We wanted a small range of bikes that started around £250.00 that were reasonably light, with a quick and compact fold, and gearing that at least partly compensated for the 20” wheels.
It’s an unwelcome fact that’s true with so many cheap imports, that even when the riders legs are virtually creating a motion blur, the forward progression is still only 10 -12mph. Needless to say this is not our idea of a sensible folding bike. We would advise anybody considering buying a cheap folding bike to look closely at the gearing. All cheap folding bikes with derailleur gears will use a screw-on freewheel on the rear hub, this means that it will normally have a spread of 6 sprockets with 14 - 28Teeth, bearing in mind that the wheel size will normally be 16” or 20” and as such will have to rotate many more times to achieve a sensible speed, it should be fairly obvious that a largish front chainwheel is essential to achieve this. A minimum size we feel is 52T but even this will only satisfy the casual leisure cyclist. There are many imports out there for sale that have much smaller chainwheels of 44 or 46T which is frankly ridiculous for able bodied riders old or young. We stress that we refer to derailleur and not hub gear bikes, and also are well aware and sympathetic towards persons, who through particular disabilities may require such a low top gear.
The gearing we have chosen for the Succinct G7 on account of price is the Shimano 7 speed screw-on freewheel 14 - 28T with a 52T chainwheel. This is recommended only for the more casual rider as cycling at speeds of 10 - 12 mph is the realistic pace with perhaps the odd lively spurt of 15mph.
The next step up from this is when the rear hubs are of the cassette type where the sprocket sizes on a seven speed can be as wide ranging as 11 - 30 Teeth. This makes a huge difference when used in combination with the 52T front chainwheel, and riding at speeds of 15 - 20 mph or more becomes a reality if you are reasonably fit. This is the gearing that we really recommend and it’s found by design on our Succinct GD7. (Available online and instore)
It was also essential that the bike was adaptable to most riders of various heights in the UK, and not just for the national average in the country of origin being some 3” shorter than our homeland. Forgive us for saying, that achieving this was quite a tall order.