If you are not familiar with the bicycle glossary, yet you want to buy a new folding bike, then it would be wise to read through our article.
We have made a list of all of the common folding bike specifications. This list is meant to get you acquainted with folding bicycles, and help you with deciding which bike to buy.
- Aluminum: Aluminum frames are lightweight, and they are rust-free. These facts make aluminum a very common choice. One of the problems is that aluminum can bend easily, that is why it isn't dominant in the market. On the positive side, aluminum costs considerably less than carbon fiber and other advanced lightweight materials. You will see aluminum described as the alloy.
- Steel: Steel's strength and rigidity has been known for ages. That is why people have been using steel frames for over 100 years. The biggest problem of steel is its weight. A steel bicycle is not light, so keep that in mind if you want to carry your folding bike with yourself often. Another problem with steel is that it rusts easily. This means that you will have to keep your bike somewhere dry at all times.
- Chromoloy: Chromoloy is similar to steel, but during the manufacturing process, it is carbonized. Carbonization creates a frame that is strong and rigid, yet not heavy. Chromoloy folding bikes are the most common type of a folding bike. This is because they are easy to ride, light to carry, yet not too expensive.
- Carbon Fiber: Carbon fiber folding bikes are a good choice if you are a careful person. Carbon fiber is light, but it isn't as rigid as steel. These types of folding bicycle frames can crack if you are not taking good care of them. If you have enough money, and if you are willing to take good care of it, go for a carbon fiber bike.
- Titanium: Titanium folding bikes are the most expensive ones, but well worth the money. Titanium isn't heavy, yet it is extremely durable. If you take good care of your titanium bicycle, it will last you for many years. If you have the money required to own a titanium folding bicycle, go for it!
- Single speed: As the name implies, these folding bikes have only one gear ratio. These bikes are rid of problems with slipping gears or shifting cables, and they are less expensive. You should buy a single speed bike only if you ride mostly on flat roads.
- Hub gears: Hub gears usually come with three speeds up to 8 speeds, and they are suitable for riding on small steep roads. The gears and lubricants are attached withing the hub shell, hence the name. The advantage of having the gears in a hub shell is that they are protected from dirt and rain. This type of gearing doesn't require as much maintenance as the derailleur gears do.
- Derailleur gears: This system is commonly used on folding mountain bikes. It consists of multiple gear options, and it allows you to tackle rough routes. Using derailleur gears requires more concern with chain shifting. This type of gearing also requires the most maintenance due to exposure to the elements.
- 16 inches: This size is the smallest one usually available. The size of 16" is best for situations where agility is important. Small-sized wheels make your bike lighter and more compact. Another benefit of having small wheels is that you can make quick turns. However, bikes with 16" wheels aren't stable over bumps.
- 20 inches: This is the most common wheel size on folding bicycles. This size offers you the ability to turn corners quickly, and the stability is at a higher level than with 16" wheels. Bicycles utilizing this size of wheels are versatile, and they can be folded down to a small size.
- 24 inches: Bikes with 24" wheels aren't able to fold down to very small sizes, but they are still pretty compact. The biggest advantage of folding bikes with 24" wheels is that they have a smooth ride. This wheel size is a good choice if you want to mix convenience with comfort.
- 26 inches: This wheel size is the standard for mountain bikes. This means that a folding bicycle with 26" wheels is probably a mountain bike. These tires have grips which allow you to go off-road. While you can cover rough ground with ease, you can't fold up bikes with 26" wheels as good as the bikes with smaller wheels.
- Rigid forks: As the name implies, these forks are immovable since the fork ends and crowns are connected by blades. If you tend to ride your bicycle in an urban setting, then the rigid forks will perform well. But, if you want to go over rough surfaces, you should think about getting a folding bike with suspension forks.
- Suspension forks: These are a perfect choice if you need shock absorption. Suspension forks provide you with greater flexibility and mobility. They can be found in most mountain folding bikes.
- V-brakes (linear pull): This is the most popular brake system found in folding bicycles. Two arms reach out over bicycle tires and hold the rim. This prevents the bicycle from moving. V-brakes can easily be fixed with some basic tools. The only problem with V-brakes is that they aren't powerful in rainy weather. Even so, these brakes are popular due to their simplicity and the ease of usage.
- Coaster brakes: These brakes are designed to stay internal, which makes them unaffected by weather conditions. Coaster brakes start to work when you pedal backward. Folding bikes with coaster brakes are compact and tidy because there are no cables running from the handlebars.
- Disc brakes: This is the most powerful and accurate type of brakes. These brakes should be able to stop your bicycle in an instant. Disc brakes are commonly seen on high-end mountain folding bikes. Disc brakes offer excellent performance, but at a high cost.
We hope that we have managed to teach you a few things to look out for when buying a folding bicycle. Make sure that you know what you will be using your folding bike for. Now you know that a folding bicycle can have many uses, you just have to find one which fits your budget. Consider the terrain you will be crossing, and consider where you will be storing your new folding bike. We wish you good luck and long years of pleasant riding!