Shimano Folding Bike
Shimano American Corporation’s origin story begins back in 1961 at the New York Toy Show. There they displayed a three-speed bicycle hub at a time when multi-speed hubs were in high demand. 20-inch bikes with high-rise handlebars were rising in popularity and Shimano took advantage of the need, catching the attention of the entire bicycle industry. Not wanting to miss out on a good chance, the youngest son of the Shimano founder opened a United States office in New York City.
This enabled the company to get quicker product feedback and to be able to more efficiently provide technical and warranty assistance to bike retailers carrying products with Shimano brand parts. Starting as only a small American office with three employees, the company has grown their US base to a full operation covering distribution, sales, and marketing and staffed by thousands of employees. Yet they still hold the same dedication to quality in bicycle manufacturing that they did in the sixties, always listening to customer feedback to ensure every Shimano experience is top notch.
The beauty of this bike is that I didn’t even realize it was a folding bike the first time I came across it. This cheap folding bike is more affordable than most other bikes on the market and it looked so much cooler.
What I received did require some assembly, but it appears that other people’s bikes have come fully put together. It took me a couple of attempts, but I’m largely illiterate when it comes to instructions more complicated than the ones on the back of a shampoo bottle, so take my experience with a grain of salt. But it was worth the effort. The first time I took this baby out for a ride, I scaled a small hill without breaking a sweat and transitioned to flat ground like it was nothing. It was an amazing experience. I’ve never felt anything quite like the Shimano between my legs.
I bought this bike for my morning commute to the office, so I was a little bit nervous as to what I would do with it during the day. Luckily, it turns out that the Shimano folds into such a small package that I was able to stash it under my desk. And it’s not even that big a desk.
- 38 pounds
- Front and rear hand brakes
- Freewheel 22” wide chrome plated alloy handlebar
- Hi-tensile steel designer folding frame
- 20” flame thread cruiser tires
- Colored chain guard
- Folding paddles with reflectors
- Adjustable handlebar height
- Adjustable 24” to 42” quick-release seat post
- Heavy-duty kickstand
- You should probably take the bike to your local bicycle mechanic before your first ride to have him give it a tune-up. This is a good idea for any new bike, but they can also help you with the assembly if you don’t feel confident in doing it yourself.
- You may also want to think about getting yourself another, more comfortable, bike seat if you plan to take this out on longer rides. It was fine for my trip to work, but it could get sore after a couple of hours.
- The max weight for a rider to be comfortable on this bike is 250 pounds.
- The max height for a rider should be around six feet or a little over.
Q: Does it have folding pedals?
A: Yes, it does.
Q: How easy would it be to carry on a train?
A: Easy with an appropriate case or bag, something like a large suitcase with a shoulder strap. Also fits well in the trunk of a car.
Q: A friend of mine bought a Retrospec folding bicycle and customized it. Could I customize this?
A: Not really, this bike is pretty limited when it comes to mods.
Q: If you pedal backwards, does it brake?
A: No, the only way to brake is via the front and rear hand brakes. Pedaling backwards will just make you look silly.
“...Excellent bikes. The shifters worked well, they were easy to unfold and fold up, and the ride was very nice.”
“Comfortable, compact, light weight, perfect shift speeds, good for any age. Perfect service.”
“A tremendous value for your buck.”
“...a sturdy little workhorse of a bike that folds easily.”
“...went uphill in low gear and down a flat street in high gear with ease...”
- 6 speeds
- Small and light
- No assembly required
- Doesn’t ride well on mountain trails
- Small wheels
If you treat your Shimano bike well, it will treat you well. You can expect to get a few years of life out of it before one of the parts snaps or breaks or just stops working, at which point it makes more financial sense to replace it than to fix it.
This bicycle wasn’t really made for bike trails, or long trips, or camping, but if all you’re looking for is a bike to make short trips around your town or city, to and from work or the store or the train station, this bike is perfect for you. I would absolutely buy another one of these in the future if the need arose, and I would tell all my friends about them.