Folding bikes have been steadily gaining in popularity over the years thanks to the sheer convenience of using one, especially since the folding feature makes the bikes insanely portable, making it easy to ride subways and store the ride in cramped apartments.
Of course, supply meets demand, and now we have hundreds of different models available on the market. As nice as it is to have so many options to pick from, it can also make the buying process a lot more difficult, confusing, and time-consuming.
So, to help you find the perfect folding bicycle, we came up with this review and buying guide on the best folding mountain bikes in 2021. Check out our top picks below, all of which are guaranteed to let you enjoy the optimum biking experience.
2021’s Top 6 Folding Mountain Bikes
After much research and testing, we were able to come up with this definitive list of the most promising lightweight folding mountain bikes, many of which come from well-known brands such as Xspec, Montague, and Cyrusher, to name a few. Let’s take a look!
Stowabike MTB V2 Folding Dual Suspension Mountain Bike
The best folding mountain bike for us is the Stowabike MTB V2 Folding Dual Suspension Mountain Bike, a top-of-the-line folding MTB that’s perfect for riding around trails and climbing mountains. This bike features a heavy-duty construction and an 18-speed drivetrain to make it capable of smoothly and easily handling various terrain.
It also boasts of a dual suspension that makes each ride super comfortable- even by today’s bikes’ standards. Interestingly enough, along with the techy and modern features is a blast from the past in the form of classic V-brakes, which, in all fairness, is a decent type of bike brakes.
The Stowabike MTB V2 features durable, high-quality steel construction that makes the bike road and trail ready. It may not be the lightest in terms of weight, but it’s certainly easy and quick to fold up without needing any tools. It also folds up in a very compact package that takes up minimal storage space. All in all, a great fold up bike!
- 26” folding steel frame
- 26” steel suspension fork
- 3-speed grip shifters
- Single walled alloy rims
- Comes with a steel kickstand
Xspec 26″ 21-Speed Folding Mountain Bike for Adults
We also really like the Xspec 26″ 21-Speed Folding Mountain Bike for Adults, which can only be described as high quality, smooth, efficient, convenient, easy to use, and folds up quickly. Notice how these are all the adjectives you want the perfect bike to be described with? That’s because the Xspec 26” is nothing short of perfection.
It even comes in various colors to match your personality, and it’s perhaps the easiest and most effortless foldable mountain bike to, well, fold. Plus, with the pedals being foldable as well, you’re getting one of the most compact footprints among the competition.
This bicycle also doesn’t lack any performance features. It’s got superior suspension with shock absorbers both in the front and rear. This makes each ride comfortable and undisturbed as you easily ride over bumps, rocks, and potholes without much fuss.
- High tensile strength folding frame
- Complete Shimano shifters and derailleurs
- Shock absorbers and disc brakes
- Ideal for road and mountain trails
- Suitable for riders 5’3” to 6’0” in height
Uublik 26in Folding Mountain Bike
Taking the third spot is the Uublik 26in Folding Mountain Bike, an all-terrain bicycle that’s perfect for paved streets, gravel paths, trails, and everything in between. It boasts of a lightweight and rust-resistant hardtail aluminum frame that makes for easier handling and acceleration. Even the 3-spoke wheels made of magnesium are equal parts durable and lightweight.
You’ll also appreciate the reliable suspension system on the front and rear of the bicycle, which makes for a safer and more robust trail. And, if you want seamless short and long distance stops, you can rely on the mechanical disc brakes.
Not only that, this bike features mid-range Shimano derailleurs that make for more precise and faster transitions, which you’ll definitely feel as you use the 21-speed options while transitioning from urban to suburban touring and back. Overall, it’s a cost-efficient bicycle that offers impressive performance at a competitive price.
