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Best folding e-bike 2022: The finest electric folding bikes for commuting and longer rides

Duncan Moore
20 Apr 2022

Folding e-bikes are the ultimate in convenient green transportation and can get you from A to B with the minimum of fuss

If you need an e-bike that can be used at each end of a long train commute or you’re short on storage space, a folding e-bike could be the answer.

Rather than worrying about using a regular bike and having to leave it locked up somewhere, a folding bike can be taken on public transport and, even better, can be safely stowed under a desk at your final destination.

However, it’s not only commuters who can benefit. Folding e-bikes are great for anyone who lives in a flat or small house, too. Once stowed away, a folding e-bike can take up a surprisingly small amount of space and be kept safely indoors.

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Best folding e-bike: At a glance

How to choose the best folding e-bike for you

Which features should I look out for?

With any folding bike, including folding e-bikes, the main concern is how small it will be once folded and how heavy it is. To ensure their bikes are as compact as possible, the majority of manufacturers opt for small diameter wheels.

The most popular size is 20in as this provides a reasonable compromise between speed, comfort and overall folded size. Some go larger or smaller and both options have benefits and drawbacks. Larger wheels means a more comfortable ride but more bulk when folded away. Smaller wheels mean a more compact package but also a twitchier, harsher ride.

As you will be carrying a folded bike at some point the overall weight needs to be considered, too, especially for folding e-bikes, where the battery and motor create an additional load. As with all things cycling, the cheaper the bike, the more it will weigh.

The length of time you expect to ride on each journey will also impact your choice. For short journeys a single-speed bike will be fine. For Longer journeys or hilly locations, a range of gears will be beneficial.

And before making your final choice, it is also worth considering how much you plan to use your folding e-bike. If you plan to ride all year round, consider models that have mudguards or at least mounting points for them. Similarly, built-in lights will be beneficial for year-round riding, especially if they run off the same battery as the bike’s motor.

How much do I need to spend?

Folding bikes are inherently more expensive than regular bikes and the cost of a battery and motor push the price up further.

Entry-level, electric-assist models can be found for less than £1,000 and for a bike you use only occasionally, this might be all you need to spend. However, if weight or comfort, smart features and range matter to you, you’ll probably need to pay more. The best electric folding bikes can cost as much as £4,000.

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The best folding e-bikes to buy in 2022

1. Decathlon B'Twin 500E: The best value folding e-bike

Price: £900 | Buy now from Decathlon

Representing extraordinary value at less than £1,000, the Decathlon B’Twin 500E is an electric folding bike that costs less than many full-size e-bikes. The 500E may be low priced but that does mean it comes in at the heavier end of the folding bike scale at 18.6kg.

It’s been rebranded since we first tested it (it used to be called the Tilt 500) but it remains the same bike at heart with an unbranded 250W brushless hub motor at the front helping to keep the cost down. Built into the rear wheel, this is supplied with electricity by a 24V, 7.8Ah battery that lives within the frame. Depending upon which of the three riding modes you use, and how much you use them, you can expect a range of up to around 20 miles per charge.

To help you make the most of the power assist, the Tilt includes a Shimano Tourney six-speed transmission. Braking is taken care of by a pair of V-brakes which are effective, but an obvious cost-cutting exercise.

The good news is that front and rear LED lights and mudguards over the 20in wheels are all included as standard. The use of 20in wheels is a good compromise: they’re small enough to keep the bike compact when folded but not so small that they fall into potholes or make the bike feel twitchy when ridden quickly.

Read our original Decathlon B’Twin Tilt 500 review for more details

Key specs – Weight: 18.6kg; Motor: 250W (rear); Range: Up to 20 miles; Number of gears: 6

Buy now from Decathlon

2. MiRiDER One: The best value folding e-bike with suspension

Price: £1,595 | Buy now from Amazon

Given the funky design of the MiRiDER One with its chunky aluminium frame and some nice specification choices, it’s surprising to discover it costs relatively little (£1,595). This really is good value for money considering you get a frame that not only integrates the battery but also offers simple rear suspension to counter the harsh ride of the small 16in wheels.

Now consider that the 36v, 7Ah battery features Samsung cells and the wheels are shod with high-quality Schwalbe Green Compound Road Cruiser tyres and the bike starts to look like good value.

The 250W motor built into the rear wheel offers industry-standard maximum assistance of 15mph and the handlebar-mounted control lets you select five different levels of assistance. There’s also a thumb throttle for when you need a little extra boost such as pulling away from traffic lights.

If you only use the lowest level of assistance, you can get close to the suggested maximum range but, if you find yourself using maximum assistance a lot to make up for the lack of gears, the time between charges soon drops.

To meet the low price, point gears have been omitted. In general, every day riding the use of the five levels of assistance can compensate for this but on longer hills you’ll start to notice the bike’s 18kg weight. This is also noticeable when it comes to carrying the folded bike. The good news is that, while partially folded, the MiRiDER can still be pushed along, to save you having to carry it.

Key specs – Weight: 17.7kg; Motor: 250W (rear); Range: Up to 45 miles; Number of gears: 1

Buy now from Amazon

3. Brompton Electric: The most compact folding e-bike

Price: From £2,995 | Buy now from Pure Electric

Ask most people to name a folding bike and the chances of them saying Brompton are high. For many years now the British designed and built bikes have been the folding bike of choice of numerous commuters and the range now extends to include electric versions.

The steel frame of the latest Brompton Electric C-Line is the same as that used on the regular version and is one of the best folding frames available. One of its unique features is that, when the bike is completely folded, the drivetrain is in the middle, which means no worries about an oily chain marking your clothes when you need to lug it around.

While 16in wheels, such as those used on Brompton bikes, may not give the smoothest of rides there is a small amount of suspension at the rear, a polyurethane block between the rear frame section and the main frame taking the sting out of bumps.

The use of the same frame design as regular analogue Brompton models also dictates the location of the motor and battery and it isn’t the most elegant of arrangements, with the 250W brushless motor mounted in the front wheel hub and the 8.55Ah lithium-ion battery fitted in a bag that mounts to the front of the bike.

Like all e-bikes sold in the UK, the Brompton is limited to a top speed of 15mph and, depending on which of the three levels of assistance you use, delivers a range of between 20 to 40 miles on a single charge but, if you need something that’s compact and easy to carry, there aren’t many others better.

Read our full Brompton Electric review for full details

Key specs – Weight: 16.6kg (two-speed), 17.3kg (six-speed); Motor: Brompton (front); Range: 25-50 miles; Number of gears: 2 or 6

Buy now from Pure Electric

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