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Published Aug. 7, 2021

Before you buy a new mountain bike, it’s important to ask yourself if you have room for one. If you’re working with limited garage space or need a bicycle that will fit in your vehicle’s cargo space, you don’t want to buy just any mountain bike. You need a folding mountain bike. The perfect pick for commuters, apartment dwellers, and those with crowded garages, folding mountain bikes offer all of the perks of your basic mountain bikes. But they’re also able to save space and fold in half, making them more compact and convenient. You can tackle tough terrain and navigate thrilling mountain trails—and when you’re finishing riding, you can fold up your bike and toss it into your car with ease. To make your search for the right bike easier, check out our picks for the best folding mountain bikes below.

The VIVI Folding Electric Mountain Bicycle features a strong yet lightweight aluminum alloy frame that is easy to fold for storage. The 26-inch bike has an adjustable seat and handlebar, so you can modify it to suit your height and weight. It features a Shimano 21-speed gearing system, front and rear disc brakes, and front and rear shock absorbers. All these elements promote smooth riding both uphill and downhill. In addition to mountain biking, you can use this bike for commuting in urban environments. It has a 350-watt, high-speed brushless motor and a 36V/8Ah removable battery that takes four to six hours to charge. Modes include e-bike, assisted bicycle, and normal. Using pedal assist, it has a range of 44-50 miles, and in e-bike mode its range is 22-25 miles. The bike is shipped 90 percent assembled, and the motor, battery, controller, and dashboard are backed by a one-year guarantee.

A few disadvantages are that the seat is not very comfortable, there’s no tail light, and it doesn’t have an operating manual. As a result, you need to do some research to learn about all of the bike’s functions.

Key Features
  • Aluminum alloy frame
  • 350W brushless motor
  • 21 speeds
  • Top speed of 15 miles per hour
Specification
  • Brand VIVI
  • Model N/A
  • Weight 64 pounds
PROS

The seat and handlebar are adjustable

Provides a smooth ride

Suitable for mountain biking and commuting

Three modes

CONS

Seat is not very comfortable

No tail light included

Lacks an operating manual

Conquer the trails with this steel-framed trail bicycle. It rolls on 24-inch spoke tires. For stopping power, it has powerful disk brakes. Riders that weigh up to 220 pounds can safely ride this bike. A 21-speed gear system helps you to ride on flat or hilly terrain comfortably. The sturdy construction of this bike makes it stand out. Despite its folding, you’ll feel secure and stable while riding it. The tires are also a nice feature. They are stab-resistant super thick rubber for increased durability.

Unfortunately, this bicycle doesn’t come assembled. You’ll need to spend 20-30 minutes putting it together before you can use it. If you know what you’re doing, this should be a quick process, though. You may also find that the folded design is an awkward one.

Key Features
  • 24-inch tires
  • Disc brakes
  • Steel frame
  • 220-pound maximum weight capacity
Specification
  • Brand Camping Survival
  • Model N/A
  • Weight 46.3 pounds
PROS

21-speed gear system

Sturdy construction

Stab-resistant tires

CONS

Doesn’t come assembled

Awkward folded design

If you’re ready to hop on the electric bike bandwagon, the Ancheer Folding Electric Mountain Bike is a perfect choice. You might not have thought that electric models could tackle mountain trails, but this bicycle is tough and made with top-tier materials. It even folds for convenient storage. Made out of ultra-lightweight aluminum, the bike features double shock absorption to keep you well-cushioned against impacts, bumps, and more. It features 21 speeds so you can shift and adapt on any trail or terrain. A set of front and rear disc brakes keep you in control whether you’re climbing or descending. A set of extra-strong 26-inch wheels paired with anti-slip thick tires can tackle gravel, dirt, and more. You’ll also get three riding modes and three different speeds so you can ride with speed and ease. This electric mountain bike isn’t cheap, but its quality construction makes it a worthwhile investment.

