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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 06-15-15, 07:52 PM   #1
Boreotheria
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Fat girl, crappy pavement. Can I have a foldie?

Hey folks, I haven't been around here for years and I forget my old username. Sorry to hear about Stormcrowe.

On to business. In Toronto I rode a vintage Triumph folder (Raleigh Twenty clone), but now I'm in the Buffalo NY area and I'm 50 lb heavier than the last time I started riding frequently. On my first long ride in a long time I ran over an uneven pavement slab join and blew my rear tube. 100 psi is a little bit much for these kinds of roads, even if I were not 225 lb. Changing the tires could be an option, but anything softer on this heavy little steel bike just goes squish and rolls really slowly.

I also just need a more comfortable ride in general, because in order to get anywhere around here I'll have to spend a lot more time in the saddle. In an ideal world I would have a folder so that I could stuff it in the back of the car and ride wherever I ended up. But I'm not sure if any of the modern folders are Athena-compatible.

I have my eye on a couple of the full-size urban-assault style folders, the Dahon Jack D7 and the Tern Joe D24. Maybe also the Swissbike X50. Does anyone here have any experience with these?

The weight ratings for these bikes are from 230-254 lb. I'm assuming this is for the frame, because different models with different wheels and tires give the same weight rating. The Jack and Joe both have Big Apple tires and the Jack at least seems to have 36-spoke wheels by default.

Or should I just give up on the idea of a folder entirely, and go for some kind of low-end steel-framed MTB like a Trek 820?

ETA: my max budget is around $700, which is roughly the price of the Tern.

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Old 06-15-15, 08:39 PM   #2
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I'm 225 and ride a 20" wheeled Dahon Mariner fitted with 1.25 tires on crappy Michigan roads, and I don't worry about it. I don't think you should, either. I don't know that the 24" wheeled models from either Dahon or Tern make any difference in terms of durability, but you should get better roll and comfort out of the larger wheels. Just ride smart-- don't launch off curbs or slam seated through potholes, and you should expect many years of service life with regular maintenance. Also, I think that Schwalbe tires are, generally, some of the best riding tires out there, so Big Apples are a great spec. I currently ride Fat Franks, Ones, and Kojaks on other bikes.
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Old 06-15-15, 08:44 PM   #3
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Thanks. Heh, maybe I should focus on just getting a decent saddle for the old Triumph and fitting it properly so I can stand in the pedals when I need to. Maybe I'll give it another chance and remind myself *how* to ride on rough roads. I'm noticing a lot of folks in this forum on road bikes, so it's not like it's impossible to go on the high pressure tires.
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Old 06-16-15, 12:30 AM   #4
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The Raleigh Twenty and its offspring are very strong, its the wheels that need the strength. I'm about 260lb and rode a Twenty for a couple of years no problem at all. I now ride a Dawes Jack folder on standard wheels on tracks and light trails and have had no problems with the frame or the wheels.

Stick with the folder!
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Old 06-16-15, 09:44 AM   #5
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The Raleigh Twenty and its offspring are very strong, its the wheels that need the strength. I'm about 260lb and rode a Twenty for a couple of years no problem at all. I now ride a Dawes Jack folder on standard wheels on tracks and light trails and have had no problems with the frame or the wheels.
One of the first things I did with the Twenty was rebuilt the wheels. I still have the steel rims but I couldn't find tires to fit them, so I switched to a very slightly different width of rim in aluminum. I'm sort of regretting it because the caliper brakes don't grip it as well as they did the old rims.

But this goes back to my other problem with this bike -- I got it as a project bike to work on as well as to ride. With the distances I commute these days I would be spending more time in the saddle and I want a bike that doesn't need so much work at the moment. Also bigger wheels, because I need to eat up those distances at least a little bit more efficiently. (My Toronto commute was just under 2 miles each way; my current school commute will be more like 7 each way.)

