Folding electric bikes are an ideal choice for anyone who is lacking space in their home or vehicle. These compact bikes are easy to transport and even easier to store. With that said, they don’t compromise on power, range, or even usability. This makes them a great choice for any rider.
Best Folding Electric Bikes in 2021
Choosing to ride an electric bike is truly one of the best decisions you can make. Folding electric bikes are particularly ideal because you get all of the benefits of an electric bike, but they tend to be more compact, easier to transport, and easier to store. With that said, folding electric bikes come in at all price points and frame types. Knowing what’s best for you starts with familiarity with folding electric bikes.
Best Cheap Folding Electric Bikes in 2020
Cheap folding electric bikes make it possible for any budget to enjoy the benefits and features of a folding electric bike. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to get a quality bike with a sizable motor, adequate battery, or a durable frame. What you do need is an idea of what matters and what does not when it comes to components on a folding electric bike.
Electric bikes previously included in the list
Why Buy A Folding Electric Bike?
People often opt to buy a folding electric bike when they know space will be limited such as living in tight spaces, commuting to work, or while traveling. These lightweight bikes offer a smaller frame size than a traditional electric bike. As a bonus, that frame can easily be folded to ensure easy storage. These bikes come in many different styles and frame types. For example, if you would like a folding electric bike for commuting to work or school, you can choose a folding commuter e-bike. These are designed to be cycled on the road.
If you’re very tight on space, you can even opt for a mini-folding electric bike as they take up even less space than a regular folding electric bike. They also weigh less and have smaller wheels. Another option is a folding electric mountain bike, should you want to take a bike out on the trails or off-road. Whatever type of folding e-bike you need, there is probably a model that is designed to suit your unique lifestyle. With that said, most people go with folding electric bikes for their size and convenience, especially if space is an issue.
Cheap Vs. Expensive Folding Electric Bikes
Like any electric bike, folding electric bike options come in at a variety of price ranges. What do you get with a cheaper folding e-bike versus a more expensive option? Let’s break it down. When you choose to go with the more budget-friendly bike, you’re probably going to make a few concessions in terms of the grade of parts used, motor type, battery longevity, and frame durability.
You may also have to give up pedal assist options in favor of throttle assist. Many cheaper folding electric bikes utilize front hub motors, while more expensive options will utilize rear and mid-drive motors. Additionally, you may have to replace the battery on a cheaper folding electric bike sooner. Typical battery replacement can cost upwards of $500 regardless of how much your bike cost to begin with.
Is it worth it to opt for a more expensive folding electric bike? You don’t necessarily need to break the bank, but it may be worth it to go with a mid-range price option that will get you a durable frame, pedal-assist, adequate battery range, and substantially greater motor power. Also, given how often you’ll use and fold this type of bike, you want something that can withstand transport/storage.
When To Spend More On A Folding Electric Bike
Finding a cheap folding electric bike is easy, but as mentioned above, you may be sacrificing when it comes to certain components. There are a few parts and components that are better on expensive folding electric bikes. Generally speaking, a more expensive option is going to have a better folding mechanism, such as a triangular hinge mechanism rather than a breakaway or split-fold.
You’ll also find multi-level pedal assist options and a more powerful motor. Your motor will generally be from a branded and recognizable company. Motors on folding electric bikes can go up to 750 watts. Cheaper options tend to come in at around 200W. While that may be adequate for some, if you need more power you may want to go for a 500W option at a minimum.
Another component that tends to be better on a more expensive folding e-bike is the battery. Battery life is important, as is the longevity of the battery itself. While you will need to replace the battery on a folding e-bike eventually, you want to get as many years of use from the battery as you can. A better battery from a more expensive bike will generally last you several years before it needs replacing. Less expensive bikes may only get 1 or 2 years of battery life.
Finding A Cheap Folding Electric Bike
Too often consumers confuse a budget-friendly price with a lack of quality. While that can certainly be true in some regards, you can get a pretty decent cheap electric bike. Brands that make affordable folding electric bikes include Ecotric, Jetson Metro, and Addmotor, among many others. Much like pricier options, cheap folding electric bicycles are convenient and can easily be stored in tight spaces while traveling or transporting. However, you will probably have to make a few concessions if you’re looking to save some dough.
Generally speaking, a cheap folding electric bike may not boast the durability or the highly graded components of a pricier counterpart, specifically when it comes to frame, motor, and battery. However, a cheap folding electric bike is ideal if you’ve never owned an electric bike before or aren’t necessarily looking for a bunch of pricey bells and whistles. Even on a cheaper bike option, you can still get a powerful mid-drive, rear, or front hub motor allowing you speeds up to 20 mph. You can also get adequate range, a nice folding mechanism, and a battery that gets you where you need to go.
Cheap Folding E-Bikes Are Great For New Riders
With all of this in mind, the components used in cheaper folding electric bikes are great for entry-level riders. If you’re new to folding electric bikes or simply want to test the waters with a folding electric bike, there is no need to break the bank with higher-end components from Bosch or Shimano. These aren’t going to impact your ride as someone new to the scene. Parts are also less important if you only have a short commute or only plan on using the bike when traveling.
The parts used in lower-priced bikes aren’t necessarily bad or inadequae, they simply lack the brand recognition and engineering of their pricier counterparts. If you’re a new rider, you don’t need the best of the best, you just need a bike that performs well and gets you where you need to go. Odds are, even a cheaper bike is going to give you a taste of what an electric bike has to offer and should last a few years. That’s all you really need until you decide what you really want from a folding electric bike.
Folding Electric Bike Frame Types and Wheel Sizes
One key thing to consider when looking to buy folding electric bikes is frame type and fold mechanism. Generally, you’re going to find four different frame materials being utilized with folding electric bikes. They include:
- Carbon fiber- Lightweight, but more prone to cracking, and replacement can be costly.
- Aluminum- The most popular frame material. Lightweight and durable, while able to withstand rust. Efficient to replace.
- Titanium- A premium frame type that proves the most stable and durable. Not prone to breakage when folding and heavier than carbon fiber or aluminum.
- Steel- The heaviest of all frame types. Will not rust and proves far more durable than aluminum. Resists breakage upon folding.
When deciding frame type, you’ll also want to consider the folding mechanism. The type of mechanism can make your frame more or less prone to breakage. Types of fold mechanisms include:
- Split-fold mechanism (the most popular type)
- Triangular hinge mechanisms
- Breakaway mechanisms
Of the three options, split-gold and triangular hinge mechanisms are the most popular. Triangular hinge is ideal for those who are commuting or live in very tight quarters. Split-fold is typically standard. Another thing to consider is wheel size.
Wheel size matters because it allows for a smoother and more even ride on all types of terrain. Choosing wheel size will depend on how you want to use your folding electric bike. Wheel sizes for folding electric bikes include 16”, 20”, 24” and 26” options.