If you’re interested in biking, then you already know that there’s quite a wide variety of bicycles for all of us to choose from according to our needs. What we might ignore is just how much bicycles have evolved and how revolutionary some of them actually are. Folding bikes, for one, are becoming widely popular as a stable and green mode of transportation for many eco-conscious people. They stand out because of their compact design and package, and above all, because of their portability. But nothing is perfect, and there are a lot of issues with folding bikes that people don’t hear enough about.
Among the most common issues, folding bicycles are a lot more expensive than traditional bicycles, they’re not very customizable, they don’t provide a smooth ride outside urban areas, they can damage more easily, and they’re not always super portable or comfortable to carry around.
If you want to learn more about the drawbacks of folding bikes, continue reading because today I will explore all the major downsides of folding bikes.
I believe it’s important that you get as much information as you need before you spend your money on something as essential as a bicycle. After all, you want to make sure that you invest your money in a reliable, comfortable and safe bicycle to serve as your personal means of transportation.
What Are Folding Bikes?
Before we move on to discuss the problems with folding bikes, I’d like to take a moment to introduce you to the concept in case you’re not already familiar with them.
Folding bikes are exactly what they sound like, they’re bicycles that are specially designed to fold so that they can provide ultimate portability, transport, and storage. Once you fold your bike, you’ll be able to bring it with you into buildings, public transportation, and they can be easily stored in cars, boats, planes, and at home.
Overall, folding bikes seem to be one of the great inventions in terms of portability, but not all of them are made the same!
Common Problems and Disadvantages With Folding Bikes
Now it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of folding bikes and take an in-depth look at their disadvantages so you can make an informed decision.
Repair Expenses Can Be Quite High
Folding bikes parts are super expensive, which means that repairing them can cause your bank account a lot of trouble. Bike shops will deal with everything for you, but it can take a serious amount of money.
This means that you can’t be mindless with your bicycle use because replacing brake wires and tire tubes are quite expensive, which limits your freedom as a user quite a bit.
If money is not an issue for you, this may not seem like a great disadvantage, but it is. The money that you put into repairing your folding bike can easily buy you another bicycle in the long run.
They’re More Likely To Break Or Suffer Damage
When you compare folding bikes to other kinds of bikes, you’ll notice that folding bikes have a lot more small parts and gadgets than other bicycles. These extra pieces are what allow the bicycle to fold, but it means that the bikes are vulnerable to a lot more damage.
There are a lot more pieces to break, so if you’re ever in an accident, it’s a lot more likely for these parts to be rendered useless, which means that repair can be quite expensive, as discussed above.
They Won’t Provide The Same Speed As Road Bikes
The fact is that folding bikes won’t allow you to go as fast as road bikes. Now, that doesn’t mean that this kind of bike is super slow. In fact, most of them can be faster than mountain bikes.
If you value speed, then you’ll find that folding bikes can be inadequate. Overall, folding bikes do a good job when it comes to speed if you consider how portable they are, but for some users, it might not be enough.
They Might Not Be Appropriate For Your Body Type
If you don’t choose the right kind of folding bike for your body, one of the biggest disadvantages you’ll experience is discomfort, which can lead to pain and injuries.
Take your time when you’re looking for your folding bike and consider both your weight and your height so you can choose the appropriate size to guarantee your comfort and avoid pain.
You’ll Feel Every Bump In The Road
Because of their portability, folding bikes have smaller wheels than other kinds of bikes, going from 12 to 20 inches or 30 to 50 centimeters. This means that it’s not equipped for rough terrains.
When the wheels are that small, it means they’re not equipped to absorb the bumps and each imperfection on the road will be more palpable. This can definitely throw off your riding experience and it can make the bike more difficult to steer on rough ground.
You can make it slightly better by investing in high-quality tires or suspension, but the truth is that it will be a problem nonetheless.
If you’re looking for a bike you can both commute and trail with, then folding bikes are not the right choice because they’re meant for urban areas. In fact, they can even be a bit uncomfortable in the city as it is because there are always bumps, debris and uneven roads and curbs, so keep that in mind!
They Will Caught People’s Eye, Whether You Like It Or Not
Compared to traditional bicycles, folding bikes truly stand out. They simply look strange, and whenever people see an adult walking around with or riding on a compact folding bike, they will stare.
If you’re particularly conscious about fashion or if you are mindful of your own aesthetic, then carrying a folding bike around will most likely not be for you.
This, of course, is not something that affects the quality of your ride, but if you’re the kind of person that likes to keep to themselves, then folding bikes might attract more attention than you’d like.
Folding Bikes Are More Expensive Than Others
Once again, the issue of the expense comes up when we talk about folding bikes. The standard price range goes from $300 to as much as $2,000 or more.
You can find other kinds of bicycles with the same specifications to cover your needs for a lot cheaper, so you might want to give the buy some serious thought and make sure that your money is not better invested elsewhere.
You Won’t Have As Much Freedom To Customize
Folding bikes are simply not as customizable as other bikes and this is a great disadvantage because accessories can make your bicycle more useful to you. Accessories such as baskets, fenders and racks won’t be an option for folding bikes because they won’t fit.
Of course, there are manufacturers that specialize in making accessories specifically for folding bikes. But guess what? They’ll be a lot more expensive than the average, which means that the total amount of money that you’ll pay to set up your bicycle can be a lot higher than you thought.
Not All Models Are As Portable As You May Think
Another issue with folding bikes is that not all of them will be as portable as you may think. This is because not all folding bicycles employ the same folding mechanisms; there are many different ones and that means that not every model will be easy to fold or carry.
When you’re looking for a folding bike, it’s important that you take this into consideration because you need to make sure that your folding bicycle is easy to transport both folded and unfolded. Check that the bike is not too heavy, and test the folding mechanism to confirm that it’s easy to manage and that it stays folded until you decide otherwise.
As you can see, when it comes to folding bikes, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration.
The disadvantages are as important as the advantages, so make sure that you know what folding bikes lack so you can know what to expect and decide if they’re the right option for you.
These are just a few of the most common problems with folding bikes, but they can vary according to the kind of folding bike you decide to get.
Make sure that you’re an intelligent buyer and narrow down your choices so you can check out every detail and see if that particular folding bike will cover all your needs.
Keep in mind that a few other disadvantages about folding bikes include stiffness on the road, they can be quite heavy and uncomfortable to carry around, they can also be difficult to steer, and some of them are not super easy to fold because some folding mechanisms make it necessary to remove parts such as the handlebars or even the wheels, which means it can take you quite some time to fold them.