Folding Bikes - Which folder to replace taxi during business trips?
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I am a big fan of utility biking and I am now traveling quite a lot with my work. I am looking for a bike to take me form the airport and around the cities when I am out traveling. I occasionally extend my stays over the week-ends so it would be nice if it could cope with some "longer" trips as well (up 100 km I guess). I would like that it has a quick "semi-fold" so I can take it on trains when commuting to the office as well. I already have a Dahon speed pro and a Rivendell Rambouillet with SS couplings but I am now searching for another travel bike. The Dahon will be taken by my grilfriend and the Rivendell is a bit slow assembly to take me from the airport. Also I would not be comfortable leaving it locked outside in some countries I am traveling to.
The two bikes I am considering at the moment is BF Tikit and steel Swift. I am considering to build them up with flatbar and fixed gear (big fan of fixed and have no problems with that for longer trips). Also very simple system so it should be light and fast assembly. Later when I am getting older I can add hub gear. At the moment I favor the Swift as I think it would be a better ride and it doesnt stand out so much so I hope I would keep it longer. With BF you can of course buy their nice suitcase which turns into a trailer which is nice but maybe you can buy that separate.
I anyone has any thoughts to add or maybe even suggestions of bikes that I might have missed I am all ears.
I have a Tikit for pretty much the same purposes (plus it also serves as my daily commuter -- I only have one bicycle)
07-03-10, 08:35 AM
The Dahon Mu Uno is a SS and Bruce Metras here on the forum has his with a 2 speed hub. http://www.thorusa.com/dahon/current/muuno.htm
07-03-10, 09:30 AM
The Tikit is a fine bike. However, the S-type Brompton would be much easier to put into a suitcase for airline travel. Don't know if that's a big consideration for you.
I might be predictable and state that a "Mezzo" may do the trick also.
It has more space than a brompton and can be upgraded, see some of my threads on "Mezzo upgrades".
If the Mezzo stem protrusion upwards makes packing difficult it can be loosened with two allen keys quickly for a more compact fold. No pictures of this, but you may be able to see what I mean on the compairative photo, where the mezzo stem sticks out more than the Brompton. The brompton seat post can not be removed without tools where as the Mezzo can, resulting in a relatively comparative fold. I will post a picture some time. The Mezzo D9/10 also has QR hubs so it can be dismantled further if required for packing. With out tools the Brompton is always slightly better for suitcase transportation
That said if you like the Brompton riding postion its a more comfortable bike for long distances, especially over on light off road.
Swift sounds good is it suits your travelling needs, or even a used Moulton.
+1 trikit also.
Lots of nice bikes out there,so how do you want it to compaire to your excellet current bikes?
Nothing will beat the ride quality of my Rivendell of course but I am not that happy with my Dahon. For long distance the Dahon is fine but when speeding through traffic or attacking the hills I find it very flexy. It doesn't bother me as much as it did when I first got it and I now attack the hills in the saddle but I would like to have something more rigid, more comparable to full-size bike. After browsing the internet I had the feeling that Tikit and Swift might just do the trick. Also my gf would need a folder and she is fond of the yellow colour of my Dahon and I am always happy to upgrade my bike park :)
Haven't ridden Brompton in 10 year so I don't remember how the ride compares to other folders but I have and LBS that carries Brompton so that shouldn't be a problem. Never looked in to Mezzo but I'll check out that upgrade thread.
Haven't given Moulton a thought actually. I have tried Moulton a few times and was smitten by the
smooth ride but I have a feeling that it would be stolen pretty soon. For the same reason I have rejected Airnimal which also has a brilliant ride (have friends who have done 600 km rides on their Airnimals)
07-03-10, 05:11 PM
Got my Bike Friday 'Pocket Rocket' 16 years ago largely for this application (business trips with some extended tours) and it has served well in that role. The normal suitcase is a big plus for avoiding any hassles at airports and also doesn't tend to raise any questions from business associates. You can buy the trailer/suitcase separately from GreenGear, but I'd check that it'll work properly with some other model of folder before going that route. In addition to many short outings while on business trips, I've also used my Bike Friday for some extended camping tours (such as down the California coast) and a number of 100+ mile day trips
While I own a Tikit that I use for commuting, I think the Brompton would work best for the situation you describe. Give it a test ride and let us know what you decide.
