Folding e-bikes don’t take up much space and you don’t need to get all hot and bothered riding them. As such, they’re ideal for commuting. Their benefits don’t end there though. Here’s the best of what’s available in the £1,000 to £2,000 range. Have a look at our broader guide to folding e-bikes if your budget stretches beyond that.
Let’s first take a look at some of the ins and outs because there’s perhaps a bit more to consider when it comes to buying a folding e-bike compared to a non-folder.
The aim of the game is to keep things small and light, so folding e-bikes tend to have either 16” or 20” wheels. (The measurement is the diameter of the wheel plus the tyre.)
Smaller is not necessarily better though. While 16” wheels result in a smaller folded ‘package’, 20” wheels tend to offer a more comfortable ride. As with most things bike-related, it’s a trade-off. You’ll have to weigh ride quality against your need to cram the thing into a train luggage rack (or wherever) to decide which wheel size is likely to suit you better.
Small wheels are also easier to get up to speed, but less efficient at maintaining speed. In many ways this makes them great for nipping about in traffic, but maybe your journey isn’t quite as stop-start as you think it is. Plus steering can feel a bit twitchy with smaller wheels – although you’ll quickly get used to it.
This one basically boils down to a derailleur versus hub gears. Derailleurs are lighter (hurray!) but more delicate (boo!). The latter attribute means they aren’t always ideal if you’re trying to stow your bike in a small space while doing a leg of your journey on another form of transport.
Conversely, hub gears are more robust and require far less maintenance – but they’re heavier. Simpler still, you can also find fixed gear options.
Most folding e-bikes simply fold in half. The frame hinges in the middle and then the seatpost and handlebars fold down to reduce the size further.
However, some bikes fold in more than one place, which – as you’d imagine – generally means that the bike will end up smaller.
Motors, batteries and range
When it comes to e-bikes, mid-motors are usually more desirable. Not so with folding e-bikes where the increase in weight is far too significant to overlook. Hub motors are lighter and they’re also less likely to get in the way of the fold – so that’s typically what you’ll find.
For much the same reasons, batteries tend to be smaller too. If you need an electric folding bike with good range, an alternative to buying one with a larger battery would be to invest in a spare battery to carry with you.
Best folding e-bikes from £1,000 to £2,000
The best-known name when it comes folding bikes is probably Brompton. However, the Brompton e-bike is above the upper price limit for this article. The Cytronex Brompton e-bike conversion kit is £1,145 – but you do rather need to get hold of a bike to use it on, so that doesn’t really qualify.
This means we have to look elsewhere. Here are the top three electric folding bikes we’ve had in for review in this price band, followed by a few other options that are also worthy of consideration.
In no particular order…
A funky-looking single-speed ‘fold-in-half’ style folder, the MiRider One sports a relatively small 187Wh battery in its unusually-shaped magnesium frame.
The 2021 version of the bike has been upgraded with a lighter rear wheel motor, which is said to offer 40Nm of torque. There’s a rather handy trigger throttle too, which can be good for hill starts in particular.
Weight-wise, the MiRider One comes in at 17.65kg. Folding is quick and with 16” wheels, the end result is a 67cm x 66cm x 43cm package.
All in all, it’s great, sporty fun and excellent value for money.
With a 20” wheel design, the folded Raleigh Stow-E-Way is a little bulkier at 89cm x 66cm x 45cm – but it’s easy to fold down and still only 20.15kg.
The bike boasts a 245Wh battery and a good quality electric assist system that delivers smooth, strong power.
You also get LED lights, mudguards and a kickstand, while the rack is integrated with the frame and very strong.
If you a looking for a folding e-bike that rides well and can carry a decent amount too, then the Stow-E-Way should certainly be on the list.
It only just scrapes into our price bracket, but the FLIT-16 is a light, compact folding e-bike with decent performance and range.
It’s a single speed with 16” wheels, sporting a 230Wh battery and a very small, neat-looking Bafang hub motor integrated into the rear forks.
On our scales our test bike came up as 15.77kg with the mudguards and kickstand on, which is lighter than anything of equivalent price.
The ‘tri-fold’ mechanism is also quick and easy, resulting in a 73cm x 68cm x 33cm package.
Volt’s folding e-bike is the Metro. (There’s also the low-step Metro LS, which is the same price.)
Weighing in at 19.5kg, it features a 250W SpinTech motor and a sizeable 400Wh battery.
You also get a rack, mudguards, hydraulic disc brakes and an ABUS frame-lock.
Folded down it’s 84cm x 76cm x 46cm.
Rad Power are a brand who tend to offer almost unparalleled value when it comes to e-bikes. Their RadRunner utility bike and RadWagon cargo bike both come in at a jarringly different price point to similarly-specced rivals. Their folding e-bike is the RadMini.
At 30kg, it’s pretty hefty compared to its rivals and its folded dimensions are larger too at 104cm x 71cm x 55cm.
This is in large part because the bike boasts a 672Wh battery that the firm estimates is good for over 50 miles. This is teamed with a 250W hub motor capable of producing a whopping 80Nm of torque. You also get seven gears, fat tyres, mudguards, mechanical disc brakes and LED lights.
All in all, the RadMini is definitely at the performance-over-portability end of the spectrum and you’ll probably have a pretty clear idea whether that suits you or not.
Another Raleigh – this one sold exclusively through Halfords.
The Evo is described as the "ultimate convenience solution" for commuters looking for an easily transportable ride. It has 20" wheels and a simple folding mechanism, folding down to a size of 88cm x 80cm x 40cm.
It’s about 20kg with a 250W rear wheel TranzX motor and 238Wh battery.
You also get 8-speed Shimano Altus gears, mudguards, a rack and V-brakes.