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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 09-18-05, 09:58 PM   #1
landstander
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need advice on choosing a Bike Friday

I'm being transferred to a new position by my employer, which I'm told will involve a significant amount of air-travel... 1-2 weeks at a time, with me being away "up to 50% of the time". Since I suspect that shipping my current bike would be rather awkward, not to mention expensive (no chance my employer will cover the cost), I'm strongly considering the purchase of a Bike Friday. My knowlege of folders is rather limited, so I was hoping you all would be willing to provide some suggestions.

Let me start by describing the anticipated usage. The primary purpose will be commuting between the hotel and work site, which I anticipate will usually be within about 10 miles of one another, while carrying a small load... notebook, change of clothes, etc. It will also be used for general transportation, and possibly for occasional touring as well. I can't really anticipate the terrain (I could be sent just about anywhere in the USA, and possibly Canada as well), so it probably needs to be either a 16/18 or 24/27 speed.

A few general preferences, which I'm definitely willing to reconsider if necessary. I strongly prefer drop bars over both the flat bar and H-bar choices. I prefer STI shifters over the barcon variety, although I'm somewhat concerned they might tend to come out of adjustment during shipping... I'd really appreciate any insights you can provide here.

The 3 models I'm currently considering are:
  1. Pocket Rocket STI 27
  2. Pocket Pilot EasyPack 24.bfs
  3. NewWorld Sport 27

I'd really appreciate your opinions on whether or not these models are likely to fit my needs, and/or suggestions for alternates to consider. I'm really excited about the idea of getting a folder, but I don't want to contact BF until I have the requirements pinned down a bit more firmly.

Thanx!
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Old 09-18-05, 10:10 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by landstander
I'm strongly considering the purchase of a Bike Friday. My knowlege of folders is rather limited...I don't want to contact BF until I have the requirements pinned down a bit more firmly.

Thanx!
Actually, the Bike Friday sales staff are the most qualified to help you clarify your needs and refine the decision making process.
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Old 09-18-05, 10:19 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by waltergodefroot
Actually, the Bike Friday sales staff are the most qualified to help you clarify your needs and refine the decision making process.
Yeah, I know... I just want to narrow the choices down a bit up front. I figured that info from the more experienced folks in this forum would probably prove helpful in that regard.

Realistically, it'll probably be December or January before I'm in a position to make this purchase. I'm not sure that I want to bug the BF folks quite this early.
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Old 09-18-05, 11:01 PM   #4
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If you are looking to purchase a bike in December or January, now is a great time to start talking to Bike Friday. They can take a couple of months to build your bike, after you have decided what you want.
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Old 09-19-05, 07:18 AM   #5
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I own a Pocket Pilot and a Pocket Tourist. Here are a couple of thoughts regarding models.

NWT- 406 wheels. You can run a lot wider tires than either the PR or PP. If you plan on riding on bad roads or 406 tubes and tires are much easier to find than the 451 size on the PR or PP..

Pocket Pilot- The PP is considered a stock bike and BF doesn't allow changes to the component specs nor can you get a custom frame. The size is selected from 3 or 4 stock sizes...
The removeable seat mast is easier to pack than the foldable seatmast on the PR or NWT

Pocket Rocket- Offered in custom sizes. Slightly lighter than the PP..You can order with a custom 1 piece stem(it's an after the fact order on the Pocket Pilot)

I choose the Pocket Pilot because I wanted to add my own components. I also really like the removable seatmast. I have the mast marked with a line for the proper seat height so I just undo the quick release. I find this easier than removing the seat post every time I have to pack the bike.

You really can't go wrong with any of the above bikes.
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Old 09-19-05, 08:21 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Doug Campbell
If you are looking to purchase a bike in December or January, now is a great time to start talking to Bike Friday. They can take a couple of months to build your bike, after you have decided what you want.
All right, y'all have talked me into it! I'll get in touch with them later today.
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Old 09-19-05, 08:22 AM   #7
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Thanx Dave! That was most helpful.
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Old 09-21-05, 07:47 AM   #8
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Landstander, FWIW, I one a NWT, the non sport version, but then when I got mine a few years ago, i don't think they had the sport version..

I'm very happy with my NWT,I set it up for commuting/climbing, but that can be changed also. The NWT is a very versatile bike I think, so you can do a lot of things with it...Pocket rocket seems like a really good "go fast" folding bike, so that'd be a good choice also, but I think I'd narrow it down to those two probably..

