Best folding mountain bike

by Kevin Stard

The best folding mountain bike will provide the bike capabilities you need while collapsing into an easily stored size.

Why do I need a folding mountain bike?

The primary benefit of a folding mountain bike is the ease of storage or ease of moving the bike. Bikes are cumbersome and can be a huge inconvenience to store when they are not in use.

Road trips, moving, or even small living spaces are often limited in terms of space. Folding bikes can take up significantly less room than non-folding bikes.

In general, folding bikes are best suited for non-competitive riders who enjoy riding but need to optimize storage space.

1. Montague Paratrooper Highline – Best Overall Folding Mountain Bike

If you are looking for true mountain bike capabilities, the Montague Paratrooper Highline is an impressive pick for a folding bike.

Montague has chosen 27.5” wheels which mirror the direction of many non-folding mountain bikes. This wheel size allows you to easily roll over and navigate technical roots and rocks.

The 2×10 drivetrain, offering two gear options in front and ten in the back, provides a wide range of gears for tackling steep trails.

The Highline has a 100mm fork with a lockout. This setup mirrors a hardtail mountain bike.

When folding this bike, you will need to remove the front wheel. This bike will fold and store in a smaller space than non-folding bikes, but the large wheel size does require added storage space from some smaller folding bikes.

If you are looking for an awesome mountain bike that folds and capitalizes on some of the newest technologies, this could be a great option for you.

2. EuroMini ZiZZO Via – Best Folding Mountain Bike Under $300

The EuroMini ZiZZO Via is a folding bike that combines all-terrain tires and features of an urban commuter to create a bike that is capable of riding mellow dirt trails and also commuting.

The ZiZZO Via comes with a 1×7 drivetrain, meaning there is only one gear option in front and seven gear options in the back. This combination will keep shifting simple while allowing you to ride most hills.

This bike has rim brakes which will provide enough stopping power but should not be used in particularly steep or technical terrain. However, for commuting of mellow mountain biking, these brakes will suffice.

The 20” wheels on the ZiZZO Via are significantly smaller than most mountain bike wheels. This allows the folded size of the bike to be much smaller. When riding, these wheels likely do not have the capacity to ride over many big roots and rocks.

If you are looking for a folding bike that combines features of a mountain bike and a commuter this could be a great option for you.

3. KESPOR Venture – Best Folding Mountain Bike Under $500

The KESPOR Venture is a great folding hybrid bike that is capable of taking on dirt paths as well as urban commutes.

This bike comes with a 2×8 drivetrain with two chainring options in front and eight in the back. This number of gears will provide plenty of options to ensure you’ll be able to confidently ride any hill you encounter.

KESPOR has chosen mechanical disc brakes which will stop quickly and provide safety for all of your rides.

The Venture has high volume commuting tires which will feel quick on the pavement as well as smooth on dirt paths.

Rounding out this bike, KESPOR has added fenders on both the front and rear wheels as well as a cargo rack which will make commuting a breeze.

If you are looking for a folding bike that will stand in as a great commuter as well as a great bike for dirt paths, this could be a great option.

4. Montague Paratrooper 24 – Best Folding Mountain Bike Under $1000

The Montague Paratrooper is an impressively designed folding mountain bike. This bike comes with front suspension, allowing you to take on rough terrain with an added smoothness.

The Paratrooper 24 has mechanical disc brakes which will give you ample braking power on steep and technical trails.

Like many traditional mountain bikes, the Paratrooper has 26” wheels which allow it to roll over roots and rocks.

Montague has chosen a 3×8 drivetrain, meaning there are three chainring options in the front and eight in the back, giving you 24 different options and the ability to climb with ease.

The Paratrooper comes with a RackStand which functions as a cargo rack, a mudguard or rear fender, a kickstand, as well as a work stand. This rack can swing to the other side of the wheel and offers impressive capabilities.

If you are looking for a folding mountain bike that has the ability to ride trails, haul gear, or even go bikepacking, this could be a great choice for you.

5. Eahora X5 Plus – Best Folding Electric Fatbike

The Eahora X5 Plus is a folding bike with fat bike tires, making it a great option for riding dirt, sand, or even snow.

This bike has an aluminum frame with a front suspension fork which will soften the ride. The 4” tires will also provide a smooth ride and superior grip in many adverse conditions.

This bike has a motor with up to 500w of power and can provide up to 55 miles of assisted riding per charge. One of the most impressive features of this bike is the E-PAS system which turns the motor into a generator when the bike is moving downhill — this works to charge the battery while you’re riding, extending the travel distance to more than 55 miles.

The X5 Plus has a seven-speed derailleur meaning there are seven gear options in the back and only one in the front. These gears in combination with the motor will ensure you can ride any hills you encounter.

