What is the Best Folding Electric Bike in 2021 and What to Know About It?
To make your work easier, we shall discuss some of the most important things you should check before buying a folding electric bike.
Folding Electric Bike Buying Guide (2021 update)
Foldable electric bikes have become so popular today due to their numerous benefits as compared to the normal bikes and even other e-bikes categories.
One of the reasons why people love them is because they are versatile. You can easily fold the structure and keep them in a safe place, such as under your desk.
For those who are trying to lose weight, e-bikes will be the ideal solution. However, the major problem people face today is choosing the best folding model since there are so many.
Pros and Cons of Folding Electric Bikes
Why should you buy a folding electric bicycle? There are many reasons to look at before investing in a product, so let’s be on the same page.
Main benefits of a folding electric bike
- Public transport
Most mayor cities have subways and buses that are now designed to fit bicycles. If this is not the case, folding you e-bike will let you jump into any public transport.
Of course, this should be in an scenario where you run out of battery or there is an event that requires you to pay for transport.
- Limited space, no problem
It is not uncommon that offices and new buildings have less space for people. If you have a limited area, a foldable electric bike is the solution you need.
These type of electric bikes can be more affordable since their design and general components are not so sophisticated like high-end electric bikes, such as the Giant Trance E+ 3 Pro 2020 Full Suspension Electric Mountain Bike.
- Overall weight
These may be one of the most important points these e-bikes offer to users. For instance, the Hummingbird is one of the lightest folding electric bikes in the market.
- Throttle assisted feature
One of the common features you will find is a combination between pedal assist and throttle.
Having a throttle feature can give you the freedom of only using you hand and also carrying more weight.
For these reason, many delivery drivers have opt to buy them rather than a car or a standard bike.
A good alternative for delivery drivers could be the Tern Vektron S10, which has a rear rack to accommodate any basket.
- More Top Speed
Based on the usual motor configuration fitted (direct drive), the can reach speed between 25 km/h to 45 km/h.
Due to this top speed, in the US and UK some of these models are restricted with specific rules.
Limitation of foldable electric bikes
- Not all models are lightweight
Unfortunately, not all foldable electric bicycle models in the market are the best in terms of weight.
The reason behind is that some manufacturers use bigger batteries and motors in order to propel them through any terrain, such as the RadMini Step Thru fat tire.
I know that manufacturers try to do their best to build a user friendly foldable structure.
This is maybe a challenge since they have also to think about the folding effect.
Be careful of your body posture when folding or unfolding you e-bike.
- Only hub motors
If you are after an electric bicycle that can provide good torque, such as mid-drive ones, then maybe would be hard to find it here.
It is know that only hub motors are meant to be used for these type of bikes, otherwise, it would be difficult to fold.
- Components and the look
At first glance, their components are going to look very standard, such as the brakes lines and pads. These doesn’t mean they are low quality.
As in the look, there are not the most attractive ones. Honestly, it is hard to design a sleek one.
Most of these e-bikes have small tires. This translates into having not the best grip so going potentially a bit off-road would be a problem.
- Rider Height
Looking at various e-bike folding models like the Swagtron EB7 Plus, tall riders (over 1.85 m or 6’06”) may not be able to fit properly with such small frames.
This is mainly due to the seat post being short to allow the folding feature be simple.
What to look in a Foldable Electric Bike
In order to select the right folding e-bike, you must take into consideration the following points:
Frame material, size and design
This one is arguably the most important factor that can help you to determine the quality of the foldable electric bicycle.
Ensure that the frame is sturdy enough to support your weight.
It should also have a user-friendly design. The materials used in the production should be strong and durable, like aluminum.
As mentioned above, this type of frames are usually not made for tall riders. Sit on it, ride it and have a feel if its size is okay for you.
Now, the design is not the biggest problem here. The only thing to look into is what added benefits the frame has (bike stand?).
Surely are not the most good looking ones but for a foldable feature, should be acceptable.
Foldability & Storability
You should also ensure that you have a place where you can store it. A good exercise is to check its dimensions when is folded to ensure that it will fit perfectly on you preferred area.
Another important thing you should think of is the security of the place where you will be storing it.
Don’t forget also to check if the frame size is the right one for you. is it comfortable to ride? is the frame step thru?
