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Best Folding Bike For Seniors

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If you want a bike that’s easy to store and easy to take anywhere, folding bikes are ideal. They solve problems for many people.

But not all folding bikes are the same.

For the older cyclist, there are specific features in a folding bike that might be helpful.

This article reviews a variety of folding bikes for seniors. We include the Brompton C Line Explore Folding Bike, which has senior-friendly features like a wide gear range and rollability when folded.

You’ll also find tips and advice on what a senior rider should look for in a folding bike.

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Top 5 Best Folding Bikes For Seniors

Below, you’ll find five different folding bikes that are suitable for seniors. Each one fits a specific set of criteria.

1. Brompton C Line Explore 16” Folding Bike with Rack (best overall)

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  • Frame Material: Steel
  • Groupset: Brompton/Sturmey Archer (6-speed wide range gears)
  • Weight: 27 lbs.

Bromptons have several features that suit the older rider. Thus, we have no qualms about placing the Brompton C Line Explore Folding Bike in our top slot for seniors. It’s lightweight, folds up small, and is easy to maneuver when folded.

Unlike many folding bikes, you can roll a Brompton when it’s folded, so you rarely need to worry about the weight anyway.

The C Line Explore uses Brompton’s BWR 6-speed gears. This is a fusion of two derailleur gears and an internally geared 3-speed hub. It has a wide range with lower and higher gears than normal 6-speed bikes.

For senior riders, having a low gear that’s lower than average puts less strain on muscles and joints. Especially when climbing hills.

An obvious downside to this bike is its price.

What We Like

  • Transportable – lightweight, rollable, and unrivaled compact size when folded.
  • Gears – a gear range far wider than a normal 6-speed bike.
  • Posture – this version has an M-type handlebar for a relaxed upright position.
  • Comfort – steel build and rear suspension block help create a comfortable ride.

What We Don’t Like

  • Price – you pay a premium price for craftsmanship and the smallest folding bikes.

2. Schwinn Loop 20” Adult Folding Bike (easiest to ride)

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  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Groupset: Shimano (7-speed gears)
  • Weight: 34 lbs.

Any senior cyclist who wants to pedal lightly and casually can look at the Schwinn Loop 20” Adult Folding Bike. Because of the unusually small 40t chainring at the front, it errs on the easy gearing side.

The low frame of the Loop also suits many senior riders. It’s a step-through bike that anyone can mount or dismount. A rear cargo rack makes it ideal for shopping trips, too.

Another good feature of this bike is its drivetrain protection. The chain is shielded on both sides of the front chainring, and there’s a guard at the back to prevent the vulnerable rear derailleur from taking a knock.

One downside to this bike is its relatively high 34 lbs. weight. This is 4-10 lbs. heavier than anything from the inexpensive Zizzo range, for instance.

What We Like

  • Easy – easy to mount, easy to pedal, easy to dismount.
  • Gears – seven gears help you to find a comfortable pedaling cadence.
  • Protects – built-in drivetrain protection makes mechanical problems less likely.
  • Rack – the sturdy integrated rack is ideal for carrying shopping.

What We Don’t Like

  • Weight – a little heavy for an aluminum bike.

3. Swagtron EB7 Elite Plus Folding Electric Bike (best folding e-bike)

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  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Groupset: Shimano (7-speed gears)
  • Weight: 42.3 lbs.

If you feel you could use a little help in your mature years, the Swagtron EB7 Elite Plus Folding E-Bike is up to the task. For much of the time, you won’t need to pedal at all, as the bike’s power assist tends to dominate.

You will get some exercise riding this bike up hills. That’s when it lets you share the work. You can also ride it in manual mode if the mood takes you. Any time you need to pedal the bike, seven Shimano gears make life easier.

The EB7 Elite+ is not a lightweight bike, so that’s a downside. But it’s not overly heavy for an e-bike, either, at 42.3 lbs. Unfortunately, you can’t roll it when it’s folded.

What We Like

  • Effortless – you’ll spend a lot of time not pedaling, which may be what you want.
  • Gears – seven gears are useful when going uphill or in manual mode.
  • Lightweight – for an e-bike the weight isn’t terrible.
  • Affordable – a sub-$1000 electric bike.

What We Don’t Like

  • Non-exercise – not the bike to buy if you want constant exercise, because the motor gets ahead of your pedaling speed.

4. HP Velotechnik Gekko FX 20 Folding Recumbent Tricycle (best folding recumbent)

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  • Frame Material: Heat-treated 7005 T6 Aluminum
  • Groupset: SRAM and Shimano (minimum 10-speed gears)
  • Weight: from 35 lbs.

A recumbent bike or trike offers many benefits to the senior rider. These include reduced strain on joints, comfortable seating, better balance, and stability. The HP Velotechnik Gekko FX 20 Folding Recumbent Tricycle excels in all of this.

Your relaxed position on a recumbent cycle also avoids any constricting pressure on the abdomen or organs and lets you use your lungs to their full capacity.

You can buy the Gekko FX 20 in Sport, Performance, and Comfort configurations. Everything about the trike is customizable, however.

The folded size of this trike is 32¾ x 20½ x 32 1/3″. It has a weight capacity of 286 lbs. and suits riders from 5’3” to 6’6” tall.

What We Like

  • Position – the reclined riding position places less strain on your body.
  • Speed – offers an aerodynamic benefit over a regular bike.
  • Lightweight – lighter than you might expect at 35 lbs. minimum.
  • Customizable – lots of choice in gearing, brakes, wheels, and equipment.

What We Don’t Like

  • Visibility – being lower means you’re less visible on roads.
  • Price – not cheap.

