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  1. #1
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    Hitchhikers guide to the folding bicycle

    Folding bikers, I'm often reminded, are unique. Are we? Personally I ended up with my folding bike after I ran out of other transportation options that actually worked. The electric scooter that I'd become so fond of riding died for the fourth time, after a piddling little touch of scooter-lethal rain and the folder was the last viable alternative.

    Once I had my folding bike, its utility became more and more obvious and beyond re-igniting a passion for cycling I'd forgotten, I found myself using it to reconnect with an entire community and enjoying my _life more because of it. I guess that I found my bike by mistake. Or maybe it found me....

    In reading the various posts of other folding bike users, I've noticed that the viewpoints of owners, even of the same model, are amazingly disparate. It seems to me that we all came to the folding bike with far different requirements, and wants, in mind.

    Ultimately, it seems to me again, we share our experience on these boards to help others, less experienced than we, glean an avenue of consideration for their own wants and needs. They're interested in finding out about folders and they come here to learn what there is to know. The only way to do that well I propose, is to define how we all, us folder people, came to buy our bikes.

    So, I'm interested.

    Why did you all decide that a folder was for you?

    What choice/choices did you make and why'd you buy what you bought?

    What do you use it for?

    Why'd you choose the wheelsize you chose?

    Do you wish you'd bought a more expensive one, or a less expensive one?

    Do you let anyone else ride your folding bike/bikes? Would you?

    Do you have a 'regular' size bike too?

    Are you happy with the utility of your new toy, car replacement, cruiser, or whatever you call it?

    Did you find the thing life changing?


    Thanks in advance for answering.

    DG1

  2. #2
    Aussie Commuter
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    Don't Panic


    Why did you all decide that a folder was for you? I have five children and we all ride. So to get to a ride start we needed a means to transport 6-7 bikes of various types. Apart from making our people mover look like the team car for a racing outfit or buying a car trailer to move bikes, the other solution was to buy 3 folders.

    What choice/choices did you make and why'd you buy what you bought? We bought 3 Birdys. One Blue (21 speed) which had been the Australian Birdy distributors personal ride and 2 Orange (7speed) demonstrators.

    The choice of folders was both difficult and easy. Difficult from the point of view that local bike shops were not at all keen on the idea of folding bikes, viewing them with a high level of suspicion. Additionally, we tried to contact the Dahon distributor but did not have any calls returned.

    Once we contacted Elke and Paul, the Australian Birdy distributors, everything become very easy. We were offerred, and took, a one week free trial of the (very nice) Silver Birdy. Elke and Paul then made an attractive offer of a number of bikes in their demonstrator fleet and we bought the bikes above.

    Elke and Paul have also provided great ongoing assistance to us.


    What do you use it for? The Blue is my backup commuter, basically when my normal ride (a Trek 7700fx) is not operational (rare) or I am being picked up by my wife. Folding the bike up and putting it in the car is far easier (and secure) then putting the bike rack on the car.

    I have taken the Blue with me when I have been travelling for work.

    I also ride it when the family rides together. Normally I am towing our five year old who is riding an Adams Trailer bike. The Oranges are ridden by 2 of our children. One of the these bikes has been set up for a shorter reach and is ridden by a 8-10 year old.


    Why'd you choose the wheelsize you chose? Once we chose the bikes, the wheelsize was not optional. Wheelsize is one of the minor problems with the Birdy. At 18" the choice of tyres and tubes is not great. However, I have not really had much difficulty sourcing either.

    Do you wish you'd bought a more expensive one, or a less expensive one? We are very happy with the Birdy, they were a little expensive in the first instance, however, the quality is there and we have had no troubles with them at all.

    Do you let anyone else ride your folding bike/bikes? Would you? We certainly have, but they have been people that we know.

    Do you have a 'regular' size bike too? Yes, a Trek 7700fx

    Are you happy with the utility of your new toy, car replacement, cruiser, or whatever you call it? Very happy with the bike and the people who distribute it.

    Did you find the thing life changing? No not really, life enhancing perhaps as we had already had made the step to cycling.

    Thanks in advance for answering.
    "Bicycling is a big part of the future. It has to be. There is something wrong with a society that drives a car to work out in a gym."

    - Bill Nye, scientist and producer of public TV science programs

  3. #3
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    Touring by bicycle is my passion. Frequently, this mean getting my bike out off the city to where I want to start the ride. A folding bike is begining to make sense. Also, mass trasit train is now available, and some line only allow folded bikes.
    Good mentor= success

  4. #4
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    Why did you all decide that a folder was for you?
    It fits in my trunk yet still rides very well.

    What choice/choices did you make and why'd you buy what you bought?
    Bike Friday Pocket Gnu...a full-on bicycle that just happens to fold. No real compromise here. I like the fact that the bike was actually built in my home country and that it was custom-built to my dimensions and specifications.

    What do you use it for?
    Touring, commuting and light duty trail riding.

    Why'd you choose the wheelsize you chose?
    Dual 20"/406...a wide range of choices.

    Do you wish you'd bought a more expensive one, or a less expensive one?
    It was an expensive purchase, no doubt. I've always wanted a custom bike and my non-cycling expenses are kept in check, so...

    Do you let anyone else ride your folding bike/bikes? Would you?
    I haven't but would consider it.

    Do you have a 'regular' size bike too?
    Sort of...a Burley recumbent.

    Are you happy with the utility of your new toy, car replacement, cruiser, or whatever you call it?
    Yep.

    Did you find the thing life changing?
    Uhmm...lifestyle maybe. I ride more these days.

