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Having a bike while living in an urban area doesn’t usually mesh well together. Where would your bike fit in a small city apartment or on public transit?
You may have heard of folding bikes, which got you to wonder, “What is a folding bike?”
Folding bikes are bikes that you can fold and tuck wherever it is convenient. Thanks to modern design techniques, you can now own a folding bike.
Stick around for our beginner’s guide on what a folding bike is.
Table of Contents
What are Folding Bikes?
You’ve seen foldable tables, chairs, and even smartphones. Naturally, you’ll also find foldable bikes in our tech-invested world.
Folding bikes can be for anyone looking for a bike that provides both comfort and convenience. These sorts of bikes are also not limited to one type. For instance, there are several variations, such as folding mountain bikes, cruisers, and even BMX-style bikes.
While these variations are available, you wouldn’t want to rely on them as much as the real deal. In other words, if you’re looking for an all-terrain bike that can withstand the toughest roads, your first choice shouldn’t be a folding mountain bike.
How Do Folding Bikes Work?
While a folding bike looks compact and easy enough to hold, how would you fold it in the first place? Luckily, most folding bike companies have similar folding features.
When folded, the two wheels coincide. The handlebar area is, for the most part, designed to fold into the bike to form an almost square-like shape.
The folding process starts with grabbing the back wheel and folding it under the bike’s main frame. You’ll notice a hinge in the top tube region that allows the front wheel to face the back wheel.
The derailleur should be in between the wheels, so you can avoid getting hit by it when carrying the folding bike. Next, you should pull down the handlebars to the back wheel.
That leaves you with the seat post, which you just push down and use as a carrying handle. While this seems like a lot to do, it won’t actually take you more than a minute.
What are Folding E-Bikes?
E-bikes are now more popular than ever, so how could manufacturers gain more consumers? By creating a folding e-bike variation.
You get the benefit of having a motorized bike and a foldable bike altogether. Like regular folding bikes, folding e-bikes also come in several categories, including folding mountain e-bikes, mini e-bikes, and others.
How do Folding E-Bikes Work?
The folding mechanism of a folding e-bike is slightly different from a regular folding bike’s folding mechanism. Firstly, you’ll want to push the pedals in and fold them upward.
In the front stem region of the e-bike, you’ll find a hinge that you can unlatch to push the handlebar down toward the front wheel.
In the down tube, there’s another hinge. You just have to turn it outward and click it to release the hold and bend the whole e-bike in half.
The click technique is made as a safety feature to prevent the e-bike from accidentally bending while riding. In between the wheels, you’ll find a magnetic clip that sticks both wheels together.
As you can tell, the folding e-bike is slightly easier to fold. In addition, there are more safety features present in this technique.
Parts of a Folding Bike
Before we go into why you may want to use a folding bike, let’s unpack the parts that distinguish a folding bike from a normal bike.
Once you take a look at a folding bike, you’ll instantly notice the smaller-than-normal wheels. Some folding bike wheels are about 16 inches in diameter.
Their wheels are smaller to capitalize on the bike’s compactness. The compact frame also eases the folding mechanism.
While some may say that smaller wheels are inferior, they can actually make your ride more nimble and quick.
When it comes to a folding bike’s frame, it’s usually a one-size-fits-all. However, the material differs depending on each bike.
Steel frames are usually the most common since they’re the least expensive. The main downside is that it tends to be heavy, but at least its maximum shock absorption makes up for it.
Carbon fiber could perhaps be your go-to if you’re purchasing a folding mountain bike. The material is light without compromising its stability. Carbon Fiber, however, is usually on the pricier side.
Aluminum frames, like steel ones, are also a common material for folding bike frames. It’s lighter than steel and relatively budget-friendly.
Titanium is usually reserved for high-end folding bikes. Like carbon fiber, it’s lightweight and absorbs impact, but it comes at a much higher price even higher than carbon fiber.
Since folding bikes boast space-saving features, they tend to discard a few gears to become smaller. That’s why some folding bikes only come with one gear.
That said, folding bike manufacturers have been developing gears that are concealed within the back wheels.
You can now find folding bikes with more than six gears. If you’re in a city area, one to three gears should suffice. On rougher terrains, you may need about six to nine gears.
Since folding bikes are considerably lesser in size than regular bikes, they could be a bit uncomfortable to ride at first. Nevertheless, manufacturers have been making folding bikes’ seats more padded in an attempt to provide more support.
There are several types of brakes available for folding bikes. The majority of the brakes on the bikes are located on the front and back wheels.
On more expensive models, you may find disc brakes that stop the bike. These brakes are usually attached to the wheels’ hub, where they save much more space.
Meanwhile, cheaper models come with a U-brake, which can be found right on top of the front wheel. When you hit the U-brake, the pads above the wheel close in on the rims to stop the bike.
Folding bike handlebars can be slightly narrower than regular bike handlebars. While the narrowness of the handlebars adds to the portability of the bike, it also provides you with more control as you whizz through traffic.
Why Get a Folding E-Bike?
