Very popular at the moment, the folding electric bike is perfectly suited for urban use. Actually, it is more of an electric bike or folding e-bike, because the legislation does not yet allow bikes with fully electric drive.
The VAE is therefore an ordinary bicycle equipped with an assistance system consisting of an electric motor, a battery, and an electronic control box. The folding VAE finds its particularity in a folding and unfolding system which allows it to be folded in half. It is therefore more practical and more manageable.
That said, with the abundant supply on the market of folding pedelecs, it is often difficult to make a choice. To help you, here is our buying guide and our comparison of the best folding electric bikes.
2023 folding electric bike buying guide
In this first part, you will discover some tips for choosing the right folding electric bike.
The advantages of the folding electric bike
The electrically assisted folding bike offers many advantages:
Easy to use
Thanks to the driving force generated by the electric motor, the folding electric bicycle offers the best of both worlds: bicycles with mechanical drive, and electric two-wheelers. It is not only easy to use, but also more comfortable than a conventional bike, especially uphill .
Easy to carry
With a folding and unfolding mechanism, the folding VAE is space-saving . It fits easily in the trunk of a vehicle and does not require the installation of a bike rack. It can also be transported easily on a bus, metro or train.
In addition to its affordable price, the VAE does not require specific maintenance. Plus, it uses clean, more affordable energy than fuel. By opting for a VAE, you will quickly recoup your investment and benefit from a practical, healthy and ecological means of transport.
An ecological mobility solution
Compared to cars and two-wheelers with thermal engines, the VAE is an ecological means of transport. It does not pollute and helps protect the environment.
How to choose your electric folding bike?
Here are the most important selection criteria you should consider when buying a folding electric bike:
The power of a folding electric bike
The more powerful the motor, the better the bike performs. Nevertheless, the technical characteristics do not differ much between the different models due to the restrictions imposed by the legislation.
The battery of a folding electric bike
The battery should be strong enough to power the engine in all road conditions. Of course, it must offer good autonomy. Preferably opt for a removable Li-ion battery with a range of more than 60 km.
Propulsion, traction, or mid-engine?
Most e-bikes use a pull-drive system where the motor is built into the front wheel hub. This design allows easy assembly and offers a sportier road behavior on a flat gradient. However, it is less efficient uphill.
In addition, the positioning of the engine on the front wheel can lead to an imbalance between the masses on the two axles of the wheels. For better weight distribution, the battery of a front-wheel drive bicycle is often placed at the rear.
Models equipped with a rear-wheel drive system, in which the motor is placed in the rear wheel, are generally more stable .
In a central drive system, the motor is placed in the crankset. This design offers optimum performance, progressive assistance, and better balance of the masses. In addition, it helps to lower the center of gravity, which provides better stability and better handling.
The weight of a folding electric bike
A lightweight folding bike is easier to handle and transport. However, a high weight can sometimes be explained by additional equipment or a more robust frame.
The folding and unfolding system
For a folding bike, it is obvious that the folding and unfolding system must be quick and easy to handle. Performance bikes usually fold in less than 10 seconds.
Bikes with small wheels are lighter and more compact when folded. However, they are less efficient on the road. A folding bike with larger wheels is faster, but it is also heavier and bulkier.
When buying a folding electric bike, pay particular attention to the accessories offered by the manufacturer: lighting system, lock, mudguards, luggage rack, etc.
The price of a folding electric bike
A low price does not always mean poor quality. Likewise, a high price does not necessarily mean that the bike is of good quality. Generally, prices always tend to fall due to new builders entering the market. Ideally, opt for a folding VAE offering a good quality/price ratio.
Comparative folding electric bike and reviews
In this second part, you will discover our selection of the 5 best folding electric bikes . For each of the models presented below, we will detail the strengths and weaknesses before giving you our verdict.
GoCycle GX folding electric bike: the most stylish
The GoCycle GX is a model classified in the category of high-end folding electric bicycles. It is positioned in direct competition with the Brompton folding electric bike. Styling design is the work of GoCycle founder and former McLaren engineer Richard Thorpe.
Launched in 2019, the GX takes up the main stylistic traits of the GS. However, it adopts a new hydroformed 6061 T6 aluminum alloy frame. It weighs 17.8 kg , which is standard for a folding VAE.
