One of the biggest problems with conventional bikes of any kind is the fact that they are not the most compact things you’ll encounter. Road bike, mountain bike, hybrid bike — all of these tend to take up quite a bit of space, and the only real way to make them smaller is to take off a wheel (or two.)
Foldable bikes were created to address this issue. At first, most of them were rather gimmicky, and not really for everyone. However, thanks to innovation and improved technology, we now have much more viable options, ranging from full size mountain bikes to small commuters that ride like bikes twice their size, and all of which are capable of quickly folding down to under half their normal size.
With that said, here are the 10 best folding bikes for 2018, covering everything from mountain bikes, to commuter bikes, and even electric bikes.
Best Folding Bike Reviews
Dahon Mariner D8
Schwinn 20-Inch Loop
Prodeco Phantom X2
Greenbike USA GB5
The Best Overall Folding Bike: Montague Paratrooper
The Montague Paratrooper foldable bike sort of has an unfair advantage from the outset: it was actually co-developed by the United States Military. As the name suggests, the Paratrooper was originally made for paratroopers.
What does this mean for you? It means you’re literally getting military technology to ride on. And while this doesn’t mean you get infrared heat-seeking missiles to shoot from your handlebars, you are getting an extremely durable and well-equipped mountain bike that certainly doesn’t feel like a folding bike at all.
The Montague Paratrooper was originally made for paratroopers who needed a bike that could handle the rough terrain once they reached the ground. Ruggedness and ease of use were given plenty of attention as a result.
The bike has a full suspension look, but it’s really only a hardtail. The single beam frame design cuts down on weight, allows the bike to fold easier, and keeps things nice and simple. When fully equipped, the Paratrooper weighs around 29 lbs, which is definitely acceptable.
The Paratrooper folds in the center using a single pin-release hinge, and collapses down in about 15 seconds. There is a strap included to hold the wheels together and make transport easier. A Suntour front suspension fork provides a solid amount of travel and response, absorbing much of what the trail throws at you.
The bike’s drivetrain includes a full 24-gear setup, which is much more than you’ll see on most the Montague Boston folding bikes. Disc brakes are included as well, which are always preferred over caliper style brakes. Deore derailleurs handle all the gear changes in the front and back.
As you may have guessed, there is a gear/luggage rack. The rack is very useful, accommodating a rather large load if you know how to properly use bungee cords. The rack doubles as a stand to hold the bike upright when it’s fully collapsed.
As far as best folding bike 2018 go, the Montague Paratrooper has everything you need. It’s relatively light, durable, full-sized, includes a rack, and even a full gearing set up. This would already be a best folding mountain bike on its own, and the folding feature truly puts it over the top.
Runner Up, Best Overall Folding Bike: Cyrusher FR100
If full suspension is more of your thing, the Cyrusher FR100 has got you covered. As with the Paratrooper, this is a the best full size folding bike that just so happens to have the ability to fold. The FR100 is equipped to handle serious trail riding, and then be compacted and placed in your trunk — or carried.
It’s a little tricky to make a viable full suspension mountain bike that can also properly fold up and collapse, but Cyrusher was up to the challenge. Fortunately, the price is very reasonable, which definitely helps things.
The frame of the FR100 is made with aluminum, which gives it a small bit of flex, and also helps keep the weight manageable. The total of 39 lbs isn’t the lightest thing you’ll ride, but it’s still acceptable considering.
The folding aspect is very simple, as it should be. The mechanism is at the center of the frame, and the hinge swings from one side to the other. There are two separate latches for added security and peace of mind when riding. Folding takes about 30 seconds.
The FR100’s suspension is very plush. And while that may be helpful on rugged trails, it’s not all that nice on flat rides. Cyrusher addressed that by adding a lockout feature for the front fork with a simple twist of a knob.
The gearing system is made up of Shimano components and totals 24 gears, more than enough for the average ride. Disc brakes, a cutaway saddle, and ergonomic handlebars add to the bike’s comfort and stopping ability. 26-inch, 6-spoke magnesium alloy rims are a nice touch, as are the Kenda tires.
If you are in need of a full suspension bets lightweight folding bicycle, but also need a way to store it and save space, or don’t want to use a rack on your car, the Cyrusher FR100 is far and away the best choice.
Best Folding Road Bike: Montague Boston
Road bikes are done a bit differently with folding bikes, but you can still find a handful of models that provide a road bike feel, while also offering the option to fold when needed. This perfectly describes the Montague Boston folding bike, which is a very quick, nimble, and convenient folding road bike.
The Boston is a full-sized bike, using 700c wheels, and making use of Montague’s smart folding system, which is located just under the seat. The frame is made from aluminum, helping to absorb some shock while keeping the weight down to a mere 25 lbs, which is very light for it and makes it best full size folding bike.
