Best Cheap Folding Bikes (2023)

Wanna good entry level folding bike? Why not read on for our current top picks?

You can expect a cost in the under $500 – $1,000 price range.

Let us help you learn what to look for when you buy a new folding bicycle.

If cycling has become a way of life for you, try a budget priced folding bike.

This page may have some affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.

If you click one and make a purchase, I may earn a commission after, at no cost to you.

Top 9 Best Folding Bikes for the Money

If you’re looking at folding bikes for sale, then we recommend any of the models listed above as a good option for your cycling needs.

Why Get A Folding Bike?

By definition a folding bike or folder is a cycle that is a self-possessed transformer. The only thing you need to “fold” this bike into a carry-on is your hands – no tools required.

Anyone can ratchet off a wheel and put it onto a bike rack. With a folder there is no need to sweat whether or not someone has made off with your way home.

You take your folded, compacted bike with you on the bus, train or anywhere.

Though there are some folding mountain bikes on the market, I think the primary rider for this type of bike is someone who normally rides a road bike. I definitely see this as a more of a commuter bike.

And what’s great about a folding bike vs a road bike is that you can more easily take this type of bicycle onto public transportation or anywhere else that you need to go.

In fact, you can even take it right into your office and store it under your desk during the work day! Can’t do that with your regular ole road bike, eh?

In addition to being a commuters best friend for either part or all of their commute each morning and evening folding bikes have other unique uses.

Bikes that can be stored in minimalist fashion is another great feature of the folder for people who may not have a lot of space to keep a cycle.

Advantages And Uses Of Folding Bikes

Folding bikes have all of the advantages of regular cycling and then some. As a result of its design these bikes are ideal for commuters. Perfect for taking on the train or bus.

The folding bike is perfect for storage solutions as well. Once the commuter arrives at their work place – raring to go after a great bicycle work out – they can simply fold their cycle once again to tuck neatly in a locker area or even under their work desk.

Storing the bike at home is also simple as it can easily transform into a stowaway for a closet, hallway or even under a bed.

Folding bikes come in handy just for good old fashioned biking fun. These bikes come in varying biking varieties including single gear and multi-speed models.

Disadvantages of Folding Bikes

I know that you’re here because you’re ready to buy yourself a new folding bike, but before you pull that trigger I do want to make you aware of some of the limitations of these types of bikes.

You may even discover that a cheap road bike is a better choice for you. Here’s a few possible disadvantages of folding bikes:

  • higher cost
  • smaller wheels
  • lower speed

It’s only fair to remind you that these bikes have a higher cost than other types of bikes. And while you’re looking to stay within your budget, there’s a good chance that you can get a better quality road bike for your money.

As you may have noticed, the wheels on folding bikes are smaller than what you get on a road bike. This is primarily due to the fact that the bike is designed to be compact and foldable.

And that requires smaller wheels. This might not seem like a big deal until you’re cycling on a pothole-filled road or on some uneven ground.

Then, you’ll notice those smaller wheels for sure. And as a result of those smaller wheels, you’re looking at a lower top speed with this type of bike. If speed matters to you, then definitely try another style of bicycle.

Varieties of Folding Bikes

These are just basic guides of some of the models that are available in each brand category. Like a regular bike, many of these bikes can be customized to fit your specific needs.

Brompton – is a brand that carries a 16 inch wheel folder. This bike literally has your unique name on it.

Brompton come in a variety of shades, gears, handlebars and luggage capacities. It is a fully customizable tool so bike enthusiasts can get their unique combination of style, speed and accessory with their machine.

Brompton and the fold?…  – this particular folding bike features both a frame hinge and a handlebar that folds. Once done your folded Brompton is not much wider than its 16 inch wheels.

In addition the long seat post of the bike completely collapses into itself and becomes the mechanism that holds the compact Brompton in place.

The triangle scoots up beneath the frame of the bike. Last but not least the pedals themselves fold all to create an easy totable tool which rides like a maven.

If you want a bigger ride you may be in the market for a Montague folder. This brand has a huge array of folding bikes but also features a 26-inch wheel version that will satisfy the bigger ride bike enthusiast.

Montague has a hard tailed mountain bike that actually folds so you can have a great road experience and then pack it all up and carry it away. Riders report no compromise with the fold. The Montague does not overbuild on the frame of the bike in order to over support the fold.

how can you fold the Montague’s 26-inch wheels? – simplest answer is you don’t.

