With such a wide range of folding bikes to choose from, it can be daunting when you walk through our doors. At MBS we stock the leading brands (there is at least 7 of them and more to be added) and a wide range of wheel sizes, folding mechanisms and folding systems. At our last count, we have >50 models of folding bikes to choose from between 7 brands.
Choosing a folding bike is actually easy, it REALLY starts with you and what you want to do with your bike. Take away all the paid advertorial hype and marketing hearsay. Don’t let that fast-to-fold video or easier-to-push notion distract you. Afterall a bicycle is for riding and using the Pareto 80/20 rule, you put emphasis on the things that matter most and less on features that you do not use alot of or is typically a small requirement at the end of your journey. Ride safety is paramount and make sure that the latches are well designed and have safety in mind. Focus on comfort while you are riding and leave specific goals of completing century rides and to bike models that riders have used before. Here are a few tips:
Try to meet 80% of your needs. Everyone wants a bike that does everything (Commuting, Recreational, Performance, Century rides, Touring, Running errands, Household bike, bike for the maid etc ) but a one size fits all does not exist so it is necessary to narrow down to what is more important. This then allows you to narrow down into various folding systems, rideability, budget and personal preferences which will help you choose your ideal folding bike. As cycling is typically 95% of the time peddling, your saddle choice, ride comfort and sitting posture is important and make sure you get fitted for the bike at the end of the selection (Even for a folding bike). A well fitted bike will cause less stress on your joints, perineum and will ensure a long enjoyable ride. Numbness and discomfort is your body telling you that something is amiss so don’t dismiss it when it happens.
Some bike designs limit ride position adjustments so before you get excited about the brand and which specs, finding a reputable dealer that will give you comprehensive advice and ongoing support will help secure a good foundation of your bike ownership.
STEP 1: FIND A GOOD DEALER
Do they stock a wide range of brands and models in a showroom that allows you to compare models and brands? Or are they just stocking models they import? Dealers have to be knowledgeable about the various brands, have full time trained mechanic(s) as it is very important because bikes typically require tuning and some adjustments throughout the life of the bike. Do they have the necessary tools , lubes and workshop area? A properly maintained bike can be that difference that ensures minimal accidents and mishaps on your rides. Local in-country support and warranty, how does your dealer treat this? Do they open on days and operating hours that you need them to be around?
Do research on their brands and dealer coverage. Ask all the questions about the bikes and how they perform under different circumstances. Avoid being misled by headline claims and paid advertorials. Get the low down on reviews and make sure that they are truly done by experts and neutral panels of reviewers. Check with friends on how a model or brand has any things to watch out for.
Make sure you get to try the bikes. This is not a Lexus or Merc showroom but do not buy based on specs (or emotives) and with the exception of the top end premium models that cost >S$2.5k, you should have a decent choice of bikes to try so that you can get a feel of how various bike brands and models perform on the road. Do not part your hard earned dollars based on hearsay or salesy talk!
Make sure you can get essential spares like brake components, cables, tires, inner tubes and service like component upgrades, wheel truing and bike servicing. Are they available at the dealer? Are they correctly priced? how fast is the turnaround?
Once you have found a good dealer, you can now focus on the selection of the folding bike according to your needs, Dahon has a good checklist – simple as 1-2-3!
STEP 2: DECIDE HOW YOU RIDE
The first step in choosing your folding bicycle is to decide what type of riding you’ll be doing. Recreation? Century Rides? Commuting? Neighborhood errands?
STEP 3: CHOOSE YOUR WHEEL SIZE
Dahon makes bikes with five different wheel diameters: 16″, 20″, 24″, 26″, and 700c. Wheel
size will affect the ride characteristics and portability of your bike.
16″ WHEEL SIZE
16″ wheel folding bikes are designed to be light and ultra compact when folded. That makes them ideal for commuters who use public transport because they need to fold and carry their bikes several times a day. However a trade off is that to achieve a very compact folded size, Dahon’s 16″ bikes won’t be quite as comfortable to ride for longer distances or for taller riders. Choose a 16″ model if compact folded size is your primary concern.
20″ WHEEL SIZE
Most of our customers feel that our 20″ models deliver the optimal balance of performance and folding convenience.
20″ wheel folding bikes are slightly larger when folded than the 16″ models but they deliver a more comfortable and efficient ride. With the right components, 20″ wheel bikes are good for distances up to a century. Choose a 20″ model if you want performance and portability.
24″ and 26″ and 700C WHEEL SIZE
24″ and 26″ amd 700C wheel folding bikes are essentially “regular” bikes that offer portable convenience and Dahon quality. Our full size bikes feature standard frame geometries for an excellent ride. Virtually all of the components, except for the frame, are off-the-shelf components that can be repaired or replaced in any bike shop. Choose a full size bike if you want the performance and looks of a “regular” bike but still want folding convenience.
STEP 4: CHOOSE YOUR COMPONENTS
To make your final decision, consider what level of performance you’ll need from your components. The better the components, the better your bike will ride. And better components also mean improved durability and lighter weight. This is the part where the budget versus desirable traits start to diverge.
Okay now that you got your folding bike, it is just the beginning. After you get bike setup, we have to decide on helmets, essential accessories like front and rear blinkers, bottle cage, bells, saddle bags, rack, iPhone bike mount? …OMG this begs for another blog on desirable accessories to go with your folding bike. Not to worry, if we do not post the next blog up, just come to MBS, we would be happy to assist you! and we got the range of accessories too.