In the bustling urban landscapes that define the modern era, many individuals have sought out more efficient and flexible modes of transportation for their daily commute. Foldable bicycles have emerged as an increasingly popular choice for commuting and travel, for a myriad of reasons that extend far beyond just their increased portability. In recent years, they’ve gone from being mere novelties to becoming valuable and even essential additions to many cyclists’ and commuters’ lives.
However, people looking into buying a bike for the first time may be intimidated by the relatively high price tags many foldable bikes have. They may wonder if folding bikes really offer enough benefits to justify their price, especially when compared to conventional bikes. In this article, we’ll be examining the advantages folding bicycles have compared to their non-folding cousins, highlighting certain benefits that may not be apparent at first glance.
Join us as we explore the many unique benefits that foldable bikes bring to the table.
We’ll begin with the most immediately obvious advantage that all foldable bikes offer: their increased portability thanks to their ability to be folded and unfolded. Foldable bikes can be transformed into a much more compact form that can be brought aboard public transports, such as buses and trains, or easily stored in car boots.
However, the smaller size isn’t the only advantage bikes gain when they’re folded. Their much bulky shape once folded, coupled with the lightweight nature of most foldable bikes, allows them to be carried about by hand with ease. Unlike conventional bikes, bringing foldable bikes up stairs or escalators is a breeze.
A well designed foldable bike should be easy to push or pull around while folded, eliminating the need to carry it. Conventional bikes are often cumbersome to bring around crowded spaces while dismounted, but bringing a folded bike around is effortless. No more wasted time spent navigating tight corners!
Beyond the advantages of being able to fit your bike inside your car boot or on public transport without hassle, foldable bikes are easily packed for traveling. They easily fit inside one’s luggage, allowing a traveler to simply unfold his bike upon arrival and ride off from the airport. Compare this to conventional bikes, which often require disassembly just to fit in standard luggage allowances. Some foldable bike brands even sell travel cases for easier transport via air.
Foldable bikes require less space than conventional bikes when stored. For cyclists dealing with limited storage space at home, this is a lifesaver. You can store a foldable bike in your closet or even under your desk. This also eliminates the need for outdoor storage methods such as bike racks or bicycle locks.
This doesn’t just extend to storing bikes at home. Office workers who cycle to work every day will no doubt find it a lot more convenient and hassle-free to be able to simply store their bike under their desks, rather than jostle for space outside to park their bikes, or worse – crowd their office space with a bike that can’t be folded.
Ever felt embarrassed about blocking the path for other customers in a hawker shop thanks to your bulky conventional bike? Or had to go out of your way to park your bike somewhere else entirely? Thanks to the greater convenience a foldable bike offers, that’s no longer a problem. The benefit of being able to easily store a foldable bike goes both ways: it’s more convenient both for the cyclist and the people around him.
An often overlooked consequence of the above point is that foldable bikes are also much less at risk for theft. Conventional bikes, whether left outside one’s house or tied up outdoors, are vulnerable to theft or damage from inclement weather or malicious individuals. Foldable bikes, on the other hand, can be easily just wheeled indoors, safe from prospective thieves and the rain. Cyclists will also have no difficulty keeping their foldable bike safely by their side and within sight when visiting malls or hawker centers.
Full sized bikes, while invaluable transportation options, often require a lot of forward-planning to accommodate their bulk. For example, you can’t just spontaneously decide to ride your bike to the train station or mall, or take it with you on your trip to the park unless you’ve planned for transport and storage beforehand.
Foldable bikes have no such issues. Cyclists can seamlessly and effortlessly combine modes of transportation. For example, when commuting to work, they can ride to the bus stop, take the bus to a stop near their office, and then ride the rest of the way, even detouring inside a mall to grab a meal if need be. Or should one decide to visit the beach on the weekend, they can simply fold their bike and bring it along in their car, just in case the weather is suitable for cycling. A good foldable bike model can often be folded and unfolded within 15 seconds, allowing for a convenient way of switching between transportation types.
This neatly eliminates the “first/last mile problem” that many commuters deal with: having to walk to and fro their nearest public transport stops every day on their way to work. With a foldable bike, they can simply ride that distance, greatly cutting down on travel time and effort every day. Mixed-mode commuting becomes a breeze.
But foldable bikes aren’t just useful for everyday commuting or taking advantage of impromptu opportunities for fun or exercise. Because they’re so portable, they make excellent travel companions. They can be brought on road trips, on international railway lines, or even on boats, ferries, and possibly cable cars. Adventurous travelers may find that the possibilities are endless, thanks to the versatility of foldable bikes. They have the freedom to explore and travel around places in a way that conventional bikes can’t quite provide, without the need to rent bikes overseas.
Combine this with the rise of foldable gravel bikes like the Birdy GT, and you truly have a travel companion that can go anywhere with you.
This last point may be the most surprising to those who haven’t owned a foldable bike before. While foldable bicycles often seem to have a much steeper price tag than other bikes, this initial investment pays off. Good foldable bike brands use high-quality components and materials that require less maintenance and repairs, which adds up to significant savings in the long run.
Additionally, the greater versatility and convenience foldable bikes offer, and the ease of mixed-mode commuting, mean that most cyclists are able to save a lot of money from transportation expenses, whether in the form of fuel costs, parking charges, traffic fines, bus fares, train rides, taxi surcharges, toll charges or private hire vehicles!
Finally, compared to most conventional bikes, higher quality foldable bikes have very strong resale value. Thanks to their high-quality designs and components and relative rarity, their value does not depreciate much over time. Their initially steep price tag also means that owners of foldable bikes can easily find people willing to buy them second-hand. It’s not uncommon for foldable bike owners to sell older models for great value on the second-hand market and then buy newer models. Certain foldable bikes thus can have investment potential in some situations.
After examining the many benefits foldable bikes have to offer, it becomes evident that their advantages over conventional bikes extend far beyond obvious points like portability. They’re not just an expensive trend or gimmick, but an extremely versatile and efficient asset that can transform commuting and travel, opening up exciting opportunities that conventional bikes cannot provide.
If you’re looking for a new bike, consider getting a folding bicycle – they’re a worthy investment and a possible lifelong companion. With the greater convenience they offer, commuting, travel, exercise and adventure may be just a fifteen-second fold away.
Mighty Velo, Singapore’s premier folding bike shop, offers a wide range of such products. Whether you’re looking for a fast road bike that also folds, or a rugged gravel bike, they’ve got something for you.