Foldable Bicycles: Why and where to get one

I got my first foldable bicycle in the beginning of 2021 here in SIngapore, after having ridden both my hybrid, and my road bike. Foldable bikes (or “foldies” as they’re referred to here) are immensely popular in Singapore.

My motivations were driven by the fact that my road bike was not the most practical of bikes when it came to running errands. It’s not something that you can easily take on public transport, or throw into the back of a cab or car, or bring into a shopping mall. Particularly when living in a city like Singapore, foldies offer all sorts of benefits.

Here are some of the pragmatic reasons to own a foldie in a city.

  • They are incredibly convenient for storage and transportation. They take up minimal space, which makes them perfect for apartment dwellers or people who travel frequently.
  • They are lightweight and easy to carry, making them perfect for people who need to take their bike on public transportation or in their car. They can be folded up and taken on a train or bus, or stored in the trunk of a car.
  • They are versatile and can be used for a variety of activities, such as commuting, leisurely rides, or even off-road adventures. They can be adjusted to suit different terrains and riding styles.
  • They an affordable alternative to a traditional bike, especially for people who live in urban areas where theft and vandalism are a concern. They can be locked up indoors, making them less likely to be stolen.
  • They are typically low maintenance, which can be a great benefit for people who don’t want to spend a lot of time and money on upkeep.
  • They’re environmentally friendly and a great option for people who want to reduce their carbon footprint while incorporating activity into their lifestyles. They are a sustainable and environmentally friendly mode of transportation.

While foldies come in all sorts of configurations, coming in both bi-fold and tri-fold type. I’m a fan of the tri-fold types, particularly because of how compact and how easy they are to carry when when they’re folded. The most popular tri-fold by far is the British made Brompton. The base model starts from around SGD2,600 and depending on the accessories that you choose to add on can set you back SGD4,000 (compare that to an entry-level road bike at SGD1,500).

The patent on the Brompton design expired in 1999 giving rise to a range of clones from manufacturers like 3Sixty, Pikes (also known as Paikesi), Royale, and Aceofix.

I personally went with a Pikes. Both my wife and I got one. I got the extra long seat post (I’m 179cm tall), and a set of magnetic foldable pedals from Sapience. The front carrying block makes it easy for me to attach a large cargo bag in the front that comfortably accommodates my laptop and a change of clothes for me when I got into work. It’s really easy for me to store this underneath or behind my desk.

At home, we repurposed a couple of Ikea Kallax shelves (removing the central dividers) as dedicated storage boxes for the bikes.

If you’re planning on getting a foldie, a recommend going to Little Monster Wheels. They’re at 5000 Ang Mo Kio Ave 5 #04-08B Techplace 2 Singapore 569870. The team their takes great pride in the work. Foldies are known to ship with unbalanced spokes. The team at Little Monster Wheels spends a couple of hours fine tuning every single bicycle that they sell to ensure that the wheels are properly balanced. I’ve been back a few times for general maintenance and repairs, and have referred friends there too. They’ve always been very reliable.

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