As I prepare to sell my folding bike I thought it would be worth bringing together my thoughts on choosing one. Sadly I no longer use it because my travel plans changed and I use a full size bike, but for a lot of situations a folding bike is ideal. ##Why?
The most likely reason for choosing a folding bike is because you’re taking the train and you have a bit of distance between the stations and it’s little far to walk. ##Comfort
Depending on the roads and paths you’ll be cycling and the distance you’ll be cycling comfort might be very important. A folding bike isn’t going to be as nice to ride as a full size bike, the size of the tyres can play a big part in that, 20 inch wheels are common but you could also go for ‘balloon’ tyres to absorb some shock or a thudbuster seatpost. The smaller you go, like the typically 16 inch wheels of Brompton. ##Got Baggage?
Depending on the wheel size you might be able to fit regular panniers or if not you can use a front or back carrier. You could also use a backpack but depending on what you were and how far you’re going you might need to carry a change of clothes. ##Convienience
Whatever you get, do yourself a favour and have a look at some videos of the bike being folded down and back up again. Did it look easy? Does it fold down small enough? Can you do it quickly? What happens when you start attaching lights, pannier and bags, can you still fold it easily? Factor in the speed of the bike, you won’t hit the same speeds you’ll get on a larger bike, but that might not be that important. ##Balance
There’s a good chance you’ll have to make some compromises when you choose the bike for you. For me it was a Dahon Speed P8. At the time I was cycling about 20 minutes either side of my train journey, I was able to manage with 1 (and sometimes 2) pannier bags attached and it tooks about 30 seconds to fold it down or up. I’d probably try a smaller bike in future as the the size of the bike when it’s folded was a little bigger than I’d have liked but it was a very comfortable ride and very manouverable.