The Boston forgoes the typical multi-gear setup, opting for a single speed instead. Are you a fan of fixed gear riding? You’re in luck — the rear wheel can be reversed to reveal a fixed gear hub, instantly turning the Boston into a fixie, making it a true urban bike.
The wheelset offers speed and stability, provided by 32-spoke alloy rims, and Kenda semi-slick tires that have a hint of tread, giving you better traction, but also allows for faster riding.
Additional features include dual pivot caliper brakes on each wheel, sturdy steel cage trekking pedals, a cushioned gel saddle, and riser-style handlebars.
The Montague Boston folding bike is not a by-the-books road bike, but it certainly feels like one. Its combination of low weight, smooth ride, and simplistic build all merge to make it fast and lightest folding bike 2018.
Runner Up, Best Folding Road Bike: Columba 26” Folding Bike
A viable road-type, best budget folding bike for under $230? You bet. The Columba 26” Folding Bike is not a traditional road bike, but it’s as close as you’ll get to one, especially for this price. While this bike looks like a hybrid with a sort of mountain bike-ish Y-frame, it doesn’t ride like one — and that’s a good thing.
This bike is all about comfort and ease, which is provided in many different ways. The more upright handlebar design resembles some hybrids, making it comfortable, but still letting you get aggressive with your speed if needed. A soft, cutaway saddle offers ample cushioning, and also saves weight.
Speaking of weight, the bike weighs around 33 lbs. This is not ideal in the case of typical road bikes, but it does give the bike more momentum and is still an acceptable weight range for the price. The folding mechanism is halfway down the frame and uses a simple, single-latch design that’s very quick and easy.
The bike comes with 21 speeds, which is not typical for this price range. Shifting is done via twist shifters, which are situated next to soft, ergonomic handle grips. Very comfy. Braking is done using dual caliper brakes.
The bike’s tires are almost as skinny as a road bike’s and have a small amount of tread that grips the pavement better, and also helps deflect water. 36-spoke wheels help provide rigidness and durability, while also soaking up a bit of shock from uneven roads and small bumps.
This Columba folding road bike is quite the steal in this price range. Anyone looking for best budget folding bike option for leisure, commuting, or fitness will get all they need with it, with some money left over for extra accessories.
Best Folding Commuter Bike: Dahon Mariner D8
Dahon is a respected and well known manufacturer of folding bikes for a reason. The company places an emphasis on making their bikes as small and light as possible, but without diminishing the overall ride and feel. For the true commuter, it doesn’t get any better than the Dahon Mariner D8.
If you’re someone that needs a commuter bike that can easily be carried around on the bus or subway, this is the one you want. Not only can it compact down to a very manageable size, it’s incredibly light.
A 26 pound aluminum frame is the backbone of the Dahon Mariner D8, allowing it to keep things simple and light, while still offering enough durability and shock absorption. The folding mechanism is located in the middle of the frame, and uses a single latch, which is complemented by a seatpost and handlebars that both collapse to save even more space.
Despite its small stature, the Mariner D8 comes with 8 total speeds, covering a wide range of gearing ratios to let you dial in your ideal setting for any given scenario. Heavy-duty alloy v-brakes give you plenty of stopping power.
Adjustments can quickly be made using an adjustable saddle and post, along with a stem as well. Fenders at the front and rear keep you dry and clean in inclement weather (or when encountering random puddles,) and a well designed luggage rack allows you to carry personal items and cargo.
The Dahon Mariner D8 folding bike offers big performance and convenience in a small package. Anyone in search of a true commuter folding bike that provides maximum performance and quality will have no qualms with the slightly higher price of the Mariner D8. It’s well worth it.
Runner Up, Best Folding Commuter Bike: Schwinn 20-Inch Loop
Looking for a quality commuter bike, but want to keep the price as low as possible? The Schwinn Loop is best budget folding bike. We are very impressed with how much Schwinn was able to pack into this bike, while keeping the price just above $200.
The Loop’s frame is made from aluminum, giving you all the usual benefits from this material. And while the bike has a total weight of 34 lbs, this is an acceptable trade off for the price you’re paying.
The bike’s folding hinge is located in the middle of the frame, and uses a quick-release latch to pivot, where you can then break down the seatpost and handlebars to save even more space and make it easy to carry.
The Loop comes with a nice 7-speed drivetrain, so you should have plenty of options for getting off to quick starts, climbing speeds, and maintaining higher speeds in the lowest gear. Caliper brakes give you a responsive ever feel, and a lot of stopping power.
