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Best Lightweight Folding Bikes For Your Daily Commute

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There are many folding bikes on the market, but not all of them are best suited to a commute. You’re likely to need something lightweight and practical.

Maybe you need to carry a folding bike onto public transport during a commute?

In this article, we’ll try to root out a lightweight folding bike to suit your needs. Among our reviewed bikes is the Brompton P Line Urban Folding Bike. This is a super-light bike that’s ideal for multimodal commutes.

We’ll also be offering you hints and tips on what to look for in a lightweight folding bike.

Top Picks:

Top 9 Best Lightweight Folding Bicycles Reviewed

Below, you’ll find our top nine lightweight folding bike picks categorized for your convenience.

1. Brompton P Line Urban 16” Folding Bike (best overall)

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  • Frame Material: Steel & Titanium
  • Groupset(s): Brompton (4-speed)
  • Weight: 21.82 lbs (9.89 kg)

Brompton bikes aren’t especially light as a rule, but that all changes when they use titanium. The Brompton P Line Urban 16” Folding Bike is some 4 lbs. lighter than the classic steel build, mainly because of the titanium rear frame and fork.

While this isn’t the lightest bike in the Brompton range, it does save you a chunk of money over the all-titanium model. And it still pushes towards the magic 20-pound mark. That’s seriously light for a folding bike.

This makes our top pick because it’s the complete package. Not only is it super-light, but it also folds smaller than almost any other bike. Very few folding bikes fold smaller than Bromptons.

Several other components combine to keep the Brompton P Line Urban lightweight. These include an ultra-light Fizik Aliante R7 saddle with chromoly rails, a chromoly steel seatpost, and lightweight foam handlebar grips.

Bromptons include a suspension block at the rear to help soak up vibration from the road. The P Line includes a redesigned suspension block for extra comfort.

For gears, the Brompton P Line has a 4-speed derailleur system with a 163% range. If you need a downside, this range is less versatile than the 6-speed wide-ranging gears found on some cheaper models. But that does help keep it lightweight and “urban”.

What We Like

  • Compact – few bikes fold smaller than a Brompton.
  • Durability – steel and titanium materials last indefinitely.
  • Artisanship – unsurpassable build quality.
  • Rollable – you can roll it if you need to walk any distance.

What We Don’t Like

  • Gears – the gears have a narrower range than some other Bromptons, hence the urban name. This bike is ideal for fairly flat city commutes.
  • Cost – naturally. It’s a nice bike.

2. Hummingbird Single-Speed 16” Folding Bike (lightest bike to buy)

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  • Frame Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Groupset(s): Shimano Alfine Crankset (1-speed)
  • Weight: 15.21 lbs (6.9 kg)

If you want to find the lightest folding bike in any range, look for a single-speed model. As far as we know, no foldable bike on the market is lighter than the amazing Hummingbird Single-Speed Folding Bike – which topped out single speed folding bike list.

Thanks to its carbon frame, the Hummingbird single-speed weighs a negligible 15.43 lbs. Also minimizing the weight are its tri-spoke carbon wheels and several other weight-cutting elements (e.g., carbon seatpost).

Carbon frames and components are almost unheard of on folding bikes, not least because they’re often subjected to robust handling. You’d have to be a little careful not to put the Hummingbird in places where it might get crushed or bashed.

As you’d expect on a bike of this class and cost, the Hummingbird has some nice parts. These include a Shimano Alfine Hollowtech crankset, a YBN superlight chain, Schwalbe Kojak tires, and Tektro dual-pivot rim brakes. Disc brakes would make it heavier.

The pedals are quick-release, which may make the folded size smaller (46” x 23” x 8”) but also act as a hindrance to thieves. Many bike thieves ride away on their booty.

If there’s a downside, it’s that the frame itself doesn’t fold, so you end up with a longer folded size than many other bikes have. As a result, the width is skinnier instead.