Enjoy it when you get it, they are great bikes!!

Benjamin
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Old 09-21-05, 11:01 AM   #9
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Look at PBW as well.
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Old 09-21-05, 11:34 AM   #10
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Look at PBW as well.
What's PBW?
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Old 09-21-05, 01:39 PM   #11
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Just a few comments... I have a Pocket Crusoe (light touring
bike) and do similar riding when I travel to conferences and
such for my job. This tends to have me riding on messy urban
streets, so I like having a touring bike that can take those hits.

- I like the capreo hub/cassette. It has smaller sprokets, which
counteract the small wheels, giving a good gear range with a
standard double or triple up front.

- Unless you already have a good drop-bar road bike that fits
you from which to take measurements, consider going to a good
bike shop and getting fitted. IMO, there's no point in spending
over $1000 for a bike that doesn't fit (which may be an argument
against the a-few-sizes-fit-all Pocket Pilot).

- I like having a triple instead of a double. I rode a long tour
with someone who was sronger, but had a compact double. I
kept catching him on the descents. I'll take any advantage I can get.

- The 406 (BMX standard) tires come in a wider range of sizes and
can be replaced in most bike shops in a pinch, if you're not picky
about what you replace them with. If you're considering any significant
touring (heavy panniers on paved roads or light panniers on unpaved roads
over multiple days) you probably want the touring bike (which, I suppose,
is why the NWT is their best seller). Otherwise the Pocket Rocket is likely
tough enough and faster. And, if you go with the 451-size-tire PR, you
can pack a stelvio 451 folding tire in with your gear in case you need it,
solving the 451s-are-hard-to-replace problem.

Have fun!

Yours,

Jonathan Krall
jonathan.biengroup.net
(there are some pics and ride reports on my site--feel free to use me
as a reference when you talk to BF).
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Old 09-21-05, 04:15 PM   #12
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PBW=Peregrine Bicycle Works, another high-end travel folder builder like Bike Friday. Very nice designs.
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Old 09-21-05, 04:18 PM   #13
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PBW=Peregrine Bicycle Works, another high-end travel folder builder like Bike Friday. Very nice designs.
I'll be sure to check them out as well. Thanx!
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Old 09-24-05, 07:03 PM   #14
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Between the suggestions on this thread and the information Bike Friday has provided, it looks like I'll most likely go with the NewWorld Sport Extra 27. It's very similar to the New World Sport 27 that I linked to in the original message... the most significant difference being use of the Shimano Capreo cassette.

Thanx to everyone for your assistance!
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Old 09-25-05, 07:41 PM   #15
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Choosing a Bike Friday for what you describe is a great choice. I have three Bike Fridays:

Pocket Rocket w/3x7 rear hub and 46 chain ring and 12x21 cassette - about 8000 miles
Air Friday w/Ultegra 2x8 setup with 62/50 chain rings and 12/33 cassette - about 18,000 miles
Tandem XL w/3x8 rear hub and 46 chain ring and 12/23 cassette

All three have 451 wheels, drop bars and STI shifters. No problem with the shifter adjustment when packing or unpacking. For the type of travelling you are describing, packing an extra tire or two along with tubes is not an issue. Most bike shops that carry recumbents will also carry this size. Worst case, Bike Friday can overnight a tire to you. It is true that the 406 gives you more tire options, but I find the Primo Comet 1 3/8" works great on unpaved rail trails although I use the IRC 1 1/8" tire 98% of the time even on some woodland trails.

I also travel a great deal with my job and take my Air Friday along most of the time. It will also go with me on the plane later this week. When it comes to a sweet ride, the Air Friday can't be beat. The beam makes the ride plush for your sit bones and with your weight on the seat the tires follow the pavment rather than bouncing over the rough stuff.

The only down side to one of the "Air" bikes is that they take longer to pack in the suitcase than a Pocket Rocket or New World Tourist, but I like the Air Friday ride so much that I think the extra time is well worth it. If you plan to quick fold to take on a city bus or subway, then the Pocket Rocket or New World Tourist would be the way to go.

I would also recommend the 3 speed internal geared hub as it does away with the front derailuer and gives a good gear range and you can shift it while standing still, like waiting at a traffic light. Personally, I'm not a fan of any cog smaller than 12 and think 13 is better yet, so the Capreo is not on my list of items to have. With the 3x8 internal gear hub the range is wide enough that a 12/23 cassette would cover every condition on the road you would need save loaded touring, then just go to a 12/32 cassette.