- Tough, aggressive, robust, and durable frame
- All-terrain tires for less rolling resistance
- Solid alloy linear braking system
- F/R EF500 Shimano derailleurs
- Comfortable seat cushion for long rides
Kingttu KTG6 Dual Suspension Folding Bike 21 Speed MTB
Ranking fourth is the Kingttu KTG6 Dual Suspension Folding Bike 21 Speed MTB, which is perhaps the best folding mountain bike for beginners, since it’s insanely easy to assemble even for those who aren’t very handy with tools. It’s delivered to you 85% pre-assembled, the instructions are easy to understand, and you don’t need special tools to finish the bike.
That’s not the only thing that makes the Kingttu KTG6 great for novice riders, mind you. It’s also comfortable and easy to ride thanks to the leather insulation of the padded saddle, and it’s designed to handle various riding conditions from paved streets to rough roads, making it suitable for new riders still trying to find their jam.
Other features of this fold up mountain bike include smooth tension shifts, gears, and shocks, tires that offer exceptional traction, patterned grips that make for better maneuvers, and an already compact structure that becomes even smaller as you fold it. It’s pretty lightweight, too!
- Solid material and design with stable steel frame
- 3-spoke wheels and traction tires
- Strong shock absorbers and powerful brakes
- Reliable shifters, precise gears, durable derailleurs
Montague Paratrooper PRO 27 Speed Folding Mountain Bike
You might also want to check out the Montague Paratrooper PRO 27 Speed Folding Mountain Bike, a tactical and detectable fold up mountain bike that is perfect for paratroopers. Its military edge makes for superior reliability, convenience, and comfort.
The bike’s quick folding mechanism is designed to match the purpose of the bike. In other words, you get a bike that’s quick and easy to deploy, and just as quick and easy to fold up. While that may be the norm for folding MTBs, this bike’s big size makes its folding mechanism a bit more impressive. Not to mention, it makes things quite efficient and convenient.
Furthermore, the Paratrooper PRO is also lightweight at a mere 32 pounds. This means it’s easy and hassle-free to carry even over long distances. You can hoist it on your shoulder, and trust that your back nor feet won’t feel strained under the weight.
- Two frame halves make for a bigger clamping surface
- Easy folding experience with quick release top tube
- DirectConnect efficient folding mechanism
- Comes with a rack stand for cargo
Cyrusher FR100 Folding Mountain Bike Full Suspension
Finally, take a look at the Cyrusher FR100 Folding Mountain Bike Full Suspension, a premium quality folding mountain bike featuring a strong and lightweight aluminum alloy for its entire frame, suspension fork, and 26 inch wheels.
This bike guarantees easy riding and smooth cruising with its comfort shock absorption. It also boasts of a superior braking system in the form of disc brakes present in the front and rear of the bicycle. And, speed won’t ever be an issue with the 24-speed shifting system from Shimano. Even changing gears is smooth and easy.
With this bicycle, you can easily ride on roads, sands, hills, creeks, and mud, and you’re sure to enjoy taking on various off-road terrains with the cushy fat tires. Last, this bike is also easily foldable and adjustable, especially thanks to the quick-release clamp that makes packing up fast and hassle-free.
- Safe rides and stops even at sloping terrains and high speeds
- Enhanced control and safety features
- 90% pre-assembled, takes ~15 minutes to set up
Want to check out more affordable fat tire bikes? Check out this list!
Benefits Of Folding Mountain Bikes
Are folding mountain bicycles really the thing of the future? Are they better -or worse- than traditional mountain bikes? What makes folding MTBs so great, anyway? We already know that conventional MTBs offer excellent ride capacity and portability, as well as smooth rides even on difficult terrains. Can foldable mountain bikes do the same?
The short answer? Yes. Foldable mountain bikes, for the most part, look, act, and feel the same way as traditional mountain bikes. You’re just getting the added benefit of compact storage, which is a huge plus in cramped urban environments.
In fact, the only downside would be the limitation in terms of size, since most fold up options come in 26” sizes whereas you also get 27.5” and 29” sizes for traditional bikes. Really though, it’s not much of an issue, especially if you’re an average sized rider.