Key Features
  • 15 to 30 miles of range
  • Maximum speed of 15 to 17 miles per hour
  • 36V, 8Ah lithium battery
  • Suitable for riders from 5 feet 1 inch to 6 feet 3 inches
Specification
  • Brand Ancheer
  • Model N/A
  • Weight 52 pounds
PROS

Makes hills and inclines exciting

Tough enough for the impacts of mountain biking

Makes riding easy

CONS

Very expensive

Heavy

Hop on this bike and enjoy biking anywhere with this folding mountain bike. It has a high carbon steel frame, 26-inch wheels, and a 21-speed gear system. The black and white design featured on the frame and seat helps it to look sleek and stand out in the wilderness. A standout feature of this frame is the shock-absorbing frame, giving you a smoother ride over rough terrain. Riders that weigh up to 200 pounds can safely ride this bike.

One potential drawback of this bike is that the handlebars don’t fold. This means they can be awkward to maneuver when the bike is folded. The wheels are a spoke design and made of alloy. This makes them lightweight but also more vulnerable to damage. The low maximum weight capacity can limit the number of adults who can ride this bike.

Key Features
  • High carbon steel frame
  • 26-inch wheels
  • 21-speed gear system
  • Black and white design
Specification
  • Brand Hosim
  • Model N/A
  • Weight 41 pounds
PROS

Shock-absorbing front fork

Streamlined frame

200-pound maximum weight capacity

CONS

Handlebars don’t fold

Alloy wheels

Low maximum weight capacity

Go further than you ever could before with this electric mountain bike. It has a lightweight aluminum alloy frame, 26-inch magnesium alloy wheels, and dual disk brakes. The maximum rider weight capacity is 330 pounds. This bike stands out because it has a 250-watt high-speed brushless motor that assists you while pedaling. You’ll be able to achieve a maximum speed of 18 miles per hour. The dual suspension smooths out the ride. A headlight on the front lets you ride in low-light conditions.

Unfortunately, the tires on this bike aren’t very knobby. This can give you a lack of traction while on slippery or uneven terrain. This bike is also heavier than other bikes on this list. The excess weight can make it harder to move about when not riding it.

Key Features
  • Aluminum alloy frame
  • 26-inch wheels
  • Dual disk brakes
  • LED headlamp and horn
Specification
  • Brand Generic
  • Model N/A
  • Weight 52 pounds
PROS

330-pound maximum weight capacity

Dual suspension

250-watt high-speed brushless motor

CONS

Heavy

Tires aren’t as knobby

You’ll enjoy riding this folding mountain bike, thanks to its high-quality materials and construction. It has a high carbon steel frame for lighter overall weight without sacrificing durability. It’s outfitted with a Shimano shifter and derailleur and 24-inch wheels. A full suspension system cushions the ride and makes it more comfortable. You’ll appreciate how easy it is to fold and its compact size once folded. The blade-style wheels give the bike a sporty and sleek design.

One potential drawback of this bike is that the tire tread isn’t very aggressive, which can lead to a lack of traction. The high-quality components can also lead to more expensive maintenance and repairs.

Key Features
  • 24-inch wheels
  • Shimano shifter and derailleur
  • High carbon steel frame
  • Full suspension
Specification
  • Brand Macce
  • Model N/A
  • Weight 44 pounds
PROS

Easy to fold

Compact folded design

Blade wheels

CONS

General tire lacking aggressive tread

More expensive maintenance costs

Enjoy the durability and reliability of this folding mountain bicycle with its high carbon steel frame. The 26-inch spoke wheels are nicely sized with rugged tires that will give you plenty of traction. The bike is outfitted with a 21-speed Shimano gear system and dual disk brakes for reliable performance. You’ll appreciate the ergonomic seat, shock-absorbing front fork, and rear suspension system that create a more comfortable ride. A notable feature is a quick-release clip that makes folding and unfolding the bike frame quick and easy.

One drawback of this bicycle is that it arrives 85 percent assembled. You’ll have to spend some time installing the handlebars, pedals, wheels, and saddle. But if you have some experience, this should only take 20-30 minutes.

