Choosing the right folding electric bike for your needs that yet still needs to be affordable can feel a little intimidating, especially considering that many folding e-bikes are way expensive.
Typically, getting a folding e-bike means shelling out a pretty penny, which is a real concern for those on a budget.
The high cost is also a real concern for beginners since they don't want to pick an expensive model without knowing what is at stake.
However, with the growing demand for convenient mobility, many e-bike manufacturers are now producing more affordable folding electric bikes that weren’t available years ago.
Here is my list of the top cheap folding electric bikes that don't break the bank.
How low can the price of a Foldable e-bike go?
First, understand that you get what you pay for, and in most cases, low prices mean quality issues.
However though, when it comes to electric bikes, “cheap” is quite a relative measure.
Typically, a decent foldable e-bike can cost over $2,500.
However, there’re some excellent cheap folding electric bikes available if your budget doesn’t stretch that far.
Most affordable folding e-bikes tend to be hybrids- these are bikes designed for everyday commuting and casual riding instead of a specific task like rugged, off-road terrain.
Generally, most of the affordable folding bikes are within the $500 and $1,000 range.
But remember, we’re also looking at other elements such as practicality, ease of use, mileage, etc.
Yes, some of the mentioned cheap folding electric bikes models go as low as $300, but you’ll soon realize they’re not reliable, and can’t even handle the slightest of the rugged terrains.
On the other hand, affordable folding electric bike models within a $500 to $1,000 range strike a balance between cost and functionality.
Most of them have a motor rating from an upward of 250W, so they’re quite reliable even in the tough terrains, and will give you plenty of miles.
They also won’t disappoint you with their build quality or aren’t plagued by dodgy electronics.
For most models at this range, expect some common characteristics in their componentry such as:
Many of the cheap folding electric bikes use original industry standard and affordable hub motors instead of mid-drive motors.
Unlike the mid-drive, the hub motors don't allow natural maneuverability because they concentrate their weight on the front or the rear.
Cheaper folding electric bikes normally have cheaper design componentry.
But this doesn’t mean you’ll be riding around on a rattling tin can.
It just means the manufacturer puts the money where it matters most.
3)Range and Battery Integration
Most of the budget-friendly folding electric bikes don't hide their batteries with much elegance; instead, the battery sticks out at the top of the down tube, easily noticeable.
The range is also somewhat limited; most of them have a pedal-assisted range of 30 to 40 miles, but some might reach 50 miles (80 km).
What to search for in a cheap folding electric bike?
There is a diverse range of affordable folding electric bike available in the market suiting your different needs. The best way to determine which ones best for you is to balance the features that are extremely important to you according to your usage (listed below) with the budget in hand.
One of the most important factors to consider before buying an folding e-bike is the runtime since it determines the amount of time you can use the powered product for. The greater the battery life- the further you will be able to ride the electric bike (range).
Since battery capacities drain over time), it is better to invest in batteries from reputable companies with warranties; prolonging their usage.
The range of your folding electric bike is dependent on the amount of assistance needed and the terrain that is being ridden hence, it is crucial to choose a bike that offers enough range to help you reach your preferred destination. Most e-bikes offer a range between 20 miles and a little over 200 miles for the high end ones.
For regular usage a folding electric bike with a speed of 20mph is ideal however, it solely depends on your usage. Keep in mind that a higher speed would mean a faster battery drain.
A lightweight collapsible would be an ideal choice since it is easier to transport and store.
If you are planning to use your folding e-bike for inner-city transportation then foldable electric bikes are the way to go.
A folding e-bike weighing less 20 kg would be considered light weight making it easier to carry around and easier to navigate through pot holes and rough roads.
Budget friendly electronics can be faulty and dubious hence, it is important to buy a folding electric bike from a reliable brand to ensure the products reliability. The motor, battery and electronics in an e-bike determine the longevity of its use. E-Bikes with Lithium-ion batteries are the most popular choice as they have a longer life and generate more power than others.
However, there is no pre-defined standard that warns you whether the internal components of the folding electric bike are of high quality or not.
What Is The Best Folding Electric Bike To Buy If Your Budget Can Go a Little Further?
If a folding electric bike had all of the following features, it’d be closer to “best” than most others;
- Motor: The motor is the major determinant in an electric bike’s performance. It should feature a mid-drive motor with a power rating of 1000-watts to 750-watts with speed capped at 28mph. This will guarantee a smooth riding experience.
- Battery: Its battery should be nothing less than 48V to 64V. Most high-functioning electric bikes feature batteries from renowned manufacturers such as Samsung, LG Chem, et cetera.
- Range: The powerful motor and large-capacity battery should provide nothing less than 65 miles range per full charge.
- Brakes: The best electric bike must use the best materials in every aspect of its assembly. Hence, it should utilize more durable hydraulic brakes.
- Hardware: It should feature the best materials, hardware-wise. Steel and titanium alloys are among the best materials used for electric bikes.
- E-Systems: The best electric bike should feature cutting-edge software to manage its functions. It may have Bluetooth functionality along with an interactive TCD or LCD that allows you to switch modes, gears and lock the bike and battery.
Here is my top list if I were to have a bigger budget:
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