Folding Bike Reviews
Easy Mobility for an Urban Setting
The first time I ever saw a folding bike I thought someone was messing with me, as they just didn’t seem like a practical item. But I got to try that bike out and it actually ran very smoothly. The bike belonged to a friend of mine, and he had a big smile on his face as he looked on at the surprise on my face. He lived in an apartment on the fourth floor of a building and he depended on this bike to get him to and from work, but he didn’t have a lot of storage space in his apartment, which made this folding bike ideal for his situation.
I don’t have the space issues that my friend had back then, but I do like the idea of a bike that I can fold up and put in my trunk to take with me wherever I’d like to go. I love to add a little bit of variety to my bike rides and with a folding bike’s portability it’s easy to just to throw it in the car and go wherever you like. This type of bike may not be at the top of my list, but I’m definitely considering it and that’s why I took a closer look at what was available.
My Top 8 Picks
I was really surprised to find that there are actually a lot of different options in the folding bike category. It seems to fill a need that a lot of people have – to save room. There are many reasons for considering a folding bike, whether it’s because of a lack of storage space in your home or apartment or because you want something that you can quickly pack up in the car. With all of the variety in this category these days there’s bound to be a good fit for you. Here are my top picks in the folding bike category.
Best Folding Bike under $400
Stowabike 20″ City V2 Compact
We all have a budget we would like to stick to no matter what type of purchase we’re making. If you’re looking for a top quality bike that has the ability to fold up for easy storage, and one that can be purchased for under $400, then the Stowabike 20″ Folding City V2 is a great option. This bike doesn’t sacrifice quality for convenience – what you get is a nice ride that’s also easily storable. In fact, its design is perfect for the city commute.
Every time I’ve looked at a folding bike the same thing has come to mind – how sturdy can a folding bike be? Well, in the case of this Stowabike the answer is – very sturdy. It has a steel frame which locks in to place; when you hop on it for a ride you’d have a difficult time noticing any weakness in the area where the frame folds. It has a strong set of forks, which are also made of steel, and all of its parts are sturdy and well-made.
Portability is just one consideration people look at when they’re looking for a bike that’s suited for an urban environment. The people who use bikes in urban environments generally don’t just use them for exercise or recreation – they use their bikes as a means for getting around town. If a bike’s your main form of transportation then you’ll also want to make sure you can use it for transporting items with you. This bike has a great storage rack so that you can use it for shopping or just carrying parcels from one place to the next. >> Full Review
Best for Climbing Hills
Schwinn 20-Inch Loop Folding Bike
When you think about a folding bike you don’t think about going for rides on the trails and navigating around large rocks. But you are going to have to climb the occasional hill – even in an urban environment. When you’re faced with an uphill climb it’s nice to know you have a bike that can handle those hills, and the Schwinn 20-Inch Loop folding bike will do the job just fine. Schwinn has always been one of the most reliable names in the bike industry and, with its seven-speed drivetrain, this bike will help you climb some pretty steep hills.
Linear Pull Brakes
It’s all well and good getting up the hill, but you need to know that you can come down the other side with confidence and without worrying about losing control. That’s why you need a bike with a great braking system; this Schwinn model uses a linear pull brake system, which is a reliable method that’s been used on bikes for decades. Disc brakes may be better in more challenging environments on the mountain trails, but these pull brakes will do just fine in an urban environment.
Equipped for All Weather
Weather is something that you have to contend with no matter what environment you’re riding in, but riding a bike in an urban environment comes with its own unique challenges. The pavement has an annoying habit of making puddles seem much larger than they are, and that’s where fenders come in handy. This bike is equipped with both front and rear fenders to protect you from the dirty and wet conditions you may have to face out there on the city streets. >> Full Review
Quickest Foldable Bike
A folding bike is probably the most convenient type of bike on the market because of its ability to fold up for storage. All of the bikes on this site have that same capability, but some make the process easier than others. The Dahon Mariner D7 makes folding your bike about as simple as it could possibly be. It takes about 15 seconds to fold this bike, which impressed me as I expected this process to be a little more complicated.
It’s great that this bike can be folded up so quickly, but what may be even more impressive is the lightweight nature of the bike. It weighs about 26 pounds, which makes carrying it quite doable for just about anybody. In fact, the manufacturer actually suggests that this bike is a great option if there are times you need to take your bike on the bus with you. When it’s folded up it’s very compact, which means it won’t get in the way of other commuters while you are on that bus ride.
