Best Folding Bikes for Touring!

by Jack on March 8, 2014

Commuting with a folding bike

A folding bike is a great way to commute in a crowded city like New York. They are compact enough to store in a small closet at home or under a desk at work, they can easily be taken on public transit, or fit in trunk of a taxi when inclement weather prevents riding. Because they are so compact, folding bikes create new opportunities for urban residents who want to experience their city in a new way.

Of course, they also create great opportunities to get out of the city and do some traveling.

Touring on a folding bike

Touring on a folding bike has become increasingly popular over the last decade. Although you can’t beat a traditional road bike in speed and efficiency, a folding bike’s compact size makes it possible to take trains, buses, and other transit connections that wouldn’t have been possible on a regular bike. Imagine checking your folding bike on an airplane, flying to Italy, biking north from Rome to Pisa along the coast, and then training up and around to France to ride through Nice and explore the Mediterranean Sea.

Using a folding bike in tandem with public transit you can cover much more ground, and spend more time riding along the most beautiful routes, without trudging through tricky intermediary roads that aren’t so picturesque.

Of course you couldn’t tour on just any folding bike. Some folding bikes, like the dahon speed uno, are great for shorter commutes, but just don’t have the gears for touring. Others, like the Tern Verge X10, are lightweight, fast, and efficient, but aren’t really built to be loaded down with equipment and luggage.

BThe Dahon Vitesse D7est folding bikes for touring

The Dahon Vitesse D7 is a great option for someone who is looking for a folding bike that can handle extended rides but who has a budget and needs something affordable. Built with a hardy rack, fenders and a very strong reliable frame, the Vitesse could handle 100 mile rides no problem, and be able to carry all the luggage you might need on an extended trip. It’s fit with an internal hub that would protect your gears from rough weather, and has nice thick tires that could handle a wide range of terrain. If I were going to tour, and needed a reliable folder for under $800, the Vitesse would be my bike of choice.

However, while the Vitesse is a great bike for the price, and certainly cable of 100 mile tours, for serious nation wide explorations, you’d need something a little more high-end.

The Brompton bike: best touring folding bike on the market

Cred-to-Buffalo-Dave-from-Flickr-2-300x199The Brompton folding bike is overall the best folding bike available for serious touring. The craftsmanship on the Brompton is unmatched. Its hand welded steel frame will last forever, and will be very comfortable to ride longer distances as steel has a little more flex to it than aluminum. It has the option of 6 speeds with a very wide gear ratio for climbs and faster speeds. And it folds smaller and more easily than any other folding bike in the world.

You could ride the Brompton 1000 miles, hauling 300 lbs of weight, and never even have to get it serviced. Not to mention it fits on the overhead in an airplane. You won’t be the first to try rides of this length on the Brompton. For years now it has been the go to folder for touring riders all over the world. Just check out the path less pedaled and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Fastest touring folding bike

The Tern Eclipse X20 - fastest folding bikeFinally, if you’re looking to tour on a folding bike, but you don’t want to give up the feel of larger wheels, the Eclipse X20 would be a great folding bike for touring. The Eclipse X2o is fit with some of the best components you’ll find on any folding bike, has 20 speeds with rapid fire shifters, and weighs just over 23 lbs. The Eclipse X20 does not fold nearly as small as the Brompton, but it has larger 24 inch wheels which are going to feel more like a traditional road bike to ride. And it’s fast. Very very fast. Keep in mind that the Eclipse X20 doesn’t come with fenders or a rear rack, so that is definitely something you would want to add if you were going to be touring seriously.

I hope this blog was helpful for all you intrepid travelers out there. To summarize, if you want an affordable folder that will fold well and handle 100 mile tours, the Dahon Vitesse D7 is the way to go. For a folding bike that can handle tours of any length, will last forever, and folds smaller than any other, the Brompton bike is ideal. And finally if you want a faster folding bike that has more of the feel of a road bike, and great components, you can’t beat the Tern Eclipse X20.

All for now,

Jack

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  • illintechnology

    Not a single mention of Bike Friday? For shame.

    • http://www.worldjourneyman.com Elizabeth Hepburn

      I agree. Bike Friday: The folding bike designed specifically for traveling. For anyone reading this who wants something close to a meaningful list of folding touring bikes, please also check out Bike Friday.

    • Karl Wooldridge

      The Airnimals, Pacific Reach and some of the Birdy models could also have been considered

  • Ti Yam

    How can Tern Link P24h not on the list? It’s a purpose build folding bike for touring.

  • Michael Anderson

    Is the recommended Dahon Vitesse D7 the same bike as the Dahon Speed D7? Just English in lieu of French?

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