5 Best Budget Folding Bikes: Cheap Mountain, Electric & More

By Mark Plummer •  Updated: 05/22/22 •  11 min read

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Folding bikes are all the rage these days, and it’s easy to see why.

When you don’t have a lot of storage space available or need to transport your bike somewhere, you need a premium bike that offers performance and convenience. And if you don’t have to spend a fortune to get what you want, even better. 

Fortunately, there are several folding bikes on the market that just so happen to be some of the best budget folding bikes money can buy.

To determine the best folding bike for your needs, first decide your priorities and how you’ll use your bike.

#ProductBest ForGearsFolded Dimensions
1IDS Home unYOUsual U TransformerAll-Around Folding633.45 x 25.5 x 13.5 inches
2Swagtron Swagcycle EB-5Electric TransportationBattery27.4 x 24.02 x 14.25 inches
3Max4Out Folding Mountain BikeMountain Biking2139.2 lbs
4Marcy Foldable Upright Exercise BikeHome Exercise Bike8 levels14L x 18W x 51H
5ZiZZO CampoTrail Riding7H-27″ L-31″ W-12.5

The Best Budget Folding Bike 2023

Everybody uses their folding bikes differently.

To start with, people often use them differently than regular bikes. Thankfully folding bikes come in many different styles and construction, so there’s bound to be a perfect folding bike for each person, no matter their needs.

Whether you’re interested in the lightest folding bike, the smallest folding bike, or simply looking for affordable folding bikes, here are some of the best folding bike models.

1. Best Budget Folding Bike IDS Home unYOUsual

IDS Home unYOUsual U Transformer 20" Folding City...
  • 20 - inch folding bicycle designed for commuting and...
  • Shimano 6 speed shifter and derailleur. semi-alloy front and...
  • WANDA 20" x 1.75 tires

Last update on 2023-05-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The IDS Home unYOUsual U Transformer lightweight folding bike will serve you well if you’re looking for something for your daily commute or exercise. This cheap folding bike is ideal for urban riding and flat terrain.

It’s swift, easy to maneuver, and won’t take up much space when you aren’t using it. It only has six speeds, but you don’t need more than that to get around town.

Safety and Convenience

This elegant-looking compact bike has 20” Wanda tires.

Wanda tires are excellent for acceleration and safety; they have deep treads that provide superb traction. These tires will work to prevent you from taking any spills on the city road. 

Expect superior braking thanks to its front and rear v brakes. The bike itself only weighs 32 lbs. Its durable steel frame means it’s an incredibly heavy-duty folding bike that won’t be easily damaged.

Best Budget Folding Bike
Best Budget Folding Bike

The handlebars and brake set are alloy, contributing to their light nature. You can easily transport the folding commuter bike when not in use or discreetly store it until your next ride.

You will need to assemble part of the folding bike yourself, but users all agree that assembly was straightforward. Thankfully, you can find videos online to instruct you on folding and unfolding your new collapsible bike quickly. 

And because the saddle and handlebars are adjustable, nearly everybody can find a suitable position to ride comfortably, regardless of their height.

What Sets It Apart

The details make this cheap folding bike stand out from others.

The mudguards will keep you from getting splattered while headed to work, and the grip shifters make changing gears quick and straightforward, which can be invaluable if you’re riding on busy city streets. 

Of course, you’ll probably need to transport a couple of items during your commute, so the rear rack is a tremendous help. 

2. Best Budget Folding Electric Bike – Swagcycle EB-5

Swagtron Swagcycle EB-5 Lightweight Aluminum...
1,451 Reviews
Swagtron Swagcycle EB-5 Lightweight Aluminum...
  • Pre-assembled; the electric bike already comes pre-assembled...
  • Height adjustable for adults and teens; easily adjust the...
  • 14 inch wheels; a pair of air-filled rubber tires with...

Last update on 2023-05-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Sure, an electric bike is cool, but a folding electric bike is beyond cool. Who wouldn’t want to boost their daily commute with an e-bike? 

The Swagtron Swagcycle EB-5 is the best-performing e-bike that you can fold and transport. You can ride 15.5 miles on a single charge, cruising up to 15 miles per hour.