Definitely leaning towards the Swissbike at the moment given what I've read about how it folds. On the one hand it's a little less neat and tidy a fold than the Tern, but on the other hand the unbroken tube makes it a stronger frame. And I can get it locally. The Tern dealers nearest me don't stock the full-size ones, only the little wheelers.
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Old 06-16-15, 09:54 AM   #6
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In the UK, although still difficult we can still pick up the original size tyres.

Kool Stop salmon brake pads may be worth a try.
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Old 06-16-15, 10:27 AM   #7
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I have a Bike Friday New World Tourist. I used to commute on it regularly. Now, I only ride it when my LHT is unavailable, which is not very often. I find the ride harsh due to the small wheels. Your idea of getting and old steel MTB sounds like a good one, although I would look for something in the 900 series you go with a Trek. When I bought a Trek 930 in the early '90s, I test rode an 800 series. The geometry was a little too laid back. YMMV.
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Old 06-16-15, 01:04 PM   #8
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I switched to a very slightly different width of rim in aluminum. I'm sort of regretting it because the caliper brakes don't grip it as well as they did the old rims.
this is not the common experience. Most people find aluminum rims are far superior to steel in terms of braking, especially in the wet. Get a new set of brake pads and new cables and your brakes should be stellar.
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Old 06-16-15, 02:10 PM   #9
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this is not the common experience. Most people find aluminum rims are far superior to steel in terms of braking, especially in the wet. Get a new set of brake pads and new cables and your brakes should be stellar.
I know this should be the case. The pads are new and so are the cables/housings. Funny thing, the first brake pads I tried were the KoolStop Salmons that were meant specifically to go on these old caliper brakes. But they were shallower than the originals, and again, with the rims just a hair narrower than the steel ones the calipers themselves don't reach as far. I actually got rid of the salmons in favour of a cheaper, thicker rubber pad. Maybe I need to sand them and make sure they're sticky.

But like they say, the best bike is the one you ride every day, and for various reasons I'm not riding the Triumph every day. In fact I avoid riding it. And in terms of working on it, every little thing I do to fix it seems to make more problems. I'm really not up to the tinkering challenge right now. Maybe someday I'll get back to it, or maybe I'll sell it to someone who will love it as much as I did.
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Old 06-16-15, 02:45 PM   #10
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I'm sure the old Triumph can be fixed up for a durable result, but if you want to try something new it should not stop you. I have been very happy with Schwalbe maraton plus tires and the equivalent with the "green guard" inners. They come in a lot of odd sizes. I ride them with as much air as possible and tubes last (regular Continental french type valve) over bumpy pavement and curbs. The down side is they are on the heavy side, but where weight isn't top consern they are nice. I have an been given an old Raleigh Shopper, with 3 speed hub and drum brakes, not sure how low maintanance a vintage bike can be, but it looks nice. It's not too far from your Triumph folding bike, even if it can't be folded ;- )

There have been some slight trouble with disk brakes on folding bikes, they work perfectly well, but I have been wondering if the folding, storing, handeling them make them a bit bit susceptible. If you can be careful it should be fine, but it's not always that easy. I have wondered if it's the small wheels that makes it more of an issue, maybe it's easier for the disks to bump into something when riding. Disk brakes are very nice, but in some cases need a lot of touch ups and the aim for a low maintanance bike sort of dwindles.
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Old 06-17-15, 12:58 AM   #11
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A basic Twenty or Triumph needs very little maintenance.

The problem is once you have one you start upgrading and tinkering.

Mine was a rigid frame which I changed the wheels, brakes, bars and installed a derailleur on mine, plus other upgrades, check out the Raleigh Twenty forum to see what people get up to.

I don't have it now, I spent too much time fiddling with it rather than riding it!
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Old 06-17-15, 02:12 PM   #12
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I don't have it now, I spent too much time fiddling with it rather than riding it!
SEE!? They just ask for it, don't they?
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Old 06-17-15, 02:36 PM   #13
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SEE!? They just ask for it, don't they?
LOL, just get it done and and enjoy the results :- )
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