Are Folding Bicycles Good For Long Distances?

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For the last 7 years I’ve experienced how incredible Brompton folding bicycles are for commuting within a crowded urban area. Brompton folding bikes are designed with one purpose in mind. That’s to make your urban commuting journeys simplier by folding up very small, making them easier to transport on public transportation. But the question still remains. Are folding bikes in general good for long distances?

Let’s find out if folding bicycles are actually up to the challenges of long distance commuting

Nothing beats a Brompton folding bike when it comes to commuting within a city area. It’s light, folds up super small, and is very reliable. Plus, the small (16-inch wheels) speed up very fast when going up hills or after stopping at red lights.


On the other hand, if all you plan on doing is cycling long distances, then you will definitely want to get a larger wheeled bicycle. Larger wheeled bicycles will ride over rough surfaces much smoother, and will hold their speed much better over longer distances.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that folding bicycles aren’t capable of longer distance riding, beyond the city limits. Folding bikes can increase the range that you’re able to travel  because of their ability to overcome many barriers of travel, transport, and storage.

We think that after you read this article you’re not only going to change your mind, and possibly even buy a Brompton, but also be inspired to travel to more places than ever before, on a Brompton of course.

Watch this video about adventurers Joe and Alan, as they put their Brompton bikes to the ultimate test by taking them on a journey across land and water. Their journey starts at Sumburgh Head in an inflatable canoe strapped to their handlebars as they head for Muckle Flugga in the Shetland Islands, UK.

Experience the benefits of flexible bike travel

Brompton folding bicycles can fit into the trunk of a car.
Brompton folding bicycles can fit into the trunk of a car. @velotransit_id

Whenever you set out on a long bike ride, there’s a lot of uncertainties that you have to deal with. There’s bad weather, boring routes, rough terrain, and navigating where you want to go. With a folding bicycle, you don’t have to worry about such problems. If the weather gets bad, you can hop on public transportation, or put your bike into the trunk of a cab. Or if you get bored with the area you’re riding through, you can hop on a train and start riding again when the scenery becomes interesting. The possibilities are almost endless.


Brompton folding bikes fold so small, you can bring them anywhere without any extra charges, along with any gear. Yes, you can even fly with a Brompton folding bicycle due to it’s incredible small size that allows it to fit in most overhead bins (with a few preparations).

A brompton folding bicycle, as we’ve experienced many times on our journeys can come along on the train, bus, plane, boat, trunk of your car, and even hotel rooms.

Packing light is super easy

The Brompton Mafia guys are experts at stowing their Bromptons away as they travel all over the world.
The Brompton Mafia guys are experts at stowing their Bromptons away as they travel all over the world.

Flying across the world, or to a major city such as New York City or Los Angeles can be super easy when you pack light.


When we travel anywhere, we always pack light. I usually carry a light backpack with just the essentials.

What makes the Brompton folding bike so convenient is that it can be pulled instead of carried everywhere you go. This is a handy feature that makes it my “go to bike” when going to coffee shops and grocery stores.

There’s many great features that the Brompton offers for those that prefer to travel great distances across land or water.

You can transport your Brompton cheaply and stress free with the Brompton Padded Travel Bag. This protective bag has reinforced side panels to keep your personal belongings safe during transit.

Your Brompton easily folds up, and fits inside this case, making it extremely convenient to travel to and from the airport. And when you get to your final destination, such as a hotel room, this bag is great for storing your Brompton.

A Brompton is also great for those who travels with extra luggage. Brompton folding bicycles have front luggage blocks and racks to attach bags and panniers. This gives you room to carry all your essentials, especially when exploring new places.

You can also leave your luggage on the Brompton while it’s folded, turning the Brompton into a cart that can be easily pushed through stores, shops, and to your gate at the airport.

How well does a folding bike perform?

A folding bike can perform just as well as full sized bicycle.
A folding bike can perform just as well as full sized bicycle. @sultanaun

Don’t listen to the common misconception that folding bicycles are slow, don’t climb hills well, and aren’t capable of being ridden long distances. Over these last 7 years I’ve experienced the opposite.

Touring on your Brompton can be more comfortable by following these recommendations.

When ordering your Brompton folding bike remember to choose the 6-speed while customizing it. Bromptons come in 2-speed, 3-speed, and 6-speed. The 6-speed will give you a great gear range, including a low one for hill climbing, making it vey helpful when loaded with extra luggage. And don’t forget to include fenders to keep the water and mud off your backside.

Also, opt for the M or H type handlebar, because these will be the best for keeping your hands from getting sore from extended time in the saddle.

In order to prevent tire punctures while in the middle of nowhere, choose the Schwalbe Marathon tires, as they are the toughest and most resilient tires available for Brompton folding bikes. The harder compound rubber and thicker thread will have higher rolling resistance than standard Brompton tires, but will allow you to ride your Brompton further.

Facing hills during your ride?

The Brompton design team even took Brompton Electric for a distance trial through the German Alps.
The Brompton design team even took Brompton Electric for a distance trial through the German Alps.

If you’re going to be tackling hills during your ride, you should definitely consider getting the Brompton Electric. The Brompton Electric will make climbing steep inclines much easier, keeping you from getting all sweaty.

Brompton Bikes has partnered with the team behind Formula One, and Williams Advanced Engineering to create the Brompton Electric.

The Brompton Electric is designed to offer assistance when you need it while still weighing only 13.7kg. This makes the Brompton Electric light in order to easily cover long stretches across the country.


Traveling with folding bikes is lots of fun

Folding bikes are so much fun to travel with.
Folding bikes are so much fun to travel with. @living_the_bike

Venturing out on long distance rides with folding bikes is always lots of fun. The excitement of seeing new places and meeting people is always something to look forward to. It doesn’t matter if your riding locally, flying to a different country, or going on a cruise around the world.

The one thing that is sure to happen is that you’ll meet many great people along the way, who will be very curious about your unique bike.

A very passionate bicyclist named Heinz Stucke, who has went on many adventures with a Brompton through terraqueous terrains and unpredictable weather, has definitely been through every condition you can imagine with a folding bike.

”Thanks to this bicycle that I can fold totally and guard discreetly in any small place, I hope I will be able to reach the most remote places and inaccessible places” 

I would certainly say that if the world’s most travelled bicyclist is using one, it’s safe to say that folding bikes offer many advantages to adventurers.

If you want a bicycle built for city commuting, but can also travel long distances, than folding bicycles are definitely for you.

To find out more about Brompton bikes, visit:

Places you can buy a folding bike:
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