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Flatbike (Change) Folding Bikes Comparison Review

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An average folding bike has 16” or 20” wheels, and these bikes are often fun to ride. But they don’t provide the same riding experience as a full-sized bike.

This is where Change bikes come in. These folding full-sized bikes are made in Taiwan and sold by Flatbike in the United States. And they deliver a great ride!

In this article, we review a selection of these bikes, including the nippy Change 702 Street Hybrid Bike. This makes a great commuting or fitness bike.

We’ll also help you decide which of these bikes might be right for you.

top Picks:

5 Flatbike Folding Bicycles Reviewed

We’ll now go over the bikes in the current Flatbike Change range.

1. Change 702 Folding Street Hybrid Bike (best for urban riding)

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  • Frame Material: 7005 Aluminum
  • No of Gears: 24 (Shimano Claris 3×8)
  • Weight: 23 lbs.
  • Weight Capacity: tested at 270 lbs.

A hybrid-style 700c bike that’s intended for street riding is the Change 702 Street Hybrid Bike. Something immediately noticeable is the light 23 lbs. weight, which comes largely from its double-butted aluminum frame and lack of disc brakes.

The 702 Street Hybrid has triple 50/39/30t chainrings, which drive an 11-32t cassette. Thanks to this wide gear range, you can climb any hill with confidence. You also have a quick top gear akin to that of many road bikes.

Despite its hybrid appearance, this bike is meant to be ridden on the pavement. It has 25mm Maxxis tires for that purpose. It’s a road bike with a flat handlebar.

The kickstand ingeniously doubles as a latch.

What We Like

  • Lightweight – light for a folding 700c bike.
  • Gearing – wide gear range suits hilly cities.
  • Shimano – high-quality Shimano Claris gears.
  • Kickstand – a kickstand that also acts as a latch.

What We Don’t Like

  • Color – lack of color choices. You can have black or white.

2. Change 809 Folding 27.5” Street MTB (best for light trails)

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  • Frame Material: 7005 Aluminum
  • No of Gears: 27 (Shimano 3×9)
  • Weight: 30 lbs.
  • Weight Capacity: tested at 270 lbs.

A mountain bike that can do light trails and gravel is the Change 809 Folding Street MTB. It has the wide gear range and low gears you’d expect from a mountain bike, but slicker road-suited tires. Switch the tires for more off-road capability.

Triple 44/32/22t chainrings and an 11-36t cassette give the bike plenty of climbing potential on any surface.

This bike comes in a choice of brighter finishes than the 702 model, with Pine Green and Arctic Blue colors available if you don’t fancy black.

The Change 809 Folding MTB also has a front suspension fork with 100mm of travel. It has lockout, too, which you can use on smooth surfaces for better power transfer.

What We Like

  • Colors – you get a choice of colors.
  • Gearing – wide gear range for most types of riding.
  • Suspension – front suspension fork with 100mm travel and lockout.
  • Frame – lightweight frame with double-butted, hydroformed tubes.

What We Don’t Like

  • Identity – mildly confusing labeling from Flatbike. This is more trail than street.

3. Change 811 Rugged Folding 27.5” Hybrid Bike (best all-rounder)

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  • Frame Material: 7005 Aluminum
  • No of Gears: 27 (Shimano 3×9)
  • Weight: 26 lbs.
  • Weight Capacity: 270 lbs. tested.

There are similarities between the Change 811 Folding 27.5” Hybrid Bike and the previous Change 809 model. The 811 has the same diameter wheels, the same 27 Shimano gears and range, and equal Tektro disc brakes. What else?

The Change 811 forgoes the suspension fork and replaces it with a 1.5” tapered carbon fork. That makes the bike lighter while still providing compliance. You can ride this bike on any type of terrain you’re comfortable with.

A big difference between this bike and the 809 is the wheels. With the 811, you’re getting Mavic Crossride wheels. This is a robust MTB wheelset from the French brand.

