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Why choose a folding bicycle over a regular bicycle?

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Why choose a folding bicycle over a regular bicycle?

Old 12-25-18, 09:12 PM
  #1  
Andy Thousand
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Why choose a folding bicycle over a regular bicycle?

How many if you like to commute to work and home? Do you ride locally or long distance? Are you worried about bicycle theft? Worried that a folding bike wonít ride as good?

I use to to worry about the same things. Folding bicycles use to look like odd bicycles with small inefficient wheels.

While comparing them to my hybrid I was not the least interested. My hybrid had 700c wheels and 24 gears. I refused to give up my hybrid for a clown bike.

Thats until I had no place to store my bicycle at home or work. Had to worry about finding a place to lock it up while going places. And had to ride it in horrible weather because I couldnít ride public transportation or accept rides.

All this changed when I got a folding bike. At home I fold it up and put it out of the way. While going places I fold it up and bring it inside with me. And when the weather gets bad, I take the Uber or accept rides home.

Plus the folding bicycle rides just like a regular bicycle, just better. Thereís been many times Iíve passed regular bicycles with no problem. And with only eight gears thereís less maintenance, while still being able to conquer ant hill. Most bicycles are over geared anyway making it impossible to use every gear.

Do you own a folding bicycle, and if so what has been your experience with it?
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Old 12-26-18, 01:32 AM
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I have a folding bike (Dahon) and used it to commute to work for a few years. I didn't really like it, though. It's 10-15% slower than my other bikes, the telescoping stem flexes too much, and it's not comfortable for long rides. While it's great for multi-modal travel and easy to keep out of the way when not in use, I gave it up and went back to a normal bike for commuting.
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Old 12-26-18, 02:32 AM
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Originally Posted by jeffpoulin View Post
I have a folding bike (Dahon) and used it to commute to work for a few years. I didn't really like it, though. It's 10-15% slower than my other bikes, the telescoping stem flexes too much, and it's not comfortable for long rides. While it's great for multi-modal travel and easy to keep out of the way when not in use, I gave it up and went back to a normal bike for commuting.
great example of a common phenomenon. Someone rides a bum folder, has a poor experience, and swears off the whole segment, as if a cheap Dahon is representatiive. Others with existing prejudices get their biases confirmed.

Toured Taiwan, crossed South Korea from one end to another, circled Bali all on a folder, a quality folder. No problems, no discomfort, no dramas.
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Old 12-26-18, 02:37 AM
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"Do you own a folding bicycle, and if so what has been your experience with it?"
I'm pretty sure that was the OP's question, for which I gave an answer. Perhaps you can share your own experiences rather than criticize someone else's response.
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Old 12-26-18, 03:50 AM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by Andy Thousand View Post
How many if you like to commute to work and home? Do you ride locally or long distance? Are you worried about bicycle theft? Worried that a folding bike won’t ride as good?

I use to to worry about the same things. Folding bicycles use to look like odd bicycles with small inefficient wheels.

While comparing them to my hybrid I was not the least interested. My hybrid had 700c wheels and 24 gears. I refused to give up my hybrid for a clown bike.

Thats until I had no place to store my bicycle at home or work. Had to worry about finding a place to lock it up while going places. And had to ride it in horrible weather because I couldn’t ride public transportation or accept rides.

All this changed when I got a folding bike. At home I fold it up and put it out of the way. While going places I fold it up and bring it inside with me. And when the weather gets bad, I take the Uber or accept rides home.

Plus the folding bicycle rides just like a regular bicycle, just better. There’s been many times I’ve passed regular bicycles with no problem. And with only eight gears there’s less maintenance, while still being able to conquer ant hill. Most bicycles are over geared anyway making it impossible to use every gear.

Do you own a folding bicycle, and if so what has been your experience with it?



I do not commute by bicycle to work. I ride locally, and tour long(ish) distances. No, I do not worry about my folding bikes "won’t ride as good." They ride like what they are. They are agile, and accelerate from a standstill like a jack rabbit. Very fun. Quite a different feel and experience to bicycles with big wheels. I ride folding bikes with ISO 305-,406- and 451-size wheels. My experience across four folders--Dahon Dash, Dahon Dash Altena, FSIR Spin 5.0, FSIR Spin 3.0--has been great. Unless I specifically need large wheels for off-road work, I will continue riding small-wheel bikes exclusively.

