Must-Read Guide for First Time Folding Bike Buyers
Folded bicycles have by now been around for over a century, originally conceived as tools for bicycle bound infantrymen. The product was commercialized through the late 70’s and the 80’s and has in the past decade or so become an affordable way to cycle. By now folding bikes have made their mark, and have become an essential for many of us.
A steadily rising share of the bicycle market is now focused on fold-away bicycles. In this article, we will discuss a number of important considerations to bear in mind before excitedly making your first folding bike purchase.
The most crucial thing for you to consider is what exactly you use or plan to use your folding bike for.
Will your handy little fold away helper be your go-between from station to station on your morning and evening commutes? Or do you simply need something comfortable on which to roll down the road to the nearest shop and back? Perhaps you are an avid distance cyclist interested in trying something new.
Whatever it is that you plan to use the bike for, below are the key considerations towards folding bike specifications to keep in mind, especially for first time buyers!
1. Frame dimension
Unlike most bicycles, many folded bikes come in a one size fits all configuration, and the experience can seem somewhat reminiscent of a unicycle experience for beginners. Dependent on the rider the seat can be adjusted, and for taller riders affordable seat extensions are often available. One other feature to note is that the neck on fold away bikes are usually far longer than any other traditional bicycle. So for riders of more bumpy terrain, check out the mountain ranges now available from a number of providers.
Again for a first time user, the smaller wheel size will take some time to familiarize, however it soon becomes second nature. As with most of the choices to be made when deciding which bike is for you, trade-offs need to be considered when deciding on wheel size. 16” wheel sizes primarily feature as a fashion piece, it looks great, and is super convenient, but don’t expect to be passing too much traffic. 18 to 20” wheels will provide a great experience for up to mid-length journeys, perhaps a little more providing the suspension is good. 24” wheels are available and great for those looking to take serious rides, but bear in mind that these may often be more costly as well as burdensome to carry, and trickier to fold.
3. Folding methods
Various methods are now available, with new ingenuity cropping up all the time. Again you need to ask yourself about functionality. The quickest folding methods are hinged; larger bikes folding into half, and smaller frames able to be folded into three to be ultra compact. Break-away bikes require some disassembly and should be considered mainly by those taking haul long journeys.
Folding bicycles are now offered by dozens of great brands, so be sure to shop around to find the bike that suits you and your budget best. For a purse friendly purchase, try out these affordable folding bikes.
Finally make sure you get the right weight for your personal needs. All the convenience of a fold and carry bicycle soon goes out the window if you’re 132lbs and have to struggle around with a heavier model of half your weight. Equally if you’re approaching two metres in height, and wrestle professionally, the most light-weight option possibly isn’t for you.
With these five important things to keep in mind, first time buyers can get the overview picture of what to expect in buying a great folding bike!