If you've been dreaming of coasting around your city but don't have the space for a full-size bike in your home office, you already know that a folding bike is a great solution. The best folding bikes have a comfortable, sturdy frame and fold down small enough to go inside your home or office without taking over your space.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the different technical specifications, but the best option for you will ultimately depend on where you plan to ride, and where you plan to store your folding bike. One of the biggest factors to consider is the number of gears the bike has. Some bikes have as many as 18 gears, which can make it easier to handle steep inclines. If you’re a city commuter who doesn’t come across many hills, more gears can still make your ride easier, but you won’t typically need more than seven gears for daily riding. Some bike enthusiasts swear that single-speed bicycles offer the purest form of cycling, but you may not care how “pure” your ride is if you encounter a lot of hills on a regular basis. On the other hand, single-speed bikes are lightweight, and fewer moving parts essentially translates to simpler maintenance and upkeep.
The other major consideration to take into account is where you plan on storing your bike when it’s not in use. If you plan on storing your bike in a small closet or under your desk at work, it’s a good idea to check the dimensions the brand provides to make sure it'll fit in your space. You’ll also have to think about whether you’ll have to frequently carry your bike up several flights of stairs — it may be worth it to sacrifice the weight of extra gears if you'll have to lug your bike up five floors.
Ready to start living out your biking dreams, even if your storage space is small? Here are three of the best folding bikes you can buy on Amazon.
1. The Best Overall
- Folded size: 30 inches x 32 inches x 11 inches
- Weight: 33 pounds
- Gears: 7
This folding bike from Schwinn has everything most people need to start riding with ease. With seven gears, the bike can handle moderate inclines, but you wouldn't want to take it on very steep or hilly terrain. At 33 pounds, it is on the heavier side, though. It features cantilever brakes, and while the 20-inch wheels are on the smaller side, the size may offer some advantages, like more speed and faster acceleration.
Reviewers love the rear rack that can hold small loads and the fender that helps keep your clothes clean while you ride. Dedicated commuters who’ve put hundreds of miles on their Schwinn Loop attested that the frame holds up to constant use. If you’re a seasonal rider, the Loop also comes with its own storage case that’ll keep the folded bike dust-free while not in use.
One reviewer wrote: “I have had several bikes in the past and did not expect this bike to behave or even feel like any of the previous bikes. I was wrong, this bike is amazing. It folds with ease and fits into the trunk of my car without any problems. I did buy a better seat, also a bike bag for the back, and a cell phone holder for the handlebars. I am 5'11" and this bike is a perfect fit. I have taken this bike on different trails and rode it in the city. The bike behaves like a champ and I am very happy with my purchase. The price was also definitely worth it and I would recommend this bike to anyone.”
2. The Best Lightweight Folding Bike
- Folded size: 12 inches x 32 inches x 25 inches
- Weight: 21.5 pounds
- Gears: 1
This single-speed folding bike from Vilano is perfect for coasting through flatter terrain. It has coaster brakes, so it may come with a slight learning curve if you’re accustomed to hand brakes, but this option has a lot of benefits, too. At 21 pounds, it's by far the lightest option on this list, and it has relatively small 20-inch wheels, making it easier to carry around between uses. The bike does require some assembly out of the box, but reviewers found that it only took a few minutes.
One reviewer wrote: “I wanted a simple bike to just ride with my young niece occasionally - no hills, nothing fancy, just flat paved bike trails. And I didn't want to put a bike rack on my car. I can fit her kids bike and this (folded) in the back of my Escape easily. It was super hard to unfold and fold the first few times, but a squirt of WD40 helped immensely. Loving my new folding bike!”
3. The Best 18-Speed Folding Bike
- Folded size: 38 inches x 14 inches x 29 inches
- Weight: 34 pounds
- Gears: 18
If you anticipate taking your folding bike on longer rides, you may want to invest in a model with larger wheels and additional gears. This Columba bike offers just that, with 18 available speeds in a compact, foldable frame. The 26-inch wheels are standard size for non-foldable bikes, so this is a great pick if you want the look of a regular bike with the functionality of a folding frame.
There is some assembly required with this bike, but most reviewers found the process easy and straightforward. Once assembled, this bike weighs about 34 pounds, making it the heaviest option on the list (so you may want to take note if you live in a fifth-floor walkup). As a tradeoff for the weight, this is the only one on the list made of steel instead of aluminum, which is more durable and can offer a more comfortable ride.
One reviewer wrote: “I love this bicycle. I chose it because I need a folding bicycle to fit in the trunk of my car and I can't stand the look of those tiny wheeled commuter bikes. I have had it for about a month and have ridden it quite a few miles. I am a big guy, 250 lbs and this bike carries my weight just fine. I have not had any issues with the pedals as others have complained of. I also did not find the bicycle at all difficult to assemble or tune.”