Which Folding Bike Is the Best for Commuters?

What happens when you round up seven Coach staff members, give them each a folding bike, and tell them to make their way around central London? A few tricky staircases and varying degrees of success with the folding and unfolding of the bikes, to name a couple of things.

The gang started in Hyde Park, wheeled their vehicle out (to avoid a fine) before cycling to Marble Arch, taking the Central Line to Bond Street to test how portable these contraptions really are, before making their way back to Coach HQ near Goodge Street. 

Strida Evo, £899


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Ridden by Sam Razvi, online writer, Coach

Foldability Although it fell together snugly once I managed to unlock it, I still almost lost a finger in the process. It takes a lot of effort to flip the catch, which will probably make you late for work. Score 2/5

Portability It’s too heavy to comfortably carry, so you have to wheel it around everywhere like 
a Dyson. But when you get in the swing of things it can be fairly enjoyable – assuming you’re as immature as me, that is. 2/5

Rideability You can’t adjust the seat height, so if you have short legs your feet will only just touch the ground, making waiting and restarting at traffic lights interesting. You have to ride completely upright, making balancing difficult. 2/5

Overall experience I was almost impressed at how much this manufacturer has over-complicated one of the simplest modes of transport. I’d recommend this bike to someone wanting a commute filled with danger and weird looks. 2/5

Lios Nano, £3,500


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Ridden by Nick Harris-Fry, staff writer, Coach

Foldability I’m not sure I folded the bike up entirely correctly at any point, but I got close enough and it was easy enough to get into a manageable size for the Tube. Unfolding the bike, either from the correct position or from whatever mess I’d got it into, was a piece of cake. 4.5/5

Portability As every part is made of out carbon, the Nano is light enough to be carried in one arm. In a properly folded state, it can be wheeled along holding the saddle, which would be handy if I’d ever worked out how to do it. 4.5/5

Rideability The Nano is a nippy little beast and the disc brakes are very sharp. Steering with small wheels takes some getting used to, as with any folding bike, but the Nano was impressive in handling London’s potholes without ever feeling like it was going to tip me off. 5/5

Overall experience For a pretty darn expensive, performance-focused folding bike, it looks the part. Having 
a belt drive rather than a standard chain removes any concerns about catching your jeans or covering your hands in grease when folding it up, which is a nice touch. 4.5/5

Carrera Intercity, £350


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Ridden by David Kenning, deputy editor, BikesEtc

Foldability It took a few attempts to get the hang of it, but folding and unfolding the bike is a fairly intuitive process that took less than 30 seconds. 4/5

Portability I’m used to riding a Brompton, which folds down small, so I found the Carrera large and unwieldy, especially when carrying it down busy Oxford Street. It’s not as heavy as I was expecting, though. 3/5

Rideability Surprisingly good fun. It has eight gears, plus big fat tyres make for a comfortable ride on London’s potholed streets. 4/5

Overall experience I’ve been a Brompton man for over ten years, so I didn’t have high expectations of a bike that’s about a third of the price and a lot less lovely to look at. But I was very pleasantly surprised. 4/5

Airnimal Joey Raptor, £1,749


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Ridden by Gary Ogden, staff writer, Coach

Foldability A waking nightmare. Essentially, it’s like dismantling a normal bike and hauling the different parts around with you. 2/5

Portability Almost impossible, unless you have the “commuter kit” – a set of clips that hold the components together. Without that, you have to carry the front wheel separately, and nothing clicks into place. 1/5

Rideability Very nice ride – large wheels and extremely responsive disc brakes. Great for endos (that’s slamming the brakes on to make the back wheel go up, grandpa). 4/5

Overall experience Enjoyable to ride due to the smooth gears and the fact that it’s basically a non-foldable bike, but as a portable commuter bike it’s terrible. However, it’s probably not meant to be folded up every day – I think it’s designed to be able to fit in a boot, or a suitcase, so I’ll let it off a bit. 3/5

Tern Verge P9, £830


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Ridden by Colin Williams, picture editor, The Week Junior

Foldability It was easy to assemble, but I found it harder to fold into the correct positioning and it often unfolded itself as I lifted it. 3/5

Portability It packs down to a small size and doesn’t fall over when folded and on the ground – good for the train. It’s also quite light compared with the other bikes. 4/5

Rideability It took a while to get used to the ride position – it’s very upright and I felt unsteady. The brakes are sharp and its lightweight frame made it quick off the lights. 3/5

Overall experience A nice bike, but more than a few miles commuting on it would get very uncomfortable. 3/5

Dahon Speed, £400


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Ridden by Joe Barnes, editor, Men’s Fitness

Foldability Super-quick (under a minute) and super-easy. There’s the option to fold in the pedals, remove the seat and even wheels if you’re looking to cram it in a boot. For jumping on the train, a quick snap of the handle bar and frame will suffice. 5/5

Portability As light as 11 bags of sugar according to my maths. It’s not 
as compact as a Brompton, but you could squeeze this on a crowded train without too many tuts or disapproving looks. 4/5

Rideability Nimble. The single speed (ie one gear) means it’s hard to get up any serious velocity, and it takes
 a while to get used to pedalling backwards to brake. Good for those who want to ride at leisure round a not-too-hilly town, shouting at taxi drivers who cut you up. 3/5

Overall experience Well priced, nice-looking and commuter-friendly – a good starter bike for the foldie-curious. 4/5



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Ridden by Maggie Ibiam, editorial assistant, Coach

Foldability It took some time to master folding and unfolding. With practice and patience it could be done within seconds – but I’m impatient and found myself hobbling along with a half-folded bike. 2.5/5

Portability It’s compact – when folded properly – but it does weigh quite a lot. If you can manage that, you’d appreciate the way it effortlessly slots into small spaces on train carriages, buses and under bar tables. 3/5

Rideability The Brompton is only a smooth rider on an even road. The small-wheel-thin-tyre-high-seat combination played a leading role in my uncomfortable ride around London. 2/5

Overall experience This serves its purpose as an instrument to get you from A to B. I think the bike’s popularity is due to its sleek appearance and compact size – but the comfort element has been massively overlooked. 3/5

Coach Staff

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