What We Like

  • Lightness – light enough for anyone to carry.
  • Low-maintenance – lack of gears means less maintenance.
  • Parts – made with high-quality, lightweight parts.
  • Skinny – you can get the folded bike into narrow spaces.

What We Don’t Like

  • Long – the folded bike is too long to fit into small box-like spaces.

3. Brompton T Line Urban 16” Folding Bike (lightest Brompton Bike)

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  • Frame Material: Titanium
  • Groupset(s): Brompton
  • Weight: 17.53 lbs (7.95 kg)

If you must have the lightest possible Brompton that any money can buy, you need the Brompton T Line Urban Folding Bike. It’s shockingly light at just 17.53 lbs (7.95 kg). For this minuscule weight, you pay a premium price.

The T Line achieves this weight with a beautiful titanium rear and main frame and a carbon fork. As well, the saddle has carbon rails, the seat post is carbon, and a carbon low handlebar is fitted for a sporty ride.

Just like our top bike, this more expensive Brompton uses a 4-speed derailleur gear system that’s intended for city riding. The range is not as wide as the 302% range found on some non-urban Bromptons.

In its lowest gear, the T-Line Brompton will be fairly hard work to pedal up a steep or long hill (slightly easier than a 34/21t gear on a 700c bike). Its low weight compensates a little for this, but you’ll want to ride mostly flat roads.

This Brompton and the P-Line use a patent-pending direct mount derailleur. This is likely to make gear changes more precise and enables easier rear-wheel removal.

Part of what you always pay for in a Brompton is attention to detail. The ultra-light T-Line bike even uses Tubolito 34g tubes to keep the weight of its wheels down. The wheels have nippy Schwalbe One tires fitted.

What We Like

  • Detail – a weight-shedding bike down to the finest detail.
  • Quality – high-quality parts and exemplary manufacturing.
  • Ride – comfortable ride with compliant materials & suspension block.
  • Compact – Brompton’s famously compact fold.

What We Don’t Like

  • Gears – to have gears at this weight is a luxury, but the range is narrow compared to some other Bromptons.
  • Cost – not for budget-conscious cyclists.

4. Swagtron Swagcycle EB-5 Pro+ Folding 14” E-Bike (best light Electric Bike)

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  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Groupset(s): Swagtron (single speed)
  • Weight: 37 lbs (16.78 kg)

If you can find an e-bike that weighs under 40 lbs, you may call it lightweight. The Swagtron EB-5 Pro+ Folding 14” E-Bike is not without its limitations, but it’s a fun machine that weighs only 37 lbs.

Because the Swagtron has a low capacity 36V 7.8 Ah battery (280 Wh), the range isn’t great, but it’s still okay for many commutes at 15.5 miles. On the plus side, this is a more honest figure than you’d get from many brands.

The top speed of the bike is 15.5 mph.

Owing to the Swagtron’s removable battery, you have the option of carrying a spare or having one ready at your destination to swap. Thus, you can extend the bike’s range.

The EB-5 Pro+ bike only has one gear and one level of pedal assist (plus full throttle mode), so those are two of its shortcomings. You don’t want to run out of battery if you live in a hilly area, because a single-speed 37 lbs bike then becomes heavy.

Thanks to a handle that’s built into the frame, the EB-5 Pro Plus is easy to carry.

One thing you have to be wary of with this bike is its sudden acceleration when pedal assist or the throttle kicks in. This could be hazardous near pedestrians or obstacles.

What We Like

  • Price – a lightweight e-bike for not too much money.
  • Honest – the 15.5-mile range is believable.
  • Pedal – the low weight of the bike makes running out of battery less daunting, except on long hills.
  • Removable – extend the range with a spare battery.

What We Don’t Like

  • Abrupt – pedal assist & throttle kick in quickly, which makes initial rides hazardous.
  • Lack of control – only one gear and one pedal assist level.

