Folding electric bikes are one of the most popular formats of ebikes on the market today. But what exact is a folding electric bike, and why are they so popular?
In this article, we look at this unique style of ebike, discuss their myriad features and benefits, and highlight what we consider are some of the best folding electric bikes available today.
Let’s dive in.
As the name suggests, a folding electric bike is an ebike that can be folded in half. This is made possible by the placement of a strong hinge and clasp mechanism located in the middle of the frame.
When unfolded, the clasp holds the frame together and allows for normal riding. But when you unclasp the folding mechanism, you are able to fold the bike in half, making it highly portable. Some foldable ebikes also have a hinge at the tiller, which is the part of the bike where the handlebars connect. This allows for a more compact folded bike.
Folding ebikes are otherwise the same as regular electric bikes. They have gears like a conventional bike, so that you can ride without the use of the motor and battery, shifting gears as needed based on the terrain and riding conditions.
But when you need a boost, the folding ebike has a pedal assist system (PAS) that will engage the motor and help you pedal with ease. All of the folding ebikes reviewed here also have a throttle, which will allow you to use the motor and ride with no pedaling required.
There are several benefits to owning a folding ebike. First, it makes your bike highly portable. Instead of using a bike rack that mounts to the outside of your car or truck, a folded ebike can be placed in the backseat or cargo area of your vehicle. This eliminates the risk of the bike being stolen, and reduces exposure to the elements.
Because of their portability, folding electric bikes are very popular with RV campers, boat owners, and even private pilots. They are also very popular with students, who can store their bikes in an apartment, rather than leaving them outside on a common bike rack.
Now that we know how folding ebikes work and why they are so popular, let’s review some of the best folding electric bikes on the market today. Here we are focusing on 5 of our bestselling models. If you want more information, you can also check out the 10 Best Folding Electric Bikes for 2020.
First up is the City Premium folding ebike from Green Bike Electric Motion. The City Premium is one of our most popular models, and for good reason. It features a beautiful curved low-step frame design, which allows for easy mounting and dismounting.
There are two folding mechanisms on the City Premium, one at the center of the frame and the other at the base of the tiller. This allows the City Premium to fold up into a very compact shape that measures 14” x 33” x 33”.
The City Premium folding ebike has a 6-speed gear shifter and derailleur, allowing it to be ridden like a conventional bike when the motor is turned off. But when you need a boost, there is a robust 350W rear hub motor, which is paired with a 48V/15.9Ah long range battery. Based on our Ebike Range Calculator, this battery should give you over 38 miles of assisted riding per charge on average.
The City Premium has a programmable pedal assist system (PAS) so you can decide how many levels of assist you want, and it sports a right-side thumb throttle, which allows for pedal-free riding.
Other features of this ebike that puts this in the premium class include hydraulic disc brakes for authoritative stopping power, magnesium alloy rims, a lightweight all-aluminum frame, an integrated headlight and rear rack.
Next up on your list is another folding ebike from Green Bike Electric Motion. The Big Dog Off Road is one of our bestselling models, and for good reason. This fat tire folder is great for off-road adventures, traversing rocky and rutted trails with authority.
The Big Dog Off-Road has a full-suspension frame design with premium components, so it will absorb a lot of the shocks you might encounter during your rides. The Mozo front shock has 140mm of travel and lockouts, and a rear absorber from Taiwan Kindshock.
It features a powerful 750W rear hub motor by Bafang, and a long-range 48V/16Ah battery with Boston Power USA lithium-ion cells. You can think of motor wattage like horsepower, and with 750W at your disposal, your hill-climbing prowess will be unmatched. If you don’t believe me, just check out the videos.
The Big Dog Off-Road fat tire folding electric bike comes with hydraulic disc brakes with 160mm rotors and automatic motor cutoffs, so when you brake, the motor is automatically disengaged.
Unlike the City Premium model we just reviewed, the Big Dog Off-Road does not have a folding tiller. Instead, it features a curved handlebar with an adjustable stem. Moreover, the Big Dog is outfitted with rigid magnesium alloy rims, front and rear lights, a sturdy rear rack, and an intelligent display with multiple readouts.
It has a top assist speed of 28 mph, and a maximum carrying capacity of over 300 lbs.
