A few weeks ago I was contacted by Bill at StridaCanada.ca and asked if I would be interested in reviewing one of their unique folding bikes. After looking at a photo of one I was extremely intrigued by this funky looking bicycle. When I saw a video of the thing being folded up and how small it became I wanted one for myself.
The timing was right as my old cruiser bike I had bought while spending a winter in Florida had recently bit the dust. Traveling for 4 years on the rigs back bike rack had really taken its toll. Bill offered to send out a used demo bike which I eagerly accepted. Other than a few surface scratches here and there it is in fine shape.
Disclosure: I received no monetary compensation for this post but I did receive a free used model Strida LT for the review and have decided to become an affiliate.
A Perfect Bike for My RV Lifestyle
I’m no longer an avid biker that loves to head off on long rides and has all the latest gear and biking gadgets. These days my main use for a bike is getting around faster than walking in a campground, sightseeing trips and buzzing around town to pick things up or go to an appointment. I just need something simple, low maintenance and easy to carry with us in the RV. The Strida LT folding bike looks to be just the ticket.
It folds down so compact I can actually store it in the basement compartment of the fifth wheel, inside the living quarters or maybe I’ll make myself a special box for it on the trailers pull out bumper. It’s super lightweight and much less of a hassle to move around than the big heavy cruiser bike I had.
Unboxing the Strida Folding Bike
The model Strida LT bike arrived in a surprising small cardboard box measuring 10”x16”x45”. I realized it was a foldable bike but still I wondered if it was actually in there. Sure enough, it was and it came completely assembled short of the adjustable seat and rear carrier rack.
Although not a super intuitive process at first the seat is in the end very easy to mount. Most of it is done with a provided Allen key that tucks away under the seat when not being used. The only tools I needed to have were a pair of wrenches to mount the standard bicycle seat. After a few quick adjustments to the seat height, I was ready and eager for a test spin.
The Strida bike felt a little wobbly at first as I got used to the unique geometry. It’s unlike any bike I’ve ever ridden. However within just a few minutes I was having a blast with a big ear to ear grin. It’s fun!
Took me back to that first bike as a kid and how much fun it was to just be riding a bike. As I headed out on the local seaside paved walking trail I couldn’t help noticing the bemused looks. I don’t think many had seen a bike quite like this one.
Strida LT Features
This is what makes the Strida look like it does. The very innovative design allows the bike to be easily folded and very light but at the same time strong enough to support even large 200 lbs. guys like me. It’s made in Taiwan with quality 7000 series aluminum tubing, the same stuff used for sailboat masts. The connecting welds look really well done.
Kevlar Drive Belt
This is one of my favorite features. At first, I thought it was just rubber and would easily fail but it’s actually Kevlar like the bulletproof vest material. They use the same belt in car engines and are rated for 50,000 miles. It’s also much quieter and smoother than a regular bike chain and best of all no grease! You can tuck the bike folded up between your legs without fear of getting your clothes oily.
These have been used on mountain bikes for years now as they work a whole lot better than the cheap wheel rim type. The Strida has a large disc and caliper on both wheels and man can it stop quickly with very little squeeze pressure needed on the brake levers. So handy when someone suddenly pulls out in from of you.
The seat on my Strida has two major setup positions, one for taller people and one for shorter. Within each position, the seat has a quick release to move it a series of steps up and down and lock it in place. It also can be adjusted fore and aft a little bit. Being long-legged I love the ability to find just the right seat position. The only drawback is to let my wife use the bike I have to disassemble the whole seat and move it down to the shorter folks setting. (A bit of a pain) Guess she’ll have to get her own Strida. 😉
I have the optional Bent Handlebars put on my Strida. They are more comfortable for taller people with longer arms
Multiple Models and Options to Choose From
The model I have its called the Strida LT but the bike comes in several other models as well. Some with a single speed like mine and some with 3 speeds. The wheels come in 16” or 18” sizes and there are 3 handlebar types available. Check out this page “Which Strida Bike is right for you?” for all the configurations available.
