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Best Folding Electric Bikes to Make Travel a Breeze

man with folding e-bike getting on train
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Updated October 25, 2023

As you no doubt know from looking at some of the best electric bikes out there, e-bikes are a fantastic option for those who want to get around without a car, but don’t necessarily want to pedal the whole way. But they can also be unwieldy and inconvenient (and what is an electric bike supposed to be, if not convenient?), which is why you may want to opt for a folding version, instead. We’ve rounded up the best folding electric bikes, so hop on and let’s go for a spin.

What to consider when choosing folding electric bikes 

According to Joan Denizot, cycling expert at Zize Bikes, you should consider the following when picking out a folding electric bike:

Price

First, determine your budget range and what you’re comfortable spending. While you might not want to spend too much, “Higher-priced models often come with advanced features and better build quality,” says Denizot.

Make/brand

Always do your research and look for reputable brands, known for their quality and customer support. Check the customer reviews and feedback, too.

Design

“Assess the bike's folding mechanism, ease of use, and how compact it becomes when folded,” suggests Denizot. “Choose a design that suits your storage and transportation needs.”

Intended use

Whether you’re planning on commuting, going for recreational rides, cycling off-road, or hauling cargo will all inform your decision.

Size

“Ensure the bike's folded size fits your storage space, whether it's in a closet, car trunk, or under your desk,” says Denizot.

Range and battery

Be sure to check the bike's battery capacity and estimated range so you know you can comfortably get to where you plan on going.

Motor type

“Consider hub motors for flat terrain and mid-drive motors for hilly terrain and better power distribution,” advises Denizot.

Pedal assist levels

If you want to be able to ride exactly the way you like, “Look for multiple pedal assist levels to customize your riding experience,” says Denizot.

Our top picks for the best folding electric bikes

The best value folding electric bike: Lectric XP 3.0 

Electric bikes aren’t cheap, so if you’re looking for the best possible bang for your buck, Tyler Swartz, co-founder of E-bike Commuting, suggests checking out this model from Lectric. “The XP 3.0 is an affordable option that offers great value for the price, making it accessible to a wide range of riders looking for a reliable e-bike,” he says. “With a strong and powerful 1,000 watt motor with 55 NM of torque, you’ll be able to speed up your commute.”

Specifications:

  • Wheel Size: 20-inch
  • Battery Range: Up to 45 miles (or 65, with larger battery–$200 extra)
  • Weight: 64 pounds
  • Price on publish: $999

What we like:

  • More affordable than many models
  • Option for a larger battery

What we don’t like:

  • On the heavier side

The bottom line: 

Feature stuffed while still on the more affordable end, this is a great all-rounder that gives you your money’s worth.

Best value folding electric bike
Lectric XP 3.0

Lectric XP 3.0

The best class 2 folding electric bike: Rad Power RadExpand 5 

For those set on a Class 2 bike—that is, an e-bike that’ll give you a boost without having to pedal—this offering from Rad Power is well worth looking at. “The RadExpand 5 is a rugged, folding e-bike with a powerful rear hub motor, that offers both pedal assist and a grip throttle,” says Upway operations manager, Erik Haamer. “It has an easy-to-use step-thru frame and includes a rear rack to carry your weekly shopping.” Shopping tip: Looking to expand your e-bike horizons? Rad Power also carries some of the best fat tire electric bikes. 

Specifications:

  • Wheel Size: 20-inch
  • Battery Range: Up to 45 miles
  • Weight: 62.5 pounds
  • Price on publish: $1,649

What we like:

  • Easy to get on and off
  • Large, rugged tires

What we don’t like:

  • On the heavier side

The bottom line: 

A sturdy-looking model that’ll let you go off the beaten track more than your average folding bike.

Best class 2 folding electric bike
Rad Power RadExpand 5 Electric Folding Bike

Rad Power RadExpand 5 Electric Folding Bike

The best folding electric bike for commuters: Gocycle G4i

Commuters will no doubt want something zippy, but also comfortable to ride and easy to quickly fold or unfold. According to Swartz, Gocycle has you covered on all fronts. “I recently test rode Gocycle’s G4i at the Electrify Expo and loved it,” he enthuses. “It’s impressively fast, comfortable to ride, and is incredibly lightweight at only 33.7 pounds. It felt so natural to ride—I’m 6’2” and I often find folding e-bikes feel awkward, with their small wheels and tall handlebar stem. I think it’s worth the more expensive price tag.”