Another oft-overlooked aspect of folding bikes is their greater sociability. People are curious, and routinely ask me about them. They integrate into human spaces and scales better, particularly in dense urban environments. I often bring mine into the post office unfolded, and no one says anything, in fact, they are amused and entertained. Put one of my folders next to a bunch of racing bikes, and nine of ten times people will comment and start talking about the folder. They have an X factor that big wheel bikes simply lack.

Touring is the ultimate litmus test of durability, and comfort. I've now toured on folders on three occassions sans issues.

My latest obsession, a 92cm wheelbase, 305-wheel folder. Turns on a dime, accelerates like a bullet. Fun, fun, fun...

On tour in Taiwan...

On tour in South Korea...

So to answer the question - Why choose a folding bicycle over a regular bike? Because they...
  • fold so you can take them along, or store them more easily
  • are more sociable creatures, better attuned to human spaces and scale
  • are a lot more agile and responsive than big "regular" bikes.

Last edited by Abu Mahendra; 12-26-18 at 04:14 AM.
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Old 12-26-18, 04:04 AM
  #6  
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Huge number of advantages to folding bikes some obvious some less so. One advantage not always mentioned is their ease of sizing so a family can own one and pretty much all members of the same family can ride the same bike, both adults and children. Great if you need a bike which people will only use occasionally or you simply don't have room to store multiple bikes. One bike shared by four members of the family means you are only maintaining one bike between you.

They tend to be low geared compared to most bikes so are easier to ride regarding physical exertion and you get more time to enjoy the scenery.

Steering is often more twitchy because of the smaller wheels, you can maneuver around obstacles more easily. Congested traffic for example.

The small wheels are stronger and more durable and less likely to go out of true.

They are allowed on public transport as normal baggage/luggage

Most folding bikes are designed for the rider to have an upright position while riding so the rider is more aware of vehicles for greater safety. Admittedly there are some folding bikes with drop handlebars but fairly rare.

The ability to fold and store your bike in the workplace means not only is your bike much less likely to be stolen but I have seen many bikes chained up where bikes have no weather protection outside workplaces etc and the bike drivetrain is corroded and in poor condition which means more maintenance and replacing parts will be far more frequent.

Like anything though folding bikes work for some but not all but you do see people who would obviously benefit from a folding bike. I think folding bikes only have a small percentage of worldwide bicycle sales somewhere between 2-5% but it feels like that figure should be higher and many more people than that would benefit from one.
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Old 12-26-18, 08:12 AM
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I commuted on a Bike Friday NWT for years. 20" wheels do not ride like larger ones. The ride is harsher. IIRC, a Brompton's wheel are even smaller (18"). I test rode a Brompton before deciding on the Friday. I felt like I should tooling around some English village in a tweed jacket or rail-trail somewhere, not hammering on the busy roads of South Jersey. The Friday's lack of a top tube was incessantly annoying. The mast from the head tube to the bars is flexy. It now lives in the basement, serving as my backup get around town bike when the LHT is in the shop.
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Old 12-26-18, 09:01 AM
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Folding bikes serve a function, to be sure. I own a Bike Friday Pocket Rocket, which I love.
But I disagree with the OP that they ride better than road bikes and that most road bikes are over geared.
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Old 12-26-18, 09:04 AM
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Folding bikes are popular with boaters. Youíll usually see some in the bike racks around marinas.

Dan
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Old 12-26-18, 10:06 AM
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Folders are different in many ways but they have a couple of advantages and disadvantages that haven't yet been mentioned.
Disadvantages:
They perform best on pavement. Small wheels don't deal with potholes, deep road ruts, loose gravel or deep snow as well as the same tire on a larger wheel.
Quality folders are not cheap. While there are some fairly inexpensive ones you would benefit from familiarity with them to be able to evaluate them.
Very difficult to judge what will work for you without riding several. If there are no folders for sale in your area you may have to go somewhere at a distance to find out what works best for you.
Some, like my Brompton have proprietary parts, and while high quality alternate parts are available they can get very spendy.
Advantages:
Many have only one frame size. Hence, ride before you buy, as wheelbases and geometry vary a lot. Still, they can be set up to fit a wide range of riders, size wise. Both my Brompton and Xootr Swift can safely be ridden by someone 6' 4" or someone under 5 feet. Buying one for a child means it can be used as they grow with onl
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Old 12-26-18, 10:32 AM
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I want to say that you can get a bigger folding bike, but my experience buying one was pretty poor. I bought a Montague which comes with 700c wheels and folds for my brother. The quality turned out to be really poor...metal parts kept breaking. At first I though maybe he was being hard on the bike, or it was just a random defective part, but eventually the 1 inch thick crank arm broke in half. I mean...come on, you should be able to pick up the bike and start hitting stuff with it and that thing shouldn't break. Clearly the metal was cast/made defectively.