Key Features
  • High carbon steel frame
  • 21-speed Shimano gear system
  • 26-inch spoke tires
  • Dual disk brakes
Specification
  • Brand Hosote
  • Model N/A
  • Weight N/A
PROS

Ergonomic seat

Shock-absorbing front fork

Rear suspension system

CONS

Arrives 85 percent assembled

Large folded size

Enjoy riding off-road and on trails with this folding mountain bike. It has a bright orange high carbon steel frame and six-spoke fashion wheels. The 26-inch wheels and knobby tread on the tires give you plenty of traction and stability. Riders that are between 5 foot 3 inches and 6 feet tall and weigh under 200 pounds can safely ride this bike. A 21-gear Jaguar transmission system and double disc brakes make the bike more enjoyable. A unique feature of this bike is the rear mudguard that extends off the seat post. It blocks mud from flying up off the rear tire and hitting you.

Unfortunately, the chain can pop off while you’re riding. This can prevent you from tackling more challenging terrain that would cause the chain to pop off more often. The bike also has a low maximum weight capacity, which limits some adults from using it.

Key Features
  • High carbon steel frame
  • Jaguar 21-gear system
  • Double disk brakes
  • Six spoke fashion wheels
Specification
  • Brand Outroad
  • Model N/A
  • Weight 39 pounds
PROS

Maximum weight capacity 200 pounds

Accommodates riders between 5 foot 3 inches and 6 feet tall

Rear mudguard

CONS

Low maximum weight capacity

Chain can pop off

Go anywhere on this bicycle with its lightweight three-spoke magnesium wheels. The tires stand out with a knobby tread that wraps around the shoulder for increased traction on slippery or soft ground. The frame is high carbon steel for extra strength and durability. It’s outfitted with strong disk brakes and a Shimano shifter and derailleur. You’ll appreciate the compact size of this bike when it’s folded down. The magnesium wheels also help keep the overall weight down, making the bike easier to carry when folded.

Unfortunately, the seat on this bicycle isn’t as cushioned or supportive as other bikes on this list. This can make it less comfortable for long rides. It also doesn’t have a light or reflector, making it unsuitable for riding in low light conditions.

Key Features
  • Three-spoke magnesium wheels
  • Disk brakes
  • High carbon steel frame
  • Shimano shifter and derailleur
Specification
  • Brand Sunyuan
  • Model N/A
  • Weight 44 pounds
PROS

Full suspension

Compact folded size

Lightweight

CONS

Non-cushioned seat

No light or reflector

Best Folding Mountain Bikes Buying Guide & FAQs

Every mountain bike offers riders something different. While all mountain bikes are pretty tough and capable, some can provide you with more adaptability and more features. And while most mountain bikes are bold and ride on 26-inch wheels, others are sleeker and slimmer. Folding mountain bikes can give you just the right mix of functionality and features, all paired with the convenience of compact storage and great portability. 

But even trying to decide between different folding mountain bikes can be tricky. Which bicycles are the best, either for small spaces or rugged riding trails? Just follow the advice of our buying guide to find the best folding mountain bike for you and your riding style. 

Do You Need a Folding Mountain Bike?

Mountain Bike cyclist riding folding mountain bikes
Folding mountain bikes can be stored almost anywhere. Kevin Williams

While folding mountain bikes might seem like a pretty innovation, they’ve been around for some time now. First available in the early 1980s, folding bicycles have become increasingly more popular, especially as available space becomes more limited. But they’re perfect for modern mountain bike enthusiasts. Whether you’re living in an apartment or have a garage that’s already very full, a folding bicycle can make owning a mountain bike easier.

But that’s not all a folding mountain bike can offer. There are plenty of reasons to opt for a folding model instead of a traditional bicycle, including the following.

  • Folding mountain bikes can be stored anywhere—including on small patios, inside sheds, or even along the side of your house.
  • It’s easy to transport a folding mountain bike, as you can carry the entire bike by hand or toss it into the trunk or cargo space of your vehicle.
  • You’ll enjoy increased security with a foldable bike; you can carry it anywhere instead of locking it and leaving it behind.
  • With quick-folding or easy-to-use mechanisms, it’s simple to manage a folding mountain bike and you can have it collapsed into a compact size in seconds.

The Most Common Types of Folding Mountain Bikes

While all folding mountain bikes offer the same functionality—specifically, the ability to ride over rough terrain with ease—they are a bit different. When you’re picking out the perfect bicycle, you’re going to want to consider which type is the most ideal for you. Folding mountain bikes typically come in two varieties: half or mid folding bikes and vertical folding bikes.

