Foldable Love

Urban cycling has taken a stylish turn. From utilitarian city bikes, to mechanically efficient fixies to ultra-compact foldies, clever designing and technological improvements have turned what used to be clunky, sluggish and old-fashioned bicycles into lean mean machines of high performance. Works of art that put cool into laid-back urban cycling.

Folding bikes, or “foldies” as they are affectionately known, have been spinning up a storm in Singapore in recent years (albeit of late, a storm of the nasty kind). We visit a popular lifestyle bike shop LifeCycle to check out these gorgeous bicycles that are garnering such a strong fan base in Singapore.

In a space-starved city characterised by shrinking apartment sizes and soaring car prices, folding bikes are becoming an ideal option as a portable and space-friendly piece of sports equipment and mode of transportation. Folding bikes are compact and easy to carry around when folded. They can be easily stowed away in the car trunk, under the bed or in your closet with the skeletons. The sleek design of the bikes also make them a popular accessory with many a fashion-forward cyclist.

Folding bikes, and in general urban bikes, are designed for reliable and convenient city travel. Most allow for a comfortable, upright riding position that improves visibility in traffic. Some people use them for work commute; others for a work-out; we think they are perfect for fetching coffee on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

In the universe of folding bikes where features such as wheel size, folding style, folded size, frame material and workmanship vary from model to model and from manufacturer to manufacturer, choosing the perfect bike comes down to a balancing act of, colour aside, a few things – fit, comfort, portability, performance and of course price.

Smaller wheel size folding bikes such as the Java 14″ and the Bike Friday 16″ are light and ultra compact when folded. If ease of storage and carriage are the main requirements, these bikes are ideal. They can be taken onto buses and trains with minimal hassle. On the flip-side, a smaller wheel size means compromising comfort over longer distances as pedal strokes increase and fit could be poor for taller riders.

Large-wheeled models such as the Tern 20″ and the IF Reach 26″ fit the long-legged better and deliver a more comfortable and efficient ride. Being larger inevitably means they are less compact, heavier and a wee bit more awkward to carry around than their small-wheeled cousins. However, they still fold down tight enough to carry by car, and would be a good choice if you want a vehicle that is both still portable and can clock the mileage without inflicting monster thighs upon you.

The performance of the bike improves with the grade of the components used in the groupset. While in general, the larger the bike, the heavier it is, the choice of components could shave many hundreds of grammes off the bike’s weight. The better the components, the lighter the bike. Invariably, the lighter the pocket. Folding bikes can cost between SGD 600 at the entry level to SGD 6000 for one kitted out with top of the line components.

Whether you are the sort who picks the bike first then the accessories, or the sort who falls in love with the accessories and then the bike, you’d have to agree with us that accessorising is really where the fun begins. Knock yourself out on the range of colourful helmets, blinkers, saddles, saddle bags, bottle cages, bike computers and other bells and whistles available to embellish yourself and your new toy.

Written by jack.d

Bike porn directed by the JIND photographic team

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Filed under Lifestyle, Singapore

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