  5. #5
    Just riding andygates's Avatar
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    Why did you all decide that a folder was for you?
    It sits in my van so I have a bike available on days when I drive into work instead of ride on my regular bikes. That way, I can pop into town without having to face the hassle of parking or the karma of congestion and pollution. I'm so damn low-carbon.

    What choice/choices did you make and why'd you buy what you bought?
    "Cheap and cheerful" was the mantra: a salvage bike and some bits to make it into a fixie - harder to steal, more fun to ride.

    What do you use it for?
    Short hops, no more than 5 miles at a time so far. Shopping. Popping to our other sites to prod servers that are sulking.

    Why'd you choose the wheelsize you chose?
    406 has a zillion available tyres. I'd go with 16" too, but the first suitable salvage bike had 406s so that's what I used.

    Do you wish you'd bought a more expensive one, or a less expensive one?
    I'd love a Brompton, but don't have the cash.

    Do you let anyone else ride your folding bike/bikes? Would you?
    Sure. I wish 'em luck

    Do you have a 'regular' size bike too?
    Two, a Cannondale Bad Boy set up as an uber-commuter with trailer, and a Mercian fixie for playing on.

    Are you happy with the utility of your new toy, car replacement, cruiser, or whatever you call it?
    Still needs some tweaks, but then, all project-bikes do! It gets me around. That's all it is for. So yeah.

    Did you find the thing life changing?
    Very convenient and a karma-smoother. Not a massive change, but a nice one.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dannyg1
    Folding bikers, I'm often reminded, are unique. Are we? Personally I ended up with my folding bike after I ran out of other transportation options that actually worked. The electric scooter that I'd become so fond of riding died for the fourth time, after a piddling little touch of scooter-lethal rain and the folder was the last viable alternative.

    Once I had my folding bike, its utility became more and more obvious and beyond re-igniting a passion for cycling I'd forgotten, I found myself using it to reconnect with an entire community and enjoying my _life more because of it. I guess that I found my bike by mistake. Or maybe it found me....

    In reading the various posts of other folding bike users, I've noticed that the viewpoints of owners, even of the same model, are amazingly disparate. It seems to me that we all came to the folding bike with far different requirements, and wants, in mind.

    Ultimately, it seems to me again, we share our experience on these boards to help others, less experienced than we, glean an avenue of consideration for their own wants and needs. They're interested in finding out about folders and they come here to learn what there is to know. The only way to do that well I propose, is to define how we all, us folder people, came to buy our bikes.

    So, I'm interested.

    Why did you all decide that a folder was for you?
    When I got tired of disassembling my bike every time I took it out of the country.

    What choice/choices did you make and why'd you buy what you bought?
    I just contacted Bike Friday and told them I wanted a fast, zippy road bike that I'd be comfortable with, and they sent a catalog.

    What do you use it for?
    Touring

    Why'd you choose the wheelsize you chose?
    It came with the bike

    Do you wish you'd bought a more expensive one, or a less expensive one?
    Nope.

    Do you let anyone else ride your folding bike/bikes? Would you?
    Nope. I did let Regular Guy ride it, though, but that was a one time thing.

    Do you have a 'regular' size bike too?
    I have two of them.

    Are you happy with the utility of your new toy, car replacement, cruiser, or whatever you call it?
    yep.

    Did you find the thing life changing?
    Most definitely. I never am without a bike now.


    Thanks in advance for answering.

    DG1
    You're welcome.

    Koffee

  7. #7
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    Thanks very much for the responses you've made so far. I thought I'd go a day or two before answering myself, so here's my reasons....

    >>Why did you all decide that a folder was for you?<<

    Needed a commuting vehicle that was light and small enough to carry yet still satisfied my appreciation of fine machinery. After considering every other option, only a folding bike made sense.

    >>What choice/choices did you make and why'd you buy what you bought?<<

    I bought a Dahon Jetstream XP, first because it was light enough and second because my internet study of the various brands left me believing that I'd be needing some suspension (something I don't believe now). After using that for a few months, I found some Ebay auctions for a few of the alternatives and bought two more: A Birdy Green and a Soma Ti-Journey, which I haven't finished building yet and so, haven't ridden.

    The Birdy is an interesting machine, but some of the stock parts were pretty terrible. I stripped the pedal thread on my right crank on the third ride, something I've never achieved with any bike in my life. Needless to say I've replaced that lame Dotek crank with a Shimano 105 (and an Ultegra BB and far better pedals); much better! The ride is very 'plush' compared to the Jetstream XP and it handles with more balance, better surety and less twitchiness. Folding it is less convenient than the Dahon and I suppose that's why I ride it less. It weighs quite a bit more than my Dahon too.

    >>What do you use it for?<<

    Commuting and daily riding.

    >>Why'd you choose the wheelsize you chose?<<

    406 seemed right. I figured that more companies would use 451's if they were far better. Then again, my Soma uses 451's and I'll know more once I get that complete. The Birdys 18" wheels are, surprisingy, less of a disadvantage than what I'd read had me thinking they would be. It's a very fine riding machine and would've made a fine first choice.

    >>Do you wish you'd bought a more expensive one, or a less expensive one?<<

    I bought at the pricepoint where my desires were met. I've never ridden a topline Bike Friday (or any BF for that matter), but doubt that there's a difference in them that'll make me regret my choices. Could be wrong though....

    >>Do you let anyone else ride your folding bike/bikes? Would you?<<

    Nope, I wouldn't. I like my bikes and want them to stay in good, working order. If they break, I want to know that I did the breaking!

    >>Do you have a 'regular' size bike too?<<

    Yes and it's better in some respects: Seems to me that similar effort turns out about a 10% better time on the 700c. Handling is better, overall feel is better and it's a really beautiful, classic machine. All of that said, I'll ride my folder 10 times before I ride my Coppi once. The convenience of a smaller, go anywhere bike really can't be beat.