The boost you get from your battery is enough to help you get home with less effort at the end of a long day or extra help up long hills.

You Can Go For Miles

If your battery runs out of charge or you want to prolong its mileage (or if you just want the workout!), switch over to pedaling. 

You can switch back and forth anytime you want to reduce your carbon footprint without sacrificing your smooth ride.

Best Budget Folding Electric Bike
Best Budget Folding Electric Bike

And just because it’s electric doesn’t mean you need to worry about rain. The Swagtron can withstand severe weather, keeping the battery pack dry for your next ride. 

This folding bike has smaller wheels, so it is super compact when folded, although the battery makes it slightly heavier, weighing in at 37 lbs. Still, it’s reasonable to carry your folding bicycle up the stairs to your apartment.

Secure Braking

Braking isn’t a concern, thanks to Swagtron’s Autoguard technology. It instantly disengages the motor when you hit the brake, ensuring that you can stop immediately in an emergency.  

You can also remove the cables for maintenance and have no worries about quickly restoring them to their place. It comes fully assembled, so you don’t need to worry about figuring out how to put it together.

One downside to this folding bike is that it doesn’t come with a luggage rack, but the company sells one separately as an add-on.

3. Best Budget Folding Mountain Bike – Max4Out

Max4out 26 Inch Folding Mountain Bike, 21 Speed...
  • Quick-release seat post makes for easy height adjustment
  • Durable alloy rims and tires roll over anything
  • 21-speed shifters make for smooth gear changes on every ride

Last update on 2023-05-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

You don’t need to leave your mountain bike at home if you can’t fit it in with all your gear as you head out on your camping trip.

This foldable bike is the perfect solution. The Max4Out Folding Mountain Bike is compact enough that you can stuff it in with the rest of your supplies. 

Sturdy Construction

The frame is constructed from carbon steel, making it incredibly durable. The steel frame makes it heavier than your average folding bike, but it’s also sturdier, essential for hitting the trails.

And the Max4Out’s dual-suspension frame reduces the impacts from the usual bumps and jolts of the trail.

The wheel size is 26”, so they are hefty enough to help you navigate uneven and hilly terrain.

Best Budget Folding Mountain Bike
Best Budget Folding Mountain Bike

These durable tires can handle all conditions, from sandy ground to wet patches. They’re extra wide so that you will feel well-supported and stable. 

The tires are constructed from a durable alloy that ensures nothing on your trail can stop your ride. Mountain bikes need to be able to take a beating and navigate difficult paths; this folding bicycle delivers.

Easy to Operate

The Max4Out comes mostly assembled, but you must put together the handlebar, seat, front tire, and pedals.

The tricky part is making sure your gears are properly adjusted; this bike has a considerable number of 21 gears! Once fully set up, these gears switch very smoothly, giving you less worry during your rough riding.

You don’t need to miss out on style because you’ve opted for a foldable mountain bike. It looks like other bikes; many people may be surprised to discover it’s a folding bike! Choose between an eyepopping green, orange, or standard black.

4. Best Budget Folding Exercise Bike – Macy Foldable Upright Exercise Bike

Marcy Foldable Magnetic Resistance Upright...
  • CUSTOMIZABLE CYCLING WORKOUT – Created for fitness...
  • LCD DISPLAY TRACKS PROGRESS – Push beyond your limits and...

Last update on 2023-05-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Living in a small space shouldn’t prevent you from being able to have the home exercise gear you love. Thank goodness for this Macy Foldable Upright Exercise Bike.

Its folded size is so tiny when you’re done that you will barely notice that it’s there, although it doesn’t include folding pedals. It includes transport wheels to smoothly roll it off to a corner when you’re done working out.

Suitable for Everyone

Beginners and experts alike can appreciate the features of the Macy foldable bike.

It has eight resistance levels, so you can adjust your training to fit your experience level or even how hard you care to work that day.

You can track your workout through this bike’s LCD computer display; it lets you see how far you’ve ridden and how long, how many calories you’ve burned, and how fast you’ve been peddling. Use this information to push yourself even further with each ride.

Best Budget Folding Exercise Bike
Best Budget Folding Exercise Bike

Exercising on a folding bike doesn’t need to be uncomfortable.

