The Folding Society

Sunlova 20" full-suspension folding mountain bike

By Russell Coles
First published 22 August 2010


1. Overview

2. Folding

3. How does it ride?

4. The surprising bit

5. To sum up

1. Overview

This is a dual suspension bike based on a shrunk down Y shaped mountainbike style frame.  It uses BMX wheels and tyres.

Frame Construction: Hi-tensile steel P1010195
Wheel Size: 20" (ISO 406)
Suspension: Front and rear suspension
Handlebar: Foldable alloy handlebar
Gear System: 7-speed Shimano system
Wheel specification: Lightweight aluminium rim and steel hubs
Brakes: Alloy V-type brakes
Handlebar and stem: Adjustable height

I purchased this bike over the internet from as I was looking for a cheap folding bike for my relatively short comute to work. The web site said they would dispatch the bike the day after recieving payment and it would then arrive in 2-3 days.  In fact it was dispatched the same day and arrived in 2 days.  Due to difficulties with being home to receive the delivery I had it sent to my parents and it was assembled by my Dad (this wasn't planned this way honest).  My dad who is a keen cycling enthusiast apparently took 2 days to assemble the bike, how much actual time this equates to and how this divides into actual assembly and perfecting the gear and brake adjustment I cannot say (Dad is a bit of a perfectionist, I recieved the bike tweaked to perfection, I reiterate - Not planned this way honest). My 1st impressions I was told by my Dad that the build quality wasn't great, what this seems to mean in practice is that the welding isn't going to win any awards for appearance.  Several of the stickers used to decorate the bike were put on in rather a shoddy manner (simple solution, take them off).  The big issue however is the seat post.  While the handlebars have a great range of adjustment, only the smallest rider can possibly get a good seat position.  I would recomend that anyone buying this bike should get a replacement seat post before attempting to ride it, in fact get a new saddle at the same time.

2. Folding

The main fold in the center of the bike has a quick release and is very easy to do once you know the knack. The trick is that there is a safety feature whereby you have to lift up the quick release lever after flipping the lever to release the hinge.  This is actually a very good feature as in addition to preventing issues with catching the QR lever while riding, it means that when unfolding the bike it will click into position making it much easier to control the bike while you apply the QR lever.  The handlebars also fold down with a quick release, this one has a simple plastic hook to twist out of the way to prevent accidental release.  Overall the fold size is surprisingly good but not the simplest bike to fold.

3. How does it ride?

It should be noted that I havent ridden any bike for many years so for a fair appraisal maybe someone might want to borrow it for a quick spin if they see me at a folding soc event.  That said, it performed well on the Bristol docks ride (I will forgive it a puncture and subsequent issues with brake adjustment) and the suspension and BMX tyres are excellent on cobbles and cattlegrids.  I would be dubious about using it as a full blown mountain bike but I have not seen a folding bike which would do a better job on rough ground.  The gear ratios are rather low as you would expect on a bike claiming to be a mountain bike and with the small wheels it does tend to try and do wheelies on steep inclines.

4. The surprising bit!

This bike costs less than £100

5. To sum up

This bike is very cheap, it is great (for a folder) on rough ground, its folds up reasonably small and it preforms reasonably well for general cyclepath riding.  Who cares if the welds could look a bit more professional and the seat post has to be replaced.  Oh and no-one has seen one before apparently so you get a bit of extra attention :)

This bike was bought from and cost £97.99 (plus £15.99 Postage)

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