Benefits of Foldup Bike

A look at some of the benefits of a fold up bike. (Or in my case a justification to buy another bike – see: Do I need to buy a new bike?)


My last bicycle purchase involved spending a four figure sum on some ‘light as paper’ carbon fibre wheels. They would probably dissolve if ridden by anyone over 65Kgs in the wet. But, at 300 grams for a front wheel, I consider it money well spent for the upcoming hill climb season. It is about as impractical as you can get. Drive 100 miles, get out your expensive front wheel, cycle 1 mile up a hill, pack away wheel, drive home and wait for next week. Not exactly value per mile or environmentally friendly integrated transport.

But, what I really want at the moment is a foldup bike. The essence of foldup bikes is pure practicality and convenience. This will be a completely different kind of bike to the other ones I have.

Foldups – the height of practicality, ‘Wallace & Gromit’ style helmet optional.

Why Buy a Foldup Bike?

    • I love getting trains to cities and going around exploring. But, the problem is I find walking really tiring and draining, especially in the summer heat. I know it sounds pathetic, I can cycle 100 miles in under 4 hours, but get tired walking 1 mile around city centres, but that’s how it is. Walking is too SLOW!
    • Foldups can be taken anywhere. I have taken a proper bike on trains, but you’re never 100% sure, the train will accept the bike. Usually it’s fine, but at peak summer times, there may not be enough room then you’re stuck. Foldups can be taken on the underground. It’s also a hassle to negotiate a bike around a station.
    • Getting around London. Every now and then I like to go to London. Last time I tried to hire a bike in the London cycle scheme, but it was rubbish. The machine took £2 from me, but gave no bike in return. Plus I had to walk miles from Paddington to find a stand, which was useless anywhere. With a foldup, you’re on way straight away. I will probably go to London to watch Olympic time trial and road race. A foldup will be best way of getting from Paddington to the race.
    • Spare Bike for Friends. When friends come to stay, it would be nice to have a spare bike so they can ride into town. I can’t lend my good bikes, but a cheapish foldup is easy to set up for different heights.
    • My cheap mountain bike experience was not good. Cheap hybrid bikes under £150 should be banned as they are so prone to breaking down and getting punctures, they could put people off cycling for good. I want a foldup, with great puncture proof foldup tyres.
    • If I get a Brompton, I have a chance to become the Brompton World Champion.


That could be you!

How Much To Spend

The cheapest Dahon Eco starts at around £300. I wouldn’t want to get anything cheaper. Most foldups come in around the £400- £600 range. As I won’t use it on a daily basis, I want to keep at lower end of the price spectrum.

If you have any foldups to recommend I would be interested to hear.


4 Responses to Benefits of Foldup Bike

  1. ianmac55 May 27, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

    I’m a proud and satisfied owner of a Brompton which I bought just under two years ago as a retirement present to myself.

    My comments on your article:

    It is completely different to my other bikes but a Brompton’s riding position is pretty close to my others. I’m 6’4″ so it’s telescopic seat-post and straight bars. (With 6 gears and mudguards but no rear rack, this is known in Bromptonspeak as an S-6-L.) Of course the wheelbase is pretty close in length to standard non-folding bikes too.

    Trains great; buses too (I have an over-60 free bus pass.) In the jargon, “multi-modal”. So express bus from home (Northampton) to Leicester, train Leicester to Derby and onto a Peak District station – and I’m enjoying a day’s cycling in very different countryside. Or Manchester – great place to cycle around.

    Or, as yesterday home to station, train to Euston, cycle from station concourse to the Cutty Sark, join Greenwich Cyclists for a ride along the Thames Path (both banks, crossed at Woolwich Ferry and Millennium Bridge) back to Greenwich, then return to Euston, train to Northampton, cycle home. 47 miles of cycling pleasure. Puncture, breakdown? Hasn’t happened to me yet but when it does – hop on bus, train, whatever.

    Another London advantage – you can take a folder on the Docklands Light Railway. Non-folding bikes not permitted.

    For the Olympics? Folder brilliant (especially as many train companies are banning non-folders for the duration of the Games (inc. off-peak trains) – the buggers!

    And quick, last Wednesday, left English National Opera (very welcoming, “Ah, sir, we have a special cloakroom for folding bikes!”) and within 10 minutes (!) I was at Euston. Beats tube, bus, taxi, walking! And earlier that day, in the National Gallery, the cloakroom, which doesn’t accept bicycles, accepts “bagged and folded objects”.

    There are some very good athletes at the Brompton World Championships and it’s great to take part in a world-class event! Where else could a 63-year-old race against Michael Hutchinson? Loved it! I’ve also ridden my B around the Manchester Velodrome!

    But it’s not a spare bike for friends. Not at the cost! OK, you might lend it to your partner but then he/she will be so impressed, they’ll just get one for themselves. But I reckon the current new price for an S-6-L with front luggage is £1,050.

    Oh, and did I say, you won’t want a cheap folder – ease of carrying is very important and the B is just so well balanced. People say the titanium models (standard body, forks and rear triangle in titanium) are lighter not for speed but for carrying. Extra £500 or so. But I have had no problem carrying my standard model.

    Hope this persuades you to join us Bromptonauts!



    • tejvan May 28, 2012 at 9:32 am #

      Thanks for comment and feeback Ian. Yes, Bromptons look great. If it was my main commuting bike I would be tempted.

  2. Hortoris May 26, 2012 at 6:24 am #

    That is serious ‘folding money’.

    The Open University inventors course explored fold-up bikes in some detail

  3. Iain May 25, 2012 at 9:58 am #

    Just ordered my self a Brompton yesterday… cost more than the last car I owned! In my investigation of other folders, I realised that none of them *fold* as well as a brompton, though potentially with bigger wheels or stiffer frames they might be better at riding. But whats the point of having a folding bike if it isnt easy to fold??

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