Motor quality and efficiency
As we have discussed, e-bikes have hub and mid-drive motors. The efficiency and effectiveness of an e-bike highly depends on the quality of the motor.
What you need to know is that the position of the motor affects how it adds power to the bike as you ride.
In the case for a folding electric bike, they come with either motor location. The power of these motors are between 250w and 750w.
The only one exception we have found with the location of the motor is the one featured in the Gocycle GS model. This motor is located in the front wheel and mainly due to its design.
In general, the motors fitted in these type of e-bikes are powerful enough to get you anywhere.
Hill climbing ability
To avoid frustrations, you need to think of the terrain in which you will be riding it.
If you need to climb hills, you need to ensure that the motor has enough power (torque) for hills climbing (check here to read our e-bike motor guide).
Brakes efficiency is always important in any e-bike. What we have seen so far is that low profile ones will have pad brakes but the most heavy and expensive ones will have hydraulic disc fitted.
Of course, the technology of the hydraulic brakes is not as responsive as a fancy e-MTB.
Tires and common specifications
Tires are among the most important parts of a foldable electric bike. Therefore, they should be made of reliable and sturdy materials to boost durability.
There is actually no specific set of tires to fit for this category. You will find fat tires, slim designs, some with good carving.
Tires will be usually between 14″ to 20″.
It may not be something to make you worry but, knowing more about the type of battery used can be the difference between buying or not an specific model.
Ideally, you would like a battery that can be removed. This is, from my perspective, essential since it will make your life easier when loading or carrying the whole thing.
If the battery cannot be removed, then it may be a lightweight one.
A foldable e-bike requires frequent maintenance just as the ordinary bikes. You need to check various parts from time to time to ensure that they are working properly.
The main element to always check for integrity is the locking system of the frame. I know they are very sturdy but, overtime, they can worn out becoming a safety hazard.
After using the e-bike for some time, you may need to replace some parts. It is always advisable to get you foldable e-bicycle to a trusted bike shop for general maintenance or repair.
If you are unsure where to find a reliable and trusted place in your city, check our bike store directory for more information.
Other Important Consideration
All of the above are the main factors to look ate but keep in mind these other point also.
Take it to a test drive
In case you have never used a folding e-bike before, it might not be possible to have clear requirements of what you need.
It is good to try out different folding models before you make a final decision on which one fits better and buy.
This will also help you to pick one that is functional or a bike that fits you correctly.
Purchasing an e-bike from a known company is always the best idea. These companies usually have excellent customer support and they also provide a reasonable warranty.
Some of the top folding electric bike brands offering good quality are:
- Rad Power Bikes.
- Tern Vekctron.
Of course, there are other manufacturer that you can consider. Before you buy from a brand, do your research and check their CUSTOMER SERVICE PROFILE.
Weight and Portability
Before buying, you need to be very sure about the maximum weight that can be supported by the bike. Most of the electric folding bikes can support a total weight of up to 300 lbs. It should also be portable or have a lightweight design.
Warranty, customer service and serviceability
The best electric folding bikes will normally be a bit pricey. It means that you need to ensure that the product you have chosen will give you value for your money.
One of the key things that can help you in determining the right price to pay is the warranty. What is the warranty covering? fFor how long?
Ensure that the warranty is reasonable enough or the company has a good customer support.
Riding modes and speed
Folding electric bicycles have different speeds just like they have different designs. The lighter models have a speed of up to 20 mph, which depends on the e-bike style.
The high-end models usually have a higher speed of up to 28 mph.
What ever speed the e-bike model has, you make sure your local regulation is not a deal breaker.
The good new is that some new electric bikes, such as the Aventon Pace 500, are now fitted with more specific controllers that allow you to limit the top speed.
Ask your dealer or bike shop to walk you through the controller for mode intel.
What you want to do with it?
If you are intending to use it for short rides around your area, then you need to look for a small and flimsy one like GoCycle or Hummingbird brands.
However, if you need one for more active or long rides, you need to look for one with bigger wheels such as the Tern Vektron S10.
Folding Electric Bike Reviews and Guide Wrap Up
The type of folding e-bike to will pick depends on your personal preference. However, do not just buy one because it is affordable or just because it has an attractive design (doubt it).
You need to ensure that it is strong enough for the intended purpose. We hope that this guide gave you enough information to choose a the right and best folding electric bike so that suits your requirements.