Strida LT Folding Bike Pros:
Folds and unfolds super quick – One of the shining features of this particular folding bicycle is how fast it is to completely fold up. After only a few practice attempts I’ve learned to fold it or unfold it in around 10 secs flat.
Built with quality components and a strong frame – I’ve examined every part that makes up the bike from the frame to the gearing to the brakes to the seat and handlebars. All have a quality feel to them. Because of this when you ride the bike it doesn’t even seem like it’s a foldable bike. The Strida feels very solid and not rickety in any way.
Lightweight and extremely compact –With an approximate weight of 24 lbs. and folded dimensions of 45″ x 20″ x 9″ the Strida is perfect for RVing. It can be easily tucked away in a basement storage compartment, pickup tool box or somewhere inside the RVs living quarters. The bike is narrower than a standard one so much less of a hassle to bring in through our small entrance doorway.
Comfortable to ride – I thought for sure the Strida with its odd circus looking design would be a pain to ride. However, I found it to be quite the opposite. Since you ride it in more of an upright position it is actually extremely comfortable to cruise around on, especially when it comes to the lower back.
Quick to accelerate and stop with good cornering – With its lower gearing ratio the bike is no speed daemon but it is remarkably nimble and easy to pedal. Off the line, you can get up to speed quickly and with its short wheelbase, it can turn quickly in tight areas. The brakes are awesome. There are two large disc brakes front and back and can bring the bike to a stop very quickly. All of this makes it ideal for exploring congested urban areas.
Great bike for crowded places and can be taken inside – With the narrow handlebars and short wheelbase, the bike is well suited for moving through crowds of people whether pushing it around unfolded or in it’s even more compact folded form. I can see it being great for checking out flea markets, festivals or popular tourist areas, etc. Once folded up the bike could be wheeled inside most places and propped in a corner or taken aboard public transit.
Simple design with a minimalistic beauty to it – The Strida folding bicycle has a streamlined simple design. The cabling is run inside the frame. The mechanics of it are put together in a smart and elegant way. Where some may look at it as “gadgety” and weird, I’m sure many others see it as cool, fashionable with a certain European flair to it. Different spokes for different folks sort of speak.
Very low maintenance – Since the design is so simple and a Kevlar toothed belt is used instead of a traditional oily chain system there is very little maintenance to be done. Maybe a little brake adjustment now and then, checking the tire inflation plus tighten any loose screws and bolts. Being that there are so few steel parts the bike is nearly rustproof.
An instant conversation starter – During my brief ownership of a Strida, I’ve quickly realized it’s an attention grabber. Everyone wants to know about it and see me demo the folding action. It’s fun to see the reaction when I quickly break it down to its small folded form. The most common reaction as I glide by is a big smile or a perplexed look of “What the heck is that!?”
Strida LT Folding Bike Cons:
Things are not all peaches and cream with the Strida bike, though. It does have several drawbacks which are not uncommon when you try and fold up a bike. The following are in my opinion some negatives I think folks should know about.
To be fair I sent them to Bill at StridaCanada.ca to give me his feedback on my concerns. He kindly agreed to let me publish his replies.
The Strida appears difficult to lock up since its frame easily opens up. I would be worried to leave it in a public bike rack or outside in our campsite.
Bill: The best way to lock it is to fold the bike and lock through the wheels to something solid. The wheels cannot be removed with the bike folded. If locking the bike not folded then locking it through the rear wheel is secure, the wheel would take a skilled person several minutes to remove and then they would have a Strida bike minus the rear wheel!
Since it is so unique replacement parts may be hard to source locally.
Bill: There are very few Strida parts that need replacing for the first 5000K, tires and tubes for the 16-inch size are common, the brake pads are common, and the belt is a timing belt. I haven’t tried to buy one at an auto parts store but I have heard of people that do. As for the “freewheel”, it would be hard to find anywhere other than at my site. I do stock every part on the Strida and I have the largest selection of Strida parts found anywhere. I ship parts all over the globe.