Also get the fenders, they go on and off quickly and help keep you clean during the comute.

As far as ride and bike handling go, Bike Fridays are wonderful. My Cannondale road bike hangs on the wall and I always ride my Air Friday, except when riding my fixed gear on the Velodrome.

Regarding the company, the folks at Bike Friday are great, both from guidance on buying and after the sale. They want you to be happy with the bike and also make sure it fits. A Bike Friday is not a compromise -- it is a great bike to ride that also happens to fold.

If you have more questions on this, please reply. I'll be happy to assist.
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Old 09-25-05, 10:19 PM   #16
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Thanx Velodrome, your post was quite informative. I'm especially glad to know that you haven't experienced problems with the STIs going out of adjustment, as that was one of my major concerns.

I'll be calling Steve Strickland at BF later this week (I've emailed a few questions to him in the meantime), and will try to get all the major bases covered at that time. It looks like I might be able to order the beastie in November instead of December/January, and I find that I'm getting rather excited about the prospect!
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Old 09-26-05, 08:58 PM   #17
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Hello Landster,

Don't be suprised if you will have to make a small adjustment to the shifters not long after you get the bike. Anytime you have new cables/housings and shifters there will be some stretch to the cables, compression with the housing and the chain knocking off the rough edges.

Also, if something is out of adjustment after folding and it was working fine before the fold, check and make sure all the ends of the cable housing are fully seated in their stops on the frame. This is not normally and issue, but something good to check if not shifting right. The same goes for the rear brake housing.

Enjoy the ride and learn to handle all the questions you will get.
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Old 09-30-05, 07:19 AM   #18
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You know I`nm new at this folding bike stuff. I love my Vitesse5 ,it goes good ,folds nice & feels solid. Please explain what is so much better ,when one spend $1600.00 on a bike. I really ,really dont mean to be facetious ,or a wise guy ,but what could be that much better? These bike must be BEAUTIFULLY crafted machines ,huh? They must ride & shift beautifully & last forever. Does Dahon make a machine any where equal to one of these super high end bikes? This is just for my info, & learning . I really like this folding bike concept. I can actually take a bike ride any time I want ! It`s just great! Iwould however like a machine with some type of suspension,&storage for gear. My 60yr old behind back gets sore on the Vitesse. Fenders would help also! Thanks for the forthcoming Advice, Charlie.
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Old 09-30-05, 07:35 AM   #19
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"Please explain what is so much better ,when one spend $1600.00 on a bike"

For starters, you get a custom-built bike fitted to your body measurements, riding preferences and weight. Then you get to specify components you want and accessories. Then you can specify options like paint. And you can mix components not found in the examples in the Bike Friday catalog (cranks, chain, seat, suspension components, and the like).

Only you can say whether this is worth the extra money for you. For me, it was worth having a bike outfitted the way I wanted.
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Old 09-30-05, 07:45 AM   #20
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Now I know I guess you can get a bike that you can go cross country with . Dammit now you got me thinking! I think I`ll go to the Bike Friday site now & see what`s going on there! you only live once! Thanks, Charlie
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Old 09-30-05, 08:04 AM   #21
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Hey Velodrome ride, i have a couple more questions actually. Maybe you can help me, i don't want to bother the Bike Friday folks just yet as i still have to save money.

My questions:

I really like the idea of a BF that can do "everything" well and last for ages. But i am confused whether the BF Pocket Rocket Pro or the NWT would be a better choice.

1 st is very light (touring, hilly terrain, speed) but it is durable? Also it says on the site it is not suitable for loaded touring. But what consititutes 'loaded'?

I also very much like the idea that the Pro is an upgrade and improvement of a proven model.

As for the NWT well it is cheaper and looks very beefy/strong, but it is also quite a bit heavier..

Which one would you say?

I guess it also depends.. : if one wants to do serious and more loaded touring is it better at all times to have a trailer anyway or is it better to put stuff on the frame. If the trailer is the ticket i suppose the choice becomes easier since then i'd go for the Pocket Pro.

In general i am also curious about the max. rider weight reccomendations. I mean i make them and don't intend to get fatter ha ha. But i wonder are these very safe margins for liability and all (so you could maybe add another 10 KG and still be ok) or are they more "absolute"?

Lastly i am still very curious about the new yet to be sold "better fold" BF, anyone has more info on these?

