In an era when consumers are expecting more from products than the usual, folding bikes seem to be quite tempting. Although folding bikes are perceived to be very modern these vehicles have been around from the early 1900s. Today manufacturers are adding in additional features and making necessary modifications to make commuters’ journey more comfortable and easy.
Despite the many struggles that manufacturers faced in the early days, today designers have come up with folding models that address most of the woes of bike riders. The success of these miniature designs in city commuting is due to its lightweight structure, easy fold-ability and portability.
Now let’s take a look at the pros and cons of folding bikes.
Key Features Of A Folding Bike
The geometry of all types of bikes are the same. However the feature that allows the folding of the bike is the use of a pivot in the bike’s frame. The frame folds around the pivot allowing it to be carried around with ease. Compared to the normal city bike, the folding type features smaller wheels and a lightweight body.
Folding bikes look like a very futuristic mode of transportation. But before jumping in you might want to check out the pros and cons of folding bikes.
Are you constantly struggling with finding storage space for your bike? Are you worried about its safety? Is carrying your bike on and off a train a hassle? You might get all these issues resolved by owning a folding bike instead of the traditional model and here’s why:
- Their Small footprint saves Space – Duh??!! That is pretty obvious isn’t it? For urban dwellers who have trouble finding space to park their bikes, folding bikes are a big relief. They don’t need to be parked and require less space for storage. And unless you have a garage or a spacious home, storage can be a problem with the traditional bike. Foldable bikes can be carried up the stairs (if you are living in an apartment) and stored anywhere (even under the bed) due to it its compact size.
- You can fly with your bike – You can travel all over the world with your folding bike. As long as the dimensions of the bike adhere to the International dimension guidelines you can check in your foldable bike as a piece of luggage.
- Multiple modes of Commute – Certain locations allow for travel by bikes and sometimes it becomes necessary to use other modes of transport for an easy journey. In such situations you can fold your bike and opt for another mode of transport. Hence you can cover long distances and difficult terrains comfortably by using multiple modes of transport.
- Environment friendly – Sustainable living is the need of the hour. Folding bikes are a very convenient and clean option for city folks. It can be used by anyone and can be carried through subways with ease. Office-goers can use this to get to work without being stuck in traffic and without adding to environmental pollution.
- Bike stays secure at all times – Bikes getting stolen is pretty common even if it’s secured with a lock. But if you are using a folding bike you can take it indoors with you and not have to worry about it getting stolen.
- Easy to Hop on and hop off – Folding bikes don’t feature a high crossbar. This makes mounting and dismounting easier than in the normal bikes. And since the pedal is closer to the ground you can start riding easily.
- Greater resale values – Folding bikes are expensive no doubt about that. But their value depreciates at a lower rate than the traditional design. So selling a foldable bike after a few years will not cause you as much of a loss as the traditional bike. Similarly purchasing a second hand folding bike is also a great option since it a new one comes with a slightly higher price tag.
There are two sides to every coin. Not to be the bearer of bad news but the folding type has its share of pitfalls…
- Not suitable for rough terrains – Blame the small wheels. To make it compact and foldable the wheels come in a smaller size. This feature makes the bike very difficult to be used on bumpy and rough roads. Folding type bikes do well only on even and smooth roads.
- Maintenance – Due to its closeness to the ground folding bikes get dirty and messy quickly. Hence it needs frequent cleaning to reduce wear and tear and ensure durability. Since the cost of these bikes and high you will need to be very frequent with the maintenance.
- Not suitable for long rides – Folding type bikes are designed for covering short distances. Due to the use of small wheels long distances need more time to be covered which could wear out the rider.
- Prices are high – Folding bikes come in different prices. But the most compact and most lightweight ones are really expensive. The less priced folding bikes have an aluminium body which makes it heavier than its expensive cousins. For the price of a cheap folding bike it’s sometimes better to get a high quality traditional model.
- Not for the speed junkies – The basic models of folding types become unstable as you increase speed. Speeding for short distances are fine but for longer journeys it becomes very uncomfortable.
Still confused about folding bikes? The foldable bikes are the best option for urban folks with limited space. Apart from storage they offer several perks for users. Riders can enjoy a pleasant commute without worrying about finding parking space, or waiting in long traffic jams, or worrying about unfavourable weather. However, if you need a bike for riding long distances and have enough space a traditional model would be a better option. Whether it’s a folding or a traditional model, bikes offer great benefits for the rider as well as for the environment.
If you’ve decided folding bikes are for you, check out our reviews of the best folding bikes.