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Foldable bikes are slightly smaller than regular bikes. This provides more convenience, as they will be easier to store. But there is concern about whether the compact design could affect its performance.
So, are foldable bikes harder to ride than a regular bike?
No. Foldable bikes aren’t harder to ride than a conventional model. After a few trips, the cyclist should adapt to the new biking experience. Foldable bikes can be ridden over long distances comfortably. Plus, they can achieve similar speeds to traditional bicycles.
Though there are distinctions between foldable bikes and regular options, performance isn’t one of them. As long as you choose the right type of foldable bike, you should be able to ride comfortably.
Keep reading to learn more about how it feels to ride a foldable bike and some tips you can use to create a better experience.
Is A Foldable Bike Difficult To Ride?
Usually, foldable bikes are comfortable to ride. Though a few elements, like the wheels’ size and the frame’s weight, will impact performance. It’s recommended that cyclists set aside a few shorter trips to familiarize themselves with the intricacies of riding a foldable bike.
Usually, the experience of riding a foldable will be similar to riding a regular road bike.
These devices have been engineered to ensure that you sit and pedal the same way. That said, there are a few key differences, including:
- Smaller wheels
- High seat post
- The frame might be a little less sturdy than a regular bike
Because of this, riders who move from regular to folding bikes might feel slightly different. The folding variety might be a little finicky and marginally harder to control.
This is because the smaller wheels give them a tighter turn radius.
However, this will just take a bit of getting used to. If this is your first time riding a foldable bike, here are some of the things you might want to do:
- Plan a shorter trip. It’s a good idea to take shorter trips to get used to how it feels to ride a foldable bike. Once you are comfortable, you will be able to ride longer distances.
- Take it slow. It can take a few minutes to adjust to any new bike. During this period, you should avoid pushing yourself too hard.
The good news is that it should only take a few minutes to get used to the new foldable bike.
Another common problem is that a foldable bike can be more sensitive to potholes.
Because the wheels are smaller than a regular bike, they will be more susceptible to shocks.
There isn’t a lot that riders can do about this. It’s best to scan the path ahead and avoid any rough areas.
Though each foldable bike will be slightly different. Here are some of the elements that can affect the bike’s performance:
- How stiff the frame is
- The position of the handlebars
- How big the wheels are
- Padding in the seat
- Type of suspension
It’s a good idea to take a prospective bike for a road trip before deciding if it’s the right choice.
Can You Ride A Foldable Bike Over A Long Distance?
Cyclists shouldn’t have a problem riding a foldable bike over a long distance. They might need to make a few adjustments, like customizing the tires or changing the suspension. Sometimes, choosing an electric model for uphill sections might be best.
A foldable bike will often be used for a shorter trip to work.
But some people might want to take it for a more extended trip. Usually, a touring bike will be used for these journeys. If you are short on space, you might have to use a folding bike.
There are a few reasons why you might want to go on a longer trip with a foldable bike.
First, you will be able to fold it up.
This makes it easy to store it on an overnight trip, allowing you to check into a hotel. Plus, you can take it on public transport.
Though, many of these bikes are designed for short trips. On a longer journey, you can expect a few potential problems. These include:
- Smaller wheels. This means that you will need to spend more effort pedaling. It can also make it harder to control the bike as you are going downhill. Choosing a six-speed can make the process of getting uphill a little easier. You might also want to consider a manufacturer, like Brompton, which makes electric bikes. This will give you a little extra push to get up an onerous section.
- Might need to customize the tires. It’s best to choose a bike that comes with thick rubber tires. This will ensure that you have enough tread to go the whole distance.
- Unable to go off-road. It’s rare to find a foldable bike capable of handling the more demanding off-road terrain. Though you might be able to find a bike that comes with a mudguard, which can make traveling in brutal weather a little easier.
- Lack of suspension. As we mentioned, smaller wheels mean you are more likely to feel every bump in the road. On a long journey, this can quickly become uncomfortable. Because of this, it’s a good idea to find a bike that comes with some type of suspension.
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Can You Go Fast On A Foldable Bike?
Most foldable bikes will allow you to travel 10 to 12 miles per hour. This is roughly equivalent to what you can achieve on a traditional bicycle. The speeds you can achieve will depend on a few factors, including the weight of the bike and the technique used.
Another critical area to consider is how fast you can go on a foldable bike. There is a perception that foldable bikes aren’t as fast as traditional bikes because of their smaller wheels.
But this isn’t true.
You can usually achieve similar speeds to a traditional bike, with most cyclists going between 10 to 12 miles per hour on a foldable bike.
If you want to travel quickly on a foldable bike, there are a few things that you will need to consider. These include:
- Weight of the bike. A lightweight folding bike will be easier to accelerate than a heavier bike. This is a significant advantage of foldable bikes, which are compact.
- Tire pressure. The correct air pressure in the tires will allow you to reduce resistance, making it easier to roll along.
- Maintenance of the bike. It’s essential to take care of the bike. Things like lubricating the chain will make riding a lot easier.
- Improve your technique. This is the most crucial element of all. You can make several simple changes to your riding technique to help you travel as fast as possible. Something as simple as wearing more aerodynamic clothes to reduce wind resistance can make a huge difference.
- Consider changing the handlebars. Most folding bikes are built for comfy trips around the city rather than achieving high speeds. Because of this, the handlebars might make it hard to get into a hunched position, which is more wind resistant.
Foldable bikes are straightforward to ride. You should adjust to the cycle and learn how to handle it within a few sessions. After this, they can provide a comfortable way to ride to work each day. Or you can use them for touring over longer distances.
Mark PlummerMark Plummer is an experienced bike mechanic who has built, repaired, and customized thousands of bikes over the years. A former mountain biking athlete, his cycling adventures have taken him all over the globe from the mountains of Scotland to the South Island of New Zealand. These days he enjoys the benefits of commuting to work and touring on his Dahon and Brompton folding bikes.
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