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

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  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Groupset(s): Shimano (8-speed)
  • Weight: 23 lbs (10.43 kg)

All Zizzo bikes are priced at the affordable end of the folding-bike market, and they all weigh under 30 lbs. The Zizzo Liberté is the lightest of them at a mere 23 lbs, and that beats many far more expensive bikes from other brands.

Most Zizzo bikes, including this one, have aluminum frames, which helps keep their weight down. The Zizzo Liberté shaves off weight with lighter parts, too, like a Shimano Altus derailleur rather than Tourney and a hollow-style bottom bracket.

This bike and the Zizzo Urbano (also lightweight at 24 lbs) have an aluminum alloy chainring rather than the steel rings used on other Zizzo bikes.

The 8 gears of the Zizzo Liberté include a 48t chainring at the front and an 11-32t cassette at the rear. This gives you a useful low climbing gear that’s like a 34/32t gear on a 700c bike. Pedaling is easy at that point.

Zizzo bikes have an unremarkable folded size (27” x 31” x 12.5” in this case), but their low weight makes them ideal for intermodal commutes. Most adults can carry them up steps or onto trains with ease. They fold quickly, too.

A downside is the lack of commuter-friendly features like fenders or a rack, which also keeps the weight down. There is a kickstand and a set of reflectors.

What We Like

  • Value – Zizzo makes sturdy bikes that offer terrific value for money.
  • Derailleur – Shimano Altus rear derailleur is better than the usual Tourney.
  • Gear range – versatile selection of gears with a useful low climbing gear.

What We Don’t Like

  • Lack of extras – no fenders or rack, which flatters the weight.

6. Helix Ultralight 24” Folding Bike

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  • Frame Material: Titanium
  • Groupset(s): SRAM crankset (1-speed)
  • Weight: 19.65 lbs. (8.91 kg)

We’re back towards the top of the folding bike market now with the Canadian Helix Ultralight Folding Bike. The low weight of this bike and its siblings is even more remarkable when you consider they have 24” wheels and disc brakes.

Most of the lightness comes from the beautiful titanium frame, and in the case of this bike, an absence of gears helps. But if you need gears you can have the 11-speed model equipped with a Shimano Dura-Ace derailleur.

An outstanding feature of these bikes is that their folded size barely exceeds the wheel diameter. So, while it won’t be as compact as a Brompton, it does offer the comfort of a smooth-rolling larger wheel while still folding small.

A carbon fiber handlebar and brake levers also keep the weight down on the Helix bike. Helix puts Tubolito tubes in the tires to shave grams from the wheel weight, too. The lightweight Stan’s Crest MK3 wheel rims are fitted with Kenda Kwest tires.

An obvious downside is the cost. The price tag is way up in Brompton territory, though this is a very different bike to the London-made machines.

What We Like

  • Uncompromising – an all-out go at making the lightest, most compact 24” folders.
  • Frame – a durable & compliant titanium frame.
  • Disc Brakes – hydraulic disc brakes are a surprise in a bike this light.
  • Parts – very high-quality components.

What We Don’t Like

  • Price – out of reach for most of us.

7. Dahon K3 Plus 16” Folding Bike

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  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Groupset(s): Dahon (9-speed)
  • Weight: 21.6 lbs (9.8 kg)

Dahon occasionally makes a bike that beats Bromptons for weight or size. They’ve landed a good punch with the Dahon K3 Plus, which tops most rivals for weight.

All Dahon bikes are loaded with patented technology, and this one’s no different. The frame is made from Dahon’s Sonus tubing, which has a special profile to improve strength and reduce weight.

The K3 Plus also uses ViseGrip technology. This makes it extremely strong when locked without affecting its ease of use. The latch opens and closes with a smooth, effortless action.

Most things on this bike are specified as lightweight, super-light, or ultralight.

This bike is a bit minimalistic as a commuter bike, as it’s missing fenders or a rack. But it’s still a fine choice if you need a bike you can easily lift onto trains or into a trunk.

You get a useful gear range on this Dahon. A 53t front chainring drives an 11-28t cassette at the rear. The low gear is low enough to conquer most hills. Strong riders will make fair progress on the flats in top gear.

