After spending months (literally!) researching folding bike reviews, I finally decided upon purchasing the Dahon Speed P8 – which, by the way, can be a bit of a nightmare to purchase here in the UK, being an American brand. However, I realised that there are so many different viable options out there and that it is extremely difficult to simply pin point the perfect one for you right away. If you didn’t read my earlier article about my new bike, click here and have a short read about why I went for that particular model.
So anyway, after being asked by various friends to help them choose theirs, I decided that the best way to help out would be to write a short article detailing what I think are the better models out there – as there are simply far too many to choose from! Firstly, I believe that you have to stick with the big brands. Fortunately for us, none of the standard models are extortionately priced and you get quite a lot of bang for your buck with them. In the UK the premier folding bike manufacturer is Brompton, whereas in the US there are a few – with Dahon leading the way!
The main reason I chose to go with a Dahon folding bike, rather than Brompton, was that they are moderately cheaper – think of this what you will. However, after reading many folding bike reviews I noticed that the top rated ones were generally all Dahon’s, unless you were willing to pay a ridiculous amount of money for them… Simply put, I’m somewhat of a cheapskate!!!
Now, on the other hand we have Brompton – a true British classic folding bicycle icon. Unlike most British products, Brompton have really nailed it and are truly reaping the rewards of the international market. The main issue with them, as I eluded to before, is that they are typically priced somewhat higher than most other manufacturers. I have many friends who highly recommended that I chose to go with one of them, however I decided to do my reading and chose otherwise. Now, when it came to comparing them to these more expensive Bromptons I can say that there was very little difference and in fact I actually preferred them in many aspects.
Now, I’ve compiled a list of things that I consider to be the most important when it comes to choosing your own folding bike – I’ve scaled them in order of importance too…
Undoubtedly, for the majority reading this, price will be at the forefront of your mind when it comes to buying a bike. You can read as many reviews as you want, but ultimately the first thing you will consider is whether or not it is affordable – so make sure to set yourself an affordable limit and stick to it, don’t spend more than you have to!
Clearly when you buy something new, for the price of a bicycle, you want it to last as long as possible. Unfortunately, I’ve read various horror stories and heard from friends who say that folding bikes aren’t the most reliable of things and so durability is paramount to any decision here. You don’t want to spend £100 on a bike that will last a month, it makes so much more sense to spend £500 on one that will last years – so long as you take care of it. Ultimately the best folding bikes are made to last, so don’t skimp out on this important consideration.
You wouldn’t find yourself looking to purchase a folding bike if you weren’t looking for a portable one. This aspects encompasses a range of different features and so it’s highly important that you look at all of them individually. I’m talking about weight, folded size, full size, pedal detach-ability, seat stands, wheel dimensions… etc. The list goes on, but you should make all your efforts to ensure that the bike is easily carried around and stored away too.
This one was obviously going to feature at some point, wasn’t it! Clearly speed is a massive consideration that we all want to be paramount, however it is again unfortunately the nature of folding bikes that they can be quite cumbersome and slow. However, this isn’t the case in all of the models – my SPEED P8, quite aptly named – is relatively fast and does not struggle one bit on the road. Ultimately, to avoid disappointment, you want to ensure that your bike is going to fly down the roads and up hills too – make sure it has plenty of gears and efficient ones at that. Most shops will let you test ride bikes before you purchase them so take them up on that offer!
That’s about it when it comes to what you should be looking for in my eyes, obviously you can look in far more details than that, however that should get you all going fairly nicely. I think aesthetics are equally important, however they don’t really impact the functionality of the ride so I chose not to include that in my list – I’m sure you’d all be considering it anyway, nobody wants their first folding bike to be an ugly one!!!
Anyway folks, thanks again for reading – I hope this helps, it would be nice to get some comments on what you all think of this guide and if any of you get a bike after reading this – please let me know!