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Recently, you’ve been considering buying a new bike. You have to commute too far from home, and you’re tired of how long it takes you to get from point A to point B.
A folding bike seems like an excellent and affordable option for you, but you want to see if anything else is interesting for you. You quickly find electric scooters, quick and light. Now you’re conflicted.
Should you get a folding bike or a scooter?
A folding bike is better for those who prefer a portable bike, live in hilly areas, or have rougher roads. They can also handle wet weather and temperature extremes better than electric scooters. An electric scooter is better if you ride on smooth terrain and prefer speed over portability.
Both of these vehicles are suitable means of transportation. Folding bikes and scooters have their benefits to owning them. Consider why you’re purchasing it and your budget before buying one.
Please keep reading to learn about folding bikes and scooters and which one is the best fit for you.
Why You Should Buy a Folding Bike or a Scooter
There are many factors to consider when choosing between a folding bike and a scooter, such as the price, how easy it is to transport, how long your model will last, safety, and more.
The easiest way to choose between a folding bike and a scooter is to compare their differences. Listed below are some of the benefits of owning each and the key differences between the two.
Benefits of a Folding Bike
There are many benefits to owning a folding bike. First and foremost, folding bikes are easy to travel with. When folded, they will be a little larger than a suitcase, so they will be easy to take on public transport. Plus, folding and unfolding them will be pretty quick.
Many popular foldable bikes can be able to ride in 30 to 45 seconds.
If you plan to ride off-road, a foldable bike is better than a scooter. Though you will need to be selective about which model you use.
Not all of them will be able to handle the rough conditions. You’ll need to look for a foldable mountain bike. These will come with larger tires (most are 26 inches) and a more robust frame.
Foldable bikes are durable and unlikely to break suddenly.
They are also safe to use in rough terrain and rain; the water will not rust or ruin your bike. However, these bikes require a healthy dose of maintenance.
Some of the most common maintenance activities needed will include:
- Checking the air pressure in the tires. You’ll need to do this once every one to two weeks.
- Cleaning dirt. While a fender can keep mud off your clothes when riding, you will still need to clean the wheels and the chains occasionally.
- Wear and tear on parts. You might have to remove and replace components like brakes or chains. It’s recommended to have a tune-up once a year.
There are also some health benefits to using a folding bike, such as:
- An excellent form of cardio exercise. This can help with weight loss, improve heart health, and build core and leg muscles. Because of this, the NHS recommends that you get at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise, like cycling, each week.
- Mental health benefits. Physical exercise is also a great way of improving your mental health. Regular exercise is an effective way of controlling anxiety and lowering depression risk.
Benefits of a Scooter
Though some folding bikes will come with an electric motor, this feature is commonly found in scooters. These motors allow scooters to achieve high speeds.
Depending on the model you select, you can travel up to 20 to 30 miles an hour. The top-of-the-line models can go over 50 miles an hour. Though some cities might impose speed limits, so check local laws.
The speed of a folding bike will depend on the owner’s fitness. But most people can travel at 12 to 15 miles an hour.
The downside is that electric scooters have a somewhat limited range.
Most of the time, you can go 10 to 80 miles before needing to recharge the battery. Because they are battery-operated, you will need an area to park your scooter to charge it at night.
A scooter is meant to be efficient and convenient to use.
Scooters are made to be ridden on smooth ground and will struggle if you try to take them off-road. Even relatively minor obstacles, like speed bumps, can be difficult for scooters.
What are the Key Differences Between Folding Bikes and Scooters?
There are five key differences between scooters and folding bikes. Many other differences exist, but the most common and noticeable differences are listed below.
In both of these cases, numerous elements will impact the price, and these include factors like:
- Brand name
- Whether it has an electric motor
- Build quality
In this area, though, they are roughly equal. A basic folding bike or e-scooter will start at around $300 to $500. If you want a more advanced model with more features, you can pay $1,500 or more.
Many electric folding bikes will be at the upper end of this price range. Generally, an electric scooter might be a little more expensive to purchase upfront.
After buying a folding bike, you need to factor in maintenance costs. This can include yearly tune-ups at the local bike shop and the cost of replacement parts. This can be around $75 if you are doing it yourself or $150 to $200 if you opt to use a bike shop.
However, an electric scooter requires less maintenance.
But if something goes wrong, it can be a considerable expense, like the need to purchase a replacement battery. This can be upwards of $300, plus installation.
3. Source of Energy
A battery motor powers an electric scooter. It can be charged and ready for you to go. Sometimes, you can get a folding bike with a battery and motor. But most of the time, it will rely on human pedal power.
4. Travel Convenience
A folding bike can be folded and taken to other means of transportation, such as the train or a bus. This is convenient if you get tired of cycling on the way to your destination.
Scooters are also relatively easy to fold into a compact package.
Folding bikes can be used in either urban or rural areas. It should be able to cope with rougher roads. If you want, you can find a foldable mountain bike instead.
A scooter is designed to go over smooth surfaces, so traveling around bumpier and hillier areas is not ideal for scooters. They might also struggle during the winter months, as it can be trickier for their tires to gain traction on snowy roads.
Furthermore, there will be a temperature limit for the battery. Because of this, you might need to find an alternative form of transport on days of extreme heat or cold.
Scooters are not waterproof, so you must check the weather before riding a scooter. Unlike scooters, folding bikes can withstand rain and water.
This free cheat sheet will help you choose a trike by providing quick information on the 7 key considerations for buying an adult tricycle!
Folding Bike vs. Scooter: Which is Better?
Now that you know the benefits of owning a folding bike or a scooter and the differences, it’s time to decide which one is better for you!
Generally, a scooter will give you more speed.
You don’t need to pedal so they will provide a more passive riding experience. Even better, they are easy to maintain, though things can get expensive when you have a mechanical problem.
On the other hand, folding bikes will be better during harsh weather.
It also provides a more active riding experience if you want to get a workout on your way to the office.
They can also deal with a broader range of terrain and be more effective over longer distances, while an e-scooter can be limited by battery range.
Remember that both a folding bike and a scooter are valid options, do not be afraid to choose one.
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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