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Jun 11, 2021
Intro to Best Folding E-Bikes Bikes of 2021
*Electric Bike Report aims to help consumers find the right electric bike for their needs. When you buy a product we recommend, we may earn a commission.
From fat folders to slimmed-down city dwellers, the staff at Electric Bike Report has reviewed some of the best folding electric bikes on the market in 2021, and we’ve compiled a list of our favorites.
From premium folding e-bikes lauded for their design and functionality to fat tire adventure folders made to pack down for storage, folding e-bikes are a dime-a-dozen nowadays. They span nearly every category of e-bike and every price point, so it can be difficult to choose what electric folder fits your needs best. That’s why EBR’s team of e-bike experts put together this list.
The storage and portability of bicycles has long been a problem the world has been trying to solve. Patents for early versions of folding bikes (more accurately characterized as “break away” bikes during this time period) go back as far as the late 1800’s, but there’s evidence they may have existed even before then. The design really picked up steam in the dense cities of Europe as a smart transportation solution for commuters who needed a lightweight, compact bike that would fit easily on public transportation or into tight offices. The bikes are still popular for that use today, but the advent of e-bikes has adapted the folding design into a very broad range of uses. There’s now versions built with fat tires and light suspension, built for adventuring on light off-road paths; there’s cargo versions that can pack down for storage; and even some that are the size of a full-size e-bike. Motors have made this bike more appealing and more useful to the masses.
Because the category of folding e-bikes has grown so diverse, we’ve done our best to mimic that by making this list as broad as possible. On it, you’ll find folding e-bikes that can be used as commuters, city bikes, adventure bikes and everything in between. The one thing they all have in common, is they all fold up.
Our Best Folding Electric Bikes 2021
How we picked these bikes
Pick almost any of the e-bike specific bike manufacturers nowadays, and it’s likely they’ll have at least one folding bike in their product lineup. Folders are one of the most sought after types of e-bike on the market right now, but with so many options, how do you suss out which one is right for you? We’re here to help with that.
Many of the bikes on this list we’ve tested and know intimately well, but there are others we’ve included based on their reputation and because so many of our readers tell us they love them. The bikes we’ve tested are put through a number of gauntlets including a brake test, hill test, range test and several other assessments. Our team of experts then puts their heads together to decide which bikes belong on this list.
We evaluated folding e-bikes based on a few key criteria, mainly:
Value: Value is often high on the mind of anyone shopping for a folding e-bike. Most of the bikes on this list cost less than $2,000, a price point we consider entry-level or budget-priced. So, what are you getting for your money? Does the bike feel solid and well put together, or is it a little cheap? Does it come with extras and quality components?
Range and speed: How far you can ride your e-bike and how fast is usually the first question anyone has about an e-bike, so naturally it weighs heavy on any of our best lists. But there’s more to a good e-bike than raw range and power. We want to make sure the motor is safe and the speed matches the bike’s design and primary user group.
How well does it fold?: Making a metal (or carbon fiber) bicycle fold is actually a pretty tough task. For all intents and purposes, you’re taking a bike frame — something that needs to be tough and rigid — and breaking it in half. So the folding mechanism needs to be burly and secure. On top of that, it also needs to be functional and easy to use.
Components and extras: As we mentioned above, bikes in this category are typically on the less expensive end of the spectrum (barring a few exceptions). But inexpensive doesn’t have to mean you sacrifice quality. Does the bike still come with good componentry and extras like racks, lights and fenders?
Does the bike make sense?: On some bikes, it seems like a manufacturer made it fold more for novelty than function. It’s hard to blame companies for doing this, especially since folding e-bikes are so in vogue right now, but those bikes don’t belong on our best list. If a bike folds, we want to make sure it folds for a purpose.
We’re not going to pretend this is an exhaustive list of the best folding e-bikes, especially considering there are so many different types of folders and so many creative uses for them. But these are our recommendations based on testing, expert opinion and a little crowdsourced insight from consumers like you. Know of a bike you think should be on this list? Let us know, we’ve always got an eye out for the next hot e-bike.
