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Thread: BF frame only?

  1. #26
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    I can't speak for them, but I got the feeling they were more interested in your direction than my idea of a sturdy little LHT you can pack out of sight. I hope they do it, cause they tend to nail it. I suggested, half seriously, Long Haul Tucker, since it could be tucked away, stupid name though, LHT is the best name since Stumpjumper.

    I'm not too concerned about weight or materials at this point. It think one wants to work out the bugs cheaply, and then upgrade the stock. Aircraft Spruce and Specialty has chromo in the US. The BF may not be all that exotic the rear stays just look like bent tubing. If I was building the monobeam, I would wonder about butting it, too easy to damage, but I could well be wrong. Some of the parts in SB11's photos are a little nasty looking. We need to get Vanilla frames on the job!

    Realistically for it to be equal or cheaper than a BF, say 350-400 retail, It needs someone to place a taiwan volume order. There are a lot of Bike Shops going direct these days. I have a friend who is into that for recumbents. He found a "handmade" german frame was sourced in taiwan. This thing must already exist over there, or they are seriously asleep with the volume BF does.

  2. #27
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    Well below, follows the reply i got from BF. Not bad at all! but it does not seem to represent an option for everyone? It does make me wonder a little whether they read my whole mail/the thread and realized we are talking about various interested people.

    Again i don't begrudge them. I had a suggestion and some questions, i don't presume to tell them how to run their business. But with this reply i think DIY (or Maybe Surly) it is!

    ------
    Vincent,

    Hello there. Thanks for the note with interest in Bike Friday. We have done
    a frame-set here and there over the years. The problem with doing them as a
    general rule is the cable routing and wheel build. We won't be doing any
    frame-sets in the foreseeable future. Given that you have a full complement
    of parts including wheels there are a few options. We have one Pocket Rocket
    Pro frame-set that we could discuss and there is also one Pocket Crusoe
    frame-set. Both of these are only available as customers have upgraded to
    another Bike Friday.

    Give me a call when you have a few minutes and we can go over the details.

    Happy Cycling,

    Steve Strickland
    Last edited by v1nce; 10-14-05 at 06:37 AM.
    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.

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    Realistically for it to be equal or cheaper than a BF, say 350-400 retail, It needs someone to place a taiwan volume order. There are a lot of Bike Shops going direct these days. I have a friend who is into that for recumbents. He found a "handmade" german frame was sourced in taiwan. This thing must already exist over there, or they are seriously asleep with the volume BF does.
    What would you think a job would cost if sourced overseas? Do you have experience with designing the specs for such parts or know of some small quantity fabricators overseas?

    About 15 months ago, I had a titanium frame built in China (Changda). We corresponded exclusively by email, they sent me a CAD drawing, I made comments, and a design idea was finalized. When they confirmed receipt of my money transfer, I had the frame in less than 10 days. The total bill was under $600. It seems like building something out of steel and just giving the specs for the frame components (all assembly here) could result in something perhaps for $200 or less. Assuming a few people wanted to divide this design up here, it could be better since the shipping/money transfer fees were a significant part of my expense (some $140 between both).

    I personally like the Bromptom design for its compactness, and not having some of the components they elect would allow for overcoming those shortcomings (ie. handlebars, limited gearing, etc.). Just the frame and perhaps fork. Standardizing on normal part sizes (ie. 130 or 132mm rear dropout width, 110 front fork dropout) would greatly in finding less expensive components even if sacrificing a tiny part of its folding.

    Anyone have leads for starting investigating in finding a fabricator? It seems we could fairly easily find demand for 5 frames from the discussion.

  4. #29
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    This sounds good to me too! 5 people, easily! I say i know at least another 5 non forum members that would be game. As for Brompton. To be sure the Brompton is the finest design for heavy commuting/small folding. However i am not so crazy on the somewhat less stiff frame, the smaller and less common tire size and the need for a derallieur type thang. So personally i am more interested in BF clone suitable for long distance touring and a variet of gears though either would be great!

    If we were to design the BF or Brompton clone i'd love to take a leave from the Swifts dropout as they make it suitable to all types of gearing and are beautifully engineered.
    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.

  5. #30
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    I think you are probably right, 200 or less is probably 3-400 retail, Nobody is taking a 20% share for stuff from Asia.

