For an extra boost on your ride to work, an electric folding bike could be the answer. With smaller wheels and a compact frame, a folder will pack down easily for storage, carrying and public transport.
Combining an electric motor with a folding bike means that you can get on and off trains and buses easily and most transport companies will let you take the bike with you without booking, even on peak time services.
Plus, the compact folded size makes storage at home and when you get to work much easier. You can often buy a storage bag, so you can keep a mucky bike apart from other possessions.
Let’s take a closer look at the best electric folding bikes we’ve reviewed.
Otherwise, for more information on what to look for when buying an electric folder, check out our full buyer’s guide at the end of this article. You can also read our guide to electric bike types for more advice on choosing the right ebike.
The best electric folding bikes reviewed by BikeRadar
We’ve tested plenty of folding ebikes here at BikeRadar, from classics like the Brompton Electric to new entries and budget folders. Here are the top picks from our full archive of electric bike reviews.
- GoCycle GXi: £3,699
- MiRider One: £1,300
- Brompton x Cytronex: £1,295 (Cytronex conversion kit only)
- £3,699 as tested
- 50-mile claimed range
- Comprehensive smartphone app
Founded by a former McLaren Formula One engineer, GoCycle’s range of folding ebikes features a smart design whereby folding is taken care of by one lever, with the wheels ending up next to each other for easy manoeuvrability.
With a sealed drivetrain, three gears and 20in wheels, the GXi is commuter-friendly and the longer wheelbase makes for handling like a bike with bigger wheels.
Despite a reasonable weight of 17.5kg, the large battery gives the GXi a range of around 50 miles and power delivery is tuneable via the smartphone app, which also gives you loads of stats, including litres of fuel saved.
- £1,300 as tested
- Range up to 35 miles
- Boost button to add extra assistance
- Singlespeed only
With a quick fold via a central hinge, we found the MiRider One pairs funky looks with a fun, practical ride. Handy features like a skate wheel to help you push its 18.7kg weight around when folded also help make this a winner.
You only get a singlespeed gear on the MiRider One, but with the added electric assistance that’s enough to tackle most hills around town.
Hit the ‘boost’ button and you’ll get a turbo charge to help you get away from the lights and up steeper gradients. Cable disc brakes help you stop safely and the keen price is appealing, too.
Brompton M2L-X Superlight 2-Speed x Cytronex
- £1,295 as tested (Cytronex conversion kit only), Brompton sold seperately
- Convert a standard Brompton to an electric folding bike
- Lightweight system with smooth power delivery
- 29 miles of range with 300m ascent in testing
This one’s an outlier as it’s an electric folding bike comprised of a standard Brompton and an ebike conversion kit from British company Cytronex.
However, if you’re already a Brompton owner or want to choose a different model than the e-assisted options on offer as standard, then this is a smart choice. It’s worth noting that fitting the kit will invalidate your Brompton’s warranty though.
The kit contains a new front wheel with e-motor hub, battery pack, charger, wiring loom and bottle cage-style mount. The price also covers fitting and, rather than using the strap-on battery mount, Cytronex will add bottle bosses to the frame for a neat and secure fit.
The battery can remain in place when folding and only adds a couple of kilogrammes to the overall weight.
The result is an efficient system that retains the lightweight handling of a standard Brompton, though you need to take care not to unweight the front wheel on steeper roads.
These bikes scored less than 4 out of 5 in our reviews but are still worth considering.
Brompton Electric H2L 2-Speed
- £2,725 as tested
- Powerful assistance and clever battery system
- Would benefit from a bar-mounted control
- Claimed range 20-45 miles from 300Wh battery
Brompton partnered with Williams Advanced Engineering (of Formula 1 and Formula E fame) to develop a bespoke system for its electric folding bike. It’s made up of a front-hub motor and a smart-looking battery, housed in a cordura bag. The total bike weight is 17.43kg compared to a claimed 11.35kg for a standard Brompton.
