In this article, I take a close look at the Carrera Intercity. This is an affordable folder that can compete with some considerably more expensive bikes. It rides really well with 20” wheels, a responsive alloy frame and decent components for the money. The 8-speed Shimano gears and V-brakes are effective while the adjustable stem allows a wide range of riding positions to be accommodated. This is the cheapest folding bike I’ve ridden that felt like a proper bike, I’d be happy taking it on a long ride. Although this is still no Brompton in terms of folded size it does weight about the same at 12kg (26 lbs) and could be carried onto an underground train or into a shop at a push. Currently selling for £350 from Halfords.co.uk this really is very affordable for a decent folding bike. This bike is in some ways similar to the cheaper Carrera Transit but if you have the extra money I’d definitely go for the Intercity.
- Reasonably priced folding bike
- Fully equipped with luggage rack and full mudguards
- Decent gears and brakes
- Lively feeling frame with predictable handling
- 20” wheels
- Reasonable weight 12kg (26 lbs)
- Quite large when folded: 83.5cm x 36cm x 66cm (33” x 14” x 26”)
Folding and unfolding the Carrera Intercity
The Carrera Intercity is a typical half way fold, very similar to the Transit. The folding process starts by lowering the saddle and then folding the frame in half. This causes the front wheel to swing around and align next to the rear wheel. Magnets catch at this point holding the wheels together and preventing the bike from swinging open. A brief tug is all that is required to break the magnets and open it back out. Finally, the handlebars can be folded over the top of the bike. It seems as though it should be possible to fold the handlebars first so that they are inside the folded package, between the wheels. However, I found that if I did this I couldn’t get the magnets to meet, just as with the Carrera Transit.
The folded package is smaller than many other more affordable folders although still over twice the volume of a Brompton at 83.5cm x 36cm x 66cm (33” x 14” x 26”). In terms of weight, the Carrera Intercity’s 12kg (26 lbs) is much more competitive, around the same as an equivalent spec Brompton, which would cost you almost three times as much.
Ride and handling of the Carrera Intercity
I was really surprised by how well this bike rides. Although in many ways it appears to be similar to the Transit, the Intercity really feels like a far superior bike. The adjustable stem enables a wide range of riding positions. This is a very significant improvement and I found that although the frame was still a little short for me I was able to achieve a position that felt pretty good. I felt confident making tight turns and braking hard on the Intercity. The forks and stem felt quite rigid and I didn’t experience any of the judder when using the front brake that was an issue with the Transit.
I’m about 181 cm (6’), I didn’t need to overextend the seat post to get a good leg extension. The Carrera Intercity’s adjustable stem and very long seat post should accommodate much smaller riders very well.
The Carrera Intercity’s 8-speed Shimano gearing utilizes an Altus derailleur and Revo twist grip shifter. These are lower end components but they function very well and are easily maintained. Although I wouldn’t expect this bike to be used for any serious mountain passes the range of gearing should be sufficient for hilly areas. The 20” wheel size provides a good compromise between being small enough to give a compact fold while being large enough to deal with obstacles and roll smoothly over rougher road surfaces. This is also a common size with plenty of tires choices available. The fitted V-brakes do the job of stopping, even in wet weather, although they might not be the most refined design. V-brakes are also easy to work on and pads are available everywhere.
I was pleased to see a chain wheel guard and mudguards, all practical features to keep your clothes clean. The front mudguard could definitely benefit from extending further around the back of the front wheel as my shoes got soaked when riding through puddles. I would also have preferred to see a full chain guard although I appreciate this is difficult with derailleur gearing. It also would have been nice to see quick release wheels, without these you will need to carry a spanner to repair flat tires and the process will be somewhat more irritating.
Luggage and Child Carrying on the Carrera Intercity
The Carrera Intercity is supplied fitted with an alloy luggage rack. This is a useful feature. There, of course, no integrated child seat but one could probably be fitted to the luggage rack.
The Carrera Intercity is quite affordable and yet in some ways can compete with considerably more expensive bikes. For example, compared to a Brompton, the Carrera Intercity is almost one-third of the cost while being about the same weight, having larger wheels and in some respects having superior gearing. In terms of the riding experience, it is very similar. The adjustable stem makes a big difference by enabling an efficient and comfortable riding position. If you want a really good quality folding bike for a decent price then this should definitely be on your list.