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Is Aldi's cheap folding bike worth buying? – Which? News - Which?

Is Aldi’s cheap folding bike worth buying? – Which? News – Which?

The Aldi Classic Lightweight Folding Bike costs £300 and is available exclusively online from Aldi’s website from Thursday 6 August 2020.

We’re all being urged to use public transport less and be more active, so a folding bike could be just the thing to cut out part of your journey that’s usually done by bus, tube or train.

Folding bikes are nothing new, but Aldi’s offering is very cheap compared to some of the big folding bike brands.

If you’re shopping for a premium folding bike, it could cost you more than £2,000 (as with some Brompton models). These come with some extras and tend to be a little lighter. But Aldi’s folding bike will leave you with up to £1,700 of spare change.

There are a few other cheap versions around though, so it’s not your only option.

We’ve looked into how the Aldi folding bike measures up on spec, and used our expert insight from testing electric folding bikes, to give you a steer on whether its one to pedal off into the sunset with.

Electric folding bike reviews – get straight to our top picks, just one model stood out above the rest in our independent lab tests

Aldi’s folding bike: what do you get for the price?

For the humble price of £300, this smart Aldi folding bike comes a black and grey finish, with a classic retro look, complete with racing stripe, so it certainly looks the part.

It has seven speed Shimano gears (a popular cycling brand whose gears are also commonly used in Tern and Raleigh bikes).

The 20-inch tyres are smaller than what you’d get with your regular bike but a typical size for folding bikes. This means the riding experience will be slightly different to what you’re used to if you normally ride a regular bicycle or mountain bike.

The brakes are alloy V-type brakes, which again is pretty typical for folding bikes as cheap as this.

It also comes with:

  • Pannier rack (the metal rack on the back you can attach bags to)
  • Pump for the tyres
  • Carry bag
  • Front and rear lights
  • Bell
  • Kickstand

How Aldi’s folding bike compares with rivals

The Aldi bike is only available online, so you can’t get a feel for it or see how easy it is to fold up in store.

When fully folded the Aldi bike measures approximately 86 x 75 x 46cm, making it a little larger than most. It weighs 14.19kg, which is heavier than a standard Brompton, which weighs 12.24kg.

Matthew Knight, Which? cycling expert, says: ‘To the untrained eye this might look like a temptingly cheap way into the world of folding bikes, but I’d recommend a bit of caution.

‘When we recently tested folding electric bikes, the build quality and riding experience on the cheaper folders wasn’t as high as on the more expensive models.

‘While people can get too sniffy about cheaper bikes, if you’re thinking about buying then I’d recommend closely inspecting the folding joints. These will take a lot of wear and if they aren’t smooth to work the bike could quickly become a real faff to use. I’d also recommend riding any bike before you buy it, for a final check that you’re happy with the ride quality.’

You can get similarly cheap bikes from Apollo and Raleigh, so there’s no need to feel the rush to snap up the Aldi bike. These might be a less risky purchase as you can see them in-store and get a feel for them.

Bike buying guide – get started on choosing the right type of bike for you, from electric to folding to city bikes, we explain what you need to know

Is a folding bike right for you?

If you’re considering cycling a longer commute, a folding electric bikes could be a better option.

The small built-in motor and battery will give you a bit of extra oomph (especially useful when going uphill), but you can still them fold down small. This is so you can carry around and store them more easily – at least, that’s the idea.

When we tested folding electric bikes, we found that some were tricky to fold or heavy and uncomfortable to carry. Others had poorly built hinges that are unlikely to stand the test of time.

Prices range from £650 to more than £3,000, but a high price didn’t always guarantee a smooth ride. Similarly, some cheaper options were a better bet than others.

Of the seven folding e-bikes we’ve tested, only one impressed us enough to be a Best Buy.

Head to our folding electric bike reviews to find one that suits you.

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