Folding bicycles are gaining popularity in the U.S. and Canada, especially in cities with great mass transit including Boston, New York, D.C., and Toronto.
Some uses and benefits:
- train and bus commuters can ride to the station, fold the bike for the transit trip, then bike to work
- apartment dwellers can save space if they keep their bike inside
- some daytrippers like the convenience of putting their bike in their car trunk
- RV, boat, and private plane owners use folding bicycles as take-along bikes
A folding bicycle, or “folder”, has hinges or joints, which may be lockable, that permit it to be folded. The frame on a folding bike is always foldable. Depending on model, the handlebars, steering column, pedals, and/or seatpost may also be be foldable. The frame, usually available in only one size, has a wider range of adjustments than a conventional bike to accommodate different riders. Seatposts and handlebar stems on folders extend as much as four times higher than conventional bikes. For even greater range of adjustment, longer after-market posts and stems may be available.
Smaller diameter wheels result in a rougher ride. The smallest folding bikes have a shorter wheelbase as well, which compounds the problem. Wider tires and shock-absorbing suspension are often used to help counteract this.
Frame-only folding bikes tend to use larger wheels, sometimes the same size as in non-folders, for riders who value the better ride afforded by taller wheels over maximum compactness. These larger folders are compact enough for a car trunk, RV, boat, small apartment, train ride, etc, though they may be too unwieldy to carry onto a bus.