Frequently Asked Questions

At Bernds, development, production, and sales and service are all done by the same people. This lets us react more directly to problems and suggestions. And since there are a few questions that we end up answering quite often, here’s an overview of them.

Aren’t Bernds bikes bigger and heavier than other bikes?
How much does a Bernds weigh in comparison?
Why do they cost what they do?
How well do Bernds bikes maintain their value?
Does a toothed belt drive last just as long as one with a chain?
Isn’t rolling resistance greater with smaller wheels than in 28” bikes?
Where can I test-ride a Bernds?
Is it possible to mount a baby seat?
Can a child ride along on a Bernds tandem?
Is it possible to transport cargo, and if so, how?
Why does Bernds use 20” wheels?
Why can’t shock-absorbed seat posts and saddles be used?
Why doesn’t Bernds build full-suspension bikes?
Why does the rear wheel rest on the mudguard? Won’t the mudguard break?
How safe are folding handlebars?
Don’t small wheels make you pedal more?
Why do the handlebars dangle like that? And where do they go when the bike’s folded?

Aren’t Bernds bikes bigger and heavier than other folding bikes?

Since our bikes use 20” wheels, they have slightly different folding dimensions than bikes with wheels that are smaller still. They fold up taller, but quite a bit less wide than others. And while that may look bigger at first, the flatter dimensions turn out to be an advantage in many situations of actual use. back to the top

How much does a Bernds weigh in comparison?

We’ve measured that. Our bikes weigh the same as comparable models, comparably equipped. Depending on how it’s equipped, our Folding Bike can weigh as little as 9.6 kg. But it can take a load of up to 140 kg. back to the top

Why do they cost what they do?

We produce our bikes in Germany. We do most things by hand. We know most of our customers personally. We build to order. And we’re constantly developing both ourselves and our products.
Thomas Bernds built his first tandem at the age of eight, starting from two old frames. He named it Otto. And it’s the passion he brought to bear in that initial project that still drives us today. If you compare the prices on the market, you’ll see that we’re in pretty good company. But in numerous details, our bikes are actually in a league of their own.

A Bernds is built to withstand intensive use. And that’s an investment in your own happiness and quality of life, day-in and day-out. back to the top

How well do Bernds bikes maintain their value?

Even our base models tend to fetch thoroughly respectable prices on the used bike market. back to the top

Does a toothed belt drive last just as long as one with a chain?

Yes. And in the case of the carbon belt by Gator, even longer. The main wear item in a toothed belt drive system is the rear sprocket, which lasts about as long as a chain sprocket. It can be replaced using common tools. back to the top

Isn’t rolling resistance greater with smaller wheels than in 28” bikes?

No, because they use bearings that are every bit as good as those used with larger wheels. And in fact: 20” wheels’ smaller surface area in contact with the ground means that their rolling resistance is actually less. back to the top

Where can I test-ride a Bernds?

On location: At our headquarters in Überlingen, you can test-ride all our products with various combinations of options and obtain lots of advice from us personally. You can also get an impression of how we manufacture our bikes, as well as of the folks who do the manufacturing.
At trade fairs and special events: We visit trade fairs year-round. In addition to bike trade fairs like Eurobike, IFMA and Spezi, you’ll also run into us at events with special culinary offerings and broad selections of special hand-manufactured products.
Or test a bike close to home: You can also have a Bernds delivered to your area for testing with no strings attached. Find out more about how this works here, or by calling us on the phone or sending an e-mail to us at info@bernds.de.
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Is it possible to mount a baby seat?

It’s technically possible to mount a baby seat either in front or in the rear—but regulations on mounting baby seats differ from country to country. As an alternative, we recommend using baby trailers.

When selecting a baby seat, ask us whether the one you’re considering will work on a Bernds. Your baby seat should not be shock-absorbed. back to the top

Can a child ride along on a Bernds tandem?

Yes! One of the special features of the Bernds tandem is that it’s suitable for individuals 1.40 m tall and larger—that includes many children aged 14 and up. Still smaller folks can also ride along, but for them, we recommend shortened cranks or additional pedal mounts to acheive the same effect. back to the top

Is it possible to transport cargo, and if so, how?

Lots of different cargo systems can be mounted on Bernds frames. Bernds offers you the following solutions:

Frame-mounted front rack:
All our frames feature a stable standard mount for fastening a front rack, which is far more secure than solutions that attach to the handlebars.

Brompton Front Carrier Block:
There’s a wide range of high-quality cargo bags that are compatible with this; maximum load is ca. 10 kg.

Front-mounted Klickfix adapter:
For bags and baskets made with the well-known Klickfix system by Rixen und Kaul; takes weights of up to ca. 7 kg.

Rear-mounted Klickfix adapter:
This fastens to the seat post and can hold bags made for up to 10 kg.

Lowrider:
Our Bernds Lowrider provides all standard bike bags with a safe place. Suitable for weights of up to 15 kg.

Rear-wheel luggage rack with wheels:
Also suitable for cargo bags. It will haul up to 25 kg.