The folded Montague places the wheels vertically side by side. Though the handlebar does not fold it – along with the fork – shifts left in its folded stance making for an easier transported tool which is not much wider than the wheels.

a little Birdy? – fold them – for a little bike this bird has a whole lot of fly. At first glance you may think that you’ve come across a Brompton because of the smaller wheels, (the Birdy’s wheels are a little bigger as they come in at 18 inches), however this is a bird of a different feather. 

Because it does not have a hinge in the frame there is a not a lot of flex lending to a nice, stable ride. The Birdy also has a suspension system in place on either end of the cycle. It takes bumps in a single bound.

flipping the Birdy – we mean in a good way of course – folding the Birdy is simple and when done correctly takes all of about 15 seconds to accomplish. The wheels invert inwards towards each other while the seat stem collapses into itself and the handlebars.

Features and Components to Look For

Folding Pedals – some models include this feature which gives the cycle increased convenience due to decreased dimensions.

Think about the fact that a standard bicycle pedal is about five inches wide so if those inches are condensed and scooted inward to mesh with the frame your bike is approaching the level of fierce fold-ability.

What is the Folding Bike Made Of? – definitely be mindful of what metal is used to construct the riding tool. Aluminum is the preferred metal due primarily to its lighter weight.

Folding bikes are to be carried. Therefore constructing folders with heavy metals would be counterintuitive. Look for aluminum construction or cromoly steel.

Folding Handlebars – ask the expert at the shop about this feature because it will make a dramatic difference in the fold of your bike. Bicycle handlebars can be as wide as 20 inches.

As a cyclist it is certain you have personal preferences in this area. As an enthusiast you may have a pinchon for a particular type of handlebar depending upon the type of bike you happen to be riding on that day and for what purpose. Spend sufficient time on this point as it will make a difference in ease of stow and carry.

Extendible Seats – are important as it gives you considerable diminishment when collapsed into itself. The seat rod is sometimes used as the backbone of the folded components and the sear is a carrier of sorts.

What to Consider

As a cycling enthusiast just like any other bike purchase when you must consider your personal preferences when you open your wallet and dole out the dough for your folder.

Knowing how you like to ride – fixed gear, speed, mountain etc. will inform your decision best because there is a folder for every standard bike.

The ability of your riding tool to transform into a compact, folded bike is an added benefit that doesn’t have to negatively impact the ride if you choose wisely.

Some may opt to make this a weekday bike and have their dream ride only on the weekends. Strongly consider your own individual desires and needs before you hit the marketplace.

Our Folding Bike Reviews

If you’ve decided that a folding bike is the best choice for you over a cheap road bike, then you’ll find a lot of different models, features and options to choose from.

To help make your shopping experience a bit easier, I’ve checked out some of the best folding bikes and narrowed them down to just the top affordable folding bikes that will fit a small budget. There are a lot of good folding bikes under $500- $1000 bucks, if you’re looking to get one for a low price. Speed up your shopping with my folding bike reviews.

1. Stowabike 20″ City Bike Compact Folding 6 Speed Shimano Bicycle Review

Active Weekender rating: Ride: 4.2/5 Quality: 4.2/5 Value: 4.7/5 Overall: 4.4/5 Stowabike 20 Where to buy: Walmart or Amazon

This one is the lowest priced models to make the list. With that in mind, it’s probably the best value folding bike for the money right now. It has a very affordable price that should be able to fit most budgets. I like this bike for commuting as well as just going on short errands.

I really like the look of this cheap, collapsible bike. It has a nice silver finish frame, which keeps it gender neutral and perfect for both men and women.

And probably my favorite thing about this one is that it has mud guards built-in already. In my opinion, this is PERFECT for keeping your suit or other nice clothes from getting mud splatter on them if you get caught out in the rain. That’s a really nice feature to have for your commute.

Other notable features include: built-in carrying rack, safety reflectors, 6-speed Shimano rear derailleur, kickstand, and total bike weight of 35 pounds.

The seat is adjustable and the bike can handle a capacity of 280-lbs. So, this isn’t ideal for someone who is overweight or a big person, but it will work for a lot of people out there.

The handlebar doesn’t stow away easily for storage, which is really the only negative thing that I have to say about this folding bicycle.

Putting this one together is easy. Shifting is smooth and, like most bikes, the saddle could be a bit more comfortable. Overall though, this is a sharp looking bike that performs well at the price. Honestly, this is a dirt cheap folding bike that is surprisingly decent.