High Quality Aluminum Frame
While aluminum frames may be common these days for quality mountain bikes, it’s not as common to find foldable bikes with an aluminum frame – the vast majority of them have steel frames. This bike by Dahon is one of the exceptions to the rule as it has a high quality aluminum frame with Sonus tubing, which explains why this bike is so light. It doesn’t sacrifice anything in strength or quality though. >> Full Review
Most Lightweight Folding Bike
Avanti 20″ Aluminum
An aluminum frame is often a good indicator of a bike’s quality, and that’s certainly the case with the Avanti 20″ Lightweight Aluminum folding bike. With its strong aluminum frame and lightweight construction, this bike is an excellent choice in the folding bike category. It weighs in at less than 30 pounds, which makes it ideal for quick storage after you fold it down. You don’t want a folding bike that weighs much more than 30 pounds, as then it becomes difficult to transport quickly and easily.
One of the best features of this Avanti folding bike is that it’s fully adjustable in every way. The handlebars can be adjusted to suit any height – it doesn’t matter whether you’re 4’8” or 6’4”. The seat is also fully adjustable as well, making this bike ideal for just about anybody. Everything on this bike is fully customizable to suit just about any one’s needs. It can be adjusted in a matter of seconds, so if you have multiple people using the bike that’s not a problem either.
While a folding bike may not be ideal for climbing a lot of hills, this one is well equipped to do so when needed. It has a 6-speed twist shifter that allows you to make quick decisions and adjust your speed accordingly. The only time I’ve ever really used a twist shifter is on a motorcycle, but when I have used this type of shifting I found it to be a simple and straightforward process. The great thing about it is that it allows you to keep your hands firmly gripped on the handlebars for increased safety.
Best for Speed
Dahon Vybe D7
Almost all of the folding bikes that I’ve had the time to research are designed to be a nice compromise between portability and commuting convenience. They’re not really meant to be the fastest bikes on the road, but they’re still a lot quicker than hitting the pavement with your feet. The Dahon Vybe D7 is a little different – this bike has the same foldable qualities of the other bikes reviewed on this site, but it’s also a pretty good choice if you like to get around the city quickly. They’ve sacrificed things like the bike rack found on other folding bikes in order to increase the potential speed of the bike; for some people that’s not a bad thing. Many of my friends that are bike riders are perfectly happy using a back pack for any kind of storage they need, which makes a storage rack kind of redundant anyway.
You Can’t Go Wrong with Shimano
If you’re at all familiar with the big name manufacturers of gears and brakes for bicycles then you’ll be very familiar with the name Shimano. This company has been producing some of the best quality parts for bicycles for decades. If there’s one thing that Japanese companies are known for it’s the reliability of their manufacturing quality and Shimano is no different. That’s why I was happy to find out that this folding bike by Dahon comes equipped with a 7-speed Shimano shifter. With Shimano parts you can be sure your gears will shift smoothly when you need them to.
Very Compact for Storage
Let’s face it, the whole reason anybody purchases a folding bike is because of its convenient nature. When you choose a folding bike you do so because you have a need for a bike that won’t take up a lot of storage space, or you plan on doing a lot of traveling and taking the bike with you, but you don’t have a lot of room to spare in your trunk. This bike is ideal for either of these purposes as it folds up neatly into an area that’s 26.4”x13.4”x32.7” – that means it will fit nicely into any compact car trunk.
Best Multi-Purpose Folding Bike
Columba 26″ with Shimano 18 Speed
The Columba 26″ folding bike may be my personal favorite of all the foldable bikes we’ve reviewed on this site. For one thing, it’s a great looking machine. It’s also quite versatile as well – this bike wouldn’t look out of place on any mountain bike trail, or in any urban environment. Most folding bikes have a very distinctive look that makes it easy to recognize them in a crowd, but this bike is a different animal altogether. It really is something special.