    With your project, how did you satisfy yourself that the counterparty was for real? Obviously worked out great, but sending money there is not in my future.

    I give BF kudos for entertaining Vince's request, any ideas about price? I would still like to see someone just offer a frame as a regular thing. These 4130 fromes for fixed, cruisers and touring bikes are popular and cheap. Ubane hasn't responded to my email yet, and I'm a customer! Oh well, they are probably just giving some of their regular excellent in-store help. Not a big shop for idle chat. But they could do it so easy they custom make recumbents, sell all kinds of buikes including folders. Cable routing won't bother them a bit, or wheel building. Since I already have a 406 wheel, I could probably take spoke tension off that with my Park gizmo.

  6. #31
    Seņor Mambo
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    Quote Originally Posted by v1nce
    As for Brompton. To be sure the Brompton is the finest design for heavy commuting/small folding. However i am not so crazy on the somewhat less stiff frame...
    Less stiff? How so? Have you ever ridden a Brompton extensively?


    the smaller and less common tire size and the need for a derallieur type thang. So personally i am more interested in BF clone suitable for long distance touring and a variet of gears though either would be great!
    Well, the good thing about custom bikes is that you can have a Brompton shape, but design it for 20" wheels, or whatever else you want. If you're going to get this fabricated, you have control over all design aspects.

    May as well also say this: in the past, Brompton has been very protective of their design, and has gone after companies reproducing their bikes. I'm not suggesting anyone here is trying to make a business out of duplicating their design, but this is a public forum read world wide.

  7. #32
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    @ Peter Pan. BF didn't give me a price range for their used frames but i am thinking they were probably not too expensive considering they were second hand....? I just mailed them about that. To be fair if BRf does on request offer second hand frames for an affordable price perhaps it makes sense to just go for them. With their life time garantuee and also the fact that they have refined their product over years this might be more viable than the DIY/made to order option. Again i think they are a great company and supporting them seems nice. Oh well i'll keep you guys posted and my options open for now.

    Now a cheap Twenty Inch Brompton frame that would be a very interesting option for me. Though as for the frame stiffness thing, no i have ridden neither extensivly but i took the estimations of this chart at face value. I would find it hard to believe that they are totally of the mark and the Diff. between the BF and Brompton is significant according to the chart.

    http://www.pertrans.com/folding-bike-comparison.htm

    As for Brompton and their design, it looks like that Merc Bike company already might have ripped them off (as some of us discussed in another thread). I have yet to receive a reply from them by mail... odd.
    Last edited by v1nce; 10-14-05 at 06:45 AM.
    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.

  8. #33
    Seņor Mambo
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    According to that *pertrans* link, which is sponsored by Xootr, all bike frames which received lower stiffness ratings, you will notice, have a folding main frame; bikes with the highest rating, regardless of material, are bikes in which the main frame does not fold. I've been told that although Raleigh 20s have folding main frames, they're pretty rock solid bikes. In other words, I'd definitely consider what the source is saying, but would mix in my own real world experience.

    As far as the Merc bike, Brompton has already shut them down (via potential legal action) from being able to sell in Europe and in Asia as well, I think. But again, they'd only go after businesses that were trying to make a profit off of their design.

  9. #34
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    About, the link, yeah i knew it is from and sponsored by Swift. Still most of what they have in that table seems balanced and sensical. They give kudos as well as question some of their rivals. I do find the table needs updating to include certain models by Dahon, definatley Downtube and others. As for the stifness of a Twenty frame, that is what i have heard and also what i am experiencing with my own. But the main things that make the Twenty frame crazy stiff is the very thick straight tubing (thicker than Brompton which is curved) and very much the fact that the hinge is unlike almost any other (definately. diff. to Brompton) because it is almost horizontal rather than vertical. If you look at pictures you will see what i mean.

    But at the end of the day it all boils down to preference and what one finds more important. Perhaps we could somehow combine the best of both worlds in a hybrid design, that would be worth trying indeed.

    In regards to Merc bike, hmm that is very interesting and news to me. Where did you learn that and do you have any links perhaps?
    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.

