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Best Folding Electric Bikes Under 1000

Alissa Dickson
  Jan 30, 2023 12:28 PM

The purpose of the *Electric Bike Report is to provide useful information to consumers so that they can choose the best electric bike for their individual needs. We may receive compensation if you decide to purchase a product we've recommended.
 


OVERVIEW

There are many different types of folding electric bikes available in 2022, and the staff at Electric Bike Report has researched several of them to develop a list of our favorites.

There is a wide variety of folding e-bikes on the market today, from high-end models praised for their design and usefulness to budget-friendly fat-tired adventure folders with a collapsible frame. Since they cover so many different types of electric bikes and pricing ranges, it can be tough to narrow down your options to choose the best electric folder for you. This list was compiled by EBR's team of e-bike experts for just that reason.
Bicycle mobility and stowage have long been areas of research and development. There is evidence that folding bicycles have been around since before they were patented in the late 1800s. At the time, they were more correctly described as "break away" bicycles. Commuters in Europe's congested cities saw the design as a practical means of transit because the bikes could be folded up and stored in confined spaces, such as subways and workplaces. Folding bikes are still widely used for transporting goods, but the introduction of e-bikes has expanded the design's potential use significantly. There are already e-bikes the size of regular bicycles, ones designed specifically for transporting freight, and ones with extra-wide tires and minimal suspension for use on mildly rough terrain. Adding a motor to this bike has increased its desirability and utility.
We've tried to make this as comprehensive a list as possible, reflecting the expanding variety within the folding electric bike subcategory. It features a wide variety of folding e-bikes that can be used for commuting, zipping around town, going on adventures, and anything in between. What they all have in common is the ability to be folded up.
Check out our top-rated electric bikes if you want to know what we think about the many various types of e-bikes on the market.
 


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BUYING GUIDE

How we picked these bikes

 

It's safe to assume that if you look at the product lines of today's e-bike specific manufacturers, you'll find at least one folding bike option. One of the most popular e-bike categories currently available is the folding kind; but, with so many models to choose from, it can be difficult to find the one that best suits your needs. Let us lend a hand with it.

While we have firsthand experience with several of the bikes on our list, some were added solely on the strength of their reputation and the number of positive reader reviews. Every one of the bicycles we've examined has been subjected to rigorous testing, including a series of tests of braking, climbing, and mileage. Then, our panel of motorcycle specialists confers and comes to a consensus on which bikes should be included.

We evaluated folding e-bikes based on a few key criteria, mainly:

  • Value: Value is often high on the mind of anyone shopping for a folding e-bike. Most of the bikes on this list cost less than $2,000, a price point we consider entry-level or budget-priced. So, what are you getting for your money? Does the bike feel solid and well put together, or is it a little cheap? Does it come with extras and quality components?

  • Range and speed: How far you can ride your e-bike and how fast is usually the first question anyone has about an e-bike, so naturally it weighs heavy on any of our best lists. But there’s more to a good e-bike than raw range and power. We want to make sure the motor is safe and the speed matches the bike’s design and primary user group.

  • How well does it fold?: Making a metal (or carbon fiber) bicycle fold is actually a pretty tough task. For all intents and purposes, you’re taking a bike frame — something that needs to be tough and rigid — and breaking it in half. So the folding mechanism needs to be burly and secure. On top of that, it also needs to be functional and easy to use.

  • Components and extras: As we mentioned above, bikes in this category are typically on the less expensive end of the spectrum (barring a few exceptions). But inexpensive doesn’t have to mean you sacrifice quality. Does the bike still come with good componentry and extras like racks, lights and fenders?

  • Does the bike make sense?: On some bikes, it seems like a manufacturer made it fold more for novelty than function. It’s hard to blame companies for doing this, especially since folding e-bikes are so in vogue right now, but those bikes don’t belong on our best list. If a bike folds, we want to make sure it folds for a purpose.

