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Full Size Folding Bike: The Ultimate Solution For Cyclists

Bob Forgrave

There’s nothing like a full size bike for sport, exercise, commuting, touring–pretty much anything. And the iconic double-triangle frame has long been recognized as offering the most efficient balance of high performance and low weight. But when you get off the bike, it takes up a lot of valuable storage space, making it awkward to keep inside and still move around it.

Traditional folding bikes are the opposite. With their small wheels and hyper-collapsible frames, they’re a joy to store and transport, sometimes even in standard airline baggage. But when you get on the bike, your gearing is used to overcome the tiny, pothole-size wheels, and the “bars on a stick” steering can flex inefficiently while climbing and dangerously while descending.

If only there were something in-between. But what?

Introducing the revolutionary full size folding bike.

A full size folding bike is, first and foremost, a bike that rides like a quality full size bike–whether for road biking, gravel biking, or even hitting the mountain slopes.

CHANGE Folding Grave Bike, ready for action

CHANGE Folding Gravel Bike, ready for action.

And then, after your ride, it exposes its superpower, folding in half for easy transportation and storage.

Changebike in a hatch back trunk

Yes, that’s the same bike, folded into the hatchback of a car with all the seats still up for passengers.

 

Does a full size folding bike fold small enough to fit in standard airline baggage? Absolutely not. That’s the unchallenged territory of the typical folding bike.

Instead, a full size folding bike delivers these benefits and more:

  • Urban rider? Commute in the city with a fast, rugged, traffic-safe bike, yet still fit it easily in elevators and narrow stairways to get it to an upper-floor apartment.
  • Renter? Easily keep your bike inside, out of the weather, and away from theft, even if you have studio apartment or condo.
  • Traveler? Always have a bike ready for exploring from your car or RV, without carrying valuables outside your vehicle.
  • World traveler? ride in different cities, folding your bike for public transportation in between.
  • RVer or boater? Fit secondary transportation into your your boat or RV for easy restocking of supplies.
  • Long-haul trucker? Have quick and easy easy access to fun and useful exercise from the convenience of your cab.
  • Mountain biker? Enjoy that post-ride meal without monitoring your car rack in the parking lot.
  • Private pilot? Take someone special on your next adventure, now that two full-sized bikes fit where one used to.

Once you free yourself from the idea of needing to drive around with valuables glommed onto the outside of your vehicle, exposed to rain and theft, you’ll wonder why you ever needed to do that.

How a full size folding bike works.

The best way to understand how a full size folding bike works is to simply see it fold. Here, in under a minute without any “movie magic” or tools, is how to make a full sized rugged hybrid fold small enough to fit easily into a car trunk.

The front wheel does come off, using a quick-release axle, but then can reattach to the bike at the rear for a single unit that fits in a carry bag.

Are full size folding bikes more rugged than typical folding bikes?

Look at nearly any folding bike, and you’ll see the same thing: a single bisected bar, held together by a weld, a hinge, a latch, and another weld—four single points of failure in a series.

If any of those fail, the rider is going to have a very bad day. This widespread design decision is what gives folding bikes their long-standing reputation for frailty.

folding bike latch

Typical folding bikes make no effort to build on the proven-strong double triangle frame.

A simple reason that there aren’t even more folding bike latch failures is that most riders inherently understand this failure and ride their bikes like folding bikes, careful not to push any limits that might result in a bad day.

Compare that to the latch of a CHANGE full size folding bike. 

 

First, and most noticeably, the latch isn’t what holds the bike together. Using a tube-within-a tube design, the latch simply applies the vertical force to engage large teeth built into the frame itself. If this latch ever were to fail, the frame itself would hold the bike in the riding position–an action that’s made even more likely by the rider’s weight pushing down on the seat post.

There’s even a back-up latch at the bottom of the seat tube. The end result of all this engineering? No bad days. Treat your full-size folding bike like any other folding bike.

Other latch designs

CHANGE bikes are not the only folding bikes with full-size wheels. There is a select group of other brands, each with its own approach to folding.

tern 26"

Tern offers a 26″ bike with the exact same latch system as its smaller bikes. There is nothing inherently stronger with 26″ wheels. If anything, the larger wheels encourage the rider to stress the hinge joint even more.

 

Amazon bike

Various cheap bikes on Amazon extend the risk even more. Take the cut-single-bar concept, add full suspension, and encourage riders to overstress the hinge joint. Yowzaa!

 

Montague bike

At first glance, a Montague folding bike is more of the same, but it is actually stronger than either bike above, because the single main bar is not cut.

Although Montague folding bikes have no downtube, and therefore don’t ride with the rigidity of a typical full size bike with a downtube, they are considerably stronger than most other folding bikes because they have a single, beefy top tube (or in some cases, two top tubes) that are not bisected. The only cut in the top tube is a hole drilled through for a latch pin to fit into. This still provides a single point of failure if the pin fails, but it is not a quadruple point of failure as seen in the bikes above.

So back to our original question for this section . . . Are full size folding bikes more rugged than typical folding bikes? It depends. Some can be stronger, while others add stress to the joint, increasing the problem.

