With a retail price below $200, the Schwinn Hinge is an ideal entry-level folder. It maintains Schwinn's well-deserved reputation for quality and includes extras like a rear rack and wheel fenders. Excellent brakes, 20-inch wheels, and a comfortable ride make the Hinge a good value.
Pacific Bikes Carry Me
This 17-pound marvel with tiny eight-inch wheels is a contender for the smallest and lightest rideable folder. It accelerates quickly and easily climbs moderate grades. The $500 Carry Me also boasts an aluminum frame that can be folded like an accordion in less than ten seconds.
The $580 Uno is simple in a good way. With a single gear that's tuned for speed, a coaster brake, and good build quality, there's little that can go wrong on this rugged folder. You can ride every day in any weather, and the Uno will get you there in style. Two reasons are its puncture-resistant Kevlar tires and seat post pump (in case an unlikely flat occurs). Anyone who needs a dependable ride could do a lot worse.
The Strida 5.0 is an elegant folder with a head-turning design and an $800 list price. Its form factor is ideal since it folds in six seconds, weighs 20 pounds, and fits almost anywhere. A clever Kevlar belt eliminates dirt, adjustment, and lubrication concerns. Strida's inventor Mark Sanders spent 16 years refining the design, and it shows. The wheels even line up when you fold it so you can roll it along when you don't want to carry it.
If you want a folder that looks and performs like traditional bikes, this is it. The Boston has 26-inch wheels and a quick release pin that pivots the frame on its seat post. This patented design folds the bike without breaking the frame and makes it the strongest folding bike you can buy. Although it breaks down in 20 seconds, you'll need to remove its front wheel. The Boston's flat-resistant tires and integrated chain guard make city commuting practical, and the use of conventional bike components saves you headaches when servicing is required. Its ability to go from fixed-gear to free-wheel setups adds more icing to the cake. Montague's Boston will be available in January of 2010 for about $700.