A Good Fold

Try to buy a foldie (folding bike) and a consumer is assaulted by a slew of choices and might I add, “each brands only 1 or 2 points of uniquely but trumpeted loudly”, so loud it clouds one’s reasoning and decision making.

So began my search, from Bromptons, to Crius, to Tern, to Dahon, to Tonino?. Interestingly nothing caught my fancy. Not that they were no good, on the contrary, some brands are very top-end with top-end $$$ of course 🙂

On the 5th of May this year, I bought my first folding bike. After having considered various brands and their even more varied options.

My main, top, high consideration for this bike was… the color, yes, ROFL, the color.
(nooo, there were other considerations)

IMG_20170522_142428

The color is something which I don’t see around too often.

There were other considerations:

***Buy from a shop that sells predominantly foldies. They know what to look out for. As in the case of the seat post. The shop was very nice to change the seat post for me FOC. The stock post was a nightmare to adjust. Saddle is from my old bike 😛

  1. Color – as mentioned, this rakes up 50% of my decision. I wanted something out of the usual Black, Silver, Red, Yellow… I know, it gets boring…
  2. Folding – compact when folded, so 26″ folding bikes are out. I needed 1min to fold this first time, by the 3rd try, I took 30secs.
    So you see, it is a matter of practice.
  3. Along with folding, comes “how often in a trip am I going to fold/unfold?“, for me: 1x, 2x per trip per day…
    I can’t justify the cost a “fast fold-er” for just folding 2x a trip yes?
  4. Availability of parts – when things break, or needed upgrading, can I find them easily and cheaply?
    This Raleigh fit the bill perfectly, I can even install a HollowTech bottom bracket should I fancy.
  5. Gearing – I’ll be using my foldie the way I use my road bike, the folding is the added feature to get me onto multi-modal should I decide to.
    So 8 speeds is the way to go. Easier to find cassettes than freewheels.
  6. Wheelbase – I prefer a long wheelbase bike, more stable and rolls better.
    This Raleigh has a wheelbase that is 1.5cm longer than my road bike.
  7. No disc brakes – ever hear squealing discs, they get on my nerves.
  8. Price – at $369. You can’t beat this, considering the above have been fulfilled.

IMG_20170522_140210Check out the Union Jack decal on the chain-stay.

Some things I didn’t bother to consider too much:

  1. Weight – lighter than a Brommie, but heavier than my road bike. But hey it is for riding, not lifting you know.
  2. Components class – this comes with a Claris.
    Want speed, distance?
    Ride more, ride faster, ride HILLS.
    <Engine more important than gears>
  3. What speeds can this hit?” – 70% rider specs, just change to slick tyres later on for some help.

 

IMG_20170522_140404

Good old-fashion cup and cone hubs. I.e. easy bearing upgrades.

img_20170522_145004.jpg

I’m a bit fussy with ringer color, but managed to get one that matches perfectly.

How does it ride? << most importantly

Disclaimer: I am not the most qualified to review bikes, so my comparison is vs my road bike (a Shimano 105, fitted with Continental GP4000s ii).

I must say Raleigh didn’t get the good points they deserve in this bike. Trial ride in the shop, it is stable (I trial rode a B, and a Crius, this foldie is the most stable of the lot).
I am a bit fussy on “too twitchy” as it wastes latent energy on long rides.

IMG_20170522_141826.jpgI believe those are for rack? With standard V-brakes.

Out of the shop and I managed to top roughly 30kph on the road (the sky threatened rain lah). I reckoned I maintained that for a junction.

  • The ride is smooth, gears shift well. It is Claris vs 105s after all. And I attribute shifting to proper indexing and tuning more than components, in this case the shop did a terrific job.
  • On the pavement, traffic junctions, the stock Kenda KWest was easy to roll off, or accelerate.
  • I actually fitted my Duranos (P) the next day to compare… no diff. In fact I can drop PSI significantly in the Kendas with minimal impact on the rolling resistance.
    Dropping PSI is for comfort 🙂

I joined my usual bike group and we went for a “relaxed” ride… with some climbs. Easy to climb with. And I even skated 33km the day before mind you. I actually struggled those hills in my road bike… I am still puzzled.

Was caught in the rain yesterday, and the Kendas took the wet roads like a pro. No slipping.

Braking, it brakes when you need it to. Nothing much there.

Future plans:

  1. Cycle more
  2. Cycle faster
  3. Cycle longer
  4. Cycle overseas
  5. Change to slick tyres (Panaracers maybe)
  6. Wheelset upgrade (if I don’t burst my budget with my off-road skates)

Why this post: I feel that Raleigh got a winner in this foldie. But the marketing is missing. Hope that anyone reading this gets a clearer picture of what they want in a foldie.

Focus on what you want the bike to do, not just what companies tell you the bike can do.

(nope, I’m not paid for this post, paid for the bike with my own money + bus fare to pick it up).

Finally Ride More, Ride Hills, Ride Safe 😀

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2 Responses to “A Good Fold”

  1. Hi thanks for sharing your experience!! I’m considering getting a foldie and Brompton though expensive is one of my choices due to the folding mechanism and the fact that I can push it around when folded. Can Raleigh be rolled when folded?

    • Hi Irene, this bike can be rolled. I must say that if you are expecting to fold and roll once or twice per trip, then it is ok.

      If you are looking at many folds and rolls in a single trip, the B is the best.

      I’ve removed the magnets from the bike and am using a canvas strap to hold it when rolling. The magnets can’t do the job.

      Btw rolling the bike w the handlebar unfolded is easier as you can push with it. I also reversed the saddle, so that I can push with the saddle’s nose.

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