Carrera Intercity folding bike review

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.

The good:

  • 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)

The bad:

  • 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.

Side view of the folded Carrera Intercity

The folded Carrera Intercity

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.

Rear view of the folded Carrera Intercity

Rear view of the folded Carrera Intercity

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.

Specifications

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.

View of the rear wheel and transmission of the Carrera Intercity

Rear of the Carrera Intercity showing the 8-speed Shimano gears, mudguard and luggage rack

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.

Conclusion

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.

14 Comments on "Carrera Intercity folding bike review"

  1. After four years I have just bought my second ‘Intercity’ since I found it excellent and there is still nothing to compare ŵith it at the price. I note the build quality of the new one is distinctly better – after several years building it the makers have of course perfected their assembly methods, though actually nothing ever went wrong with the 2015 bike.

    This new one still has the snap- fit fastening instead of magnets and for some reason this is much easier to use than the one on the older bike. With the metal snap latching no problem arises when the handlebars are folded between the wheels, as was certainly intended by the makers. With the handlebar stem folded across the frame the paint work would be damaged and I could not fit the bike into the boot of my car. As you say, quick- release wheels would be nice, but of course these would add to the cost and even Brompton do not supply them.

    Respecting Brompton, my housemate has one and I have ridden it several times in different conditions. It is certainly more compact and notably better suited to carrying onto buses or trains (which I do not usually do). However, the Carrera has much larger wheels and tyres and is far less sensitive to road conditions, thus being safer to ride. It is also much more comfortable, especially once a ‘gel’ saddle has been fitted. An upright riding position is imposed by all these folders and they are all supplied with hopeless saddles.

    Horses for courses. If the bike is for use with public transport the Brompton is far easier to live with, but if you will only load it into the boot of a car then buy the Carrera and spend the £800 saving on a nice holiday.

  2. After reading the helpful and frank review I purchased a Carrera Intercity in red from Halfords ( included a free cleaning pack and was set up in store ). I had no problem in folding the bike to the magnetic clip- I folded both pedals and left the handle bar rotation clip loose so that the bell and levers clear the lower rear arm, Not ridden a bike for some time but pleased with range of adjustments for comfort, gear ratios, brakes and handling. As I cycle on traffic free routes such as old railways and canal tow paths the bike is easily stowed in the car boot and ready to roll in minutes.

    • Jody Muelaner | 7th March 2019 at 1:25 pm | Reply

      Hi Alex, thanks for the feedback and glad we were able to help you choose a bike you’re happy with.

  3. I purchased a carrera intercity ~ 2 years ago and I really liked the bike in the beginning. It was easy to fold and unfold. I have been using it everyday for 2 years (~50 min per day). One week ago (~2 years from when I purchased it), the frame split in half while I was cycling. It split on the welding next to the central hinge. I fell on the pavement and slightly hurt my shoulder. Fortunately, there were no cars behind me and I was wearing an helmet. Reading around, it’s not the first time this happened. I won’t recommend this bike as it’s not safe.

    • Jody Muelaner | 7th March 2019 at 1:22 pm | Reply

      Hi David, thanks for letting us know about this and sorry to hear about your broken bike and bad experience. I’m trying to look at this objectively. There will always be some small percentage of failures with all bikes, so your experience alone doesn’t necessarily mean this bike is more dangerous than others. The fact that you say other’s have had the same experience does make it more of a concern, can you send some details of the other cases? I do wonder whether you would find similar stories for other bikes. Please don’t be offended by my response, it may very well be the case that this is a dangerous bike, I just feel it would be wrong for me to immediately draw that conclusion. Have you made a warranty claim and did they offer a replacement and compensation for your accident? Can you send some pictures of the broken bike?

      • Hi Jody,

        I’m very concerned about David’s experience with this bike, as I have it short listed with a few others for a possible purchase soon.

        Has David supplied any evidence of this catastrophic frame failure?

        Regards

      • Jody, has David supplied any evidence of this catastrophic frame failure?

        This bike is one that I’ve been looking at.

        Regards

    • Jody Muelaner | 17th June 2019 at 7:16 pm | Reply

      I’ve still not had a reply from David to my above questions, so no, he has not provided any evidence of this

  4. Hi. How far would you cycle on one of these bikes please?

    • It really depends on you, it’s suitable for fairly long rides. The height adjustable stem means that you can adjust your body position to move your weight forward and onto your hands. This is important when spending hours in the saddle.

  5. Hi Jody, I was wondering what you think about what is the correct resting position for this bike when folded? In your pictures I have seen that you rest the chainrings against the floor but I just wanted to confirm if this won’t damage the chainrings or any other part over time (at least according to your experience). Thanks!

  6. After hearing David’s comments I was thinking of purchasing this bike as a little runaround with a child bike seat on it…might have to reconsider

    • Hi Ed, I understand your concerns. I’ve tried to contact David asking for some more information and not had any response. It is, of course, possible that a competitor is putting out false information. At this stage, I can’t really comment further.

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