Already a commuter classic, the folding bike is still relatively new on the cycling scene. But they're not just for commuters who want to be able to hop on a bus or train with their bike, as well as store it under their desk at work. They can also be a fantastic choice for anyone with limited storage at home or anyone who wants to be able to easily transport their bike. Folding bikes collapse down into a handy portable size, ideal for carrying upstairs, throwing in the boot of your car or even checking in as cabin baggage on an aeroplane.
A key factor in choosing the right folding bike for you is wheel size. There are generally five sizes to choose from, ranging from compact 16-inch wheels to the full-sized 26-inch wheels. Obviously, the smaller the wheel, the more compact your folding bike will be when folded down. So, if storage space is at a premium, opt for one of the smaller wheel sizes.
However, some cyclists find the smaller wheels give a slightly bumpier riding experience. Larger wheels will simply roll over bumps and cracks. Probably the most popular wheel size for compromising compact folding with a pleasurable cycling experience is the 20-inch option. This middling size is still conveniently portable but should give a stable and smooth ride.
Folding bikes are beginning to showcase many of the same desirable features as their non-folding counterparts. Suspension, for example, is a must for many mountain bikers and can now be found on plenty of the top folding bikes. Front wheel-only suspension (or hardtail) bikes are often more affordable than full suspension models and will smooth things out sufficiently for all but most daring downhill mountain bikers. Other great features to look out for include multi-speed gears, lightweight frames and kickstands for easy parking.