As you may have noticed, most folding ebikes have 20” tires, which is not unexpected given that they are designed for maximum portability. But there are also a few standard size ebikes which are foldable, and the Baja is one of the best.
The Baja by X-Treme has standard 26” tires and a forward-leaning mountain bike style frame. The battery is located within the frame itself, and can be removed only when the bike is in the folded position.
The Baja is a full-suspension ebike, with a Suntour XCT front suspension fork and a KS rear absorber.
With its powerful 500W rear hub motor, the Baja is great for most riding conditions, and will help you climb hills and fight headwinds without breaking a sweat. It has a top assist speed of 25 mph, which technically makes it a Class 3 ebike.
The Shimano Altus 9-speed gears and shifter drivetrain will allow you to fine-tune your ride, whether or not you’re using the electronic components.
Ok, it’s time to mix things up a bit. Now that you’ve seen some of the most popular folding ebikes available today, let’s check out a folding electric trike. That’s right, a 3-wheeler. Not only is the Eunorau trike a folder, but it comes with fat tires, making it ideal for off-road trail riding as well as cruising the urban jungle.
The Eunorau Fat Tire E-Trike has two folding mechanisms, one at the center of the frame and the other at the base of the tiller.
The step through frame of this e-trike is very approachable. It is about 39” wide from end to end, so you can even fit it through some doorways. The frame is also sturdy at 80 lbs and is meant to hold 300 lbs as a max weight altogether.
Not only does it have a front metal basket that stays straight when you turn, but there is also a cargo box in the rear. This box has a flat wood board at the bottom and keeps the load away from the riders back with a long seat stay and chain stay.
There are also metal fenders all around, keeping you dry and surrounding these 20” x 3” (so kind of a fat tire) tires with a fair amount of grip. It makes for a very cozy ride, also because of the ergonomic grips and super comfortable seat with a lot of gel and rubber bumper springs underneath.
The Eunorau fat tire trike is powered by a 500W front hub-motor. Activating that motor can be done by the twist throttle on the right, or by using the cadence-based pedal assist system. The throttle here is tied to whatever mode of pedal assist you are in, meaning that to have full throttle power, you must be in the highest assist mode (level 5).
Powering the trike is a high capacity 48V/11.6Ah lithium ion battery, which is conveniently mounted behind the seat post for easy access.
Operating the trike is simple and straightforward on this grayscale backlit display. Once the battery is charged and ready to go on the trike, press the power button along the bottom. From there, the screen will turn on and you will see speed, a 5 bar battery infographic, and pedal assist on the right. Press the + or – buttons to raise or lower that level of pedal assist.
The last folding ebike in this review is the fat tire folding ebike from Eunorau, commonly referred to as the E-Fat-Step. This unique foldable ebike features a low-step frame design, allowing for easy mounting and dismounting.
Like other folders we’ve reviewed, the E-Fat-Step has two folding mechanisms, one at the center of the bike and another at the base of the tiller. This allows the bike to fold up into a compact package, ideal for transport and storage.
The E-Fat-Step features a 7-speed Shimano derailleur and gears, so it can be ridden like a conventional bike when the electronics are turned off. When you need a boost, there is a 500W rear hub motor which puts out tons of torque, paired with a nice 48V/12.5Ah easy access battery. You can charge the bike with the battery in place, or remove the battery for remote charging. To fully charge the battery takes about 6 hours.
The E-Fat-Step has 20” x 4” Kenda Krusade Sport fat tires with K-Shield Protection, so it’s great for rolling over curb cuts, potholes and gravelly roads. It performs very well on unpaved surfaces as well, providing a great deal of traction and stability when it’s needed most.
The E-Fat-Step has 5 levels of pedal assist and a right-side thumb throttle. This gives you the ability to find the sweet spot of assistance for every riding condition.
The bike comes with Tektro mechanical disc brakes with 160mm rotors and automatic motor cutoff sensors, which disengage the motor whenever the brakes are used. This is a great safety feature that is typically found on more expensive ebikes.
Other features of the E-Fat-Step include an integrated headlight and rear rack, and a comfortable saddle and ergonomic grips.
If you’re looking for an affordable low-step fat tire folder, the E-Fat-Step is worth your serious consideration.