Are Folding Exercise Bikes Any Good: The Pros and Cons
Recent years have seen the rapidly rising popularity of folding bikes. Since better, more improved models have been released, there’s been an increase in the riders purchasing them. There isn’t any stopping the industry soon as it is expected to continue its upward climb until 2024.
It probably comes as no surprise that the foldable design made its way to the equally-popular exercise bikes. Exercise bicycles are favored by many for their convenience, fast cardio burn, and low impact workout.
They’re available in a range of options, from spin bikes to recumbent bikes and upright bikes. Now, you can even get them in folding options.
So are folding exercise bikes any good? We’ll help you decide on the answer by assessing both the benefits and drawbacks of this modern workout bicycle.
The History Behind the Folding Bike
Before we delve deeper into the folding exercise bike’s features, let’s first take a look at where it all began. A look into the history of its made-for-transportation counterpart, the folding bike, should help us understand more about how foldables came to be.
The Pederson Bike
It all started in the late 1800s when military troops in Europe took an interest in forming the earliest version of the foldable bike for their infantry. Mikael Pederson was the inventor of the very first folding bike, aptly named “Pederson bicycle”.
Its wheel size was 24 inches, and it had a total weight of 15 pounds. It came with a rifle rack and was used during smaller wars.
The Lightweight Bike
It was during World War II when the British War Office put in an order for the creation of a stronger folding bike that was able to bear the impact of being dropped out of a parachute. Birmingham Small Arms Company eventually manufactured a bicycle that weighed more than 30 pounds and could be taken on parachute jumps and gliders. The company found a way around the customary diamond bicycle design that would have made it difficult for a bike to accomplish these feats.
This new bike had an elliptical frame composed of twin tubes parallel to each other. It had hinges fronting its bottom bracket, in a similar position as the front of the saddle. All of which were secured in place by wing nuts.
The peg pedals on this bike could be pushed in so that they didn’t snag or take up space when the bike was compacted. The war came and went, and so did these bicycles.
Bickerton Portable and Raleigh Twenty Bikes
The year was 1970 when, once again, the folding bikes resurfaced. This time around, there was a focus and interest in further developing these foldable bicycles, which resulted in the creation of the two most popular bikes of this era: the Bickerton Portable and Raleigh Twenty. Technology pretty much remained the same on these models until the 80s when the modern forms of the bicycles we see today were developed.
The Ultra-Lightweight Bike
Then came the goal to cut down the weight of foldable bikes further. This resulted in the use of aluminum as the primary material in their creation.
Different folding methods and designs were also experimented with, as well as varying setups of the bike components. Slowly but surely, new frames began to take shape, with some designs meant for more than just light neighborhood commuting.
The period when Dahon and Brompton became the two main competitors for folding bike manufacturing then came after that. These companies continued to release models that were smaller, more compact, and weighed less than their predecessors. They also focused on the overall riding experience more than anything else.
Fast forward to today, and the industry is now home to more than 170 manufacturers of folding bikes, with many of the original brands still spearheading the competition.
You’re probably picturing how great it would be to have an exercise bike that can be folded away. There are a lot of reasons that it would be really advantageous, including:
1. Small Footprint
A good number of us are minimalists; we prefer smaller houses to larger ones and would opt to save on space whenever we can. It’s also no secret that these days, space is at a premium. If you happen to have a limited amount of space in your home and still want to get fit and healthy, the folding exercise bike won’t let you down.
Folding exercise bikes are small and easy to use. Whether you use it regularly or not, it doesn’t matter since it’s designed to be easily folded away. One of the reasons they’re an excellent choice is because they have a small footprint. This is what you would expect from a machine made of lightweight materials and can be transported with ease.
A regular exercise bike might not be the best option if you have small rooms. It’s going to severely limit your workout options and not give you too much space to work with. A folding exercise bike, on the other hand, gives just the opposite effect and opens up your exercise options because of its small footprint.
Since we’re broaching the topic of exercising at home, we may as well discuss the importance of phone mounts. These accessories help ensure that you can work out efficiently, even when using your phone.
Exercise opportunities come easy when you have a bicycle that can be folded into a size that allows you to bring it anywhere. You can easily take folding exercise bikes with you wherever you go－work, on holiday, or on the train or bus－to maximize your chances for working out.
Some foldables fold really small, which makes them ideal for people who have tiny living spaces. If you have a big house, then you can stow your bike where it’s warm, safe, dry, and easy to access just in case the mood to cycle and sweat off those extra pounds strikes.
