Ever seen one of those collapsible or fold up bikes and wondered if they’re a good idea? Thinking a fold up bike might be right for you?

Here’s how they work and a list of available bikes.

We Know: All About Folding Bikes

What is a folding bike?

A folding or collapsible bicycle is usually a two wheel, light weight bike that folds up small enough to be carried on to public transportation, into an home, into your office, on a plane and into an elevator. Many of these bikes can be placed in a lightweight case so that the bike isn’t recognizable and is considered luggage.

How well do folding bikes work?

New technologies and material have made fold up bikes light weight, easier to ride, more adjustable, smaller and easier to fold than earlier models.

What should I look for in a folding bike?

Think about how you want to use your bike. If it’s mostly for riding, then performance is the most important quality to look for in a folding bike. If you’ll be doing more toting than riding, say as a commuter, then pay close attention to how well the bike collapses.

  • Many folding bikes have gears to help compensate for the small wheel size. If you need to ride the bike long distances, be sure to get a bike with adequate gears, so that the size of the tires doesn’t slow you down. These ‘higher performance’ bikes will probably cost more.
  • If you plan to fold and unfold the bike often and carry it with you, then be sure you buy a model that folds and unfolds easily, collapses to a small size and is lighter weight.


What are some brands of folding bikes?

Here are suggestions for folding bike brands from Transportation Alternatives, the advocates for cycling, walking and environmentally sensible transportation.

Bike Friday - this high-end brand offers many types of folding bikes for those most concerned with performance. All Bike Fridays use 20" wheels and are built to fit into a suitcase for travel.

Birdy - this German-engineered performance folding bike offers a full front and rear suspension and a light aluminum frame with options for 7 or 21 gears.

Brompton - sometimes referred to as the "Jaguar" of folding bicycles, this British import folds smaller than any other model into a package that locks together and keeps the chain away from your clothes.

Caribike - this inexpensive brand of folding bike offers small, medium, and large models of basic folding bikes. Price: about $270 for the smallest, cheapest model with 16" wheels, $430 for the 26" mountain bike.

Dahon - a full 60% of all folding bikes sold in the U.S. are made by Dahon.

Montague - this maker offers only full-size folding bikes that are fairly light (around 26-29 pounds) but have correspondingly large folding sizes (38" X 30" X13"). Prices range from $530 to $930.

Moulton - this rugged British bike with a full suspension appears to be designed to compete with full-size bikes and win - the Moulton holds the world speed record for bicycles of conventional riding position at 51 MPH.

Strida – this unique triangle frame is like nothing you have ever seen and its greaseless Kevlar belt drive (rated to last 100,000 miles) will never smudge your clothes. It folds in seven seconds (the shortest folding time of any model featured here) into a rolling, 22 pound walking stick with the dimensions of 44" X 20" X 20".

Swift Folder - here's another folding bike option for those who want a good, fast folding bike at a reasonable price.

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