Convenience. Every facet of our life has been tailored to give us the utmost within the least physical dimensions, and at a cut-throat price. Technology has taken the lion’s share of the pie, with the mobile phones of today performing better than the cumulative capability of computers, cameras and music players from hardly a decade ago! Similarly, the infrastructure industry has also taken advantage of this, and in the process has spoilt us rotten. Forget convenience stores or schools or offices, heck, there are golf courses in these big-ass townships springing up in the suburbs like gilded mushrooms! But why am I telling you all this? Well, what used to be only reliability has been gradually transformed into the new definition of ‘reliance’. No, I am not talking about that Indian conglomerate here. I am talking about the age we’re living in, where the combination of reliability and convenience is valued over all else, and with the end user looking for all this along with mobility. After all, a product can come with convenience but might not have mobility. And that’s exactly what we’re about to find out about here. Behold the Giant Halfway.
Let’s start off by acknowledging the obvious. It’s not easy to design the frame on a folding cycle. It starts with the placement of the ‘fold’ and goes right up to managing the stress and strain on members of both the halves, keeping in mind most road conditions. Chiefly, there are two things a folding cycle has to be good at than just looks: the stress capacity and the ease of folding. And Giant has done a decidedly better job at managing frame stiffness than they did on the name (we know you’ve been thinking of the name!).
Thanks to the ALUXX – grade aluminium frame and forks, the Halfway can take the beating afforded by minor bumps or rumble strips with ease. Contributing to all the stiffness of the folding cycle is the folding alloy stem, the 25.4mm handlebar, 28.6mm seat post at a 67° angle, 978mm wheelbase and folding pedals.
The frame features a set of Shimano Tourney gears, alloy brakes and levers, Shimano MFT221 cassette, KMC Z51 chain, alloy crankset, alloy rims and hubs shod with Kenda Kwest tyres, 14G stainless spokes and a kickstand. But with folding bikes, it’s obvious that the fold mechanism is what you’ll want to know most about.
The Giant Halfway folding bike folds pretty quickly and gets extra strapping which ensures that it stays folded during transport. The rack and bottle cage can be added as an aftermarket extra. Giant has worked its magic to make it a carry-on piece of lightweight metal as well. And damn does it look smart!
Ride and handling
A folding cycle is supposed to be good at navigating the urban environment and should be easy to carry anywhere, especially up stairs. The low stand-over height and the 20-inch wheels make for a comfortable commute with surprisingly competent acceleration. It handles well through traffic and the chain guard keeps the grease off your clothes, adding a touch of smartness to the package. It has that extra touch of stability and is reasonably agile while tackling traffic and on smooth downhill sections.
That said, the bite of the brakes could’ve been better when coming to a standstill. I am 5’7”and the riding position struck the right chord with me, with the frame geometry feeling tip top. Add in a rear rack, and you’re good to go! This model also ships with a fairly discreet bag in some countries, which makes carrying the bike a cinch. It goes without saying that if this is your first folding cycle, you’ll be surprised with its stiffness and lightness, and how conveniently you can pedal away to so many places which is, after all, the USP of the Halfway. And you can even stand on this collapsible cycle if that’s a part of your riding style!
Giant has been a part of the bicycle industry since the early seventies, with the goal of combining affordable prices with innovative engineering. And they have, for the most part, managed to achieve this through their product range. Their solid name and the reliability that comes with the name coupled with their experience in the industry, add to the product. It does come with features that could be seen on a general range of folding cycles, but what adds brownie points to this particular cycle is that no folding cycle has this kind of a comfortable seat configuration.
The Giant Halfway is relatively affordable, smartly designed and folds easily and quickly. The geometry does not make for a cramped or a ‘squirrelly’ ride. In case of a flat, you can simply remove the inner tube (instead of the whole wheel) making it a practical commuter. Additionally, there are a lot of options besides the fenders, kickstand and rear rack. So, if you’re a multi-model bicycle commuter fearful of the rapid crowding on public transportation, or live in a small apartment, or lack secured cycle parking needing you to bring your cycle into the office, consider the Giant Halfway.