Best Folding Bike for Heavy Rider

Cycling is topical and on the increase, as we come slowly (or not so slowly) out of lockdown and folding bikes have a lot going for them. They are easy to store at home, easy to take on public transport for those ‘last mile’ journeys, and easy to put in your car or van if you are planning a day out with some cycling involved. Of course, a folding bike has a different structure than a normal frame and some people can have worries about structural rigidity, especially if the rider is on the heavy side. So, what is the best folding bike for heavy riders? We’ve drawn up a recommended list of five folders at different price points, from high-cost top brands to cheap models.

It’s clear from the outset that there is no single ‘best folding bike for a heavy rider. You might be a large person or a fat person or both. You might want to go for the most affordable, or best owner – rated, reviewed, and recommended brands.

Our list which took us about 70 hours to research, doesn’t just go for the most popular or the lowest price. Instead our rating is use-case specific: Best folding bike for a tall person, for obese, etc. We also split between city bikes and mountain bikes – yes there are good folding m, mountain bikes too.

The definition of a large person has changed over time. Compared to our grandparents (and even to our parents), we are generally taller through a better childhood diet and less smoking by our mothers, but also heavier or even seriously overweight, hitting 300 lbs or even 400 lbs. That’s all the more reason to get cycling!

TOP three Folding Bikes for Tall Rider

So, before we look at our full list of folding bikes for heavy riders, here’s a quick look at our top 3.

EDITOR’s PICK
«EDITOR’s PICK»
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Made from carbon steel with a load limit of 330 pounds / 150kg and efficient air rebound and shock oil damping, these chunky guys are great folding bicycles for heavy riders.

Pros:
— Strongly built to handle big guys on big hills;
— Great shock absorption;
— Good carrying weight capacity.

Cons:
— Still quite bulky when folded.
«EDITOR’s PICK»
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is a real full-size bike for big guys and tall riders that happens to fold, rather than a folding bike. You get Four frame sizes (460mm, 490mm, 520mm, 550mm) so that’s great news if you are on the tall man side. The Taiwanese based company also puts in lots of innovation, like a downtube architected to take a heavier load than a conventional folder, one hand-carry design and a chain protector for when the bike is folded. A definite candidate for the best folding bike for a heavy rider.

Pros:
— Easy to carry due to the light construction and clever folding;
— Weighs just 23 lbs;
— Four frame sizes (460mm, 490mm, 520mm, 550mm) so will suit any height, even tall, big guys;
— Lots of nice touches like the carrying hook and the chain protection that works when folded.

Cons:
— More for tall than very obese riders.
«EDITOR’s PICK»
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

A folding bike for heavy people does not have to be heavy. In this case the aluminum Zizzo Urbano folding bike is just 24 pounds but will carry almost ten times that – up to 230 pounds. This neat and tidy little bike is good for the taller rider too – up to six foot four is OK. Nice.

Pros:
— Great weight-to-load-carry ratio;
— Heavy riders up to 230 pounds will do fine;
— Elegant design;
— Works well with all riders irrespective of height;
— When folded will fit easily into an urban environment with small apartments and public transport.

Cons:
— If you are 250 pounds or more, not the bike for you.

So that’s our top 3 folding bikes for big guys star choices. It’s time to take a quick look at our buying criteria in a bit more detail.

Why heavy adults need to choose folding bikes carefully

best folding bike for heavy rider
Folding bikes in the past did not have a great reputation for strength when it came to using for a heavy person. The most common problems with some (but not all) folding bikes – for fat guys or anyone else are basically these.

1. They are still big when folding

There are different types of folding bike designs. Once folded there can be big differences in how much space they take up. Now you might think a few inches one way or another is’;t such a big issue but it can be if for example you have a small car or a car with a small trunk.

2. They aren’t very portable

There are times when you want to carry a folding bike, but not every design team really has that point built into their plans. Engineers make mistakes too, you know.

3. They are heavy

Folding bikes need to carry the same loads like a normal bike but with less total structural integrity – otherwise they cannot fold. So, it’s tempting for designers to beef up the bikes to give them that strength back, especially making the locking mechanism very robust – but at the expense of adding weight. This is a classic dilemma if you are designing a folding bike for big and tall people. The good news is that seat poles and handlebar stems on many folding bikes can extend as much as four times more than on conventional bikes, which is great for taller people.

4. They cost more than their normal equivalents

Some folding bike designs are more complex to manufacture and that is reflected in their price.

In summary, you need a lot of thought to build a good folding bike and even more if it is for big and tall adults.

Five great folding bikes for heavy riders

Now, back to our full detailed list of five folding bikes that we think have it pretty much taped for big guys.



1. Schwinn Loop Adult Folding Bike

The Best Folding Bike


Folding bikes pretty much split into two categories – ones you throw in the car to go mountain biking (because you don’t want to fit a bike carrier to your car) and those real design for Amsterdam or San Francisco Omeng are in the first category and this is a genuine mountain bike that happens to also fold. Now, mountain bikes have some pretty heavy shocks to deal with so this beast is made from aluminum and carbon steel coupled with some very efficient air rebound and shock oil damping, which you will need especially at a load limit of 330 pounds / 150kg. The gross weight of 39 lbs is reasonable in this category.

