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Choosing a Folding Bicycle

Updated on September 27, 2011

The Folding Bicycle: The Go Anywhere Bike

Bicycles are a great form of transportation. Sometimes they can get you where you're going faster than a car and always faster than you can walk. The hard part is storing and transporting them. A folding bicycle solves this problem.

Whether you travel to Europe and want cheap local transportation, want to take your bike around the country without hassling with a bike rack, or simply want a better way to commute, a folding bicycle can be the perfect solution.

Learn more about these bikes; what they offer and how to choose one on this page. You'll even find a variety of models from the highly affordable to the more high performance bikes.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Folding Bicycle

Like anything, a folding bicycle provides some wonderful benefits while also presenting a few drawbacks. Before you invest in one, think through your expectations and see if these handy bicycles will meet your needs.

  • Like any bike, folding bicycles allow you to travel moderate distances without the expense associated with a car or other motoroized vehicles.
  • In addition they can provide a fun activity that will also keep you fit.
  • These bikes are perfect for urban commuters and travelers. By collapsing into a smaller size, they are easily loaded onto buses, into cabs, and onto trains. In addition, these bikes tend to be very maneuverable.
  • Because most folding bicycles are smaller, they are also lighterweight and easier to lift.
  • They are ideal for those who live in small spaces. When folded, their compact size means they can be stored in closets, the corner of a room, under a desk, and so forth. Small apartments and offices can accommodate these bikes easily.
  • They transport well. You don't have to have a bike rack to tote a folding bike along. They will fit in your trunk, your RV, boat, or truck bed easily.
  • Like any bicyclee they don't pollute the air, they are a very green transportation alternative.

On the otherhand, these bikes, due to their smaller tires tend to be a bit slower and provide a rougher ride. The majority of them are intended for road/street use although there are some sporty, mountain bike models. For people who are over 6' tall, they need to choose a bike that has the height they need. Beyond 6'4" or so, adaptions often have to be made.

Buying Tips

If you decide a folding bicycle is what you need, there are a few things to consider before you buy your first one.

  • Size
    The bike needs fit your body. You need to be able to adjust the seat and handlebars so that you can ride in a comfortable position and not get a sore back, knees, or neck.

    Beyond this however, you want to get the size tire that's right for the task. Most foldable bicycles offer either 16", 18", 20", or 26" tires. A bike with 16" or 18" tires is probably going to fold to a more compact size. Therefore, if the majority of your riding time will be in urban areas, getting on and off subways or buses, this would be a great choice.

    However, if you will be riding significant distances, a larger tire, at least 20", will give you a better and faster ride in general.
  • Weight
    While a steel frame is sturdy, they can be quite heavy. Aluminum alloy is generally lighter and higher performing. If you will be routinely lifting your bike to carry it upstairs, to store it, or to put it in and out of your trunk, on a bus, and so forth, then lighter weight will be appreciated. On the otherhand, if cost is a bigger consideration, steel is sometimes less expensive.
  • Folding
    Size was mentioned above as it relates to the overall bike and riding comfort. However, it's folded size matters too. You'll need know the approximate size of the space you have available to store and transport your bike and then compare that to it's folded size.

    You'll also want to know how easily the bike folds. Will it take you 3 or 4 minutes to fold or just 10 seconds. If you just ride your bike for leisure on the weekends, the speed may well be unimportant. If you rush to catch a bus every day, speed might be much more critical.
  • Use
    As mentioned above, most of these folding bicycles are urban commuters or road bikes. Larger tires are better for long distances. However, it's also important to consider gears if you'll be riding uphill or in rugged conditions. Without lower gears to go to, bicycling uphill can be difficult. A sport or mountain bike is needed for any off road riding and there are some available which fold.

20" Cruiser

This is an affordable option for those wanting a folding bicycle. It is a 5 speed bike with a 20" steel frame. It has a double latch folding mechanism to assure the bike is securely locked in place. It has folding handlebars and folding pedals and will allow you to bring it along in your vehicle or store it away in small spaces once you arrive. It requires only a minute to fold or set up.

It has a comfort seat and rear shock absorbers to provide a smooth ride. It comes with a kickstand and has 20" x 1.75mm alloy rims.

