Want a bike but it takes up too much space? Here’s where a folding bike can come in handy for you, as they offer the same as a bicycle in a smaller package for easier transportation and storage!
How Folding Bikes Work
Folding bikes come in various sizes to suit the different needs of people. There can be full sized bikes that can fold in half, and compact folding bikes that have even smaller features than ordinary bikes to save that extra bit of space.
The most common type is the half-fold or mid-fold folding bike, where the bike has a hinge in the center of the frame, so that the bike can be folded in half when being transported or stored. Together with the lowering of the seat column and handlebar column, these folding bikes have a much smaller footprint compared to when they are unfolded.
Some folding bikes go to even further lengths, by also having a foldable steering column. When you fold your bike in half, the length of the bike decreases, but the height of the bike is still subject to the seat and handlebars. With a foldable steering column, the tallest part of the bike can be folded down to make the folded bike an even smaller package.
Another type of folding bike is the vertical fold bike, where instead of having the center frame hinge open and close horizontally, the hinge opens and closes vertically. An advantage of this is that when it is folded, it can be more compact than one with a horizontal hinge design. But the downside of this is that it only works for more compact designs of bicycles, where they usually have smaller wheels which make the bike able to be folded vertically.
We also have the triangle-hinge folding bike, where the hinges of the bike are not on the center of the frame, but on the rear of the frame and the front of the frame, so that the front and rear of the bike folds under the frame like an upside-down triangle. This is a more uncommon type of folding bike, as the half-fold folding bike is the easiest to fold.
Sacrifices for Space
To make a folding bike easier to fold and more space-efficient, sacrifices have to be made for these bikes. The most common sacrifice is that folding bikes come with much smaller wheels than their full-size counterparts, and will have less gears and much simpler brakes to make it compact.
Depending on the quality of the folding bike, they can be much less sturdy than full-sized bikes as they have hinges, which can be another point of failure. A quality folding bike may also cost equally as much as a full-sized bike, as they have to factor in the production costs for making the bike foldable.
Who Should Use Folding Bikes
Folding bikes are the most suitable for people who use their bikes as a transport to work or nearby areas, as they are easy to transport and store when not in use. It can also be suitable for those who live in smaller residences, and can’t afford to store a full-size bike for it takes up too much valuable space.
If you’re a bike enthusiast who mainly rides on the road or on off-road trails, a full-size bike will be more suitable for you, as folding bikes will sacrifice many important features for being way more compact. But if you just ride bikes as a hobby in your free time, folding bikes can be a suitable alternative to getting a full-sized bike for that ease of portability when you don’t need all the features of a full-sized bike.