A foldable bike is almost certainly not the first cycling option you think of when looking to purchase a new two-wheeler. But if your apartment has limited storage space, or your daily commute includes a train or bus, a lot of stairs and/or an elevator, it might just be the ideal bike for you. And if you’re planning a trip by camper, having a folding bike will free up space for other necessities.
Folding bikes come in many versions, from lightweight single speeds to bikes with electric-assist motors, so there is probably one on the market that fits your needs. Below are five of the best currently available.
The Tern BYB (Bring Your Bike) is a great choice if you have very limited storage space or just want to use a small box or locker. It folds up smaller than most other foldables because of proprietary double-fold mechanisms on the aluminium frame that allows it to be folded in thirds, rather than halves. This allows this 20in bike to be folded down to the size of most 16in bikes.
At the same time, it fits riders from 4ft10in to 6ft5in (147 to 195cm) and provides an unusually smooth ride and excellent stability thanks to its larger wheels. The S11 model has a 1×11-speed Shimano Ultegra drivetrain, a Shadow RD derailleur and comes equipped with fenders, front and rear racks, and a chain guard – a bonus for commuters.
The company’s suggested retail price is $2,499 (2,066 euro). Its website provides a world map to find the dealer selling the bike nearest you.
The Brompton M6L offers one frame size with an impressive range of customization options. Changes can be made to the shape of the handlebars, the frame material (and therefore its weight), the number of gears and of course its colour.
Brompton bikes offer 16in wheels and are quick and easy to fold. The handlebar shape greatly influences the geometry of the bike. Available options are:
1. Brompton M handlebar style: classic Brompton style
2. Brompton H handlebar style: offers a more upright position
3. Brompton S handlebar style: this sporty option provides quick handling
4. Brompton P handlebar style: with multiple hand positions, this is ideal for touring or longer rides.
The bikes take their names from the buyer’s customization. For example, a bike with M-shaped handlebars, six gears and fenders but no rack mount is the Brompton M6L, and it weighs about 26 pounds (11.78kg).
Customization also affects the selling price. Check out the options and prices at Evans Cycles, where they are available from £1,275 to £1,995 (1,466 – 2,295 euro).
Rad Power RadMini
If you want a folding bike that is good for a lot of uses and terrains, then the Rad Power RadMini is probably your best bet. It’s simultaneously an electric-assist bike, a cargo bike, and a folding bike, with 4in-wide tyres that will take you over just about any terrain.
It’s great for going through woods and ideal for RV lovers to use around the campsite. This Class 2 e-bike top goes up to 20 mph (32 kph) and offers both pedal assist and a throttle.
Dahon Mariner D8
You can’t buy this model now because, like many other popular bikes, it has been snapped up due to the coronavirus epidemic. But it is included here because it will eventually be available again, and then you just might love its many attractive features. It’s a 20in bike that offers an aluminium frame, brand-name parts, quick-folding, fenders and a rear rack. And, at 12.7kg, it’s light enough for most people to deal with.
The bike’s Shimano Altus rear derailleur with trigger shifters and 8-speed gearing is smooth and capable of tackling most urban hills. It has 1.75in-wide Schwalbe Citizen that are thick and rugged enough for city cobblestones. In other words, it’s not spectacular; it’s just a terrific commute bike. And it’s inexpensive. The manufacturer’s retail price is $999 (827 euro) and you can probably still purchase it there. But if you wait until it’s widely available again, you might get it for as low as $700.
Finally, the Aventon Sinch is not the most convenient foldable on the market, weighing 66 pounds (30kg), but if you want a foldable with power for tough hills and rugged terrain, this bike is for you.
With a front suspension fork, 4in-wide tyres and a 500-watt motor, this will enable you to tackle terrains and slopes other foldables cannot. As a result, it isn’t the most portable foldable bike you can buy or the easiest to store, as it takes up nearly 17 cubic feet while folded. In other words, it’s not suited for commuting. But it’s a great option for RV trips. Buy it from the manufacturer for $1,599 (1,325 euro).