E-bikes already hold several advantages such as less strain, more range, and ease of mobility. A folding e-bike just adds more to the benefits. Here’s why you may consider purchasing a folding e-bike.
Foldable e-bikes give you more choices. They can include speed adjustability and mode options like turbo, electric, and manual mode.
A foldable e-bike does most of the pedal work for you. You’re unlikely to be drenched in sweat if you ride it to work.
While folding e-bikes are durable, there’s a misconception that folding e-bikes lack stability because of the hinges. The reason is that folding e-bike hinges are more susceptible to breakage.
Nevertheless, folding e-bike manufacturers understand this. That’s why they’ve made hinges to withstand most damage.
Pros of Folding Bike
From convenience to transportability, a folding bike carries several advantages that could suit your transport needs.
Picture this, you’re riding your regular bike to work. Once you reach there, you don’t want to leave it outside the building because you’d be risking theft and damage.
You take the bike with you and, unsurprisingly, you can barely fit it anywhere. This is probably the time when you start thinking about getting a folding bike.
It’s much more convenient to store and you won’t be straining yourself carrying a large bike around all the time.
Your family decides they want to go on a camping trip. The kids, and you, don’t want to leave without your bikes.
As you’re preparing for the trip, you’re probably dreading the part where you have to latch the bikes to your car. That’s when you may consider folding bikes as a better option.
You won’t need to get the bike latches. Instead, you can just pack them along with the bags in your trunk.
In other situations, you could be taking the bus or the subway. Holding a fully-sized bike can be inconvenient for you and the people around you. Luckily, folding bikes take up much less space, giving you more room for yourself and others.
It’s often hard to leave your bike somewhere unfamiliar because it can easily get stolen. Folding bikes offer more safety and comfort because you can take them with you wherever you go.
Even at work, you can store them behind a door, under your desk, or in a storage room. Additionally, if you don’t feel like carrying it to work, locking it up while it’s folded usually lessens the risk of theft. That’s because most of the parts that can be stolen are locked up.
Variety of Style Options
Looking for a certain folding bike style? Luckily, there’s no shortage of options. You can find more streamlined designs, as well as classic and vintage ones.
Depending on your personal preference, you can also choose between ones with a leather sachet, basket, or other accessories.
Whether you want a cute pink, modern silver, or sophisticated black color style, you’re bound to find it from most folding bike manufacturers.
You may be considering what mode of transportation is most convenient as you run errands. Regular bikes can be troublesome to drag along with you, so you may opt to take your car or taxi.
If you use a folding bike, you can throw convenience worries aside and lessen your environmental footprint.
Easy to Use
Foldable objects can sometimes be complicated when folding and unfolding. When you’re folding the bike, you probably won’t get it right the first time. However, once you get the hang of it, you’ll be folding your bike in mere seconds.
To make things easier, you can practice folding the bike at home a couple of times. This will make folding your bike easier on the go when you’re in the street, in a rush, or standing outside your work.
Cons of Folding Bike
Before committing to a folding bike, it’s also worth considering its cons. Here are a few things you need to carefully consider before buying a folding bike.
Folding bikes have hinges that’ll affect weight distribution. That’s why there are certain weight restrictions, which range from 220 lbs to 242 lbs when riding these bikes.
Having said that, some folding bike companies have been able to resolve this issue by creating folding cargo bikes. However, make sure you check the weight limit before purchasing a folding bike.
On average, regular bikes cost about $350 to $2000. Folding bikes can set you back $1500 to $5000 especially if you’re looking at a folding electric bike. The high price is due to the extra parts required for the frame and hinge support.
You can find cheaper, beginner folding bikes for about $400 to $700 or so. You can then collect some add-ons later once you’re invested in the bike.
If you’re unsure whether the price is worth it or not, think of it this way: will you use this bike in situations where you generally wouldn’t use a regular bike?
If yes, then we say it’s worth the investment. If not, then you might as well get a regular bike.
Bad Shock Absorption
Folding bikes usually have smaller wheels, so you should expect a bumpier ride. These bikes’ wheels can range from about 16 to 20 inches, while regular bikes’ wheels are 27.5 to 29 inches.
Few folding bike brands offer a suspension block in the frame or seat post to counteract the bumps. If you see a pothole, though, try your best to swerve away because you’ll still feel it.
You may also need to keep in mind that smaller wheels mean more wear. Most bike wheels last about two to four years. Folding bike wheels could last half of that time frame.
What is a folding bike? Well, it’s as simple as a bike that can fold into a manageable size. Now you know that owning one will save you lots of space and make handling your bike more convenient. Some people dread riding bikes because they’re worried about where they’ll put them after.
No one wants to leave their bike outside and go to their job just to come outside and their bike is gone. Being able to take a folding bike inside solves this problem and even if you have to lock it up. Locking it up is easier and more secure when your bike is folded.
However, folding bikes not only help with space constrictions but are also safe. Nevertheless, some limitations are worth considering, such as the weight limit and the high pricing.
Other than that, folding bikes have lots of variations. One of them is bound to suit your taste, whether you’re going to work or pedaling through the hills.