The Star Malaysia - Star2

Pros and cons of folding bikes

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IT’S hard to take a subway or suburban train these days without seeing at least one – folding bikes have become extremely popular and encourage users to turn to multiple modes of transport.

Much easier to carry around than a convention­al bicycle, there are some drawbacks involved with buying and using one, such as their weight, which can discourage some, and their price.

Advantages

1. Easy to (un)fold

With a little practice, folding and unfolding one of these bikes on a daily basis is actually quite simple and quick, thanks to their dedicated hinges. Relatively compact, they fit easily into the trunk of a car and are easy to carry on public transport. Note that there are all kinds of types of folding bikes, including electric and even sport-oriented models.

2. Easier to avoid theft

A folding bike is easier to safeguard against thieves than a convention­al model. It takes little effort to store it folded – which is recommende­d – at home or at work, rather than leaving it around outside, where thieves can see it.

3. Good for the environmen­t

Riding a bike, whether it’s foldable or not, is a green action, as it doesn’t entail any CO2 emissions, and therefore has minimal, if any, harmful impact on the environmen­t. As part of a multi-mode journey, the folding bike can also replace the car or the bus on short trips.

Disadvanta­ges

1. Heavy

Using a folding bike also means having to carry a vehicle weighing more than 10kg, something that puts many people off. An electric model can even weigh as much as 20kg. So when choosing a model, make sure that you can transport it without difficulty – and even weigh it before buying it.

2. Fragile

The structure of a folding bike is by definition fragile, particular­ly if it is being folded and unfolded daily. The hinges, along with the frame, are the fastest parts to get worn out and deform. While steel designs may be heavier, such structures are generally stronger than aluminium ones. Each rider needs to find the right compromise for themselves.

3. Can be less comfortabl­e

The more compact a bike is, the

smaller its wheels are. When it’s being ridden, this can lead to a certain instabilit­y, depending on the condition of the road. The worse it is, the more uncomforta­ble the bike will be to ride. This is particular­ly noticeable on paved or uneven roads.

4. Skyrocketi­ng prices

The price of folding bicycles is certainly one of the major obstacles to the purchase of this type of vehicle.

With the same options, a folding bike is always more expensive than a classic model. While prices for a convention­al bike can start at around US$200 (RM832), a classic folding bike can easily go up to US$800 (RM3,328) or US$900 (RM3,743) and sometimes even more than US$1,500 (RM6,239) for a high-performing model (lightweigh­t with several speeds).

 ??  ?? It is not uncommon to come across users carrying their folding bike on public transport. — AFP
It is not uncommon to come across users carrying their folding bike on public transport. — AFP

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