Not suitable for any but the most manicured off road trails. I found it a little unstable on loose gravel.
Bill: The 16 inch spoke wheel has a slightly wider rim than the plastic wheel of the LT model and will take a wider tire. I have been using the Schwalbe Big apples. These tires are a cushion or balloon tire and are much better on a soft surface and with lower pressure offer a suspension feel to the bike. I have in my next order a single speed 16 spoke wheel model coming and I was going to offer the Big Apple upgrade for people who may want to ride on loose gravel.
Stands out and attracts attention. Shy people may not like this.
Bill: Yes very true, the other side for people who don’t mind the attention it is a great conversation starter.
In my mind, the Strida bicycle is not advisable for folks with below average balance on regular bikes.
Bill: Could be, it does take one’s brain a while to adjust. I did teach a 60-year-old woman who could not ride a bike to ride a Strida in 30 min. I folded the pedals, put the seat in the lowest position and she used it like a child’s run bike until she found her balance. She was not very tall and with shorter people and the seat adjusted down the tube, it is easier for them to get their feet on the ground because the pedal position becomes more “pedal forward” with the seat lower. I think it is harder for a regular cyclist to adjust to riding the Strida than a person who hasn’t ridden for a while.
I think it’s more about our brain making an adjustment from what we expect to what it is. I have experienced hundreds of people ride the Strida for the first time. I give them a heads up that for the first 10 feet they will wobble, I ask them to pick a spot and ride towards it and not to look down. I haven’t had anyone not be able to ride it and most return with a smile on their face.
It’s a challenge to ride on large and/or long hills. I would say it’s basically a flat terrain bike.
Bill: I am not scared of any hills but you are right and it depends on the individual. The 3 speed model with the same size 16-inch wheels has a 25 % lower gear ratio. I think you are using different muscles and it takes a while to build them. Also, the bike is very easy to push with one hand!
Need to keep both hands on grips to maintain stability. (On a regular bike I can ride with no hands, I’d be quite hesitant on the Strida)
Bill: Yes, it is not a no-hands bike, I think mostly because of the short wheelbase. From what I have read this is similar to all short wheelbase folding bikes. I have had many experienced folding bike owners tell me the Strida feels more stable than their folding bike.
Same with standing and pedaling feels very risky
Bill: Yes, standing is not recommended, sitting back and pushing on the pedals similar to a recumbent can put a lot of power in the pedaling. I think when people stand on the pedals they are using their weight more than their muscles. This also puts a strain on the riders joints etc. Building the muscles is much better for the body.
With the Strida, a person’s height provides a different experience. Ray with the seat adjusted for your 6′ height, you are more over the pedals, your wife at 5′ 8″ with the seat lower would be pedaling with more of a pedal forward position and a more upright position.
I am using the same handlebars that you have on my “fast bike” and I don’t stand on the pedals but I have very little weight on the saddle when I need the power. I have a relatively flat 25k ride in the valley here that I do in 60 min. Time trial blog post. This year I am using the Bent Handlebars for the time trial.
Video Review of the Strida LT Foldable Bike
I think I’m going to be super happy with my new Strida LT folding bike. We spend a major portion of our RVing summer months camped in a small town on the coast of British Columbia. It’s an extremely bike friendly little place with lots of paved paths and waterfront causeways. It also will be ideal for popping out to pick up things like groceries and run errands. Nice to leave the big diesel dually truck at the RV Park.
The Strida bike will never be a direct replacement for a regular bike but no folding bike is. There will always be sacrifices required. But in its niche, it’s a top performer with the quickest and easiest folding action I’ve seen.
I’d recommended it for any fellow RVers who would like a bike to tootle around on but lack the room for or don’t want the hassle of a regular full sized bike. Thumbs up from Love Your RV!