Being able to fold up a bicycle means the possibilities are endless as to where you can take your bike. This is important since it’s not always realistic to ride your bike the entire length of your journey, and rolling in a full sized bike inside a cramped subway, ferry, or the compartment of a New York cab is just asking for trouble.
A folding mountain bike allows you to do all these and more. Not only can you zoom across the city, you can also explore new trails more easily, since you don’t have to worry about finding transport solutions for your bike- quite a problem if you don’t have a car.
Again, the beauty of foldable mountain bikes is that they’re foldable, which makes portability a non-issue. This means that you can explore hard-to-reach areas and camping/ hiking/ trekking spots, venture out and explore the great outdoors, take your bike with you island hopping, and so on, since packing and carrying a tiny 1ft bike is so much easier than hauling a 5ft one.
Perhaps the most enticing aspect of folding mountain bicycles, especially for urban dwellers like those living in dorm rooms, their parents’ basements, tiny mobile homes, and the like, is that these bikes are easy to store and don’t take up a lot of space.
Think of it this way: with a fold up MTB, you can easily carry it up the stairs, navigate through tight hallways, and pack the bike inside your closet.
A typical mountain bike can be fairly lightweight, but this feature is vastly improved on folding MTBs. Manufacturers do this because fold up bikes are meant to be carried and hauled a lot, whether during outdoor travels, going to tough spots, or simply climbing a flight of stairs. Whatever the reason, having a lightweight bike is great.
Of course, being lightweight doesn’t mean that folding mountain bikes are flimsy. In fact, they are just as reliable and durable as traditional bicycles, thanks to the use of superior materials in their construction. As a matter of fact, you can confidently ride a fold up MTB on rough and rocky terrains. Trust us- a foldable MTB can take a beating.
Folding Mountain Bikes Buying Guide
There are so many different things to consider when choosing a foldable MTB, and as such, you might be in for a tough task. To ease this burden and help you easily find the best folding mountain bike, here’s a list of the most important factors you need to consider before buying:
Sure, the term ‘mountain bike’ indicates trail and off-road use, but let’s be more specific, shall we? Ask yourself exactly what kind/s of riding you like to do. This will help you find a perfectly fitting bicycle that meets your on and off-road demands.
For example, do you exclusively ride on rocky, sandy, grassy paths, or do you use your bike for commutes around the city? Do you reside in a hilly area, or is it all flat and even ground? Do you ride for 5 to 30 minutes at a time, or do you enjoy long distance rides? These things would spell the difference between, say, 20” or 700c wheels and 4” fat tires.
Even your skill and energy levels matter. Maybe you like the challenge of a fixie, or maybe you’re better off with a multi-speed bike. Perhaps you want to show up to work presentable, and would rather enjoy a bit of pedal assist from an e-bike. At the end of the day, it’s all up to your personal needs and preferences.
Electric Folding MTBs
What you need to understand with electric folding mountain bikes is that if you want more power and faster accelerations, you need a higher torque. But, if the torque is too high, you might be compromising your safety. As such, most folding e-bikes come with just enough torque and 250-watt motors for a balance of safety and speed.
The folding e-bikes on the market are mostly Class 1, which translates to a top speed of 20mph, making the ride suitable for bicycle paths. Now, while e-bikes make riding easier, do keep in mind that you get extra weight from the motor and battery, which means carrying the bike can be cumbersome.
Getting the right size bike is always important no matter what type of bike you’re buying. You need to make sure that the bike fits you well so that you don’t feel cramped nor have a hard time reaching the ground.
Now, bike size refers to both the frame and wheels. For foldable mountain bikes, the frame size lies between 16-20 inches, and the wheels range from 16-28 inches. That said, most folding bikes are designed for 26 inch wheels, which are a bit smaller than those on conventional mountain bikes.
