If you’re interested in getting an electric bicycle, there are two types for you to choose from, foldable and non-foldable. Each type of e-bike has its unique benefits. For example, non-foldable e-bikes are more streamlined and have a ride feel that is akin to a traditional pedal bike. On the other hand, a folding e-bike provides more storage space and is easier to travel with if you need to get on the train or bus.
Many people would assume that folding e-bikes have less frame stability or can’t reach high speeds, but this is not the case. Folding e-bikes are just as stable as non-folding e-bikes. However, after using your folding e-bike for a long time, you’ll need to replace the lock that holds the bike together. But what about speed? Can folding e-bikes go as fast as regular electric bicycles?
Yes, folding e-bikes are not limited to a max speed. You can purchase a folding e-bike that can reach 28 miles per hour or more if you find the right model.
However, there’s one aspect of e-bikes that you need to know about. Depending on which country or state you live in, laws revolving around the legal and safe use of e-bikes can differ wildly. So, we advise you to research the laws for electric bicycles where you live before purchasing your new e-bike.
As you continue reading this article, we’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of folding e-bikes. We’ll also provide you with an explanation of the laws and classification system for e-bikes in the United States. Finally, we’ll provide you with links to some of our favorite folding e-bikes, along with a brief description of each.
Benefits of Using a Folding Electric Bicycle
A folding e-bike is exactly what it sounds like. It’s an e-bike equipped with a locking mechanism called the hinge kit in the center of the frame. Folding bicycles have a unique frame design that removes the top tube and is instead fitted with a thicker down tube. This type of bicycle design provides a few unique benefits like:
- Step Through Frame: Nearly all folding e-bikes have a step-through frame that allows you to mount and dismount your electric bicycle much more easily.
- Provides More Storage Space: E-bikes that lack the folding feature must be stored in their natural state. This means that non-folding e-bikes take up much more space than their folding counterparts. A folding e-bike allows you to store it in areas where a regular e-bike won’t fit, like your closet.
- Folding E-bikes are Easier to Travel With: Folding e-bikes is much easier to store. This provides another benefit in easier travel. They can be easily stored in the trunk of your car. Also, most folding e-bikes can roll on their wheels while folded, allowing you to take them on a train or tram without taking up a ton of space.
- Folding E-bikes Have a Lower Risk for Theft: If you use your e-bike to commute daily to work or run errands, you might be worried about leaving your bike outside on a bike rack. However, with a folding e-bike, you can easily fold and bring it into your workplace and set it next to your desk or somewhere out of the way.
Drawbacks of Owning a Folding E-Bike
While there are quite a few interesting benefits of folding e-bikes, there are also a few drawbacks you should know about:
- Folding E-bikes Will Have a Bumpier Ride: In order for folding bicycles to be compact, manufacturers needed to reduce the size of the wheels they put on them. Smaller wheels mean that you’re more likely to feel every rock, stick, or bump you ride over. However, manufacturers came up with a solution to this issue. Most folding e-bikes are fitted with fat tires, which hold more air and thus reduce the impact of small wheels.
- Slower Speeds: Smaller wheels also mean that most folding e-bikes will be slower than regular e-bikes. However, plenty of folding e-bikes with powerful batteries and motors can still let you reach that 28 miles per hour, but they will be more expensive.
- Folding E-bikes Can Draw More Attention to You: Folding e-bikes tend to get more attention from people, and there’s a good chance that you’ll be asked about your folding e-bike more often than not.
Electric Bicycle Classifications and Laws
E-bikes have a classification system in the United States that groups all electric bicycles into one of three categories. There are three classifications for e-bikes, those being class 1, class 2, and class 3. The three-tier classification system for e-bikes was set in place in the early 2000s and allowed each state to regulate laws easier without restricting the use of e-bikes as a whole.
That said, here’s a brief explanation for each electric bicycle class:
|Class 1 Electric Bicycles||A class 1 electric bicycle is a bicycle that is fitted with an electric motor that will provide assistance to the rider as long as they are pedaling. Class 1 electric bicycles have a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour.|
|Class 2 Electric Bicycles||A class 2 electric bicycle is a bicycle that is fitted with a throttle that will engage the electric motor. The throttle on class 2 electric bicycles can propel the bicycle without needing the rider to pedal. Class 2 electric bicycles have a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour.|
|Class 3 Electric Bicycles||A class 3 electric bicycle is a bicycle that is fitted with an electric motor that provides assistance to the rider while they are pedaling, using a throttle, or both. Class 3 electric bicycles must have a speedometer and a maximum speed of 28 miles per hour.|
One thing you need to remember is that each state has its own laws surrounding the use of e-bikes. For example, some states only allow class 1 and class 2 e-bikes to be used on public property. Other states have laws that limit the minimum age required to operate an e-bike, and some states require you to have a license and insurance. With that said, be sure to do your research before you get on the road.
