Electric Folding Bikes Buyer’s Guide

Folding electric bikes are a cycling innovation that can transform your commute and make road riding a pleasure.

Folding bikes are the Swiss army knife of the cycling world, enabling you to zip to the train station, nip to a nearby meeting, bundle your bike into the car for a weekend away, or simply pedal away on your commute to work. Add an electric motor and you’ve got it all in one small but perfectly formed package.

If you’re searching for up-to-date information on folding e-bikes, you’re in the right place. In our electric folding bikes buyer's guide our experts explain how electric folding bikes work, the features you should look out for and just why an e-bike could be right for you.

What is an electric folding bike?

An electric folding bike maintains the key principles of a standard mechanical folding bike, with an added electric boost.

Electric folding bikes, like all road-legal electric bikes, are fitted with a motor and a rechargeable battery that provides pedal assistance. To get the electrical assistance you must continue to pedal the bike, as the motor will only engage as the pedals are turning.

The motor will help propel you to a speed of 15.5mph – the UK limit. Travel faster than that, and your legs will be doing all the work.

Bike designers have invested a massive amount of time in creating folding bikes that can accommodate the battery pack and motor. They’re no bigger than traditional folding bikes but are a little heavier.

If you’re interested in purchasing an electric folding bike, here are some of the things you should consider while making your selection:

Electric folding bike battery power and range

The most expensive and essential part of an electric folding bike is its motor and battery. Bigger batteries will power you for longer distances, but they can be bulkier and heavier.

It’s a good idea to compare your commuting distance with the bike’s range. There’s no use in buying a bike with a 30-mile battery range when your daily round-trip commute is 40 miles, for example.

Also, consider that the range figures are best-case estimates, and there are lots of factors that can affect how many miles you will get out of a full charge. Weight, weather conditions and the level of assistance will all affect how long your battery will last, so treat the estimates as just that and be conservative.

The good news is, even if the battery power runs out then you can pedal the bike as normal.


An electric folding bike will be heavier than traditional bikes, because of the added weight of a motor and battery. You will find details of the weight of each bike on their listing so you can compare models.

You can fit accessories such as carry handles that make moving a bulky bike a little easier. Other folding bikes have removable batteries which can be great if you want a temporary reduction in overall weight.

Don’t be put off by the numbers. We recommend visiting your nearest Halfords to see how each bike feels.

Wheel size

Folding e-bikes come with smaller wheels than a full-size bike. Brompton bikes come with 16” wheels, whereas many other folding bikes have 20” wheels.

They’re lighter and more compact, making the bike easier to transport when it’s folded. Smaller wheels improve handling, which can come in useful when nipping in and out of traffic. The pay-off is that you won’t gather as much momentum on the road when you get up to speed, which means you may need to put in a little more effort while pedalling (or use more of the motor!).


Folding bikes can be anything from single speed up to 9-speed, so it’s important to think about the kinds of journeys you will take.

You’ll need to ensure that your bike has the gears you need for your commute, but remember you’ll have the motor there to provide extra pedalling power.

Racks, mudguards, lights and a kickstand

If you’re commuting, then accessories such as mudguards, racks and kickstands are essential. Some bikes are sold as complete commuters and come fitted with a rack, mudguards, front and rear lights, kickstand. Others may come with only some of these accessories, so keep that in mind when comparing packages.

It can be cheaper to purchase a bike with everything included than adding your own choice of accessories.


Folding bikes come fitted with a couple of different braking options. Models at the lower end of the price spectrum are more likely to run V-brakes, where the stopping force is applied against the rim of the bike’s wheel. More expensive models use disc brakes, which offer greater stopping power.

Bikes can have either mechanical or hydraulic disc brakes. Mechanical disc brakes use cable tension to activate the brake callipers, while hydraulic disc brakes operate using fluid.

One of the benefits of disc brakes is they require less maintenance and can be more reliable. Mechanical disc brakes are less expensive than hydraulic disc brakes so are ideal for those on a budget. However, if you’re looking to embark on more adventurous journeys with challenging terrain, hydraulic disc brakes are recommended.

How do electric folding bike batteries and motors work?

Folding electric bikes are powered by a motor, which takes its energy from a rechargeable battery that’s mounted to the bike.

At the cheaper end of the market, the motor is placed in the hub of the rear wheel or on the front wheel. On more expensive electric folding bikes, the motor is placed inside the crank (where your feet meet the pedals).

Both types of electric motors provide powerful pedal assistance. More expensive electric bikes with motors fitted in the cranks can have additional features, such as a torque sensor that measures how much power you’re putting through the pedals. This information is used by the bike’s computer to intelligently deliver power when it’s needed. This can make riding with an electric motor feel more natural.

When riding an electric folding bike, you can choose from a selection of modes. These modes will provide varying levels of rider assistance, from a gentle push to a surge. Some even have a walk mode too, helpful when you’re off the bike and wheeling the bike along.

The motor is managed through an interface fitted to the handlebars. All bikes will have the basic functions to turn the battery on and off, but more advanced models come fitted with displays that provide information, such as speed, distance covered and battery power remaining.

To help deal with varying terrain or low battery situations, electric folding bikes have a control unit that will make decisions about how power is delivered. It decides whether to increase or decrease the power that’s delivered by the motor.

Choosing the right electric folding bike

An electric folding bike is a big investment, so we recommend you spend some time weighing up the options and comparing models. Our guide contains a lot of the information you need, but if it’s possible, we recommend you get up close and personal with a few models before you make your choice. We stock renowned brands including Apollo and Carrera, with options to suit all budgets.

At Halfords, we’re the first choice for UK commuters looking for expert advice and the largest selection of bikes for sale. Visit a local Halfords where you can see our range of electric folding bikes. If you need some help and advice, our trained technicians are on hand and available to help you choose the right folding bike for you.

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Why should I buy an electric folding bike?

Electric folding bikes are an exciting innovation that helps rides of all ages and abilities go further and faster than ever before. The portable battery pack and powerful electric motor provide pedal assistance to make any ride easier and faster.

Arrive looking and feeling your best

Jump on an electric folding bike and you’ll enjoy a helping push every time your feet turn the pedals.

The pedal support you can receive from your e-bike motor means you’ll never arrive at your office, appointment or meeting hot and bothered. Your colleagues and friends will thank you, trust us.


Folding bikes can be safely stored inside your building, nestled close to your desk, workstation or even your seat in the pub. You’ll no longer need to leave your bike in a rack or locked up alone outside in the rain, which dramatically reduces the chances of it being stolen.


If you’re struggling for space in your home or garage, a folding bike is a perfect choice. Under the stairs, in a cupboard or even slotted in beside your kitchen, a folding bike can be safely stored inside.

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