Tips and advice on choosing the best folding electric bike for your needs and budget

folding electric bikes

A folding electric bike could be the key to releasing you from a stressful commute, or a way to explore further afield in your leisure time.  Just like a normal folding bike, the focus is on a more compact and easily transportable bicycle. These bikes will all fold, at the very least, in half, so they’re perfect if storage is limited at home or you want to transport them in a car or on a train.

You’ll also have a bit of support when you need it from the battery-powered motor unit, which can add power to your pedaling and take the edge off any steep or lengthy hilly sections that might be on your route.

folding electric bikes

 

Why buy a folding electric bike and what to spend

Folding bikes are designed to take up less space and be easy to fold down into a smaller package. This makes them a more practical choice if you’re planning on transporting your bike regularly, particularly compared with regular electric bikes, which we’ve found can be very heavy, and on some types the position of the motor can make removing wheels for transportation tricky.

Folding bikes are a popular choice for: Train commuters Cyclists with limited storage space at home Cyclists who regularly transport their bikes in a car or motorhome.

Owning a folding bike can make it easier to enjoy cycling as part of your routine.

And if you have a long or hilly commute, or you want the freedom to go further on leisure rides with a bit of backup just in case, and electric version can give you a boost when you start to tire.

folding electric bikes

 

How much do you need to spend for a decent folding electric bike?

 

Folding electric bikes can cost thousands of pounds, as the combination of folding technology and expensive battery packs really adds up. Prices can vary significantly, though, so it’s worth knowing if you can get away with a cheaper option or not.  We’ve tested bikes from £650 all the way up to £2,900.

Whereas with non-electric bikes it tends to be the case that the more you spend, the lighter the bike gets and the higher the quality of the components, this isn’t necessarily the case with folding electric bikes.  We’ve tested pricey folding electric bikes that are more than twice as heavy as any regular bike you could buy at this price, and are bested by cheaper rivals.

The complicating factor for electric bikes is that more money spent might get you a bigger battery and a longer range, but this all adds to the weight of the bike, and makes carrying and transporting it very difficult. The best ones balance the two for a bike that has a decent range, and is light and easy to carry.

Buying a bike that lasts

Our tests have shown that build quality can really vary between bikes. We assess the quality of components and hinges that will be subject to daily wear and tear, and some were really poor, which could mean you have to stump up for a new bike sooner than you’d like.

Check our hitlist of poor-scoring Don’t Buy folding electric bikes to find out which models to avoid.

 

Folding electric bike features: what you need to know

folding electric bikes

Weight

Can range from 16.5kg to 22.5kg – even heavier than a normal bike

The heavier the bike, the harder it is to lift and carry, and the more effort it will take to get it up to speed, particularly if the battery has run flat. If you’re in a shop, pick the bike up when it’s unfolded and folded to see if you can physically do it, and to feel how balanced the bike is in the hand.

Range

We test exactly how long each bike’s motor will support you for on flat terrain as well as on hills. Some can manage as far as 45 miles on max before the battery needs a recharge. So it’s worth thinking about:

How far you intend to travel

How much motor assistance you need (the less assistance you need, the further the range you’ll have)

How hilly your journey typically is (hilly terrain will use up battery more quickly) Manufacturer range claims are hard to compare as each uses different criteria, but our tests are conducted in lab conditions and we control factors such as weight, rolling resistance and air resistance, so you can accurately compare the figures for different bikes against each other.

Battery

Try and make sure you get a bike with a removable battery. If the battery is easily removable this can make it easier to transport, as you can remove a lot of the weight on the bike by taking the battery off and carrying it separately.  If the battery is built into the frame and you can’t remove it, then you can’t remove it for storage, charging or necessarily easily replace it. With most lithium-ion batteries only guaranteed for a couple of years, this could limit the life of your bike.

folding electric bikes

 

Foldability

You’ll be folding and unfolding the bike a lot, especially if you’re planning on commuting with it. Make sure the bike is nice and compact when it’s folded, and that you’re comfortable with the folding mechanism. In our reviews, we time how long each bike takes to fold and unfold. We also tell you how compact the bike is when it’s in a folded state, if it’s easy to carry and how balanced it is.  Some poor folding bikes are difficult to fold and unfold, and they take up a lot of space, even when folded. They may also have poor-quality hinges that are difficult to tighten or untighten, and can be prone to wear and tear or even rust.

