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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 05-22-17, 08:48 PM   #1
unionmanbirch
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How sturdy are the FB suitcase/trailers?

I am looking at getting another folding bike which packs into a suitcase that converts to a trailer. Bike Friday would top the list, but I've also been reading posts about the Origami trailer. I have a Dahon Vybe D7 currently but would like another folder with a bit lower and higher gearing for week long touring. My plan is to pack the bike in a suitcase, fly to destination, unpack the bike, then put on the trailer kit and ride off on a solo self-supported tour of 400 miles or so. I would be riding mostly on paved roads. Maybe an occasional gravel road or rail-trail, but 95% pavement. Flying with the bike a couple times per year. I know there are a lot of Bike Friday riders out there. Do their suitcase/trailers hold up? What about Origami? Thanks for any advice.
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Old 05-22-17, 09:16 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by unionmanbirch View Post
I am looking at getting another folding bike which packs into a suitcase that converts to a trailer. Bike Friday would top the list, but I've also been reading posts about the Origami trailer. I have a Dahon Vybe D7 currently but would like another folder with a bit lower and higher gearing for week long touring. My plan is to pack the bike in a suitcase, fly to destination, unpack the bike, then put on the trailer kit and ride off on a solo self-supported tour of 400 miles or so. I would be riding mostly on paved roads. Maybe an occasional gravel road or rail-trail, but 95% pavement. Flying with the bike a couple times per year. I know there are a lot of Bike Friday riders out there. Do their suitcase/trailers hold up? What about Origami? Thanks for any advice.
The Origami Crane 8 has a wide gear range and packs into our case with the trailer kit.
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Old 05-22-17, 09:22 PM   #3
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I have a BF suitcase trailer. It is unclear whether BF sells the suitcase, or just the frame and trailer kit (I got it used).

So far the frame seems sturdy, and the wheels have sealed bearings which seem good. I've gotten a couple hundred miles on them, and wouldn't hesitate to take them out more.

The suitcase is unpadded thick plastic. It feels flimsy, but I think it is durable enough.

At some point, I need to add some grommets for tie-downs.

A large duffel is nice for the clothes. Toss the duffel in the trailer for riding, and pull it out for luggage when the bike is in the suitcase.

The bike packs into the suitcase quite well, but it is a bit of a pain requiring quite a bit of disassembly.
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Old 05-22-17, 09:38 PM   #4
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Bike Friday uses regular commercial suitcases. Initially they used a Samsonite Oyster, then switched to a slightly larger Carlton (which I have), and now use a Samsonite Flite. The only difference is that they leave off the usual inner fabric layer which also includes some little pockets. No need for these and they'd just get torn up by the packed bike. They also include some spacers so if there's any pressure applied to the outside of the case it will be resisted by these instead of possibly damaging bike components.

One caveat is that mine came without any reflectorization and I was getting a little nervous on my first trip when I was riding back into London after dark and realized that while I had lights on my bike the trailer/suitcase behind me might be hard to see. I added reflective tape to the suitcase the next day and that also makes it easier to spot when it comes around the luggage carousel in the airport.

The trailer frame has been quite handy as a utility trailer in addition to carrying the suitcase. I cut a sheet of plywood to fit on top of the frame, drilled 3 holes to attach the frame, and some additional holes along the sides for ropes/straps/bungees. It's been used for a variety of tasks - Costco bulk shopping trips, moving some furniture, carrying my kayak, etc.
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Old 05-23-17, 05:18 AM   #5
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The Origami Crane 8 has a wide gear range and packs into our case with the trailer kit.
Yep. The Crane/trailer combo is definitely on my list of possibilities. The gearing isn't too far off what I have on my Schwinn Voyageur. I'm hoping to get some feedback from someone who has been using the trailer for a while.
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Old 05-23-17, 07:31 AM   #6
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You might consider the Wike suitcase trailer. I have personal experience with Bike Friday kit, which I found overly cumbersome and flimsy, and Radical Design Chubby for Brompton. The last was elegant and straightforward but it seriously exceeded airline dimensions, contrary to the manufacturer's claims at the time, and I sent it back.
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Old 05-23-17, 08:27 AM   #7
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I bought a used BF, from someone, they shipped it in a suitcase not drilled yet to fit the trailer kit,
but had all the packing materials for the bike, as made by bike friday, for the purpose.
suitcase: Samsonite thru airport rollers and pull up handle..
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Old 05-23-17, 06:39 PM   #8
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Something to consider if you are looking for a change in gearing...a trailer will change the feel of your bike, so depending if you are going to use the trailer often you may find the stock Vybe gearing better for pulling weight.