The system is operated by two buttons on the battery but we’d prefer a bar-mounted control, or the ability to use Brompton’s app (and a phone mount) to cycle between settings.
Brompton’s motor provides a punchy ride but it does feel like overkill in some situations, even if it is fun to get a head start on other riders at traffic lights. The middle of the three settings provides the best balance of power and range.
You need to remove the battery before folding, but that’s simple enough, and the charger is nice and compact.
- £999 as tested
- Well priced and compact size
- Three speeds and disc brakes
- Not so good for taller riders
For £1,000, the Emu Mini packs a punch above its diminutive size.
It’s light for an ebike at 17.7kg, and its 16in wheels come with chunky tyres, so it can handle more than just city streets. The 3-speed gearing helps you get around fast and you get disc brakes for reliable stopping.
Range is a bit limited: we got just 13 miles, although there’s a £100 battery upgrade that will improve on that. Otherwise, this is a bike for short commutes.
Still, with the battery located in the seatpost, it’s easy to take away for recharging, and the charger is compact enough to carry with you if you need a top up at work before turning home.
- Three spec options
- Mid-mounted Bosch motor
Powered by a mid-mounted Bosch motor, the Tern Vektron has the same three-step fold as Tern’s pedal-powered bikes. Its wheels are a tad larger than a Brompton’s at 20 inches, rather than 16 inches.
The Vektron includes hydraulic disc brakes, providing a step up in power from mechanical disc brakes. Three build options are available in all.
Buyer’s guide: what to look for in a folding electric bike
Folding ebike motor systems
The most common systems for powering folding ebikes use a hub motor either in the front or the rear wheel, powered by a battery that is often built into the frame. That has the advantage of a tidy, weatherproof package, but may limit the battery size and hence range, and add weight.
Another option for the battery is to make it removable. That’s the way Brompton has gone, with a pack that clips to the front of the bike so it can be carried separately. It also means that you can take your battery somewhere convenient to charge it, while leaving your bike locked up or in the garage/bike shed. Some internal batteries are removable too; that’s how the battery works in the GoCycle GX and GXi.
Legally in the UK and EU, the motor in a standard electric bike has to provide no more than 250 watts of power output and most ebike motors, including those in folders, will provide up to this level of assistance.
Folding electric bike gearing
Some folding ebikes will only have a single gear ratio. With the assistance from the motor to start you off, that may well be enough if you have a shortish, flat commute, though around town you’re not likely to be setting any speed records.
But for longer, hillier rides or for leisure use, you may want some extra gears. Hub gears are popular because they’re out of the way and less likely to get damaged than a derailleur system when carrying or moving the folder.
Hub gears may range from a simple 2- or 3-speed system, up to eight or more gears. Adding gearing also adds weight and the cabling for the shifters adds complexity to the design.
A folding ebike will have small wheels, to make for a compact bundle once it’s folded. The classic Brompton has 16in wheels, a size used by many other folders.
Other brands such as Tern and GoCycle use 20in wheels. Their larger size helps a bit with rolling resistance and they’ll ride more smoothly over road imperfections, in compensation for increased weight and a larger folded size.
Folded size and ease of folding are other things to think about. If you’re planning a commute that also includes public transport, you’ll want a folding ebike that packs up as small as possible, so you can get it onto busy trains or up awkward steps on buses.
That’s where a design with an integrated battery comes in handy because it won’t get in the way of the fold. Brompton’s solution of a separate battery pack also works here. Although there’s a second piece of kit to carry around, the folding mechanism and compact folded size aren’t compromised.
Another option, used by GoCycle and others, is to let you part fold the bike, so you get a package that you can push or pull around using the seat as a handle. It’ll take up more space than a fully folded machine, but has the advantage that you don’t need to fully lug around the bike’s often substantial weight.
MiRider’s clever design, meanwhile, has a skate wheel on the bottom of the bike, to make manoeuvring the folded package much easier.