Ride quality

With some electric bikes, the motor support doesn’t kick in until you’ve already completed a few pedal revolutions. This makes it difficult to start cycling on a hill or when pushing off from traffic lights. The best electric bikes have pedal sensors and you feel the power of the motor almost instantly.  In our folding electric bike reviews, we’ll also tell you how comfortable the bike is to ride on rough terrain, such as gravel or cobbles, and how smoothly the motor delivers power while you ride, including when taking corners. This can be tough for e-bikes, resulting in a jerky riding experience.

Display controls

Most folding electric bikes will have a digital display on the handlebars that will show you your speed, distance travelled and allow you to change the assistance setting. But some folders we’ve tested don’t have these displays and are either controlled by your phone via an app, or through buttons on the battery. Make sure your you buy a bike that will suit your lifestyle and riding style.

Height adjustments

If you’re a particularly tall rider, you will want to check that the seatpost will extend high enough, and the handlebars have enough reach so that you aren’t hunched over the pedals, giving you an inefficient and uncomfortable riding position.

Try and make sure you get a bike with a removable battery. If the battery is easily removable this can make it easier to transport, as you can remove a lot of the weight on the bike by taking the battery off and carrying it separately.

If the battery is built into the frame and you can’t remove it, then you can’t remove it for storage, charging or necessarily easily replace it. With most lithium-ion batteries only guaranteed for a couple of years, this could limit the life of your bike.

Folding bikes vs regular e-bikes It’s worth considering whether you could get more for your money if you opt for a regular electric bike that doesn’t fold.  While you won’t be able to take it on a train in rush hour or put it in a car, we’ve found some good cheaper options.

They can still be transported on a bike rack or on a train if outside of rush hour, although bear in mind that they can be very heavy.

folding electric bikes

Our verdict on folding electric bikes

The best folding electric bikes will unlock a happier commute, or allow you to own a bike again if space for storage is an issue for you. They should be relatively light, offer a great ride and be built with quality components. Folding and carrying the bike should also be a doddle.

We’ve tested six of the most popular folding electric bikes available in the UK, and not many fit the ideal description above. Many folding electric bikes are too big and bulky, even when folded, and some have poor-quality hinges or the motor isn’t up to much.

Electric Folding Bikes Reviews

 

Brompton Electric H2L review

£2,885.00Typical price

Test scoreShow Context

82%

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verdict: Brilliant

This is a fantastic folding electric bike. It’s really well built, is practical for commuters and is nice to ride too. Bromptons are stalwarts of the folding bike world, and this electric version earns a top recommendation from us. Our only gripe is that it’s not easy to change the assistance level as you ride.

Pros
  • One of the lightest electric bikes we’ve tested
  • Compact
  • High-quality smooth motor
Cons
  • No control panel on the handlebars makes switching the assistance setting difficult.

    Tern Vektron S10 review

    £3,400.00Typical price

    Test scoreShow Context

    73%

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    verdict: Great e-bike, impractical for commuting

    When unfolded, this is a very good electric bike. It has high-quality components and is a joy to ride. But, when it’s folded it’s a heavy and cumbersome beast, so it’s not that practical to commute with or transport regularly.

    Pros
    • Built to last with high quality components
    • Smooth and comfortable to ride
    • Long range on a single charge.
    Cons
    • Big and heavy when folded
    • Impractical for commuting by train or car.
      • Eovolt City One review

        £1,399.00Typical price

        Test scoreShow Context

        68%

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        verdict: Light with below-average motor

        This folding e-bike is one of the lightest we’ve tested. It is a breeze to fold and unfold, and is easy to carry. It’s below average motor performance stops it getting our Best Buy recommendation, but if having the highest performing motor isn’t your top priority, this could be one to consider.

        Pros
        • One of the lightest folding e-bikes we’ve tested
        • Easy to fold and carry
        Cons
        • Motor assistance could be better
        • Tricky to turn at low speeds
        • Single gear makes it difficult to maintain top speeds

        Raleigh Evo review

        £1,350.00Typical price

        Test scoreShow Context

        64%

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        verdict: Decent for the price

        For the price, it’s a decent folding e-bike, but it doesn’t quite deliver on everything.  It has high-quality components and great range on flat terrain, is easy to fold and goes down to a compact size. But it’s on the heavy side, and ride comfort is only average.

        Pros
        • Easy to fold and compact when folded
        • Good range for the battery size
        • Good build quality
        Cons
        • Heavy for a folding e-bike
        • Cornering at low speed isn’t the easiest

        Wisper 806 Folding Electric Bike review

        £1,549.00Typical price

        Test scoreShow Context

        63%

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        verdict: Incredible range, but heavy

        The Wisper 806 is a decent folding e-bike. The range achieved with the 575Wh battery is impressive, and the motor is good with plenty of support – even up steep hills. However, it’s heavy, making it difficult to carry around – something most people will want to do with a folding e-bike – and that’s why we can’t give it a higher score.

