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There are lots of things to consider when choosing a bike. Comfort, affordability, and size are all essential elements. But safety should always be at the top of the list. So, are folding bikes safe for riders?
Yes. Foldable bikes are considered safe, having gone through an extensive testing process. Issues like suspension or steering difficulties can occur. But these are minor concerns. Cyclists can improve safety through simple actions like wearing helmets and regular maintenance.
A folding bike can be the ideal way to make your commute to work a little easier.
But if you are going to be using them every day, you want to ensure that they will be safe to use. Keep reading to learn about any potential safety issues associated with folding bikes and how you can overcome them.
What Are The Main Problems With Folding Bikes?
The smaller wheels might make these bikes harder to control and cause suspension control problems. At other times, assembly issues or excessive weight can be placed onto the frame. These issues, though, tend to be relatively minor and shouldn’t compromise the rider’s safety.
The good news is that folding bikes usually don’t cause safety problems.
But that doesn’t mean that they are perfect. Here are the most common folding bike problems you might face and how to address them.
1. Folding Bikes Can Be Harder To Control
Foldable bikes have smaller wheels than conventional ones. This can make them more sensitive to steering changes. Because of this, some users have reported being harder to control.
But this usually isn’t a big problem.
You should put in a little extra time when learning how to ride a folding bike. This will allow you to get used to how it handles, so you don’t get into accidents.
2. Smaller Wheels Offer Less Suspension
Another potential problem is that the smaller wheels offer less suspension. As a result, you will feel bumps in the road. Some riders have even been thrown from their bike.
In most cases, hitting a pothole will result in a jolt. While this might be a little uncomfortable for the rider, it isn’t going to create any significant problems.
The jolt can also place more pressure on the bike hinges, which might snap. Because of this, you should keep your eyes open when riding, avoiding potholes.
3. Foldable Bikes Have A Lower Weight Limit
All bikes will have a set weight limit. This is determined based on the force the frame can withstand. If you exceed this, there is a chance that the hinges could snap. Though rare, as discussed in the next section, it can happen.
The weight limit for a foldable bike is a little lower than for a traditional bike. Here are the standard figures:
- The average foldable bike can hold between 220 to 250 pounds (100 to 110kg)
- Most conventional bikes can carry around 300 pounds (136kg)
It’s best to check with the manufacturer’s instructions before you start riding. You shouldn’t have any problems if you don’t overload the bike.
4. You May Face Assembly Issues
When you first get used to the folding bike, carrying it can be a little awkward. Sometimes, you might get stuck trying to get the bike through a narrow space.
At other times, you might jab your fingers while trying to set it up. Once you get used to getting it set up, though, you shouldn’t have any problems.
While these situations might be painful, they will only affect beginner cyclists. As you gain experience, you’ll get better at assembling and transporting the bike.
In general, though, the process of riding a folding bike is the same as riding a regular model. They usually have to meet the same safety standards as conventional bikes.
Will A Folding Bike Collapse While You’re Riding It?
It is rare for a foldable bike to collapse; due to the stringent safety measures they need to meet. But these events have happened. It’s recommended that cyclists choose bikes made from quality materials and perform regular inspections to reduce the risk of collapse.
A conventional bike has a solid frame, which can take an exceptional amount of force. However, a folding bike won’t. You will need to assemble it yourself. This has caused some people to become concerned that the frame will collapse.
Historically, folding bikes have been recalled because of the chance that they will collapse. However, this is rare.
There are a few reasons why these collapses might occur, including:
- Materials. Some manufacturers have tried to reduce costs by using budget materials. However, this weakens the overall structure of the bike.
- Hinge points breaking. Manufacturers must consider where the hinges on the bike are. These bike points will face the most stress and are most likely to collapse.
- User error. It’s essential to make sure that you are assembling the bike correctly. Check that all the hinges have been properly put into place. Avoid overtightening the nuts. It’s also important to check the weight restrictions and maintain a regular bike maintenance routine.
Provided you stick to a reputable manufacturer, you shouldn’t face any of these problems. If you have an issue with a new bike, it will usually be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.
To ensure you are safe, you should inspect it for cracks every few months. These are most concerning when they occur around the hinges.
A small crack doesn’t mean you must stop riding the bike. Some people have continued to ride a bike for a few years after discovering the damage. But you should take it to a professional for an examination.
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What Are Some Safety Tips When Using A Folding Bike?
If you want to ride a folding bike safely, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. Here are some of the protocols that you should be following:
- Wearing safety gear. This is important, regardless of which type of bike you are riding. You’ll need to wear a helmet and some kind of reflective clothing.
- Adding lights. You need to make sure that cars can see you coming. Because of this, you should have lights at the front and rear of the bike.
- Follow the rules of the road. Though you might have a cycle lane, you still need to pay attention to fellow road users. This is especially important when approaching a car. Some drivers can open their doors without looking, so try to stay at least three feet away from any parked vehicle.
- Maintain the bike regularly. It’s a good idea to ensure that the tire pressures and chain have been correctly maintained before you start riding. In particular, look for any stress around the bike’s hinge points. This is usually a precursor of the bike collapsing.
Usually, though, as long as you use some common sense, you shouldn’t have any problems.
Safety should be a key consideration when choosing a folding bike. The good news is that foldable bikes have an exceptional track record.
Their frames should be just as strong as a traditional bike.
Despite strong regulation, some folding bike brands might try to skirt the law with inferior materials, which might be liable to breaking. But as long as you purchase from a trusted seller, you shouldn’t have to worry about the quality of the product.
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.
This free cheat sheet will help you choose a folding bike by providing quick information on the 7 key considerations when buying a foldable bicycle!
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