Hi! I've always liked folders, but never could justify one because I though that I could always get around more quickly on a trusty road bike- but now I have a genuine reason to go for a nice folder....
Great resource here, I am happy to have come across such a good forum, I have already learned a lot by searching around...
Anyways, I am trying to find a bike that meets these criteria:
*quickly folds to a size that would easily fit in a car (for bike-hitching)
*possible to use as a "touring" bike (relativley efficient on-road)
*comforatble for a tall (6ft 5 in) rider.
I am primarily drawn to 20" wheel models, and my budget is in the < $500 range. I am attracted to bikes like the airnimal, bike fridays (but they don't fold quickly), and some of dahon's top end bikes, but my budget has directed me more towards the used bike market (craigslist, ebay, ?any other suggestions?)
I would like for the bike to be comforatble as a touring bike - rather than sitting upright, for long rides, loaded with gear (not trailer). Also, I don't really like wasting my energy, so a bike that gets me around relativley quickly/ efficiently (for a folder) would be nice. External derailer instead of any of the internal setups is a necessity..
Lightweight is also a definate concern, as I would like to be able to cary this bike around easily when I am not riding it. probably < 25 lbs would be prefered...(Not shure how realistic this is) The primary use for this bike will be bike-hitching (hitchhiking with a bike, so I would like to be able to fold it to a size that "looks like it will fit in a car without any problems" easily and quickly) (would the dahon matrix- see below- qualify?)
Also, I would like the bike to not be a disposable type model, something well built that will take some abuse, not fall apart, and allow me to ride thousands of miles on it.... this is why I am leaning more towards a used bike...
A few possibilities (used market) are a Dahon Matrix (26in mountain bike frame), fuji folder (26in mountain bike frame) Dahon mariner d7, older raleigh twenty, giant halfway (looks like it won't be large enough for me? (I just spent the last 2 days looking around everywhere I could find online and off) Any specific recomendations, especially any info on the fugi folder would be greatly appreciated.
I like to work on bikes, so I figure that I can probably get a better deal overall if I go for a used bike...
Would a light-ish weight folding 26" bike (such as the Matrix) with more road type tires suit my needs? Would this bike (w/ 19" frame) be comfortable for a tall rider? usable for touring? stowable in a car? The used dahon matrix seems to be the best deal I have found overall, but im not sure if it would fold small enough for me...
Anyone have experience trying to carry one of these 26" folders around? how awkward are they to carry with you folded up? If you were the type to pick up hitchhikers, would you be inclined to pull over and pick someone up who had one of these sitting next to them?
In the used market, what 20" folders would you look for that might best meet these criteria? Where would you look for used folding bikes for sale in the states? What dahon models would best meet my criteria (new)- how about the downtube bikes (new)?-
Would the downtube bikes fit a 6'5" rider? be comfortable for touring? would you suggest the FS (full suspension model or normal model?)
Thank you very much for any advice!
I agree the Airnimal, Bike Friday and Dahon Tour would be very good choices though. Maybe also consider the Xootr Swift - new it's $679, so a lot cheaper than the others. Low gear of 31" might be too high for touring though. I look occasionally at the Bike Friday used bike selection, but it's extremely rare for any bikes to go for under $1000...
This advice comes from my own shopping experience for a folder in the spring and subsequent reading and experience online and in meat-space. I love folders. :)
On the topic of seatposts, I have a KHS (see the link in my SIG file) with a 400mm seatpost. It's long enough to accomodate me at 6'0".
Multiply inseam by 0.883 to get distance from BB to seat-top. Let's say for every extra inch of rider height you need an extra half-inch of seatpost.
100mm is about 4 inches - or about 8 inches of rider height. A 500mm seatpost on the KHS should be good for a 6'8" rider.