Rad Power Bikes RadMini 4
A pleasant riding fat folder that’s solidly built and surprisingly sporty
Fat-tire folding e-bikes are a dime a dozen nowadays, but there’s one way the Rad Power Bikes RadMini 4 really stood out to our team of testers at EBR.
It’s the tires. They’re pavement-oriented semi slicks as opposed to the beefy treaded fat tires we usually see. It may seem like a small detail, but wow was it a refreshing surprise. Though there are a plethora of off-road folding e-bikes on the market, folders, with their unorthodox geometry and typically small wheels, are truly at home on pavement. That’s why Rad’s simple decision to put road tires on this bike (which, at 3 inches are still plenty fat) really sets it apart from some of its competitors. The bike rides smoother, quieter and still achieves that ultra-stable sensation that has made fat-tire e-bikes so popular nowadays.
The RadMini also folds up nicely. It’s got a simple and easy to understand hinge that’s stout enough to keep the bike rigid but simple enough you don’t need a manual to fold or unfold it. It’s also well spec’d with a Shimano Altus 7-speed drivetrain and an overall well put together feel. It’s powered by a 750W rear hub motor and 48V 14Ah (672Wh) battery with impressive range.
We’re big fans of the RadMini, and if you’re looking for a nice and stable e-bike that won’t break the bank or take up too much space, it’s a great choice.
The RadMini is a very, very smooth riding folding e-bike. Maybe it’s the semi-slick tires; maybe it’s the slimmed-down frame, but we love how this bike rides.
On some folding e-bikes, you sometimes can feel that the bike is technically two pieces. Not with this bike. It’s frame feels solid and well connected while riding. The clamp is also simple and easy to use.
The low and centered battery placement helps keep the RadMini’s center of gravity low, which adds to the nice handling characteristics.
While we like the battery placement for handling purposes, it’s proximity to the seatpost clamp can make it a bit cumbersome to adjust seat height.
A step-thru fat folder with a neatly hidden battery and great components for the money
A true step-thru folding e-bike, the Surface 604 Twist features an integrated 48V, 14Ah (672Wh) battery that tucks nicely into the downtube and semi-slick 4-inch fat tires that are geared more towards pavement riding.
Surface 604, a Canadian company known for making powerful and burly e-bikes, spec’d the bike with a 500W rear hub motor and a full SRAM groupset. It comes as a Class 2 e-bike, but you can easily change it to a Class 3 bike (maxed at 25 mph) in the settings. While most folding e-bikes are fairly low-slung, the Twist is a true step-thru folder that makes it easy to get on and off the bike. We’re also big fans of the semi-slick fat tires, which roll easier on pavement while still giving the bike a more stable and supportive feel.
The Twist also comes with a torque sensor, which is a nice feature for an e-bike at the roughly $2,000 price point. That torque sensor makes the Twist’s motor engagement particularly smooth and responsive. It also comes with road-oriented 4-inch fat tires, a feature we really like to see on fat folders. Why? Because these bikes perform best on pavement, and while they can handle some light off-road use, tires like this make these bikes perform particularly well in their most natural environment.
The Surface 604 Twist is a feature-rich fat folding e-bike that’ll work well for anyone short on space but still wants to get out for a ride.
This bike has a torque sensor, so motor engagement is smooth, responsive and kicks on (or off) right when you need it.
A 672Wh battery and 500W motor make for a good range. The Twist should be able to take you from point A to B and back without range anxiety.
Surface 604 chose a nice battery placement with the Twist, neatly integrating it into the down tube in a way that doesn’t require the bike to be folded to remove the battery.
Hydraulic brakes and a full SRAM X5 groupset are nice features at this price point
One size fits all: We’re being nitpicky here, as many folding e-bikes are one size, but larger riders may find this bike’s cockpit a little cramped.
A folding design icon that’s only getting better as time goes on
No list of best folding e-bikes would be complete without a GoCycle.