Carbon forks and big-brand wheels make bikes more expensive, so that’s an expected downside.

What We Like

  • Lightweight – light for a foldable MTB with disc brakes.
  • Carbon – a carbon fork adds compliance.
  • Wheels – Mavic Crossroad wheels can endure robust riding.
  • Gears – wide gear range for climbing.

What We Don’t Like

  • Expense – nice things like carbon forks and Mavic wheels cost money.

4. Change 812 Offroad Folding 27.5” MTB (best mountain bike)

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  • Frame Material: 7005 Aluminum
  • No of Gears: 20 (Shimano 2×10)
  • Weight: 28 lbs.
  • Weight Capacity: 270 lbs. tested. (likely to hold more)

If you want a folding mountain bike to take on rougher, tougher, hilly trails, the Change 812 Offroad Folding 27.5” MTB is it. This one’s aimed squarely at off-road riding. Like most (all?) top-quality folding MTBs, it’s a hardtail.

On the Change 812 folding MTB, the two 36/26t chainrings drive a wide-ranging 11-42t Shimano cassette at the rear. These are some serious MTB climbing ratios that will help you over long, steep off-road hills.

The 812 also sports a luxurious FOX Series 32 Float FIT4 Performance air-spring suspension fork with 100mm of travel. This is a lightweight, sensitive, adjustable fork that adds to the bike’s climbing prowess.

Other top features include hydraulic disc brakes and Mavic Crossride wheels.

An obvious downside to this bike is the cost. However, this is a serious machine with parts that justify the price.

What We Like

  • Lightweight – an aluminum frame and high-quality parts keep the weight down.
  • Fork – top-notch FOX air-spring adjustable fork.
  • Wheels – Mavic Crossroad wheels can take punishment.
  • Gears – wide range with some super-low granny gears for serious climbing.

What We Don’t Like

  • Expense – seems expensive, but the money is well spent.

5. Change Century Folding 700c Road Bike (best for long-distance rides)

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  • Frame Material: 7005 Aluminum
  • No of Gears: 20 (Shimano 2×10)
  • Weight: 23 lbs.
  • Weight Capacity: 270 lbs. tested.

A foldable 700c road bike with drop handlebars is a rare thing. Flatbike offers just that with the Change Century Folding 700c Road Bike. Will you know this is a folding bike when you’re on a long-distance ride? It’s unlikely.

This is a lightweight bike for a folding 700c model at just 23 lbs. Geometry for these bikes is unavailable, but this looks to be more of an endurance bike than a racer. The name reinforces that belief.

A notable feature of this bike is the near-complete Shimano 105 groupset (Tektro brakes). You get a wide gear range, too, with compact 50/34t chainrings up front and an 11-34t cassette at the rear. This gives you a sweet 1:1 ratio lowest gear for climbing.

You also get a carbon fork on the Century folding bike. This helps to save weight as well as soak up road vibration.

If you’ve been paying attention, you may notice similarities between this bike and the 702 model. It has the same double-butted aluminum frame. But this one has the drop handlebar and higher-tier Shimano parts, including Shimano wheels.

Downsides? Few. Because it uses the same frame as the 702, you get the same lack of color choice as previously bemoaned.

Read more: Best long distance folding touring bikes

What We Like

  • Lightweight – a lightweight bike with potential for weight-saving upgrades.
  • Gears – a wide gear range, including a 1:1 “granny gear” at the low end.
  • Shimano – the Shimano 105 groupset is trusted worldwide.
  • Carbon – includes a lightweight and compliant carbon fork.

What We Don’t Like

  • Color choice – same black or white frame as the 702.

How To Choose A Flatbike Change Folding Bike

Flatbike offers a range of Change folding bikes, all of which are high-quality machines. How do you know which one is right for you?

Where And How Will You Ride?

Your style of riding and the terrain you ride on are vital factors when choosing a bike.

Fast Or Long-Distance Riding On Paved Surfaces

Whether you’re used to riding long distances or plan to do so, no bike is better than a road bike for the job. It maximizes pedaling efficiency and aerodynamic speed.