Again, I'm ball-parking based on "0.883*inseam" being about half of rider height and assuming inseam is proportional for most people. (no stubby or really long legs)
FWIW, Dahon has a telescoping seat-post option. Their seat TUBES are 34mm ID - I don't know what the telescoping section is, though someone in the Dahon forum might. http://www.dahon.com/u-twosection.htm
COST-wise, I think Bike Friday would be over your budget. They're fantastic bikes that can be custom built to your measurements - but that comes at a price. I would contact them first, asking about used bikes to fit a 6'5" rider. You might get lucky. (see my notes on foldability below)
Failing that, the Dahon with a telescoping seat-post would be my next suggestion, if you like their offerings. They offer excellent value.
If you can track down a KHS, one of them with a longer post would work. Perhaps see if Downtube would sell you a 500mm*27.2mm post. The KHS have 29.2mm seattubes - a 27.2 to 29.2 shim makes the 27.2 fit easily. (frankly I like this better than the stock 29.2 as it slides easier) A KHS Cappuccino will take 20" wheels, though 18" are stock. (you could try the 18's and see if you like them then upgrade to 20's - this may require a new front fork but the rear triangle is fine)
I would recommend Downtube to you IF they could accomodate your height. Based on what I've been reading here, they offer outstanding value - including extras like the storage bag - that you pay extra for with other manufacturers. The owner, Yan, follows this forum and has earned a reputation for unsurpassed customer service.
Regarding folded size, most 20" folders pack to a fairly small size. It would be easier to list models that DON'T pack small than ones that do. Dahons pack small, so do the KHS. I believe Bike Friday's take a bit more work to pack - more of a "packable" than foldable bike, though owners can step in and correct me. Here's a thread with my recently acquired Downtube bag used with the KHS: http://www.bikeforums.net/folding-bikes/156750-bag-20-folder-downtube-bag.html
A 26" folder versus a 20" is a no brainer: the 26" is fine for general storage. For public transit, packing the bike easily in a light plane or compact car, bringing inside an office or carrying around in a bag, the 20" wins hands down. In my opinion, once you get used to a 20", you won't long for a 26"/700c again. The fact that you're even looking at a folder suggests to me you should go with a 20" to keep folded size down. Per the Wiki page, 20" shouldn't be considered a disadvantage over 26" as long as it fits and you've got good rubber on it. Which brings me to...
Speed: high pressure, low-rolling resistance tires are the issue. Get a pair of Schwalbe Marathons (slick or otherwise) and run them right at 100psi. My folder gives my old 700c touring bike a run for it's money - and flat out beats it in acceleration and cornering. Rafael noticed this on his Giant Halfway folder when he went from the stock 65psi tires to 90 or 100psi -> huge difference. Since most folders ship with 60"ish" psi tires, I suspect some of the myth about folders being slow is simply on account of what kind of rubber they're equipped with!
SEE THE WIKI PAGE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folding_bicycle
Comfort: full suspension is a nicety, though perhaps not necessary.
My KHS has a "softtail" - not even a swing-arm, just a rubber elastomer between the seattube and seat-stays - and a basic elastomer fork.
Others have full swingarms and gas-shocks. You can always add a suspension seatpost, sprung saddle and/or suspension fork. What these things do is make a 100-120psi 20" tire FEEL like a bigger, softer tire - perhaps only a factor if you're off road or on roads with bumps and debris. Don't let the lack of them stop you from buying a folding bike you otherwise like.
Weight-wise, 25lbs is a low number - especially considering your height. The extra metal needed to accomodate a larger rider adds up.
If you said "30lbs or less" I'd feel safer that was possible. Dahon does offer a number of very light models - worth looking at if weight is a big concern. Mine rings in around 29lbs and I don't have a problem with this. The fact that it packs small makes it very manageable.
Hope this is helpful - it certainly was LONG! XD
I don't know if it is helpfull but a Brooks Flyer rides high on it's rails and springs. It may just give you the extra height you need to be comfortable on a Downtube? But it is heavy compared to some saddles,.. Alternatively maybe you could order some steel tube in any length you want and use an old school saddle attachtment but i don't know if this is practical. Lastly you could use the trick some people used on Twenties (on a downtube or other bike) before long seatpost were available for them.
See the picture on text on:
Thanks - maybe "long" but very helpful to me at 6'4" - DrJ
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