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.
- 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 that 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.
A Better Bicycle is Coming…
The Better Bicycles team of researchers and engineers aim to make cycling more convenient and enjoyable. Our revolutionary design concept now has UK Government funding to bring it to market. Sign-up to give your feedback on design evaluations or even attend prototype testing sessions.
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.
Very good review of bike had mine three years now Be careful how much you loadon the luggage rack as this can cause damage to spokes on back wheel as I found out recently
For the money excellent very nice I own a Brompton but the evo is ok.
Well done you, Graham.
Lera Miles says
Thank you, super helpful to have the review whilst consider which folder to go for.
Ann Olbison says
This sounds like the bike for me however I am a large lady and wondered abou the carry weight of this bike. I am also 5ft 8in. If not this bike can you advise me what bike would be OK on a small budget must be folding. Ie carrera intercity
I’m 16st 4lbs it copes with my weight
Bright Masih says
I am 6ft and 20 stone and I ride mine every day, its a great bike. There is a little flex in the handlebar stem which is a little annoying but apatt from that its great.
Pam Cook says
I had already ordered the Evo 2 before I read this review but I have found it honest and very useful – I think I’ve made the right choice …. thankyou!
Michael gillan says
I have a 6 week old evo2 which has started making a clunking noise at pedals
Just got mine a month ago.
My car broke and to get to work I purchased this, to take on the train. Its brilliant, folds nicely, handles very well in honesty – however it’s quite heavy.
Grips lasted two weeks however before splitting and I’ve not noticed any flex in the stem unless at a very high setting.
Overall I love it, rode 15 miles the other day on it and it was a breeze.
Mine had the clunking noise. It’s the bottom bracket, needs fixing.
Get it replace while they honour your guarrantee
Sameena Abid says
Thank you for the detailed informative review. When choosing between the raleigb evo2 and carerra intercity folding bikes which would be the one to choose? Which is the better bike?
Jody Muelaner says
The Intercity folds smaller and is quite a bit lighter, I found it rides better too
Isoldt Harris says
Can anyone advise what size inner tube I need for the evo please?
I have the new Raleigh Stowaway 2021 which is pretty much the same bike I believe. I’ve noticed a little flex in the front bars on that, but it still feels a solid bike. I agree it’s not a great package folded and even though there’s a magnet to keep the folded halves together it doesn’t really work as a concept so I had to opt for a carrying bag.
I find the evo 2 very solid and excellent quality. Haven’t noticed any vibration in the forks yet, and the only disappointing thing for me is that the pedals lack grip, so my feet slide forwards whichever shoes I wear. Not worried about the foldability or weight as the only time it’s folded is to put it in the back of the car.
Just said goodbye to my Evo2. Had it for four years and used it everyday apart from during the pandemic. I agree with everything that has been said in the review. I had to upgrade the V brakes (Shimano Deore) and tires (Schwalbe), but found that the odd axle sizes made it difficult to source and upgrade them. Bearings in the rear axle disintegrated twice and the rear wheel and hub had to be replaced. Bottom bracket was also replaced, c’mon Raleigh? However, despite its weight and it developing a mind of its own when folded down, when it was running well it was a good (fun) bike to ride, replaced the juddering expensive bus rides to work so it paid for itself. Switched to the Carrera Intercity folding bike, so wait and see……….