Top Ten Folders?

Sharky

Veteran
Location
Kent
Do we have a list anywhere on the forum of folders?

I get the impression that Bromptons would be at the top of the list, but are also at the high price range.
Then you see ones in Argos and Decathlon for less than £200, but look heavy.

Now for my other bikes, I have gladly paid £300+ for a single front wheel, but when it comes to a folder (actually two - one for me and one for the Mrs) that can be kept in the boot and once a week, have a ride along the coast after we have dropped our daughter back at her care home on a Monday ???????

So what is a good value for money list, which balances, weight, packability, durability etc?
 

vickster

Legendary Member
There are some ideas here
https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.cyclingweekly.com/group-tests/best-folding-bikes-2-324714/amp

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.independent.co.uk/extras/indybest/outdoor-activity/cycling/best-folding-bikes-8683766.html?amp

https://www.expertreviews.co.uk/outdoor/1406187/best-folding-bike-the-best-singlespeed-and-geared-folding-bikes-from-300

I’ve just bought a Brompton as I’m starting a new contract and can take it on the train and complete the journey on the bike to avoid the tube and get some exercise. The Brompton is costly at a grand but I know that if I find myself not using it, I’ll easily sell it on and lose little money. They fold small and are not that heavy, important features for the commute.
Also lots of shops locally and around London sell and service (although I’m buying from a local bike shop that does specialise in folders)
I also think they look cooler folded and unfolded than the other brands
 
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The size of your boot will have some bearing on it then. A key decision is wheel size, principally 16 inch or 20 inch. Not sure if I'd get two 20 inch wheel Dahon's in my Civic. If the foldability is so it can be kept in a car boot, weight is less of an issue than if you were intending to lug it around by hand. I do like my Dahon Speed P8 however featherlight it's not, although I'm not too bothered. It's allegedly suitable for people up to 6 foot 2 however felt very cramped to me so have bought a Litepro stem adapter and a longer Tern seatpost - the fit all depends on if that's a compromise too far for you.
 

Smudge

Über Member
Location
Somerset
For the amount of use a folder gets with me, i couldn't justify spending over £1K and some of them are many thousands. So i bought a used Dahon and have been very happy with it.
Although i saw this on a deal site today..... £199 seems a great price
https://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/15903287/compass-fast-forward-folding-bike-15903287
If i were still looking for a folder, i'd have been very tempted. Not bad weight at under 12kg and has Claris 8 speed.
 

Cycleops

Guru
Location
Accra, Ghana
If you're talking top ten then the Birdy has to come somewhere near the top if not #1. Beautiful engineered with suspension front and rear and it's evolved over time unlike the Brompton which has only incrementally changed but is the go to choice for commuters due to its fold but not much else.
 

TheDoctor

Resistance is futile!
Moderator
Location
Stevenage
The Decathlon folders are pretty reasonable for the price. They ride OK, but don't fold anywhere near as neatly as the Brompton.
TBH, they look rather similar to Tern / Dahon bikes, so I'd expect them to ride similarly, and a 20"wheel bike is always going to be less twitchy than a 16" wheeled one.
 

Drago

Flouncing Nobber
Location
On Air Force One
And what about full size folders, such as the Montague? The ride is a different league to the diddy wheelers, but then you won't slip them unobtrusively in your pocket when you get on the bus.

Your needs and circumstances are likely more important than any notional 'quality'etc.
 

12boy

Über Member
Location
Casper WY USA
I had once been enamored of Bike Fridays, a handmade American bike with a cult following much like Bromptons. I found a shop that sold them and tried one out and I did not like it at all. I also found a Brompton dealer and rode one and immediately liked it and bought it without much knowledge of the bike. Later on I bought another folder, a Xootr Swift, not much known in the UK, I suspect. I liked it too but although it is a little faster and has a good derailleur, I still prefer my Brompton. What is best for you and your wife would be best decided after you rode a few diiferent machines, and it is possible you may prefer different bikes. For myself, I have found my all steel Brompton to be sturdy and very comfortable although I've modified it quite a bit. Excepting used bikes I have pretty much found you get what you pay for with cheap vs midrange bikes. Cheap bikes have cheap components, as a rule, and replacing them costs more in the long run. Plus, decent components are more likely to provide the special joy of riding with everything adjusted perfectly and working exactly as it should. Having said all that, I don't see any functional reason other than weight or aesthetics to buy top end components as lower midrange stuff is very good these days. There are plenty of inexpensive cartridge bearing hubs, bottom brackets and head sets that work very well for a long time.
One of the things I like about my Brompton is the heavy hi-ten main frame , old fashioned clamps and hinges are very sturdy. If they do wear they are fixable. Good luck on your quest, but as either Tom Ritchey or Keith Bontrager said... Cheap, light and strong...pick two.
 
OP
Sharky

Sharky

Veteran
Location
Kent
For the amount of use a folder gets with me, i couldn't justify spending over £1K and some of them are many thousands. So i bought a used Dahon and have been very happy with it.
Although i saw this on a deal site today..... £199 seems a great price
https://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/15903287/compass-fast-forward-folding-bike-15903287
If i were still looking for a folder, i'd have been very tempted. Not bad weight at under 12kg and has Claris 8 speed.
That does look like value for money and we are in Canterbury on Monday, so will take a look.
Thanks for the tip
 
Location
South East
I can only state my thoughts, and I wouldn’t get very near to a top 5, let alone 10!
Our short tour to Paris last year involved trains, and times when bikes are not permitted, so looked at folding bikes for leisure cycle tours, probably based around car/train, rather than flying, and those I checked out were nowhere near as small folded, some, downright ugly, and spindly, with insecure closing when folded.

It’s definitely governed by what you need, but there is a small when folded, reliable, stylish, dare i say beautiful bike, that expensive, but durable.
I’m sure you can’t have desirable, quality, reliable and cheap... 3 maybe, but not all 4.
Whether I get the use I thought from it, who knows, but I’m happy, and look forward to cycling on my Brompton , as does Mrs SnG, who, until we met some years ago, had never considered cycling over the previous 30 odd years. She has 2 bikes, and is looking forward to using her Brompton in Europe soon!
What a turnaround
 
I had once been enamored of Bike Fridays, a handmade American bike with a cult following much like Bromptons. I found a shop that sold them and tried one out and I did not like it at all.
For what it's worth, I love my Bike Friday to bits. It's the do-anything bike - I ride it round town, I take it into London, I've taken it gravel-riding in New Zealand, touring in New York State and day-riding in the Black Forest... it copes fine with everything. Plus it goes into a suitcase or onto a train with no problems.

Folded up, it's nowhere near as compact as a Brompton. If I were commuting by bike+train every day I'd buy a Brompton, no question. But I just love having a transportable bike that can go (almost) anywhere. Yesterday I had a meeting in Worcester, so took my Bike Friday on the train, then got off three stops early on the way home and made my way back via a series of unexplored bridleways. Lovely half of Old Rosie in a wayside pub too :cheers:
 

12boy

Über Member
Location
Casper WY USA
I meant no disrespect for Bike Fridays, only it didn't work for me. This was merely an illustration of the idea that no matter how great a bike appears on paper (or the internet) how it suits any particular person is really up to the ride. I've always been fascinated by Moultons, too, but I would surely want a ride before buying one.
 
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