Evergreen MTB Alliance reviews the CHANGE 612
September 7th 2017
Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance is the largest organization of mountain bikers in Washington State, where there are over 350,000 people involved in this growing sport. They do important work in advocacy, training, and trail maintenance–building over 60 miles of new trails in the past two years alone.
And a couple of weeks ago, two of the organization’s leaders took a couple of CHANGE 612 mountain bikes out for a spin on the trails of Issaquah’s Duthie Hill to see how the bikes perform in real life.
I pulled up in a Nissan Leaf and removed two folded mountain bikes–one from the trunk and the other from the back seat. Both were in the complimentary carry bags that come with CHANGE Bikes. This feature is particularly important because these bikes were going back in the clean car after getting dusty on the trails. Who wants a dirty car?
Yvonne Kraus, Executive Director of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, asked if a folding bike can really hold up to intense trail use. I explained about how CHANGE bikes have passed the international suite of reliability tests for mountain bikes–and are the only folding bikes in the world to do so.
Then it was trail time. Yvonne and a top trainer, Tara Moser, rode some of their favorite trails. How did this stack up against other hard tail mountain bikes?
Definitely a positive riding experience. Here’s what they had to say in their own words…
Yvonne: “The bikes are great if you are living in an apartment, you’re renting and don’t have a garage or a rack on your car. If you want to try the sport and come out to enjoy a place like this, a ride like this will do just fine.”
Tara: “There’s definitely the ‘Wow Factor’–something coming out of your car, pulling apart that actually works on the trail is really fun. And it’s really convenient, being able to just carry it with one hand, put it together easily and just come out and enjoy this!”
The whole video interview is on Seattle Refined magazine online.
Is it for everyone?
If you have limited space and want to add mountain biking as a recreational activity, the CHANGE 612 is a strong choice. But what about more experienced riders? I couldn’t let this opportunity pass by without asking Yvonne how the bike would work for more advanced riders. She listed four things in particular that she would upgrade for her own personal use:
- Wider handlebars. The CHANGE 612 comes with a 580mm bar. Upgrading to a 680mm or 740mm bar can make a big difference in control and quick action, and some Flatbike customers have done this. It won’t fold quite as small, but if you’ve got the space… use it!
- 27.5″ wheels. The CHANGE MTB frame in all models and sizes can accommodate this, for easier rolling over rocks and other sharp bumps. But again, it will subtract an inch or two from your folding space. Worth it?
- 2×11 gearing. A change to a double crank means less shifting around on technical trails.
- Clip pedals. The crank arms of the CHANGE 612 can accommodate any pedal, including standard clip pedals. There are even pop-off clip pedals in the market, but they are expensive. The holy grail would be affordable and interchangeable clip and clipless pedals, but we have been unable to source these so far.
An update two years later…
As of 2020, the CHANGE 612 folding off-road MTB has been replaced by the CHANGE 812 folding off-road MTB. Three of the updates suggested by the Evergreen Mountain Bike Club are now included:
- The frame is now designed for 27.5″ wheels.
- The drivetrain has shifted to a 2×10 Shimano Deore gearing system
- We have now been able to source pop-off pedals in SPD. Swap freely among SPD, MTB, and flats.
- The bike still comes with a 580mm bar. We have a longer bar available (in carbon fiber). Just ask. no extra cost.
So there you have it. The most convenient hardtail for technical trail riding just got better. Where will you ride?
Bob Forgrave is president of Flatbike, an
ecommerce company offering full-size folding bikes
and kits to make any bike take up half the space.