If you are someone who travel a lot on bike and want to take your bike everywhere with you – just like myself – then you definitely need a folding bike. A folding bike (or folding bicycle) is a bicycle that can be folded (yes, just like paper) into a smaller and more compact form. To help you start with your folding bike searches, I have compiled this ultimate guide of folding bike reviews on this site to help you find the best folding bike for your needs.
Because folding bikes are smaller than regular bikes in terms of the overall size, they can be carried easily into buildings or offices and stored in your cubicle during the day. It can also be brought into public transportation such as train, or stored in your car trunk. This removes the primary concerns of bicycle owners, which is theft of bicycles left locked yet unattended to during the day.
Best Folding Bike Review – Ultimate Buying Guide
So what are the things to look for in buying folding bikes? Folding bikes come in all shapes and sizes and levels of durability. The following chart provides the comparison between some of the best folding bikes on the market today, based on the most important criteria in choosing a folding bike.
Here are a few most important folding bike buying guide tips:
- Ensure that you find the size that you want. Size can be important from the standpoint of expected use, ability to carry it around, and maintenance. If you plan to ride a lot of miles, buy accordingly. If you are a small person, don’t buy a large bike that you will have to carry. And if you buy something that is fairly non-standard, when parts wear out, you may be locking yourself into a pretty expensive experience.
- Look at getting a custom seat if you like the bicycle. Many bicycles are easy to ride but have trouble when it comes to pleasing everyone with their seat. You can always purchase a new seat and use that one.
- Try and get as many safety features built-in or included with the bicycle. If the bicycle is expensive, you will typically find more in the way of lights and reflectors integrated into its design. Try and maximize your return by a bicycle that includes these features without a runup in price.
Once you have determined just what you are looking for, the next step is to actually go out and look at different brands. Here are some of the top brands and what they are known for:
Dahon bikes have been around for over 30 years. The inventor and owner and top executive currently has around 30 different models on the market and the company has sold over 5 million folding bicycles over the years. For durability and design features, there are many that say Dahon cannot be beat because they plow so much of the money that they receive into new research. Needless to say, they have won many folding bicycle races over the years and make it safe and easy for users to fold and unfold their bicycles on the fly. The only negative is that due to the size constraints that they have, they cannot compete with regular-sized bicycles like mountain bikes or bmx bikes on rough terrain.
Brompton is the second most well-known folding bikes manufacturer after Dahon. They are a bicycle manufacturer company based out of the United Kingdom. Dahon is the market leader in the world taking about two third of the folding bike markets, however Brompton has their own share of true loyal fans. Brompton folding bikes have received numerous awards and are often declared winners of many folding bikes reviews and competitions. Brompton folding bikes are well known for their compact size when folded, and their high quality despite the higher price.
Schwinn bicycle company was named after their founder, a German engineer named Ignaz Schwinn. It is based in Chicago, USA, and is a dominant bicycle manufacturer in the United States. They are now part of Dorel Industries conglomerate who holds the brand of Pacific Cycle. The most popular product of Schwinn is The Sting-Ray, known for its high-rise “ape-hanger” handlebars and the low-rider “banana seats”. The brand is not as popular as Dahon and Brompton but the price is generally cheaper compared to the two brands. Some people have claimed that Schwinn folding bikes have very good value for money.
If you are a folding bike enthusiast, you know how lightweight and yet sturdy Shimano’s mountain bikes and street bicycles can be. You also probably know how well-engineered their derailleur system is. If you are looking for a folding bicycle, Shimano has a model that not only incorporates their famous derailleur, it can be folded up and stored in the trunk of a car easily. With Shimano, almost every part of your bicycle, including the seat, will be over-engineered to the point that you will marvel at some point while you are on the road and realize that you just overcame a glitch that would have brought a lesser bicycle down. The negatives with Shimano are the same as with Dahon, it is hard to get a full mountain bike experience with their folding model. Fortunately for Shimano afficionados, Shimano’s release system for its wheels on regular models means that most of its mountain bikes will fit neatly in the trunk of your car if you remove the wheels.
Columba although is a less popular bicycle brand compared to Dahon and Brompton, has its own loyal consumer base. The most popular model for Columba is the 26″ which is a folding bike with mountain bike style. Columba bikes are known for their sturdy and strong construction. Some people do not really like the common folding bikes that seem too small for them, and choose Columba 26″. When I ride on my friend’s Columba 26″, I feel like riding a non-folding bike because of its sturdiness. Other nice features of Columba includes smooth gears shifting and comfortable seat. And also feels sturdy, Columba 26″ folding bike actually has a lightweight frame. This is definitely another good option of folding bike especially for those who love to travel.
What are the advantages of Folding Bikes?
Folding bikes are very useful for travellers and for people who simply want to stay fit. Older versions used to be heavy, bulky, difficult to fold, and not user-friendly. But in the early 90s, the designs were improved to make them more convenient to bring, easier to use, and has a high resale value. They are now also allowed to be brought along while riding a commercial planes, ferry, and even trains.
Folding bicycles have a lot of advantages over traditional bikes, and one of them is the size. This means that you can buy one even if you live on the higher floors of a condominium. Besides being lightweight, your folding bike also occupies a small space, so storage will never be a problem. And because you can keep it inside your house, it is also thief proof. Needless to say, you can also save money because you can use it for traveling, as replacement for your car.
How To Find The Best Folding Bike That Meets Your Needs
You should first know how to choose the perfect folding bicycle for you before going out and buy one. This is because there are several kinds of folding bikes to choose from, not all folding bikes are the same. Buying the wrong one will not only hurt your wallet, but could also hurt you while you are using it. So before buying one, below are useful tips on how you can choose the right folding bike.
The main consideration of choosing a folding bicycle is the wheel size, or the diameter of the wheels. The most common wheel sizes of folding bikes are 16” and 20”. But there are manufacturers that also make 24″ and 26” wheel sizes. The last two sizes are considered to be “regular” bikes. The 16” folding bike is more portable or compact than the 20” version, and is ideal for those who use it regularly as form of transportation. However, the 20” folding bike is for taller riders and is more applicable in travelling longer distances.
Buying a folding bike that has better components means higher level of performance, being more durable and lighter in weight. Brakes, handlebar, and saddle are the most important parts of folding bikes. Those that are made of alloy are strongly recommended. The frame should be geometrically perfect, durable enough, and convenient of the rider. For safety purposes, the important accessories that you should consider checking are helmet, and front and rear blinkers.
You want to buy a folding bicycle because you know you can fold it. If you want one that can be folded in smaller size, choose the 16” folding bikes. But if you will seldom fold it, you can choose the bigger one. A folding bike that can be folded within 30 seconds is considered good. Folded size is also important if you are concern with the space. However, folding capability should not really be a big issue for you if you will always use it. After all, you bought one because you love riding bikes.
Finally, folding bikes vary in design, depending on how it will be used. Will you use it for sports, daily commute, or simply for exercise and spare time? But whatever reason, always check the quality of a folding bike before you buy one. The price also affects the size, features, and riding convenience. While you can easily buy cheap folding bikes, buy the one that was made from high quality materials. Make sure also they have earned positive reviews from real buyers who have bought and use the bikes.