How to Choose a Folding Bike?

There are many different ways that a folding bicycle can be used. Most models are standard size and look similar to a regular bike, but they can be folded down to about one-third of their regular size. Whether for recreation, commuting or shopping, riders can use these bikes as a primary source of transportation that is conveniently stowed away once they arrive at their destinations. People can also take them along in the trunk of a car and go for a ride at whim.

What is a folding bike?

Folding bikes are set apart from other machines on the market by one defining characteristic: they fold. The collapsable nature of these bikes means that they’re ideal for anyone who wants to ride to a train station, and take their bike with them for the journey into the unknown on the other side.

How to Choose a Folding Bike?

  • Portable

The bicycle folds into a portable state in less than a minute. From a standing position with the kickstand down, the rider lowers the seat and folds down the handlebars. A lever unlocks and releases the frame, folding it into thirds. It can be stored in a car trunk as is, or covered with a custom nylon bike bag for easy portability. Typical folding size is about 31 inches by 12 inches by 31 inches.

  • Commuting

Riding a bicycle is good exercise and is also environmentally-friendly. It also helps the rider to avoid traffic snarls, using it as a primary source of commuting or as a link to public transportation. A folding bicycle often has a luggage rack, which is helpful for bringing a briefcase or other supplies to the office. Some styles come with a bungee cord to attach bags and other items to the luggage rack.

  • Recreation

When choosing a foldable bike, look for one that has several gears and a quick thumb shifter for gear adjustments on the fly. Fenders on the front and rear and a brush guard provide trail protection. Some models come with an ergonomic design and a gel saddle for comfort. When driving to a favorite park or bike path, the folding bicycle can be stowed in the car until it's time to ride. The bike unfolds quickly. 

  • Shopping

Rather than vying for a parking space in a vehicle, the folding bicycle is convenient for door-to-door service at the mall. Shoppers can lock it up at a bike rack or fold it up and take it inside. Most styles with an aluminum frame range from 30 to 35 pounds. On some models, dual levers lock into place without any tools and the bike is ready to use in seconds. Perfect folding bike for shopping.

Here is a brief look at top 5 folding bicycles:

1. Tern Node D7i Folding bike

If you want a folding bike that feels like a regular bike, the Tern Node D71 folder is your best bet. With 24-inch wheels, a seat post that raises to accommodate an adult of above-average height, and adjustable handlebars, you might forget this bike actually folds down to half its size.

For that smooth, steady ride that approximates a standard bike, you'll be paying a good deal of cash given this folding bicycle's nearly $1,100 price tag. But there are myriad features that add value to add up to a fair price.

2. USA Ubike Metropolis Folding Bike

If you need a bike that's reliable and nimble enough to get you across town, then the Ubike Metropolis is for you. While not the right choice for a cross-country tour, given its moderately-sized 22-inch wheels and its three-gear hub, this bike is perfect for the daily grind.

Those 22-inch wheels might not be great for open road cycling but they do allow for deft turns and plenty of control — they take up less space when the bike is folded, too. Though three gears isn't many, it's all you need for the city. Just use first gear when going uphill, second for most of the commute, and third on those rare open breakaways when you need some speed.

Rider weight is limited to 250 pounds, and watch out for occasional issues with loose pedals. Overall, this is a fine choice for the urban commuter who wants to travel to and fro under his or her own steam.

3. Strida Folding Bicycle

The Strida was quick and easy to fold and unfold for both owners and experts. Some owners found that the Strida supported a good riding posture. This triangular bike was deemed to be ‘elegantly designed’ and bore no protruding cables. The Strida is very portable and easy to ‘trolley’ by pushing with one wheel, while folded.

Just like many modern fighter planes are designed to be unstable so that they are more maneuverable, the Strida seems a but hard to control at first. But get it into crowded streets, and it is unbelievably maneuverable- the thing turns on a dime. I have taken it around cars and pedestrians in ways that would not have been possible on my road bike.

The Strida is safer because it is so maneuverable and yes, because it is so slow. I think that it is also a game-changer in that it is so easy and quick to fold- you treat it very differently than a normal bike, you take it into places that even a normal bike can't go. Folded up, you can push it like a stroller.

You can fold it in five seconds and I can pack it in its travelling bag in 30 seconds and am taking it to New York again this week, and to the Greenbuild conference in Boston in November- it is that quick and easy.

4. Brompton M6L Folding Bike

The Brompton M6L is one seriously compact folding bike. So compact, in fact, that you're able to fit it in a suitcase and check it onto a plane (no special bag required). Maybe you want to tuck it into the trunk of a Mazda Miata or carry one under each arm while your partner handles the grocery bags. At 26 pounds, and with wheels just 16 inches in diameter, this is the most compact folder we've seen.

With that small size comes this guide's largest price tag (for a non-electric bike, at least) and to be honest, this bike is a bit frustrating initially.

The M6L features six gears, twin hand brakes, and smooth pedaling action. Riding feels safe and natural despite its small tires, which allow for plenty of agility and are able to handle most urban and suburban terrain with ease.

5. Gocycle GX folding e-bike

Folded up, Gocycle's electric folding bike occupies roughly the same amount of square feet as a desk chair. Unfolded and underway, it cruises along with a top speed of about 20 mph and has a range of around 40 miles — or even more if you opt for the battery upgrade.

For all the complexity you might expect from an electric folding bike that's fast and long-range, it's the simplicity that sets Gocycle's GX apart.

Take, for example, the fact all wiring and tubes are completely internal, without anything sticking off the hand brakes or snaking around the frame. Then there's the simple three-speed mechanical shifter for when you're pedaling yourself. And finally, not only are height adjustments quick and easy, but the bike folds down in less than 30 seconds.

There is one drawback, however, and you surely saw it coming: Its price. This ebike costs $3,299, or more than a perfectly decent used car. But you can't fold up a car and bring it on the elevator or tuck it in a closet.

In Conclusion

When choosing a folding bicycle, riders should select one that is lightweight and folds to a compact size without tools. A luggage rack with bungee cords and a nylon bike storage and carrying bag are accessories that offer convenience and portability for work, school, shopping or recreation.