by Marcus Leach
There was a time when the man with a folding bike would attract more than a few stares from fellow commuters and passers-by. But that was then and this is now. The last few years have seen the folding bike become so popular that it is almost a standard part of most commuter's attire.
And, believe it or not, there are an ever increasing range of folding bikes that are not made by Brompton, although the aforementioned does still provide some of the best options out there. Given all the choice you would be mistaken for not knowing which folding bike to tuck under your arm for the daily commute. Well fear no more, we are here to help by taking a look at the options available.
Brompton: If you are buying a Brompton you clearly have some extra cash in your budget, with bikes priced anywhere between £750 to almost £1,500, they are not for the more frugal amongst us. However, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for you, and this is the case with Brompton bicycles. Take the Brompton H6L for example, a folding bike built not only for the weekly commute but also the longer weekend ride. Complete with Brompton's H Type handlebar is for the rider that likes to sit in a more upright riding position the bike has six gears making it the ideal all round option.
Tern: Speaking of getting what you pay for, Tern have some of the most expensive options in the folding bike market. Their Verge X20 model comes in at a whopping £2300 but has been described as 'exceptional, a show-piece and speed demon wrapped in one'. So what makes it so good? For starters it comes with no less than twenty gears, making this the undisputed speed king of folding bicycles, so if you are running late for work don't stress it, on this bad boy you will make up time with ease. With many components made from titanium and aluminium the bike is very light, so easy to carry, and very durable. Finally it is quick to unfold, so no messing around trying to get going in the mornings.
Dahon: The brainchild of Dr David Hon, a former aerospace physicist and leading expert in solid-state laser technology, Dahon introduced the first ever folding bicycle to the market. Over the last thirty years they have been producing constantly top quality products at a reasonable price to boot. Their EEZZ model is a sleek ride that folds in a flash and is outfitted with a wardrobe of custom designed components to make it their fastest folding and riding 16” wheeled bike to date.
Raleigh: Not all folding bikes have to cost you an arm and a leg, and to prove that Raleigh have produced a range of sturdy bicycles that, whilst not in the same league as Tern and Brompton, are by no means a waste of money. Chief amongst them is the Stowaway 3, which will set you back in the region of £300, leaving plenty of change for your season ticket on the train, as well as a daily coffee before you get into the office. So what do you get for your money? With a 20in wheel the Stowaway feels more like a proper bike, although in a race it would be left lagging behind. That said, for it's price, this is a perfectly good option and will get you from A to B without any problems.
Cyclist's Pick: Taking into account value for money, quality of product and over all style we can't look past the Dahon EEZZ. Precisely built, high-end components and a great look this is easily the best value for your hard earned cash.