10 Best Folding Wheels: Reviews and Buying Guide (2018)

A folding bike is an ideal means of transportation for cities and traveling. Folding wheels can be folded and they can be stored space-saving. Most folding bikes have a low weight, so you can easily lift and carry them. You can also store a folding bike well in the boot, in the train compartment or in the motorhome. With a folding bike, you can stay mobile when you’re traveling and can go on small tours or do your shopping by bike.

Different folding bikes are available for purchase on the market. To make your purchase easier, let us introduce you to the nine best folding bikes. In addition, you will find useful information about folding-bike in our guide. We also inform you whether Stiftung Warentest or other independent institutes have checked folding bikes. 

10 Best Folding Wheels

What is a folding bike?

A folding bike folds through a folding mechanism, so you can use this type of bike versatile. In addition, folding bikes usually have a low weight, so they are easy to carry and carry. The folding mechanism varies depending on the manufacturer and model. Some folding bikes can be folded in half and in others, the Faltmaß is only one-third of the actual bike size.

With a folding bike so a bike is called, which can be folded in no time. Another term for the folding bike is a folding bike. Folding bicycles became modern in the seventies and eighties of the twentieth century, but they were not as popular as they are today. The story of the folding bike started much earlier and dates back to 1878. The quality of the folding bikes has changed over time for the better and the technology is not comparable to the then.

The history of the folding bike

The inventor of the folding bike was William Grout, who patented his first folding bike in 1878. This folding bike was a high wheel, which was equipped with solid rubber tires. The front, a larger wheel could be disassembled in four parts. The next patented folding bike was the model “Faun”, which already had a diamond frame. This frame form is still used today primarily for men’s bicycles.

The folding bike “Faun” dates from 1896 and had a folding mechanism in the center of the frame. Around 1900, this bike shape was further developed by Robert Baden-Powell. This folding bike could be disassembled in three parts and should serve the military, but found no use. Later, however, folding bikes were developed by the military itself. One example is the 1909 Dutch military model “Fingers” and the “Folding Military Bicycle” folding bike, developed during World War II for British military paratroopers. For the private sector first, folding bikes were to acquire in the twenties of the twentieth century. The designs looked similar to the folding bikes of the later seventies.

With this folding bike from Moulton and the following models folding bikes became more popular so that many bicycle manufacturers designed their own folding bikes. The quality and technology of these folding bikes left much to be desired. Because the handling was poor on many models, folding bikes came into disrepute. In addition, the folding mechanism was not as sophisticated as it is today, so he could relax while driving. The folding of the wheels was not possible in a jiffy but took a certain amount of time. In the 1970s, the folding bike got a new lease of life when Bickerton’s first folding bike with aluminum frames appeared on the market. This folding bike scored points with its low weight of eight kilograms.

With this folding bike from Moulton and the following models folding bikes became more popular so that many bicycle manufacturers designed their own folding bikes. The quality and technology of these folding bikes left much to be desired. Because the handling was poor on many models, folding bikes came into disrepute. In addition, the folding mechanism was not as sophisticated as it is today, so he could relax while driving. The folding of the wheels was not possible in a jiffy but took a certain amount of time.

In the 1970s, the folding bike got a new lease of life when Bickerton’s first folding bike with aluminum frames appeared on the market. This folding bike scored points with its low weight of eight kilograms.

Folding mechanisms of folding wheels

The folding mechanism varies depending on the model:

  • Some folding bikes can be folded to a pack size that is about half the size of the bike
  • Other folding bikes can be folded to one-third of the size of the bike

Cheap folding wheels are usually provided with a hinge in the center of the frame, which can be opened with a simple closure. Handlebars and saddles can usually be engaged with this locking technology.

High-quality folding bikes are equipped with several hinges so that the bike folds even smaller. The wheels are folded to the bike frame and saddle and handlebars are sunk. The Faltmaß is only one-third of the bike size. On some models, the pedals are foldable.

Various applications of folding wheels

Folding wheels can be used very versatile because of their foldability. Due to the low weight of these bicycles, they are easy to lift and carry in the folded state. With a folding bike, you increase your flexibility and mobility – at home and when traveling. A folding bike is particularly popular as a city bike because it can be easily taken in by bus and train. In addition, it can be accommodated even in small apartments in the folded state.

A folding bike proves to be extremely advantageous in the following situations:

  • Work path by public transport

Folding bicycles are very popular with commuters who travel by bus or train to their workplace. Most of the time they have to walk a distance, as the stops are often not directly in front of the home or in front of the workplace. With the folding bike, you can easily cycle to work and home.

  • Weekend trips to the countryside

If you live in the city and like to cycle through natural areas on the weekends: For folding bikes, you do not need a bicycle mount on your car. Folding bikes fit easily into your trunk. Even with small trunks can accommodate two folding wheels, if they can be folded to one-third of their size.

  • Mobile at the resort

Due to the small pack size, you can also take your folding bike with you on air travel. At the resort, you are much more flexible and have the opportunity to explore the area by bike. In this way, you will see much more of the place than exploring the area with a rental car.

  • While traveling by camper

From the campsite or pitch, you can start cycling trips or do some small shopping in the next village. The folded folding bikes can be accommodated in the motorhome to save space. In the interior, your bikes are also better secured against theft.

