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Folding bikes can be rather expensive, with some models costing thousands. When faced with such a sizeable investment, choosing something that will be around for a long time is essential. So, how long will a foldable last?
Most folding bikes will last for at least 15 to 20 years. But, as long as you are taking care of it properly, it should be able to last for a lifetime. Most manufacturers will offer a warranty period of five years on the frame and two years on most other components.
Thankfully, most folding bikes have been built to last for a long time.
Simple actions, like storing the bike properly and performing regular maintenance, will help you extend its lifespan. Keep reading to learn more about ensuring your folding bike will last for years.
What Affects The Lifespan Of A Foldable Bike?
The most critical element is the quality of the materials and how the bike was constructed. The frame is the crucial part of a foldable bike; other components can be replaced. It’s recommended that cyclists consider the length of the warranty period and how they will use the bike.
Trying to determine how long your folding bike will last can be a challenging prospect. Let’s look at some of the things to consider.
Length of the Warranty Period
We can start by looking at how long the warranty period will last. During this period, any mechanical problems will be addressed by the manufacturer.
Frame breakages will also be covered.
However, many of these warranties will have a clause that dictates that you must take care of the bike. If you didn’t do this or misused the bike, it might void the warranty. In this case, the manufacturer will no longer repair the damage.
How long the warranty will be can depend on the brand and the component that will be covered. For example, let’s look at how Tern has structured their warranty period. There are three tiers:
- Tern components. These parts will be covered for a year.
- Frames, handlebars, and Forks. These will be covered for five years. An optional warranty extension can provide ten years of protection.
- Components not manufactured by Tern. These will come with a separate warranty.
This type of arrangement is common amongst most folding bike brands. The most common warranty period is five years.
Just because the warranty period runs out doesn’t mean that the bike needs to be replaced.
The most significant element that will determine how long foldable bikes last is the quality of the construction. Here are three important things you should be looking for:
- Frame. This is one of the most critical elements when choosing a folding bike. Steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber are the most common frame materials. There are pros and cons to each approach. Carbon fiber will be the lightest. But steel will be more durable. Generally, folding bike frames are built to the same stringent standards as conventional bikes.
- Chains. This element will require regular maintenance, like oiling it up. The good news is that if the chain breaks, you can have it replaced. Most of the time, it will last for 2,000 to 3,000 miles.
- Motor. If you have an electric bike, you must consider how long the motor will last. Generally, these will need to be replaced every 10,000 miles or 500 charging cycles.
Most of the parts on your bike can be replaced. As long as the frame isn’t cracked, there is no reason why you can’t keep using the bike. Because of this, it’s typical for folding bikes to last for at least 15 to 20 years.
How You Use The Bike
Finally, it’s crucial to consider how you use the bike. The more frequently you ride, the more often you will have to replace the bike.
It’s also beneficial to consider the type of conditions you are riding in. Foldable bikes are ideal for roads and streets. But they might struggle if you are taking them off-road.
How To Make Your Folding Bike Last Longer?
Regularly cleaning the chain is a crucial maintenance task. Remove any dirt and grime, then lubricate it. This will ensure that the wheel turns quickly. It’s also essential to cover the bike when storing it to keep moisture away and prevent rust from damaging the frame.
If you want your foldable bike to last for a long time, it’s important to make sure that you are maintaining it regularly by:
- Cleaning the chain. Since folding bike chains are lower to the ground, they often pick up more dirt and grime than conventional bikes and you will need to spend more time maintaining them. Once the chain is clean, lubricate it. Over time the chain might stretch out. When this happens, you’ll need to tighten and eventually replace it.
- Keeping the tires pumped up. This will make riding the bike a lot easier. Ideally, you should check your tire pressure before each ride.
- Inspecting the frame. You should inspect for any signs of cracking, especially around the hinges. If you spot this, you should take it to a bike shop for an inspection. This can be a rare precursor to the bike falling apart.
- Storing it properly. It’s important to make sure that the bike is dry before you put it away. This helps prevent rust. It’s a good idea to cover it. This stops dust from getting into the gears. Depending on the brand, a cover might come with the bike. If not, you should be able to buy one separately.
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What Are Some Signs It’s Time To Replace Your Folding Bike?
The most apparent sign is cracking on the frame. On a folding bike, this is most concerning when it is close to the hinges. This can be a precursor to a collapse. Another potential warning sign is a significant amount of rust on the frame. At other times, you might have been involved in a crash.
You might want to replace a folding bike for a few reasons. These can include:
- Cracks on the frame. A folding bike can place a lot of pressure on the hinges. Because of this, it will need to be repaired if it starts to develop severe cracking. This can be expensive, and some people might prefer to get a new bike instead.
- Rust. Rust might start eating away at the frame, making riding the bike unsafe. Plus, folding and unfolding the bike will become a challenge if the area around the hinge is affected.
- After a crash. A crash might do a lot of damage to the frame and components, sometimes denting or cracking them. If the bicycle’s damage is too severe, it might be cheaper to replace the bike.
- Want to upgrade? Folding bike technology is constantly evolving. Because of this, you might consider upgrading to a new and improved model. As a result, you will need to get rid of the old one. Here are my favorite folding bikes on the market today.
As long as you take care of your old bike, it will last for a long time. Because of this, you should be able to recoup some of the initial costs on the second-hand market.
Otherwise, replacing a few components every few years could just be a matter of replacing them. If you take this approach, your folding bike can last forever.
Folding bikes will be made to the same stringent standards as conventional bikes. As a result, you can expect folding bikes to have a long lifespan. In most cases, they will last for a minimum of 15 to 20 years.
Though they can last for decades if you purchase a high-quality bike and perform regular maintenance.
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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