The best electric folding bikes encompass a wide variety of designs. As is obvious from the name, they all fold in one manner or another, usually through hinges or pivots manufactured into the frame; but the reason for the fold and the overall design of the bike can vary greatly. With advancements in technology and improvements in ride quality, many electric folding bikes now warrant inclusion in broader lists of the best electric bikes.
For many thousands of commuters around the world, electric folding bikes have made ‘multi-modal travel’ the most practical way of getting to work. Lightweight and quick-folding, they allow you to get your machine on and off the train as quickly and easily as possible - but these qualities are also attractive to leisure riders, where a reasonably compact fold, a lightweight comfortable ride and an attractive price tag are typical attributes of your more leisure-orientated, ‘campervan’ e-folder.
Some folding e-bikes are built to fold as small as possible and be as light as possible, while others aim to replicate some of the attributes of bigger e-bikes like a comfortable, predictable ride and larger battery capacity. Delving into the different design aspects of e-folders, it soon becomes apparent that any option is a trade-off between these characteristics.
It's worth mentioning that we've also picked out the best electric folding bikes for under £2,000 if you're on a tighter budget.
Best electric folding bikes 2022
- Tern Vektron Q9 - £3,500 (Best overall)
- FLIT-16 (Commuter edition) - £2,499 (best lightweight folder)
- MiRider 2021 - £1,595-£2,195 (best for motorhomers and leisure riders)
- Raleigh Stow-E-Way - £1,399 (best budget electric bike)
- Gocycle G4 - £3,299 - £3,299 (best full-size feel)
- Vello Bike+ - £2,990 (best belt driven folder)
- Brompton ML6 Electric - £2,995 (best classic electric folder)
- Eovolt Afternoon - £2,099.99 (best 20" wheel electric folding bike
Of all the electric folding bikes featured here, the Vektron Q9 is the one that brings the greatest number of full-size e-bike qualities to the table. It is the only one with a mid-drive, in this case courtesy of Bosch, making it the most powerful e-folder here. It also has a larger battery than most, which is 400Wh, frame-mounted and removable.
It’s a hugely capable load carrier too, as our review makes clear, having space on the rear rack for a YEPP child seat and a pair of sizeable panniers, just to give a couple of examples. The downside is it’s one of the heaviest bikes on our list (21.9kg), and quite a bulky package when folded at 41cm x 86cm x 68cm. That said, it can be tipped onto its rear end when folded to store it vertically, and with the seatpost extended it can be rolled around station platforms with relative ease.
If you’re keen to ditch your car but without the space required for an electric cargo bike, then the Q9 is a great contender. It’s moved more towards Tern’s popular GSD model by increasing its practicality, but remains an option for those with limited storage space.
Read the full review of the Tern Vektron Q9.
There's a case to be made that the FLIT-16 Commuter Edition is the best electric folding bike out there. While our review covers the FLIT-16, the newer Commuter Edition comes as an enhanced package, with slightly more durable parts and mudguards and a kickstand as standard.
It’s lighter than most competitors with the exception of some Bromptons fitted with the likes of a Cytronex, Nano or Swytch and even then to substantially undercut the FLIT you would have to spec a smaller capacity, lighter battery or get a more expensive Brompton model that featured at least some titanium.
Read the full review of the FLIT-16
The popular MiRider One electric folding bike had an upgrade last year with the 2021 edition and we reckon it’s better than ever. It comes with a larger 252Wh battery as standard, a new, lighter motor and some other weight saving features. For the eagle-eyed among you, you may have noticed there's an even newer model released in 2022, with even more features. You can read our full review of the MiRider One GB3 here.
The bike has an unusual design, with a magnesium frame and the option of throttle control (though to remain legal, pedals must also be turning at the same time). It’s single speed so only really at home over more moderate hills, but more aimed at motorhomers and leisure riders. That said, it would be equally useful employing the throttle control to buzz around the city. Furthermore, the lighter weight of the 2021 model makes it a more easily transportable bike, as it’s easer to lift on and off public transport or up or down stairs.
Read the full review of the MiRider 2021.
The Stow-E-Way is a capable electric folding bike with a 245Wh battery and a good quality electric assist system from a well-respected manufacturer called Tranz-X. It delivers smooth, strong power and comes well equipped with LED lights, mudguards and kickstand. The rack is frame integrated and very strong.
Although the folded package is a little bulky with its 20” wheel design, it does fold fast and is easy to cart around. The Raleigh Stow-E-Way comes with a two-year guarantee on the electrical system including battery and backup from a major retail chain.
Read the full review of the Raleigh Stow-E-Way.
The GoCycle gets full marks for both practicality and style, with its smooth, funky looks meaning it has been dubbed ‘the iPhone of e-bikes’. It was designed pretty much from the ground up by UK designer Richard Thorpe, and features proprietary technology such as ‘Pitstop’ mag wheels on single-sided forks (that pop off easily in the event of a puncture) and a tiny yet powerful front hub motor.
The Gocycle has to be one of most fun e-bikes we’ve ever ridden. A new, beefier motor compared to its predecessors just eats up the hills and the new extra plush and extra grippy design of tyre gives you plenty of confidence to corner fast. The exotic frame design of aluminium hydroformed front section, carbon mid-frame and magnesium Cleandrive casing is wonderfully stiff and is able to transfer pedal power quickly to the road.
