bikes.

We’ve included below what we think are the best folders on the market at the moment. With each product is a ‘view at…’ link. If you click on this we may receive a small amount of money from the retailer when you purchase the item. This doesn’t affect the amount you pay.

The best folding bikes

Best folding bike - Brompton folding bike

Brompton M6L folding bike

The market leader


Weight: from 23.54lb/10.68kg

Wheel size: 16in

Reasons to buy

+Customisable to your needs+Steel frame with quality welding is robust

Reasons to avoid

-Expensive-Stock in the US ebbs and flows


World-renowned, London-based brand Brompton is the market leader in folding bikes. There’s one frame size, with a whole range of customization options. Customers can choose everything from the handlebar shape, frame material (which obviously affects the weight), number of gears, finishing kit and of course colour. Bromptons feature a traditional 16in wheel size and are famously quick and easy to fold.

The handlebar shape greatly influences the geometry of the bike. Available options are:

  • Brompton M handlebar style: classic Brompton style
  • Brompton H handlebar style: offers a more upright position
  • Brompton S handlebar style: the more sporty option that offers quick handling
  • Brompton P handlebar style: provides multiple hand positions, ideal for touring or longer rides

The bikes take their names from the buyer’s customization. For example, a bike with ‘M’ shaped handlebars, six gears and fenders but no rack mount will be called a Brompton M6L – which weighs 25.97lb/11.78kg.

Best folding bike - Tern Verge X11 folding bike

Tern Verge X11

Best for folding bling


Weight: from 23.83lb/10.81kg

Wheel size: 22in

Reasons to buy

+Top end spec+Hydraulic disc brakes+11 gears

Reasons to avoid

-Carbon frame drops weight but is less robust-Very expensive

If you’re after a folding bike that’s a bit faster and money is no object, the Tern Verge X11 is a superb option. With 22in wheels, it’s more like a standard road bike and comes with a SRAM Force 1x drivetrain and wide-ratio cassette. That means its gearing also won’t feel much different from that of a full-sized machine.

There’s a high-end spec that includes hydraulic disc brakes, Kinetix Pro X wheels with Schwalbe Durano tires and a uniquely designed adjustable stem – and the price reflects all this!

Best folding bike

B’Twin Tilt 500 folding bike

Top folder on a budget


Weight: from 28.43lb/12.9kg

Wheel size: 20in

Reasons to buy


Reasons to avoid

-Lower-end components


Folding neatly in half and at the stem, this B’Twin is a very competitively priced folding bike from sports giant Decathlon’s house brand.

The Tilt 500 features seven gears, comes with fenders pre-installed and the highly adjustable saddle height allows for sharing across riders of different sizes.

Best folding bike - Origami Hawk

Origami Hawk

Sturdy steel folder (and clever name!)


Weight: from 30lb/13kg

Wheel size: 16in

Reasons to buy

+Price+Well equipped+Sturdy

Origami Bicycle Company, from Richmond, Virginia, wins the ‘best name for a folding bike brand’ competition. But there’s much more to it than just a name.

The Hawk is built tough, made entirely of steel, the bike is equipped with a Shimano Tourney/Revoshift drivetrain, with seven gears. The wheels are 20in and the bike folds down to just 14x33x24in.

Best folding bike - Airnimal Joey Commute folding bike

Airnimal Joey Commute folding bike

Original performance folder


Weight: from 29.7 lb/13.5kg

Wheel size: 24in

Reasons to buy

+Larger wheels make for good ride quality

Reasons to avoid

-Cumbersome to carry around


The Airnimal Joey folding bike has 24in wheels, giving it a road bike-like ride quality. Tires are available in sizes up to 2in, to allow for light off-road use. This model uses the excellent eight-speed Shimano Alfine hub gear system and disc brakes.

The larger wheel size means that it obviously doesn’t fold down as small as a 16in-wheeled one – but if you want a bike that rides like a full-size road bike and takes up minimal space at home this is a good option.

