What to Look for in a Folding Bike

Is the bike easy to fold and unfold? Can it be rolled around when folded? Can it carry luggage? Find out all of this and more!

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Is the bike easy to fold and unfold? Bear in mind that some models require users to lift the frame up completely during the fold, while others can be folded while keeping the bicycle in contact with the ground. Decide which best fits your needs and strength.

Can the bicycle be rolled around when folded? For example, if you plan on taking transit, you may need to fold your bicycle as you enter the subway station and travel with it for a fair distance. If you can’t roll the folded bicycle conveniently, this could be a chore. Even the lightest folding bicycle will feel heavy if you have to carry it over long distances.

Can the folding bicycle carry luggage? Most models either come standard with a rack or bag-mounting system, or have it as an option. Consider how much stuff you might want to take with you and check to see if the folding bicycle can accommodate it. Otherwise, you might need a backpack or other type of bag.

Can you take the bicycle traveling? Most airlines and bus companies, for some reason, treat bicycles as persona non grata and can charge expensive excess luggage fees and require bicycles to be packed in large boxes. Folding bicycles can often be packed into regular large suitcases and pass the check in process without being noticed. If this is something you’d like to do, make sure the model you choose is easy to fit in a suitcase and does not require too much disassembly to fit. Some manufacturers offer cases as accessories that are sized to the folded dimensions of their bikes.

How many gears does it have? If your typical commute is mostly flat, then it may be a good idea to have a lighter bicycle with fewer gears or only one gear. Conversely, if your town is hilly, then having a wider gear range is often important.

How do the clamping systems work? Depending on the system, all these extra moving parts may need maintenance and servicing. If you are not aware of this, then the bicycle may start to develop a lot more creaks and squeaks.

Does the bike have mechanisms to keep it folded? This is particularly important if you have to carry or transport the folded bicycle, but less important if you only have to keep it folded long enough to fit it into the trunk of your car.

Is it a chain drive or a belt drive? This is an important consideration, as you will be handling the bicycle in the folded position and, depending on where the chain sits when the bicycle is folded, this could mean that you have to make chain stains a fashion accessory or avoid the problem altogether with a belt drive or a direct drive.

1 Comment

  • I really like your tip to see if you can take the bike traveling. I am planning to go on a lot of trips this fall, and it would be nice to be able to bring my own bike and save on transportation costs. Can you add a bag mounting system if the bike doesn’t already have one? thanks for htese great tips!

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