You’ll know that it’s the right bike size when, while sitting properly on the saddle, you can comfortably extend your legs on the pedals with just enough bend that your legs aren’t fully extended nor are the backs of your legs and thighs almost meeting each other.
Remember, fold up mountain bikes have to be lightweight enough to transport around easily, but they should also be strong, robust, and durable to be able to handle abuse from rough terrains and daily use. As such, the frame of the bike should be made of good quality materials.
One of the most popular bike frame materials is aluminum, which is, by nature, lightweight and durable. Aluminum is a pretty affordable material, so you’ll find it on most entry-level and mid-range bicycles. It’s also resistant to rust and corrosion.
Another popular option is steel, which is even cheaper and more durable. Steel is strong and heavy-duty, although this comes with the drawback of also being quite heavy. This material is also susceptible to rust and corrosion, so you need to be wary of chips, cracks, and scratches. That said, steel is a sturdy material that lasts for a long time.
The most expensive but also arguably the best choice of bike frame material is carbon fiber. It’s lightweight, durable, corrosion resistant, flexible, and more adept at taking a beating. Overall, it’s a superior quality material that’s worth the hefty price tag.
Another important consideration is the bike’s folding mechanism. After all, the folding aspect is the primary reason you’re getting a foldable mountain bike. It’s what allows you to easily transport and carry the bike from place to place.
As such, this mechanism should be quick and easy to use. You shouldn’t have to use special tools, spend hours, or strain yourself trying to fold up the bicycle.
A common folding mechanism is called the split fold, which features a hinge located in the bike frame’s central point. It’s great in terms of folding ease, speed, and efficiency, which means that folding the bike will be convenient. The catch is that the folded up bike may still feel quite bulky.
Meanwhile, there’s the triangle fold, which results in a more compact and less space-hungry folded up frame. Sure, it makes use of extra hinges and latches, and takes a bit more time and effort to perfect the folding process, but seeing as it’s quickly becoming popular among folding bikes, the effort seems to be worth it.
You might also find a few folding bicycles using the breakaway method, which, as the name suggests, completely splits the bicycle into two pieces. There are certain advantages to this, such as more flexible storage solutions, but it does require significantly more effort in dismantling the bike.
Keep in mind that the more and the farther you have to carry your folded up MTB around, especially if it involves flights of stairs, the lighter you need the bike to be lest you want a workout session. Somewhere between 20 and 30 pounds is a good range. Do make sure, however, that the bike has a good weight capacity to safely accommodate your weight.
While all folding mountain bikes become more portable once folded up, the level of compactness isn’t anywhere near equal. If you want the most compact footprint, for instance, go for a small bike frame, small wheels, and a triangle folding mechanism. Of course, that may come with certain issues like fit and speed, so choose wisely.
When it comes to the bicycle’s performance, an efficient and durable drivetrain is key- meaning, investing in solid, chainrings that don’t easily break, high-quality cranks and gears, and effective derailleurs and shifters.
Given all these, unless you are willing to shell out money for high-end parts, a Shimano gear set is the way to go. These make for budget-friendly, reasonable, and good quality drivetrains.
You also have to consider how many speed gears you want. The great thing about folding MTBs is that you’re not at all limited with the number of gear options, with some bicycle models offering up to 21 or 27 speeds.
A suspension fork is essential in a mountain bike, foldable or not. It’s what dampens shock and vibration from all those rocks, potholes, and uneven paths. Even better if you can get a full suspension, which will also give you a rear shock that’s spring loaded and connects to the rear fork’s top tube. This will make rides on bumpy trails more comfortable.
Now, if you’re considering foldable hybrid bikes, such as the Montague Paratrooper, keep in mind that it may not have a suspension system altogether. These types of bikes are intended for bike paths, dirt and gravel roads, and other smooth trails.
