I have wanted to tour the Rhine River with my city bike, but it is way too cumbersome to get to and from the river. A folding bike would be best for the task. I have done some research to find out what is the best folding bike for touring along the Rhine River.
What is the best folding bike for touring? The best folding bike for touring will have a 20 inch or larger wheel, fit you well while pedaling, have the gearing needed for the terrain you will be riding though, puncture resistant tires, and be able to carry the luggage you need for an overnight ride.
The size of the wheel determines how much space the folding bike takes up. Wheels come in sizes from 16 inches to 27.5 inches. The smaller folding bikes take up 23″ x 22.2″ x 10.6″ of space. In comparison the smaller size is slightly bigger than the maximum size carry-on luggage for an airline. Domestic airlines in the USA use the dimensions 22″ x 14″ x 9″.
The larger folding bikes take up 34.3″ x 37.4″ x 18.1″ of space. This is a few inches larger than large checked luggage for an airplane. Something else to consider for a larger folding bike is to have a cover for it. You are less likely to have any trouble bringing into a store something that looks like luggage or a bag than you are a large folded bike.
Most folding bike gears are made so the bike can be accelerated quickly from a stop. The performance of the bike while riding is similar to a normal bike. There is a folding bike to fit everyone’s needs. If you need a bike that can climb mountains (steep highways) then you can be a folding bike with the number of gears that you need. If you need a bike for long distance level riding then you can buy a bike with bigger tires. You can just about match a folding bike to the type of regular touring bike that you would normally use and have the bike for you.
Sizing & Fit
This is important for comfort and efficiency in pedaling. The way you ride also plays a role, for example, I like to sit upright when I ride so after selecting a bike with the right seat stem height I also looked at the height of the handlebars and handlebar stem. If you like to ride race style then you would want a shorter handlebar stem and a different set of handlebars.
The fit from the seat to the pedals is extremely important! You do not want to waste any energy when pedaling the bike long distance. Sit on the bike, while leaning against the wall or with someones assistance, and look at the bend in your knee when the pedal is at the bottom of the stroke. Your knee should be slightly bent at about a 130 degree angle. Amazon also has a “Bike Fit Guide” that will give you the bike size you need for your height and I see folding bikes that have more than one size have a size selection button that you can use for the desired size bike based on your height.
Folding bike wheel sizes range from 16 inches to 27.5 inches. If you are riding in a metropolitan area and using public transportation frequently you probably want to go with the smaller wheels. However, if you are riding long distances on the open road then you are going to want to have a more efficient larger wheel.
The average folding bike has fewer gears than a regular bicycle. What that means is that it may be more difficult going uphills and you won’t get the same speed pedaling downhills. However, in today’s market you can buy folding bikes that have the same gearing as the normal bikes. You just need to determine what is most important to your riding conditions and buy the bike that suits your needs.
Tires are very important on any bike. Look at the reviews for the tires of the bike you are going to purchase. Check to see if there are any complaints of the standard bike tire and tube combination failing often. You may need to invest in a higher quality pair of tire and tube after you have purchased your folding bike. I see on my folding bike that the tire pressure is higher than on a normal bike (80-100 psi). However, my folding bike is for commuting and exercise and not for touring.
Each bike may have a different luggage carrying support system with a variety of solutions for each part of the bike. The front of the bike may support something mounted on the handlebar stem or a mount that goes over the front tire. The rear of the bike may have a mount for the seat stem or a rack over the rear tire. It is also possible to have saddle bags over the rear tire. Finally, a trailer to be pulled behind the bike is another option. Each system will most likely support a different volume of equipment and have a different amount of weight that they can support.
For recommended choices on touring carriers look at our 13 Best Touring Trailers page.
Look at the prices of folding bikes. If you want a lighter bike you will need to pay a higher price. If you want a folding bike with high quality parts then you will again be paying a higher price. Be sure to look at bike reviews and the material that is used in making the bike before making a purchase decision.
First, ask yourself how much are you willing to spend on a touring folding bike. That may limit the choices you have available when you consider the following points. Buy the touring folding bike that meets the needs for the riding conditions. Determine the compactness needed by the types of transportation you use during the trip. Ensure the bike will perform efficiently for the road conditions where you will drive. Make sure the pedal to seat distance is right for you. If you are getting high pressure tires be certain that you have a pump that will support it. Decide on the luggage carrying support system that will meet your needs. Test drive one if you can, buy it, and have a great trip!
What is the best budget folding bike?
One of the best sellers on Amazon is the Schwinn Loop Adult Folding Bicycle with a 20 inch wheel and 7 speeds. The EuroMini, Camp, & Columba also have a variety of inexpensive folding bikes. To answer that question I went to Amazon and put in a search for “adult folding bikes” and then limited the search on price. I didn’t select the $200 or under button, but rather went with the $200-500 price range. I believe to really answer the question you need to narrow the playing field down based on how much you are willing to spend and what is available, based on each of the areas on the post above.