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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Verdict: These chunky bikes are great heavy duty folding mountain bicycles for heavy-duty riders.
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.
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.
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.
Verdict: An elegant and clean design folding bike for big and/or tall guys for their life in the city.
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.
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.
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!