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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 10-06-05, 08:41 PM   #1
geekpunk
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Longer Distances/loaded touring on 16" wheels?

I'm looking at buying a folder for a climbing trip to France next year. The plan is to fly into paris and then take the train to fontainbleau. It is a 10 mile ride from the station and then I would be camping in the woods for a few weeks using the bike to get to different parts of the forest. and then try to catch a day or two of the tour (I'll be there in july).

I'm being drawn to the 16" Wheel bikes over the 20" for a number of reasons. I'm thinking brompton (if I decide to shell out the cash), dahon or a yeah! bike (I have an option for a used one locally).

But I'm not sure how they will handle longer distances in the future
or how they handle when loaded down (a little bit).

Anyone have any experience with this?
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Old 10-06-05, 09:43 PM   #2
yangmusa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geekpunk
II'm being drawn to the 16" Wheel bikes over the 20" for a number of reasons...
But I'm not sure how they will handle longer distances in the future or how they handle when loaded down (a little bit).

Anyone have any experience with this?
I have a Moulton F-frame, which I think works quite well for light touring. I can get a very comfortable riding position on the bike, and the racks are good.

If you can get a comfortable riding position on one of these bikes, it might work for you. BUT I think the gearing range of all the bikes you mention is very limited! And you're going to the MOUNTAINS. So all in all, I think I would go with a 20" wheeled bike, because the gearing on these bikes will be more suitable. IMHO..

Magnus
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Old 10-07-05, 06:02 PM   #3
James H Haury
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Yeah bicycles are rugged but heavier than Dahons. I have both ,I would reccomend a 20 inch wheeled Dahon.
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Old 10-07-05, 06:21 PM   #4
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If you've got the cash: Bike Friday.
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Old 10-14-05, 12:05 PM   #5
merlinextraligh
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Bike friday sounds like the ticket, even though they're 20" wheels. We have a BF tandem, and have ridden it in the Moutains. And BF makes a travel case that converts to a bike trailer, which would seem to be a nice fit for your itenerary.
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Old 10-14-05, 01:38 PM   #6
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If you have the coin for a Brompton, you might also try to track down the elusive but extremely high-performance Go-Bike. We have at least one Go-Biker here, "chop" - see http://www.long-john.com for his review.

I suggest it because it folds nearly as small as a Brompton - if folded size is an issue for you. Folded size for London Underground commuting seems to be the selling point of the Brommy. If that's not a huge factor, there are dozens of other folders - convert a Raleigh 20 or get a new Giant Halfway, KHS, Bike Friday etc.

700c, 26" MTB, older 27" road and the 406 (20") are prevalent everywhere I've ridden (Germany, England, France, Switzerland, Canada, the US) - available at my local W*lmart and hardware store, as well as the LBS'. 16" seems much less common.

Take it for what it's worth. I'd hate to hear a potentially small problem turned into a big one when you couldn't find a tire/tube/rim after a flat or wipe out and it messed up a well planned trip.

To answer your question about holding up to a loaded rig: small wheels, for a given spoke count, will be stronger than larger wheels. (eg: 32 spoke 20-inch is like a 44-spoke 27-inch) I would think a 16" would be near bullet-proof. I know 20" is practically indestructable.
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Old 10-14-05, 02:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yangmusa
I have a Moulton F-frame, which I think works quite well for light touring. I can get a very comfortable riding position on the bike, and the racks are good.

If you can get a comfortable riding position on one of these bikes, it might work for you. BUT I think the gearing range of all the bikes you mention is very limited! And you're going to the MOUNTAINS. So all in all, I think I would go with a 20" wheeled bike, because the gearing on these bikes will be more suitable. IMHO..

Magnus
I think the Moulton, Bike Friday and Dahon TR are the best touring bicycles. The Brompton 3 speed Sturmey Archer hub gear bicycle is too high for light touring. Even the 6 speed Brompton does not drop you low enough for hill climbing. A good touring setup should drop you close to 20 inches and the Dahon TR does just that.

I still think a folding bike is all about compromise especially when it comes to touring because of the small wheelbase makes going down those hills, a white knuckle ride! I put my Dahon Speed 8 next to my Jamis Aurora and it's no comparison. The Jamis is much longer and you can feel the difference when going downhill at 30 mph.

The 16' inch wheel in my opinion is too small for touring. It's probably the best size when multimode commuting with the bus and train but not for carrying loads. I happen to think the 20 'inch wheel is too small but this size makes it practical for travel.
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Old 10-14-05, 09:02 PM   #8
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I'm not buying until the spring. I'm leaning toward the swift, a dahon, or an airnimal.

My main concern is that I want to be able to ride with all my gear and a climbing crashpad on my back.

like this one but smaller (2' x 4')



the airnimal is bigger than what I want, and nicer, but I might be able to get a deal on it.

I think with this goofy crap on my back, I think smaller wheels are better.
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Old 10-14-05, 09:49 PM   #9
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Ah the good old days. I had a full ckimbing career pre crash pad. But like a lot of old school stuff you have to take into account your situation, and you probably wouldn't enjoy your style of climbing without the pad. If my wife sees you, she is definetly commenting "Too much gear!". Sounds like a fun trip.
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