We’re not going to pretend this is an exhaustive list of the best folding e-bikes, especially considering there are so many different types of folders and so many creative uses for them. But these are our recommendations based on testing, expert opinion and a little crowdsourced insight from consumers like you. Know of a bike you think should be on this list? Let us know, we’ve always got an eye out for the next hot e-bike.

 

Ride

 

Our Ride metric places an emphasis on comfort and other features that make riding the bike more pleasurable. The riding quality and convenience of each bike are influenced by their own design, components, and features. We test every electric bike in these regards by pedaling it over a wide range of surfaces, from paved roads to dirt paths. The larger 20-inch wheels consistently outperformed the smaller-wheeled counterparts in terms of ride quality. Additionally, we evaluate the turning radius and low- and high-speed maneuverability of each vehicle. The effectiveness of the brakes and the ease of the transmission also matter. The core of this measure is the degree to which the ride is smooth and the rider feels at ease and confident. In addition, ease of use and the presence of convenient features are important considerations.

The Aventon Sinch has the smoothest ride. The bulbous 4-inch wide tires offer a lot of air volume, and the modest but effective 45-mm of travel suspension fork smooths out cracks and bumps in the road. This bike can take fast spins and navigate obstacles with ease. Although they aren't the strongest, the mechanical disc brakes stop the vehicle effectively. A comfortable saddle is another plus of this bike. Our six-foot-tall tester (with long legs) could have used a little more seat height adjustment, which is our primary complaint. Disappointing features like non-integrated bike lights, fenders, and a cargo rack all lower the overall rating. However, this bike's sleek design and noticeably quieter ride set it apart from the rest. You can't be seen riding through slop.

Even without the Aventon Sinch, the Blix Vika+ Flex provides a high-quality ride. A wider range of height adjustments means that this bike is more likely to feel comfortable for riders with longer legs and statures. Its top-notch set of features also makes this model practical as a regular commuter. We really like the built-in battery-powered lights on this bike. When applying the dependable and powerful hydraulic disc brakes, the rear light also acts as a brake light. A bell, a USB charger for your phone, a rear baggage rack, and front and rear fenders are also highly useful accessories to have. It's handling is comparable to that of other highly regarded models, albeit it can be a little jarring over uneven terrain due to its sturdy frame and slightly narrower tires.

In terms of ride comfort, the Rad Power RadExpand 5 is unparalleled and brings fat-bike characteristics to the table. The thick tires cushion the ride, and the wide handlebars make this bike easy to steer. This handling control is appreciated on city streets, but especially on trails and fire roads that often require more heads-up navigation around hazards. This bike's off-road adaptability really makes it shine. The Lectric XP 2.0 is an alternative that does well. Despite a lesser price, it provides excellent ride quality with a front suspension fork with 80 millimeters of travel. Lights, fenders, and roof racks are just some of the practical extras included on each of these models.

 

Range

 

Pay close attention to this parameter if you enjoy long rides or have a long commute. The range of an electric bike is important information to have when deciding how far you want to ride on a single charge. By having each model ride the same route with the same rider (so that rider weight doesn't play a role) from a full charge to a completely exhausted battery, we can construct a consistent range test. The duration, average speed, total ascent/descent, and total time are all measured throughout this evaluation. In order to eliminate the influence of pedaling as a variable, we exclusively utilize the throttle for this test. Because of this, the results of the range tests serve as a benchmark for the potential range of each bike. Almost always, the range that each model can go before its battery dies can be increased by making use of the pedal-assist modes.

The RadExpand 5, with its massive 672-watt-hour battery, performed the best in our range test. Took us 31.2 miles and 1,627 feet of elevation gain to go at an average of 17.1 mph while solely using the throttle. The strength of its motor stayed intact right up to the last mile or two, after which it slowed down noticeably. This model already stands apart from the crowd because most e-bikes experience a dramatic power loss at the one-fourth mark of the battery's whole life.