Specifications:

  • Wheel Size: 20-inch
  • Battery Range: Up to 50 miles
  • Weight: 37.7 pounds
  • Price on publish: $5,499

What we like:

  • Easy to fold and carry
  • Smooth acceleration

What we don’t like:

  • LED dashboard display can be hard to read in bright sunlight
  • Expensive

The bottom line: 

A lightweight, superbly-designed, high-end e-bike–with a price tag to match.

Best folding electric bike for commuters
Gocycle G4i

Gocycle G4i

The best budget folding electric bike: Swagtron EB5 Pro

It can be tough to find a reliable electric bike for under $1,000, but Denizot has a suggestion: Swagtron’s EB5 Pro, which comes in at a little over half a grand. “Ideal for those on a tight budget, the Swagtron EB5 Pro provides reliable electric assistance without breaking the bank,” she says. It’s definitely on the smaller side, even for this category, but for short commutes or casual rides, it’s a highly affordable option.

Specifications:

  • Wheel Size: 14-inch
  • Battery Range: 15.5 miles
  • Weight: 37 pounds
  • Price on publish: $549.99

What we like:

  • Inexpensive
  • Lightweight

What we don’t like:

  • Much shorter range than many other models

The bottom line: 

It won’t take you as far as other e-bikes on this list, but for the price, it’s a fun, lightweight option.

Best budget folding electric bike
Swagtron Swagcycle EB-5 Pro Plus Folding Electric Bike

Swagtron Swagcycle EB-5 Pro Plus Folding Electric Bike

The best folding cargo electric bike: Tern HSD P9

A folding bike probably wouldn’t be your first thought for hauling piles of stuff around, but there are some decent cargo e-bikes out there that are more than up to the job. Haamer’s pick is Tern’s HSD P9, a compact cargo e-bike with a foldable handlebar. “It's designed for versatility, power, and convenience,” he says. “Powered by a reliable Bosch Active Line motor and a 400Wh battery, this bike offers smooth, sustained pedal assist for your daily rides or cargo-hauling needs.”

Specifications:

  • Wheel Size: 20-inch
  • Battery Range: Up to 69 miles
  • Weight: 57 pounds
  • Price on publish: $3,249

What we like:

  • Can carry up to 374 lbs (rear rack alone will carry 132 lbs)
  • Dependable

What we don’t like:

  • Doesn’t fold down as completely as other bikes on this list, with only the handlebars folding down for easier transport

The bottom line: 

A reliable workhorse of an e-bike that won’t let you down when you need it.

best folding cargo electric bike
Tern HSD P9

Tern HSD P9

The best lightweight folding electric bike: Lectric XP Lite

Another rare entry coming in comfortably under $1,000, this is a good option for anyone both budget-conscious, and not keen on lugging 60+ pounds of folded bike around with them. “The XP Lite is an absolute steal at $799,” says Haamer. “It has a very lightweight frame and reliable electric motor, striking a great balance between portability and performance.” It admittedly weighs 8 lbs more than the Gocycle G4i, but at less than a fifth of the price, it’s a great deal.

Specifications:

  • Wheel Size: 20-inch
  • Battery Range: 40 miles
  • Weight: 46 pounds
  • Price on publish: $799

What we like:

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Smooth ride due to larger tires

What we don’t like:

  • Folding and unfolding process can be a little labored

The bottom line: 

A compact, folding e-bike that goes easy on your back and your wallet.

Best lightweight folding electric bike
Lectric XP Lite

The best folding electric bike for a smooth ride: GoCycle G4 

Although lacking some of the features of the more expensive G4i (a 25% smaller battery, no padded saddle, etc.), this is still a great bike that runs smoothly. “The G4 is a premium folding e-bike, designed with precision and innovation,” says Haamer. “Its unique frame is constructed from hydroformed aluminum, which combines strength and lightweight properties for a durable, yet agile ride.”

Specifications:

  • Wheel Size: 20-inch
  • Battery Range: Up to 40 miles
  • Weight: 38.8 pounds
  • Price on publish: $3,499

What we like:

  • Folds and unfolds in seconds
  • Lightweight

What we don’t like:

  • Requires smartphone app to monitor all the bike’s functions

The bottom line: 

Not quite as slick as the G4i, but still an excellent bike, with a more reasonable price tag.

Best folding electric bike for a smooth ride
GoCycle G4

GoCycle G4

The best premium folding electric bike: Brompton Electric H6L

Foldable e-bikes can all start to look a little samey after a while, so anyone wanting a touch of old-school cycling elegance may want to give this entry a try. “The Brompton Electric H6L is a compact, foldable e-bike, perfect for city commuting and easy storage,” says Haamer. “It features a six-speed gear system for versatile riding and a striking bolt blue color for a unique, stylish look. The electric assist motor seamlessly integrates with your pedaling, providing a boost when you need it, making your journeys faster and your hills easier.”