    >>are u happy with the utility of your new toy, car replacement, cruiser, or whatever you call it?<<

    I really love the Dahon and look forward to riding it every day. It's beautiful and it rides beautifully. The Birdy is a different, more conservative touring-like machine and with the upgrades I've made, is really fun to ride. I'll tell you about the Soma once I've built it.

    >>Did you find the thing life changing<<

    As I said in the intro, it really has. I'm obsessed with tuning it and improving it; once I'm done, I'm sure it will be as perfect a bicycle as I can make it be. I meet people all the time when I'm riding now, as many are interested in knowing how I like the ride and I'm out in the world far more than I used to be.

  8. #8
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    Why did you all decide that a folder was for you?
    I needed a bike that was easy to carry upstairs and fit into small condo and small office.

    What choice/choices did you make and why'd you buy what you bought?
    Dahon Speed8. I thought I would try one that wasn't too basic- so that it would not be a hassle to ride and wasn't too expensive in case I didn't like it

    What do you use it for?
    Commuting mostly and sometimes short weekend street rides.

    Why'd you choose the wheelsize you chose?
    to carry better/that was the size it came with

    Do you wish you'd bought a more expensive one, or a less expensive one?
    not at this point

    Do you let anyone else ride your folding bike/bikes? Would you?
    sure - actually after riding mine, two other friends have decided to get one. Once they found that the smaller wheels did not make it too hard to ride,they were hooked.

    Do you have a 'regular' size bike too?
    yes - a raleigh hybrid.

    Are you happy with the utility of your new toy, car replacement, cruiser, or whatever you call it?
    Yes.

    Did you find the thing life changing?
    I am trying to ride more and use the car less.

  9. #9
    Hauja
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    Mcketi. DON'T PANIC, should always be written in large friendly letters.have you read Young Zaphod plays it safe?

  10. #10
    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dannyg1
    Folding bikers, I'm often reminded, are unique. Are we? Personally I ended up with my folding bike after I ran out of other transportation options that actually worked. The electric scooter that I'd become so fond of riding died for the fourth time, after a piddling little touch of scooter-lethal rain and the folder was the last viable alternative.

    Once I had my folding bike, its utility became more and more obvious and beyond re-igniting a passion for cycling I'd forgotten, I found myself using it to reconnect with an entire community and enjoying my _life more because of it. I guess that I found my bike by mistake. Or maybe it found me....

    In reading the various posts of other folding bike users, I've noticed that the viewpoints of owners, even of the same model, are amazingly disparate. It seems to me that we all came to the folding bike with far different requirements, and wants, in mind.

    Ultimately, it seems to me again, we share our experience on these boards to help others, less experienced than we, glean an avenue of consideration for their own wants and needs. They're interested in finding out about folders and they come here to learn what there is to know. The only way to do that well I propose, is to define how we all, us folder people, came to buy our bikes.

    So, I'm interested.

    Why did you all decide that a folder was for you?


    I was looking for a bicycle that could be stay with me at all times in a bag or slip cover for security reasons.


    What choice/choices did you make and why'd you buy what you bought?


    I was looking at folders rather than a separating frame bike so it could stay in a compact, neat package when not in use. I chose a Dahon Boardwalk for value, price, handling characteristics, and no tools needed to collapse it.


    What do you use it for?


    Mainly as an stand-by Emergency Transport Vehicle. Somethimes as a communter or exercise bike.


    Why'd you choose the wheelsize you chose?


    I selected 20 inch tires because of the ease of replacement when needed. As well as covering alot of miles/kilometers when it is necessary.


    Do you wish you'd bought a more expensive one, or a less expensive one?


    I bought the best bicycle that I could afford at the time. It still proves a good introduction to the world of folders/portables/separating/traveling/collapsing or whatever these bikes are called.


    Do you let anyone else ride your folding bike/bikes? Would you?


    Not really. I prefer not to let others use it unless there is a good reason to.


    Do you have a 'regular' size bike too?


    Oh yes I do! I also have vintage 1968 Phillips 3 speed which was the model for the Dahon's modification.


    Are you happy with the utility of your new toy, car replacement, cruiser, or whatever you call it?


    []I am extremely happy with the Emergency Transport Vehicle. It already proven itself many times over.[/FONT]


    Did you find the thing life changing?


    If you consider it's reason for it's purchase and use, yes it definitely is.


    Thanks in advance for answering.

    DG1
    see above.

  11. #11
    Hauja
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    [QUOTE=dannyg1]Folding bikers, I'm often reminded, are unique. Are we? Personally I ended up with my folding bike after I ran out of other transportation options that actually worked. The electric scooter that I'd become so fond of riding died for the fourth time, after a piddling little touch of scooter-lethal rain and the folder was the last viable alternative.

    Once I had my folding bike, its utility became more and more obvious and beyond re-igniting a passion for cycling I'd forgotten, I found myself using it to reconnect with an entire community and enjoying my _life more because of it. I guess that I found my bike by mistake. Or maybe it found me....

    In reading the various posts of other folding bike users, I've noticed that the viewpoints of owners, even of the same model, are amazingly disparate. It seems to me that we all came to the folding bike with far different requirements, and wants, in mind.

    Ultimately, it seems to me again, we share our experience on these boards to help others, less experienced than we, glean an avenue of consideration for their own wants and needs. They're interested in finding out about folders and they come here to learn what there is to know. The only way to do that well I propose, is to define how we all, us folder people, came to buy our bikes.