In our range test, the Aventon Sinch and Rattan Folding bikes came in second and third, covering 30.1% and 29.7% of the distance, respectively. A 624-watt-hour battery powers the Aventon, while the RadExpand 5 requires a battery of the same size. The Rattan's battery is slightly smaller. The Blix Vika+ Flex also performed quite well in our Range test. Our test course averaged 16.3 mph across 27.5 miles, and the battery lasted strong until the very end, despite consuming 1,470 feet of vertical gain.

 

Power

 

Acceleration, maximum speed, and total power output from the throttle and pedal assist modes are all factored into our Power metric. A strong engine is useful in heavy traffic and makes riding much easier in mountainous terrain. We conduct top-end and uphill speed testing, measuring how long it takes to accelerate from a standstill. Extra points are awarded for gradual acceleration because rapid acceleration often results in an unpleasant jerking sensation. Having a wider range of pedal assist settings gives riders more granular control over how closely their speed follows their exertion.

The Lectric XP 2.0 stands out in this regard, since its 500-watt engine can propel it to a maximum speed of 28 miles per hour in Class 3 mode with pedal aid (it may also be switched to Class 2 mode). The rider has a wide range of adjustable assistance from the bike's five levels of speed assist. Within a quarter turn of the cranks, the pedal assist begins to assist your pedaling. We were able to sustain an average of 15.5 mph on our uphill test, and it accelerated fast from a stop to 20 mph (its top throttle-only speed).

Our uphill speed test on the Blix Vika+ Flex reached 17 mph, and its five levels of pedal help allow for speeds of up to 24 mph (if you adjust the speed limit in the settings). A more powerful 750-watt motor is built into the RadExpand 5. Although it was competitive in our acceleration and uphill testing, it did not outperform the other top models. It offers a total of four different levels of pedal assistance. Both the Aventon Sinch and the Rattan Folding did very well on our Power metric, reaching 20 mph from a standstill in roughly 12 seconds with five distinct intensities of pedal help. Our research has shown that the top five performers in this category all have more than enough muscle to satisfy the needs of most cyclists.

 

Portability

 

Many riders appreciate the convenience of folding electric bikes because of how easy they are to transport. The ease with which this type can be folded up, stowed away, and then used again makes it ideal for use in confined locations like the trunk of a car. The models presented here all collapse to a significantly smaller size than non-folding bikes, yet we nevertheless discovered significant variation in this regard, primarily related to weight but also to collapsed size. This is a situation when a smaller, lighter bike would be advantageous, since it would be less cumbersome to transport up flights of stairs or into the back of a car or RV.

The Swagcycle EB5 Plus is the most compact folding electric bike on the market. Its 14-inch wheels help it achieve a compact size of 26 by 15.6 by 23.6 inches, and at 37 pounds, it's about half as heavy as the largest models we tested. If you need to travel your bike on public transportation or bring it inside a building, this is the best option. Even though it's heavier, the Ancheer Folding 16-inch model nevertheless collapses down into a compact size (29.5 x 15.3 x 33.4 inches) (47 pounds).

The Blix Vika+ Flex is another excellent product offered. Although it weighs 51 pounds 14 ounces, making it slightly heavier than the aforementioned models, it is still far more manageable than the other top-rated models, all of which weigh over 60 lbs, and it folds down smaller, too. When collapsed, the pedals fold inward to reduce its footprint. A bottom bracket and microscopic magnets assist keep the bike folded, and the bike can stand on its own while it's collapsed. For those who value portability without compromising on performance, we recommend the Vika+ Flex.

Most electric bicycles feature replaceable power packs. Taking the battery out of the bike will lighten the load, and getting the battery charged will only require you to travel the battery, not the whole bike.

 

Interface

 

Everything a rider uses to control their bikes is part of the user interface. Included in this are the screen, buttons, and power source. The LCD screens on some versions are brighter than the LED lights on others. Our Interface metric also considers the controls' layout and how user-friendly they are. Removable batteries offer the additional benefits of off-bike charging and increased wheel security when locked up outside.