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Old 09-30-05, 08:34 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chasgrips45
Now I know I guess you can get a bike that you can go cross country with . Dammit now you got me thinking! I think I`ll go to the Bike Friday site now & see what`s going on there! you only live once! Thanks, Charlie
BF is definitely worth a look, and definitely a superior machine. But I will also add that I (and others) have done loaded touring on Dahon bikes with great success. The biggest difference I notice between my bike friday and my wife's dahon speed (modified with sram 3x9 rear hub) is the overall stiffness, particularly in the front end. I can stand up and hammer all day on my bike friday, but the dahon feels uncomfortably flexy in the stem when I have tried to stand up. I also wouldn't want to load the dahon with 60 lbs of panniers while towing a loaded baby trailer, which I do comfortable on the NWT. If it's all I had, I woiuldn't hesitate for a moment to take the Dahon cross-country.

Like many things, you pay lots more for small increments of improvement as you move up the price scale. but you will notice a big improvement from a $2000 new world tourist to a $900 dahon speed tr (the closest analogue). but I am continually surprised by the Speed, and my wife says it's the most comfortable bike she's ever had - probably because she's never had one that fit right and we sorta lucked out that the speed fits her so well.
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Old 09-30-05, 08:31 PM   #23
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Hello v1nce,

To load the bike or use the trailer is a matter of personal preference. If you travel with the bike in the suitcase, when you get to your destination, take out the bike, put the wheels on the suitcase, put the contents of your duffle bag in the suitcase and ride away. The negative is that the suitcase adds weight and is a little wider. Can't ride on the white line, but for the life of me can't figure out why anyone would want to.

Go to the Bike Friday website Community section and join their forum called the "YAK". You can get lots of discussion going on this subject. Also, the BF folks are very nice and will understand if you are still saving. They are not pushy and will be there when you want.

Regarding Pocket Rocket Pro vs. NWT. If you are already a fast sport road rider, I think you will enjoy the PR Pro better when riding without a load. It is a sweet ride. If the load carrying is an issue, go with a regular Pocket Rocket which is a little beefier. In any case the BF Folks would be best to give you the specifics as they make each bike custom to the riders requirements, i.e.; thicker walled tubing, so you can get just what you need. I have a regular Pocket Rocket and it is more than strong enough, but with 50 lbs on the rear rack I do notice some flex (mostly the rack), but nothing to overstress the frame.

I had my tandem built for a combined rider weight of less than 325 lbs. A couple a years after I bought it, I thought I would find out what it would really carry and they told me it was over built and I was not likely to find a stoker to test the limits.

As far as the new folding... since '96 they have made several changes to the fold. They took something that was already very good and just keep making it better. So... even if you got a six year old Pocket Rocket it would still fold very nicely.

If you are trying to save a little money on the bike, scrimp on the components. Always buy the best frame as you likely damage/wear out the components long before you'll want to replace the frame. The NWT is usually less expensive do to the fact that it generally does not come with STI shifters. Those account for $150 to $300 increased cost. You can get a NWT with drop bars and STI, but the price will be higher.

Note to chasgrips45 -- Bike Fridays are really a great riding bike that happens to fold rather than some other bikes that fold and ride OK.

Enjoy.
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Old 10-01-05, 01:11 PM   #24
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Hey thanks, that is great info. Any ideas on the S Ram Dualdrive and BF's combo...? I really like Hub gears for their reliability and such. But one day i'd like to have a range of at least 18 gears. I have never even ridden a dual drive bike but it seems intriguing. Not quite the best of both worlds, but getting there....?
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Old 10-01-05, 02:11 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by landstander
I'll be calling Steve Strickland at BF later this week (I've emailed a few questions to him in the meantime), and will try to get all the major bases covered at that time. It looks like I might be able to order the beastie in November instead of December/January, and I find that I'm getting rather excited about the prospect!
I spoke with Steve the other day, and he's spec'd out a sweet bike based upon the NewWorld Sport Extra 27... several components have been upgraded to Ultegra, but basically unmodified otherwise. Even better, the financial situation is working out more favoribly than I'd expected... I'll likely be ordering the beastie in about 2 weeks!

Now I just need to choose a color (currently leaning toward Midnight Blue), and decide which accessories make sense. The Flite TravelCase, TravelBag, and fenders for certain, and most likely the TravelTrailer and Folding Rear Rack. There are likely a few others as well.
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