Unlike the typical hybrid bike, or indeed most folding bikes, a road bike will have you leaning forward to varying degrees. It doesn’t promote an upright posture. You’ll have more weight over the pedals, which helps you deliver your best power as a cyclist.

The aptly named Change Century bike brings these advantages.

Challenging Off-Road Terrain

The average hybrid bike is not intended for difficult off-road terrain or technical trails. You need a bike with high-quality suspension because this improves traction and comfort. This is a job for a dedicated MTB.

When looking at suspension forks, the quality of the fork is more important than the amount of travel it has.

The Change 812 is by far the most full-on mountain bike on our list. It has a top-quality FOX air-spring fork and a wide range of low to very low gears for climbing.

Video: Air vs Coil Suspension Forks

Agile City Riding

Any of the top three bikes would be suitable for inner city riding, though the lighter weight of the thin-tired Change 702 makes it a good urban rider. It would make a fine commuter bike at any distance.

Bike weight doesn’t matter much speed-wise on flat roads, but a lightweight bike accelerates faster. It makes a nimbler commuter bike, too.

The geometry of a road frame makes the steering responsive at speed. It will usually have a steeper head tube angle and less “trail” than other bikes, including hybrid bikes and MTBs.

For Light & Paved Trails, Gravel, Fire Roads

If you envisage riding on light off-road trails, the second or third bikes on our list will suit you well. The Change 809 has a suspension fork, though without the same sensitivity and performance as the one on the 812.

The Change 811 is defined as a hybrid bike, and without any suspension, that’s the safest term. But with its 27.5” MTB wheels, it’s almost a rigid mountain bike with a carbon fork to soak up some vibration.

Flatbike Features Explained

Let’s go over some of the features you’ll find on Flatbike Change bikes.

  • Double-butted frame – these frames have thicker metal walls at the tube ends where strength is needed. Thinner material in the middle helps save weight.
  • Forks – a carbon fork beats an aluminum fork for compliance (i.e., comfort) and weight. On MTBs, suspension forks can be air spring or coil spring. Air spring shocks are significantly lighter, but both types have pros and cons.
  • Brakes – in ascending order of appeal and power, Change bikes come with rim brakes, mechanical disc brakes, and hydraulic disc brakes. As often stated, disc brakes perform more reliably in wet conditions, but they’re also heavier.
  • Gears – all Flatbike Change bikes have a wide range of gears. Dedicated mountain bikes err on the side of low gears. They don’t have the high gears and big front chainring found on road bikes.
  • Pedals – though we haven’t mentioned it thus far, Flatbike uses “signature” pop-off Wellgo pedals on its bikes for flat against-the-wall storage.
  • THINstem – bikes also feature the Canadian THINstem. This is a handlebar stem that lets you turn your handlebar 90° for flat storage.

Conclusion: Are Flatbike Folding Bicycles Any Good?

Flatbike folding bikes represent the Taiwanese “Change” range. They’re good bikes built around sturdy, lightweight frames.

The Change 702 Street Hybrid Bike is a road bike with a straight handlebar. It looks to have relaxed geometry with a high front end, but with potentially agile handling (geometry unavailable). The same frame appears on the Century road bike.

An urbanized MTB is the Change 809 Folding Street MTB. This is a mountain bike with semi-slick tires that you can ride on the road or off it. It’s a good all-rounder, whereas its more expensive sibling, the 812, is devoted to testing off-road terrain.

If you need a lightweight bike that’s travel-friendly and versatile, you won’t do much better than the Change 811 Folding 27.5” Hybrid Bike. This bike has a big gear range and a carbon fork to help cushion your ride.

We hope this article serves you well as an intro to the unique Change Flatbike range.

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Glenn H
Glenn H
When I’m not contributing articles to Bike Push, I can often be found cycling on the rural roads around me. If I can help you benefit from bicycling in some small way, I’ll consider it a win.

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