If you are looking for an electric mountain bike that can tackle various terrains and also folds for easy storage, the Eahora X5 Plus may be the answer.

6. Montague Paratrooper Elite – Best Folding Mountain Bike Under $2500

The Montague Paratrooper Elite is an advanced mountain bike with capabilities rivaling non-folding bikes.

Montague has chosen a 100mm travel fork with rebound adjustment as well as a lockout for riding smooth terrain.

This bike comes with a 3×10 drivetrain with three chainrings in the front and ten in the back. This incredible number of gear options means you will never be left without the right speed for the terrain.

The Paratrooper Elite comes with hydraulic disc brakes, ensuring you’ll have the power to stop where you need even in steep and technical terrain.

If you are looking for a true mountain bike that has the ability to fold, the Montague Paratrooper Elite may be the best option on the market.

7. ANCHEER Folding Electric Bike – Best Electric Folding Mountain Bike

The ANCHEER Folding Electric Bike is a capable mountain bike with the ability to fold for easy storage.

This bike comes with 26” wheels which allow you to ride trails and relatively rough terrain. The wheels are paired with a dual suspension system with a front fork as well as rear suspension to soften the ride.

ANCHEER has chosen mechanical disc brakes to ensure you have the braking power you need while riding.

This bike is also equipped with commuting necessities such as a kickstand and a front and rear fender to keep you clean and dry while riding.

The removable battery fuels a 250W motor which can take you 15-30 miles depending on the weight of the rider and the terrain.

If you are looking for a folding bike that has the capacity to ride trails or roads with ease and has an electric component, the ANCHEER may be a great option for you.

8. Schwinn Loop – Best Hybrid Folding Bike

The Schwinn Loop is a straightforward folding bike with capabilities to commute and also ride dirt paths.

This bike looks great with its simplified design from the one-by drivetrain and simple white frame.

The 20” wheels on this bike allow it to fold to be quite small. Hybrid tires ensure you’ll feel stable and fast on both pavement and dirt paths.

This bike comes with a strong integrated rear rack that can carry cargo to suit all of your commuting needs.

The Loop also comes with integrated front and rear fenders which will keep you clean and dry while riding.

If you envision yourself commuting like a champ on both paved and dirt terrain, the Loop may just suit your needs.

9. EuroMini ZiZZO Urbano – Best Urban Folding Bike

EuroMini has created a surprisingly light folding bike capable of commuting and also riding dirt paths. The ZiZZO Urbano only weighs 24.5lbs, coming in at a few pounds lighter than most folding bikes.

This bike comes with 20” wheels with high volume tires which will carry you through commuting as well as riding some dirt.

EuroMini has chosen a 1×8 drivetrain. This system is simplified, lightweight, and easier to use than drivetrains with a front and a rear derailleur.

The Urbano comes with a kickstand to optimize your commuting needs.

The rim brakes on this bike will suffice in most conditions but should not be used in super steep or technical terrain.

If you are looking for a lightweight folding bike that will be a great commuter for paved or dirt roads, the EuroMini ZiZZO Urbano may be a great choice.

10. EuroMini ZiZZO Heavy Duty – Best Heavy Duty Folding Mountain Bike

The EuroMini ZiZZO Heavy Duty is built to last. This bike has a 300lb rider + gear capacity.

The ZiZZO Heavy Duty comes with a 1×7 drivetrain which will help you ride up and down hills with ease.

This bike comes with 20” wheels and all-terrain tires that will feel comfortable on dirt paths or paved roads. The wheels also come with fenders to ensure you stay clean and dry while riding.

For the sake of commuting, this bike also has a rear rack and a kickstand.

If you are looking for a strong folding bike that can withstand significant weight and has the capacity to ride some smooth trails, dirt paths, and pavement, this could be a great choice.


Buyers Guide to Folding Mountain Bikes

There are some important features to note about folding mountain bikes. Like all bikes, there is a significant variation in the price, components, and abilities of these bikes.

Starting by learning a few key features can help you understand which folding mountain bike is best for you.

Wheel Size

Standard, non-folding, mountain bikes typically have one of three wheel sizes. The smallest and most traditional size is a 26” wheel, next is a 27.5” wheel which is popular among the downhill mountain bike community, and finally, a 29” wheel is popular amongst the cross country community.

These large wheel sizes acknowledge the need to easily roll over toots, rocks, or technical terrain. Small wheels tend to get stuck in spaces where larger wheels will simply roll over the barrier.

Many folding bikes have 20” wheels. This small wheel size is great for storage. The bike can fold down to be much smaller due to the small wheels.

In terms of mountain biking, riding technical trails with 20” wheels is very challenging. However, if you’d like to ride dirt paths or some casual and smooth trails, a 20” wheel is not a problem.