Half/Mid Folding Bikes

Half folding bikes, which are also known as mid folding bikes, are those models that fold in half. They fold horizontally, collapsing so that both wheels face one another and the frame is folded too. This typically happens with a quick-release mechanism that’s paired with a hinge right at the center of the mountain bike’s frame.

Half folding mountain bikes are nicely compact, and they make it easy to carry your bicycle with one hand. However, keep in mind that a half or mid folding bike typically only folds in half. That means the handlebars often don’t fold, which can make for a bit of awkwardness depending on the size of the bike.

Vertical Folding Bikes

A vertical folding bike is the opposite of a half folding bike. Instead of folding horizontally, these bicycles fold vertically. These bikes also feature a hinge that’s typically located right at the mid-point of their frames, but they collapse vertically. Additionally, a vertical folding bike also tends to feature hinges or quick-release mechanisms at the seat post and on the handlebar post. These extra folding mechanisms allow for more compact folding.

Because vertical folding bikes can fold down even more than half fold options, they’re even smaller when not in use. This makes them even easier to carry and store.

Top Brands 

Outroad

Known as an outdoor camping, garden, patio, and sporting goods company, Outroad sells its products worldwide. It’s known for producing quality products at affordable prices. The Outroad Folding Mountain Bike stands out with its bright coloring and additional comfort features. 

Ancheer

Founded in 2008 and based in California, the company is known as a premium distributor of fitness products and health equipment. The company’s success is due to lower than industry average pricing for quality products. The Ancheer Folding Electric Mountain Bike is a reliable bike that delivers impressive performance. 

Sunyuan

Founded in 2002, Shenzhen Sunyuan Technology Co., Ltd. has an established reputation for producing quality products. Its focus on innovative technology helps it to stay at the forefront of development and worldwide distribution. The Sunyuan Folding Mountain Bike will help you enjoy mountain biking while also being portable. 

Pricing 

  • Under $250: You can find a quality folding mountain bike in this price range. They will come with a multi-gear transmission system, disk brakes, and knobby tires. 
  • $250 to $400: Bikes in this price range tend to have lighter-weight frames or fold down smaller. This makes them easier to carry and maneuver. You’ll also find bikes with full suspensions for a smoother ride and higher quality gear systems.
  • $400 and up: Bikes at this price are either high-end bicycles with top quality materials and components or are electric. An electric bike will give you pedal assistance, helping you to go further.

What to Look for When Buying a Folding Mountain Bike

When you’re considering and comparing different folding mountain bikes, you’re going to want to look at the functionality and design of the bike above all else. Just because a bicycle folds doesn’t mean it should be any less effective when you ride. So, make sure to consider whether the mountain bikes you’re interested in are built with tough frames, durable wheels, and reliable brakes and gear shifters.

Because you’re opting for a folding bicycle, it’s also important to consider how a folding mountain bike folds down. Look for models that feature quick-release mechanisms; these allow you to fold fast and with ease. You can also assess whether you want a bike that folds in just one place or multiple places. 

Key Features of Folding Mountain Bikes

riding the best folding mountain bikes
Folding mountain bikes are durable and inherently versatile. Kevin Williams

Wondering where you should even start when you’re comparing different mountain bikes that fold? You’ll want to look for certain features— features that can make your life easier and traversing mountain trails more fun. You want your bike to be tough and reliable, and it should deliver each time you’re ready to ride. Make sure the bikes you’re considering offer the following.

Durable Construction

Your two main options for the frame are aluminum and steel. Aluminum is lighter weight but can bend more easily than steel. Once damaged, you’ll have to replace an aluminum frame. Steel is heavier but more durable. You can also repair it should damage occur. 

Look for high-quality parts for the transmission, shifters, and gears. Better quality parts perform reliably and last longer. This reduces your long-term maintenance and repairs costs. Shimano is a well-known quality bike parts brand. However, Shimano has low and high-end parts, so don’t blindly buy a bike with the Shimano name without understanding what quality level the parts are. 

A mountain bike is meant for riding offroad, so look for knobby tires with thick rubber. These are less likely to puncture or lose traction. Lost traction can result in a fall that bends a wheel, which leads to wheel construction. Spoke wheels are typically made of steel, making them heavier than cast. However, they are easier to repair and absorb shocks better. 

