Carrera Transit folding bike review

Side view of the Carrera Transit folding bike

In this in-depth review of the Carrera Transit folding bike I will cover my experience riding the bike as well as it’s folding and build quality. This bike is very affordable, currently selling for £256 from halfords.co.uk. With its 3-speed Nexus hub, V-brakes and an alloy frame it has a decent spec for a bike of this type. As with other similar bikes the Carrera Transit doesn’t fold into a very small package that most people would be comfortable carrying around. A fixed stem giving an upright riding position combined with quite a short frame makes this a bike for the more relaxed cyclist. If you can afford it the similar Carerra Intercity is a better bike.

The good:

  • Very affordable folding bike
  • Fully equipped with luggage rack and mud guards
  • Adequate gears and brakes
  • Lively feeling frame
  • 20” wheels

The bad:

  • Fairly heavy: 14kg (31 lbs)
  • Quite bulky when folded: 74cm x 76cm x 40cm (29” x 30” x 16”)
  • Flex in fork and stem

Folding and unfolding the Carrera Transit

The Carrera Transit is a fairly typical halfway fold. This involves folding the frame in half to bring the wheels roughly next to each other, collapsing the long stem to bring the handlebars next to the folded package and lowering the long seat post. There are magnets mounted close to the wheel axles which hold the bike together in its folded position. As with other bikes of this type the folded package is still quite large at 74cm x 76cm x 40cm (29” x 30” x 16”) which is almost three times the volume of a Brompton. The weight is also fairly high, at 14kg (31 lbs).

Folded view of the Carrera Transit folding bike

The Carrera Transit with handlebars folded inside the package, it is still quite large and bulky

Initially, I had a lot of difficulties understanding how to fold this bike. It is possible to collapse the handlebar first, bringing it in-between the wheels. This should produce a more compact fold but I couldn’t quite get the magnets, which hold the wheels together, to stay connected. It seems that the correct way to fold this bike is to fold it in half first and then bring the handlebars down over the top. This makes it slightly less compact but it does mean that it stays in the folded shape.

Close-up view of magnets which hold the Carrera Transit folding bike together in folded position

Magnets meet to hold the Carrera Transit in its folded position, but if the handlebars are folded inside there isn’t quite enough roof to close the magnets

Once I got used to the folding sequence I found the Carrera Transit quite easy to fold. The main clamp which holds the frame together has a safety release. I found I could lift the safety release and open the lever in a single movement.

When folded the Carrera Transit remains a large awkward package which is also fairly heavy. It is not really possible to wheel it along when it is folded. This is not a bike I would want to carry. As with other bikes of this type it is suitable for storing away or transporting on a train. It would not, however, work well if you need to be able to walk around with the bike folded. You might need to do this to travel on a rapid transit system or if you want to take you bike into shops or offices.

Ride and handling of the Carrera Transit

The Carrera Transit has a very upright, laid back, riding position. The frame is quite short and the handlebar height is not adjustable. The Carrera Transit is much more suited to comfort for short rides than for performance or comfort over long distances. The alloy frame does feel reasonably lively but the steel fork has too much flex. I found that the fork would judder disconcertingly when I applied the front brake. This clearly isn’t a bike for the serious cyclist but for casual use to get around over relatively short distances it is more than adequate.

I’m about 181 cm (6’) and was able to get a good leg extension without overextending the seat post. With the very long seat post, the Carrera Transit would fit much smaller riders although the position would be every more upright for smaller riders.

Specifications

The Carrera Transit is fitted with a Shimano Nexus 3-speed hub gear. This is a reasonable choice for a bike of this type. The Transit isn’t a bike that’s intended for long mountainous rides, it’s for short trips across town. The range of gears is therefore sufficient. An advantage with hub gears is that they need much less maintenance than derailleurs, the flip side of this is that when they do start to go wrong it’s often much harder to fix them. Nexus gears are reliable and have become very popular for city bikes. Hub gears place the gearing within the wheel and only require a single sprocket on the outside of the wheel. This can result in a narrower dropout spacing, which can make for a more compact fold. The Nexus, however, has a large shifting mechanism on the outside. This is fragile and must be protected by an even larger guard around it. Therefore, the potential width advantage of using a hub gear is completely lost.

Close up of Nexus gears fitted to Carrera Transit folding bike

The Shimano Nexus hub gear on a Carrera Transit is simple and reliable. However, the external shifting mechanism with guard adds a lot of width to the folded bike.

The choice of a 20” wheel size for this bike is sensible. Firstly there are lots of tire choices available. Smaller wheels can also sometimes cause issues with obstacles and make a bike harder to balance at low speed. This size provides a balance between achieving a reasonable folded package while maintaining stability.

Alloy V-brakes are a popular choice for bikes of this type. They provide enough power to reliably stop in wet weather while being simple and affordable. You don’t get a huge amount of modulation but they are quite adequate and safe. The pads are also easy to get hold of while fitting them is very simple.

Adding to the everyday practicality of the Carrera Transit, it comes fitted with a chain wheel guard and front mudguard. These are important if you want to keep your clothes clean! I would have preferred to see a full chain guard and full mudguards, but at least there is some protection is provided. The front mudguard was reasonably effective but I found that when riding through a deep puddle my feet got soaked as it did not extend low enough.

Front wheel of Carrera Transit showing mudguard

The front mudguard works reasonably well but could benefit from extending a bit further around the rear of the wheel

It is disappointing not to see quick release wheels. This means that in order to fix punctures it will be necessary to carry a spanner. It also adds to the inconvenience of what is always an irritating occurrence. V-brakes are also not always the easiest brakes to release when removing a wheel.

Luggage and Child Carrying on the Carrera Transit

The Carrera Transit comes fitted with a simple but effective rear luggage rack. As with virtually every other bike, there is no child seat but it should be possible to attach one to the luggage rack.

Close-up of Luggage rack fitted to the Carrera Transit

Luggage rack supplied with the Carrera Transit

Conclusion

The Carrera Transit is a budget folding bike and yet it has everything needed for a practical folding bike. Reliability of the 3-speed hub gears and V-brakes is combined with the practicality of mudguards and a luggage rack. The comfortable upright position will suit less sporty cyclists. The bike is easy enough to fold and this will be a useful feature for those wanting to store the bike in a cupboard or carry it on the train. It isn’t a super small and light package so this wouldn’t be a great choice for traveling on the underground train or taking into buildings such as shops and offices.

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