Bernds bikes are also suitable for pulling trailers. In fact, some of our customers say that they do this particularly well! Bernds trailer systems, whether for the Bernds Folding Bike or for the Tandem, are especially compact and provide easier on-the-road handling than traditional trailer systems. back to the top

Why does Bernds use 20” wheels?

20”-diameter wheels offer a lot of—in our opinion, decisive—advantages over their larger relatives:

  • They’re lighter and more stable.
  • They make acceleration easier.
  • Smaller wheels make possible a greater variety of more compact frame designs.


Compared with other dimensions suitable for folding bikes, there are a huge number and variety of high-quality rims and tires for every application available for 20” wheels.
There are also a few disadvantages, but we think these hardly matter anymore today:
On very bad roads, like ones paved with really bumpy cobblestones, the larger 28” wheels are somewhat more comfortable. We compensate for this with our favourite “Big Apple” tires by Schwalbe.
Also, because of their smaller diameter, tires for 20” wheels wear out around 20% faster. But in our experience, the sensible useful life of tires is determined less by the loss of tread and more by the number of gashes a tire has to take over the course of its life, or by how often it rolls over shattered glass.
In theory, 20” rims’ smaller dimensions mean that they’ll subjected to thermal stress faster than larger ones when braking. We tested this and found out that there indeed can be problems in absolutely extreme situations—like when riding tandem straight down a long hill and using bad braking technique (i.e., riding the brakes lightly without periodically letting go). We should note, though, that 28” wheels are also known to run into trouble in situations like that. For our tandems, at any rate, we recommend that you choose disc brakes. back to the top

Why can’t shock-absorbed seat posts and saddles be used?

In terms of their physics, shock-absorbed saddles and seat posts in combination with the Bernds suspension unit would represent two systems that move back and forth independently of one another, each with its own behaviour. This includes factors like current vibration frequencies, resonance frequencies and damping. While we know how our Bernds spring and shock absorption unit behaves, we can’t speak for the behaviour of various shock-absorbed saddles. Therefore, we also can’t exclude the possibility that the two might interact to magnify rather than dampen vibrations, thereby leading to elevated and unpredictable peaks of strain on the materials.

And apart from that, we’re convinced that shock-absorbed seat posts are superfluous on a Bernds. Get a feel for this yourself—take a test-ride! back to the top

Why doesn’t Bernds build full-suspension bikes?

We think that, particularly in everyday riding, our construction works better than most full-suspension designs.

But for those who prefer, we do offer shock-absorbing forks. back to the top

Why does the rear wheel rest on the mudguard? Won’t the mudguard break?

To be honest: up to 2004, damaged rear wheel mudguards were indeed more common in the Bernds Folding Bike than in other bikes.
That’s why since 2005, Bernds has been successfully using an improved mudguard mount construction that considerably reduces strain on the mudguard itself—

  • thanks to a special rubber-anchored mount on the frame,
  • and thanks to extra-flexible mudguard stays.


But we still have to tell you that in every folding bike, including the one by Bernds, the rear wheel mudguard is a part that will be subject to wear if no luggage rack is mounted. The length of its useful life will depend quite a bit on how often you put your Bernds down on it, and on what kind of surface it’s placed. You can purchase Bernds mudguards as replacement parts either as complete sets (front and rear wheel mudguards + stays + fasteners) or singly, and at a fair price. back to the top

How safe are folding handlebars?

Aside from allowing for full height-adjustability and for the use of any style of handlebars, our folding assembly is particularly safe—especially compared to the hinge-type assemblies used by other manufacturers, which only have one fastener.

  • Thanks to the depth at which the steerer adapter inserts, the handlebars are no longer in danger of falling over if the quick release should happen to get loose.
  • The integrated anti-twist feature makes it possible to steer even WITHOUT the quick release pulled shut.
    The quick release fixes the handlebars in their final position, but does not perform a mechanically supporting function.


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Don’t small wheels make you pedal more?

This is a widespread misconception that we can prove 100% false.

Pedalling speed (more precisely: pedalling rate, or cadence) is exactly the same as with big wheels. We compensate for the smaller circumference of the 20” wheels (ca. 1.30 m as opposed to 2.00 m in 28” bikes) by using a commensurately larger front chain ring.
The crucial factor in the pedalling rate is “metres of development”. That’s the distance in metres that you travel in one revolution of the pedal crank. This distance results from the ratio between the front chain ring and the rear sprocket (combined with the hub gear ratios in bikes with hub gears), and finally, from the circumference of the wheel.

So on a 20” bike with appropriate gear ratios, you can always go the same speed at exactly the same cadence as you can on a 28-incher. back to the top

Why do the handlebars dangle like that? And where do they go when the bike’s folded?

A conventional folding hinge lets you fold the handlebars along just one single axis. Which means that positioning the handlebars flat with relation to the frame is only possible when they’re adjusted in a particular way. With our flexible folding assembly, on the other hand, the handlebars can always be adjusted to the optimum position and then held in place with the included bungee cord.
This means:

  • You can install handlebars of just about any shape.
  • You can adjust the handlebars quite precisely to suit your individual preferences.
  • The handlebars always stay correctly adjusted, even after folding.
  • In a folded Bernds bike, the handlebars can always be positioned flat on the frame, which saves space.


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