It's my understanding that, in more transportationally-enlightened places, folders are fairly common. Of course, that's not yet the case here in the states. But some recent threads here got me wondering. Consider the following:
- US-based Dahon, the largest maker of folders on the planet, is selling more bikes lately than ever before.
- Well-known LBS brands like Specialized and Trek are getting into the folder game.
- Regular retailers like Wal-Mart and Target have recently started offering folding/telescoping bikes.
Maybe it's just wishful thinking, but it looks like it might all be adding up to something. Are folders on the verge of changing, in the American conciousness, from just a kooky niche product out of a SkyMall catalog to a normal and viable option in bike purchasing?
And, if folders do start to make inroads (so to speak), will it only be as mountain bikes ("fit 'em in your trunk--no rack required!), and kid's bikes ("grows along with your child!")? Most people here think of bicycles as either toys or sporting equipment. Since folders originally sprang from the commuting mind-set, and since they show their merits so well on public transit, can they even be successful in a society that doesn't consider bikes to be real, adult transportation in the first place, and that only has a good public transit infrastructure in a few areas?
I don't know... just sort of thinking out loud here.