Every bike enthusiast knows that buying a new bike is an important investment that shouldn’t be taken lightly. A decent bike will cost you a fair amount of money, which means you should do the proper research to find the right model that suits your needs and preferences. One type that stands out and has exploded in popularity over the past several years among cycling enthusiasts is the fold away bike.
So, What Is Folding Bike?
Folding bikes, as their name implies, are bikes that can be folded in half for easier storage, transport and commuting. If you live in a loft, you’ll want to utilise every single spare square metre you can which is where this model comes into play. And if you live with a partner who also rides a bike to work, a fold away bike is the ideal solution to avoid cluttering your home. Just fold it up and store it underneath the stairs or into any tight space in your home. You might be wondering are folding bikes good for commuting? Well, of course. When commuting with a foldie, you’ll get more leeway and you’ll be allowed on intracity and intercity train lines even at controlled times. Further, you can pack it into a trunk of any car without a hassle, making it easy to take it with you everywhere you go.
If all of this sounds similar to your accommodation and commuting situation, then a folding bike will probably be a great investment for you. But before you set out to buy your first folding bike, there are a few important considerations to take into account in order to ensure you get the best model for your needs.
There are three popular types of folding mechanisms. The most popular one is the mid horizontal fold, which puts stress on the frame with frequent usage or when carrying heavy loads. Then, there’s the triangle hinge vertical fold, which eliminates the problem of stress points. These bikes typically come with a built-in suspension. Lastly, there’s the swivel fold. These folds are less popular and can only be found on a few specific brands of folding bikes. However, lately, there are many different fold designs that are less popular but still worth considering, such as the breakaway folds that allow the frame of the bike to be disassembled into two parts, allowing you to fit it into a travel suitcase.
The weight of the bike will determine how much effort is required to ride the bike, as well as how easily you can transport and carry it. The key is to get the right weight folding bike to match your daily activities and physical capabilities. I, personally, have back problems, which means no heavy lifting, and that was a huge factor in my decision to get a lighter model. Keep in mind that some foldies can be heavier than traditional bikes due to their folding system adding weight to the frame. The materials the bike is made from will also impact the bike’s weight. The most popular lightweight materials are carbon fibre and aluminium. However, keep in mind that the lighter the bike, the more expensive it will be.
Ease of Transport
This is obviously linked to the folding mechanism and the weight of the bike. Some foldies can’t be wheeled when folded, which can be problematic if you need to lug it around in restricted areas like the inside of buildings or train platforms. Further, consider whether you’d like to fly with the bike because some folding bikes are easier to fly with than others. You might also want to consider a breakaway model instead of a traditional folding bike since they pack easier and come with a dedicated suitcase.
Just like traditional bikes, folding bikes come with a wide range of wheel sizes. For compactness, a 16-inch wheel size will provide the best results. Smaller wheels are usually stronger and stiffer, simply because they have shorter spoke lengths. However, smaller wheels will make you feel the bumps on the road significantly more than larger wheels. That being said, there are plenty of 20-inch wheel foldies that perform better on the road. Further, there are 26-inch folding bicycles that are the same size as conventional models and they match the speed and performance of full-sized bikes.
Naturally, the price can have a huge impact on your decision-making process. Folding bikes for sale can range from a few hundred bucks to up to several thousand dollars. Generally, as is with most things, you get what you pay for, which is why you need to set a budget for yourself and stick to it no matter what. Make sure the bike you go for has spare parts available, so that if you need to replace something you can find it easily.