A year as a folding bike commuter


It is hard to believe that it has already been a year since I purchased my first folding urban commuter bike – a “Miami” by Citizen. Since several readers wondered about the long-term durability of the bike, here’s a brief summary of the first year of use.

When I first bought the bicycle, I was not sure how much I would ride it, but the Citizen quickly became my bike du jour and I hardly ever ride anything else. It is fun, convenient, easy to operate, and surprisingly comfortable, provided rides don’t exceed 10 miles at a time. It has also become the subject of admiration and intrigue while riding about the community.

In the past year, I can only think of two or three occasions when I have not ridden my Citizen. Overall, well over 500 miles have been put on it, in all types of weather; on varied surfaces (asphalt, concrete, compacted crushed stone or dirt, and turf), though not on rough and rocky terrain; for commuting and recreation purposes; and even as a participant with MSU Bikes in the 2012 Michigan State University Homecoming Parade.

There are only a couple of minor modifications I would recommend to Citizen regarding the design and operation of the “Miami:”

  • The locking mechanism for the folding hinge needs to face towards the handlebars and not towards the seat. The direction it currently opens allows pant leg cuffs to catch on it now and then, which could potentially lead to the hinge becoming undone. That would not be fun.
  • Place a fixed handle along the top center of the main body tube of the bike would be really nice for carrying it up and down stairways with ease.
  • The metal seat post has a tendency to contract slightly in cold weather causing the seat to gradually lower in position as one rides the bike. It is not dramatic, but a bit annoying having to raise the seat back up after every other ride. This should be addressed, though I do not know how.

Beyond those three suggestions, my Citizen folding urban commuter bike is terrific, especially at a price of less than $275 including carrying case and shipping. I would definitely buy another folding urban commuter bike and recommend such to anyone considering the purchase of one. However, I would NOT recommend an urban commuter bike for long distance or competitive riding, as it is not designed for those purposes. The longest ride on my Citizen “Miami” in the past year has been 12 miles.

All in all I have been very happy with my purchase and look forward to continued fun while riding my Citizen “Miami.”

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