Folding Bikes With Adjustable Stems

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There are many reasons to want an adjustable handlebar system on your new folding bike. Some people just have a very precise feel that they are going for in their bike, and want to be able to dial in their preferred exact fit. This is one of the best things about bikes with an adjustable stem. Want to go for an around-town cruise? Raise those bars for a nice upright feel. Jonesing for some speed? Lower those handles for a sporty feel. There are many other practical uses for adjustable handlebars, too. If you want all the members of your family to be able to use the same bike, you’ll need to be able to change the bike’s dimensions on the fly. Likewise, I have met many customers who opt for a bike with an adjustable stem in order to alleviate back pain from riding–generally a higher handlebar setup puts less stress on the rider’s back.

If you fall into one of these categories, or want adjustable handlebars for a different reason, here is a breakdown of your options.


Dahon: Simple and Easy

Dahon Vitesse with a telescoping stemDahon’s handlebar stem adjustment system is fairly well known and quite straightforward. By using the same quick-release system that most seatposts utilize, You can change the height of the handlebars on popular bikes like the Mariner D7 and Ciao D5 quite substantially. In fact, these bars probably have the widest range of heights of any in the shop. The functionality of this stem design does double duty in helping Dahons to fold as compactly as possible. The trade-off is that the quick release mechanism allows for a bit more flex than would ordinarily be present in a solid, single-piece stem. This translates into a slightly less efficient biking experience. Still, for most, this is more than worth the wide range of adjustment.

Tern: Smooth and Secure

Tern Eclipse S11i with Andros adjustable stemAlthough Tern’s patented Andros stem is not available on all models (though it is becoming increasingly more common), it definitely makes for a great riding experience on bikes such as the Tern Eclipse S11i and Link P24h. Instead of Dahon’s system, which moves straight up and down, the Tern stem rotates around the top of the stem, allowing for up, down, forward, and backward adjustments. Though the Andros system does not allow for nearly as much height adjustment, the added axes allow for a more subtle adjustment of feel, from a forward-and-low racing position to a swept-back cruiser-like position. The proprietary quick-release locking mechanism is rock solid, and doesn’t feel like it affects the bike’s efficiency at all.

Montague: Fast and Useful

Crosstown OctagonA few of Montague’s wonderful full sized folding bikes come equipped with their own Octagon stem adjustment system, in which a conventional quick release lever and security latch allow for about 8 inches of adjustment in handlebar height. I’ve noticed the Octagon is particularly popular among customers with back pain, as it comes pre-installed on such speedy, road-ready bikes as the Crosstown, Navigator, and will soon come on the Boston 8 as well. This makes these Montagues a great option for anyone who doesn’t want to sacrifice speed and athleticism by letting their bad backs hobble them into riding slow, clunky cruisers.


From my experience, an adjustable handlebar stem is one of the most appreciated features found in folding bikes. Almost anyone who buys a bike with this kind of adjustability will certainly find themselves using it to great effect. So what are you waiting for? Check out our selection of folding bikes today!

Hey Sis, lets go ride a folding bike or four!

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Last week, my sister came to visit me from Washington State and asked if I would think of something fun for us to do. “Well… we could check out a bunch of folding bikes from my work and go on an epic JOY RIDE.” Done and Done.

Folding Bikes for the Ladies

My sister, Lydia, met me at NYCeWheels on a beautiful Friday afternoon accompanied by two of her close friends, Celie, and Sheena. Celie Dan and Charlie Sheena were my mnemonics to remember their names, which earned me wry looks from the girls. After browsing the folding bikes at the shop, we left the store with four of our favorites: the Tern Link D8, Tern Verge Duo, Montague Boston 8, and Dahon Mu P8.

Strapping our helmets in place, we glanced around one last time, giving each other meaningful stares and solemn nods, this was going to be epic.

Celie Dan rides the Verge Duo

Tern Verge Duo

Tern Verge Duo

We got off to a bit of a bumpy start. Celie, who didn’t have a lot of experience with bikes, decided to take the Tern Verge Duo because she liked the look, but didn’t realize that this was one of the more unique bikes in the shop— a dual speed with an automatic shifter and a heel brake. It took a few blocks before she got used to stepping back on the pedals to stop the bike, but soon she was speeding ahead of the group, smiling every time the automatic shifter kicked her into second gear. “It really felt like the bike was reading my mind” she told me after the ride, “the verge duo was my favorite.”

Charlie Sheena on the Boston 8

Montague Boston 8

Montague Boston 8

Before the ride, Sheena walked into the shop and told the guy working the floor that she wanted to go fast. “You want to go fast yeah?” he said in a low voice raising his eyebrows, “I could tell you were the adventuresome type, you’ll want the Montague Boston 8.” Shameless flirting. But he was right. The Montague Boston 8 is the fastest folding bike of the four we chose. Unlike most folding bikes, the Montague Boston 8 has full sized 700c wheels and a flat top tube that makes for a smoother, more aerodynamic and faster ride. And it still folds into a small portable package— just release a lever on the top tube and the bike folds in half, making in portable enough to store anywhere, or fit in the trunk of your car. We all took turns riding the Montague Boston 8 and it was a big hit with the group.

Tern Link D8 saves the day

Sheena on the Tern Link D8

Sheena on the Tern Link D8

What the Montague doesn’t have is a place to secure a purse, which was starting to create real problems when Sheena found she was unable to make turns and keep her purse on her shoulder at the same time. At the time, I was riding the Tern Link D8 which comes fit with a rear rack. We switched bikes, and Sheena took a moment to secure EVERYONE’S purse to the rear rack using the bungee cables on the back of the Link D8. I wouldn’t have believed it were possible to secure three full sized purses to the back of a single folding bike, but, there you go. Tern Link D8 to the rescue.

Smooooth Sailing! Er…. Biking!

One the Riverside Bike path with our folding bikes

After Charlie Sheena got the purses secured, the rest was smooth sailing. We took 86th street over to Central park and the spent an hour having a blast weaving around the bike paths. The girls were all wearing black and we felt like some kind of hardcore folding-biker gang as we cruised down to the Hudson. At the end of the day, we returned the folding bikes to the shop after 6 full hours of riding with big goofy smiles on our faces. An amazing, amazing day.

Jack