2. Folds Easily
Folding exercise bikes, as their name suggests, were made to be folded. While folding design can take different approaches depending on the manufacturer, most of them are easy to learn and do.
You won’t need to put a lot of effort into the folding and unfolding process. It’s hardly complex and will take you half a minute at most.
3. Stored Easily
When space is at a premium, it’s essential to opt for equipment that can be easily stored away. When not in use, you would be able to collapse the folding exercise bike easily and leave it in the corner of a room or stored inside your closet. You’re going to want this kind of workout equipment if you’re living in an apartment with limited space.
Some different methods and designs get a folding exercise bike to fold, but at the end of it all, your bike will still fold. With these bikes, you can get a fully functional workout bicycle to transform into a small, compact size. It’s this quality that makes for easy storage and helps save space.
5. Low Impact Workouts
One thing that’s contributed to the popularity of bikes is their ability to provide you a decent workout regardless of your fitness level. Those who are only getting started and still packing quite a few pounds may want to opt for low-impact exercise bikes that don’t strain the joints too much. It’s these lower settings that allow beginners to progress steadily, getting to a good workout zone that burns calories while also giving the heart and lungs a great exercise.
If you’re considerably fit and need higher settings to really feel the burn, then exercise bikes will have you covered in this area, as well. Foldable stationary bikes can provide all these benefits and more, especially since they help you save on valuable space and can also be stored away so easily.
6. Transported Easily
One thing’s for sure; you won’t have any trouble relocating your foldable stationary bikes. These bikes can be stowed away in your closet with little effort.
You can transfer them from one room to another to avoid noise or to get yourself in a better headspace for working out. If you decide to move out or go on an extended vacation, you can easily bring these bikes with you.
You can also carry these bikes as you board a train, bus, or metro. This is something you’re going to have a lot of trouble doing with regular stationary bicycles.
Folding exercise bikes can be carried by hand or be loaded into the trunk of your car. Some models can even be placed in the overhead bin of an airplane.
Who says you can’t sneak a workout or two while on a business trip? Not if folding exercise bikes have anything to do about it!
Some of the problems with folding exercise bikes are:
An issue you may find with the folding exercise bike is its inability to cope with heavier weights. Make sure to review every detail before purchasing a certain model as it may not have the capacity to handle your weight.
The max user weight of an exercise bike should also give you an idea of its durability. Take note, however, that the downside to this would be having bigger and bulkier equipment.
If you’re a little bit on the heavier side, then perhaps it would be better to invest in a non-foldable as this would present better value for you, long term.
2. Lightweight Build
A folding exercise bike’s lightweight quality can be both a good and a bad thing. On the one hand, it can make transportation incredibly easy, but, on the other, it won’t mean too well for durability. Some manufacturers tend to skimp on the quality in their efforts to keep the bikes cheap and maximize the potential for storage.
Assessing this part would mean checking out reviews online. Manufacturers have been exposed since many users have been okay about sharing their experiences with poorly made models.
3. Limited Features
We’ve said so many good things about folding exercise bikes that you’re halfway to convincing yourself to get one. However, if you’re hoping it provides the same amount of features as your regular stationary bike, you may want to take a step back.
Most folding exercise bicycles are going to have fewer features than their regular counterparts on account of their low-footprint, weight saving, and space-saving qualities. The fact that you get all these benefits means sacrificing those pre-programmed courses and varying workout levels present in other models.
4. Pedal Action
The pedal action is not going to be as smooth as you would like, given the lightweight quality of the folding exercise bike. This unrealistic action is a common problem in foldable exercise bicycles because it just won’t feel as natural and effortless as the other types of exercise bikes.
Foldables also give you limited options, with your best choice being the magnetic resistance model. Flywheel sizes influence smoothness and realism, and you just aren’t spoiled for options that provide you this experience when it comes to collapsible stationary bikes.
The cheaper ones can be a little awkward to use. They typically make use of that old-fashioned nylon tightened to a metal system of resistance that gives a completely unsatisfactory and unrealistic pedaling experience.
Are Folding Exercise Bikes Any Good?
At the end of the day, it’s really up to you to decide. If exercise bikes are a regular part of your workout and you love to save on space, then yes, these bicycles would be perfect for you. Their functionality makes them incredibly convenient and easy to move around the home or carry around with on public transportation systems. You can also maximize your workout opportunities with foldables.
Are folding exercise bikes any good when it comes to space-saving and storage? You bet! These bikes are designed for easy folding, so you don’t have to leave them outside where they take up valuable space. Their compact folding size also means they can be stored in the tiniest space in the corner of the room or inside your closet.
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