One way to guarantee that your frame will ride like a standard full-size bike is to look for a frame that has passed the destruction test suite for a full size bike: ISO-4210. If there are any inherent weaknesses in the frame, you want them uncovered by robots over 100,000 stress cycles.

Frames from Changebike, LTD in Taiwan are the only folding frames to pass this standard so yes, these bikes are guaranteed to be stronger than typical folding bikes—and even some standard full size bikes that have not been held to this high a quality level.

 

riding a full size folding bike down steps

Riding a CHANGE bike is like riding any other full size bike. Enjoy the adventure!

 

 

What about replacement parts?

Ideally, you won’t need many replacement parts over the years. Or maybe you enjoy customizing your bike, and making your bike uniquely yours is your happy place.

At Flatbike, we build our own models of bikes around the CHANGE folding frame. We’re a Shimano and Mavic shop, and all the components we use, from the gearing to the wheels, are familiar in the road and MTB biking areas. The closest we come to custom parts are three components that we also sell frequently to owners of non-folding bikes:

  • Folding THINstem: This is needed only on the CHANGE Folding Gravel Bike to help the drop bars fold out of the way for minimum folded size.  But a THINstem can also help any bike fold flat.
  • Wellgo Pop-Off Pedals: These remove the pedals as a complication when folding the frame in half. they also allow quick changing among MTB, flat, and SPD pedals with no tools.
  • Flatbike Pop-Off Pedals: Soon to be on Kickstarter, these are Flatbike-designed removable pedals with simplified latches for e-bikes and mountain bikes that have passed the ISO-4210 destruction test.

Most other full size folding bikes also have fewer custom replacement parts than with standard folding bikes, as unique gearing is no longer needed to overcome smaller wheels, although custom stems and seat posts are still fairly typical.

 

Flatbike, Changebike, and portable adventure.

Changebike, LTD, in Taiwan, has been making full-size folding bikes since 2010, which Flatbike in the USA has been distributing in North America since 2016, including the popular CHANGE 812 folding mountain bike.

full size folding bike on rocks

 

full size folding bike on steps

As our customers got more sophisticated, requesting more advanced drivetrains and options like longer bars, drop bars, or dropper posts, Flatbike adopted with models built in-house in the Seattle area around the CHANGE folding frame. Today, Flatbike sells 4 primary models of full size folding bikes.

 

CHANGE 809 Street MTB: Entry-level flexibility 

CHANGE Folding 809 Street MTB

Built by Changebike, this model combines front shocks with all-road tires and all-around 3 x 9 gearing.

If you’re not sure how you’re going to be using your full size folding bike, or maybe want to enjoy a little bit of everything, this is the bike for you.

Learn More >>

CHANGE Folding Adventure Bike: Advanced gearing for hills, roads, trails, or hauling supplies

Change Folding Adventure Bike

Built by Flatbike, the CHANGE Folding Adventure Bike features all-around gearing in a 1 x11 or 2 x 11 drive train, all-road 700c wheels, and a light but durable carbon fork.

Take the same frame, simplify the gearing without reducing it, and make it lighter in the wheels and tires, and you get the CHANGE Folding Adventure Bike, ideal for urban use or taking on RV adventures that are anything but urban.

Learn More >>

CHANGE Folding Gravel Bike: Drop-bar comfort for long trail or road rides

CHANGE Folding Gravel Bike

Built by Flatbike, this model features drop bars, Shimano GRX gearing in 1 x 11 or 2 x 11, 700c wheels, and hydraulic brakes.

If you’re a lean-forward rider who likes to go fast, or simply the comfort of five different hand and shoulder positions on long rides on roads or trails, then the CHANGE Folding Gravel Bike is for you.

Learn More >>

CHANGE Folding Off-Road MTB: The modern MTB with built-in convenience

CHANGE Folding Off-Road MTB

This model, built by Flatbike, features 1x gearing, dropper post, longer bars, and off-road tires.

Certain things are now expected in a modern cross-country or trails bike. It needs to have simplified 1X gearing with low gears for climbing, a dropper post for descending, wide bars, hydraulic brakes, and knobby tires at least 2″ wide. Done. We also added a front shock with a bit more travel.

Learn More >>

 

Let Your Portable Adventures Unfold

The CHANGE line of full-size folding bikes is available in three frame sizes: small (17″), medium (19″), and large (21″) frames to accommodate different rider heights and leg or torso lengths; See the size tables for more guidance.

Each  model also comes in three frame colors: matte black, pine green, and arctic blue, allowing you to customize your bike to your own style. You can choose MTB, SPD, or flat pop-off pedals depending on your preferred riding style. To protect your bike during transportation, a durable vinyl soft bag is included with each purchase.

No matter if you’re a city dweller, suburbanite, or adventurer, a full-sized bike from Changebike is for those who lack space, wish to avoid a bike rack, or just want to ride in style.

Say goodbye to your standard folding bike and get ready to experience the ultimate ride with Changebike. Ride with confidence, safety, and style on our latest offerings. In North America, Changebike representation is handled by Flatbike, Inc—including answering buyer questions, 16-point quality checks on all new bikes, and free shipping in the US and Canada.

Buy Now!

 

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