  10. #35
    Seņor Mambo
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    Quote Originally Posted by v1nce
    In regards to Merc bike, hmm that is very interesting and news to me. Where did you learn that and do you have any links perhaps?
    I subscribe to the Brompton newsgroup via Yahoo Groups. From what I recall, recently there was some sort of bike festival or trade show (in England, I think) in which Merc brought their bikes for display. A bunch of Brompton enthusiasts showed up and started asking how they were able to mimic the Brompton design, and whether they had permission. They notified Brompton who was aware that they were trying to sell a bunch of Merc's in England. Brompton allowed them to sell their inventory, but mandated that they could not import further bikes. Merc complied.

    Here's a link.

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    With your project, how did you satisfy yourself that the counterparty was for real? Obviously worked out great, but sending money there is not in my future.
    gizmo.
    I luckily wasn't the first. A few other people in the forums had purchased from them. I did indeed feel a bit of a risk, but it wasn't "that" much money. But for sure, once that transfer's out of the country, if they want to stick you, it'll cost a lot more than it's worth to pursue some $600. So I went on word of mouth and the company has a website presence and seems to be a contractor for other stuff.

    http://www.xacd.com.cn/

    I'm really interested in seeing if the main parts of a folding frame can be outsourced somewhere. I don't want to make a profit on any of this. I just want a frame I can put my own components on, without having to buy components that I'd probably replace later and would want to spec exactly as I'd like. I've several times though about buying the cheap Brompton and upgrading the components, but you're throwing away at least $300 of their price.

    Let's get this rolling.. I'm going to write the Ti company and see if they have any ideas. I think there are two things that make this a legitimate endeavor. Noone is wanting to profit from this. And I've read that their patents are expired.

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by spambait11
    May as well also say this: in the past, Brompton has been very protective of their design, and has gone after companies reproducing their bikes. I'm not suggesting anyone here is trying to make a business out of duplicating their design, but this is a public forum read world wide.
    Yeah, I don't think anyone wants to profit from their design. It's been written often that their patents have expired, too. I just want to buy a frame and not get stuck with their components, or have to pay $300 more to get a 6 speed instead of a 3 speed.

    My idea is building an 8speed internal hub (if chainline/wheelbase makes a derailleur installation difficult) on the rear wheel. I really like their design. I'm not interested in doing long commuting. Very little will satisfy distances of 10 miles or less. I want something I can put a strap or bag around and carry over my shoulder if I want to take the bike into a coffee shop. And also leave in my car trunk without using all of its space. 16" wheels are fine - in fact, their exact design is great with a few mods (normal dropout spacing for front/rear hubs, experimenting with different handlebars).

  13. #38
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    @ Spam. Aha, ok thanks for that info, interesting.

    @ Jasong, this also sounds good to me. Perhaps we should try all the different options and see what rolls out.
    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.

  14. #39
    Seņor Mambo
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasong
    Let's get this rolling.. I'm going to write the Ti company and see if they have any ideas. I think there are two things that make this a legitimate endeavor. Noone is wanting to profit from this. And I've read that their patents are expired.
    Did you say Ti?

    Incidentally, I think Brompton did plan to make their frames out of Ti as well (as you may know, some of the new models have Ti parts), but someone wrote that a main Ti frame, for whatever reason, was too flexy, so they stayed with CroMo tubing for the main frames. Just something to keep in mind.

    There is, however, a Ti version of the Birdy sold exclusively in Japan. I'd love to get my hands on one, but not at $3,000:
    Bd-1 Ti

    If you don't like the 18" (ETRTO 355) wheels, you can spec them for the Brompton 16" (ETRTO 349) wheels. Either way, Brompton's 16" wheel is almost the same size as Birdy's 18" wheel, so you won't lose much performance.

  15. #40
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    Vince, by the time I'm ready to make a frame, you will be ready for the upgrade! If you can get a BF frame, well heck, that is the point of this thread.

    Keep us posted on price, and sizes. I need a 56/60, so basically a 60 in their stuff, however they size them. Maybe there is a frame there you can't use, but one of us could.

    I'm not particularly interested in a Brompton, though I was at one time, and probably could be again. I have the parts for a 406 build, which is the reason I am after a BF, or maybe a home made one.