The brainchild of a former McLaren engineer, the GoCycle fast-folding and ultralight design has become a design icon in the e-bike world. For several years they’ve been setting the bar high for what an urban folding e-commuter should be, and their new G4 model continues that trend. Almost identical to former models at first glance, the new G4 is flush with carbon fiber frame pieces that bring down the weight and give the bike better vertical compliance. The new bike also comes with a redesigned front hub motor system, new tires and an updated folding system that keeps the bike perfectly aligned.
We haven’t yet ridden the G4, but the GX, its predecessor, is one of the most well-ridden folding bikes in the EBR offices. When we tested it at the end of 2020, our testers described it as a “blast to ride” that “literally folds up in seconds.” As the G4 model appears to only make improvements on things we loved about the GX, it’s sure to be a great riding and folding bike.
The GoCycle G4 is a perfect fast-folder for the serious commuter who’s low on space. It’s compact, rides well and folds like a dream.
It’s really impressive how much engineering and design goes into these bikes. They really broke the mold.
This thing folds up really, really fast.
Folds up compact and can be carried (or rolled) up stairs and onto public transit with ease.
Pedals just like a normal bike with no motor assist. The handling is also very stable and confidence inspiring.
An Allen key is conveniently stored underneath the saddle, making adjustments easy.
Unless you get the G4i, lights and fenders are not included. They’re sold as an accessory.
The GoCycle’s quirky shape isn’t for everyone, but it has grown on even the naysayers on our staff
A refreshingly unique look on a folder just begging for gravel roads and paths
Aventon is making a name for itself as an e-bike brand that builds really cool looking and thoughtfully spec’d bikes, and their Sinch fat folding bike is no exception.
The Sinch rolls on 4-inch aggressively treaded Kenda tires and is powered by a 500W motor and 48V 14Ah (672Wh) battery, making for a very capable e-bike. While some fat folders prove wallowy in soft gravel or in off-road conditions beyond smooth paths, the Sinch romped through dirt with gusto. This is no eMTB, but the Sinch really likes the dirt. We test most of our bikes on the local path system in southwest Utah, but many of our testers said they opted to romp the Sinch through the dirt off the side of the path rather than stick to the pavement.
At 68lbs, the Sinch is no featherweight, but it handles lively and feels like a much bigger bike than it is. We liked the Shimano Acera groupset and were really, really impressed with how much battery life you could squeeze out of a single charge.
Did we mention it also folds up? Again, it’s not the most compact bike, but if you’re looking for something to stash in a corner of your garage or RV this is a great bike for you.
A really clean and unique look that we really like.
The suspension fork makes for a nice compliment to the 4-inch tires, a combination that inspires confidence on roads and off.
The Sinch has a comfortable saddle and grips that feel nice on longer rides
It’s got an impressive range considering the fat, heavier tires and the bike’s 68lb weight.
There is a nice discernable difference between all five pedal assist levels, which help you control the bike’s power with the push of a button.
The clamping mechanism is beefy and, at least for some of our testers, was right next to their knees while pedaling
Fun, functionality and a surprising amount of power for less than $1,000
The Electric Bike Report team spends a lot of time hanging out in the public lands of southern Utah. And no matter where we go — from St. George to Moab and everywhere in between — we’re bound to see a Lectric XP parked outside a nearby RV or campsite.
I’m not kidding, we see them everywhere. It’s easily the most common e-bike we’ve tested that we spot out in the wild. The Lectric XP is this popular for a few very good reasons: It’s cheap, it works and it’s just a ton of fun to romp around. Designed in Arizona, the Lectric XP is a super affordable fat folding e-bike powered by a 500W motor and a 48V, 10.4 Ah (499.2Wh) battery.
At under $1,000, the XP is not a luxury e-bike, but golly is it fun. The motor packs a satisfyingly powerful punch and, while there’s no suspension, the 4-inch tires provide plenty of cushion to take the edge off dirt roads and beaten paths. At 62lbs, it’s no featherweight, but the XP packs down small enough to easily fit in the back of a car or stow inside an RV (These seem really popular with the RV crowd).