Like the GS, the GX is powered by a 250W brushless motor built into the front wheel . In the event of wheelspin, a traction control system acts by reducing engine torque to optimize the bike's traction. Engine operation is managed by an electronic module offering 4 driving modes: Eco, City, On-demand, and Custom.
A removable 13.7 Ah battery built into the frame powers the bike's motor and electrical equipment. It offers a range of 65 km. GoCycle advertises a charging time of 7 hours with a regular charger and 4 hours with a fast charger.
One of the great features of the GX is its ultra-fast folding and deployment system. Indeed, with a little practice, it is possible to fold the bike in less than 10 seconds. Note that unlike previous models, folding and unfolding do not require the wheels to be removed.
The standard equipment of the GX also includes:
- The three-speed Cleandrive transmission system supplied by Shimano.
- Front and rear hydraulic brakes.
- 20-inch wheels with magnesium rims and PitstopWheels quick release system.
- Rear shock suspension with Lockshock system.
That said, we can blame the Gocycle GX for two things:
- 1- Although it is a premium electric bike, it is not equipped with a real screen, but with small LED lights showing the charge level.
- 2- Headlights and mudguards are not standard, but optional.
Despite these two drawbacks, the GX remains the best folding electric bike from the GoCycle brand.
GoCycle GX Highlights
- Very comfortable.
- Sleek design.
- Ultra-fast folding and deployment system.
- Several driving modes.
- Very manageable.
Weaknesses of the GoCycle GX
- Headlights and fenders are not standard on the bike.
- Lack of a real display screen.
Brompton Electric folding bike: the most robust
Let's continue our comparative and opinion folding electric bike, with the Brompton Electric (or Brompton Electric) . Unlike the GoCycle range developed from scratch, this “Made in London” bike is just an electric version of the mechanically driven Brompton folding bike.
The design is certainly compact and refined, but it is not as original as that of the GX. The frame is solidly constructed from heavy-duty steel and provides a sturdy look to the bike. The folding and unfolding mechanism is very easy to handle . Once the bike is unfolded, it is possible to roll it in Trolley mode thanks to two wheels placed on the triangle.
For the engine design, Brompton called on “Williams Advanced Engineering ”, the technological branch of the famous Formula 1 team “Williams F1 Team”. This collaboration gave birth to a 250 W brushless motor .
Integrated into the front wheel hub, the motor is powered by an 8.55 Ah Samsung Li-ion battery offering a maximum range of 70 km . Small originality compared to the competition, the battery is placed in a small bag of 1.5 L which is fixed on the front part of the bike. Equipped with a USB port, it can be used to charge a smartphone or a camera for example.
The bike is offered in two versions: a 2-speed version (16.6 kg) and a 6-speed version (17.4 kg). Like the GoCycle GX, the Brompton Electric does not have a real LCD display screen , but small LED lights that show the battery charge status. It's a bit unfortunate for a premium folding electric bike!
- Ingenious folding and deployment system.
- Impeccable finish.
- Efficient engine.
- The fork is short.
- Less stable than the GX.
- Lack of a real display screen.
Hercules ROB Fold F7 folding electric bike: the best equipped
The ROB Fold F7 "Made in Germany" is one of the few folding e-bikes with a mid-engine. This is a 250W brushless motor from the 3rd generation Bosch Active Line Plus electric motor range. Housed in the crankset, it transmits the driving force to the rear wheel via a metal chain. A Shimano Nexus transmission system allows you to choose between 7 different speeds depending on the road conditions.
The motor is powered by an original Bosch 11 Ah (400 Wh) Li-ion battery with a range of 80 km. For a full charge, it takes 5-7 hours. The battery, being removable, can be removed and charged separately from the bike.
Like most folding pedelecs, the maximum speed of the Hercules ROB Fold F7 is electronically limited to 25 km/h. Depending on the road conditions, it is possible to choose between 5 driving modes: Off, Eco, Tour, Sport, and Turbo.
German engineering requires, the design of the ROB Fold F7 recalls the elegance and finesse of an Audi or a Porsche. The frame is made of 7005 aluminum alloy. It is easy to fold and deploy thanks to an intuitive system. The 20-inch wheels and the lower center of gravity give the bike excellent stability on the road.
In terms of equipment, the ROB Fold F7 is probably the best folding electric bike in the selection. Unlike the GX and the Brompton Electric, it is fitted as standard with a lighting system, a Bosch Purion on-board computer with LCD display screen, a luggage rack (i-Rack) in aluminium, and front and rear mudguards.