    So, I'm interested.

    Why did you all decide that a folder was for you?
    I bought my first folder because i wanted to use it on the EL (ELEVATED TRAIN) and use it as a travel bike.
    What choice/choices did you make and why'd you buy what you bought?
    I bought a bike friday metro because it was made in America and came highly recommended and did not have odd size tires like a Brompton.The brompton was impressive though.
    What do you use it for? Not much any more i have 6 folders and mostly use my 20 inch yeah 1 speed or my dahon classic 3 converted to a fixed wheel, as they fold more easily.The ride is better with the BF though.

    Why'd you choose the wheelsize you chose? 20 inch wheels and tires are readily available and the 406 mm wheel tire combo is the best compromise between ride and foldability.

    Do you wish you'd bought a more expensive one, or a less expensive one? I wish i had waited and bought a bike which folded more easily than the metro.Maybe I should have bought a Dahon.I have a boardwalk 6 (now modified to a 7 with a shimano megarange freewheel) .It is a good bike but does not feel as lively as the metro.

    Do you let anyone else ride your folding bike/bikes? Would you? Yes i have two 16 inch fixies .I allowed a freind to ride my yeah (brand)fixed on a winter ride.

    Do you have a 'regular' size bike too? Yes I have a next brand comfort bike it is a grey 7 speed with front suspension. I modified it from a 6 speed. The handlebars are north roads wrappped with black cotton bar tape.I have the bar tape on the areas of the bar not covered by the handgrips so i have another grippy place to put my hands.You have to be able to switch hand positions.Mostly I ride on the brake hoods or with my hands on the curve.

    Are you happy with the utility of your new toy, car replacement, cruiser, or whatever you call it? Yes.

    Did you find the thing life changing? A folder is nicer to put in the auto and easier to take on the train. I think i tend to ride more now .I have to get rollers next for winter riding,that is when it is below 30 degrees and absolutely miserable.I find the fixies give me confidence to ride on snow and ice, as long as the weather is halfway decent.


    Thanks in advance for answering. De Nada
    Last edited by James H Haury; 05-09-05 at 05:51 PM.

  12. #12
    Raleigh20 PugFixie, Merc LittlePixel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dannyg1
    Why did you all decide that a folder was for you?
    Because I had just had an expensive urban Trek SU street ATB stolen after just four days of ownership and I decided an old bike that no-one would realistically want to steal might be a good plan. I don't need a folder because of space restrictions at the apartment in London, (though that might change), but being able to collapse it before locking it and more importantly taking out the frame key that makes it rideable gives me a certain peace of mind when leaving it outdoors.



    Quote Originally Posted by dannyg1
    What choice/choices did you make and why'd you buy what you bought?
    I fell for the idea of doing a Raleigh Twenty after seeing Cheg's one and finding more on the web. I liked the deliciously fun feeling of buying what in the UK is probably one of the most 'uncool' bikes possible and converting it into something useful and individual.



    Quote Originally Posted by dannyg1
    What do you use it for?
    I commute just over 8 miles a day to work on it, plus - since it's UK name is the Raleigh Shopper - the odd trip to the shops for groceries. It's great with a pannier and fast enough to confuse and bemuse hybrid commuters and couriers.



    Quote Originally Posted by dannyg1
    Why'd you choose the wheelsize you chose?
    The frame originally had 451 20" wheels but I went for 406s because they look cuter, were easier to get good rims for and the choice of tyres was significantly better.



    Quote Originally Posted by dannyg1
    Do you wish you'd bought a more expensive one, or a less expensive one?
    The only way it could have been more expensive would have been to spend more on the rims and hub. The stock bike was a bit steep for what it was (70; about $120) but that's nothing to what I spent in the end.

    I started out hoping to get a good proportion of bits off eBay but as the realisation that most bits were non-standard imperial sizes that kinda went out of the window a bit. A set of Phil Wood Bottom Bracket rings and the special bespoke tools needed to fit them had to be imported from America so that wasn't cheap, and neither was the SRAM Spectro 7 hub. In the end I thought 'hang the expense - I want to get this as good as I can' and went all out with shot-blasting the frame, new braze-ons, paint job, laquer, special edition tyres. If I hadn't done it all in one go I'd end up spending all my time replacing bits and tweaking which would be silly. Saying that - since I finished it I've put a new chainring and sprocket combo on though that was really to get a faster ride out of it.



    Quote Originally Posted by dannyg1
    Do you let anyone else ride your folding bike/bikes? Would you?
    My partner and a workmate who normally rides fixies have both had a go on it but not exactly far. So- No - this one's mine really. It's ride is an acquired taste so people aren't exactly jumping up and down to borrow it off me.



    Quote Originally Posted by dannyg1
    Do you have a 'regular' size bike too?
    I did... Two Treks gone in six months.... Pfft..

    If I do get another sometime I think I'll factor getting the frame stripped and sprayed stealth style into the price so it isn't shouting 'steal me' quite so loudly. The thieves here really are like raptors.



    Quote Originally Posted by dannyg1
    Are you happy with the utility of your new toy, car replacement, cruiser, or whatever you call it?
    It's great. I love riding it. If I'd had unlimited budget I'd like to have thought I'd have got it a Rohloff 14 speed hub but the price really was too much. I love its size, responsivness, its non conformism, its sense of fun. It's a bit heavy (understatement of the year there haha) but someone could detonate a grenade in the hinge and it would still ride so I'm not too sad about its rugged charm.



