One of the most exciting parts of yachting for most of us is the opportunity to explore new destinations. As you arrive in a port, you’ll be forced to walk around unless you bring your own transportation.
And, there is nothing better for you to get to a remote villa or the local store from the marina than by boats. However, boats have limited space for storage.
Folding bikes for boats are full-size road bicycles that fold into themselves for stowing easily onboard boats without taking up too much space.
How to Choose a Folding Bike for Boats?
These factors are important to take into careful consideration to select the right one for your unique needs and requirements:
There are two main things to think of in terms of the folding aspect of a bike: its size when it is folded and the folding speed.
The folding speed will prove to be crucial to take into consideration if you will be folding and unfolding the bike several times a day.
A quick folding bike will take about 10 seconds with some of the slow ones taking 10 minutes or even more for the disassembly. What is recommended and what’s preferred by most is a folding bike for boats that don’t require any tools to fold and unfold.
The folded size of a folding bike is, in general, proportionate to the given wheel diameter. The volume of a bike increases by about 100 cubic liters for each wheel diameter.
Smaller wheels have a smaller fold. Those that have bigger wheels have a bigger fold, but they are more stable and allow for faster steering.
The well-performing folding bikes for boats can feel as stiff as the regular bikes. This makes them very pleasant to ride on.
You’ll be able to pump out up to 150 km each day and do so comfortably due to these factors: the gear ratios, your position while using the bike, wheel size, and the handle post or frame stiffness.
The folding bikes for boats that perform best tend to use twenty-inch wheels or more; however, you should remember that just because a bike has the biggest wheels doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best.
Differences in the handle post or frame stiffness, parts used on the bike, and frame design can still have a significant impact on a folding bike’s performance. You will need to do several test rides for various folding bikes if you really want to see which one is most suitable for you.
We’ve found that the weight of a bike is not particularly important for speed and touring performance; however, a lightweight folding bike is definitely nicer to carry around when folded.
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Fit and Size
It is rare for folding bikes to be available in various frame sizes. If you are not too fussy and you are of average proportions, this won’t be an issue.
But, for those that are out of the middle height range, you’ll have to compromise. It is still a surprise that folding bikes are not available in a wide range of sizes.
The importance of the fit and the size will greatly depend on how you’ll be using the folding bike. For covering long distances from the marina using a folding bike, you are going to want the one that fits you well.
If you will just cover short distances and potter around cities, then the fit is quite irrelevant. Of course, this is except for the seat height as our bodies are going to compromise for shorter periods. If you find reputable brands that offer various frame sizes, consider yourself lucky.
If you are particularly heavy or tall, you would want to look more closely at the frame size and do more thorough research.
Folding bikes usually come with 27.5, 26, 24, 20, and 16” wheels. It is best to choose the wheel size for a folding bike based on how you’ll use it.
If you also have more space to allocate for its storage on your boat, you can opt for the larger one with larger wheels. If not, then go for ones that are more compact.
You always have the option of upgrading your tires. A good set of tires for folding bikes for boats is one that is suitable for where it will be used in.
You would want extra features like puncture protection which will be useful regardless of where you will be riding the bike.
For instance, if you are planning on riding the folding bike primarily on concrete or paved roads, a slick tire will offer better maneuverability. If speed is also important to you, then a slick tire is the best option as it enables greater speed.
Take Note: There are just a few kinds of tires that are available for folding bikes. This is why the tires that come with a model are a huge factor to consider when selecting the bike itself.
Unlike the standard bikes, you’ll get away with having a more affordable folding bike. The reason for this is because you will likely cover shorter distances with it.
That said, investing more money into a bike will get you one that’s more compact and higher performing. We would recommend allocating at least $500 as the starting point. The quality stuff starts kicking in at $1,000.
Folding bikes for boats are like standard bikes in the sense that there isn’t one that’s fit for all occasions. They’re all about compromise.
Larger bikes have larger wheels, so they tend to perform a lot better. They are, however, less suitable to carry around from their larger fold.
As for ultra-compact folding bikes, they’re not as great at covering long distances; however, they’re the easiest to transport.
A good balance between folding size and performance is a 20-inch wheel size. Folding bikes with this specific wheel size perform exceptionally given they have a sturdy construction and smart frame design, plus they are easy to transport or store.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Which accessories do I need for my on-board folding bike?
This depends on how you’re going to use your folding bike. We would suggest buying a helmet, some lights and even a bell.
A bell is truly not essential but it’s an extra safety feature that we like to see included in bikes for beginners. Having blinking lights and a bell might save your life out there! Add fenders (mudguards) when they’re available because the smallest bit of mud will destroy the paint on any bike.
In case you have to mount them yourself, pick up a screwdriver with the appropriate sizes of hex head bits. In most cases it’s just 2-3 screws per wheel that need removal, then boom they’re off and ready to mount!
When it comes to fenders, make sure you get front and rear ones. The front should be long enough to protect the fork from getting sprayed by water, whereas the shorter rear one is usually more than enough for keeping your behind dry.
How do I get my folding bike on and off board?
Depending on the size of your boat, you might find it difficult to get your bike on and off at certain points. The difficulty of this process can be reduced by using a ramp if possible.
If your folding bike has a quick-release seatpost just like the ones on full-sized bicycles then it should be easy to get on and off board without much fuss. However, it’s always possible that the clamp might not fit in some situations so you may need to find some other way to hold your seat safely during transportation, probably by duct taping it steady somewhere on the boat! Just kidding… But seriously speaking, there is also plenty of options online for getting a clamping system that fits your model of bike.
One thing you can do is to use bungee cords to create slack so the seat doesn’t wobble too much every time the boat hits the waves. Another option would be removing the seatpost altogether, stick it in your boat bag then reattach later on when you’re ready to ride.
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