Once upon a time, I was maybe 3, going vroom vroom around the house all the time, hassled my parents to get me a bike. Dad stonily said, no! On the next Christmas morning, I was at the window peering down at the new bikes going up and down. My Dad called, “Ben, come here.” I went into the living room. Merry Christmas, he said gesticulating behind him, for you! A red Fireman Sam bike stood there. I hugged his legs squealing in joy.
Since then, I never stopped enjoying riding a bicycle. Now in my late 30s, I still pedal down to my workplace. After losing my expensive BMC Teammachine which got stolen, Gracie, my wife judiciously suggested that I get the best budget folding bike out there. That way I could commute by public transport and cycle the rest of the way. What a brain flash. And so to this day I use my Columba.
Today, we'll be discussing everything you need to know about folding bikes. My team and I also prepared a list of top models that you must know about if you plan to get one.
Why You Should Trust Us
At Gearbikesreview, we strive to reveal facts through our reviews and how-to blogs. But make no mistake, reviews are just the tip of the iceberg of what we do at the backstage. Our professional bicycle mechanics and gear experts dedicate weeks in carrying out extensive research and series of field-tests on each of our reviewed product category. Our vesatile knowledge base helps us decide the best for our readers.
Needless to say, we don't have any connection with any brand or manufacturer as we maintain impartial approach in our probes. Our mission is to provide our readers with maximum number of authentic information, so they can make better buying decisions.
How We Picked These Products
We went through several stages of market research, feature comparison and analysis, and field-tests before we finalized our top 10 choices. Intitially, we conducted over 30 hours of online research in a bid to sort out 25 top rated folding bike models with the highest number of positive user reviews.
Next, we tested each of the models with the help of a group of community based volunteers. Based on the bikes' construction, folding design, ergonomics, speed and braking we championed 10 out of the rest.
Next, we consulted with other industry experts and engineers for having their insights into our list. They guided us with suggestions before we finalized our products and proceeded to write full reviews.
Our Top 10 Best Folding Bikes
So, what is the best folding bike for the budget-conscious riders? Or, how much does a folding bicycle cost? In the following section we're going to discuss everything along with pointing out who makes the best folding bikes. Please read carefully all the details about our top 10 recommended models to have a better understanding.
Why Buy Folding Bikes
Unless you are aiming to participate in the Tour De France, rigid bicycles are on the wane. They are just too cumbersome. And if you think folding bikes lag in performance, you have another think coming. Although having a low weight limit, they are good for a neighborhood spin, a day out in the countryside and especially for commuting to work. If you are hard-pressed for time, hop on a bus or the tube, get off, and unfold your bike. Next stop, your office desk.
Like every other thing in this world cycling has both benefits and disadvantages, but the pros are so high in number that they surpass the cons on a large scale. Going in for folding bicycles is highly recommended because
- High fuel prices
- Cost of motoring (tax, maintenance, parking)
- Reduces your carbon footprint.
- Portability - The one single consideration. Can be lugged around in a bag, the easiest way to carry around.
- Saves on space - normal bikes take up an awful amount of space
- Safe from being stolen - no need for chains and locks. Carry it into your office or home.
- Durability - They are made of the same materials as standard bikes.
- Efficient performance - They are made to travel fast. The combination of gears is such.
- Versatility, good for touring as well.
- Low depreciation - They maintain their value. Keep them well maintained and you don’t lose.
- Predictable commuting time
- When you are on a bike, you are not checking your phone
- Physical fitness is promoted without trying.
- Everyone gets around faster if more people take to cycling.
- Your bike doesn’t ‘put tools down.’
- Low maintenance - Just oil the chain, keep tires inflated and batteries charged.
Folding Bikes - A Comprehensive Buying Guide
Whether your collapsible bike is intended for leisure rides, urban commuting or some other reason, identifying the right pick can be tough. There are several factors you need to toss around before narrowing in on your precise requirements.
1. Folding Mechanism
a) Half / Mid Folding
This is the most common folding method you will see.
Breakaways come in different variations. This mechanism takes a little time to fold and unfold so it is recommended not to unfold it regularly.
c) Vertical Folding
The mechanism here is similar to that of the folding type with the difference that the aspect is vertical instead of horizontal after folding.
d) Triangle Hinge
The rear wheel and triangle can be twisted forward of the frame and tucked down. Some models feature, a folding front fork with flip and swing hinges fitted on the frame.
e) Magnet Folding
The magnet disconnects when folding allowing the unit to be bent halfway and vertically with the back wheel rotating forward.
2. Wheel Size
The folding cycles have wheel diameters ranging from 14 to 26 inches. Small wheels light and compact are prone to bumps and difficult to maneuver especially in rough terrain.
Larger wheels offer greater speeds but are bulky and heavy. They handle off the road better but portability is constrained.
The weight of a folding cycle is a crucial factor in the overall quality and its price. Typically the weight should be under 30 pounds as can be found with cheaper variants that use heavier metal. The more expensive bikes can be as low as 20 pounds.