Best folding bike - Hummingbird folding bike

Hummingbird folding bike

Lightest folder in town


Weight: from 14.33lb/6.5kg

Wheel size: 16in

Reasons to buy

+Exceptionally light+Singlespeed is simple for flat locations (geared options available for hillier terrain)

Reasons to avoid

-Very expensive-Carbon frame-Seatpost and handlebars less robust than alloy or steel


Originally launched via Kickstarter, the Hummingbird folding bike features a carbon frame, custom color options and is claimed to be the lightest folding bike in the world. This singlespeed version weighs just 16lb. It also comes in geared versions and there’s now a Gen 2.0 e-bike version.

Designer Paul Smith put his name to a singlespeed limited edition with his signature stripes. That’s how cool Hummingbird is.

Best folding bike

Raleigh Evo Electric Folding Bike

Best e-folder on a budget


Weight: from 44.09lb/20kg

Wheel size: 20”

Reasons to buy

+Relatively inexpensive+Fitted with rack and mudguards


The Raleigh Evo Electric folding bike has an aluminum frame and a steel fork. It comes with an eight-speed Shimano Altus gear system and v-brakes. Metal fenders and a rear pannier rack already fitted.

The tires, crankset, stem and other finishing kit components are all Raleigh own-brand items. This is a really tough little machine and is great for commuting and even sturdy enough for touring.

Best folding bike

Tern Vektron S10 electric folding bike

Folding e-bike with a super spec


Weight: from 48.72lb/22.1kg

Wheel size: 20in

Reasons to buy

+Reliable Bosch power system has long-range and cuts effort of commute

Reasons to avoid

-Power makes riding easier, but has implications on weight which make carrying harder


The Tern Vektron folding bike rolls on 20-inch wheels, features a high-quality Bosch electric drivetrain. A full charge can last for between 30 and 60 miles depending on the level of electric assist.

This Vektron comes with an adjustable stem, integrated lights, and hydraulic disc brakes. The Atlas rack can haul 27kg and the frame will suit riders from 4ft 10in to 6ft 5in.

Best folding bike - Dahon Mariner D8

Dahon Mariner D8

Super popular US folder


Weight: from 27.69lb/12.56kg

Wheel size: 20in

Reasons to buy

+Brushed alloy finish+Ride quality+Rack and bungie+Price

Reasons to avoid

-Some assembly required


The Mariner D8 is on of US brand Dahon’s most popular folding bikes. The frame is made from the brand’s Dalloy Sonus tubeset and it folds via Dahon’s Lattice forged hinge with what it calls ViseGrip technology. 

Rolling on 20in wheels, the Mariner D8 gets V-Brakes, an eight-speed Shimano Altus drivetrain and comes with a rear rack and full-coverage fenders.

Folding bikes: what benefits can they offer you?

There are many benefits a folding bike offers. Here’s a quick list of just a few of them:

  • Ease of switching between cycling and public transport
  • Stores easily in your home
  • Peace of mind of not having to lock up the bike outside (it can sit under your desk!)
  • Convenient to take on vacation – folders are popular with RV road trippers and some can even be packed into airline luggage
  • Most are built with durability and simple maintenance as the top priority

What sort of folding bike is best for you?

There are many different brands offering folding bikes, and what might be the perfect option for one person may be the wrong one another. Key differences can be found in wheel size, folding mechanism, weight and price.

Folding mechanism: Some styles are more user friendly than others, so it’s worth seeing a bike in the flesh and practicing folding and unfolding before you buy, particularly if you expect to be unfurling the bike in a hurry on a train platform.

Folding bike wheel size: Models with smaller wheels will be lighter and more compact when folded, but won’t gather as much momentum on the road. A folding bike with larger wheels will be much faster-rolling once the wheels are up to speed – but will likely weigh more and will be little more cumbersome to load onto public transport or haul up a few flights of stairs.

Lightweight folding bikes: If you intend to be hoisting the bike on and off trains, then it’s understandable that you want it to be light. This can be achieved through using a lighter frame material. Brompton has introduced titanium to its range and there are brands, such as Hummingbird, making carbon folders. Higher quality components will also reduce the weight, as will opting for fewer gears – such as a singlespeed version – but this will only really suit someone who doesn’t intend to come across many hills in their use of the bike.