    Quote Originally Posted by dannyg1
    Did you find the thing life changing?
    In terms of learning about bikes yes it has been This is my first ever go at building/renovating a bike and I'm more than happy with the results. I've been bitten by the bike bug since starting to ride again about 2 and a half years ago and this was my first foray into mechanics. I was always a 'Lego' kid so getting in to bike building is rewarding and fun and easier than as a kid as I actually have some budget these days!

    Anyway - enough rambing from me. The link to the bike I've just been waxing lyrical about should be below in my signature text
    Safe riding
    Huw
    Last edited by LittlePixel; 05-09-05 at 10:04 AM.

  13. #13
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    I got my Raleigh 20 from e-bay after reading Sheldon Brown's (and other's) info pages on the bike. I wanted one to take by train into the city (NY) to use for visiting customers. I had been walking all over town for years and taking cabs to reach those I couldn't walk to fast enough or who were just too far for walking. However, I hated cabs and I also suffer from a bad foot that has me limping after a few miles of walking. Since I often carry 10-20 lbs of business related materials, this became a quest to find the upper limits of my pain threshold. The answer came via UPS in the form of a cheap, used Twenty that has become one of my favorite bikes -- but then each one is, for different reasons.

    The Twenty folds in seconds to take on the train or into a hotel, in a canvass carry bag if necessary. It's short length makes it highly manueverable in city traffic and the upright position is perfect, for obvious reasons. My city transportation runs from 5 to 10 miles a day, usually two days per week, so it's a nice compliment to the rest of my riding. The bike came with everything original and had evidently seen little use. I didn't change much except to rebuild the wheels on alloy rims for better stopping power on wet days, along with new brake pads and tires. I chose the Marathon city tires (the fat ones) for the best comfort on the washboard streets. I love em! Since the nyon, handlebar stem bushing is beginning to loosen a little, I'll probably have to eventually change that configuration. Plus, I added a very comfortable but beat up old Brooks leather saddle with springs that also helps to cushion the ride.

    Since getting the bike in the fall of 2003, I have not been stuck in a single traffic jam, nor been late for an appointment. I get quite a few compliments, or rather my bike does, just riding down the street. Things like, "What a neat way to get around town," or simply, "Nice bike!" I've even been complimented by taxi drivers who seem to be very tolerant of cyclists, I suppose due to the large number of bike messengers plying the streets.

    It took a few weeks to get cautiously comfortable with the traffic until now it's become second nature to know that a stopped cab (or any parked vehicle) can have a back door flung open just as you approach. You learn to move to the inside lane of north/south avenues at every other street because traffic will be turning into you at those one-way streets, and many other "rules of the road" for city traffic. You can never let down your gaurd, yet you become confident of your ability to avoid danger. It's actually very stimulating, physically and mentally.

    Fortunately, I can pick my days for visiting the city, so I avoid miserably wet, or super cold days as much as possible. I can dress for the rest, even in a business suit, to stay fairly comfortable. For three seasons, anyway. Summers are actually the worst because of the heat and humidity. I can put extra clothes on, but I'm limited as to how much I can dress down.

    Cable or u-locks keep my bike wherever I leave it and although it has a lot of chrome, it still doesn't look like a bike many people would work hard to steal. If they do, I'm out very little money. In the meantime, I'm the guy zipping around town in the suit, on the olive green Twenty.. with the great big smile!

    Jack

  14. #14
    Life in Mono
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    Why did you all decide that a folder was for you?
    The 1st folder I bought was a Brompton, this was because I lost my work parking space and so had to look for other forms of transport.
    The car was most convenient, but the jouney time was variable depernding on traffic. Bus was an option but has same problem. I also tried a motor bike but felt too vunerable in traffic (and didn't trust myself not to use all the performance). Cycling all the way didn't appeal due to traffic and distance. Train was always an option but very expensive and station a distance away at either end...... hence considered a folder to link to Station either end.

    What choice/choices did you make and why'd you buy what you bought?
    My 1st folder was a BromptonL3 - a guy at work had one and recommended it.

    What do you use it for
    The commute to to and from station (and also all way if missed last train), plus on road leisure use.

    Why'd you choose the wheelsize you chose?
    I would have loved to have a folder with full sized wheels, but not-surprisingly they all seemed so enormous when folded - just not an option to take on a train.

    Do you wish you'd bought a more expensive one, or a less expensive one?
    Nope - happy with this one (but also have bought a Strida3)

    Do you let anyone else ride your folding bike/bikes? Would you?
    yes - my wife & I share our 2 folding bikes (bromptonL3 & Strida3), our kids wont ride the brompton ("just not cool, Dad")

    Do you have a 'regular' size bike too?
    Yes - several MTB's (cannondale current fave)

    Are you happy with the utility of your new toy, car replacement, cruiser, or whatever you call it?
    Yes - folders are the most brilliant gadgets, and the brompton is the king of them all in this respect - it just folds so neatly. I find combined with train folders make a very fast commute (2nd only to motorbike), only downside is the cost of UK train fares.

    Did you find the thing life changing?
    Yes - got me using a bike for commuting whereas before it was strictly leisure. Using car less (for longer journeys).
    Last edited by Simple Simon; 05-15-05 at 03:15 PM.

  15. #15
    Life in Mono
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    OK sorry for the blitz but here is the other Folder ....
    Why did you all decide that a folder was for you?
    I bought a strida3 because I wanted a 2nd folder for my wife and as backup for the 1st (a brompton).
    Didn't want his n hers matching bikes - and my wife never liked the Brompton design (shopping bike look)
    Now we both use both bikes regularly - and fight over them ;-)

    What choice/choices did you make and why'd you buy what you bought?
    2nd folder was a Strida3 as, to be honest, the price was right and it looked cool !!
    It also eliminated some of the niggles I found with the brompton - weight, anckle damage (when carrying) and puncture repairs (the rear wheel is hard to remove on a brompton and strida has monoforks)

    What do you use it for
    Same journeys as Brompton - The commute to and from station (and also all way if missed last train), plus general leisure use.

