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Folding bikes

If you want to get fit and avoid the rush-hour jams, then a folding bike is the perfect solution. Simply put your bike in the boot, park in an out-of-town car park and pedal your way past the stationary cars. You’ll not only arrive at work less stressed, but you’ll stay healthier and you’ll be doing your bit for the environment too. What’s more, if you live in london or durham, you’ll avoid having to pay the congestion charge as well.

Folding bikes

A folding bike will take the strain if you get the train to work as well. Ride to the station and avoid having to fork out on extortionate parking fees, stash your bike between the seats, then ride the rest of the way without hindrance at the other end.

As well as being able to stick two fingers up to the train companies, who want to impose more and more restrictions on commuters taking bikes on trains, under your own steam you’re guaranteed to get to work on time without having to sweat it out on a packed bus or tube train. Now what could be easier?

We’ve reviewed five bikes here, ranging from just £99 to a little over £600, so there will be something for all budgets. Incidentally, if you hadn’t intended spending much money on a folder just take a look at the sums. An annual london underground ticket for zones one and two is currently £888 - so in well under a year, you will have covered the cost of the most expensive bike here - and in the second year you’ll actually be ahead. Think about it.

Why buy a folding Bicycle?

    • If you’re short of storage space you can fit it in a cupboard, or even under the stairs
    • Handy to keep in the boot of your car in case of an emergency
    • Flexibility - put your folder on a train, bus or plane to increase the range of your cycling. Alternatively, ride to a destination, and take public transport home
    • Avoid rush-hour jams on the daily commute by either stashing your bike on a train or bus, or parking your car in an out-of-town car park

Ease of folding
You don’t want to spend ages folding and unfolding your bike, or embarrass yourself getting tangled in handlebars and cables, so the amount of time it takes to get the bike ready to ride is crucial.

Size when folded
Some folding bikes fold more neatly than others, the brompton being a prime case in point. A bike that’s compact when folded will be easier to stow, giving you access to tighter spaces.

Progressive plan Cycling Ease of carrying
A folder should be easy and convenient to carry, and that means deploying some kind of latch arrangement, so it stays in one piece and doesn’t start unfolding while you’re walking along. Is it convenient to pick up, is the chain exposed, and does it feel well balanced?

Weight
Okay, bikes that weigh more take more energy to ride, but with folders weight takes on an entirely different dimension, because you will need to lift as well as pedal it. Some folders, like the brompton and mezzo, feature castors so they can be wheeled along instead of carried.

Ride quality/comfort
Small-wheeled bikes will feel a little ‘skittish’ compared to their bigger-wheeled cousins, so you will need to get used to turning manoeuvres and taking your hands off the bars to signal. Regarding riding position, make sure there’s enough adjustment at the handlebars so you can get comfortable. All the folders here feature lack a high crossbar, and an extensive range of saddle height adjustment means they are both unisex and unisize.