What to Look For
Folding bicycles offer several levels of performance, quality and price. Folding bicycles allow for easy transport and storage, and the nicest models often collapse the fastest and smallest. Many folding bicycles easily stow in small specially designed bags for public transit use and work storage ease. Many folding bicycles feature uncommon gearing to propel small wheels and tires, though several manufacturers use full-size wheels and tires with folding bicycles. Most folding specialty frame manufacturers utilize special connections, allowing for bicycle frame folding.
Small-wheeled folding bicycles may have a reputation as being slow and awkward. Nonetheless, folding bicycle manufacturers offer fast and graceful, though typically odd looking, machines. Some cyclists even race folding bicycles in official sanctioned events. New alloys and materials keep folding bicycle weights comparable to other bicycles. Cyclists desiring lightweight folding cycles must prepare for expenses often exceeding, though not by much, traditional lightweight cycles. Some folding bicycles look similar to traditional cycles yet collapse using high-tech tube joints.
Where to Buy
Look for folding bicycles at independent bike retailers, department stores and online vendors. Most department stores sell inexpensive bicycles and folding bicycles generally unable to withstand heavy use. Local bicycle shops may stock only a single model of folding bicycle but have access to many others. Specialty folding bicycle stores occasionally exist in heavily populated urban areas, often retaining higher demands for such machines. Folding bicycles typically offer few if any sizes but adjust to fit a variety of cyclists.
Folding bicycle prices run nearly the full span of traditional bicycles. Bargain entry-level folders often sell under $200. Quality folding bicycles featuring a few speeds and accessories typically sell from $350 to $550. Folding bicycles designed for lighter weight and greater speed often sell from $650 to $1,250. Lightweight high quality machines may run more than $2,000. Specialty frame retailers sell custom frames designed to fit the exact measurements and needs of a particular rider. These frame builders often offer collapsible frame options for cyclists planning frequent travel. Such frames may exceed $4,000 for the folding bicycle frame alone.