        Pros
        • Excellent range
        • High quality motor that gives great support
        • Compact when folded
        Cons
        • Heavy – not ideal for carrying
        • Handling at low speeds is tricky

        Raleigh Stow-E-Way 2019 Electric Folding Bike review

        £1,350.00Typical price

        Test scoreShow Context

        56%

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        verdict: OK for the price

        For the price, this is a decent folding electric bike. However, it’s not very practical for commuting or transporting regularly, as it’s large and cumbersome. It also has a short range and we have some reservations over how the motor reacts to the effort of the rider.

        Pros
        • High quality central hinge which is unlikely to break or rust
        • Rides smoothly on rough terrain
        • Quiet motor.
        Cons
        • Hard to carry when folded
        • Heavy
        • Short range
        • Takes up a lot of space when it’s folded.

        Apollo Transport E review

        £799.00Typical price

        Test scoreShow Context

        56%

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        verdict: OK, but nothing special

        The Apollo Transport is OK for the price, but it’s not the most practical for commuting. The motor is average and the range – while decent for the size of the battery – is quite short compared to other folding e-bikes on the market.

        Pros
        • Easy to fold and unfold
        • Inexpensive
        • Good build quality overall
        Cons
        • Low range
        • Quality of the central hinge is poor
        • Average motor assistance
        • Not easy to carry when folded

        Decathlon B’TWIN Tilt 500 review

        £900.00Typical price

        Test scoreShow Context

        54%

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        verdict: Not the most robust

        Of the four cheaper folding e-bikes we tested this Decathlon offers the best compromise between price and score. It’s decent enough, although motor assistance can be slow to kick in and it’s not the easiest to carry. We also weren’t impressed by the build quality, which doesn’t suggest it will be a lasting investment.

        Pros
        • Inexpensive
        • Easy to fold and unfold
        Cons
        • Large and bulky when folded
        • Difficult to carry and unbalanced
        • Poor build quality

        Byocycles Chameleon LS review

        £1,050.00Typical price

        Test scoreShow Context

        51%
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        verdict: Decent motor, but below average in every other respect

        The motor on the Chameleon LS is good, but that’s about it. The build quality is poor compared to most other folding e-bikes. The ride experience isn’t great and the range isn’t great considering the size of the battery.

        Pros
        • Good motor for the price
        • Easy to fold and unfold
        • Compact
        Cons
        • Weight makes it impractical to carry
        • Poor ride experience
        • Average build quality
        • Range isn’t great considering the size of the battery.

        Carrera Crosscity review

        £899.00Typical price

        Test scoreShow Context

        48%

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        verdict: Cheap for a reason

        Pros
        • Accelerates quickly from a standing start
        • Comfortable to ride
        Cons
        • Noisy motor
        • Cornering at low speeds is tricky
        • Build quality could be better
        • Not the most compact when folded

        Sigma Low Step review

        £1,249.00Typical price

        Test scoreShow Context

        46%

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         verdict: Poor cycling experience

        The Sigma Low Step sets a low bar for folding electric bikes. It’s the worst folding electric bike we’ve tested. Heavy, difficult to fold and not particularly pleasant to ride. We think you can do better.

        Pros
        • It has a low step so it’s very easy to get on.
        Cons
        • Poor-quality hinges
        • Heavy and difficult to carry
        • Unbalanced when folded
        • Battery rattles while riding.

        Hummingbird Electric review

        £3,746.00Typical price

        Test scoreShow Context

        FIRST
        LOOK

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        verdict:

        This is a supremely stylish folding electric bike. It’s incredibly light and a joy to ride. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth considering if you want an electric bike that stands out from the crowd, and is considerably lighter than rivals.

        Pros
        • Light and can be carried comfortably under one arm
        • Smooth to ride
        • Provided good support in the hills
        Cons
        • Range isn’t as extensive as some other models
        • Expensive

    E-Go Max review

    £1,488.00Typical price

    Test scoreShow Context

    68%

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     verdict: Good bike with a couple of shortcomings

    The E-go Max is the bigger, heavier version of E-go’s lite and lite+ folding electric bikes. It is well built, with a great motor and range. It’s rear rack can also carry loads of up to 25kg. However, its extra weight makes it impractical to carry for long periods. Along with few other niggles, this stops it from being a Best Buy.

    Pros
    • Great motor
    • Great range
    • Comfortable ride experience compared to most other folding e-bikes
    • Easy to fold and compact when folded
    Cons
    • Tricky to turn at low speeds
    • Heavy
    • Not the easiest to carry.