Foldable bikes are bicycles that can be folded into a compact size, making it easier to store and transport. Foldable bikes have some advantages and disadvantages compared to regular bikes.
They are ideal for urban commuters, travelers, and anyone who wants to save space and money. However, not all foldable bikes are created equal. There are different qualities that you should look out for when choosing a foldable bike, depending on your needs and preferences. Here are some of the main qualities to consider:
Size and weight: The size and weight of a foldable bike affect how easy it is to fold, carry, and store. You should look for a foldable bike that fits your height and riding style, and that is light enough for you to lift and transport. You should also check the folded dimensions of the bike and make sure it fits in your desired space, such as a car trunk, a train luggage rack, or a closet.
Speed and performance: The speed and performance of a foldable bike depend on the wheel size, the gear range, the frame material, and the design. Generally, larger wheels offer more stability and comfort, while smaller wheels offer more agility and acceleration. More gears give you more options to adjust to different terrains and gradients, while fewer gears simplify the maintenance and shifting. Aluminum frames are lighter and more resistant to corrosion, while steel frames are stronger and more durable. Some foldable bikes have features that enhance the performance, such as suspension, disc brakes, or electric motors.
Design and style: The design and style of a foldable bike affect the aesthetics and functionality of the bike. You should look for a foldable bike that suits your taste and personality, and that has a folding mechanism that is easy and quick to use. You should also consider the accessories and extras that come with the bike, such as fenders, racks, lights, bells, or bags.
Price and value: The price and value of a foldable bike reflect the quality and features of the bike. You should look for a foldable bike that fits your budget and offers the best value for your money. You should compare the prices and reviews of different brands and models, and look for discounts and deals. You should also factor in the maintenance and repair costs, and the warranty and service options.
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- They require less space to store and can be taken indoors or on public transport.
- They are lightweight and easy to carry around.
- They are more secure, as they can be kept with you instead of being locked outside.
- They are versatile and adaptable, as they can be used for commuting, traveling, or leisure.
- They come in various styles, sizes, and features to suit different needs and preferences.
- They are more expensive than regular bikes, as they require more engineering and materials.
- They have smaller wheels, which can make them less comfortable and stable on rough roads or potholes.
- They are slower than regular bikes, as they have lower gears and less aerodynamics.
- They have fewer options for customization and repair, as they use specialized parts that are not widely available.
- They have lower weight limits and durability, as they have more joints and hinges that can wear out over time.
The Best Foldable Bikes in 2024
There are many factors to consider when shopping for foldable bikes, such as wheel size, weight, speed, design, and price. Here are some of the best foldable bikes available in 2024:
Brompton C Line Explore: This is the best overall folding bike. It has a compact and easy-to-fold design, a 6-speed drivetrain, a luggage system, and a durable steel frame. It weighs 11.7 kg and has 16-inch wheels. Price: $2,500.
Gocycle G4i: This is the best electric folding bike. It has a sleek and futuristic design, a 375 Wh battery, a 3-speed internal hub, and a low-maintenance drivetrain. It weighs 16.6 kg and has 20-inch wheels. Price: $5,400.
Dahon Mariner D8: This is the best value folding bike. It has a sturdy and corrosion-resistant aluminum frame, an 8-speed drivetrain, fenders, and a rear rack. It weighs 11.8 kg and has 20-inch wheels. Price: $700.
Rad Power Bikes RadExpand 5 Electric Folding Bike: This is the most versatile folding bike. It has a powerful 750 W motor, a 672 Wh battery, a 7-speed drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes, and a front suspension fork. It weighs 29.5 kg and has 20-inch wheels. Price: $1,800.
Montague Boston: This is the best full-size folding bike. It has a patented folding system that preserves the structural integrity of the frame, a singlespeed drivetrain, and a flip-flop hub. It weighs 11.8 kg and has 700c wheels. Price: $1000.
Decathlon Btwin Tilt 100: This is the best budget folding bike. It has a simple and quick folding mechanism, a singlespeed drivetrain, V-brakes, and a steel frame. It weighs 14.9 kg and has 20-inch wheels. Price: $300.
Tern Vektron S10: This is another excellent electric folding bike. It has a Bosch Active Line Plus motor, a 400 Wh battery, a 10-speed drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes, and an adjustable stem. It weighs 22.1 kg and has 20-inch wheels. Price: $3700.
Bike Friday PakIt: This is another excellent lightweight folding bike. It has a custom-made steel frame, a 8- or 11-speed drivetrain, rim brakes, and a belt drive option. It weighs 9.1 kg and has 16-inch wheels. Price: $1600.
Tern Link D7i: This is another great value folding bike. It has a durable aluminum frame, a 7-speed internal hub, a rear rack, fenders, and a dynamo hub. It weighs 13.4 kg and has 20-inch wheels. Price: $900.
Strida LT: This is another unique and futuristic folding bike, according to Bicycling. It has a triangular frame, a belt drive, disc brakes, and a grease-free chain. It weighs 10 kg and has 16-inch wheels. Price: $800.
Where to buy foldable bikes in the USA
There are many retailers in the United States that sell foldable bikes, both online and in-store. Some of the popular ones are:
Brompton Bicycle USA: This is the official US site for the iconic Brompton folding bike. You can browse the range of city bikes, e-bikes, parts, and accessories, and order online with free shipping on orders over $50. You can also find a store near you that carries Brompton bikes and offers free test rides.
REI Co-op: This is a well-known outdoor retailer that offers a variety of folding bikes from brands such as Dahon, Tern, and Montague. You can shop online with free shipping on orders over $50, or visit one of their many stores across the country. You can also benefit from their membership program, which gives you discounts, dividends, and access to exclusive events and services.
Tips to Maintain Your Foldable Bike
Maintaining your foldable bike is important to keep it in good condition and extend its lifespan. Here are some tips to help you with some basic foldable bike maintenance:
Clean your bike regularly, especially after riding on wet or muddy roads. Use a bucket of warm, soapy water and a soft brush or rag to wash the frame, wheels, and drivetrain. Rinse with clean water and dry with a towel. Avoid using a high-pressure hose, as it can damage the bearings and electrical components.
Lubricate your chain and other moving parts, such as the hinges, cables, and brakes. Use a degreaser to remove dirt and grease from the chain, then apply a suitable lubricant while pedaling backward. Wipe off any excess lubricant with a dry cloth. Lubricate the hinges with a light oil or grease, and the cables and brakes with a spray lubricant.
Check your tire pressure and inflate them to the recommended level. Under-inflated tires can cause poor handling, increased rolling resistance, and punctures. Over-inflated tires can cause a harsh ride, reduced traction, and rim damage. Use a bike pump with a gauge to measure and adjust the pressure. You can find the recommended pressure on the sidewall of the tire.
Inspect your brake pads and replace them if they are worn or damaged. Brake pads are the rubber parts that press against the rim or disc to stop the bike. They can wear out over time, reducing the braking performance and safety. You can check the wear indicators on the pads, or measure the thickness with a ruler. If the pads are less than 2 mm thick, or have uneven wear, cracks, or glazing, you should replace them.
Tighten any loose bolts and nuts, especially on the folding mechanism, handlebar, stem, seatpost, and pedals. Loose parts can cause rattling, instability, and damage to the bike. Use a wrench or an Allen key to tighten the bolts and nuts to the specified torque. You can find the torque values on the bike manual, or consult a bike mechanic.