Folding bike reviews

Cycling is a great way to save time, save money and get a bit of exercise. But are folding bikes up to the challenge?
 
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  • Updated:11 Dec 2007
 

03.Our findings

Folding and unfolding

Those models that mention folding time in their literature make claims ranging from five to 20 seconds — though it might take some practice to get up to speed.

  • The Strida was the outright winner for ease of folding and unfolding, with the Dahon and Yeah also rating well.
  • The Birdy was considered the most complex and difficult.

Weight and portability

  • The lightest and most portable bike is the Strida, which can be either wheeled along or carried when folded.
  • The Giatex is the bulkiest and heaviest, though you could also wheel that one along.
  • The more conventional folding bikes are mostly 11 to 12kg, except the Dahon, which weighs in at around 13kg (though it has both a luggage rack and mudguards). This is much the same as a regular bike.
  • Weight aside, they can be pretty bulky and awkward to carry.

Folded size

  • The most compact bike when folded is the Brompton, and it’s the only bike in our test that would meet the Queensland Citytrain size guidelines (see What to look for).
  • At the other end of the scale, the telescopic folding of the Giatex results in a package only a little smaller than a regular mountain bike. See the table for full details.

Ride

  • Our trialists rated the Dahon, Birdy and Yeah equal-top for ride performance, though the Birdy didn’t score as well as the others for comfort.
  • The Brompton wasn’t far behind, let down by its only having only three gears.
  • The unusual Strida was a distant last. The profiles have a lot more details on each bike.

Fixing punctures

  • The Birdy is the only bike with quick-release front and rear wheels.
  • The Giatex has a quick-release front wheel only.
  • For the rest you need a spanner to remove the wheels.
 

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