How Fast Do Folding E-Bikes Go?
Most folding e-bikes are class 1 or class 2, meaning most folding e-bicycles will have a max speed of 20 miles per hour. However, there are still plenty of more expensive class 3 folding e-bikes that can reach 28 miles per hour, like the Lectric XP 2.0.
Our Top Picks for Folding Electric Bicycles
With so many folding e-bikes to choose from, it can be hard to find the right one for you. Thankfully, we have done a ton of testing, have plenty of experience with e-bikes, and have come up with a list of our favorites. In this list, we’ll briefly describe each bicycle and provide links if you find one you like. Furthermore, we’ll have folding e-bikes for each classification.
Class 1 Folding Electric Bicycles
- Rad Power RadExpand 5 – $1,599
The RadExpand 5 is a new model in Rad Power’s lineup that replaces their RadMini. While the RadMini was a fantastic folding e-bike, the RadExpand comes with a few notable upgrades. First off, the RadExpand is five pounds lighter than the RadMini, making it easier to handle and move around. It uses a 750-watt motor and a large battery which provides a max range of 45 miles. Finally, the RadExpand is also customizable, allowing you to change parts and add a rear rack that can hold up to 55 pounds.
- FIIDO X – $1,799
The FIIDO X is a beautiful e-bike that sports a magnesium frame, making it weigh only 37 pounds. One of the more unique features of this is that the battery is built into the seat, which makes the FIIDO X look very sleek and stylish. In addition, this comes with a digital lock located above the rear wheel, which prevents the seat (and your expensive battery) from being removed without your password. Also, you’ll need to put in your password on the digital lock to turn the FIIDO X on. The lock also locks the wheels in place, making this e-bike much harder to steal.
Class 2 Folding Electric Bicycles
- Aventon Sinch – $1,799
The Aventon Sinch is our favorite class 2 folding e-bike. It features a front suspension fork and 4-inch wide fat tires. Both of these features widen the range of terrain that you can ride on while still experiencing a smooth ride. The Aventon Sinch also comes with a 500-watt motor and has an impressive range of 40 miles, making this e-bike fantastic for off-road riding. In addition, Aventon equips all of its electric bicycles with batteries that sport Samsung cells, drastically improving battery life and supporting over 1,200 recharges.
- Engwe C20 Pro – $1,199
While the Sinch is our favorite class 2 folding e-bike, the C20 Pro from Engwe is a close second. The C20 Pro features a front suspension fork and 3-inch wide fat tires, making this a great choice for off-road riding. However, what sets this electric bicycle apart from the Sinch is that this is much more compact when folded up, making this e-bike our go-to class 2 e-bike for daily commutes. The C20 Pro has a weaker 250-watt motor that allows for pedal assist and throttle-only modes. Finally, this e-bike is equipped with a large 690W battery, providing riders with a massive 95-mile range on the lowest setting.
Class 3 Folding Electric Bicycles
- MOD City + – $2,190
Kicking off the class 3 section of our list is the City + by MOD. This folding e-bike features one of the best braking systems we’ve ever tested. While traveling at the max speed, we could come to a complete stop in under three seconds, thanks to the Tektro Auriga disc brakes. The City + can come with either a step-through or a high-step frame, depending on your preference. Furthermore, the 500W motor and 600W battery allows you to cruise at 28 miles per hour and have a maximum range of 40 miles before needing a recharge. Finally, the City + sports a password-protected display that prevents the bicycle from turning on without your password, and this e-bike folds up in seconds, making it a great commuter bike for city life.
- Lectric Xp 2.0 – $1,099
Last but certainly not least is the Lectric XP 2.0. This folding e-bike is our favorite folding e-bike by far, partly due to its incredible amount of customizable features. The XP 2.0 comes with a 500W motor which you can upgrade to 800W. Upgrading the motor changes this e-bike from a class 2 to a class 3. Additionally, when ordering the XP 2.0, you’ll have the option to remove the throttle, making it a class 1 instead. These options make the Lectric XP 2.0 one of the few e-bikes on the market that can fit into any of the three classes.
The Lectric XP 2.0 comes with 3-inch wide fat tires and a front wheel suspension fork, allowing you to have a smooth ride on rough terrain. Also, the XP 2.0 has a super small profile when folded up that only takes up three cubic feet of space, which makes storage and commuting a breeze. Finally, this e-bike can be equipped with two baskets to help you haul up to 100 pounds of cargo.
Many assume folding e-bikes are slower than their regular counterparts, but this is far from the truth. While most folding e-bikes have a max speed of 20 miles per hour, there are still quite a few that can reach class 3 levels of speed. In addition, while the faster folding e-bikes tend to be more expensive, the increased price is needed to pay for the more powerful motors to reach higher speeds. In the end, folding e-bikes have the same speed limitations as regular e-bikes, the only difference being that they can fold up.