Not sure if they've improved since then. I really like being able to fit a full size bike into the trunk without needing a bike rack but I do need it to be reliable.

I've seen others that look interesting like the Tern Joe (26") wheel, but then they're around 30lbs.

I feel like the biggest problem with folding bikes is that they're not quite popular enough to reach the economies of scale where you can buy high quality bikes for a reasonable amount of money.
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Old 12-26-18, 10:58 AM
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I have both..

Question is how big an apartment or house to you live in ?

one advantage to a folding bike is It takes up less of that tiny expensive place you live in.

Japan made popular the smaller wheel minivelo for this reason , a non folding bike with smaller wheels
and japan rail only lets you bring your bike on the train in a size restricted bag,
so if you have a regular bike you have to take it apart, then put it together again when you get out in the countryside for your ride,..
folding bike this is much easier to do..


I like the step through like way I can get on & off.. at 70 years old.. 2 bike Fridays , and a Brompton..


(+ a C&V Road, a CX, 700c Touring and 26": trekking , an old MTB with studded tires. and so forth)






....

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Old 12-26-18, 11:15 AM
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I got back into cycling about 10 years ago; mostly commuting to slice NYC traffic. But after a while I got into charity rides(up to 100 miles), travelling
with bikes, grocery shopping w/ bikes. I find folding bikes make these things easier to accomplish. Also going on doctor's visit, meetings, club rides, etc.
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Old 12-26-18, 11:40 AM
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Great Answer

Originally Posted by Abu Mahendra View Post
great example of a common phenomenon. Someone rides a bum folder, has a poor experience, and swears off the whole segment, as if a cheap Dahon is representatiive. Others with existing prejudices get their biases confirmed.

Toured Taiwan, crossed South Korea from one end to another, circled Bali all on a folder, a quality folder. No problems, no discomfort, no dramas.
I totally agree that folding bicycles are more than capable of outperforming their larger wheeled counterparts.
Ive done 10 mile trips or more and felt like I wasnít even on a small wheeled bicycle.
I think that people are comparing them to the days when folding bicycles were heavy, poorly made, and didnít have the proper gear range.
The last few decades this has changed dramatically. Modern manufacturing has introduced better materials and welding techniques. And the components have kept up or outpaced. What do you think?
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Old 12-26-18, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Andy Thousand View Post
... Modern manufacturing has introduced better materials and welding techniques. And the components have kept up or outpaced. What do you think?
Don't know if current materials and building techniques are any different or not available in the past years. I think it's more a case of price point.
Some manufacturer think the only way they'll sell bikes is to make them as cheap as possible. Here, I bought a Tobukaeru to take with me to China.
Was ok; but the drive train was really crappy. But it survived the flights and my few weeks of exploring:
I also experimented with the budget folder, Citizen Tokyo. Again, it did the job. Surviving getting packed in a suitcase and epxloring some sandy areas.
But the steel frame & components were heavy, gearing a bit low:
Currently very happy with my collection; 2 Bromptons, a Bike Friday pakiT, a CarryMe for my partner in crime. Bromptons are towards the upper end in cost.
But has served me well; over a dozen flights, all kinds of weather, 100 mile charity events, etc.

100 Miles(160 Km.) on a Brompton by 1nterceptor, on Flickr
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Old 12-26-18, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
I like the step through like way I can get on & off.. at 70 years old.. 2 bike Fridays , and a Brompton..
I know this will be entirely subjective, and be difficult to give a concrete answer, but which do you like best, one of the Bike Fridays, or the Brompton, and why?
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Old 12-26-18, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by phughes View Post
I know this will be entirely subjective, and be difficult to give a concrete answer, but which do you like best, one of the Bike Fridays, or the Brompton, and why?
I also own both brands. Usually people go for Bike Fridays for the nicer ride; comfort & performance. Can order frame in different sizes, handle bar/stem options, drivetrain, etc. But folding is not a priority;
both speed and size.
Folks go for the Brompton for the most compact size and quick fold(30 seconds if you're slow). Lots of aftermarket accessories and parts available. Front luggage system is very convenient. Limited choices
in drivetrain and handle bars.

