We’ve put pricey folding electric bikes from Brompton and Tern up against cheaper alternatives from Raleigh, Wisper 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.
Our latest folding e-bike tests found bikes with great range and that were easy to fold and store. Others were heavy and bad at cornering at low speeds.
Prices from the latest round of testing range from £800 to £1,550, but we’ve tested models that cost more than £3,000. Our tests have found a high price didn’t always guarantee a smooth ride. Similarly, some cheaper options were a better bet than others.
Of the thirteen folding e-bikes we’ve tested, only one has impressed us enough to be a Best Buy. Discover which model we named the best folding electric bike.
How to buy the best folding electric bike – tips on choosing the best bike for your needs and budget
Folding electric bikes reviewed
We assess 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 rate 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 from our latest tests, in our quest to uncover the best:
Apollo Transport E – £799
This folding e-bike claims a maximum range of 20 miles and is touted as a simple, practical way to take the strain out of your daily commute. It’s sub–£1,000 price tag is attractive, but is this at the expensive of a well-built bike that can go the distance?
Read our full Apollo Transport E review to see if this bike is the one for you.
Byocycles Chameleon LS – £1,050
The Chameleon LS has a low step-through frame, which makes it easy to hop on and off while commuting. Its price tag also means if it’s light enough to carry, with a motor that gets you up those hills it could be a fantastic deal. Is this what we found in our tests?
Read our full Byocycles Chameleon LS review to find out more.
E–Go Max – £1,488
The E-go Max is the larger version of E-go’s lite and lite+ folding e-bikes. This means it can carry heavier loads of up to 150kg on rear carrier and have a claimed range of up to 55 miles. But is this at the expense of a bike that’s easy to fold and carry?
Read our full E–Go Max review to find out.
Eovolt City One – £1,399
Eovolt claims the City One is ideal for commuters, urban livers and holiday makers. Weighing in at close to 16kg, it’s one of the lighter folding e-bikes we’ve tested.
Read our full Eovolt City One review to find out if this bike will power you up those steep hills.
Raleigh Evo – £1,350
This folding e-bike is designed to be stashed away at a moment’s notice. It claims an impressive range of up to 31 miles on its 250Wh battery. To find out if this is true, we put the Evo through our lab tests.
Read our full Raleigh Evo review to discover if it’s the perfect folding e-bike for you.
Wisper 806 Folding Electric Bike – £1,549
The Wisper 806 folding e-bike is available in three colours, you can choose from three different battery sizes and two different motor sensor systems. So the choice of customisable options is great – but do the vital parts, like the motor and folding mechanism, provide a strong foundation?
Read our full Wisper 806 folding electric bike review to find out whether it’s worth buying.
More folding electric bike reviews
- Brompton Electric H2L – £2,885
- Carrera Crosscity – £899
- Decathlon B’Twin Tilt 500 – £900
- Gocycle GX Fast Folder – £2,899
- Raleigh Stow-E-Way 2019 – £1,350
- Sigma Low Step – £1,249
- Tern Vektron S10 – £3,400
Not seen a folding e-bike that takes your fancy? Check our electric bike motor reviews and get a full-sized e-bike instead.
What to consider when buying an electric folding bike
Battery capacity and range
The range of folding electric bikes varies considerably. Manufacturers base their range claims on different scenarios – with different riders weights, inclines and terrain conditions – making it difficult to compare like for like.
We test all of the bikes in identical conditions, with exactly the same rider weight and keeping the front air and rolling (road) resistance constant. The difference in range in the folding electric bikes we’ve tested varies from 15 to 45 miles on flat terrain, and nine to 22 miles on a hill.
Make sure you buy a bike that you can comfortably store in your home, and that won’t take up too much space on the train or in the boot of your car. 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. But the difference between the lightest and heaviest models we tested is considerable.
The lightest we tested weighed 16kg, much easier to lug around than the heaviest bike (22kg), which is 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. We also carry out stiffness tests to make sure the frame is solid when unfolded, for a safe and comfortable cycle.
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 comfortable the bike is to ride on rough, unpaved roads, such as gravel or cobbles, and how smoothly it takes corners.
Discover more about how we test folding e-bikes
Prices correct as of November 2021