For one of the most affordable e-bikes on the market, the Lectric XP punches above its weight class. It’s a fun and reliable choice for anyone looking to get into e-biking.
At under $1,000, this is one of the most affordable e-bikes on the market.
The 500W motor packs a nice punch and accelerates quickly.
The bike collapses down to a very packable size. Perfect for anyone short on space.
The large LCD display is easy to read and includes useful metrics.
The Shimano 7-speed drivetrain and Tektro disc brakes are a great value for the money.
At 62lbs, it can be a bit hefty to lift.
The key hole is tucked underneath the frame, making it a bit tough to find the first time.
A classically-styled folder with a powerful motor and big battery
A popular e-bike from Santa Cruz-based firm Blix, the Vika+ has a distinctly European styling. Based around a 500W motor and 48V, 14Ah (672Wh) battery, the Vika+ has enough oomph to flatten hills and keep you rolling all day.
Blix says the Vika+ was designed with versatility in mind. It’s a compact folding bike that, with the right racks, can double as a light-duty utility bike. It comes with a rear pannier-style rack, lights and can be fitted with Blix’s modular racking system to increase its storage capacity. We also really like the battery placement on the bike; low and behind the seat tube. This helps keep the center of gravity low and the ride stable.
The Vika+ has a throttle and pedal assist up to 20 mph, so that makes this a Class 2 e-bike. The styling is smart, and looks different from many of the other folding e-bikes on the market. And on the topic of folding, Blix says this model will pack down in less than 20 seconds. It even comes with its own storage bag.
For those in the market for a classic design and a folding e-bike that won’t empty your wallet, the Blix Vika+ is a choice that won’t let you down.
The classic design looks really nice. We particularly like it in the racing green colorway.
The battery placement behind the seat tube keeps the heaviest part of the bike low and centered, keeping things stable and under control.
At about $1,500, the Vika+ is a lot of bike for the money. A great value buy.
Blix’s modular rack system is really cool, giving you lots of opportunities to take things with you
Sticking the battery behind the seat tube does great things for weight distribution, but we have seen that placement makes it cumbersome to adjust the seat height.
The Brompton name has become synonymous with folding bikes. They’ve taken their tried-and-true M6L model and, with the help of a specially-built front hub motor designed by Formula E engineers, turned it into an e-bike.
Despite its small stature, the Electric M6L is a premium folding electric commuter that fetches a cool $4,200 (if you can get one). Aside from the small hub motor laced into the front wheel, the Electric M6L looks only slightly different from its non-motorized counterpart. The 300Wh battery is housed inside a small bag mounted to the front of the bike, which makes it look like a piece of luggage instead of e-bike paraphernalia.
The folding capabilities of the electric M6L are exactly the same as the non electric version, though the electrical bits make it slightly heavier. But it’s not obnoxiously heavy. At about 40 lbs, the Brompton is one of the lightest e-bikes on this list, so it’s still small enough to take up stairs or on to public transport.
An iconic piece of cycling history, the Brompton brand is ideal for commuters in dense urban environments who want the best folding bike they can find. Their Electric M6L just adds a dose of power to the already acclaimed folder.
The Brompton folds up really, really small. Pair that with its lightweight, and you can carry and store this thing just about anywhere.
Brompton’s come with the ultra-cool Sturmey-Archer internally geared hubs, which are a rare sight over here in the U.S.
It comes stock with front and rear lights and mud guards.
More of a tip than a con: The Brompton is a true folder, which means it’s really only happy on short, urban commutes. If that’s not your intended use, it might not be the right pick.
The looks of a slimmed-down folder and the guts of a big bike
We always talk about “car-killer” e-bikes here at EBR; the bikes that work so well they could inspire someone to ditch gas-guzzler. In the world of folding e-bikes, that car-killer would be the Tern Vektron S10.