Other premium equipment further enriches the standard equipment, in particular the patented Selle Royale Nuvola, the height-adjustable stem with the Speedlifter Twist system, and the Magura HS11 hydraulic brakes at the front and rear. The only drawback of the ROB Fold F7 is probably its weight, since it weighs 22.6 kg!
Highlights of the Hercules ROB Fold F7
- Very elegant design.
- Exceptional quality of finish.
- Central motor, masses balanced on the two axles of the wheels.
- Standard equipment rich in equipment.
- 5 driving modes.
Weaknesses of the Hercules ROB Fold F7
- Relatively heavier than other folding electric bikes.
Hercules ROB Fold F8 folding electric bike - 400 or 500 Wh: the best autonomy
Let's continue our comparative folding electric bike and reviews, with another flagship model from the German manufacturer Hercules: the ROB Fold F8 folding electric bike . This model has almost the same technical characteristics of the ROB Fold F7: Bosch Active Plus 250 W central motor , aluminum frame, 20-inch wheels, height-adjustable stem, Bosch on-board computer, etc.
That said, it has two main features. First, it offers the choice between a 400 Wh (11 Ah) battery offering a range of 100 km and a 500 Wh (13.8 Ah) battery offering a range of 150 km .
Next, it features an 8-speed Shimano Nexus drivetrain system with freewheel. The braking system has also been improved with the adoption of new Magura HS22 brakes. Compared with the ROB Fold F7, the ROB Fold F8 is heavier and weighs 23.1 kg.
Highlights of the Hercules ROB Fold F8
- Extended autonomy.
- Sleek design.
- Shimano Nexus 8-speed transmission system.
- 5 driving modes.
- Very rich standard endowment.
Weaknesses of the Hercules ROB Fold F8
Weebike folding electric bike - The Black Road: the best value for money
Flagship model of the Weebike range, Le Road Noir is an inexpensive and high-performance folding electric bike . At first glance, it impresses with its original design reminiscent of BMX and extreme sports. The 6061 aluminum frame and 20-inch wheels with star-shaped spokes further accentuate the compact and robust look of the bike. Thanks to an ingenious folding and unfolding mechanism, the bike folds and unfolds in seconds.
As far as technical performance is concerned, the Le Road Noir folding electric bike has nothing to envy to other premium folding e-bikes. It is powered by a 250W brushless motor built into the rear wheel hub. This drive mode helps to optimize the stability and maneuverability of the bike, especially uphill or on bends.
Power is supplied by a removable 10.4 Ah Li-ion battery supplied by Samsung . The autonomy is comparable to that of the GoCycle GX and the Brompton Electric and can go up to 70 km. Like the other models, the maximum speed is limited to 25 km.
Another special feature of this bike, the drive system is equipped with a pedaling sensor to adapt the driving force generated by the motor to the pedaling rhythm.
The Road Noir is also equipped with a Shimano Acera 7-speed drivetrain system . Weighing 23 kg, it is relatively heavy. That said, it benefits from a perfectly balanced weight distribution between the front axle and the rear axle. Well-designed proportions and a lower center of gravity also help improve the bike's agility and handling.
The standard equipment is generally very rich compared to the GoCycle GX and the Brompton Electric. Indeed, Le Road Noir is equipped with an LCD display screen placed on the handlebars, a front headlight, a rear reflector, and front and rear mudguards. the back.
Highlights of Le Road Weebike
- Best quality price report.
- Performance comparable to high-end models.
- A rich standard endowment.
- A powerful engine.
- Good autonomy.
Weebike weak points
Comparison of the best folding electric bikes: what to remember
To conclude this comparative and review folding electric bike article, it is clear that the GoCycle GX stands out for its unparalleled comfort and refined design. The Brompton Electric is less original, since it is declined from the mechanical version. That said, it is very robust and displays respectable performance.
The ROB Fold F7 and the ROB Fold F8 are the only bikes in this selection to be equipped with a mid-motor. In addition to their design worthy of a German luxury car, they have a very rich standard endowment. The folding VAE ROB Fold F8 is also distinguished by an 8-speed transmission system and a reinforced braking system. The version equipped with the 500 Wh battery offers a range of up to 150 km.
In terms of value for money, the Road Noir is the best folding electric bike in this selection. It stands out for its original design inspired by BMX and extreme sports. In addition, it boasts similar performance to high-end e-bikes. Obviously, this is the favorite of this selection!