The Folding Bike Buying Guide

With so many folding bike brands to choose from, at My Bike Shop and My Bike Shop Too, we take great pride in ensuring that we only offer leading brands – offering great quality, comfort, safety, and innovation.  As an authorised dealer for all of the brands we offer, you know you are getting the best advice and service and support when you buy from us.

We only offer genuine, quality components, and with TEN folding bike brands to choose from, we make sure that you get the best product for your personal situation. Click here if you want a quick recommendation.

10 brands from all over the world
10 brands from all over the world

Folding bikes today offer a myriad of wheel sizes, folding systems, and choices of colours to suit various cycling profiles and needs.  Research is required and you can find this information from the web. At MBS, we pride ourselves in helping our customers decide on the best brand and model for them.

Here are six steps we suggest you follow before committing to a folding bike:

STEP 1: DECIDE HOW YOU RIDE

The first step in choosing your folding bicycle is to decide what type of riding you’ll be doing. How often and where you plan to ride.  My Bike Shop has models to support recreational, commuting, urban riding, trekking, weekend leisure riding, touring … Is having a good ride more important than having the ability to push your folded bike? OR is that suspension worth the extra money if your ride is just at PCNs and pavements? Money spent on a good saddle might actually be a better investment.

STEP 2: CHOOSE YOUR WHEEL SIZE

My Bike Shop has folding bikes with different wheel diameters: 14″, 16″, 20″, 22″,  24″, 26″, and 700c. Wheel size will affect the ride characteristics and portability of your bike. One very important aspect is the availability of inner tubes and tire replacement. Sure that 17 inch or 18 inch or 24 inch wheel size may look cool BUT if you cannot get hold of spares or replacements, you are going to pay lot more in downtime and costs to get spares. Also confirm that the rims used have the correct ETRTO numbers that fit available tires. Wrong fittings can mean your tire may come off while you are attempting sharp cornering. Any wheel too small (smaller than 14″) goes against sound bicycle geometry and this can mean the bike is unstable or tends to topple over.

STEP 3: CHOOSE YOUR COMPONENTS & FRAME DESIGN

An important factor that affects the price considerably, 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 but so will the cost!

Do you need suspension? do you need 24 speeds? do you need Shimano Durace or SRAM Force? Remember – focus on NEED not WANT.

Looks are important but do not sacrifice your ease of folding for that complex frame or folding mechanism that makes the whole folding bike idea redundant.

STEP 4: CHECK OUT THE EXPERIENCE OF YOUR BIKE DEALER

Operating a bicycle needs ongoing maintenance, servicing and support!  Derailuers need servicing from time to time, hubs and bottom brackets need greasing and damaged components will require experienced mechanics and proper tools to ensure that your bicycle is safe and serviceable to ride. Will your bike shop still be there for you? .  You are not just buying a bike, you are buying a service too! We would always recommend buying from a registered dealer for the brand you are looking for – better, in the long run, to avoid buying a bike via Parallel Import, or from the Web or from overseas.  Caveat Emptor – Buyer beware!

STEP 5: WARRANTY SUPPORT

Recalls can occur with bicycles. Is your chosen brand reputable? How long is the bike under warranty cover? Is the Distributor going to be around or have they changed many times in the last 2 years? Is the bike shop you are buying the bike from has been around for a long time? What is the scope of coverage?  Buy with peace of mind! In the bicycle industry, bike warranty is not transferable and is applicable to the first retail owner

STEP 6: RESEARCH, VISIT SHOPS AND ASK YOUR FRIENDS

Do your homework and check out websites and reviewsA reputable shop should have a good range of bicycles for you to trial for at least the popular models.

MBS location

The following section is intended to help those who plan to visit My Bike Shop outlets to buy a folding bike. We thought we would offer some pre-purchase considerations before you decide.

  • We offer 10 great brands, a wide range of bikes to suit most needs and budgets.
  • You should buy a product that is quality, fit for purpose and within your means.
  • Service support is essential as bikes are mechanical machines and they are do require periodic tuning or adjustments because of regular wear and tear.
  • We have skilled mechanics who are fully trained in all of the brands that we sell. Read our other link why a good experienced workshop and mechanic is a necessary consideration when buying a folding bike.

The wide range of leading brands we sell is the result of our careful selection, based on the quality of manufacture, safety features, ease of use, comfort, and innovation.  THAT’s why we have a wide number of demo bikes for you to try before you buy.

When you come for a trial, dress light, wear flat soled shoes if possible.  With an exchange of your photo ID, we will have you on a demo bike in moments. As always, please take care while testing and keep your eyes on the road in front of you.

We see 3 large broad categories of folding bike enthusiasts: Commuter, Recreational and Avid, and we will try to help you narrow down the brand, popular models and known nuances about these bikes for you. Below are considerations you may wish to take into account and not meant to be total authoritative and comprehensive.

