I live about 5 miles from work and would occasionally drive my bike to work, but then no matter what the weather I would have to drive the bike back home. I saw that my co-worker had a folding bike so I talked to him and on his recommendation went to a bike store and tried out some folding bikes.
So, why buy a folding bike? A folding bike is great for a commute that includes the bus or train. You can ride it to the nearest stop or station, fold it up, and get on the bus or train until your stop, unfold it and ride it the rest of the way to work or school. It is also good for a short commute where there is nowhere to safely park your bike while you are at work; just fold it up and put it beside your desk or in a closet. Or, perhaps you don’t have the space at home because you are living in a small apartment or condo.
Since I don’t need a bike rack and I can do my exercise at work by pulling it out of the trunk for a quick 20 minute ride, and that is another one of the reasons I bought it. On the weekends it is just what I need seeing that I can ride it while my wife is shopping, so we both have what we want.
Those were just a few of the major selling points for a folding bike that led me to purchase one. There are more reasons to buy or not to buy a folding bike and I’ll explain each one below.
How Well Does a Folding Bike Hold Its Value?
A quick search on Amazon shows that a used folding bike sells for about 10% less than a new one which means two things. One, if after you have purchased the bike you decide that you would prefer to go back to a regular bike you can resell it at only a small loss in your investment. Two, after you have gained some experience with a folding bike and you decide to move to a different brand that better fits your style of bike riding you can do so without worrying about losing the money you invested in the folding bike.
How much does a folding bike cost?
You can spend anywhere from $200 for a simple folding bike to $4000 for an electric folding bike, whether you shop online or go to a bike store. It is really going to depend on how and why you are buying a folding bike in the first place.
How convenient is a folding bike?
As I have gotten older, I have realized that I need to do some form of exercise daily to keep my body flexible and toned. I live about 6 miles (7.5km) from work and that makes about a 20-30 minute bike commute. When the weather is good that is perfect! However, I live in Germany now and there are many days it will rain either in the morning or the afternoon and that makes for uncomfortable bike riding. In addition, in the wintertime the driving in the morning can be hazardous because of the morning frost on the way to work.
Therefore, a folding bike has become the best answer to those problems. I can drive my car to work with the folding bike in the trunk and when the weather conditions are ideal I can pull the bike out of the trunk and take it for a 20 minute ride. I usually do it as part of my lunch break.
It is also convenient when we travel on the weekends to other towns for sightseeing, flea markets, festivals, and other events. I do not need to try to rent a bike there or have a bike rack on my car. I simply put my bike in the trunk and can easily pull it out when we arrive there.
How about cleanliness and maintenance of the drive chain?
Since I use it for exercise I prefer to use it on good weather days so the chain does not pick up dirt, mud, or get wet. The bike is also folded in such a way the the chain does not touch the inside of the trunk when its placed on its side. In addition, the bike is stored in the trunk of my car or I can easily bring it in the house and put it in the hallway or a closet and that keeps it out of the elements when I am not riding it. Another alternative you have is to buy a bike with a belt drive train that is not made out of a metal chain does not require oil or grease.
What about traveling with a folding bike?
Think about how many times you have gone on vacation and wanted to be able to stretch your legs after a long flight! Now, instead of trying to find a good bike that you can rent at your new location you can unpack your folding back from its case and ride around without any hesitation. The same goes if you are traveling by bus or train from one city to the next. Its especially good for short trips in the car because it can be placed right alongside your travel bags in the trunk or back seat.
How comfortable is it to ride the bike?
While it is true that a bike with smaller tires will feel the bumps more than a bike with bigger tires it is also true that you can make changes to the seat and handlebar grips. Even with my regular city bike one of the first things I did after purchasing it was to replace the seat with a seat that I liked more than the original.
How portable is the folding bike when I’m not riding it?
That is an excellent question! The answer depends on several factors; weight, size and bulkiness make a difference when folded, and whether or not it has small wheels for moving when it is folded. The weight makes a difference if the folding bike does not have small wheels that allow you to push it along like you would a piece of luggage. Then depending on your size and strength it may or may not be a good idea to have one. Size and bulkiness makes a difference because if its small enough you could put it in a small cart and push that around or you could put it in a canvas bag with strong straps and carry it on your shoulder.
Q: Do folding bikes ride the same as a regular bike?
A: Not quite, because the folding bike is smaller and has smaller wheels it has a smaller turning radius. That means when you turn the front wheel you will make a sharper turn than what you are used to doing, especially when leaning the bike into the curve you are making. Take some time to get used to leaning into curves and turning the front wheel after you have purchased you bike so you have a more pleasurable riding experience.
Q: Do folding bicycles have the same number speeds as regular bikes?
A: No, most have seven or fewer speeds normally. As it is seen as mostly a commuter bike it is not built for riding on the highway where you would need to have more speeds to navigate for longer distances or steeper, longer climbs found on country roads. The feel is a little different, as well. Mine has two speeds on the left handlebar and three on the right handlebar, so it is like I have 1-1, 1-2, 2-1, 2-1, 3-1 and 3-2. It did not take long for me to get used to the gearing system.
Q: Can I take a folding bike on a bus?
A: The short answer is, Yes! However, I have written a more in depth article on folding bikes and using bus transportation here.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post and I hope that it has answered your question, “Why buy a folding bike?” If you have any other questions about folding bikes do not hesitate to ask in the comments. I already have a list of questions that I will be answering in the upcoming days so once again thanks for coming to this site on folding bikes.