The bike’s wheelset uses 20-inch alloy wheels with 30 spokes, so there is some added shock absorption and expanded durability for the rougher parts of urban riding. ‘The tires have a smooth tread that favors speed, but also ensures better traction in a variety of weather conditions.
Schwinn is the best lightweight folding bicycle which was sure to include a full fender setup, and add a luggage rack on the end as well. Everything you need for city riding in commuting conditions.
The Dahon Mariner D8 is obviously our preferred folding commuter bike, but if you are looking to keep the cost down, the Schwinn Loop folding bike is a perfectly good alternative that will serve you well for years to come.
The Best Folding Electric Bike: Prodeco Phantom X2
Electric bikes can sometimes be hit-or-miss, especially if you’re looking for one that can fold up. The Prodeco Phantom X2 is the exact opposite of a miss. This is the best full size electric folding bike, and it can even hold up to some rougher terrain.
The Phantom X2 folding electric bike has a very unique and aggressive look, while being more of a discreet electric bike thanks to its design and battery placement. The frame is made from aluminum, and comes with a magnesium suspension fork that is totally capable of minimizing bumps, potholes, and drops.
The bike’s folding mechanism is halfway down the frame, and uses a single latch to keep things nice and fast. The battery assembly is located above the rear cargo rack.
While the Phantom X2 is an electric bike, there are still 8 speeds for when you want to pedal without the engine, or when you simply want to pedal in between motor uses. The gear changes are handled by click shifters on the handles.
Now for the fun part. The Phantom X2 uses a 500 watt motor that can be used with a throttle to fully power the bike, similar to a motorcycle. The motor will engage with whichever gear you have it in, and attain speeds of up to 20 mph, traveling for a distance of up to 38 miles on a single charge.
The motor is actually fairly quiet, so if you’re used to those loud, obnoxious electric bikes, this one is as discreet as it gets.
The wheelset offers expanded support in the rear to handle the extra weight from the battery and motor assembly, and Continental tires help ensue added durability and tread for any weather condition.
The Prodeco Phantom X2 is a workhorse of a folding electric bike, eagerly taking on rougher terrain, and providing a fast, efficient, and quiet motor that can significantly reduce the strain of a long commute, or for those who just need an extra boost from time to time. The folding aspect is almost a bonus in a way.
Runner Up, Best Folding Electric Bike: Greenbike USA GB5
The Greenbike USA GB5 is essentially a compact commuter-style folding bike, but with added suspension and a motor. This is actually the perfect combination, and makes this the best folding commuter bike for anyone needing a motor for assistance on their daily rides.
The GB5’s frame design is a play on the basic compact folding bike style, and manages to fit in a coil as a rear shock, while also utilizing a front suspension fork. This doesn’t mean you can go hit some crazy downhill trail, but it does mean that you’ll always have a smooth comfortable ride at all times.
To further add to the comfort and steering, the GB5 has wide set handlebars, a very plush ergonomic seat, and ergonomic grips. You also get 6 speeds for pedaling, and a full disc brake setup. Not bad at all.
The bike hinges in the center, and can fully compact down to a very small size that you will have no problems bringing into your workspace, or the bus, subway, or even a taxi if needed.
The GB5’s 350 watt motor can operate in throttle mode up to 20 mph, or attain a speed of 28 mph with pedal assistance. You can get 50 miles off of a single charge. There’s even an LCD info screen, turn signals, a horn, and puncture-proof tires.
We’ll say it again: bike commuting doesn’t get any better than the Greenbike GB5. If you’re willing to splurge on the best electric folding bike, and need one that can withstand the rigors of demanding urban commuting, and offer a high amount of versatility, you’ll love the GB5.
The Best Folding Hybrid Bike: Montague Allston
The Montague Allston is a definitive and best hybrid folding bike in all the right ways. Designed to provided speed and efficiency on paved surfaces, but also equally able to hold up on lighter off-road trails, the Allston pavement is a true “go anywhere” bike, and it just so happens to fold up.
The bike’s frame is aluminum, which helps it keep the weight down to a very manageable 30 lbs. This gives it stability and speed, but doesn’t make it overly heavy. The folding mechanism is located around the rear chainstays, letting you quickly unlatch and fold the bike down in about 30 seconds.
The Allston’s drivetrain is very unique, and very awesome. Rather than using the standard chain, the bike instead opts for an oil-free belt drive instead, along with an internal gear hub. This protects the gear assembly from dirt and moisture, keeps the bike clean and grease free, and decreases maintenance.
11 total speeds come with the Allston, which are operated using Shimano Alfine Rapid Fire shifters. Deore Series hydraulic brakes offer ample stopping power, while 32-spoke alloy rims and Vee rubber trekking tires are among the most versatile and smooth you’ll find.