It’s also important to make sure that your bicycle has the right safety features, one of them being good quality brakes. You’ll find that there are many options for bicycle brakes, with the traditional, cost-effective V-brakes and the more modern and superior disc brakes as the two most popular options on foldable mountain bikes.
While it’s easy to say that the best folding mountain bikes are those that make use of disc brakes, they are also more expensive, and in a way, more difficult to maintain. V-brakes are still a good option, as long as they are made with quality materials that don’t compromise stopping power.
Don’t make the mistake of overlooking the bicycle’s handlebars. Not only are these the main contact point between the rider and the bicycle’s front fork and wheel, it’s what helps you navigate and maneuver the bike.
As such, the handlebars should be comfortable, ergonomic, and easily adjustable. They should allow you to comfortably and efficiently handle various terrain. They should also feature good quality mountain bike grips that offer a firm grip and excellent control over the bike. Furthermore, the handlebars and grips should also make for easy brake access.
Another important point of contact between rider and bike are the pedals, which are ultimately what lets you turn the wheels and more forward. Did you know that not all bicycle pedals are made equal? For starters, they come in many different sizes to accommodate the sizes of riders’ feet.
The right fit is important so that your feet don’t randomly slide off the pedals, especially while riding uphill, which is not only a safety threat, but also kills your momentum. You also need to make sure that there’s enough traction between the soles of your shoes and the pedals, and if you really want to keep your feet on the pedals, consider integrated metal or velcro straps.
For the best riding experience, a bicycle must be comfortable. This means taking into account the bike seat, the handlebar grips, and the suspension. For instance, the grips should be made with good quality rubber or synthetic leather, and feature texturized granular patterns that effectively enhance gripping.
The saddle, on the other hand, should feel ergonomic, offer enough rear support, come with plenty of padding to relieve butt and lower back tension, and be covered with a good quality, durable, and breathable material that’s also easy to clean.
Folding Mountain Bike FAQs
Are folding mountain bikes better than standard mountain bikes?
It really all depends on personal preferences. You need to take into account your budget and intended usage in order to decide which type of mountain bike is better suited for you.
For example, folding mountain bikes are more affordable and portable, and they also work great for touring and off-road activities. On the other hand, while standard mountain bikes are more expensive and not as portable, they still offer more power and are more versatile than their fold up counterparts.
Want a standard size mountain bike but have a limited budget? Don’t fret! Here are the best mountain bikes under $300.
Is a folding mountain bike capable of performing uphill rides?
It depends on your drivetrain and skill level. Do you have enough gear combinations to allow you to conquer steep climbs and uphill terrains? Can you exert the needed leg power to get you to the top of the hill? Think of it this way: a skilled cyclist riding a 27-speed bike will more easily climb a slope than a beginner riding a fixie.
Can I use a folding mountain bike for long distance rides?
Yes. Some models and brands are better suited (aka more comfortable) for long distance rides than others, but ultimately, all foldable mountain bikes are stable and durable enough for those long trips on the road.
Are folding mountain bikes a worthy investment?
Yes. folding MTBs are just like any other bike types in the sense that they can get you where you want to go. These bikes are pretty versatile, too, and can handle so much more than you think. Plus, folding mountain bikes are highly portable, space-saving, lightweight, durable, and fairly inexpensive.
When it comes to folding mountain bikes, what size tires are the best?
Here’s the thing: larger wheels are best for riding over longer distances since you can cover more ground with each pedal stroke (although pedalling requires more power), whereas smaller wheels are easier and require less effort to speed up, making accelerations more comfortable. Ultimately, it’s a matter of personal preference and riding style.
As you have seen above, folding mountain bikes are amazing, practical, and versatile rides that offer a lot of wonderful benefits for urban riders with an adventurous streak. While folding MTBs aren’t as fast or powerful as standard sized bikes, they are a lot more portable, and in a way, easier to handle as well.
How about you? Do you want to know how it feels to ride a folding mountain bike?