The S10 is the flagship model of Tern’s Vektron range. It’s not the lightest nor the least expensive, but it is really good at what it was designed to do. The S10 is equipped with a Bosch Performance motor and 400Wh battery, giving it lots of grunt to carry you across town. It also folds nicely into a 41 × 86 × 68 cm cube and stands upright on its rear rack when folded, making it easily stowable in tight spaces.
But while the S10 is small, it can carry big loads. A hallmark of Tern is their sizable and strong rear racks that can hold nearly 60lbs and is compatible with a number of aftermarket carrying systems. Tern also mounted the Bosch Powerpack battery low over the rear wheel, helping to bring the center of gravity down and keep the bike stable and planted.
The Tern Vektron S10 is no bargain bike, but it’s not built to be. It’s an urban weapon for the commuter who needs a bike that can handle the transportation and storage gymnastics of modern city life, plus carry a few things along the way.
The Bosch Performance line motor is a premium powerplant that won’t leave you sweating on hills or while carrying cargo. Plus, we don’t see many mid-drive folders.
A 60lbs carrying capacity isn’t just big for a folding e-bike, it’s pretty impressive for really any e-bike with a stock rack.
The ability to stand the bike on its rear rack when folded is a cool feature that helps save on space when cubic footage is at a premium.
Tern is a thoughtful company that’s done a really nice job outfitting the S10. From the adjustable stem to the choice in disc brakes, we’re impressed.
The nearly $4,000 price point might scare some buyers away, but Tern also makes the Vektron in a slightly cheaper variation called the Q9.
A great looking fat folder with ample power to boot
With a 500W rear hub motor, a Shimano drivetrain and a really great styling, the Sondors Fold X is a folding fat-tire e-bike with a healthy dose of power to back up its good looks.
Built around a 500W rear hub motor and a sizable 48V, 14Ah (672Wh) battery, the Fold X is aimed at riders who want a convenient e-bike capable of light off-road duty. It rolls on 4-inch tires and the drivetrain is Shimano 7-speed. It’s a Class 2 e-bike, which means it’s got a throttle and the motor will assist you up to 20 mph, but it can be unlocked to a Class 3.
The frame is sleek and the battery is conveniently hidden inside the bike’s singular top tube. At 66 lbs, the Fold X is not a featherweight city dweller, but is rather designed to save space when not in use. We frequently see bikes like this on RV’s and stashed in the backs of larger sedans.
At around $1,300, the Fold X is a prime example of a folding e-bike that’ll get you out on two wheels no matter how much room you have to store it.
The Fold X looks great and has a unique design compared to most fat folders.
The combination of a 500W motor and 672Wh battery gives the Fold X a sizeable expected range
The 300 lbs weight capacity is fairly high, and means this bike will work well for people from a broad range of body shapes and sizes
At 66lbs, the Fold X is a hefty e-bike. But this isn’t the type of folder geared towards light-weight city commuting, it’s more focused on saving space.
Bottom line: Your folding e-bike should make sense and match your needs
It’s not always obvious why someone is attracted to the idea of a bike that folds. Some people want them because they save space; others want them because they make great commuters; and some people just like them because of the novelty and unique look.
Whatever your reason for buying a folding bike, make sure you think long and hard about what you want to do with it, because not all folders are created equal. Just like other realms of the cycling world, there are subsets of bikes inside the folding e-bike category that are designed for different uses. A lightweight commuter folding e-bike won’t perform well off-road, and a heavy all-terrain folder would be tough to carry up a set of stairs. So make sure you’re getting the right bike for you. Also, think hard about whether a folding bike is the right choice for your needs. Folding bikes often ride much differently than their full-sized counterparts, so keep in mind you might be trading ride quality for compactness. But, after all that thinking, if you’re still looking for an e-bike that packs down small but is still capable, you’ve come to the right place.
If you want to explore other categories of e-bikes, we’ve got some great reviews that look in-depth at virtually any type of e-bike you can think of. Or, if you’re new to the world of e-bikes, we’ve got a handy guide that’ll help you get started.