Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Rise of the entry-level Foldable Bikes - Raleigh Broadway & Polygon Urbano 3.0 203

Foldie or Foldable Bike
Birdy Bike

Foldie or Foldable bicycle are rapidly gaining trend in Singapore due to the flexibility to bring about just anywhere with your beloved bike. Cycling has become a new craze as even government are encourging cycling for mass Singaporean pastime. With more Park Connecting Network (PCN) in the plan and the GREEN factor bicycle can offer (zero emission other than carbon dioxide emitted from our nose), the allure of cycling is growing each and everyday while every new town will incorporate cycling path or PCN link.

Strada Bike


Foldable bikes are not new in the market, with DAHON the leading brand and other such as Brompton (Yes, if LTA and DigiNEXX sounds familiar to you), STRADA, Birdy, TERN, Bike Friday, KHS and many other foldable bike brands offering everything from speed (Bike Friday & Tyrell), best folding and rolling ability (Brompton) to stylish design (Birdy, Tern). There will surely be one that meets your requirement. 

Brompton Bike

Due to our shrinking home size, foldable bike fits many key criteria such as space saving, portable (ability to bring into MRT stations, buses or slip into car's boot) which pushes foldable bike in the limelight in recent years. It comes in many different sizes and shape, while we will cover the most popular 20" wheel size model as this is the closest resemblance to a full size bike while not losing too much of it's folding ability and advantage.


Often misleading and confusing to the consumers are the wide range of ALEOCA foldable bikes in the GIANT or NTUC Fairprice Xtra (where it used to be CARREFOUR carrying the widest range and best of ALEOCA) outlets. With the basic range of around $59-79 for gear-less to basic 6 speed gear, while higher end range comes with SHIMANO basic rear derailleur, shifter and cassette sprocket.

The 2 featured models are the latest models of Aleoca.

Aleoca models exist due to the low entry level price while unless you are satisified with a rusting bike in the 2nd or 3rd year of your purchase or you are intending to lock it outside your home or at neighbourhood bike parking lots. Irregardless which range, Aleoca offer very low quality with majority of the components and joint parts made from hi-tensile steel to reduce cost. For a bike to last, avoid such parts as they will begin the wear and tear cycle faster than you can imagine.

The soul of the bike is the bike frame, which aluminium is the most commonly used frame part for foldable bike due to it's strength and anti-rusting composite. Carbon frame are not common in this field as they are unable to offer sufficient strength in the folding joints. Entry level "A-Class" foldable bikes usually utilise hi-tensile steel fork and basic Shimano gear system to achieve quality and price balancing, while higher end models will utilise aluminium fork with higher quality SRAM/SHIMANO gears system that are lighter and smoother. Every cent counts in this field as the cost of upgrading are no-less lower than getting an entire new bike.

"A-Class" Foldable Bike
A generic term I termed it to describe the Aluminium/Alloy based bikes with either T6061 aluminum or Aluminium Alloy frame. These entry level foldable bikes provides better value and more longer lasting ride that should worth your every penny compared to the hi-tensile steel ALEOCA in the lowest class. This class varies between S$389 - $595 depending on the brand and various components used. The clamp and components used are usually of higher quality (stainless steel or aluminium) to ensure rusting do not occur as quicky as your everyday Aleoca.

  • Aluminium 6061T frame, aluminium saddle post, alloy handle post.
  • SHIMANO 7-speed system (these are entry level ones unlike Tiagra/ULTEGRA ones)
  • Reasonable folding quality and better quality parts in general (less chance of rusting) 

  • Hi-Tensile Steel Fork
  • Basic Shimano 7-speed system (cassette made of hi-tensile steel)
  • Reasonable folding quality and better quality parts in general (less chance of rusting)
  • Entry level saddle, handle grip and tyres to lower price down 

Raleigh Broadway 20" @ S$389

More well known for the full size 26" MTB, Raleigh brand of foldable bikes does bear some close resemblance to DAHON (Mu or Curve) or the Aleoca Specifiche bike (as shown below). Majority of the entry level frame are modelled closely to DAHON frame.

Raleigh broadway 20" foldable bike comes in either Red / Black / White colour and at just  $389 is among the 2 best priced aluminium frame based entry-level foldable bike. Armed with a 7-speed Shimano derailleur, cassette and shifter, this is the best you can get for a sub-$400 bike which offer reasonable riding experience and friendly to your pocket. Weight is somewhere between 12.5-13.0 KG while foldable is reasonable as it follow Dahon Mu frame closely.
  • Wider choice of colours: Black, Red & White 
  • Aluminium 6061T frame, aluminium saddle post, alloy handle post.
  • SHIMANO 7-speed system (these are entry level ones unlike Tiagra/ULTEGRA ones)
  • Reasonable folding quality and better quality parts in general (less chance of rusting)

  • No visible bottle holder provision
  • SHIMANO Tourney 7-speed system (these are entry level steel made unlike Tiagra/ULTEGRA ones which uses aluminium or combination material to achieve lighter weight)
  • Hi-Tensile Steel fork (for cost reduction & common on entry level aluminium frame models)
  • Less comfortable saddle, handle bar for cost reduction

POLYGON Urbano 3.0 20" @ S$419 (Rodalink members $389)
From our Indonesia counterpart comes the latest 2013 model Urbano 3.0 (also available in i3 with Shimano Nexus 3 internal hub). Only available in White colour,
There are some resemblance of Dahon "Vector"/Tern "Verge" curvy frame. It also sport very similar component parts as Releigh Broadway (that explains the price tag similarity) such as Shimano 7-speed gear system, alloy handlepost, aluminium saddle post. The additional rear rack will be useful for some delivery or storing of bags while riding. Sporting a newer 2013 design, additional rear rack and provision of bottle holder bolt, this may give Polygon the additional points in the user's selection choice.
The weakness about this model is the lack of colour choice. If you are a Rodalink member and prefer the rear rack this maybe the preferred choice. Otherwise both are very similar and it all boil down to where you are located to purchase either the Raleigh or Polygon bike.