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Old 12-26-18, 12:13 PM
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And like clockwork...

...the focus, the conversation narrows down to Bike Friday and Brompton, when the world of folders is so more varied and interesting. Cheap Dahons, and over-priced BF and Brompton is all people know. Bias and ignorance pervades the segment.

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Old 12-26-18, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by 1nterceptor View Post
I also own both brands. Usually people go for Bike Fridays for the nicer ride; comfort & performance. Can order frame in different sizes, handle bar/stem options, drivetrain, etc. But folding is not a priority;
both speed and size.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hm1R...6zPoymgKaIoDLA
Folks go for the Brompton for the most compact size and quick fold(30 seconds if you're slow). Lots of aftermarket accessories and parts available. Front luggage system is very convenient. Limited choices
in drivetrain and handle bars.

Bike To Work by 1nterceptor, on Flickr
Thanks. I have experience with the Brompton, and do like the way it folds. I have never even laid eyes on a Bike Friday in person, so I appreciate the information.
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Old 12-26-18, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Abu Mahendra View Post
...the focus, the conversation narrows down to Bike Friday and Brompton, when the world of folders is so more varied and interesting. Cheap Dahons, and over-priced BF and Brompton is all people know. Bias and ignorance pervades the segment.
Look at the bright side - that big ole chip that you carry around on your shoulder is folding.
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Old 12-26-18, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by ogmtb View Post
Look at the bright side - that big ole chip that you carry around on your shoulder is folding.
Is that all you got? Lame. What I said is true, and plainly on evidence, black on white, here before your eyes. I ain't making shish up. Read'em and weep on this very thread.

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Old 12-26-18, 12:55 PM
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Buy from the top three folding Bicycle companies

Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
I want to say that you can get a bigger folding bike, but my experience buying one was pretty poor. I bought a Montague which comes with 700c wheels and folds for my brother. The quality turned out to be really poor...metal parts kept breaking. At first I though maybe he was being hard on the bike, or it was just a random defective part, but eventually the 1 inch thick crank arm broke in half. I mean...come on, you should be able to pick up the bike and start hitting stuff with it and that thing shouldn't break. Clearly the metal was cast/made defectively.

Not sure if they've improved since then. I really like being able to fit a full size bike into the trunk without needing a bike rack but I do need it to be reliable.

I've seen others that look interesting like the Tern Joe (26") wheel, but then they're around 30lbs.

I feel like the biggest problem with folding bikes is that they're not quite popular enough to reach the economies of scale where you can buy high quality bikes for a reasonable amount of money.
I have test ridden Dahon, and currently own a Brompton Folding Bicycle. I have reviewed these these brands on my blog and can honestly say that they are among the best brands to buy. They ride just like regular bicycles and the quality is extremely good.
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Old 12-26-18, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Abu Mahendra View Post
...the focus, the conversation narrows down to Bike Friday and Brompton, when the world of folders is so more varied and interesting. Cheap Dahons, and over-priced BF and Brompton is all people know. Bias and ignorance pervades the segment.
The OP asked:

"Do you own a folding bicycle, and if so what has been your experience with it?"

I own a BF and gave my opinion of it based on years of frequent use, thereby responding directly to the questions. You going to fault me for responding to the precise questions the OP asked?
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Old 12-26-18, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy Thousand View Post

I have test ridden Dahon, and currently own a Brompton Folding Bicycle. I have reviewed these these brands on my blog and can honestly say that they are among the best brands to buy. They ride just like regular bicycles and the quality is extremely good.
yeah...the only rub is that Dahon, Brompton or BF make do not make 700c folders. Were I a knowledgeable foldie blogger I would have suggested instead a ChangeBike out of Taiwan.

Enjoy the BF & Bromptom monologue. There's a whole dedicated channel for that, in fact. It's this forum's Folding Bike channel. Knock yourselves out.

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Old 12-26-18, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Abu Mahendra View Post
Is that all you got? Lame. What I said is true, and plainly on evidence, black on white, here before your eyes. I ain't making shish up. Read'em and weep on this very thread.
You just proved my point, again.
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