TH's Favorite Flexible, Folding Bikes from A to B


Transportation specialists talk about ‘mobility pathways’. In realspeak that’s how we move from one mobility mode to another on our journey from A to B. So an office worker, for example, might walk to a bus stop, catch a bus then hop onto a train and walk from the station through the Central Business District to the office. Linking up is the key to a smooth and hassle free journey. Bicycles that can be folded for easy stowage in a car, bus, train or aeroplane have long been regarded as an inherently sustainable transport mode. Choice is everything say the consumer gurus, but with over twenty manufacturers worldwide selecting the right bike for you can be a daunting task. In the extended entry is the one-minute guide from TreeHugger, created with great help from ::A to B who provide an excellent summary of top brands of folding bikes.Best overall performance and value:
Lightest bike:
Birdy and Bike Friday.

Most compact:
Brompton’s still the best

High end models:
::Moulton New Series, the ‘Rolls-Royce’ of folding bikes with hand-built space frames

Best British:
Brompton for it’s combination of tried-and-tested relability, compact rapid folding and value-for money.

Best American:
Bike Friday’s demountable bikes

Best Rest-of-the-world:
Dahon of Taiwan who manufactures over 250,000 folding bikes per annum including badged versions for Ridgeback, Rudge, Dawes and Compass Marine.

Best range of bikes:
Bike Friday range includes for touring/commuting (Metro, New World Tourist and Crusoe), off-roading and expeditions (the Pocket Llama), road and triathalon racing (Pocket Rocket, AirFriday) and for the frequent air traveller (AirGlide). Bike Friday now also makes a performance folding recumbent and a tandem model

Best commuter:
Brompton; it’s all been said before

Best tourer:
Moulton New Series with comfort and luxury in a hi-tech space-frame

Best off-road:
Bike Friday’s Pocket Llama for that get-away-from-it-all feeling

Best looks!:
This is a tough one with some new challengers not mentioned by A to B, such as the ixi. Traditional aesthetics: Brompton, Moulton; Cutting-edge: ::Airnimal and ::iXi and ::Strida.

[by © Alastair Fuad-Luke, 2005.]