The Macy bike has a padded seat and foam-covered handlebars so that you don’t focus on unnecessary discomforts while exercising. 

Rider height and weight won’t make a difference for who can ride this folding bike. And the pedals are weighted and include adjustable straps, giving you extra support and safety for your ride.

5. Best Budget Trail Folding Bike – ZiZZO Campo

ZiZZO Campo 20 inch Folding Bike with 7-Speed,...
  • Lightweight Aluminum frame; Folds in seconds and is easy to...
  • 7 speeds and grip style shifter
  • Easy folding ADJUSTING aluminum alloy stem

Last update on 2023-05-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The ZiZZO Campo folding bike is the perfect compromise between a daily commuter bike and a mountain bike.

You can zip around the city on this budget bike for your ride to and from work on flat terrain, but it’s also appropriate for light off-road sporting on the weekends. 

Lasting Convenience

Its lightweight frame makes it portable and such a snap to fold.

It takes less than one minute to fold the Zizzo Campo so you can get on with your day without struggling with your bike. 

The pedals fold in, and the seat post acts as a leg to balance the bike while it’s in the folded position. You can grab it and go since it’s constructed from lightweight aluminum. Bonus: the aluminum frame is rust-proof.

Best Budget Trail Folding Bike
Best Budget Trail Folding Bike

The saddle and handlebars are also completely adjustable. You can swivel the handlebars to suit your riding style best, and the saddle has an adjustable stem that can accommodate both short and tall riders

The wide seat is comfortable and can accommodate heavy riders.

You’ll never need to worry about problems with your chain, whether you are city-riding or on light trails. It has a rust-resistant coating so that you can ride in the rain without worries. The rear derailleur is held onto the bike’s frame with an aluminum hangar. 

This helps absorb any jolts that you or the bike may suffer and prevents your derailleur from becoming broken or damaged.

How to Choose The Best Folding Budget Bike

You don’t need to spend a lot of money getting a high-quality folding bike.

You can get a good folding bike for less than $300, but you need to know what necessities foldable bikes must have to ensure good quality.

Here are some considerations for the best ride quality when looking for inexpensive folding bikes.

Folding Mechanism

This refers to how you fold your bike.

Most folding bikes simply fold in half at the midpoint, bringing the wheels in line. However, there are other methods folding bikes employ.

Vertical folding bikes are very similar, except they fold from top to bottom. Other folding bikes feature breakaway, triangle hinge, and magnet folding styles; these are less convenient than the first two.

Wheel Size

The wheel size on your folding bike can be critical to providing a stable ride. Small wheels are best suited for urban environments and flat, smooth surfaces. Larger wheels are great for trails and rough riding.

Most folding bikes have a wheel size of 14 – 26″; a regular bike usually has 26 – 29″ tires. The best cheap folding bike for your needs will have a wheel size that matches how you intend to use your bike.

Frame Material

What your bike is mainly constructed from will significantly impact its performance. For example, if you want to do a lot of trail riding, a steel frame material is essential.

If you mostly commute and need to carry your folded bike sometimes, a lightweight aluminum frame will make your day easier and save your back!

Folded Size

Most people invest in cheap folding bikes because space is at a premium for them.

If your bike’s folded size takes up more space than you have available, perhaps consider some other folding bike. The best folding bikes will have a compact folded size that makes storage a snap.

The Bottom Line

Now you have an idea of what some of the best folding bikes offer. There is no single answer for what bike is best for you so here are our top picks:

1. Best Budget Folding Bike IDS Home unYOUsual

2. Best Budget Folding Electric Bike – Swagcycle EB-5

3. Best Budget Folding Mountain Bike – Max4Out

If you choose a folding bike designed for how you’ll use it, budget folding bikes can perform just as well as most other folding bikes, even the more costly ones.

Many folding bikes will likely work well enough to do what you need; however, these are the best budget folding bikes that make a worthy investment.

Mark Plummer

Mark Plummer is an experienced bike mechanic who has built, repaired, and customized thousands of bikes over the years. A former mountain biking athlete, his cycling adventures have taken him all over the globe from the mountains of Scotland to the South Island of New Zealand. These days he enjoys the benefits of commuting to work and touring on his Dahon and Brompton folding bikes.

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