There are some folding mountain bikes that do have 26” wheels or 27.5” wheels. These options make the bike much more capable in technical terrain; however, they do not fold nearly as small as folding bikes with smaller wheels.

If your top priority is space efficiency, a bike with 20” wheels may be the right choice. If your top priority is riding technical trails, a folding bike with larger wheels will better suit your needs.

Gears

Many folding bikes have a drivetrain system called a “one-by” This means there is one gear option in the front and multiple gear options in the back.

A “one-by” system is easier to use than a drivetrain with multiple front chainrings. However, in a “one-by” system there are not as many gear options available and typically a smaller range of gears which may make steep hills challenging to ride.

Some folding mountain bikes have multiple front chainrings. These bikes will have a greater range of gears but will also be slightly more complicated to use.

Brakes

In general, there are two types of brakes: disc brakes and rim brakes.

Disc brakes utilize a disc that sits near the center of the wheel. A caliper squeezes the disc which stops the wheel.

Within disc brakes, there are mechanical disc brakes or hydraulic disc brakes. Mechanical disc brakes utilize a cable that pulls from the brakes lever to the caliper and hydraulic disc brakes use pressurized fluid to move the caliper and engage the brake.

The second type of brake is a rim brake. These brakes utilize a caliper on the rim which squeezes the wheel itself.

The most effective, and therefore the safest type of brake is a hydraulic disc brake. Mechanical disc brakes come in second in terms of safety and rim brakes are the least powerful and therefore least safe to use.

While rim brakes are not as powerful, they are used on many professional road bikes and, if maintained properly, can provide plenty of stopping power.

Fenders and Racks

Many hybrid bikes or commuter bikes may come with fenders or a rear rack.

Fenders protect the rider from water, mud, or dirt spinning off of the tire and making the rider dirty. Fenders are a great tool for commuting.

Rear racks on folding bikes can have many uses. Mainly, these racks can increase the storage capacity on your bike by holding panniers which can provide significant storage capacity.

Some folding bikes have racks that can swivel down to the bottom of the wheel and function as a kickstand, bike work stand, or support while the bike is in storage.

FAQ

Is a folding bike right for me?

If you are looking to optimize storage, a folding bike could be a great option for you.

However, it is important to note the limitations of a folding bike. Folding bikes are intended for casual riding and do have limitations in terms of stability and design.

If the primary deterrent for you in buying a bike is the storage, a folding bike may be a great compromise.

How many gears do I need?

If you live in a hilly place and plan to be riding up and down hills, it may be advantageous to look for a bike with both a front and a rear derailleur. This combination will provide a larger range of gears which will make it easier to climb.

If you live in a relatively flat place or plan to primarily ride on flat terrain, a simplified “one-by” system with only one front chainring could be a great option.
What size folding bike do I need?

Many folding bikes only come in one size and have an impressive ability to adjust to a range of rider heights.

While non-folding bikes have a top tube that limits the size of the rider, folding bikes have an inherently low top tube which makes them suitable for most riders.

Some folding bikes do come in different sizes, in this case, the top tube is higher and does limit the stand-over height of the bike.
Do I need suspension on my folding bike?

Some folding bikes come with suspension in either the front, the rear, or both. Suspension will help make the ride smoother on rough terrain.

If you are planning on riding rough trails or even roads that are rough, having suspension can help make the ride more enjoyable.

Alternately, high volume tires can also act as a sort of suspension, making the ride softer. Looking for a bike with high volume tires, perhaps bigger than 2.2” in diameter, can help make the ride smoother as well.
What else do I need for my bike?

It is very important to always ride with a helmet. Even if you are on mellow terrain, crashing on a bike can result in serious injuries that a helmet can help mitigate.

If you ride long enough, you’ll inevitably get a flat tire or a mechanical. Many of these problems can be fixed during your ride if you have the right tools and knowledge.

Whenever you ride you should have the tools to fix a flat tire as well as a multi-tool that can tighten or adjust most of the bolts on your bike. Before you take off riding, it is important to have a basic understanding of how to fix your bike.

To fix a flat, you’ll need a new tube in the right size, a pump, and perhaps tire levers to help you remove the tire. I highly recommend practicing changing a flat at home before you need to change a flat while you are out riding.

Conclusion

Of the bikes on this list, all three of the Montague Paratrooper bikes are the most proper mountain bikes of the bunch. These have large wheels and are intended for riding trails.

If you are hoping to ride a mountain bike that also folds and minimizes the storage necessity, the Montague Paratrooper bikes are awesome.

If you are planning on riding in town on a mix of pavement and dirt, the Schwinn Loop is a straightforward and impressive option.

If you are hoping to truly minimize storage while still having more mountain bike capacity, the Eahora X5 Plus combines an impressive number of features.

 

Kevin Stard - professional sportsman in category MTB. Participant of the Downhill World Cup #1