Cheap folding bikes: The saying ‘you get what you pay for’ mostly applies here. You can pick up a folding bike for under $200/£200, and you can also spend well in excess of $3500 £2000. A cheap folding bike will do the job for you – but you can expect it to be heavier than more premium offerings thanks to lower-end components and a heftier frame. Finding the right option for you comes down to choosing which side of compromise to sit on.

Folding bike adjustability: Most folding bikes will be ‘one size fits all’, with a great deal of adjustability – meaning that it’s easy to share the bike across members of your household. However, if you know this is an important consideration, it’s worth ensuring that the model you buy offers a wide range of adjustment that’s easy to use. Brompton bikes, for example, have a long seatpost that is adjusted via a simple quick-release lever, making it easy to swap between riders.

Electric folding bikes: In the past few years, electric folding bikes have become a genre of their own. The addition of a motor usually makes for a greater overall mass, but weights are ever decreasing and the additional power will make ascents significantly easier.

Cycling Weekly best folding bikes

(Image credit: Future)

Folding bike frame materials

As with any type of bike, there are multiple options when it comes to frame material.

Market leader Brompton specializes in steel – using its renowned high-quality brazing techniques to ensure that the frame welding provides the lightest yet strongest bond possible. Steel is resilient and comfortable – but it’s not lightest and that’s why Brompton started offering some titanium-tubed folders.

Aluminum is a very popular choice for its balance between weight and resilience – and also low price.

For those who really want to splash out, there are carbon-framed folding bikes such as Hummingbird’s singlespeed, which comes in at 8kg. Although using carbon will make for a super-light folding bike, it’s easier to damage than steel or aluminum, which is worth bearing in mind as many folders pick up a few knocks being hauled on and off trains.

Folding bike components: what to look out for

Because of what they do, folding bikes are popular among commuters who will opt for components that are easy to maintain and reliable.

Tough tires with good puncture protection are often high on the agenda. Fixing a flat is the last thing you want to do on your way to work. Schwalbe and Kenda are popular manufacturers of small diameter tires for folding bikes, and most will be 1.75-2 inches wide – offering a good level of grip thanks to a high volume and thus increased contact patch with the tarmac compared to traditional road tires.

Think carefully about the number of gears, too. For flat city streets, a singlespeed (just a single gear) will cut down on maintenance and overall weight. However, for riding hilly terrain there are folding bikes that come with triple cranksets and 11-32 wide-ratio cassettes. This will allow you spin up gradients, but will increase weight.

Many folding bikes feature hub gears – this means the shifting system is entirely sealed, cutting down on maintenance dramatically. Shiftingon hub gears is often easier then using derailleurs for beginners, as there is no chain tension to worry about – you don’t have to be pedalling to change gear. In addition, there’s no derailleur to get bent or damaged, always a risk for a hard-working folding bike. 

If you want a wide spread of gears, a derailleur system is better, but less practical in the folding bike world.

Disc brakes are also beginning to appear on folding bikes, offering greater stopping power and control – especially in wet weather. They’ll add more to the weight than rim brakes, however.

If you expect to be cycling in your office clothes, and want to stay as clean as possible, chainguards and fenders are essential. 

Pannier racks, a frame-mounted pump and integrated lights are all accessories that you can feel justified in expecting on higher-end models.

Best folding bikes

(Image credit: Future)

Electric folding bikes: the future?

The huge rise in popularity of e-bikes hasn’t passed the folding family by. There’s an increasing number of folding e-bikes and in the next few years we can expect to see that number increasing.

Having an electric motor assisting your folding bike journey means you can commute without having to worry getting sweaty in your work clothes.

Electric assist is also a perfect way of overcoming one of the drawbacks of e-bikes: their weight. They are relatively heavy for their size due to the extra rigidity that has to be built into their hinged parts. So although a folding electric bike will weigh more than a standard folding bike, you’ll get a bit of help with your pedalling.

The lightest folding e-bike we’ve seen actually available to buy is the A-bike at 12kg, but most models are over 15kg and over 20kg isn’t an unreasonable mass.

As with any e-bike, have a good look at battery run times – most folding electric bikes can power you for about 50 miles. So if you’re planning a mega commute remember to take a charger, or have one at both ends of your journey.

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