Read the full review of the Gocycle G4.
The Vello Bike+ is a belt-driven electric folding bike with a responsive geared hub motor. It uses the all-in-one Zehus motor system, which incorporates regenerative braking and a built-in inclinometer to measure gradient, among other cool features.
It’s a nifty little single speed bike with plenty of kick, even defeating 15% hills with ease. Folding is easy (once you learn where the pedals need to be), and the folded size of 81 x 37 x 57cm makes it a great under-the-desk companion for office workers or those looking to take a bike on public transport as part of their journey.
Read the full review of the VELLO Bike+.
The electrified version of the classic Brompton keeps the legendary quick and compact fold, and combines it with a powerful front hub motor and removable battery pack. This can be combined with luggage storage sitting at the front of the frame, where the traditional luggage mounting block sits on the non-powered version. It comes with 16” wheels and a 312Wh battery, and there are 2 speed and 6 speed versions available.
The Brompton is of course the train and bike commute folder par excellence and the firm's own motor system is powerful and responsive. The Brompton Electric is however fairly heavy in comparison to some third party conversions designed specifically to convert unpowered Bromptons into electric versions - most notable amongst these is the Cytronex Brompton kit.
The frame design hasn’t been radically altered, even with the addition of the motor, battery and control box. Importantly, this means it is the same size folded up as non-electric versions meaning it’s ideal for taking on public transport or hiding under your desk.
Read the full review of the Brompton ML6 Electric.
The middle of the Eovolt range in both size and price, the Eovolt Afternoon is a 20” wheeled electric folding bike which focuses on ride quality over pure portability. Described as a ‘do-it-all’ folder, it comes with front suspension, Spanninga lights, a 25kg rear rack and a kickstand.
With a 504Wh battery, it could tackle much longer commutes or quite easily be used for leisure, and with the 2.4” wide tyres, canal towpaths and fire roads are there for the taking. Foldability wise, it’s not quite as compact as something like the Brompton, but it’s not designed for that – if you’re looking for something that rides as nicely as a full-sized bike, but takes up far less storage space, then you could be onto a winner.
Read the full review of the Eovolt Afternoon.
How to choose the best electric folding bike
How far do the best electric folding bikes go?
The battery range of an electric folding bike varies depending on a number of factors; the battery capacity, rider weight, terrain, weather and gear choice. If you ride in a headwind up a 10% incline, you’ll see a much reduced range compared to riding on the flat with no wind. Most folding electric bikes now use batteries between 140 and 400Wh, with most getting about 30 miles of range on average from each charge - but as we say, this can differ substantially depending on the factors above.
Do you have to pedal an electric folding bike?
Yes, you do have to pedal an electric folding bike. Why? Because in order to be classed as an electrically assisted pedal cycle (EAPC) in the UK, the assist can only activate as you pedal. You might find some models don’t use a torque sensor to determine how much power the motor should provide, which means you can quite literally tap the pedals for the full benefit. Whereas more expensive models come with torque sensors that determine the correct level of assistance required given your power output.
Are electric folding bikes heavy?
Electric folding bikes don’t all weigh the same. Some weigh as little as 13kg, but weight goes all the way up to around 24kg so there is big variety. A non-folding electric bike might weigh around 14kg, but the biggest draw with folders is that they are compact and easy to store, as well as being portable for use on public transport.
How do folding electric bikes fold?
The most common type of folder is the ‘fold in half’, where the frame hinges in the middle and the seatpost and handlebar post fold down. This is pretty quick and easy, but often results in a bigger folded package than other designs.
The main other type of design is one that breaks the frame in two places. By its very nature this is a little more complicated to fold, but generally produces a smaller package than a ‘bi-fold’. The Brompton is the classic example of this and the quick, compact and secure fold is an absolute classic of bike design. The electric version retains the same superb folding mechanism.
What size of wheels do electric folding bikes use?
There are two main ‘families’ of wheel sizes on folders and electric folders, grouped by the approximate diameter of the wheel plus the tyre: 16” and 20”. 16” wheels are chosen to make for a more compact fold and to cut weight, with the downsides being the extra rolling resistance of a more sharply-curved tyre (compared to larger tyres of an equivalent design) and rather more sensitive handling than bigger versions.
Conversely, folders with 20” wheels mean a larger and usually heavier folded package, but they may produce a more efficient, comfortable and predictable ride. For carrying on public transport, you might find 20” wheels more of a struggle to get on a train luggage rack, to give one possible drawback.
Small wheelers are easier to pedal up to speed quickly compared to larger ones, but less efficient at maintaining speed over longer distances, pedalling steadily at a consistent pace. This is another reason they are so popular as ‘start/stop’ machines for nipping through city traffic.
What type of motor is most common on electric folding bikes?
Unlike on larger e-bikes where mid-drives are becoming dominant (particularly when you move above the £1,500 price point), hub motors are by far the most common on folders. That’s simply because these can be made lighter than most mid-drives, and are less likely to get in the way of the fold.
Batteries are often smaller in capacity too, to keep weight down and help simplify the fold. The battery sizes on our recommended selection of e-folders are pretty typical, mostly spanning 150Wh to 400Wh. On full size e-bikes a typical capacity is 300-625Wh, with options for dual battery systems meaning 1,250Wh is possible. Of course you can always buy a spare battery for an e-folder and carry it with you to extend your range.