Specifications:

  • Wheel Size: 16-inch
  • Battery Range: 50 miles
  • Weight: 40 pounds
  • Price on publish: $2,899

What we like:

  • Lightweight
  • Stylish

What we don’t like:

  • Small, thin wheels might not fare too well on rougher road surfaces

The bottom line: 

A light, elegant e-bike ideal for shorter commutes.

Best premium folding electric bike
Brompton Electric H6L

Brompton Electric H6L

How we chose the best folding electric bikes 

All of our selections were made with the input of our panel of experts, who have years of cycling experience and electric bike knowledge between them. We also ensured that all of our picks had highly positive customer reviews.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Is a folding eBike worth it?

“A folding eBike is a valuable investment, especially when space is limited,” says Haamer. “These bikes offer the convenience of compact storage and the assistance of an electric motor, making even uphill commutes a breeze. They’re perfect for urban dwellers and commuters seeking an efficient and space-saving mode of transportation, allowing for easy storage in small living spaces and hassle-free multimodal commuting. Make sure you're also looking at used and refurbished options to save some cash!”

What are the disadvantages of a folding bike?

Folding bikes tend to be heavier than non-folding bikes, due to the extra parts required for folding and unfolding, but the disadvantages don’t end there, unfortunately. “The biggest disadvantage of a folding bike is that they have a lower payload capacity, due to the fact that the frame folds up,” warns Swartz. “Also, over time the clamps on lower-quality folding e-bikes can bend, making it difficult to fold or unfold the e-bike. Another disadvantage is that they have smaller wheels and wheelbases, which means if you’re over 6’2” the riding position might feel a bit awkward.” You may also need a specialized bike lock.

What size folding bike is best?

“The ideal size for a folding bike depends on your individual needs and how you plan to use it,” says Haamer. “Your choice should consider factors such as your height, storage space, and intended use. Folding bikes also come in various wheel sizes, including 16-inch, 20-inch, and 26-inch wheels, and each size has its advantages.”

16-inch Wheels

“These are the smallest and most compact, making them an excellent choice for easy storage and portability,” says Haamer. “They’re suitable for short commutes and urban travel, where convenience and compactness are top priorities. However, they may not provide the smoothest ride, especially on rough terrain.”

20-inch Wheels

Haamer explains that these strike the right balance between compactness and ride comfort, adding that, “They’re versatile and suitable for various terrains, including urban streets and some light trails. 20-inch folding bikes are often a popular choice for commuters and travelers.”

26-inch Wheels

Admittedly less common in folding bikes, these larger wheels will give you an experience closer to that of a full-sized bike. “They’re ideal for riders who prioritize ride quality and plan to use their folding bike for longer distances or on more challenging terrain,” says Haamer.

Can you ride long-distance on a folding bike?

“You can ride long distances on a folding e-bike, but the range will depend on the battery capacity and your pedaling effort,” says Denizot. “High-capacity batteries can provide longer ranges, making them suitable for extended rides. However, it's important to plan your route with access to charging points if you're embarking on exceptionally long journeys. Additionally, consider the comfort of the bike for longer rides and invest in ergonomic accessories, like a comfortable saddle and padded grips.” 

Regarding the comfort level, Haamer also suggests that a bike with larger wheels is going to make for a smoother long-distance ride.

Is it harder to pedal a folding bike?

“It’s not harder to pedal a folding e-bike, but you have to get used to the geometry difference,” says Connor Swegle, CMO and co-founder at Priority Bicycles. “You’re sitting more forward because of the smaller frame size, particularly if the wheels are small. If you’re not used to a folding bike, give yourself some time to adapt and react on the road as you start riding.”

Are folding bikes as good as normal bikes?

“Folding bikes are as good as normal bikes in many aspects, but they have some trade-offs,” says Denizot. “They excel in terms of portability and storage convenience, making them ideal for urban commuting, public transport, or travel. However, they may have smaller wheels and frames, which can affect ride comfort and speed. The choice between a folding bike and a regular bike depends on your specific needs and priorities. Folding bikes are excellent for certain scenarios, while regular bikes are better for others, such as high-speed cycling or off-road adventures.” Take that into consideration when you’re looking for the best electric mountain bikes, and other e-bikes for recreational treks.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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