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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 09-21-05, 11:38 AM   #1
lorrer
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Advice on touring bike that folds

I'm looking to build or buy a bike for a world trip that will involve ships, trains, possibly planes, and riding across the US and europe.

So, with that in mind, anyone have recommendations/links for full-on touring bike frames that fold up compactly? I'm a 5-11 female, long legs, and want something light if at all possible - basically I want a touring bike that happens to fold or disassemble.
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Old 09-21-05, 03:44 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by lorrer
I'm a 5-11 female, long legs, and want something light if at all possible - basically I want a touring bike that happens to fold or disassemble.
You might consider a used early '90s vintage Montague M1000 Bi-Frame. They represent a reasonable compromise between a full-size bike and one you can fold to a fairly compact 16" x 30" x 39" package. This one is Schwinn co-branded.
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Old 09-21-05, 06:45 PM   #3
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If you are looking for a bike that can be quickly folded and unfolded...on the fly...then a company like Bike Friday would be a great place to start. BF's small wheeled touring bikes have a proven track record. They can also be broken down and stowed in a standard, airline checkable suitcase.

http://www.bikefriday.com

If you prefer a *normal* big wheeled touring frame, then you might consider having one built, or retrofit, with the S&S couplings. These allow the frame to split into two pieces for more compact shipping and transport. It's probably not a process you'd want to do on a daily basis, though.
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Old 09-22-05, 03:44 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Lucky13
If you prefer a *normal* big wheeled touring frame, then you might consider having one built, or retrofit, with the S&S couplings. These allow the frame to split into two pieces for more compact shipping and transport. It's probably not a process you'd want to do on a daily basis, though.
I'll second this as an option, particularly if you don't want the compromises inherent in a smaller folding frame. Waterford, for example, will modify a frame with S&S couplings for about $400.

Here are photos of a Waterford frame with S&S couplings in both the assembled and disassembled states.
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Old 09-22-05, 03:49 PM   #5
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The Ritchey BreakAway is a full sized Steel Bike with Tom Ritchey's coupler design. They look and feel like a normal bike, with a great ride. Cheaper than a Co-motion or Waterford with S&S couplers.
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Old 09-22-05, 04:18 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Ski-Patroller
The Ritchey BreakAway is a full sized Steel Bike with Tom Ritchey's coupler design. They look and feel like a normal bike, with a great ride. Cheaper than a Co-motion or Waterford with S&S couplers.
I think the BreakAway's geometry is not adequate for carrying heavy loads. I know first hand that a bike with such dimensions and angles is not very stable with full panniers.

Roberto
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Old 09-24-05, 03:25 PM   #7
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Clayface, thanks for the info on the BreakAway. I was considering that brand, but yeah seems like the best option for me will be s&s ones. I really need something of high quality and everything online is pointing to s&s. Thanks, all!
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Old 09-25-05, 07:48 AM   #8
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I recommend you consider the Dahon Speed TR ($900) which folds, and if you don't mind spending more the full suspension Moulton Bridgestone (separable) will set you back about $2500 in the USA. Both bikes have wide grearing ranges. Bike Friday is always another good option for touring, but you will generally need to order well in advance of your trip.

And yes, I forget, Airnimal with 24 inch wheels appears to be another very good option, but I have not yet personally handled those bikes, however I will do so this week at Interbike in Las Vegas. I think the Airnimal holds tremendous promise as a touring bike.

But to keep it all in perspective, yesterday I participated in an organized 3 person high wheel tour up and down the foothills of the Sange De Cristo Moutains on the outskirts of Santa Fe. Our state captain whizzed along on his magnificent 1888 Columbia high-wheel, one fellow rode his 1904 Columbia Chainless, and I biked it on a borrowed 1897 Imperial. It was amazing how smooth it all goes without the fancy modern gearing. Suffering through two flats on the Imperidal wasn't that much fun, but I suppose that's the way it was.
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Old 09-28-05, 09:32 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by lorrer
Clayface, thanks for the info on the BreakAway. I was considering that brand, but yeah seems like the best option for me will be s&s ones. I really need something of high quality and everything online is pointing to s&s. Thanks, all!
One thing to consider is that an s&s coupled bike will exceed some airlines' published max dimensions. The cases are also somewhat unwieldy. I owned an S&S road bike and loved it, but my bike friday is much easier to travel with. My wife and I just completed a 7 day tour in Tuscany - I on my bf with 50+ lbs of gear, and towing my 13 month old in a trailer for a total of over 100 lbs loaded weight. It was flawless. My wife rode a Dahon speed tr loaded with 30lbs of gear - also flawless.

good luck with your choice!
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Old 09-29-05, 12:27 PM   #10
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I recently completed an unsupported 4-day, 260 mile tour of Southern Wisconsin on a 2005 Dahon Speed 8. The essentially-unmodified bike performed almost flawlessly (de-chained 3 X) and I honestly forgot I was riding a folder with 20" wheels. (There WERE a couple of times I wished for lower gearing; I was pulling a 20lb trailer with >30 lbs of camping gear, afterall.) This was my maiden tour on this bike, and given that it was purchased specifically for fly-n-ride touring, i.e., able to easily fit into a checkable suitcase, I considered it a complete success. So, I can recommend 20" folders for light-duty touring. If you're considering treks deep into mountainous or undeveloped areas, you may want to consider something else, but for ease of portability (not to mention affordability) you should consider this type of bike.
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Old 09-29-05, 12:54 PM   #11
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toodman - if you want better gearing for hills, etc. you can replace that rear wheel with one built on a sram 3x9 hub. gaerlan cycling will sell you the setup for like $200 - that setup will then take you anywhere - it's exactly what my wife used through some pretty stiff climbs in italy. she had a low gear of like 18 gear inches.
also - do you have a better pic of that water bottle setup - it looks awesome and I'd like to try it. thanks!
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Old 09-29-05, 01:53 PM   #12
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Mr. Super Socks,
The bottle set up is simply two standard cages with two standard automotive hose clamps around the seatpost. It worked perfectly. I have to take them off when packing the bike in the Samsonite but installation is a 90 second job.

I'll take the 3x9 into consideration. I temporarily toyed with another smaller 44 chainring alongside the stock 54. Put the 54 on the outside where the chainguard was and shifted down to the 44 with my finger. The dirty finger notwithstanding, the biggest problem was I couldn't keep the chain on either ring when shifting down to the smallest cog. So, back to stock. The 44 didn't seem to help much anyway. I may try again with a triple crank (so I can keep the chainguard) and/or narrower chain which I'm told may prevent dechaining.

Thanks for the tip/interest.
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Old 09-29-05, 03:50 PM   #13
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yeah - I toyed with gearing stuff for a long time (mostly using Sheldon Brown's awesome gear calculator http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears/ ). the weird thing is that you have to make huge jumps in the front chainring size to get an appreciable difference. ramping up the rear cassette to an 11-34 helps a lot, but that rear hub gives you a bonus of 33%, which is simply huge.

super cool idea on the bottle cages - i am picking up hose clamps tonight!
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