The bike has mechanical disc brakes, despite any confusing reference to V-brakes.

What We Like

  • Price – not cheap, but competitive given all of Dahon’s refined tech.
  • Gear range – a nicely balanced gear range that suits most terrain.
  • Brakes – disc brakes provide strong stopping power.

What We Don’t Like

  • Minimalistic – commuters may want to add fenders at least.

8. Zizzo Urbano 20” Folding Bike

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  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Groupset(s): Shimano (8-speed)
  • Weight: 24 lbs (10.88 kg)

For a slightly lower price than the Zizzo Liberté, you can have the Zizzo Urbano 20” Folding Bike. The latter is not much heavier than the Liberté, and the specs are mostly the same. But there are a few key differences.

This is still a bike that lacks fenders or a rack, but you can add them as required. Like the Liberté, the Urbano features a Shimano Altus rear derailleur. That’s a step up from most folding bikes in this price range, which frequently use a Tourney derailleur.

A downside to this bike compared to the Liberté is the nutted wheel axles, which make the wheels harder to remove than quick-release wheels. They are harder to steal, however.

The Urbano also has a wider saddle than the “sportier” Liberté, and it has wider tires so you can take it onto light trails. A more varied commute is possible. The gear range is the same, so you can tackle challenging hills on this bike.

What We Like

  • Gear range – a versatile gear range with a low lowest gear for climbing.
  • Derailleur – the Shimano Altus is lighter and smoother than the lower-tier Shimano Tourney often used.
  • Off-road – fatter 1.95” tires allow some light off-road riding.

What We Don’t Like

  • Axles – nutted axles mean you need to carry a wrench for roadside repairs.

9. Dahon Vybe D7 20” Folding Bike

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  • Frame Material: Aluminum
  • Groupset(s): Dahon (7-speed)
  • Weight: 25.7 lbs (11.65 kg)

Fans of Dahon that don’t need the lightest bike possible can buy the Dahon Vybe 20” Folding Bike rather than the K3 Plus. This is a striking bike in its gloss red or black finish, and it doesn’t want for features.

Again, you get the patented ViseGrip technology in this bike that makes the latch so secure and easy to operate. The Dahon forged aluminum handlebar post has Fusion technology to ensure it connects securely with the frame and fork.

This bike features a hi-ten steel fork. That adds a little to its weight, but it’s also more compliant than an aluminum fork. Steel forks are often used to enhance ride quality rather than more expensive carbon or titanium (or chromoly steel).

The Dahon Vybe has a 7-speed freewheel with 14-28t sprockets and a 46t chainring. That makes it good for climbing hills but pedaling will be a bit light for strong legs on flat roads. It’s better for casual riders than speedsters.

Please note: Depending on whom you buy it from, the Dahon Vybe D7 often comes with fenders and a rack. If you need these, be aware that some vendors sell it bare.

What We Like

  • Price – a high-quality frame and Dahon tech for an appealing price.
  • Fork – steel fork for enhanced ride quality.
  • Climbing – decent low gear for hills, less suited to fast flat riding.

What We Don’t Like

  • Unclear – note that you don’t always get fenders and a rack (assume not with the Amazon link unless depicted otherwise).
  • Gears – an okay range but biased towards easy pedaling.

How Much Do Folding Bikes Weigh Generally?

An average folding bike weighs around 30 to 35 lbs. A weight of under 30 lbs is a fair threshold for lightweight folding bikes based on our experience.

Any folding bike around 25 lbs is unusually light and a bike nearer 20 lbs or under is exceptional.

For e-bikes, these figures change entirely. A regular folding e-bike would be unusually light at 35 lbs and could easily weigh 50 lbs or more.

Unsurprisingly, Hummingbird makes the lightest e-bike at an amazing 22.7 lbs.

E-bikes with fat tires are the heaviest folders of all, weighing up to 70 lbs and beyond.

