This is a detailed review of the Raleigh Evo 2 folding bike. This very affordable folder is more than adequate as a city bike for getting around. It has 7 gears and V-brakes along with a lively alloy frame. It folds down enabling it to be stored in a somewhat smaller space than a non-folding bike but don’t expect a Brompton sized package that you can carry around with you. The adjustable handlebars mean you should be able to achieve a riding position that suits you reasonably well. Although the ride is remarkably good for a bike of this price I did find the flex in the forks and long stem made the bike feel somewhat unstable when braking. All in all, it’s a good bike for the money, currently just £200 from Halfords.co.uk, but don’t expect performance comparable with much more expensive folding bikes.
Here’s an overview of the key advantages and disadvantages:
- Very affordable folding bike
- Fully equipped with luggage rack and mudguards
- Adequate gears and brakes
- Lively feeling frame
- 20” wheels
- Heavy: 16kg (35 lbs)
- Bulky when folded: 90cm x 45cm x 65cm (35” x 18” x 26”)
- Flex in fork and stem
Folding and unfolding the Raleigh Evo 2
Folding Evo2 is easy enough although I did find the safety release on the latches a little awkward. It’s a typical half way fold. The folded package is still quite large at 90cm x 45cm x 65cm (35” x 18” x 26”). This is about three times the volume of a Brompton, the standard for a compact fold. It is twice the volume of a Strida, which gives a compact stick-like fold. At 16kg (35 lbs), the weight, combined with the large awkward shape, means this is not a bike you would want to carry around for long.
It’s possible to quickly fold it in half and then wheel it along on the wheels but it’s still a large package that is not at all maneuverable. I certainly wouldn’t want to wheel it along in a crowded space. This issue is made a little worse by the way that the folded package didn’t seem to have any catch to keep it folded. This means that it can start to open out as you’re moving it.
My feeling is that this is a bike which can be folded if you need to store it in a small space. You might travel by train, live in a small flat or want to carry the bike in a motor home or boat. If you don’t really need to move it around while it is folded, then you will be fine. Often it is quite acceptable to walk with a bike unfolded, for example in a train station. The Evo 2 would be less suitable if you need to be able to walk around with the bike folded, for example in a rapid transit system or in shops.
Unfolding is easy enough although as with most folding bikes you need to put the saddle back up to the correct height. This often means making slight adjustments after you’ve started riding.
Raleigh Evo 2 ride and handling
I found this bike quite enjoyable to ride and was able to get it up to a decent speed easily enough. As you would expect with a bike in this price range it comes with fairly cheap tires so a big improvement could be easily made by upgrading these. The main issue I had was a feeling of too much weight over the front wheel. This combined with flex in the forks and the very long stem made the bike feel quite unstable when braking. When applying the front brake hard the fork would shudder.
The Evo 2 has a telescopic stem that allows the handlebar height to be adjusted. This is a very nice feature. It is possible to achieve an upright relaxed position or a lower more sporty position. The frame is, however, quite short meaning that it is not possible to achieve a very sporty position. I’m about 181 cm (6’) and I needed the seat post beyond its maximum mark to get proper leg extension. This bike, therefore, wouldn’t be suitable for taller riders.
The large cushioned saddle is well suited to an upright position. It was very comfortable when used sitting up.
The choice of 7 speed Shimano derailleur gears and alloy V-brakes is good for a bike of this type. The gear range is enough to get up hills and cruise at a decent speed. The brakes are powerful enough to stop in the wet although they lack a modulation of other options. Everything is easy to maintain and uses standard parts that are easy to get hold of. 20” wheels are a very common size so there’s a wide range of tires available. They are also a nice compromise between being small enough for a compact fold while large enough to give low rolling resistance and cope with obstacles such as potholes.
A basic chainring guard is fitted but it would have been nice to see a full chain guard. The full mudguards on both wheels are very effective and a nice feature.
It’s a shame that quick release wheels aren’t included, but you can’t expect everything on a bike of this price. It simply means that a spanner will have to be carried as part of a puncture repair kit.
Raleigh Evo 2 Luggage and Child Carrying
It is good to see that a luggage rack is included. This is a decent size and felt sturdy. As you would expect there is no child seat but it should be easy enough to attach one to the luggage rack.
The Raleigh Evo 2 is a very affordable folding bike. It has everything you need to get around over short to medium length trips. The 7 speed Shimano derailleur gears give enough range to climb hills and cover ground reasonably quickly. The alloy V-brakes give safe and reliable stopping power in wet weather. This is a bike which can be folded for transport on a train or in a restricted space but it isn’t small or light enough or carrying around folded. The ride is very good for a bike in this price range but there is quite a lot of flex in the forks and the long stem. If you need a basic folding bike on a budget then this is a great choice.