I pull a canine trailer on my other bike and switching from my Vybe to that is like driving a tank, meaning lower gears for my legs.

Also if gearing is something that you are not happy with, changing the gears is way cheaper than buying another folder.

On my first trip using a suitcase and really enjoying having a bike on business with me, so you are in for a treat once you sort it out.
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Old 05-23-17, 08:21 PM   #9
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You might consider the Wike suitcase trailer.
The Wike frame does look pretty stout. Does the frame, wheels and a folding bike all fit inside the suitcase?
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Old 05-23-17, 08:36 PM   #10
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Also if gearing is something that you are not happy with, changing the gears is way cheaper than buying another folder.
From reading other threads it sounded like changing the gearing on the Vybe would be a big job. It has a 14/28 7 speed. Could I go to something like 12/34? I have used a BOB trailer touring in the past and know I would probably need a gear lower than 33" pulling a trailer uphill.
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Old 05-23-17, 08:44 PM   #11
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The Wike frame does look pretty stout. Does the frame, wheels and a folding bike all fit inside the suitcase?
I have no personal experience with Wike, but in the case of the Bike Friday trailer based on the Carlton suitcase everything fitted in. Also in the case of the Radical Design Brompton trailer everything went in. The advantage of the latter trailer-bike combination was that there was very little to disassemble and assemble. Bike Friday was a mess as far I am concerned.
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Old 05-24-17, 12:55 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by unionmanbirch View Post
From reading other threads it sounded like changing the gearing on the Vybe would be a big job. It has a 14/28 7 speed. Could I go to something like 12/34? I have used a BOB trailer touring in the past and know I would probably need a gear lower than 33" pulling a trailer uphill.
The following freewheel should fit the bill. I went with the 11-28, the part is 35, the tool is around 10 bucks and it was a 5-10 minute job and I am no bike mechanic.

DNP Epoch Freewheel 7spd 11-32 Nickel Plated

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005QCK9QW/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_51sjzbNR07CYR"

Last edited by kayakindude; 05-24-17 at 01:03 AM.
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Old 05-24-17, 04:21 AM   #13
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Will his chain length be correct in going to a 32 large cog?
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Old 05-24-17, 04:52 AM   #14
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Why is there a need for a trailer? Wouldn't a suitcase that collapses onto a rear rack be better?

A trailer adds complexity, risk, and cost. I don't see a need for any of these.

Thanks
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Old 05-24-17, 09:15 AM   #15
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Will his chain length be correct in going to a 32 large cog?
So far my stock chain is doing fine with my mods. If the OP has had the bike for awhile they should probably throw a new chain on with the freewheel, again not expensive. I only had maybe 50 miles on mine when I changed the crank/freewheel.
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Old 05-24-17, 03:53 PM   #16
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Why is there a need for a trailer? Wouldn't a suitcase that collapses onto a rear rack be better?
What suitcases are collapsible, will protect a bike and can be flown as standard checked luggage?
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Old 05-24-17, 04:44 PM   #17
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What suitcases are collapsible, will protect a bike and can be flown as standard checked luggage?
I had them for years. I just used three of them on a trip to Europe with my kids last week.

Thanks,
Yan
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Old 05-24-17, 05:05 PM   #18
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Yan, which suitcase do you recommend?
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Old 05-24-17, 05:18 PM   #19
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Yan, which suitcase do you recommend?
I like the ones I used. I will probably get some again later this season. I will post some pics of suitcases with bikes in them later.

FYI the suitcases have straps to hold the bikes in place, they are super thick ( but soft case ), and they have huge wheels on the bottom to roll the case.


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Old 05-25-17, 12:34 AM   #20
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Vincita B132B for Brompton protects the bike pretty well and can be carried on the rack after compacting.
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Old 05-25-17, 05:53 AM   #21
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I have the same thing, but mine are alot bigger.

Thanks,
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Old 05-25-17, 07:16 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unionmanbirch View Post
My plan is to pack the bike in a suitcase, fly to destination, unpack the bike, then put on the trailer kit and ride off on a solo self-supported tour of 400 miles or so.
Alternatively, dump the box at the airport where the bike trip starts, and stop at a bike store to get a spare box in the city from which you will go home.

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Old 05-25-17, 07:40 AM   #23
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Uniionmanbirch my friends have done exactly what you plan to do with their Bike Fridays. Roger
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Old 05-25-17, 08:34 AM   #24
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Boxes are great, but you can't transport them on the bike. I believe that was a requirement with the options provided.

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Yan
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Old 05-25-17, 09:31 AM   #25
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What suitcases are collapsible, will protect a bike and can be flown as standard checked luggage?

Padded bags..


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