Folding bikes are quite the rage among the younger ones because of their eco-friendliness and convenience. Before purchasing, the average users looks up folding bike reviews on the Internet to find the best one that fits his or her budget. The user, however, should be aware that by simply reading online reviews that highlight the pros and cons of a bicycle, a good choice would still not be able to be made. Before making the purchase, the user should be familiar with the basic bike anatomy, as well as how each part could directly affect a bike’s performance. Before going into the detailed discussions of what to look out for, we have picked out the top 3 folding bikes of 2013.
Folding Bike Reviews – The Top 3 Bikes of 2013
Tern Verge X10 2013 Folding Bike
Equipped with 20-inch wheels, SRAM X9/X7 10 speed gears, and all-around Kinetix Pro technology, the Tern Verge X10 is a special bike of its kind. Said to be able to be folded in less than 10 seconds, the Tern Verge is our top recommended folding bicycle of 2013.
Brompton M3L 2013 Folding Bike
The Brompton M3L is a special bike with new range of major components manufactured actually in-house at Brompton. The Brompton M3L 2013 edition is equipped with the Brompton high-tensile steel frame, Brompton 3 gears shifters, and 16 inch wheels.
Dahon Speed Uno Folding Bike
The Dahon Speed Uno folding bike is without doubt the most stylist bike out of the bunch. Although the Speed Uno is a single-speed bike with only one set of brakes, it is lightweight and convenient – perfect as an urban commuter bike. The Dahon Speed Uno weighs only 24.2 pounds, and is easy enough to be carried on and off buses and trains.
Folding bikes were originally invented to cater to people who needed to commute short distances and for people who likes to exercise while commuting. If your office is a 20 minute walk away from where you live, would you rather pick up your bicycle and cycle away, or would you rather take the bus (assuming you don’t have a car)? For some of you, the answer is simple.
The best folding bike of 2013 for urban commuting on city roads is the Tern Verge X10 (first picture above). The Verge X10 offers 10 levels of speed and weighs only 21.3 lbs (or 9.7 kg), which mean chances are you will be able to lift the bike with much ease using one hand only. The Verge X10 can be folded into a very compact shape, and is also advertised to be able to be folded in 10 seconds.
Especially common in Europe, bicycles are often used to travel through winding mountain paths for backpackers. If you are planning to take a holiday in Europe, it would be a good idea to pack or rent a folding bicycle. It would be a great way to explore the mountainous scenic areas that you would’ve missed if you were walking on foot. Folding bicycles are also much easier to carry around, and is especially true when you are traveling long distances on a small car that do not have extra spaces for traditional 26 inch bicycles.
The handmade British bike Brompton M3L is the best example of a bicycle that is easy to carry while commuting. It holds the smallest size compared to its competitors when folded, and even includes front and rear fenders that are especially useful in wet surfaces. To make your ride upright and comfortable, The Brompton M3l also includes M-Style bars and Schwalbe Marathon tires that provides flat resistance and strong surface grips (the Schwalbe Marathon tires are actually more durable than regular Brompton tires). The M3L is available in multiple different colors, and is currently available at around $960 USD.
Confused like Channing? Read on!
What To Look For When Buying The Best Folding Bike
Whenever you think of buying a folding bicycle, you need to think along the following lines:
- Ease of folding: What good is a folding bicycle if it cannot be assembled and dismantled easily? Most folding bicycle reviews mention the time taken to assemble a bike. However, the time is usually recorded by experts in the area and are thus unusually experienced in the task. Because of this marketing gimmick, reading user reviews of costumers talking about the difficulty (or ease) of folding a folding bike is often a smart thing to do.
Most bicycles in this category arrange the handlebar and saddle like a telescope so that it can easily fold. Some bikes also allow you to detach the front wheel and store it separately. The handlebar is made to rotate for carrying light weight. When you are choosing your bike, you should not only be aware of the difficulty of folding or unfolding the bike, but also the space that the bike will take up after being folded. A bike whose front wheel can be detached will usually be the one that is heavier and more difficult to handle.
- Weight of the bike: One of the strongest selling point of folding bikes is its portability factor. Along with its size, the weight of the bike also directly affects its portability. A great folding bicycle needs to be portable so that it can be easily lifted and carried around. It should allow people to move it effortlessly up and down staircases, as well as into and out of trains and buses.
Smaller bikes are usually lighter. However, folding bikes are mostly made out of steel and not aluminium (which makes them heavier). You need to factor in the material while calculating the weight of the ideal bike. The ideal folding bicycle meant for urban commuting and city biking should not weigh more than 21 lbs (9.53 kg). Some can even weigh as low as 19 lbs (8.62 kg). The portability of a bicycle not only depends on the ease of folding and weight, but also on other factors such as its compactness. Some bikes need to be carried around in a bag after they are folded, others require you to “wheel the bike” with its wheels. What also happens to the chains when a bike is folded? Usually chains are partially covered to protect the carrying bag from being stained. Some bikes do not offer this chain guard option, hence you must be careful when carrying them.
- Overall Performance: Folding bikes are usually more expensive than regular bikes because of their complex bending mechanisms. These bikes are usually smaller than the traditional bikes that you used to riding around in your neighborhood, because they are designed to be portable and not fast.
An average adult bicycle uses 26 to 28 inch tires due to its performance advantages. However, even the best folding bikes only use 20 inch tires. Smaller tires do not provide as much performance benefits, and thus are usually confined to only city road surfaces. With all that said, some companies that sell folding bicycles are starting to produce bicycles specifically designed for mountain terrains. They are usually equipped with 26 inch tires and are thus more powerful when in dirt roads then regular 20 inch wheels.
Right now, the top folding bicycle for mountain roads is the New 26″ Folding Mountain Bike Foldable Bicycle by Shimano. The 26 inch wheels produced by the 26″ Shimano bike allows you to move smoothly over rough terrains. The seat and handlebar are also easily adjustable to accommodate the rider’s unique physique. The bicycle has a 6-speed transmission and can be dismantled within 15 seconds.
The surface of the tire is also of great importance: If the surface is knobby and treaded, the bike will be more suitable for rough terrains such as desert and mountain roads or wet surfaces. Therefore, the ideal folding bicycles for cities are usually all equipped with smooth tires. Before making your purchase, check out what kind of tire the bike comes with. If you live in a city like Seattle, you would probably be better off with a tire with deeper treads!
What Are You Thinking Now?
If you have made your mind up about buying a foldable bicycle, you can start making your selections based on the criteria mentioned above. Companies such as Brompton, Columba and Dahon are all some of the most well-known manufacturers of folding bicycles currently in operation. Many websites are also dedicated to folding bikes for sale, where you can specify specific requirements that you want such as brand, frame size, and tire size. You can also specify your budget as well as the condition of the bike (second hand bikes can be a great deal sometimes). If you have any more questions regarding your quest of finding the best folding bike, please don’t be shy and ask us in the comments section below!
Best of luck!