    Why'd you choose the wheelsize you chose?
    had not found the 16" brompton wheel size/tyres a problem (except punctures)

    Do you wish you'd bought a more expensive one, or a less expensive one?
    Nope - very happy with these (although now into folders, I want to have them all !!)

    Do you let anyone else ride your folding bike/bikes? Would you?
    yes - my wife & I share it, and my son uses it (annoyingly for 'manuals' ...... ie wheelies and stunts). My daughter has used it too.

    Do you have a 'regular' size bike too?
    Yes - several MTB's

    Are you happy with the utility of your new toy, car replacement, cruiser, or whatever you call it?
    Yes - very .... this one feels like a fun commuting machine

    Did you find the thing life changing?
    Yes - after the Brompton the Strida seems to add fun to the folder/commute experience, and folders generally are now part of our lives.

  16. #16
    Man About Town eff-J's Avatar
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    Why did you all decide that a folder was for you?

    One of my hobbies is flying. I rent these little, single-engine planes, and fly them to airports that, quite often, aren't really near much of anything. So I wanted a bike I could fit in the plane, then ride into town wherever I landed.

    What choice/choices did you make and why'd you buy what you bought?

    Dahon Speed P8. I wanted a compact, quick fold that didn't require that I remove anything. Also, I wanted a good price, and I think Dahon has the best "bang for your buck."

    What do you use it for?

    In addition to flying with it, I ride it to work quite a bit. It's also handy for taking my car into the shop, and picking it up later. No need to arrange a ride! It's also good for geocaching--take the car to the general vicinity, then ride the bike to get closer to the cache if necessary.

    Why'd you choose the wheelsize you chose?

    The need for a compact fold meant 20" or less. I'm 6'3", and Dahon's 16" bikes are a bit too small for me. So that left the 20-inchers. The supposed smoother ride is a nice bonus.

    Do you wish you'd bought a more expensive one, or a less expensive one?

    Nope. I feel like I lucked out and hit the right balance between "expensive enough to have decent components" and "cheap enough to not have to fuss and worry over the thing too much."

    Do you let anyone else ride your folding bike/bikes? Would you?

    I haven't, but I would. See above.

    Do you have a 'regular' size bike too?

    Yeah. A full-sized Specialized hybrid. But I haven't ridden it since I got the Dahon, so I'm selling it.

    Are you happy with the utility of your new toy, car replacement, cruiser, or whatever you call it?

    Very.

    Did you find the thing life changing?

    Everything changes your life to some degree. In this case, it's a very, very small degree, but a change nonetheless!

  17. #17
    Senior Member af895's Avatar
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    Hey Eff-J!

    I fly as well, renting the small stuff, they pay me to fly the big stuff.

    A folder is definately useful for flying - no need to bum lifts or hope there's an "airport car" (you know the ones...no mufflers...no plates, no need to worry about someone stealing them

    You're so right about the airports. There are dozens within a 30 minute flight of my home base that are really just a clear patch of grass in the middle of *nowhere.* Having wheels to take a ride a mile or two down the road to the nearest country store or to a campground is awesome. I'd never even considered this before getting a folder.

    Have fun!
    Chris

  18. #18
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    Why did you all decide that a folder was for you?
    I wanted to sell my car and the public transit will not allow non-folding bicycles on the bus during rush hours.

    What choice/choices did you make and why'd you buy what you bought?
    I knew next to nothing about bikes. I found a Dahon on ebay that looked to be in good shape and was close enough to pick up, so I bought it for $117.

    What do you use it for?
    Commuting when I want to get on a bus during rush hour.

    Why'd you choose the wheelsize you chose?
    I didn't choose. I didn't even know that they came in 16 and 20 inch wheels when I purchased my first folder! I ended up with a 16". Later I bought one with 26" inch wheels, which I sold a few months ago. I think I'll always keep one folder around.

    Do you wish you'd bought a more expensive one, or a less expensive one?
    I wish I'd bought a higher quality 20" folder.

    Do you let anyone else ride your folding bike/bikes? Would you?
    Yes--anyone who looks like they won't steal it.

    Do you have a 'regular' size bike too?
    Yes.

    Are you happy with the utility of your new toy, car replacement, cruiser, or whatever you call it?
    Very happy.

    Did you find the thing life changing?
    Indirectly. Selling my car and riding my bike to get around has been life-changing. Getting a folder helped me to take the plunge.

  19. #19
    Man About Town eff-J's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by af895
    Hey Eff-J!

    I fly as well, renting the small stuff, they pay me to fly the big stuff.
    I just posted a reply to another "flying folder" over in the Dahon forums. Man, we're everywhere!

    Maybe we'll have to all organize a fly-in one of these days...

  20. #20
    Senior Member af895's Avatar
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    My homepage on the bike: http://www.ncf.ca/~af895/bike/KHS.html
    There are a bunch of photos with each upgrade made to the bike as well as some links of relevance.
    BTW: I deleted my previous response to this thread. I've had the KHS F20-Westwood for about 6 months now and had a few more details to share...


    ...So, I'm interested.
    Why did you all decide that a folder was for you?


    The strongest, fastest, largest and most powerful "anything" isn't necessarily the best if it's not where you need it, when you need it. I liked that I could put a folder in the trunk of my car or the baggage compartment of a small plane. I had a GT Tachyon touring bike but didn't use it much. Frankly, I'd gotten out of shape enough that I felt somewhat intimidated by it.

