We’ve put pricey folding electric bikes from Brompton, GoCycle and Tern up against cheaper alternatives from Decathlon, Raleigh, Sigma and Halfords’ own-brand Carrera to discover which ones will help you go the distance.
Folding electric bikes have a small motor and battery pack built-in to give you a bit of extra oomph, but they’ll also fold down small so you can carry them around easily when needed. At least, that’s the idea.
We found that some bikes were tricky to fold or heavy and uncomfortable to carry. Others had poorly built hinges that are unlikely to stand the test of time.
Prices range from £650 to more than £3,000, but a high price didn’t always guarantee a smooth ride. Similarly, some cheaper options were a better bet than others.
Of the seven folding e-bikes we’ve tested, only one impressed us enough to be a Best Buy.
Discover which model we named the best folding electric bike.
Folding electric bike reviews – compare all the big folding e-bike brands
Folding electric bikes reviewed
We assessed everything from how easily and quickly the bikes fold down, how small they fold and how comfortable they are to carry, to how far they’ll power you along for before they need recharging.
We also rated how smooth each bike was to ride on various types of terrain and how much effort you’ll need to put in to get up any big hills.
Folding bikes need to take a fair bit of rough and tumble, and need to have folding systems that stand up to repeated use, so we also inspected the build quality of folding hinges and other key components.
Here’s an overview of the bikes we assessed in our quest to uncover the best:
Brompton Electric H2L, £2,595
This battery-powered version of the classic Brompton folding bike is claimed to have a range of up to 45 miles and be nimble to ride, light to carry, and easy to fold up and transport. But how does it compare with other folding electric bikes in our independent lab tests? Read our full Brompton folding e-bike review to find out.
Carrera Crosscity, £850
The Carrera Crosscity is one of the cheapest folding electric bikes you can buy. It’s exclusive to Halfords, which says it will power 30 miles of motor-assisted cycling.
We sent this bike to our lab to put its motor, frame and key components through our stringent comparative tests. Read our full Halfords Carrera Crosscity review to find out what we made of it.
Decathlon B’Twin Tilt 500, £650
Folding electric bikes don’t get much cheaper than this. Decathlon says its budget bike is specifically designed to take up as little space as possible and that it’s for combining with other forms of transport such as trains, buses, cars and caravans.
Read our full review of the Decathlon B’Twin Tilt e-bike to see whether it outperforms rivals that cost more than six times as much.
Gocycle GX Fast Folder, £2,899
Into serious money now, the Gocycle is a significant investment. Gocycle says that it’s the most cutting-edge folding electric bike in the world. With a claimed range of 40 miles, and racy lines, could it be the perfect solution to the drudge of a daily commute?
Read our full Gocycle GX review to find out what we thought of this pricey folding e-bike.
Raleigh Stow-E-Way 2019, £1,350
Attractively priced somewhere in the middle, this Raleigh is one of the most popular folding electric bikes you can buy in terms of units sold. Raleigh says it will fold up into a compact shape ideal for storage at home or squeezing onto a packed train.
Is it popular for good reason though? Read our full Raleigh Stow-E-Way e-bike review to find out how it compares on practicality with other folding electric bikes and what it’s like to ride.
Sigma Low Step, £1,249
This folding bike is specifically designed for those who have limited mobility, or struggle to lift their leg over a bike with a high crossbar section. It claims to fold up small enough to be ideal for motorhomes or leisure riders.
We sent it to our lab to put it through a variety of ease-of-use and riding tests. See how it compares with big-brand rivals in our full Sigma Low Step e-bike review.
Tern Vektron S10, £3,400
Tern claims that the Vektron S10 is the best folding bike on the market, which you’d hope it would be at this price.
It has a Bosch motor, which Tern says is almost silent, and is claimed to power you along for an impressive 80 miles – quite the commute. It’s also designed to be capable of carrying luggage, or even small children.
Read the full Tern Vektron S10 review to find out what we make of this premium-priced folding electric bike.
Looking for a full-sized e-bike? Check our electric bike reviews
What to consider when buying an electric folding bike
Battery capacity and range
The range of folding electric bikes – how far they will get you before the battery runs out and you have to do all the work yourself – varies considerably.
Manufacturers base the range claims of their bikes on different scenarios where the weight of the rider and speed/incline varies, which makes it difficult to compare like for like and know which one will really take you furthest.
We test all of the bikes in identical conditions, with exactly the same weight of rider, frontal air resistance, and the rolling resistance of the road kept constant. The difference in range in the folding electric bikes we’ve tested varies from 14 miles to 45 miles on flat terrain, and nine miles to 16 miles on a hill.
If you’ve got further to go, make sure you get a folding e-bike that can take you there.
Make sure you buy a bike that you can comfortably store in your home, and also won’t take up too much space on the train or in the boot of your car. You’ll also want it to be adjustable enough to easily find a comfortable riding position.
The biggest folding bikes take up twice as much space as the most compact when folded, which could be the difference between a hassle-free and stress-inducing journey.
Foldability and convenience
You’ll be folding and unfolding the bike a lot, especially if you’re planning on commuting with it.
In our reviews, we time how long each bike takes to fold and unfold. We also tell you how compact the bike is when it’s in a folded state, whether it’s easy to carry and how balanced it is.
The extra bulk of the battery and motor means that folding electric bikes are inevitably going to be heavier than their non-electric counterparts. Even, so the difference between the lightest and heaviest models we tested is considerable.
The lightest we tested weighed 16kg. This is no picnic, but it will be much easier to lug around than the heaviest bike, which weighed in at a hefty 22kg, making it impractical to lift or carry even relatively short distances.
Folding bikes tend to get a bit more punishment and unwanted knocks than regular bikes, so it pays to buy one that’s built well.
Our panel of independent experts assess the quality of every hinge and lock as well as key components on the bike, such as the gears, brakes and wheels.
Some folding electric bikes had poor-quality hinges that we think will be more prone to rust and breakage than the best folding bikes we tested.
While it’s important to always try out a bike yourself, to see if it suits you and your riding style, our ride-quality assessments will give a good steer on which ones to avoid.
We inspect how stiff the frame is, how comfortable the bike is to ride on rough, unpaved roads, such as gravel or cobbles, and how smoothly it takes corners.
For more advice on choosing the best bike for you, see our full folding e-bike buying guide.
Discover more about how we test folding e-bikes.