07-03-10, 08:01 PM
My Tikit is flexy. If you want a bike that you can stand and stomp, it's not it.
The bike friday page is dangerous :) I noticed that the "single pocket models" can be quick folded in <30 s. Such a quick fold would be sufficient for taking it for free here on the train in Germany during rush hours. How's the stem on normal BF? Although I was kinda set on a fixed Swift to begin with I am now tempted by a pocket sport. Could that even be the one bike to rule them all (I don't do terrain or heavy loaded touring)? To be honest the solution with the trailer suitcase seems more or less ideal for my purpose. Anyone know it the suitcase is completely full when you put in the bike of if you can squeeze in some toiletries and socks etc?
07-04-10, 12:38 PM
Brompton folds into a smaller space , 4 cu ft, than the others , but as the hinge point to fold the rear end under,
is behind the BB and seatpost, the fold creates chain slack the tensioner takes up .. So, you are talking single speed,
not fixed gear.
I believe the 1 and 2 speed hub, as it is a Cassette like part you can pick a cog from 12 or 16 set for their 2 speed .
they also make a hybrid 3 speed with 2 cogs on the similar cassette snap ring setup and those use the 13 and 15t
cogs . Cannot say from experience if they are using the same splines .
stock crank/chainring picks, from Stronglight , just for Brompton are 50, 54 and a 44 t.
so perhaps there is a ratio pick option to some extent ..
have a 3 speed , 15t cog , 54t chainring, middle gear is about a 60" H =4/3 , lo =3/4 of that..
349 wheel used on both Brompton & Tikit accepts a pretty high pressure tire, by a range of manufacturers.
AFIK, BF , other than the TiKit they are knock down.. a bit of disassembly is in the .. make it go in the case
with minimum volume , I've seen .. a bit of substituting clothes for plastic packing pieces can be used.
Of the Bike Friday bikes, only the Tikit has the flexy stem. The others are much more rigid as they aren't exactly "folding" bikes. They are travel bikes... designed to be disassembled and placed in luggage.
07-05-10, 07:27 PM
I Tried the Brompton and then a Bike Friday tikit and ordered the tikit. The ride was much better but it didn't fold as small as the Brompton. Still waiting for it to be built.
07-05-10, 08:16 PM
Anyone know it the suitcase is completely full when you put in the bike of if you can squeeze in some toiletries and socks etc?The bike plus trailer components are a pretty tight fit in my suitcase, but there's still plenty of room for flexible things like clothing (wrap in plastic to avoid any grease stains) and small toiletry items. But don't plan on packing any larger, rigid items. Also note that there have been different suitcases used by GreenGear. Mine came with a Samsonite case and they later switched to a boxier Carlton case that has more volume - don't know if that's the one they're still using now.
In US airports there's been an issue since 9/11 with the TSA security folks taking folding bikes out of their cases for inspection and then having problems getting things packed properly and without damage to sensitive items like derailleurs (your plan for a fixed gear would be a plus). One approach is to zip-tie everything together so it can be lifted out of the suitcase as a single unit, looked over to verify the absence of any bomb material, and then put back in the case. Enclosing a picture of the interior of the packed case can also be useful. I haven't had any problems yet with the TSA, but making it as easy as possible for them to repack the case is a good idea.
I have had my Pocket Crusoe for over a year now - have taken it on several domestic trips and also to Turkey, China (2X), UAE (leaving for my second trip tomorrow). I love it - I have taken it an 60 mile rides, fast mountain bike rides ( I have 3 sets of tires) and I can fit a ton of extra stuff in the case with it - I am not a folding type of guy - but for traveling, I love this bike.
07-06-10, 06:25 PM
That's quite some handlebar-seat drop...
I put some things in with the Friday -- a lock, tools, pump etc. But remember the bike plus case weighs in at around 45lbs, and most airlines start charging extra at 50lbs, so there's a limit to what you can add.
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