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*
Cheap doesn’t have to mean nasty. Choose wisely and you can buy a decent new commuter bike for £250 or less.
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