When it comes to user interfaces, the Aventon Sinch is where we feel most at home. Its left-hand side handlebar-mounted control unit is within easy reach and manipulation. Each of the five buttons has a single purpose, making it easy to switch between walking and pedaling with assistance and navigating the several screens on the LCD screen. As for the screen itself, it sits smack in the middle of the grips. Easy-to-read indicators for speed and battery life, as well as adaptable in-field data additions, are just a few highlights (trip distance, average and max speed, trip time, calories burned, etc). The Aventon app is compatible with this bike, so you can customize the display and other features from your phone. The battery's sleek integration into the frame is another feature we admire. You can still take it off the bike and charge it separately if you choose.

The Blix Vika+ Flex comes in second to the Aventon because its LCD screen is easier to read at a glance than the Aventon's. Although there is still room for improvement in the ergonomics of the control pad's three buttons, we find that using them to turn the lights on and off is natural and straightforward. There is a built-in USB connector, making it easy to charge a phone while on the go. The battery can be secured in place during charging or removed for safekeeping.

This is another another area where the Lectric XP 2.0 shines. Despite being cheaper, we're relieved to see that Lectric didn't scrimp on quality. The controls are logically laid out and conveniently located on the left side of the device, and the screen is 2 inches by 3 inches, with writing that is large enough to be legible even in direct sunlight. The cruise control and right-hand twist throttle make it possible to maintain a consistent speed while riding this bike. The battery is concealed within the device's chassis, further enhancing its sleek appearance. When the bike is folded, the battery can still be removed.

 

Assembly

 

When purchased online, these folding electric bikes will arrive in a package and will need to be put together. Since this is a one-time occurrence for the vast majority of customers, it is not a huge factor, but it should be taken into account. Choose a bike that requires little mechanical skill to put together if you're just starting out. To measure this criterion, we kept track of how long and how difficult it was to remove the bicycles from their respective boxes and get them ready for use.

The Aventon Sinch, the Lectric XP 2.0, and the Swagcycle EB5 Plus were the three bikes that were the easiest to put together. Beyond a bicycle pump, no tools are needed to put together one of these bikes. You can get them out of the package, discard the wrapping, and unfold them immediately. There are quick-release levers for adjusting the handlebar and seat heights. You can go for a ride as soon as you charge the battery. The assembly time for these bicycles was about ten minutes. The bulky packaging may prove the greatest obstacle.

The Blix Vika+ Flex is not far behind; it can be assembled in approximately fifteen minutes, and all you have to do to get going is tighten the handlebar and attach the pedals. The Rad Power RadExpand 5 took the longest to put together, but because to the comprehensive included instructions and accompanying tools, we were able to finish the job in about 45 minutes.

 

IN CONCLUSION

 

The appeal of a collapsible bicycle may not be immediately apparent. The unusual design and compact size appeal to some buyers, while others are drawn in by the vehicles' practicality as commuter vehicles.

If you're in the market for a folding bike, it's important to give some serious consideration to your intended use before making a purchase. There are specialized subsets of folding e-bikes, just like there are in other areas of cycling. Both an all-terrain folding e-bike and a lightweight commuter folding e-bike would have trouble being carried up a flight of steps, although the former would be more practical. Check out a few different options until you find the perfect bike for you. Consider carefully, too, whether or not a foldable bike is the best option for you. When considering a folding bike, keep in mind that you may be sacrificing comfort in exchange for portability. But if, after all that consideration, you're still on the hunt for a lightweight, compact electric bike, you've found it.

We have some fantastic reviews that take a deep dive into nearly any kind of e-bike you can think of if you're interested in checking out some other categories of e-bikes. Or, if you're completely unfamiliar with e-bikes, you may use this beginner's guide to learn the basics.

A space- and money-saving option, folding electric bikes are a practical choice for many people. The ever-growing e-bike industry offers a wide variety of choices, and we understand that you have special requirements that must be fulfilled by your purchase. In order to assist you make a quick and educated choice, we put them through rigorous testing. We did our research and testing so you may enjoy the outdoors on the best folding electric model for you while the wind whirls past your ears.


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