Montague’s exclusive Rack Stand is included with the Allston, which can function as a cargo rack, kickstand, work stand, and folded bike stand.
The Montague Allston can basically be described as a deluxe hybrid bike that throws in a folding mechanism as well. Sure, it’s a little pricey, but in this case, the price is indicative of the quality and features you’re getting, and worth every cent.
Runner Up, Best Folding Hybrid Bike: Montague Urban
Surprise — another Montague bike on this list. And as usual, it’s for a good reason. The Montague Urban is basically a scaled down version of the Allston, but with some added features thrown in, and for a more affordable price.
The Urban uses aluminum in its custom-drawn frame tubing, which has extra reinforcement in high-stress areas. This design gives the Urban some added stability, while keeping the weight down to about 29 lbs. Definitely manageable for when you need to carry it.
Like many of the other Montague folding bikes, the Urban’s folding mechanism uses a release lever that can be found on the rear chainstay, and just under the seat. Simply release the lever, use the quick-release to remove the front wheel, and you’re fully compacted in about 20 seconds.
The Urban comes with a full 21-speed drivetrain, with the gears controlled using Shimano Easy Fire Trigger shifters. Braking comes courtesy of a Tektro Dual Pivot Caliper side-pulling system, with quick releases on both.
As for the wheelset, you get 32-hole alloy rims, which are paired with road bike style 700c tires, only these tires have a slightly knobby tread pattern for improved traction in any weather conditions. And as usual, you get Montague’s all-purpose Rack Stand on the back.
The Montague Urban is a durable and quick hybrid that offers a but more speed and control over most hybrids in its class, while maintaining the more comfortable ride that hybrids are known for. Oh, and it completely folds up in 20 seconds, which is always nice to have, right?
Choosing Your Folding Bike
The main aspect uniting all bikes is their ability to fold down and compact for easier storage, or for carrying when you are commuting.
To make sure you end up with the right fold up bike for you, consider what your needs are.
If you are in need of a bike simply to ride around your neighborhood, park, or bike paths, you have the most flexibility in your choices. However, for the most part, a hybrid or road-style foldable bike will be your best choice.
Hybrids are a mashup of road and folding mountain bikes, while placing an emphasis on comfort. That means they will have a more upright seating and steering position, comfy seats and handlebars, and versatile tires that can handle pavement and light off-roading.
Commuting can be defined in a lot of different ways for a bike.
If you are intending on riding your bike directly to and from your work, and common errands, you can get by with a hybrid or front-suspension mountain bike.
If you need to cover longer distances, an electric bike can be the best thing that ever happened to you. These bikes can let you ride without pedaling, or use the motor to assist your pedaling and make things easier.
Do keep in mind that there are both full-sized and compact electric folding bikes. The compact ones are better for when you are planning on riding a subway, train, or bus with the bike.
The same goes with smaller commuter bikes. These are mainly why folding bikes were invented in the first place. Commuter folding bikes are small, lightweight, and can easily be folded and collapsed down to a carry-on size that is no bigger than a large tote bag.
This is pretty self-explanatory. There are now a ton of best folding bikes on the market, most of which are perfect as capable of handling singletrack and moderate downhilling just as well as their non-folding counterparts. These will always be full-sized.
If you’re looking for a collapsible bike that gives a superior all-round performance, there is no better option than the Montague Paratrooper.
The best foldable bike in terms of suspension, price and value for money has to be the Cryusher FR100. It has a very good price-to-value ratio.
For general use on the Road, the Montague Boston has no equal, given how it is stripped of frill and how well it can serve the purpose of everyday transit between home and work, for example. The Columbia 26” comes at a close second.
Commuter Bikes should be easy to carry so they aren’t difficult to lug in the metro or in the bus, for example. The Dahon Mariner D8 and the Schwinn 20-Inch Loop portable bikes are virtually tied when it comes to being the best in this regard. The Schwinn Loop is the more budget-friendly option, though, even as the price comes at an understandable decrease in overall quality.
Among Electric bikes, the Prodeco Phantom X2 outshines its competition owing to its superior design and stylish looks, as well as a very impressive battery performance. the Greenbike USA GB5 comes second, due to its slower speed and prototype-ish looks, though it is pretty durable and works wonderfully for daily commutes.
As for Hybrid bikes, Montague takes that genre and blows all competition out of the water. The Montague Allston is the perfect “go anywhere” bike owing to its 11 speeds, superior wheel and aluminum frame design. The Montague Urban is great as well, becoming a more pocket-friendly choice for customers, almost being a watered down Allston. The bike is durable, fast and fun to ride.