5. Zizzo Ferro 20” Folding Bike (best budget)

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  • Frame Material: Steel
  • Groupset: Mixed | Shimano rear derailleur & shifter (7-speed)
  • Weight: 29 lbs.

A brand that makes lightweight, easy-to-ride, affordable folding bikes is Zizzo. The Zizzo Ferro 20” Folding Bike is the cheapest in their range but still fairly lightweight at 29 lbs.

The Ferro has a steel frame and doesn’t come with fenders or a rack. That is potentially a downside, but for the senior rider, it keeps the weight down.

Zizzo is a trustworthy brand that has family links with major folding-bike makers Dahon and Tern.

This bike has 7 gears, with a 48t chainring and 14-28t freewheel. Going up the Zizzo range will buy you a wider gear range (easier and “faster” gears at each end).

What We Like

  • Affordability – a common theme among Zizzo bikes is their value for money.
  • Pre-assembled – 99% ready to ride out of the box.
  • Lightweight – a lightweight bike for the price.
  • Accountable – reputable brand with big-brand links.

What We Don’t Like

  • Gears – the gears are fine for a few gentle hills, but a bit more money buys you a wider range.

Folding Bike Features To Keep An Eye On

Of course, some folding bike features are useful for riders of any age. Others take on new meaning as you get older.

Frame Material

The vast majority of folding bikes are made of aluminum or steel.

From a senior perspective, the benefits of steel are its tendency to be more comfortable in a bike frame and that it’s an easy material to repair.

Steel is also more durable than aluminum. It has no fixed lifespan. Frankly, this isn’t always priority #1 in later life when you know an aluminum bike can last 10-15 years.

The main downside of steel is that it’s heavier than aluminum.

A benefit of aluminum is its strength-to-weight ratio. Thus, it’s often used to make affordable lightweight bikes.

Handlebar Adjustment & Comfort

The ability to adjust the height of the handlebar is useful for seniors or anyone because it alters your posture on the bike. An adjustable or telescopic handlebar post is good.

Other aspects of the handlebar that affect comfort are “rise” and “sweep”. A handlebar with rise is one where the grips are higher than the center of the bar. Sweep is where the handlebar grips arch back towards the rider.

You’re unlikely to find much sweep in a folding bike handlebar, as that would make it trickier and bulkier to fold. But there will often be some rise.

Gears

Chances are, as a senior rider your joints are not what they were. They may be arthritic. You might have injuries. You also gradually lose strength. But with the right gear range, you can place more of an emphasis on fitness than brute force.

Look closely at bike gears if you’re a senior rider, especially if you also live among hills.

Gears are affected by the sizes of the sprockets at the rear and the number of teeth they have. They’re equally affected by the size of the front chainring (usually a single chainring on a folding bike).

The smaller the front chainring is on a folding bike, the easier it will be to climb hills. Thus, a 40t chainring is much easier than a 54t chainring. The latter is okay for strong riders who want to ride quickly downhill or on flat roads.

On a cassette or freewheel at the rear of the bike, it goes the opposite way. The largest number is the easiest gear, so a 28t lowest gear is harder to pedal up a hill than a 32t gear or sprocket. If you live in a flat area, these numbers are far less critical.

Bike Or Trike?

Many senior riders have balance issues. They often feel less inclined to ride no-handed, as a bare minimum, and may lack the confidence to ride a bicycle at all. Physiological balance problems can make it impossible to safely ride a bike.

A folding tricycle is a natural solution for adults with balance issues. Of course, a folding trike doesn’t fold as small as a bike, but it still occupies less space at home.

Recumbent Bikes & Trikes

A recumbent cycle offers a host of benefits to older cyclists. Seating is more comfortable, it places less strain on joints, and there’s less pressure on your abdomen and internal organs.

In a reclining position, you can also utilize your lungs to their fullest capacity. That’s harder to do when you’re scrunched up on a bike.

A recumbent (aka “bent”) is also more aerodynamic. That means you can match your speed on an upright bicycle for less effort, or you can go faster for the same effort.

Video: Five Reasons To Ride A Recumbent Bike Or Trike

Seniors’ Folding Bicycles: FAQs

Below, we answer frequently asked questions about folding bikes for seniors.

Can You Roll Folding Bikes?

Many folding bikes cannot be rolled when folded. There is potential to make them rollable with aftermarket products like a seatpost wheel or a rack with wheels.

Are Folding Bikes Easy To Fold Away?

They are quick and easy to fold away once you’ve memorized all the steps. It’s usually a 4 or 5-step process.

Are Folding Bikes Heavy To Lift?

The weight of folding bikes varies drastically. They can weigh anything from around 15 lbs. (single-speed Hummingbird bike) to well over 70 lbs. for a folding e-bike.

Final Words

To recap on our reviews, the Brompton C Line Explore Folding Bike wins our best overall category. It’s lightweight, beautifully made, compact when folded, and rollable.

Senior riders who want light, leisurely riding may appreciate the Schwinn Loop 20” Adult Folding Bike for its low gearing. It also has a swooping step-though frame that makes mounting and dismounting easy.

An electric bike that does most of the work for you is the Swagtron EB7 Elite Plus Folding E-Bike. It even has cruise control so you can sit back and enjoy the ride.

We hope this article has been useful for seniors considering a folding bike. Whatever your needs are as a senior rider, there’s a bike or trike out there for you.

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Glenn H
Glenn H
When I’m not contributing articles to Bike Push, I can often be found cycling on the rural roads around me. If I can help you benefit from bicycling in some small way, I’ll consider it a win.

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