A bike that folds to the size of a suitcase can go anywhere with you: on the train, in the car, into the office or an upstairs flat… Here are five good ones.
Do you need to revolutionise your commute?
Tern Link D8
You can buy fold-in-half bikes with 20 inch wheels for half the price but the Link D8 is worth the extra. It’s more portable. At 12.1kg, it’s 2-3kg lighter, a difference you’ll feel crossing a station footbridge, and it can be rolled on its wheels when folded. Its unusual N-fold means it’s compact: 79x72x38cm. It rides better, thanks to robust hinges with minimal flex and 50mm Schwalbe Big Apple tyres that will float over bumps and holes. Eight-speed gearing will get you up most hills and V-brakes will stop you effectively coming down.
Cyclescheme Price: £502.50*
Dahon Mu Uno 20w
If you’ll be using a folder for a few flat miles between the station and the office, you don’t need many gears. The Mu Uno has just one. It’s simpler and lighter; the whole bike weighs in at 11.4kg. It also minimises maintenance, as there’s little to go wrong. You don’t even need to oil the drivetrain as it employs a belt drive. As there’s no oil, none can get on your clothes - or the office carpet. Despite using the larger of the two 20-inch wheel standards (ISO 451), the Mu Uno folds to a compact 78x66x26cm package.
Cyclescheme Price: £600*
The iconic Brompton is available in a range of a la carte configurations. For flatter towns and cities, the 2-speed model should be sufficient. It’s lighter than the hub-geared models, tipping the scales at 11kg when fitted with the essential mudguards and front luggage block. Ride quality is fine for shorter journeys, and better than you’d imagine from a bike with 16-inch wheels. But portability is its ace card: the Brompton’s fold is the one by which all others are judged. It packs down to 58.5x56.5x27cm in seconds, small enough to stash between the seats on a train.
Cyclescheme Price: £712.50*
Birdy World Sport
At 79x61x36cm and 11.9kg, this entry-level Birdy is good rather than excellent when it comes to portability – small enough to go as luggage on a UK train but bulky beside a Brompton. Unfolded, it excels. The ride quality is outstanding for a bike with 18-inch wheels. There’s no hinge, and thus no flex, in the main frame, and the front and rear wheels benefit from 30-40mm of elastomer suspension. It’s comfortable and composed; you could ride it all day. The only downside is that there aren’t many UK retailers.
Cyclescheme Price: £919*
Airnimal Joey Sport
Every Airnimal, including the Joey Sport, is not so much a folder as a conventional bike that packs down for travel. Given 5-10 minutes, it will fit into an 87x66x35cm Airnimal Traveller Case (£279) for flying, while its ‘first fold’ takes only a minute and gets it to about 98x85x35cm. That’s small enough for a train’s end-of-carriage luggage rack, although as the wheels are 24 inches rather than 20 it counts as a bike rather than luggage. So be nice to the guard. On the plus side, bigger wheels give it the ride of a normal bike. It’s 11kg.
Cyclescheme Price: £1,049*