    After 6 months of folding bike ownership, I'm now selling the car - I can walk onto a bus with the folder or take it inside a store with me. I work mostly from a home office and have several people with cars for emergencies.

    I don't think I'll ever own a full size bike again. The folder opens up more possibilities. Since I can't afford to have my bike stolen, the folder lets me carry it inside everywhere.

    FWIW, I was stopped from doing this once because I didn't have a bag for the bike and the shop owner was worried it would scratch their wall. I'll be getting a bag to try the same store again.


    What choice/choices did you make and why'd you buy what you bought?

    Availability: I wanted to ride something before I bought it. A lot of stuff looked good but wasn't available locally.

    Cost: I sold my touring bike and had a bit of extra cash to throw into the pot for a new folder. I set a limit at about $1,000 CAD.

    I prefered steel but almost settled for aluminum until I turned up the New-Old-Stock 2003 KHS F20 Westwood. I was at a family reunion while shopping for a folder and one of the shops in that city had the KHS. If it hadn't been for that coincidence, I'd probably be riding a Giant Halfway.

    For more details on my folder "shopping experience" see my review here:
    http://www.foldsoc.co.uk/canada.html


    What do you use it for?

    Fitness mostly but I've also done some multi-mode commuting with it - bus/bike - and some shopping. (gotta get a pic of the bike in a shopping cart at the grocery store - tee hee)


    Why'd you choose the wheelsize you chose?

    20" wheels because they're the next most common to 26"/27" but allow for a smaller fold.
    16/18" wheels ruled out because they're more difficult to get spares for and I felt were too much of a performance hit.

    20" (ETRTO 406mm) had/has a huge variety of tires. I wanted the option of either very narrow 100+psi slicks or wide, low pressure knobbies. 406's gave me a lot of choice for whatever I do with the bike - long distance touring or some urban stump jumping.

    One thing I stumbled on later that re-affirmed my choice: BikeFriday has an FAQ where they state 20" wheels are actually faster (less R.R., lower rolling inertia) up to 16mph, break-even with 700c wheels to 33mph and past 33mph is when 700c's do better than 406's.

    I have no plans on exceeding 33mph (~53km/h) unless I'm going downhill with a tailwind!
    Take a look at the FAQ here: http://www.bikefriday.com/LexiconFull.cfm?ID=53
    The average speed of Lance Armstrong over the 1,300km 2005 Tour de France was 29mph (about 47km/h). Food for thought!


    Do you wish you'd bought a more expensive one, or a less expensive one?

    NO WAY! I got SO lucky with this bike. I could NOT have found a bike better suited to me without doubling what I was going to pay. Full suspension, 8-speed rear hub (9 and 10speed cassette compatible)
    Braze-ons all over the bike (a bunch of the other models I tried lacked braze-ons, oddly)


    Do you let anyone else ride your folding bike/bikes? Would you?

    I've let several of my local cycling-buddies give it a whirl. One of them commented they want a folder now. High praise from die-hard bike-punks who ride fixed gear/no-brakes. I don't generally let people ride it though. It's one thing if I damage it. If someone had an accident with it, I'd feel pretty low.


    Do you have a 'regular' size bike too?

    Not anymore! Just the opposite, I'm looking at a really compact folder (14/16" wheel?) to shove in a backpack for "stealth" riding and as a winter beater.


    Are you happy with the utility of your new toy, car replacement, cruiser, or whatever you call it?

    Darn straight!

    I'm always tweaking the bike but, fundamentally, there's a mindset difference when you go from a 700c/26" bike to a folder.

    Once you get over the "it's got tiny wheels!" thing, you realize it can hold it's own. (per the above BikeFriday FAQ link)

    Then you realize, you don't need to own a U-lock. (I don't have one)

    Eureka!


    Did you find the thing life changing?

    Yes! Realized I could get around without a car.

    Lost about 30lbs so far, shooting for a total of 70lbs lost by New Year.

    I've always loved the outdoors biking is an excuse to be out enjoying the fresh air.


    Thanks in advance for answering. -DG1


    You're welcome!

    -Chris
    Last edited by af895; 01-20-06 at 07:57 PM.

  21. #21
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    Why did you all decide that a folder was for you?

    Sheldon Browns' inspiring page on the Raleigh Twenty coupled with some previous experience with a low end folder.

    What choice/choices did you make and why'd you buy what you bought?

    Durability, speed, affordability, long term thinking. Had to have a ride quality as good as my regular bike. It has exceeded that hope.

    What do you use it for?

    Commuting, modding, touring a tiny bit (intend to do more), simply relaxing while i ride without a destination.

    Why'd you choose the wheelsize you chose?

    It made the most sense -> most common size results in cheapest deals on wheels and largest selection of tires, 20 inch size is adequate for everything i want in a bike. I don't see any benefits in other sizes at present.

    Do you wish you'd bought a more expensive one, or a less expensive one?

    No it is perfect. One day if i get into more touring i may add derallieurs or perhaps get a Dahon Speed P8 as an extra bike for this purpose.
    If ever i wanted something for intense commuting i might consider a Brompton or GoBike but for now the Twenty is all i need.

    Do you let anyone else ride your folding bike/bikes? Would you?

    I do, they digg it and are usually amazed at the ride quality.

    Do you have a 'regular' size bike too?

    I had 2 when i first acquired the twenty. Since then they just gathered dust and i have just sold them both recently. It may sound weird but i almost felt like i had been cheated with my regular bikes, all this myths i had in the back of my head about larger wheels and folders were suddenly uncovered when i rode the Twenty and realized some thing.

