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Arguably the most popular folding bike in the world, the steel-framed Brompton is a reliable and very rugged workhorse that quickly concertinas into the tidiest of packages, making it ideal for railway commuting, taking on holiday and business trips abroad. You can even wheel it along in folded mode which is very handy for traversing railway platforms. The Brompton S2L may run on small 16-inch wheels, but its long wheelbase keeps it stable at speed.
There are three types of handlebar systems available: bendy, monkey and straight. The monkey ones (P-Type) are best for those who like a sit-up-and-beg riding posture while also offering plenty of other hand positions. The bendy bars (P-Type) also offer a comfortable, upright riding position and are the most popular handlebar configuration. The straights (S-Type) encourage a more racy, head-down posture and are the preferred choice of backpack wearers (less strain on the back) and speedsters.
The Brompton S2L has just two gears but there are several other variations available along with a wide selection of accessories. And speaking of accessories, Device Squad recommends the front-mounted case with integral handle. It clips onto that black plastic block above the front wheel in the picture. The case is just big enough for a 15-inch laptop but we've even fitted a PlayStation 3 in there. And, of course, being front mounted means it's less likely to nicked by shady scooter bandits.
Tern is a family offshoot of the Dahon marque though at first glance both brands look the same. The Verge x10 is Tern's flagship model and comes with some of the lightest components available, giving it a total weight of 9.7kgs. The Verge doesn't fold anywhere as neatly as the Brompton, but it rides confidently enough and comes with ten gears, which is more than enough for most conditions. It looks pretty racy, too.
Tern Verge x10
If the thought of endlessly moving your legs up and down puts you off riding a bicycle, how about one that provides an electric boost? The GoCycle G2 is the most advanced electric bike on the market. Start pedalling and a motor cuts in to propel you to speeds of around 15.5mph (25kph). A full charge will take you around 40 miles (64 km). The GoCycle easily dismantles for transport in its own wheeled travel case. It's not cheap, mind.
The OriBike Surpaz is part of a range of folding bikes designed by Jon Whyte, the former Formula One engineering guru who once developed full suspension systems for Marin before going on to create the Mezzo folding bicycle.
There are a dozen models in the OriBike range but for sheer drool factor, this all-carbon Surpaz CR87 is an unequivocal corker. Its folding mechanism is the best since Andrew Ritchie's all-conquering Brompton and it rides like a dream. Naturally this highly desirable high-end, two-wheeler comes dripping with the very latest and lightest cycling components and at just 19 pounds in weight, it's a mere gnat when compared with other folders on the market.
Build quality throughout is of the very highest standard which is most reassuring when you're pelting along at the speed of light. What's more, it's an absolute stunner to look at. We admit, all that smooth, beautifully finished carbon, the gorgeous SRAM Force 53/39T 170mm crankset and super-light 20", semi-aero wheels have got us into a bit of a fluster.
OriBike Surpaz CR87
We’ve tried out a shedload of folding bicycles over the years, but few come close to the quality of ride offered by this lightweight German-made, fully-suspended mount. A good test with fold-ups is whether or not you can ride without hands – on this you can. Indeed, you’d never guess you were travelling on small 18-inch wheels, so sprightly and comfortable is the ride. This is doubtless due to the combination of a well-designed stem (earlier stem problems have been rectified), the improved no-dip front suspension, the longer-than-average wheelbase and the top-notch 7005 T6 aluminium frame. The Birdy Light's folding system owes a little to the popular Brompton only it’s more of a fiddle. It’s not as tidy as the Brompton when folded either. The Birdy Light comes equipped with Shimano 8-speed and V-brakes, and weighs in at a very, very respectable 10.9kg (24lbs). Not many retailers sell the Birdy but if you get hold of one you’ll be riding one of the lightest and best handling folding bikes on the market.
The bizarre-looking Strida SX wins top marks for innovation, but you wouldn't want to ride it more than three miles or you might not walk for a week. Some say it’s fun to ride. Device Squad thinks it’s anything but. The steering is unbelievably twitchy and the riding posture is Penny Farthing like. That is to say it’s cramped and bloody uncomfortable. But hey, it comes with disc brakes and it collapses like a child's pushchair to be wheeled about in transit. As the Strida is belt driven and fairly corrosion resistant, it's a handy bike for boaters, too. Silly boaters.
This classically British eccentricity doesn't so much fold as split in two. Shod with big 20-inch wheels and equipped with a clean belt drive and two gears, the Moulton TSR2 is a supreme comfort cruiser for use on tarmac and smooth bridleways. When disassembled (a right faff if you ask us), it’ll fit nicely into the hold of a plane or the storage compartment of one’s yacht. Moulton's are considered the Bentley of folding bicycles and they have a price range to match. Fancy a beautiful handbuilt silver-brazed stainless steel model? That'll be £9,000, sir.