Best Folding Bikes with Belt Drive [Top 3]
Belt chains have a myriad of advantages over their more traditional, chain counterparts. They’re quieter, offer a smoother ride and tend to last longer – not to mention requiring nearly zero maintenance! All of this comes at a cost, though, so belt drives are usually more expensive.
Belt drives and foldable bikes are a powerful combination offering an even more convenient ride and letting you take your bike anywhere. Since these bikes are getting more popular, there’s a lot of choice.
If you’re not sure where to begin, here are our top picks…
Can You Get a Belt Drive on a Folding Bike?
Yes! Belt drives are a popular choice on folding bikes. Unlike chains, belts can be virtually ignored and require little to no maintenance. Since the purpose of folding bikes is convenience, it makes sense to keep things as low maintenance as possible.
Belt drives don’t need to be greased, either. It might not sound like much, but folding bikes are supposed to be carried. A greased chain can leave a mark on your clothes or a mess inside a carry case. That’s why so many people opt for the cleaner, simpler belt drive on their folding bikes.
Folding Electric Bikes [PROS + CONS]
|Extremely convenient||Can be heavy|
|Power assist makes journeys a breeze||More expensive than non-folding|
|Easy to transport||Stiffer/bumpier ride|
|More secure||Lighter bikes cost more|
Do Any Bromptons Have a Belt Drive?
No. The simple reason for this is that Brompton bikes are designed to fold back on themselves, something which belt drives aren’t supposed to do. Although it is possible to convert your Brompton into a belt drive bike with some DIY, it isn’t recommended.
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Belt drives can be theoretically fitted to a Brompton, but no major belt companies recommend this. Folding the bike back on itself damages the belt drive, affecting its efficiency and perhaps even stopping it from working altogether. Even if you do manage to fit a belt drive to a Brompton, it will lose efficiency over time, negating any advantages.
Best Folding Bikes with Belt Drives [Top 3]
Just because Brompton doesn’t offer a folding bike with belt drive doesn’t mean that you aren’t spoiled for choice elsewhere! These bikes are increasingly popular for their convenience, smooth ride and low maintenance.
Wheel Size: 14 inches
Folded Size: 117x60x20 cm
Gears: Shimano Nexus 8-speed
- 🇬🇧 £3,945
- 🇺🇸 $4,779
- 🇪🇺 €4,668
It might not be cheap, but this is a top of the range bike and you really do get what you pay for. The Hummingbird is designed for urban living. It’s nippy and ideal for the commute, with an 8-speed Shimano Nexus gear hub. The belt drive is silent, efficient and near totally maintenance-free: you won’t need to grease it or worry about grease marks.
Work on the rear hubs means that this model has significantly less drag than previous versions so the ride is smoother than ever. A specially designed twist grip shifter means clean gear changes and, since the belt is carbon reinforced, you’re guaranteed long-term, high performance.
The Hummingbird is light, too. At just 9kg it’s easily one of the lightest foldable bikes that you’ll find, so you should have no trouble transporting it. Improved brake callipers mean more efficient braking and quick-release wheel removal makes any maintenance a breeze. If you’re not a fan of the advertised yellow colour you can choose from three others or have Hummingbird customise the bike for you (although this costs another £500).
If you’re willing to spend more on a premium, long lasting bike then this is undoubtedly the one to go for. It’s smooth, lightweight, requires close to zero maintenance, and is perfect for city living.
2. Verge S8i
Wheel Size: 20 inches
Folded Size: 42×81×73 cm
Gears: Shimano Alfine 8 Hub
- 🇬🇧 £3,945
- 🇺🇸 $2,785
- 🇪🇺 €2,720
Billed as the “super commuter” the Verge S8i is substantially cheaper than the Hummingbird but still comes with a high grade Shimano Alfine 8-speed gearbox. It’s certainly versatile, with a gear for every incline. The design is clean and streamlined, with no protruding derailleurs and a nearly silent operating volume. If you want to slip through traffic on the daily commute but tackle more arduous paths on the weekends, this is the bike for you.
It’s a little heavier than the Hummingbird (but not drastically so) and it folds down extra small as compensation. Foldable bikes sometimes have a reputation for giving a stiff/bumpier ride, but not so here. The S8i comes with an extra long wheelbase so it’s absolutely ideal for navigating potholes and poorly maintained sections of road. Again, this makes it excellent for commuting.
As with all belt drive bikes, it’s low-no maintenance. The Andros handlebar allows you to adjust your riding position in seconds without any tools and a wide beam light will keep you safe at night and during the winter months. If versatility is your primary motivating factor then this is the place to look. Whether you want to commute or adventure, the S8i won’t let you down.
Wheel Size: 18 inches
Folded Size: 74 x 65 x 35cm
Gears: Single speed
- 🇬🇧 £549
- 🇺🇸 $665
- 🇪🇺 €649
Beixo might not be the biggest name on this list, but their Pyora – advertised as a “no nonsense” alternative to more expensive bikes, packs a punch. Yes, it comes with single-speed gear but you simply won’t find a better quality bike for this price anywhere. For well under £1000 (better than half the price of the S8i and Hummingbird) you get a super lightweight bike that folds in seconds – perfect for the commute.
Extra wide tyres make light work of bumps and potholes and the solid frame feels exceptionally stable. As with all belt drives, there’s zero maintenance and the bike is available in three colours. The seat is fully adjustable and the aluminium frame is extremely lightweight. That’s really where the features end; this is a no-frills bike but one that excels with what it does deliver.
The only drawback here is that certain features are only included as optional extras, nudging the price a little higher. Lighting, fenders and front brakes all needed to be added separately. Even with all of those included, though, this remains one of the cheapest – and highest quality – folding bikes with a belt drive that you’ll find. It might not be quite as effective on weekends away, but for urban dwellers it’s ideal.
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