That frame size plays a vital role. Folding bikes, unfortunately, do not have this option. To make up, most other aspects are adjustable so that you can pedal and steer comfortably The seat height is adjustable to give legroom to pedal easily. The handlebars too can be adjusted, unlike rigid bikes.
5. Intended Use
It makes scarce sense to invest in a folder with top features if it does not cater to your needs. How you plan to put your bike to use should be the only guide and every component and decision point should be in tandem with this. Folding bikes require even greater consideration as to what you are getting one for; urban leisure rides, countryside languid rides or for commuting. Going and getting a mountain bike for commuting is being a chump. Choose prudently.
6. Frame Material
What the skeleton is to the human body, the frame is to a bike. It holds the bike together and every component in some way or other is attached to it.
Steel- Inexpensive, weighs more hence better stability and shock absorption.
Aluminum- inexpensive, low weight, good maneuverability, and control.
Carbon Fiber- Expensive, light, highly shock absorbent.
Titanium- Very expensive, lightweight, strong, relatively good shock absorption. Bike frames made from this materail can easily withstand 300 pounds (lbs.) and above.
For the sake of weight savings and simplicity, the majority offer one gear. Multi-gear models abound however and can go up to 18 gears now.
A rule-of-thumb is to go with single gear for flat roads and multi gears for hilly terrain.
Favor additional features and components which provide hassle-free use, sturdiness, and convenience. Tires should allow a firm grip and be puncture-resistant Cargo basket, chain guards, fenders, etc. are attachables for convenience and safety.
When it comes to Warranty, most manufacturers are dodgy. It can be up to 1-5 years but limited to only the frame. However, you might not get warranty coverage when buying a model during the period of sale. Used or discounted products don't get covered by warranty.
Folding Bike Maintenance Tips
Your folding bike’s Users Manual will normally contain a full detailed Maintenance section. We will guide you here more generally with effective maintenance tips for folding bikes.
Bike Care Tips
- Store your bike indoors. Rain, moisture and dirt increase wear and subsequent breakdown.
- DO NOT use WD40 on your chain. It will strip it completely of lubrication causing metal on metal grinding. Use chain lube.
- Riding frequently in the rain takes its toll. Service your bike more regularly.
- If not mentioned in the manual, this link leads to maintenance frequency schedules.
Items You Will Need
- A sponge or a cleaning brush.
- Clean rags. These can be old clothes or sheets that you’re happy to get filthy.
- A drying cloth.
- A degreaser or oil.
- Bike polish
- A bucket full of warm water mixed with liquid soap or bike wash fluid.
- A hosepipe.
It’s time to clean your bike. Follow these steps in order and your bike will be shimmering in no time at all:
- If you don’t have a stand, prop the bike up so that it is stable.
- Apply the degreaser to the chain, chainrings, cogs, gear cassette, and also to the jockey wheels. You might need to use your brush to get into all the crevices if you’re using a liquid degreaser. Also, if your bike has gears, change them while you are applying the degreaser, as this will allow you access to different elements of the cogs, so you can clean them too.
- Once the degreaser has been applied, wait until the recommended time has passed.
- Hose off the degreaser. The dirtiest parts of the bicycle are much cleaner.
- Take the sponge, dunk it into the soapy water, and start going at the frame of your bike till there is no trace of dirt left.
- If you’re satisfied you’ve got rid of all the muck on the frame, rinse off all the soapy water.
- A warning: When you’re rinsing your bike, ensure that the water doesn’t get into the brakes or gears too much, as this may damage their functionality.
- Bounce the bike a bit to remove some of the water that has lodged itself in crevices.
- Get the rags and wipe the cycle.
- When you’re drying off your bike, check that everything is in order. Do your brake pads need changing? Are your tires looking worn?
- Apply some bike polish. Your bicycle will be gleaming.
What to Do Once You’ve Cleaned Your Bike?
Your bike is clean. Well done! The final bit is yet to be done.
- Carefully apply the lubricant or bike oil to the bike chain turning it as you go. making sure that the oil doesn’t get onto your brake pads or the rims of your wheels. Wipe clean.
- The chainrings, cogs, gear cassette, and jockey wheels should also be carefully lubricated. Once again, make sure that you don’t get the oil on the brake pads, as it could ruin them.
Our team of test editors has vetted and minutely evaluated every product here. The gamut of features explored are folding, unfolding, carrying, stowing and riding these bikes. Those untested were chosen carefully based on value, quality of parts, our riding experience on similar models and the suitability of the overall package to the needs of the intended buyer.
The Schwinn Loop is a good entry-level folder and the best budget folding bike as per our findings. So accordingly our focus is more acute to determine folding/closing arrangements, a smooth riding experience and to keep it simple for the user.
It is specifically for commuting and a foldable mountain bike. It calls for extreme sturdiness considering the rigors of off road cycling. Our testing is equally that much more stringent to make sure it can withstand the needs.
Folding bikes match different lifestyles and fetch varying benefits, the most glaring being portability. This is one aspect, you as a buyer must be dead sure of as far as your requirements go.
It has been pointed out a number of times that you are the judge and all reviews, writeups, and recommendations do definitely keep you well informed, but your preferences and needs take center stage.