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Folding Bikes Worth It? (Are Foldable Bikes Any Good?)

Folding Bikes Worth It? (Are Foldable Bikes Any Good?)

You only need to take a short stroll around a bike shop to see that there are many different bikes to choose from. There’s a bike for everyone, but you may have noticed that there are more folding bikes on the market than ever before.

Key Takeaways
– Whichever type of bike you ride, you will have some kind of compromise. So it would be best if you looked into the pros and cons of each bike to ensure that you get the right one for you.
– A folding bike may not have the smoothest ride quality or be the most affordable. Still, its advantages can provide the perfect solution for a specific cyclist.
– A folding bike is an excellent investment if you want a convenient commuter bike, lack storage space or want a bike you can take anywhere. These bikes are also great fun if you don’t want to do anything too serious.
– However, if you want to take on challenging mountain bike terrain or chase Strava segments, you’ll be better off looking at alternative bikes.

Folding bikes used to be flimsy, rattly things. But now, bike manufacturers make robust folding bikes with lots of great features, making them more appealing to cyclists.

As folding bikes are becoming more compact, stronger, and lighter, we are sure to see more of them on our roads. People (especially commuters) are seeing the benefits of folding bikes, but is a folding bike right for you?

We think that folding bikes are great for certain people. But in this article, we’ll highlight the good and bad things about folding bikes, so you can decide if you need a folding bike in your life.

Why Folding Bikes Are Great?

Why Folding Bikes Are Great?

Security

When your bike gets stolen, it’s not just the cost of replacing it that is the problem. You could end up stranded miles from home and have to make do without personal transport until you can get a new one. 

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The problem for many cyclists who ride or live in the city is the high risk of having their unattended bike stolen. Of course, you can manage the risk by buying quality locks and chains, removing a wheel, etc., but your bike is still left outside and vulnerable to thieves.

In an ideal world, you would be able to bring your bike into work with you to keep it safe. However, this becomes very difficult or impossible with a full-size bike.

This is one of the ways that a folding bike shines. Modern folding bikes fold to an incredibly compact size, making it much easier to find a safe place to store them. For example, you may be able to stash your folding bike under your desk, in a locker, or in a safe corner out of the way. Being able to do this is much more beneficial than riding around with a massive chain over your shoulder or in your backpack.

Folding Bikes Have Come A Long Way

Early folding bikes were not great, apart from ones from a few reputable brands. Low-cost folding bikes didn’t fill you with much confidence when it came to build quality and ride quality.

Modern folding bikes are made with the same care and attention as their non-folding cousins. Of course, there will always be budget versions, but you need to realise that you get what you pay for.

You can buy excellent folding bikes with frames made from carbon fibre, aluminium, Chromoly steel, and even titanium. These lightweight materials make the bike more convenient to stash away but also more efficient to ride.

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Folding Bikes Are User-Friendly

Folding Bikes Are User-Friendly

These days, folding bikes are well-thought-out pieces of kit. Bike designers take time to make them as user-friendly as possible. There’s nothing worse than wrestling with a bike that won’t fold in the pouring rain or one that will pinch your fingers every time you try to make it smaller.

Most quality folding bikes take just a few seconds to fold and unfold. Therefore, not being able to fold your bike won’t be an excuse for being late for work.

Folding Bikes Are Becoming More Compact

Bike brands are always looking for ways to shrink their folding bikes even more. You will notice that different brands often have their own ways of making their folding bikes smaller.

For example, some bikes have tiny wheels, collapsable handlebars and seat posts. Some even have pedals that fold inwards, making the bike’s cross-section even smaller.

Easy to Transport

Another great benefit of owning a folding bike is that it is super easy to transport. This exceptional level of portability is advantageous to many people.

People who want to use a bike for commuting can shorten their travel time by using a folding bike. They can ride to the bus stop or train station, fold their bike and carry it onto public transport to get as close to work or home as possible. They can then continue their journey on two wheels, dodging all the city traffic. This saves you lots of money in transport costs while allowing you to get to your destination much more quickly.

Folding Bikes Are Fun To Ride

This is something that is hard or impossible to do with a regular-sized bike. Often train carriages and buses are far too packed with people to carry a bike on board.

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But you don’t have to be a commuter to benefit from the portability of a folding bike. They are great for days out and weekends away, as you can easily carry one in your car. They are also ideal for people with motorhomes, caravans, or boats, as you can use them to get around once you’re at your destination.

Folding Bikes Are Fun To Ride

The smaller wheels of a folding bike make for an entertaining ride in a couple of ways. The first way is that they reduce the gearing of your bike, allowing you to accelerate quickly. This means you can get off the line at traffic lights much more rapidly than someone on a big-wheeled regular bike.

The other advantage of small wheels is that they give a folding bike agile handling. You can nip in and out of traffic and make tight turns while finding shortcuts and dodging pedestrians.

Folding Bikes Make You Fit

The fact that a folding bike is more usable than regular bikes means that you’ll ride it more. And we all know that regular exercise is good for the mind and body, so if you’re planning on improving your fitness, a folding bike could be one of the best things you buy.

You can use your folding bike as a way of improving fitness while you commute rather than taking extra time out to hit the gym.

The Disadvantages Of Owning A Folding Bike

The Disadvantages Of Owning A Folding Bike
woman biker riding Folding Bicycle and looking back

Folding Bikes Are Heavier Than You May Think

Even though a folding bike is small, it can be pretty heavy. This is down to the extra engineering needed for the folding mechanism and to add strength to the frame. The weight becomes even higher when you start to look at electric folding bikes, thanks to the motor and battery system,

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This extra weight can be a problem if you need to carry your folding bike up lots of stairs. 

You can buy folding bikes made with lightweight materials. Still, they are generally more expensive, as the materials are more exotic.

Folding Bikes Are Often Expensive

The extra design and engineering involved with producing an electric bike often make it more expensive than a regular bike. This is understandable when you think of the extra adjustable parts, the folding mechanism, and the unique fame designs.

Folding Bikes Often Don’t Ride As Well As Regular Bikes

If you were to test-ride a regular bike and a folding bike back-to-back, you would notice a significant difference in ride quality. The folding bike will feel stiffer and less forgiving, especially on bumpy surfaces.

The reason for the compromise in ride quality comes from the wheel size. Folding bikes have wheels ranging from 10 inches to 26 inches. However, the most popular folding bike wheel sizes are 16, 20, and 24 inchesThis is because they contribute to the compactness of the folding bike.

These smaller-sized wheels don’t roll over bumps as nicely as larger wheels; therefore, they make the ride quality more bumpy. You can choose a folding bike with fat tires, which go a long way to smooth out the ride, but the compactness is compromised.

Alternatively, you can buy a folding bike with suspension. Suspension dampens vibrations and absorbs shock from the road, improving the bike’s ride quality. The way the suspension insulates your arms and upper body from vibrations means you can ride for longer before you feel tired.

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

A bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.

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