26" Mountain Bike

This 18 speed 26" folding bicycle has a heavy duty steel frame and 26" x 1.75mm steel rims. It also has a front shock absorber to handle rougher terrain and yet allow you to enjoy the smoothest ride possible. It has an adjustable seat and kickstand. This bike folds and locks in place with a lever. It weighs 37 lbs.

Dahon Folding Bicycles

Dahon is a top name in folding bicycles. The Speed 8 is obviously an 8 speed bike with a chrome-moly frame, dual density saddle, and smooth riding Schwalbe Big Apple Tires. It folds up to an 11" x 23" x 33" size in 15 to 20 seconds and when extended, provides a comfortable upright riding position. It's great for cruising around town.

The Boardwalk S1 is a very sturdy 30lb bike, one of the most affordable from Dahon. It has 20" wheels and a cargo rack on the back. It is a single speed bike with a hand brake and coaster brake system.

The Speed TR also has a chromoly steel frame Schwalbe Big Apple Tires, and V-brakes. This bike will handle rougher terrain, especially hills, better than the two previous bikes. It offers 24 gears and front and rear racks for carrying cargo. It also offers a kickstand, front and rear lights, and has adjustable handlebars and seat.

The Mariner 7 is a 20" 7 speed bike with a rust resistant, aluminum frame. It weighs only 26lbs and folds up to 11" x 31" x 26" in approximately 15-20 seconds. It's built for people 4'8" to 6'4" and can carry up to 230lbs. The Espresso is an urban bike with an ergonomic saddle, upright riding posture, and a seatpost that includes a hidden pump. It's a 21 speed bike that weighs a mere 29lbs. It comes in a small, medium, and large frame to suit people from 5'2" to 6'4".

The Speed Pro TT folding bicycle is a 27 speed 20" bike. It has a lightweight aluminum frame weighing only 21.4 lbs. It has adjustable handlebars and stem and can be folded in only 15-20 seconds to a size of 15" x 30" x 24". It is built for people between 4'8" and 6'4" with a weight at or below 230lbs. The Mu Uno is for those who like simplicity. It's a single speed bike that has no cables, no gears and folds up in a mere 10 seconds. It has a back pedal brake and will come with a forged dual-pivot calper brake if you wish to install it. It is built for people between 4'8" and 6'4" with a weight at or under 230lbs. It folds to a mere 10" x 30.4" x 25.7".

The Vitesse 7 Hg comes in a 7 speed (Shimano Nexus) or 3 speed (SRAM hub gear) model. It has mudguards, a rear rack, and a hidden pump inside the seatpost. The handlepost is adjustable. This 26lb model will collapse to 11" x 31" x 26" in 15 seconds. The Mu P8 is an 8 speed bike with V-brakes, a pump in the seatpost, and telescoping handlepost. It accommodates riders 4'8" to 6'4" and has a maximum weight capacity of 230lbs. This bike weighs only 24.7lbs and folds to 11.7" x 30.8" x 25.7" in 15 seconds. The Mu XL on the otherhand, is more of a sport bike. It is an 8 speed bike featuring a Shimano Nexus 8 Premium Hub, stronger wheels, and an adjustable saddle. It weighs 26.4lbs and will fold to 13" x 27" x 32.5" in 15 seconds.

Dahon Folding Bicycle Demonstration


The 16" Kent folding bicycle has a lightweight aluminum frame (25lbs) making it easier to tote around. It features a rear rack for holding books or bags, front and rear linear pull brakes, alloy wheels, and all terrain tires. This 6 speed bike can be folded or unfolded in 20 seconds.

The smaller Mini model by Kent is a single speed design with a dual chain drive, front/rear linear pull brakes, an adjustable seat, and adjustable handlebars. It too has alloy wheels but sports 8" ballon tires. It measures 45" x 54" x 15" when unfolded and 28" x 16" x 23" folded.

Operating the Kent Folding Bicycle

Schwinn Folding Bicycles

Schwinn offers some of the most affordable folding bikes available. They are designed for casual riders and commuters using roads and pathways.