2. Dahon Speed D7 Folding Bike Bicycle Review

Active Weekender rating: Ride: 4.8/5 Quality: 4.8/5 Value: 4.7/5 Overall: 4.8/5 Dahon Speed D7 Obsidian Black Folding Bike Bicycle review Where to buy: Amazon, REI, or Dahon

Probably the highest priced model on this list, this one still comes in at a very affordable cost. And, you get a hell of a lot of bike for the money with this model. You can really tell a difference when you ride this bike compared to the others. It is a much smoother ride overall.

In terms of features, you get the built-in mud guards, a lightweight frame (just 27.6 pounds!), 7 speed, sporty styling and an overall fun ride. What’s really interesting about this bike is that you feel like you’re on a full-size bike when you ride it.

Assembly is quick, and you folding it up is even faster. One important thing to note with this one is that weight limit is a very low 230 pounds. This eliminates a lot of bigger guys and overweight ladies. That being said, do know that this is a good folding bike for tall riders as it can fit someone up to 6’4″ tall – as long as you are under 230 lbs.

Bottom line: I think that this is a pretty fierce little folding bicycle that packs a lot of punch.

3. Schwinn Hinge Folding Bike Review

Active Weekender rating: Ride: 4.2/5 Quality: 4.2/5 Value: 4.7/5 Overall: 4.4/5 Schwinn Hinge Folding Bike Where to buy: Walmart, Amazon, or Wayfair

While I stand by the fact that Schwinn bikes aren’t as great as they were when I was a kid, this Schwinn folding bike is a pretty decent buy. For real.

Now, obviously, it looks wicked cheap compared to the D7 above, right? That’s because it is a bit lower in price. So yeah, it’s a cheap folding bike. But hey, if you’re on a budget and just need the basics, then this is a good option for you.

This model is similar in price to the Stowabike model listed above, but in my opinion it is a slightly better option. Why? Because it folds up smaller – you don’t have that pesky handlebars issue with this one.

This is one HEAVY bike though! Seriously. It weighs in at 38 pounds! If you’re carrying this up the stairs to catch the train, then that will get mighty heavy real quick. That’s a big negative for me because I don’t want to be carrying around almost 40 pounds, especially when the D7 is over 10 pounds lighter than this one! Though that is my personal preference, I definitely think that this is something you should consider when comparing this folding bike to the other models on the market right now.

Other potential negatives: brakes could be more responsive, folding isn’t quite as easy as with the D7, plastic crank arm, single speed

The rider weight limit for this bike is 220 pounds, which is not a lot. I’ve seen other riders mention it holding more weight, but it’s really up to you if you want to test out the frame like that or not.

Bottom line: I think that this is a decent cheap option, but definitely not the best folding bike for the money

Summary: Top 5 Affordable Folding Bikes

Here’s a quick reminder of our top 5 inexpensive folding bikes that we recommend for commuting, touring, and more.

Sharing is caring!

15 easy ways to get active now

3 thoughts on “Best Cheap Folding Bikes (2023)”

  1. Hello, I’m looking at purchasing the EuroMini ZiZZO Urbano Folding Bike that you rated at 4.7/5. Can you comment on your rating? I’d love to hear your critical comments on the quality of construction & components, ease of un/folding, ride quality, comfort, best use, and anything else you have to add. I’m an avid cyclist looking to travel with a reliable & reasonably priced folding bike. Zizzo seems to be a relatively new brand and it’s hard to find in-depth reviews online about their bikes. Thanks for your time! 🙂

  2. Charles Creswell

    Oh I bought a 7 speed 20 inch tires, about one month ago. Thinking of buying an electric hub and kits to make into an electric bike. I am not the average rider, but disabled from a stroke at age 16. Most bikes I hit my knee on the center post and turn my knee black and blue. Or foot slips and crash. This bike has a low center bar, high seat, high handlebars, so don’t crash on it. A e bike would be OK for me, since I drive with a disabled placard. That means I can’t walk very good and thus may need assistance. What are your thoughts?

    1. Hi Charles, I don’t have any firsthand (or secondhand) experience with ebikes and mobility issues, but I did some checking around and it seems like an ebike is the most often recommended choice in this situation. I think ebikes are pretty great, especially for hills, but you should know that some places (like national parks) don’t allow them on the bike trails. So just be sure to check the regulations before biking out. Good luck!

Comments are closed.