  16. #41
    Senior Member Dave Hickey's Avatar
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    There is a local frame builder here in Dallas that I'll check with next week. He builds steel and aluminum road and mountain bike but his specialty is custom bikes for little people. I've seen some of his custom bikes and they are beautiful. Since most of his custom bikes use 16" or 20" wheels, he has some experience with the unique requirements of smaller frames.

  17. #42
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    @ Peter. Will keep you guys posted. So far i have not received any details (price, size etc) from BF. Their sales Rep. seems rather insistent i call for that rather then send it to me by mail... Not sure why this is but i just mailed back that i just want ball park figures and won't likely be calling since i have a mobile phone only. Perhaps if get i can't get the info by mail i could post the nr here and one of you guys could call instead.
    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.

  18. #43
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    I have a feeling they are sales intense. I once ordered a bansaw from a California company (laguna) with free video brochure. It was the brochure I called for. They were like a bucket shop, and would do anything to close the sale. They even had a "closer" who came on the phone after the regular saleperson had failed. Right out of Glengarry Glenross. At the end of the day they proposed a more than fair deal, and I went for it, and have never regreted it, but what a freaky experience for a quality tool company. I have no problem saying no, but at some level that kind of experience still grates me.

  19. #44
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    Yeah, it is poss. BF want to close the deal. On the other hand maybe they just really want to inform/me get a feel for what i needed rather then work me over.

    Generally speaking i really hate hard sell techniques. I am very good at saying no and usually the moment a company puts on a Spiel whatever deal we might have had goes out to window. I always wonder about companies that really pitch a sale. I do believe that a really good product doesn't need so much of that to get sold and that it is suspicious if a company is sales heavy. It makes me wonder if they don't neglect the service side. I like to comparison shop and think on things a lot before a purchase of something more expensive and/or as important as a bike.
    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.

  20. #45
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    Probably more likely they are being helpful. It's just the rest of their marketing is pretty heavy. Certainly some excellent companies are worried about DIY types, thinking we will get the assembly wrong, then badmouth their product when the fault isn't theirs. It can happen.

  21. #46
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    Yeah that makes sense, keeping things a bit in control does ensure people get your product as you intend it rather than mess about themselves. BF is still very much my favorite company together with Surly.
    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. #47
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    Does anyone here have a Brompton for which they'd like to make a few measurements? Or take a few pics?

    I think from a few measurements (and possibly already knowing the wheel diameter) some scaled values should be easily determinable, but it would be nice to have a few verified values.

    Perhaps we might proceed to create a nice 2D CAD drawing of a few of these frames, from which it would be much easier to present to a frame builder. I've contacted one, and they said they could make the frame, with these details.

    Anyone else with luck in finding framebuilders that might construct this? Idea is keeping pricing low. I would so much prefer to buy one of these from the mfctr direct for a normal markup (ie. 30%) on their cost.

  23. #48
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    Good plan Jasong..!
    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.

  24. #49
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    Very rough cost estimate I got was $885 (titanium). That's no where near where it'd have to be. It would need to really be no more than $400 to make it an attractive option. Otherwise, buy the cheap Brompton, gut it, and sell the parts. The problem with the outsourcing for something a bit more complicated is also that it's quite quite likely one of the moving parts is going to have an issue. Round trip shipping to the east is going to top $100, if they'd even warranty it.

    This might be an a good "learning" project for someone to practice frame building, but it'd be nice to see a few reports of steel costs before calling this stuff off.

    The other "problem" with most of these lower cost folding bikes is that they hold their values incredibly well, sometimes aquin to what normal product price increases date them back to.

  25. #50
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    I have a great idea, that isn't working out so far. Just tig together a small Surly frame, say 42 inches long, or whatever it needs to be. I think I have cad for the basic Surly LHT somewhere, and just squash that flat, with obvious revisions for stearing and parts fitting. Then make that frame, instal couplers. Bad part is I don't think I can get the S&S couplers. The good part is one could just keep making short LHTs, until one got it right, for a really minimal cost in chromo. This only works for the portable tourer thing, it would be a disaster for a comuter folder. Another way to describe the frame I am contemplating is to make a Bike Friday frame that is standard diamon/triangles. There are some cheap ways to couple it, if it comes to that. I suppose what I want isn't really a folder, but a packable tourer. Cr$p wrong forum!

    One of my arrangements involves the lower stays be cable, for lightness and packability, anyone see something quite that stupid yet?

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