Pros:
  • Strongly built to handle big guys on big hills
  • Great shock absorption
  • Good carrying weight capacity
Cons:
  • Still quite bulky when folded

Verdict: These chunky bikes are great heavy duty folding mountain bicycles for heavy-duty riders.

2. Swagtron Swagcycle EB-5

Best folding bike for a tall rider


Does this look like a folding bike to you? Me neither. The Taiwanese based designers are very proud of their product and carefully point out the many neat features compared (in their view) to competitors. This includes weight, size when folded, ability to carry, chain protection, ability to roll it even when folding (which is surprisingly useful), and so on.

Pros:
  • Easy to carry due to the light construction and clever folding
  • Weighs just 23 lbs
  • Four frame sizes (460mm, 490mm, 520mm, 550mm) so will suit any height, even tall, big guys
  • Lots of nice touches like the carrying hook and the chain protection that works when folded
Cons:
  • More for tall than very obese riders

Verdict: A real full-size bike for big guys and tall riders that happens to fold and is easy to carry due to the low weight.

3. ZiZZO Campo

Best lightweight folder


Our next bike is strictly for the city and strikes a really good balance between the over bike weight (24 pounds) and load/rider carry weight (up to 230 pounds). The frame looks clean and well-designed and works fine if you are up to six foot four to, with an unusually wide stem adjustment ratio for the saddle.

The gears are nice and simple – just eight – and the saddle is designed for comfort.

Pros:
  • Great weight-to-load-carry ratio
  • Heavy riders up to 230 pounds will do fine
  • Elegant design
  • Works well with all riders irrespective of height
  • When folded will fit easily into an urban environment with small apartments and public transport
Cons:
  • If you are 250 pounds or more, not the bike for you

Verdict: An elegant and clean design folding bike for big and/or tall guys for their life in the city.

4. MACCE by HIKING BK 21 Speed Folding Mountain Bike

Best hybrid folding bike


The Hiking BK Macce sits somewhere between an out and out mountain use bike and a commuter use bike. You get some serious shock absorbers and a sturdy yet foldable frame but at just under 27 lbs. That’s not bad at all when you are trying to trade-off ruggedness with carrying weight. It will carry up to around 200 lbs, so not bad either. The frame is good for a little under 6 foot, so that’s plenty of folks catered for too.

Pros:
  • A good balance between a mountain bike and something easy to carry and to store
  • Reasonable weight carrying capacity
  • Attractive-looking design
Cons:
  • Not for the very heavy or the very tall

Verdict: If you are heavy but average height, this is an interesting alternative to the models we already reviewed as it can be used on the hills or in the streets.

5. HIKING BK Yisdun 20-inch Folding Bike 6-Speed Cycling Commuter

Best ultra-compact folding bike

Our last model is another Hiking BK product. This time this is a straight commuter bike at an affordable price. It has a load capacity of 166 lbs which is fine for big guys but not very big guys at a reasonable 32 Lbs weight. Why we like it is because it is so civilized. There’s a comfortable saddle, fenders (mudguards) a luggage carrier, reflectors, bike stand, etc. This is for the canyons of Manhattan, not the hills of Montana. It just squeezes onto our list because in addition to all those points, it is so reasonably priced. Well worth considering.

Pros:
  • Reasonable price
  • Easy to live with
  • Civilised and practical range of supplied standard options that will cost you on other models and never quite fit as snugly
  • Has reasonable big guy carrying weight considering the design of the bike
Cons:
  • Not for the very heavy and not for the very tall

Verdict: If you are looking for something cheap, well made and good and you are within the stated weight and height bands, our final recommendation might pleasantly surprise you.

Best Folding Bike for Heavy Riders

Big guys do not necessarily need battleship-sized and Transformers style folding bikes to have a fun time out on the road or up a mountain. We have seen five different models that are each unique and each of which fits a different use case. Bikes, in the end, are personal purchases, they are in a real sense an extension of your body. So, you should never buy based on brand, or just because something is popular or top-rated. But because the bike is right for you.

Thanks for reading and please let us know any experiences, ideas, or feedback in our comments section.

Now, we are just off for a quick cycle around the block. It’s a lovely evening! Thanks again!

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4 Comments

    1. That would take a very long article to answer fully as there are many methods to fold a bike and new methods are possible.

      Some of the most popular are Half-fold (also known as mid-fold) which uses a central hinge point. They can accommodate larger wheels. Then you have Vertical Fold with hinges along the main tube that allow the bike to fold vertically. re vertical folding. Then there is the Triangle hinge which allows the rear triangle and wheel to be folded down. There are many more and none is ‘best’, it’s just down to how the designer wants to make the whole bike look and feel. What can differ is where the center of gravity is located, how small the bike is when folded, and whether you can still wheel the bike in the folded state.

      In fact the bigger question is wheel diameter, which affects gearing, speed, and sometimes the center of gravity.

    1. We don’t recommend buying used folding bikes unless you know the owner very well. Over time and with rough use, some folding mechanisms get compromised and that could be an accident waiting to happen.

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