Commuting:  Price range typically S$4XX – S$25XX

What is a commuter? Takes public transport, does not own a car,  rides daily, needs to fit the SMRT/SBS folded size guidelines, need to have it stowed away at the office desk or closet, so needs to be compact.

In Singapore, choose a folding bike that is lightweight (10 – 11.5kg)  as anything above 12kg is going to weigh like a ton once you start carrying up/down stairs. A standard packet of rice is about 5kg, imagine carrying 2 packs plus 2 kg more with you everywhere you go. A reliable, fast folding/unfolding mechanism is key.

Recreational: Price tag from S$5XX to S$27XX.

Who is a recreational rider?

The weekend rider hangs out with spouse, partner,  friends, family members, and cycle types, wants to get fit again but only on weekends. Opt for at least 6-9 speeds in either 20 inch or 26 inch wheels. There are many competent folding bike brands/models in this category (Vybe, Route, Speed, Vitesse, Mu, Link, Joe, Verge, Link).  Look at the weight and the folding method, even if you have a car, petrol is expensive and carrying around a lot of weight will use up more fuel.

Price tags are proportional to the quality of build and components used.  With thicker tires, you can take on Ubin and some tracks, but in this case, you may need suspension – allowing you to enjoy “off-road” riding with less impact on your body.  These bikes have rims that are stronger (if you select a lower end bike for this category the rims may degrade faster).

CLICK here to see what bikes are at the S$500 category

CLICK here to see what bikes are in the S$799 – S$999 category

Next comes the top of the line models (S$24XX )for Recreational cyclists – with looks to kill. They are light, fast, bike eye candy and ideal if you want to pamper yourself with a nice recreational bike.

These are designed for the road rides as the fewer spokes, faster tires and lighter materials generally make the go fast.

Known Complaints: Very few but if any would be spokes breakage, run out of gears when riding with strong riders and a high degree of tuning required. Up to 11 speeds, they can run out of gears unless they have the latest improvements that offer a very wide range.

Now comes the most intriguing category:

Avid foldie riders (S$13XX- S$XXXXXX)

Who are the Avid foldie cyclists? The frequent cyclist has the stamina and fit legs and willing to pay for what they want. Thoroughly researches folding brands, bikes, parts, and will zhng (modify) their bike and rides fast and well.

Choose brands that start at 18 speeds, do not settle for less.

Last but not least, rider weights and style of riding. Performance bikes are generally light weight and suitable for riders up to 105kg. If you are heavy and ride on rough roads, you will see undue stress on ball bearings in your hubs, possible spoke breakages, accelerated joint degradation (creaks, sounds, unnecessary freeplay on adjustable parts).  Please consider the safety aspects for yourself when you are cycling and opt for a bike to suit.

Don’t forget about warranty and local support. Unless otherwise stated, the folding brands we carry have a 2 year warranty on frame and folding joints (Tern, Bickerton and Dahon offer 5 years while Bike Friday offer lifetime), so ask.

MBS tuneup

We are here Monday to Saturday, 12 noon to 7pm (closed on Sundays and Public Holidays).  Nothing beats spending some time to try, discuss and understand your choices before you buy. Come by and visit us.  A folding bike that suits your lifestyle awaits you!

292 thoughts on “The Folding Bike Buying Guide

  1. Hi. Can give me recommendation for AFFORDABLE, lightweight commuter foldie bike for easy access to carry in MRT/Taxi/Bus? Thx!

  2. Hi,

    What would you recommend me if i want a foldable bike that I can use for a bike race/dualathon/triathlon yet not burn a hole in my pocket? Is dahon clinch pro or dahon visc d18 good for this purpose? If so, how much are they?

  3. Hi,
    I am looking for a foldable bike with following requirements:
    1. Fetch my boy (2year old) to school and back, have place to put bag.
    2. Small size to reduce storage space, can bring onto bus or trains. Ie no need wheels very big.
    3. Not very heavy. Dun mind to pay a bit more for lighter materials.

    Can you recommend me some bicycles?

    Thanks!

    1. Hey are our recommendations:

      I am looking for a foldable bike with following requirements:
      1. Fetch my boy (2year old) to school and back, have place to put bag.

      Age is not a good guide, weight is. As long as he is below 22kg, you can opt for rear child seats from Belleli or Yepp

      2. Small size to reduce storage space, can bring onto bus or trains. Ie no need wheels very big.

      All 20 inch foldable will comply but the child seat is going to be tricky

      3. Not very heavy. Dun mind to pay a bit more for lighter materials.

      The Link D8s and Verge N8 series will do fine.

      Best to come by shops to speak with our team

      Can you recommend me some bicycles?

  4. Hi there!

    Thank you very much for the great and helpful information on folding bikes.

    I have an 11kg mountain bike which I bought 8 years ago but have rarely used it because I was unable to transport it easily.