  • Bottle holder bolts provision near the folding frame
  • Additional rear rack (great for carrying basket, light weight goods)
  • Aluminium 6061T frame, aluminium saddle post, alloy handle post.
  • SHIMANO 7-speed system (these are entry level ones unlike Tiagra/ULTEGRA ones)
  • Reasonable folding quality and better quality parts in general (less chance of rusting)

  • Only 1 colour choice (White)
  • $389 is only available for Rodalink members, price are for cash-and-carry or otherwise $25 for delivery applicable. At original price of S$419, the additional $30 premium over Raleigh Broadway may actually paying for the bottle holder bolts and rear rack. If you need neither of them Raleigh may be the preferred one.

Dahon Vector Frame
(notice the similarity to Urbano frame)


16 Feb 2013 Update: STEPDRAGON AS200 20" @ S$350
As the research intensify on entry level foldable bikes, many unknown brands and models appeared from both Malaysia and Singapore, with more brands in Malaysia which could be considered if you have friends whom can recommend a reliable shop in KL to test ride the bikes. The new entry StepDragon AS200 is a entry level foldable bike typically from a Taiwanese firm (but source can be traced to China) and likely using China supplied ODM on some models. This is common as even Samsung do not manufacture all their handphones or TV panels inhouse with the lowest end usually ODM from Taiwanese 3rd party firms.

The attractive price of S$350 makes it the cheapest Aluminium frame bike mentioned here. While I have not personally test-ride nor seen it live yet, therefore the comments here maybe read with a pinch of salt.
The frame of AS200 is familar as it is based on a very dated folding design around 2007 era. The frame, saddle and handle post should be made of aluminium while fork is traditionally hi-tensile steel for foldable bike of this price-tag.
- 18 speed gear (Shimano mentioned here)

Do give a call to enquire more about this bike and to test ride one to see if the Taiwanese bike provide a value for money alternative compared to Releigh or Polygon.

We have just covered the entry level aluminium frame foldable bike (Sub S$400).

1) Raleigh Broadway 20" can be found at TEF Bikers Junction (1 Thomson Road #01-332) or Teck Hock Hin (Blk 128 Bedok North Street 2 #01-16).

2) Polygon Urbano 3.0 (2013) can be found at all Rodalink outlets

3) StepDragon AS200 - Cheap John Bike Shop 598B Sembawang Road Tel 67537134

Summary (Only covers Broadway & Urbano):

Both Raleigh and Polygon bike bear some resemblance to Dahon bike (whom are the largest folding bike manufacturer in the world) while in the next chapter we will venture into the the branded foldable bike brands on their entry level choices (mainly Dr Hon/Dahon Eco C7 & Tern Link C7).

Depending on your needs, location and preference on features that are found on either of the bike. It's hard to claim a winner here while Raleigh is the winner if price is the absolute decider (since you need to be a Rodalink member to qualify for the $389 price for Polygon bike). While if you are able to borrow the card from your friend, S$389 with the bottle holder bolts provision and additional rear rack may suddenly look more attractive in value to Polygon.

After you bought your first entry level foldable bike. Do consider the following must-have add-on...
- An entry level bottle holder (Topeak) can be purchase @ just S$11.90
- An entry level mini bicycle bell can be purchase @ DIASO @ just S$2.00
- Quality bicycle bottles can be bought at just $12 onwards (Elite Coca Cola version)
- The entry level bike usually comes in hard and painful saddle, go for a quick switch if you ride more often than ever after your purchase.

There are still many ways to save every penny on your riding experience. RIDE-ON folks!


  1. Great job! Now to find a Rodalink member b

  2. Bought Polygon Urbano i3 with Shimano Nexus internal hub. List price $490 Rodalink member $465. But you become member automatically with purchase above $300. Came with bottle holder bolts, rear rack, bell and big carry bag. Had to buy bottle holder, front & rear lights separately.

    Looked at Raleigh & Polygon. Polygon finish seems better. Originally wanted to buy the Polygon Urbano 3.0 but no stock. Only had the i3 which cost $80 more. Internal hub but 3 speed only. Purple Colour only.


  4. TKS, you can pre-order for Urbano 3.0 but will have to wait around 2 months from what I know. It is a good buy for the specification and pricing..

  5. Yeah, I did not want to wait. So bought the i3. Similar except for internal hub, $80 more & purple colour!

    Bike is generally well built & nice to ride. 3 speed is ok but I think at least 5 would have been better. I find the design of the handle bar stem folding mechanism not good. Mine developed a fault on my maiden ride. Bike is now at the shop pending assessment by their warranty guy.

  6. Hi, how would the Internal hub of i3 compare to Urbano 3.0 7 Speed Shimano?

  7. Just took your advice and bought a Raleigh Broadway 20" from TEF. Good price and nice guy (Nick)! Added a Polisport Bilby Junior seat for my infant daughter. Looking forward to riding with my children.

  8. Do you know the model of the child seat shown in the picture of Raleigh Broadway??
    Thanks in advance.