As a rule, folding bikes are generally considered to be baggage in airplanes, trains, and buses. Thus, costs for a bicycle ticket are eliminated. Since the regulations for driving a folding bike can vary, you should inform yourself before your trip to the appropriate company. Often you need to pack your folding bike in a bag if you want to take it as a piece of luggage in long-haul, ICE or on the plane as a piece of luggage.

Folding bikes: advantages and disadvantages

Many people are still convinced that riding a folding bike requires a lot of effort. In the models from bygone times, more had to be pedaled. Today’s folding bikes with modern technology have a translation like the normal bikes, which are equipped with larger tires. With a high-quality folding bike, you can also drive longer distances. If you would like to take longer bike rides with your folding bike, you should pay attention to a very good workmanship and a high quality of the materials used.

Buy Folding Bike: Important Quality Features

So that you can enjoy your folding bike and above all can cycle safely, your purchase should focus on a few quality features:

  • From cheap models, you should refrain, since these folding wheels often the locking mechanism is poor. As a result, the mechanism may loosen while driving and thus safe driving would not be guaranteed. You would need to check the folding mechanism before each ride. In addition, the driving quality of low-quality folding wheels is often unstable.
  • So you can drive as comfortably and with little effort, you should pay attention to the translation of the folding bike. In addition, the wheels should have a size of at least twenty inches.
  • Saddle and handlebars should be height adjustable so that the folding bike can be adapted to your height.
  • The folding bike should be folded in no time and without tools to use it as a practical means of transport in everyday life and travel.
  • Pay attention to the weight of the folding bike so that you can easily lift and carry it. If you need to carry the folding bike several times a week to your flat, the folding bike should weigh a maximum of twelve kilograms.
  • If you want to drive not only short but also longer distances with the folding bike, a model in the higher price segment is recommended. These folding bikes are usually equipped with a good translation and as a whole meet the requirements that are necessary for longer bike rides.

Conclusion: purchase criteria for folding bikes

The main focus should be on quality and safety. Pay attention to the processing and especially to the hinged areas. Recommended is a road bike approved folding bike. This bike is equipped with all the components necessary for traffic safety.

Maybe it is not important for you to have a roadworthy folding bike at the moment. However, most users of folding bikes will, over time, expand their wheel application areas. If the folding bike is not approved for road traffic, they would need to be retrofitted. Pay attention to the weight of the folding bike. If you need to carry your bike to your apartment on a daily basis, lift it on the bus or on the train, you should choose a folding bike that weighs as little as possible. Also, think carefully about whether it would be better for you a folding bike, which folds to one-third of the actual bike size or if it would do for your purposes, a folding bike, which can be reduced to only half.

Ride comfort is as important for short distances as it is for longer trips. Therefore, the tires should be at least twenty inches tall. Smaller wheels increase the susceptibility to uneven ground. On a shaky folding bike, you will feel insecure and use your bike less. The folding bike should be adjusted to your height. This is possible for models whose handlebar and saddle are height adjustable. It is also advisable to use a folding bike with a gearshift so that you can easily cycle on various routes, as well as on inclines and windy weather. The folding bike should have at least a 3-speed gear shift. The more gears that can be switched, the better you can adjust the gear ratio for each situation.

Where should you buy your folding bike?

Folding bicycles are available from specialist dealers on site and in online shops. The advantage of buying in the local store is above all the advice given by the specialist retailers. Trained staff will respond to your wishes and needs and introduce you to the appropriate folding bikes. You also have the opportunity to try out the individual models. However, you can only compare the folding bikes that are available in this shop. Online you have a broader comparison option. The experiences of other buyers can be very beneficial for your purchase decision. In the specialized trade, you must rely on the advice and recommendation of the seller. When comparing on the Internet, you can read the reviews of the folding bikes and include these reviews in your selection.

You also have the technical details in mind, because every folding bike is described in detail. Although these facts and figures will tell you about the retailers, most of the time these data are forgotten if you want to spend a few days for the purchase decision. Another plus point for buying in the online shop: You do not have to keep any opening hours and you save yourself the time for the journeys to the specialized trade. In addition, the folding bikes are often available at a low price in online trading. The reason: The specialist shop has to charge the running costs such as shop rent or storage space on the price. These costs are lost to major online retailers because they work with wholesalers so they can not rent warehouses or stores.

Accessories for folding bikes

One of the important accessories is the lock. Due to the small folding size, you have the option of being able to take your folding bike with you almost everywhere. But there are always situations where you have to leave your bike unattended. For example, you would disturb the folding bike when shopping in the supermarket and therefore put it in the cashier area. Lock locks your bike from theft.

We recommend the purchase of spare parts such as bicycle hose, air pump, pedals, and lighting. It can happen again and again that a part is suddenly broken. In this case, you always have the right spare part at home or while traveling. For traveling by plane, you will usually need a bag or case to pack your folding bike. Some airlines require this packaging to take the bike as a normal piece of luggage.

Some folding bikes are already equipped with a luggage rack. Otherwise, you can buy this accessory later. Also, bicycle bags can be attached to a folding bike, so you have enough storage space for purchases or utensils for bike tours available. Not a must, but a convenient and practical accessory is a holder for your smartphone. Thus, you have your mobile phone in view, for example, if you want to navigate on longer tours using the app or to determine speed and distance.

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