Tackle Any Hill
Most foldable bikes have at best 6 or 7 gears to shift through – that’s okay for an urban environment, but it doesn’t make for a versatile bike that’s ready to tackle off-road trails. This Columba model has a Shimano 18-speed shifter and derailleur that lets it perform almost as well on an off-road trail as it does on the city streets. If you live in an urban environment where space is an issue, but you still want to be able to hit the trails once in a while, this bike is ideal for your purposes. I hadn’t really seriously considered a folding bike until I found this one, as I do like to hit trails. The great thing about this bike is that not only can you hit the trails, you can also quickly pack your bike up in the trunk once your ride’s over – no need for a bike rack.
The Perfect Wheels
Almost all decent mountain bikes have large and wide wheels that enable you to navigate the trails quickly and safely. That’s one reason why most folding bikes aren’t very well equipped to handle any off-road rides. The tires on these types of bikes are normally fairly thin and the diameter is less than ideal. This bike by Columba, on the other hand, has rims with a 26” diameter, which is another reason that it’s better able to navigate off-road trails than other bikes in this category. The tires are also fairly thick, which helps them grip off-road surfaces better.
Best Single Speed Foldable Bicycle
Retrospec Bicycles Speck
What makes the Retrospec Speck folding single-speed bike so unique is the fact that it only has one single speed. This bike doesn’t have any gears to change and it doesn’t have any gear shifters to worry about. That means a lot less moving parts and a lot less maintenance. It’s not going to help you when you’re climbing hills, but if you do most of your riding in a flat urban environment this bike may be the perfect ride for you. It provides a simple commuting solution in a strictly urban environment.
There are a couple of reasons why this Retrospec bike is one of the lightest in the folding bike category. As we’ve already indicated above, it’s a single speed bike with no gears or extra moving parts, which will obviously make the bike a lot lighter than bikes that have all those complicated gears. The other reason this bike is so light is that it’s made of aluminum instead of the steel that many folding bikes are made from. By taking away the gears and making the bike frame out of aluminum, the manufacturer has managed to get the weight of this bike down to 22 pounds, which means you’ll have no trouble picking it up once you fold it for storage.
Rapidly Folds Away When Needed
Of all the folding bikes we’ve reviewed none can be folded in a shorter period of time than this one. This bike can actually be folded in about 10 seconds – that’s pretty remarkable! The reason why it can be folded so quickly is because they’ve removed a lot of the extra parts that get in the way. As we’ve already mentioned, there are no gears; they’ve also done away with the bike rack at the back, and there are no fenders on this bike either. They’ve basically stripped away anything that can get in the way of folding the bike or weighing it down, to create one of the lightest, quickly-foldable bikes on the market.
Best for All Sizes
Hasa Sram 6 Speed
The Hasa Folding foldable bike is another great choice in this category. The best part is it’s designed to accommodate people of all shapes and sizes. It doesn’t matter whether you’re 4’8” or 6’3” – this bike can be adjusted to suit your body frame. The main reason for this is that the seat post is 550 mm long, which is more than enough to accommodate a wide range of heights. The handlebars are fixed at one level though, so the riding experience will likely be very different for someone that’s 4’8” as opposed to someone that’s 6’3”.
Shift into Gear with Sram
A couple of the bikes that we’ve reviewed so far on this site have featured Shimano gear shifters, but this isn’t the only well-known maker of gears and brakes for bikes. Another top quality manufacturer of these types of parts for bikes is Sram; this bike by Hasa features a 6-speed Sram shifter that ensures accurate shifting every time. If you’re like me, those gears can be a godsend when your legs start to get tired and that next hill seems insurmountable – all you have to do is adjust the gears and you’re good to go.
All the Extras
This truly is the ultimate commuter bike. It’s got all the bells and whistles you’d expect on a bike designed as a primary source of transportation around an urban environment. It has reflectors on both wheels, it has fenders to keep the dirt off your clothing as you ride, and it’s got a rear storage rack for transporting small items. I was definitely pleased to see the reflectors on the wheels; that seems to be something a lot of bike manufacturers forget, but it’s very important if you find yourself riding on city streets.
A Great Compromise
Foldable bikes are not for everybody, but if you’re short on space they are a great choice. They come in all shapes and sizes just like other types of bikes, so no matter what your needs there’s a good chance that you’ll find one that fits them. I was actually pleasantly surprised to find that there are foldable bikes the can hold their own on off-road trails, as this is important to me. We all have different needs, but if you’ve never considered a foldable bike perhaps these reviews might change your mind a little bit.