When buying any folding bike, the price will be a consideration. However if looking for the best folding mountain bikes, quality is very important, as these bikes need to be sturdy, tough and be able to endure miles of rough riding.
Remember the best folding mountain bikes will be a lot more expensive than normal mountain bikes, but that is because they are more difficult to make and more convenient to travel with. Folding bikes are also heavier than their non-folding counterparts. Riding on a folding mountain bike is quite different to riding a normal bike, even when the bicycle is set for the size of the rider, but when space is a consideration, a folding bike can go places that a regular bike can’t. One does get used to riding it quite quickly.
Folding bicycles are intended for riders of any height. In traditional bikes, the wheel size and the frame size is the starting point that determines whether the size is right for the rider. With folding bikes, the adjustability of the bike is far more important.
There are many reasons why cyclists choose to buy a folding mountain bike. These include a lack of storage space, the need to carry a bike up stairs, or the need to put a bike in the baggage compartment of a bus. Regardless of the reason, intended use is the major factor in deciding which folding bike best suits a rider’s needs.
What Features Best Folding Mountain Bikes Should Have
The most important features to look for in folding mountain bikes are the ease at which you can fold the bicycle, and of course how comfortable the bicycle is to ride.
Check How Easy It Is To Fold The Bike
How easy is the bike to fold? While most folding bikes have a smaller frame, with a single hinge, there are a number of different variations of this. The hinge and latching mechanism make a huge difference in the ease of folding. Some best folding mountain bikes latch closed, making it possible to carry them without a case, while others require a bag to hold the bike closed.
Make sure that the Saddle and Handlebar are made in such a way that makes the bike easy to collapse.
In some folding bikes, the front wheel may need to be removed when collapsing the bike. This is actually a pain, as it is another piece that needs to be carried or can get lost. There could also be accessories like saddle bags and luggage racks which may also need to be removed in order to fold the bicycle.This is an added complexity, and results in another separate piece that needs to be carried, or that can be lost.
Even if the manufacturers of the bike advertise how much folding time is required to fold the bike, make sure this is true, as this advertised time is normally the time it takes experts to do it under ideal conditions. Study a few folding bikes and see which design makes it easier to fold for you.
How Easy Is It To Carry The Folded Mountain Bike?
Not all best folding mountain bikes will fold to the same size, and it all depends on the overall height and the width of the bike, as well as how thick the bicycle is. Make sure that if the bike is used for tours or commuting on a bus that the size limit matches what you are allowed.
How easy is the bicycle to carry when it is folded? Do you need to carry it with two hands, or can you easily carry it in one hand?
Some bicycles fold in such a way that they can be wheeled along on their own wheels which make life a lot easier.
Check if the chain of the bicycle is exposed or not when the bike is folded, as you can get grease on your clothing. Some folding mountain bikes fold so that the chain is on the inside. Others have a carry bag which protects your clothing. Either way, this is something you are going to have to check.
How Much Do Best Folding Mountain Bikes Weigh?
Because folding bike frames are made of steel and not aluminum like other bikes, this can make them quite heavy. Make sure it is not too heavy for you, as it will be much harder for you to pedal uphill on those mountain passes. Accessories can also add weight, and you will, of course, need a luggage carrier, so take all these things into consideration.
What Is The Quality Of Even The Best Folding Mountain Bikes?
Generally speaking, folding bikes do not have the same ride quality of their larger, non-folding counterparts. This comes from a combination of design compromises that are made in order to make the bike easier to fold and carry.
Most folding bikes use 20-inch wheels, unlike standard bikes which use 26-inch or 28-inch wheels. This size difference affects the bike’s ability to cross over bumps and potholes without getting stuck. Also, the larger the wheel, the greater distance it covers per revolution. Thus, with larger wheels, more distance is covered for the same amount of effort.
The bigger the wheel, the more comfortable the ride will be, especially on off-road trails. The pricier folding bikes have built in shock absorbers, and although they may seem like a luxury, especially on a mountain bike, the comfort will be well worth the price.
Make Sure The Folding Bicycle Is Adjustable
The seat and handlebars of folding mountain bikes need to be adjustable to a comfortable height. Taller riders for instance, need more distance between the seat and the handlebar. Some folding bikes even let the cyclist move the seat forwards or backward.
The Right Tires
Ideally, for mountain biking, the tires will need to have knobby treads. If you ride on smoother roads, then the tires can be smoother. Luckily if the bicycle doesn’t come with the right tires, these can be changed to suit the rider and the terrain.
Most folding bikes have about six speeds, but this isn’t really much of an issue, as long as they have a wide range. The ratio of the teeth from the highest speed setting to the lowest should be looked at.Gearing is an important factor on any bicycle.
Picking Out The Best Folding Mountain Bike
The biggest issue in buying the best folding mountain bike is ride comfort. This will unfortunately never be the same as a regular bicycle. Due to the design compromises required to make the bike foldable, comfort and ride smoothness are often not what one would expect of a regular bicycle.
Try a few folding bikes out to see how they feel, and remember to adjust the seat and handle bars to suit you before you test ride. Folding bikes are normally cheaper online, as there are no rental costs to add on, so if you know which model you want, it is best to buy online.
Here are a few pointers for you to determine the difference between a good folding bike and a badly manufactured one.
- Check the quality of the finishes, but be careful as some manufacturers cheat here.
- The reputation of the brand. Unknown brands carry risks, and there is no way of knowing how good the folding bike will be.
- How is the quality of the locking mechanism? Does it wobble at all? Does it look fragile? Is the frame held together well when latched?
- Watch that the bike is not too heavy. Higher priced folding bikes have lighter frames.
- Check the warranty. Warranty is a good indicator of quality for any product. More than anything, long product warranties indicate that manufacturers are confident in the quality of their products.