5 Tips Before Buying a Foldable Bike in Singapore
Getting a foldable bicycle feels like buying a car these days. Foldable bikes (some dub them as ‘foldies’) are now moving past the realm of daily commutes and last-mile transportation options. There are versions of these snazzy contraptions that are built for high-performance cycling too. Each model comes with its own unique features, anything from wheel sizes to folding systems. And there are a plethora of choices that’ll suit any price range too, though you could get a pretty decent folding bike for a few hundred dollars. Before you get into a tizzy, here are some tips before buying a foldable bike in Singapore by the Tropika Club team.
Table of Contents
1. Know What Your Foldie is For
Even before you step into a bike store or scour the depths of the Amazon store, knowing what you’re using your folding bike is for will help you greatly in your search. There are a wide range of bike riding after all: commuting, urban riding, leisure riding, mountain biking. A foldie that’s more compact might not necessarily mean it’s the most comfortable for recreational riding.
If you’re using it for your daily commute, or if you have limited space at home, a compact foldable bike might work better for you. Alternatively, if you’re planning to tear up a mountain trek, a good, more comfortable saddle might be a better investment.
2. Wheel Size Matters
The size of the wheels can affect how you ride your bike, and how portable your bike can be. Wheel diameters can range anywhere from 14 inches to as large as 26 inches. As a general rule, smaller wheels give you better manoeuvrability. And with their smaller size, you can accelerate quicker and climbing easier.
If you’re looking for a folding bike for your commute, having a smaller wheel size could make it easier for you to carry it on and off public transport. However, it means that any bump on your path will have a greater effect on your ride comfort because smaller wheels have a steeper angle of attack.
That’s why foldable bicycles with larger wheels are more ideal for conquering rough terrain. With larger wheels comes better traction too, since there is more rubber in contact with the ground.
No one wants a bike that falls apart because of a sharp corner. Another thing that some riders may neglect is the availability of replacement parts for the bike’s inner tubes and tires. So do remember to find out where to get the spares, and make sure that the rims have the right sizes. Most bike sizes are marked according to the ISO standard (ISO 5775), a system originally developed by ETRTO (European Tire and Rim Technical Organization).
3. Choosing The Frame and Design
This affects the price quite considerably. But remember Point 1.: Know What Your Foldie is For. If you’re mainly using it for your commute, designs with complex frames or folding mechanisms might defeat the very purpose of getting a foldable bicycle.
If you need a high-performance bike for your training, you might want to have a design that’s more durable and lightweight. Of course, that comes with a pretty penny too. But these lightweight bikes might not fare too well on rough roads, as these designs may not be able to handle the extra stress in their ball bearings, wheel spokes, and joints.
4. Mind the LTA Rules
Following a six-month trial, commuters can bring their foldable bicycles, as well as other Personal Mobility Devices, onto public transport all day since 1 June 2017. Below are some guidelines by the Land Transport Authority. Do take note!
• Foldable bicycles and personal mobility devices (PMDs) must not exceed 120cm by 70cm by 40cm when folded.
• Foldable bicycles and PMDs must be folded at all times in MRT and LRT stations, bus interchanges and terminals, and on trains and buses.
• Commuters must not ride their foldable bicycles and PMDs in MRT and LRT stations, and bus interchanges and terminals. Commuters should instead push or carry their folded devices.
• Wheels of foldable bicycles and PMDs must be wrapped up if they are dirty or wet.
• Protruding parts – such as handle bars and bicycle pedals – likely to cause injury or damage property must be covered up or retracted.
• Only one foldable bicycle or PMD is allowed on a bus at any one time, in general.
• Foldable bicycles and PMDs are not allowed on the upper deck of a bus or on the staircase leading to the upper deck.
5. Keep an Eye on Maintenance and Warranty Support
This comes with finding the right bike shop. Most of the time, the warranty for your foldable bike is attached to the bike shop you got your bike from, where the shop would be the one providing maintenance, servicing and support.
We’ve yet to discover or invent a material like Vibranium, so there’s yet to be an indestructible foldable bike. So skilled bike technicians and mechanics can become crucial to your foldie’s maintenance. Make sure to do your homework in finding shops with genuine positive reviews, and stick to buying from a registered dealer for the foldable bike brand that you’re eyeing. So, getting a foldable bicycle online or via parallel import might not be the best idea as it can be more difficult to make use of the warranty.
Like a good car dealer, most reputable bike shops have a wide range of bikes for you to try, or at least have a few of the best-selling bikes that they can let you take for a spin. And in the bicycle industry, the warranty for your foldable bike isn’t transferrable too! So finding the right bike shop can give you peace of mind when you’re getting the perfect bike for yourself.
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