What Makes A Lightweight Folding Bike Light?

It’s the frame material that makes a folding bike light. The lightest folding bikes on the market have either a carbon or titanium frame, and that’s no coincidence.

But frame materials aren’t the only aspect that affects weight. There are other factors:

  • Gears – a single-speed bike is lighter than a geared bike. Derailleur gears are lighter than internal-gear hubs. And expensive derailleurs tend to be lighter and smoother than cheaper ones.
  • Wheels – aluminum rims (commonly called “alloy” rims) are lighter than uncommon steel rims. Against intuition, double-wall rims may be lighter than cheaper single-wall rims.
  • Forks – bike forks may be aluminum, hi-ten steel, chromoly steel, titanium, or carbon. Aluminum is lighter than steel, but cheaper aluminum bikes often use steel forks to dampen vibration and improve ride quality.
  • Other Parts – seatposts, handlebar posts and stems, handlebars, saddles, saddle rails, and even pedals or spokes may use lighter materials to shed bike weight. Hollow cranks and bottom bracket axles are also lighter.

In addition, bike frames are made lighter either by using butted tubing, where the wall thickness varies (not visible from the outside), or hydroformed tubes.

What is the Lightest Folding Bike?

The lightest folding bike on the market is undoubtedly the Hummingbird single-speed model that is detailed in our reviews. It weighs 6.9 kg metrically or 15.21 lbs.

This weight is so low that it compares to Tour de France road bikes costing several times more, though of course, these are two vastly different machines.

Hummingbird bikes are made with carbon fiber frames, hence their extremely low weight. This is unique as far as we know.

The only other folding bikes to dip below 20 lbs have titanium frames. Brompton and Helix make such bikes. Titanium frames are often left bare, partly because they don’t rust (and paint adds weight), so you end up with a stunning natural finish.

These lightweight materials are also compliant, so you enjoy plush ride quality on top of the minimal weight. With carbon that extra comfort depends on the layup pattern of the material, but it’s often there.

Video: The Helix Folding Bike

Are Lightweight Folding Bikes Stable?

There’s nothing to say that lightweight folding bikes are any less stable than heavy ones. The center of gravity is still low and bike geometry is about distances and angles rather than weight.

Many riders who are new to folding bikes will find the steering “twitchy” because the small wheels turn a lot easier. They have a short turning radius.

Because the lightest bikes also tend to have smaller wheels (with some notable exceptions), they may feel more squirrely at first than heavier folding bikes. But it’s bike geometry factors like wheelbase length and “trail” that define stability.

A feeling of stability on the bike is also affected by how securely and rigidly the folding parts join together. The last thing you want on a foldable bike is a rickety feeling with unwanted play in the handlebar. But that would be rare from a reputable brand.

Conclusion: The Lightest Foldable Bikes Rounded Up

It’s time to briefly revisit our bike reviews. We put the Brompton P Line Urban 16” Folding Bike in top place because it’s more than light enough for most commuters and offers a 25% cost saving over the top model. It’s durable, rollable, and iconic.

You can’t get a lighter folding bike than the Hummingbird Single-Speed Folding Bike, so that steals our lightest bike category. Aside from the astonishingly low weight, this bike is loaded with high-quality parts.

If you truly want a Brompton and cannot compromise on weight, it’s the Brompton T Line Urban Folding Bike you need. Incredibly, this is some 8 lbs lighter than a typical Brompton, and Bromptons are fairly lightweight to begin with.

Zizzo and Dahon also feature strongly among our lightweight folders. Some of you may not know Helix, which makes titanium folding bikes of astounding quality in Canada.

We hope you find our review list and buying guidelines useful. There are plenty of models to choose from in your hunt for a lightweight folding commuter bike.

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Mark Whitley
Mark Whitley
I’m a cycling enthusiast, and the founder and chief editor of Bike Push. If I’m not working on this website, then I’m out on the bike clocking up the miles. I want to help others get the most out of cycling.

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