Folding bike, a set on Flickr.
At $149 I figured it was worth the experiment from Aldi.
The Crane folding bike comes with guards, bell, rack, and prop-stand fitted, and a bag so you’d have to wonder how much bike you get – well as it turns out, not too bad.
It is basic – no springs and
no handlebar height adjustment [ED: Actually, thanks to Tom M’s comment below, you CAN adjust the handlebar height by opening the handlebar hinge, and loosening the allen head bolt that is revealed underneath, lifting the handlebar stem and re-tightening the allen head bolt]. But the frame is solid and the 6 speed shimano gears are positive and the bike tracks well. While rated to riders up to 105kg I reckon it would happily take someone up to 120kg without any worries. Seat height adjustment is very impressive, and even a tall person should be okay once the handlebar height is adjusted (see edit above).
The spring latches work well, and the quick release toggles hold everything solidly. It’s not the lightest bike around at 18kgs but it’s not meant to be a race bike, or an off-roader – indeed without springs you probably wouldn’t want to take it too far off a sealed surface.
From bag to bike it takes me about 30-40 seconds to ride away, but with practice I can probably get that down to around 15 seconds.
Great manual and the supplied tools – double spanner and an allen wrench – are well made. The only tool they didn’t supply was a small allen key to adjust the position of the gear change on the handlebar to enable me to adjust the brake lever position – but I had that in my own tools anyhow.
For my own preference I’d like a few more gears – the 6 speed works smoothly, but 15 gears would be better, although the harder I work the fitter I get 🙂
The fold is quite impressive – lower the seat post, hinge the handlebar stalk, then main frame and then the two pedals. There is a tie-strap to keep it together for putting in the bag.
Overall ride impression, firm, taut and fit for purpose – folded into its bag I reckon I’d get two in the car boot without putting any of the seats down.