What do you think--folding bikes for kids?
August 2, 2014 4:32 AM   Subscribe

I should start by saying I'm a big fan of folding bikes and have been using one to commute to work for the last 8 years.(Brompton SL-2) We have two girls who can now both ride bikes, and are living overseas in the UAE. We can buy bikes where we live but the prices are higher and the selection's a bit limited. I'm thinking of buying a pair of Dahon Boardwalk single speed coaster break folders and bringing them back when we return next week. Has anyone tried folding bikes for kids? I've had our older daughter ride my Brompton--she does fine on it. My sense is they would not be as excited about them initially as opposed to something more kid-like, but that over time it would just come to be seen as what it is--a bicycle we can bring anywhere. I'm wondering if others in the MeFi community have tried folding bikes with kids--have they worked size wise? Lasted over the years? Or languished in a corner of the garage?
posted by teddyb109 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You don't say how old your kids are, but I got a folding bike on a trip to the Netherlands with my parents when I was 8 years old (but tall for my age). I used it in the Netherlands, and then we took back home to Canada. I remember liking it and I used it for a number of years to ride to elementary school and around the neighbourhood. I stopped using it when the longer and hillier ride to middle school prompted my parents to get me a mountain bike.
posted by Emanuel at 6:55 AM on August 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks Emanuel. Our kids are 8 and 9 years old! Your answer is encouraging!
posted by teddyb109 at 10:14 AM on August 2, 2014

I love my dahon - more than any other bike I've ridden. It fits me (I'm small) so I feel like I'm riding it instead of it swallowing me up. I felt like I could maneuver better because it was so well fitted. I tried mountain bikes and hybrids - my foldie wins by a mile. It also allowed me to sit up straight, which works best with my joint pain.

I'd never get anything else. It is a great great bike!
posted by crankyrogalsky at 3:10 PM on August 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Folding vs. non-folding should be irrelevant as long as the bike is comfortable. Folders come in all shapes and sizes and can fit anyone. The folding feature is certainly convenient.

But you've buried the main issue -- why do you want single-speed bikes? Depending on your kids' athleticism, single-speed may become endlessly frustrating for all but the flattest rides. I say get them some gears.
posted by JimN2TAW at 3:51 PM on August 2, 2014

I have that dahon! Or well, an older version of the exact same model.

It is not a brompton. The handlebars are a bit wobbly even when locked i place, and the whole thing just feels a little bit unstable. I still ride it sometimes, but between the general qualities of it and the single speed-ness(i ride mine as a fixed gear, heh) it mostly just sits.

If i was going to get a folding bike, i'd get one with gears and i get a slightly nicer model than that really bare-bones one. I ended up having to replace basically every component(bottom bracket, cranks, pedals, both wheels which was honestly just an upgrade, seat..) because they suuuuuuckkkked.

I haven't ridden other dahons, but i've ridden other folders like bike fridays... and that single speed dahon really is about as crap as it gets.

Does it have to be folding, or just fits-in-small-car/space? because i've always been intrigued by stuff like this.

To be clear, i don't think the folding bike concept is a bad idea. I just think that folding bike isn't particularly good for this... or particularly good, without a bunch of modifications.
posted by emptythought at 4:01 PM on August 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sounds to me like these are the bikes that YOU want. I think you should get your daughters bikes that they will be excited about.
posted by doctord at 4:42 PM on August 2, 2014

If you're getting them for storage and travel reasons so they can be brought out more often, that's good enough. We will be looking at folding because of public transit here only allows folding bikes. You can jazz up any bike with add on accessories for kids. The gears is the only thing I would want for 8-9 year olds so the bikes have a longer usability.
posted by viggorlijah at 6:34 PM on August 2, 2014

Response by poster: Grateful for everyone's perspective. It's almost completely flat where we live in the United Arab Emirates (though there's plenty of wind) so I was not concerned about the gearing, but I was thinking we'd use them when we came back home to the US--which means hills and wind. I'm also concerned about the lack of quality mentioned by @emptythought. Part of the idea is that they'd last. I'll look around at other higher quality folding options, but I also am going to check for used bikes--with gears and in their sizes.
posted by teddyb109 at 3:22 AM on August 4, 2014

« Older What is the music in this video?   |   Un poco de ayuda por favor. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.