Riding a bicycle is one of the most pleasant and healthy activities that one can engage in, yet traffic and lack of suitable roads have proven to be quite hampering. Dedicated cycling lanes are present only in small dedicated areas of a majority of cities, and thus a relaxing ride with your friends requires commuting to the place by cars or public transport, which is quite impossible while having bikes. Bikes take up a lot of space and are generally not quite suitable to be transported from place to place. Hence, the advent of a compact solution in the form of the folding bike really makes cycling a much easier experience in cities with limited cycling areas.
A folding bike has specially designed structures such as joints which help to fold a bike in a compact form for ease of transport and storage. Folding bikes can be carried as luggage in airplanes which bears a testament to its portability. Most public transport systems which debar conventional bikes, allow folded bikes. They do not have any drawbacks in comparison to their non-folding counterparts, thus making them a suitable solution for riding.
A portable bike can be folded and transported with considerable ease, and come with good wheelbase. Like conventional bikes, some models have gear systems to control speed. They are considerably lightweight, ranging from 10 Kg to 16 Kg. Portable bikes have smaller wheels than their conventional counterparts, which provide increased speed, acceleration and handling, and of course, better compactness with regard to storage of bikes. Portable bikes differ widely in their folding mechanisms.
Classic folding mechanisms include the half or mid fold patterns, in which the bicycle and the steering column fold in half by pivoting through single or double hinges. Steering column and seat height can be adjusted by the use of quick release clamping systems. Similarly, vertical folding bikes allow the bike to be folded vertically through a hinge and are usually more compact than the mid-fold variations. A different variation using hinges is the triangle hinge system, which allows the rear wheel to be folded down and forward, situated below the main frame tube. Some models may also include a similar hinge for folding the front wheels back below the main frame for added compactness, and latches or quick release systems assist in the folding or unfolding process. Some bikes come equipped with magnetic locking systems, where the rear shock absorber is fitted with a magnet. These bikes are generally vertically folding, and the folding is automatic, under the influence of the magnet, which attaches to the metallic body tube of the bike.
Portability may even be achieved without any folding mechanisms, as in the case of bikes that can be assembled and disassembled with ease. These breakaway bikes have specialized parts that can be retracted and disassembled, with the entire machinery fitting comfortably in a standard luggage bag. They may break into two or more halves while preserving the structural integrity that is required of a bike.