The single speed Schwinn model has 20" alloy rims, city tires, a low stand-over frame for easy mounting and dismounting, and front and rear alloy linear pull brakes. It features a rear rack, an adjustable seat post, and front and rear fenders. This bike measures 30" x 32" x 11" when folded and weighs 30+ lbs.

The 7 speed folding bicycle by Schwinn has a very low stand-over frame, front and rear linear pull barkes, 20" alloy rims and city tires as well. It includes a heavy gauge nylon bag for carrying your belongings.


Columba provides some additional options for an affordable folding bicycle. The first is a 20" 7 speed bike with front/rear V-brakes, fenders, and a rear rack for carrying some books or other belongings. It features a removable front stem, and foldable pedals allowing it to be collapsed in approximately 10 seconds. It has a kick stand and is ideal for people between 5' and 5'9" with a weight at or under 180lbs. This folding bike is available in black and silver. It measures 33" x 15" x 26" when folded and weighs 31lbs.

The other option is a 26" 18 speed bike. It's available in blue, black, yellow, or silver. This folding bicycle is designed for people between 5'3" and 6' tall. It has a maximum weight capacity of 200lbs. It measures 38" x 14" x 29" when folded.

Areaware Strida

The Strida folding bicycle has an innovative design and is very low maintenance. With it's triangular frame and horizontally mounted handlebars, riders can sit upright and keep their back straight. The bike is available in cream or silver. It has a powder coat rustproof aluminum frame, 16" rustproof alloy wheels, and cable disc brakes.

This single speed bike folds up in just a few seconds and operates silently with the Kevlar greaseless belt drive. After folding, it can be rolled along and is amazingly compact.

A Closer Look at the Strida 5.0 Folding Bicycle

21 Speed Moutain Bike

This is a sporty, 21 speed mountain bike. It features 26" x 1.95mm alloy rims and weighs 30lbs. It has a shock absorber to smooth out bumps, folding pedals, and a quick release seat to make it even more compact when folded.


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    • KenWu profile image


      7 years ago from Malaysia

      I have actually thought of getting myself a folding bicycle but they do not come cheap at the place where I'm from. :(

    • PaperNotes profile image


      7 years ago

      My father-in-law bought a folding bike last week and I just remembered I read about it here.

    • BrianS profile image

      Brian Stephens 

      8 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

      These folding bikes are a great idea, can just imagine popping one into the car boot and going off to the Canal Du Midi for a few hours out cycling through the French countryside.

    • janices7 profile image

      Janice S 

      8 years ago

      What a great idea for travel. Something that would finally fit in the trunk of my PT cruiser too:)

    • tritrain profile image

      And Drewson 

      8 years ago from United States

      Wow, folding bikes have come a long way over the years! They would make for a great travel companion for pilots, business people, or light-weight travelers.

    • SteveoMc profile image


      8 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      I want one of those with a great big soft seat.....I will ride it down the hill, fold it up, and wait for my wife to pick me up. Awesome!

    • prasetio30 profile image


      8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I am glad to have this one. It looks cute and easy to carry . Thanks for share with us.

    • Alison Graham profile image

      Alison Graham 

      8 years ago from UK

      Great information here - the first folding bicycle I ever saw in the UK was the Moulton, a small wheel bike - these new models look great!

    • MKayo profile image


      8 years ago from Texas

      That is SO cool! Thanks for the info.

    • PaperNotes profile image


      8 years ago

      I've heard of foldable bikes before but have not really seen one in person. It will be a great gift for my cousin who loves to bike. Thank you.

    • SEOshortcuts profile image


      8 years ago from San Francisco CA

      Yes!! You are ASTOUNDING at Hubbing - that's not a joke - taking notes, trying not to stalk, but definitely love your layout, style, and info.

      A folding bike, huh? Who knew...Thanks for another great Hub!

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 

      8 years ago from UK

      You manage to write such interesting hubs! ;-)

    • irenemaria profile image


      8 years ago from Sweden

      Such useful bike. Can put one in the trunk, park and take the bike down town.

    • theherbivorehippi profile image


      8 years ago from Holly, MI

      Shut up!!! I LOVE THIS! I have never heard of such a thing!!!

      Dear Santa...... lol

      This is really great information, I'm going to have to add this on my list of "wants" for sure!


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