Easy-to-Use Folding System

The majority of folding mountain bikes will fold in the middle of the frame so that the two tires overlap each other. A bike with a quick-release latch is the easiest to operate. The bike should also have a telescoping or folding handlebar stem and folding pedals for the smallest folded size. The bike should also have a locking system that will secure the bike in its folded position. A latch is the most effective, but some use magnets to hold it in place.

Dual Suspension

Riding a mountain bike can be a bit of a rough way to adventure. However, if you choose a folding mountain bike with dual suspension—suspension in the front and rear—then you’ll have a smoother, more comfortable experience no matter how tough the trail is. Your bike’s suspension setup is what cushions you against impacts and shocks, taking all of the blows and the pressure instead of allowing you to feel these uncomfortable sensations.

And the dual suspension is better than a front or rear suspension alone. You can hit rough roads from all angles while mountain biking, so you want as much help from your suspension as possible. 

Other Considerations 

  • Gear System. Mountain bicycles are meant for riding on the trails and through the wilderness. This means traversing over uneven terrain and up and down hills. Having a high-quality gear system makes this much easier by increasing and lowering the resistance. A higher-quality gear system will be more durable and able to withstand the extra abuse of off-road riding. 
  • Size. The bike you ride should be the right size for your body. Otherwise, it won’t be comfortable to ride and won’t be able to handle the terrain. It also needs to have a high enough maximum weight capacity to support your body weight safely. Do not choose a bike where you are at the top end of the maximum weight, as this puts undue stress on the bike.
  • Weight. A folding mountain bike is meant to be portable. Consider its overall weight and size when unfolded and folded. A bike that’s too heavy or still large when folded will be hard to carry and maneuver. You’ll use more energy pedaling a heavier bike on wilderness terrain. A large bike also makes it harder to navigate smaller areas.

Care and Maintenance for Folding Mountain Bikes

To take care of your folding mountain bike, you want to treat it like you would any other bicycle. Your bike will likely need a professional tune-up or some adjustments once it arrives. You may need to finish the bike’s assembly by installing components like the handlebars, seat, pedals, and wheels. You’ll also need to adjust the seat height to fit your leg length. It’s also a good idea to have your bike checked out by a bike shop every so often to keep everything tight and properly tuned.

To keep your folding mountain bike in its best shape, follow these care and maintenance tips:

  • Clean the bike after each ride to remove sand, dirt, grit, or anything else that gets caught up in the chain or components. This will prevent premature wear and tear. 
  • When not in use, keep your bike out of the elements. The sun’s UV rays, rain, snow, and ice can all wreak havoc on your bike’s condition. 
  • Check your tire pressure before each ride. This will ensure you have proper inflation, which reduces the wear and tear on the tires, improves the bike’s performance, and makes it easier for you to pedal.

Best Folding Mountain Bike FAQs:

If you’re wondering what makes a folding mountain bike worthwhile, you aren’t alone. Folding bikes are different—but that can be a great perk for any rider. If you have questions about what it’s like to ride and own one of these unique bicycles, check out some of the most commonly asked questions below.

Q: Are folding mountain bikes any good?

Folding mountain bikes are just as great as any other mountain bike. They’re more convenient and portable since they fold down compactly for storage and easy carrying.

Q: Do folding bikes break easily?

No, folding bikes aren’t any more prone to breakage than your average bicycle. However, you may need to ensure the hinge is lubricated and working smoothly at some points.

Q: Are folding bikes good for long rides?

Folding bikes are as good for a long bike ride as any other mountain bike. They offer the same support and stability—you just might want to personalize yours with a more cushioned or comfortable seat.

Our Top Pick

We selected the VIVI Folding Electric Mountain Bicycle as our top choice because it’s ultra-lightweight and easy to carry. It features a Shimano 21-speed gearing system, front and rear disc brakes, and front and rear shock absorbers for smooth riding. 

Final Thoughts

The VIVI Folding Electric Mountain Bicycle is our favorite folding mountain bike due to its performance and versatility. If price is your biggest concern, make sure to consider the Camping Survival Folding 21-Speed Riding Mountain Bike, an excellent affordable option.

Sources:

  1. Mountain Bike – Wikipedia

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