They’re made to fold first and foremost, so just how well do they do it?
With its award-winning frame, Vello’s Bike+ adopts a unique design that eschews the normal fold in the main tubes. This means it’s quite long when folded, but looks neater when riding, and aids rigidity. The folding process is simple - a single magnetic point connects the rear to the main frame, while the front forks have a turn key connector, with an, admittedly fiddly, pin lock. Swing the wheel around and magnetic points on forks and frame allow them to connect together securely. The stem can be lowered quickly thanks to a quick-release collar; ditto for the bar ends which, removed, give the Bike+ a long, but narrow stance. A lack of proper stand makes it clumsy to unfold, but it gains points for being super light (13.9kg!), so it’s easy to carry around.
With its chunky looks, the Tern Vektron looks a beast to handle, but it’s very friendly to operate thanks to huge levers at each break, which are quick to undo. The Vektron has a stand built into the bottom of the frame, so it’s easy to fold without fear of the bike toppling, while magnetic points on the frame and fork allow you to secure the bike together in seconds. A bungee on the rack neatly tethers the handlebars. At a mighty 21.8kg, you’ll need some muscle to carry it around, though. Folded, it’s a whopper too.
Brompton has been making folding bikes for a long time now, and it shows. The Electric acts like a regular Brompton, which of course means it folds beautifully to a super compact shape, though its not the quickest to break down because you have to unscrew each section. Still, there are lots of nice touches, like a hook on the rear section and connector on the front forks, which make the bike feel super solid when folded, and the addition of rubber wheels on the stand makes it easy to move around. Cleverly, the Brompton has a pad underneath the saddle, allowing you to carry it comfortably - even when you take into consideration its slightly portly weight of 14.5kg (17.5kg with battery attached).
There are lots of nice touches on the Brompton, like wheels on the stand
The Vektron offers a luxorious riding feel when unfolded, but the downside is that it’s the biggest and heaviest bike to lug around when folded