    I am looking for a fast, foldable bike(preferably a mountain bike) with the biggest possible wheels(not 20″ or less) which, when folded, are within or just slightly above the MRT specifications.

    Preferably a folding bike around 11kg or less, with a greater number of speeds where I can pedal easily(what I mean is that I am not used to pedalling with smaller wheels – i.e. greater number of wheel rotations vs a single one feels like I am pedalling a child’s bike with tiny wheels without getting anywhere).

    Do you have any folding bikes that fit the above specifications?

    Thank you very much. Have a beautiful Sunday!
    Doreen

    1. P.S.
      I do not need suspension. I am 58kg. I would prefer thicker(off road) tubeless tires and a relatively rustproof bike. Thank you very much.

      1. Dear Doreen, so pleasant to get a nice greeting on Sunday morning and thanks for your kind words. OK back to what we believe will answer your questions:
        I am looking for a fast, foldable bike(preferably a mountain bike) with the biggest possible wheels(not 20″ or less) which, when folded, are within or just slightly above the MRT specifications.

        Answer: The SMRT/SBS guidelines for folded bikes is restricted and the 24/26 inch wheeled foldable bikes will miss the guidelines by 1-2 cm on one end. However, we have many customers who brave the station masters with either the Tern Joe C21 or Dahon Espresso (Both 26 inch wheels) but we are sure the Eclipse P18 (24 inch will not raise eyebrows of them. Taking the lift rather than the escalators always helps.

        Preferably a folding bike around 11kg or less, with a greater number of speeds where I can pedal easily(what I mean is that I am not used to pedalling with smaller wheels – i.e. greater number of wheel rotations vs a single one feels like I am pedalling a child’s bike with tiny wheels without getting anywhere).

        Ans: Its hard to get a 24/26 inch foldable less than 11kg. They come in between 11.5 to 13 kg. However, we need to correct a perception that small wheels means you pedal more as the gearing these days actually mean you pedal the same despite being a smaller wheel.

        Do you have any folding bikes that fit the above specifications?

        Ans: I would still recommend you consider the 20inch as they have the best weight/ride/price options. Many who do what you do opt for the Tern Link D8 or Dahon MuP9. We have these models for you to test ride when our shops are open. Come by and test ride and speak to our friendly store leads. These bikes are made of Aluminum (rust management is great) and the Link D8 Andros has the superb Schwalbe Big Apple tires priced at S$799

  5. Good day,

    1. Do you have similar Tern P24H, a touring foldie which I believe is EOD (End of Line) no longer in production. Is Tern Verge S27H similar ?

    2. I know that C7 means 7 speed. What does Tern models with C, D, S, P represent ?

    3. Please advice on a Tern for Recreational Rider with basic 3 speed or 7 speed with raised Rack Pannier like the Touring Version.

    Thanks.

    1. 1. Do you have similar Tern P24H, a touring foldie which I believe is EOD (End of Line) no longer in production. Is Tern Verge S27H similar ?

      The closest you can get for Tern as a brand option will be the Eclipse S18, we have one last piece at the Henderson outlet. The models you mentioned are no longer in production. If you want a 20 inch format, theonly other option here you can get a touring bike that you can pack is Moulton TSR 30 or Bike Friday Pocket Llama

      2. I know that C7 means 7 speed. What does Tern models with C, D, S, P represent ?

      You can get the full definition at the Tern site but essentially C is the entry level and P is the the highest grade

      3. Please advice on a Tern for Recreational Rider with basic 3 speed or 7 speed with raised Rack Pannier like the Touring Version.

      A touring bike cannot be less than 18 speeds. Please do read https://mybikeshopsg.com/what-does-one-look-for-when-choosing-or-buying-a-folding-bike-7-logical-steps-to-take/. It sounds like you want a folding bike with racks installed but Touring bikes need the drive chain to cover hills and distances

  6. Hi. We currently have a Tern D8. Wish to upgrade the crank to double gear one (not too sure about the term, but we are referring to the gear at the front one), i.e. to make the gear from 8 become 16. Is this possible? How much will that cost?

    Thanks.
    Raymond

  7. H there!
    I am a novice rider, petite (1.5m), and I am looking for something which i can take to East Coast/ PCNs,or tour the city bike paths. I don’t drive and will have to fit the bike into trunks of taxis. Not into commuting to work on heavy traffic roads. Would you be able to recommend me something? Thanks!

    1. Dear Melanie, there are many brands and options but any of the entry models will work listed in this article https://mybikeshopsg.com/2015/11/17/offering-foldable-bikes-at-that-s500-level-that-offers-global-make-and-quality/?relatedposts_hit=1&relatedposts_origin=7299&relatedposts_position=0 . If you want something better in specs, consider the ones in this article https://mybikeshopsg.com/2016/01/10/what-happens-when-you-want-something-better/ . As you are petite, I would avoid bikes that have too small wheels. Go down and speak to Nikki at MBS Tres, she is petite too

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