    Are you happy with the utility of your new toy, car replacement, cruiser, or whatever you call it?

    Very much.

    Did you find the thing life changing?

    Yes, sortoff. Life changing is a big word. But definately eye opening, life enhancing/re-affirming and heaps of fun.
    http://www.rhizomes.nl/twenty.html
    My Tweaked and modded Raleigh Twenty. Lots of pictures and lots of general info on for example a different & Cheap Bottom Bracket solution as well as fork solution.

  22. #22
    Senior Member af895's Avatar
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    MODERATORS: this thread needs to be a sticky!!! I'll delete this post once it's outlived it's usefulness...

  23. #23
    Senior Member cheg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dannyg1
    Why did you all decide that a folder was for you?
    I had periodic meetings that required a ferry ride and several of us would rendezvous and take one car. We would all generally go to the office after the meeting. I decided it would be good to be able to throw the bike in a car and then ride home from work on the days we had meetings. I also had in mind to take it with me on business trips.

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyg1
    What choice/choices did you make and why'd you buy what you bought?
    I was inspired by Sheldon Brown's site to select a Raleigh Twenty. I thought it would be fun to build up and that it would be inexpensive. I was half right, it was fun to build.

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyg1
    What do you use it for?
    Now I use it for business trips but it is in semi-long term residence in Florida because I go there often and I have a place to store it down there. When it is at home I use it for occasional commutes and weekend rides.

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyg1
    Why'd you choose the wheelsize you chose?
    I ended up with one 20" (406) in the front and one 20" (451) in the rear. The larger rear wheel helps a little with getting high gears. I wanted to steepen the head tube angle to make the stearing more stable. I got a good deals on the rims. It also looks funky, which is a plus to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyg1
    Do you wish you'd bought a more expensive one, or a less expensive one?
    The bike only cost $100 but it was expensive enough when I got done (probably $1000 all told but I have enough extra parts to build another if I can find a frame). Less than a new Bike Friday though.

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyg1
    Do you let anyone else ride your folding bike/bikes? Would you?
    I let a friend test ride it but I have not loaned it out. I might, depends who asked. More likely I'd lend another bike and ride the folder myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyg1
    Do you have a 'regular' size bike too?
    Two plus a tandem.

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyg1
    Are you happy with the utility of your new toy, car replacement, cruiser, or whatever you call it?
    Yes, I like it enough to want to build another one.

    Quote Originally Posted by dannyg1
    Did you find the thing life changing?
    Not really. The life changing event happened earlier when I decided to start biking to work. That sort of lead to the folder.

  24. #24
    Explorer CaptainSpalding's Avatar
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    Why did you all decide that a folder was for you?
    I work in the film industry, frequently on studio backlots. I bought my first folder as a "lot bike" which I could use during work hours and then fold up and put on a shelf at night. Before long I was overcome by the sheer wisdom of it all.

    What choice/choices did you make and why'd you buy what you bought?
    First I bought a Giant Halfway. Of the several bikes I'd test-ridden, it was the first that didn't feel like a toy. I snapped it up and used it as aforementioned for a couple of years. Then I rode a Dahon Helios. It was awesome. Unwilling to part with the Halfway, I bought the Helios "for my wife." (She is easily wise enough to see through my schtick, but kind enough not to call me on it. At least not all the time.)

    What do you use it for?
    For a long while I used the Halfway at work, and the Helios at home for fitness riding and local errands. Sadly, the amount of crap I have to take to work with me makes bike/mixed commuting impractical. Sometimes I load up for a Sunday on the bikepath in the park with my kids, 4 yrs. and 6 mos. A child seat sits on a rack I modified to work on the Helios, and I made a hitch which replaces the front wheel on the jogging stroller so I can tow it. It's higher off the ground than a trailer, so it's more visible to car traffic, saves my daughter the aggrivation of car exhaust and stones and dirt that get kicked up, and she gets a better view too. Here's a photo of the setup.


    Why'd you choose the wheelsize you chose?
    Here I'll echo what others have said about 406 tire availability, but at first it was serendipity.

    Do you wish you'd bought a more expensive one, or a less expensive one?
    Both. In June I sold the Halfway and bought a Dahon Jetstream XP. Incredible. As I write this, my Jet XP is at the LBS getting a Rohloff hub fitted. This will effectively double the value of the bike, and I don't think I'll feel too good about using it at work. I think I'll look for a nice used Boardwalk or Mariner for use as a lot bike.

    Do you let anyone else ride your folding bike/bikes? Would you?
    No. BMXers think that because they have 20 inch wheels that they can curb-jump them. No thank you.

    Do you have a 'regular' size bike too?
    Yes. And it's really dusty right now.

    Are you happy with the utility of your new toy, car replacement, cruiser, or whatever you call it?
    Thrilled. My bike is in the car with me all the time. I find much more time to spend riding. I can always sneak in a half hour here or there during the day, and in addition to my scheduled rides.

    Did you find the thing life changing?
    It's a significant source of pride and joy, and allows me to ride at times when I wouldn't have been able to before I had a folder, but life changing? No.


    Thanks in advance for answering.
    My pleasure.
    I came to say I must be folding . . .
    Dahon Jetstream XP
    Dahon Helios SL
    Strida 5.0
    Twenty project


    or not . . .
    Fisher Mt. Tam (c.1988)
    Merlin Road flat bar project
    Schwinn Twinn Deluxe

  25. #25
    Senior Member
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    I second the 'Stickyness' of this thread!
    http://www.rhizomes.nl/twenty.html
    My Tweaked and modded Raleigh Twenty. Lots of pictures and lots of general info on for example a different & Cheap Bottom Bracket solution as well as fork solution.

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