Portability is perhaps one of the biggest concerns of many people before buying a road bike. The size and weight of a bike can cause problems in different circumstances. For example, when you’re going to take a flight and want to take your bike with you, you’ll have to pay excessive fees to get it into the plain.
Maybe you live in an apartment and the available space isn’t enough to store a big bike. Fortunately, big problems like these have small solutions. Literally.
Buying a new folding bike is the best choice to solve your portability and storage problems. You can take one of these to your work and hide it under your desk. You can also store a pair of these on your car suitcase without getting too much attention.
In this article you’ll learn the main differences between folding bike vs regular bike. You’ll also know the pros and cons of each one, so you can choose the most convenient option for you.
Folding Bike vs Regular Bike
Before knowing the advantages and disadvantages of a foldable bike and a normal bike, you must first know the concept and purpose of each one. Below you’ll find everything you need to know about these eco-friendly means of transport.
What is a Regular Bike?
A bike is a means of transport formed by handle, seat, frame and wheels. It’s moved by a system of chains and pedals powered by the rider’s feet. In comparison to other means of transport, bicycles are inexpensive, lightweight, portable and non-polluting.
Modern bikes are manufactured with different materials, including aluminum, steel, carbon fiber and titanium.
First bikes in history were born in Europe during the 19th century. First wooden models were built in Germany. However, it was the French who implemented the pedal and chain system used by modern models.
In past, bicycles were the official means of transport of messengers, police, paramedics and military. Although things have changed since then, it’s common these days to see messengers using bicycles during their workday.
Currently, bikes are also used for recreational purposes. There are even international competitions where cyclists take long rides around urban and rural circuits for several days. For example, the Tour of France, considered the most important and difficult bike race.
What is a Folding Bike?
It’s a bike that can be folded to occupy less storing space. They’re very practical, lightweight and easy to carry. Unlike a normal bike, you can take one of these inside a bus or metro with no extra charges. Also, two folding bikes can be easily stored in a car’s suitcase. Nowadays you will even find high-quality folding electric bikes at affordable prices.
In addition, handlebars and seatposts on folding bikes can be extended up to four times more than those on regular bikes. While some models can only be folded, others can be separated into pieces. This feature allows each piece to be stored in different places, taking up much less space.
According to the folding method, folding bikes can be classified as:
- Magnet folding bikes
- Triangle hinge folding bikes
- Vertical folding bikes
- Half folding bikes
Folding bikes can use big or small wheels. The standard size of the wheels may vary between 16-26 inches. Among all, models with small wheels are more popular, because they provide superior maneuverability, portability and acceleration.
Folding bikes were born as war equipment. One of the first models was developed in 1900, as a means of transport for British soldiers during the Second Boer War. They drew attention right away due to the easy maintenance and amazing portability. More than forty years later, the British airborne troops used an improved design of the former folding bike during World War II.
During the 70’s folding bikes began to be popular among common people. However, during the 80’s born the standard model that is still used in modern times. So, this can be considered as the golden decade of folding bikes.
Pros & Cons of Regular Bike
Here’s a detailed list of the advantages and disadvantages of using a regular bike:
- Higher stability
- Comfortable riding
- Advanced brake system
- Adjustable speed
- Faster than folding bikes
- Wider and ergonomic frame
- Cheaper than folding bikes
- Take up too much space
- Heavier than folding bikes
- Limited maneuverability
Pros & Cons of Folding Bike
Now it’s time to know the advantages and disadvantages of using a foldable bike:
- Portable and lightweight
- Can be carried on public transport
- High maneuverability
- Can be stored on reduced spaces
- Adjustable handlebars and seatposts
- Less comfortable
- More expensive than regular bikes
Which one is suitable for you?
If you’re looking for maximum comfort, stability on the road and high speed, you certainly need a regular bike. However, you can’t take a regular bike with you everywhere. So, forget about carrying your bike on the public transport or on your next international flight.
In those cases, it’s better to opt for a foldable model. If the distance to your work isn’t very long, a portable model may be the best option for you. Then, when you arrive at your office, you can hide your bike under the desk and nobody will notice.
However, one of the biggest problems with folding bikes is its high price. Most popular models in the market can cost more than $200, which isn’t an option for people with limited budgets. Also, they can be too uncomfortable for very tall people. So, take that into account if your height is greater than 6’2”.
In conclusion, the final decision depends on you. Consider the pros and cons of each option and determine which one best suits your requirements.
Cycling is beneficial to health, but you must choose the right one to reap its benefits. So, it’s up to you to choose the bike type that really suits you. Before making your decision, consider things like available storage space, uses and budget.
Now that you know the main differences between folding bike vs regular bike, you’re better prepared to make the best decision.
Here are the answers to some frequent questions about folding bikes:
1. Are folding bikes good for long rides?
No. Due to their limited acceleration and speed, folding bikes are more appropriate for short rides. Touring bikes are more suitable for these purposes.
2. Are folding bikes slower?
Yes. Folding bikes are usually slower than regular bikes due to their shorter wheelbase and small wheel size.
3. Are folding bikes any good?
Folding bikes are lightweight and portable. So, you can take them with you anywhere and store them in small spaces. They’re also perfect for people living in small apartments.